The News – Moot reaffirms faith in liberal Pakistan, opposes mainstreaming of militants

Murtaza Ali Shah

London-UK, 15 October 2017. The Pakistani government has been urged to take responsibility of all its citizens and protect their fundamental rights enshrined and guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan.

The call was made at the second annual “Pakistan: The Way Forward” conference organized here under the banner of South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH), co-hosted by US-based columnist Dr Mohammad Taqi and former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani.

Several prominent liberal and progressive intellectuals, human rights and social media activists and public figures spoke during the conference on their vision of a liberal and democratic Pakistan.

The speakers debated at length the policies of Pakistani government in many areas including domestic and international and expressed concerns at the current affairs of things, calling on the authorities to change course.

The speakers said that the space for free thinking and honest debate has shrunk and advocates of liberal, secular, progressive ideas and pluralism have come under attack from extremist groups.

Many speakers pointed out that the human rights situation has gone worse in the whole South Asian region including India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan where right-wing forces have taken control of decision making at the cost of vulnerable sections of the society.

They said that that while Pakistan has seen tremendous improvement in many areas over the last many years, it was not right that many groups and communities remained under threat and human rights denied to them.

The speakers expressed concern at attempts to mainstream extremist and banned organisations and made reference to the electoral gains two candidates made in NA120 by-election in Lahore.

Rashed Rehman, senior editor and human rights advocate, told this scribe that these groups posed direct and clear threat to the democratic system of Pakistan.

“It’s a dangerous development that these groups are being brought into politics. These groups don’t believe in democracy at all.”

It was discussed that to establish a true democracy in Pakistan, the federating units must be given maximum powers and the National Finance Commission Award should be giving more resources to provinces for local development as well as devolution of power.

The conference agreed that Pakistan needs a new national narrative, based on progressive ideas and detaches from religious extremism and militancy. Many participants complained that media has been used to issue fatwas on the dissenting voices.

Husain Haqqani told this scribe that those critical of current government policies are as patriotic as anyone else and they only wanted a pluralistic and progressive Pakistan.

He said that while the views of the liberal thinkers and intellectuals are open for criticism but it was not right that the dissenting voices were termed anti-Pakistan and agents of foreign forces.

He said growing intolerance posed threat to Pakistan and played out against Pakistan’s interests at the global level.

A joint declaration called on Pakistan government to listen to fresh ideas espoused by broad-minded Pakistanis and end relying on ideas peddled by the right-wing elements.

The declaration said that a “steady diet of conspiracy theories” had harmed Pakistan and it was time to revisit such policies which encouraged reactionary forces.

It said that a only a pluralist Pakistan at peace with itself would have a positive global and local image and for this purpose the decision makers should engage with those who believe in a liberal, secular and progressive vision of Pakistan.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/237158-Moot-reaffirms-faith-in-liberal-Pakistan-opposes-mainstreaming-of-militants

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BBC News – Vijay Mallya: India tycoon faces new money-laundering charges

London, 3 October 2017. Indian drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is charged with committing fraud in India, has been re-arrested in London.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday afternoon, after India issued new charges of money-laundering against him.

Mr Mallya denies any wrongdoing. The allegations are linked to the collapse of his airline, Kingfisher.

The 61-year-old left India in March 2016 more than Rs 1 billion (£755m) in debt, after defaulting on bank loan payments.

He was released on police bail after the hearing.

Mr Mallya’s monetary affairs are being investigated by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, and the Enforcement Directorate – which handles financial crimes.

He was originally arrested and bailed in April after India asked for his extradition in February.

The mogul has rejected claims that he fled his home country over circling creditors, saying outside court: “I have not eluded any court. If it is my lawful duty to be here, I’m happy to be here”.

Mr Mallya is a flamboyant figure previously dubbed “India’s Richard Branson” and the “King of Good Times” for his lavish lifestyle.

He built his fortune from Kingfisher beer, before branching out into Indian cricket and Formula 1 racing.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-41480692

Tolo News – Sikh gang in court over smuggling Afghan migrants into UK

A court heard on Monday that the gang smuggled in almost 70 illegal Afghan immigrants by using real passports belonging to other people.

London, 11 July 2017. A London-based Sikh gang helped nearly 70 illegal Afghan immigrants wearing turbans sneak into the UK using passports that were stolen or borrowed from family members.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the scam netted the gang about $ 800,000 USD.

A court heard on Monday that three Sikh men helped nearly 70 Afghans to sneak into the UK using the real passports of British Sikhs.

According to the Daily Mail, border officials were unable to distinguish between the illegal immigrants who masqueraded as the genuine passport holders because they were wearing turbans, which Sikh men are allowed to have on in their ID documents.

The accused, cousins Daljit Kapoor, 41 and Harmit Kapoor, 42, and Davinder Chawla, 43, a member of the same extended family had all previously pleaded guilty to running the scam which charged each family over $12,000 USD.

The hearing continues.

