Tolo News – Clearing Operations In Takhar Center, Taluqan

Several days of fighting have resulted in over 30 killed, 40 wounded.

Taluqan – Takhar Province – Afghanistan, 01 October 2019. Afghan Army commandos, in coordination with other Afghan security forces in Takhar province, on Tuesday conducted a clearing operation in Taluqan, the provincial capital, the Ministry of Defense reported.

According to the statement, Taliban attacks in several parts of the city have caused heavy casualties.

A Takhar police spokesman, Khalil Aser, said that currently the defense and interior deputy ministers, and the provincial security chief, are in Taluqan to coordinate forces in the province.

Reports indicate that more than 30 have been killed and more than 40 wounded in the fighting, and that dozens of families have been displaced from Taluqan, Khowja Ghar and Baharak districts.

On Monday, Mohammad Jawad Hijri, spokesman for the Takhar governor, said that over the past few days the Taliban attacked areas close to Taluqan, including Baharak district, in order to disrupt the election process and to take control of areas close to the capital.

Officials also said that the Taliban are from neighboring Kunduz and Baghlan provinces.

Hijri said that security forces now have control of the police headquarters, and that airstrikes have killed 36 Taliban. Also, ANDSF reinforcements have arrived to push back the Taliban.

Hijri did not provide specific numbers about military or civilian casualties.

The Tribune – Opium, smack new freebies, suspect Gurugram police

In what has set alarm bells ringing for the police, drugs, especially opium, seems to be the new “freebie” to woo voters.

Sanjay Yadav

Gurugram – Haryana – India, 01 October 2019. According to police records, over 7 kg of opium was seized this year in comparison to only 20 gm last year, registering a 350 per cent hike in seizures. With the majority of seizures being done in the last two months, the police suspect that free drugs and free liquor are being used to woo voters.

A special crackdown has been planned and vulnerable areas, especially urban slums like Nathupur, Chakkarpur, Sector 9A, Rajiv chowk, Naharpur Rupa, Firoz Gandhi colony and areas near the Dwarka expressway, Rajendra park, Surat nagar, and ghettos of Sohna, Manesar, Bilaspur, and Farrukhnagar have been put on vigil.

According to the police records, there has been a massive hike in the haul of all drugs except marijuana. Only 1.13-kg charas/sulfa was recovered last year against 6.36-kg seized in the last two months. Smack seizure, which stood at only 31 gm last year, is 987 gm this year.

Last year, the recovery of poppy husk was zero, but the figure stands at 1.79 kg this year. The smuggling of marijuana, which is conventionally the highest used drug in Gurugram owing to its party drug status, has reduced considerably. Compared to 619.95 kg last year, only 307.41 kg was seized this year.

“The drugs that have seen a hike in seizures are not the ones conventionally used in Gurugram, as they are not party drugs.

Users of these drugs are primarily migrants or people from rural backgrounds. They form the major voter base in elections. The transit and trade of these drugs have increased, especially in the last three months. We have launched a special crackdown in the city and on borders to curtail smuggling,” said a senior Gurugram police officer.

Gentbrugse Meersen – Hot air balloons

Gentbrugse Meersen
14 September 2019

Away from the concrete path

Shade and sunshine

Hot air balloons

Path along the Schelde

Near Heusden but part of Melle

Dried-up wetland

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Human Rights Without Frontiers – A Pakistani man on death row after being convicted of blasphemy charges has been released after 18 years.

LIREC Claas, 30 September 2019. The Supreme Court acquitted Wajih-ul-Hassan due to lack of evidence. A case was registered against Mr Hassan in 1999 for writing blasphemous letters to a lawyer.

In 2001 a handwriting expert said his handwriting closely matched the letters and based on this the court convicted Hassan and sentenced him to death. The decision was later upheld by the Lahore High Court.

On Wednesday Pakistan’s Supreme Court found the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the letters were actually written by him.

Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK, said: “I am glad that at last Wajih has been freed by the Supreme Court. “But it is sad that it took too long to get him justice.

Although blasphemy is considered a sensitive issue, it is also a serious matter that innocent people have to wait too long to get justice from the Pakistani courts. The Government and courts must play their role to avoid unnecessary delays.

“When I met Wajih years ago in Lahore Session court he was young, but it is sad that he has spent all of his youth in prison for a crime he never committed and there is no compensation or remorse.

