Author: Erdal Hingora

Pakistan last month formally requested to join BRICS — the grouping of five major emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Islamabad’s move comes at a time when the bloc is rapidly gaining global influence and trying to position itself as a leading voice of the Global South. Together, the five member states currently represent over 40% of the world’s population and almost a third of the global economy. At this year’s BRICS summit, the grouping decided to expand, with six new countries — Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran — joining it next year. While announcing Islamabad’s application to join the…

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UN Member states must use the UN’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Bangladesh to hold the authorities to account for the gross human rights violations and rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the country ahead of its general elections, said Amnesty International today. “Bangladesh’s fourth UPR is taking place at a time when human rights and critical institutions, opposition leaders, independent media houses and civil society are facing systematic attacks ahead of national elections. This assessment presents an important opportunity for UN Member States to scrutinize Bangladesh’s human rights records and to hold the authorities accountable for violations of…

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Sri Lanka’s president boosted government workers’ pay and increased state pensions, seeking to shore up support before next year’s election as the economy emerges from its worst crisis in seven decades. Tax revenue is expected to increase more than 47% next year, President Ranil Wickremesinghe outlined in his budget speech in Colombo on Monday, after the government recently hiked the value-added tax rate and it clamps down on tax evasion. Borrowing will surge in order to recapitalize banks and pay off foreign debt, he said. Wickremesinghe is facing a tricky balancing act: trying to comply with spending and revenue targets…

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A five-member Supreme Court (SC) bench on Monday reserved the verdict on a set of petitions challenging the military trials of civilians following violent protests in the country after PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9. Justice Ijazul Ahsan was heading the bench, which also included Justices Munib Akhtar, Yayha Afridi, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Ayesha A. Malik. Earlier, a six-judge bench had heard the matter but after the retirement of former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, the bench was reduced to five judges. On Sunday, at least nine accused facing trials under the…

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Copenhagen (26/10 – 76.9) UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Nazila Ghanea called on Tajikistan to adapt and review its laws, policies, and practices regarding religion or belief following her 10-day visit. She stated that the implementation of religious freedom and belief in the country is a cause for concern. During a press conference at the UN office in Tajikistan, she also urged Tajikistan’s authorities to “leave the past behind and protect freedom of religion and belief.” Ghanea stated, “This will contribute to development, peace, and understanding in the country. The shadow of civil war looms over…

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WASHINGTON: A move in the US Congress to prohibit assistance to Pakistan has been defeated by a clear majority as American lawmakers underlined the importance of their bilateral ties with Islamabad. Last month, Tennessee Republican Andy Ogles proposed an amendment to the US Appropriations bill, seeking to bar US defence assistance to Pakistan to discourage the ongoing crackdown on political dissent. The move was put to vote recently earlier this week and was defeated by a clear majority. A total of 298 lawmakers voted against the proposed amendment while 132 voted in its favour. During the debate, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and…

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Afghanistan’s interim Taliban government has rejected a UN Security Council report claiming that several terrorist groups, including Daesh/ISIS, are present in the country and have access to weapons left by US-led foreign forces. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan once again rejects these baseless accusations and, while calling for transparent involvement in such issues, states that in the last two years, Afghan security forces have conducted hundreds of continuous operations against illegal weapons and ISIS,” government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on X, formerly Twitter, late on Saturday. “As a result, weapons and ammunition were captured and ISIS’ operational capabilities were destroyed,”…

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Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s parliament has been dissolved to prepare for a national election without former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been jailed and barred from politics for five years. President Arif Alvi ordered the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, dissolved late on Wednesday, on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice. The dissolution marks the end of a chaotic tenure which began five years ago with Khan at the helm. Sharif, who assumed power in April 2022 after Khan lost a no-confidence vote in parliament, on Tuesday said he had asked President Alvi to dissolve the assembly three days before the schedule. “Tomorrow…

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Pakistan’s foreign ministry has summoned the United States embassy’s deputy chief of mission to express concern over a statement last week by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that called on Pakistan to ensure its territory was not used as a base for attacks by armed groups. The US-India statement was released after a meeting between Biden and Modi at the White House on Friday and received criticism from Pakistan, which called it contrary to diplomatic norms. “It was stressed that the United States should refrain from issuing statements that may be construed as an encouragement of India’s…

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Not many teams come to Sri Lanka and manage a win in spin fortress Galle. Pakistan did just that and reversed the trend in the southern coastal town with a four-wicket win in the first test — with their fast bowlers contributing heavily — leaving the hosts fighting to level the two-test series. The tourists surprised the Sri Lankans with their attacking batting. Even when 101-5 in the first innings, the batters kept going at five runs an over. Speaking to reporters ahead of the second test starting Monday, Pakistan head coach Grant Bradburn said that Pakistan’s long-term target is…

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