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/sikh-gang-court-over-smuggling-afghan-migrants-uk

Sikh Federation – Tens of thousands of Sikhs from across the UK will gather today in Trafalgar Square

Tens of thousands of Sikhs from across the UK will gather in Trafalgar Square in a show of defiance to terrorists to remember the tens of thousands of Sikhs who lost their lives in 1984 and innocents killed and injured in the last few weeks in Manchester and London.

London 4 June 2017. Over 25,000 Sikhs were due to gather in central London on Sunday 4 June to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the June 1984 attack on the Sri Harmandir Sahib Complex, often referred to as the Golden Temple Complex.

Sikhs were to gather in Hyde Park between 11am and 1pm followed by a remembrance march through central London before holding a massive freedom rally in Trafalgar Square between 2-5pm.

Having discussed arrangements for the Remembrance and Freedom event with the Metropolitan Police last night and this morning we have come to an agreed decision that the event will continue to show defiance to the state terrorism of 1984 and the current terrorist threat across the globe.

In recognition of the policing and security situation in London following the terror attacks last night we have however decided that the event will be a static event in Trafalgar Square form 12 noon to 5pm as a remembrance march in the circumstances is not appropriate.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“The massive gathering today in Trafalgar Square sends a strong and powerful message of defiance to all terrorists. No one will stop us remembering the tens of thousands of Sikhs who lost their lives in 1984”.

“We are grateful for the police support and cooperation. Trafalgar Square today will become a focal point for all freedom loving people. It is also be an opportunity to remember and to stand shoulder to shoulder with the innocents killed and injured in the last few weeks in Manchester and London”.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

The Indian Express – London: Police arrest two more over British parliament attack

Police had said the man behind the attack was British-born Muslim convert Khalid Masood, who used several aliases, and that they were trying to establish if others had directed him.

London, 24 March 2017. British police said they had made two further significant arrests in the investigation into the attack on London’s parliament and gave the birth name of the man behind the assault as Adrian Russell Ajao.

Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, said police had nine people in custody after the attack on Wednesday which killed five people including the assailant.

Police had said the man behind the attack was British-born Muslim convert Khalid Masood, who used several aliases, and that they were trying to establish if others had directed him.

“Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, his operation and his associates,” Rowley said. “Whilst there is still no evidence of further threats, you’ll understand our determination is to find out if either he acted totally alone, inspired perhaps by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.

Rowley said police had made two further “significant” arrests overnight, one in the West Midlands and one in the north west of the country. “We now have nine people remaining in custody, and one woman has been released on bail,” he said.

Rowley said the attacker, who ploughed down pedestrians when he sped across Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing an unarmed policeman, had injured at least 50 people in total. Two are still in a critical condition, and one person is considered to have life-threatening injuries.

London: Police arrest two more over British parliament attack

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Sikh24.com – London Met Police Commissioner celebrates Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurb with Sikh Community

Sikh24 Editors

London, UK, 16 November 2016. The Metropolitan Police for the first time in it’s history have celebrated Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurpurb. On Tuesday 2nd November 2016, the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association held the event at the Metropolitan Police Service Training School in Hendon, London.

The event was attended by the Commissioner of Police of London, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM, Lord Ranbir Singh Suri, Rob Marris MP, West Midlands Police Sikh Association, Akhand Kirtani Jatha UK, Sikh Council UK, Khalsa Foundation, Sikh Helpline, Sikh Women’s alliance, Sikh Union Coventry, and representatives of various UK Gurdwaras.

The event began with a warm welcome from Ravjeet Singh, executive member of Metropolitan Police Sikh Association, and thanking the dignitaries and audience for attending the historical event. Slough Khalsa Academy leading Simran, a recital of a Shabad, and a rap made by students about the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Inspector Sutinderjit Mahil, Chair of Met Police Sikh Association welcomed guests to the event. Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, congratulated the Metropolitan Police Sikh Association for its great work and wished all the Sikh community best wishes for the Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

The contributions of the Sikh community to the Police were highlighted, and an appeal was made for more Sikhs to come forward to join the Police. He stated that he hopes to see the Metropolitan Police with a Sikh Commissioner in the future.

Dignitaries from within the Police Force included Chief Superintendent Raj Singh Kohli, Chief Superintendent Parm Kaur Sandhu, and Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa.

The historic challenges faced by black and ethnic minority background police recruits and officers was discussed and how lots of progress has been made in trying to recruit officers from diverse backgrounds into the Police Service to reflect the Communities we serve.

Bibi Mandeep Kaur, the Sikh Chaplain to the British Armed Forces, presented a short presentation on ‘Learning leadership skills from Guru Nanak Dev Ji.’

Later, Bhai Manvir Singh, an international Sikh speaker and HM prison chaplain, presented a short presentation on interesting facts and finds about the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Gurmel Singh Kandola OBE, Chair of Sikh Council UK, provided an insight on the Sikh Council UK and their hopes to create better links with the Police to deal with community matters and issues.

The Sikh Council UK is the largest representative body of Sikhs in the UK, and is the only Sikh organisation to represent Sikh nationally that is democratically elected and held accountable by the Sikh community.

The event was filmed by Sikh Channel (Sky 929), and will be aired on television in the upcoming weeks.

London Met Police Commissioner Celebrates Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurb With Sikh Community