At the very least those who brought false charges against him should be questioned, along with those who didn’t do their duties properly and caused delay.

“Wajih is perhaps the man who has spent the longest time in prison under a false accusation of blasphemy. I have attended several blasphemy court hearings but Wajih’s hearing in the session court was quite fearful for me.

“Wajih is not the only person, but there are several who are unnecessarily spending years behind bars just because of the police and the judicial system.

“A few months ago, I was in the Lahore High court as I was told by my colleague that we were going to court for the final hearing of Sawan Masih, who is in prison since 2013. On the previous hearing the judges ordered the attorney General to be present in the court for final arguments.

But on the 24th June, he did not appear and judges had to adjourn the case again. On the next hearing the case was transferred to Anti-terrorism court (ACT) and still no hearing date has been announced.

Mr Saeed said it is very unfair and courts must pay attention to these cases.

“Recently the case of Ashfaq Masih, who is charged under for blasphemy under section 295 B, was adjourned without any reasonable excuse. I know some judges avoid hearing such cases because of the present religious intolerance, but they must avoid creating further miseries for such people.”

Imran Gafur from Faisalabad is another victim of the blasphemy law and the judicial system too. He was charged under 295-B in 2009 but his appeal is still pending in the high court for years and no one know how long further he will have to wait to get justice.

Mr Saeed further said that there are hundreds of people who are suffering unnecessarily in Pakistani jails just because of the police and judicial system fear from the extremists or just to appease some people.

Although the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, is doing his best to bring reformation in the judicial system, there is a need to look at the judges’ conduct as well.

Also, since we already have model courts in the country, where people are getting speedy justice, why can’t such cases be transferred to these courts or other arrangements made so innocent people don’t have to wait so long to get justice.

For more information contact Nasir Saeed:

Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) is an interdenominational organisation working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. CLAAS works for religious freedom, to stop persecution of Christians in Pakistan because of blasphemy and other discriminatory laws, raise awareness, disseminate information and highlight the plight of Christians on an international level. CLAAS provides free legal aid to victims of religious intolerance in Pakistan, as well as shelter and financial support for the victims and their families.

Dawn – Azad Jammu Kashmir president sees hope in US lawmakers’ response to Kashmir crisis

Washington DC – USA, 02 October 2019. The president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is hopeful that India’s clampdown in occupied Kashmir has reached a turning point, bringing US pressure.

Sardar Masood Khan was visiting Washington to meet lawmakers, media and experts after India on 05 August rescinded autonomy of the occupied territory and sharply curtailed ordinary people’s communications.

“There is a palpable shift in the United States,” President Khan said.

“The pro-India sentiment here in the United States prior to the 05 August steps was very strong because of the strong economic and strategic ties between the United States and India. But this is changing fast,” he said.

As evidence, he pointed to how a number of lawmakers have criticised the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies in occupied Kashmir.

This week, 14 Democrats led by Representative Pramila Jayapal urged Modi to restore internet and cellular service for Kashmiris, saying in a letter that US residents had been unable to reach relatives.

President Donald Trump has literally rallied behind Modi, joining him at a mass gathering last month in Houston, but the State Department has asked India to bring back communications and release detained political leaders.

Mr Khan said he was also grateful to USA and international media, which have faced restrictions in India-held Kashmir.

“The media have after decades spoken up for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and not the Indian establishment, so that’s a major change,” he said.

President Masood Khan said that youths in Azad Kashmir were “seething with anger” and wanted to “fight for the rights of their brothers and sisters”. “While we respect their sentiments and share their sentiments, we do not want any unregulated activity across the Line of Control,” he said.

Mr Khan accused India of following an Israeli model, encouraging Hindus to settle in held Kashmir and “reduce the Kashmiri or Muslim majority in the state”. But he said he recognised the rights of Kashmir’s historic Hindu community, known as Pandits.

“They should be brought back, they should be reintegrated into the mainstream and they should be given all sorts of guarantees for their protection, physical protection and protection of their rights,” President Khan said.

A former ambassador of Pakistan to Beijing, Mr Khan hailed the role of China which arranged a rare Security Council meeting on Kashmir in August.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also mentioned Kashmir in his address to the United Nations, calling for neither side to “unilaterally change the status quo”.