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SOURCE: ANI

As in preceding years, Pakistan witnessed substantial human rights violations in 2020, from forced conversions of religious minorities and crimes against women to enforced disappearances and curbs on freedom of expression, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said in its annual report.

In the report titled, ‘State of Human Rights in 2020’, HRCP added that “as the experience of 2020 shows, these injustices, if left simmering, only intensify during severe crises such as a pandemic. While this makes mitigation efforts all the more difficult, it does not mean that it makes them impossible.”

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SOURCE: REUTERS

Egypt has signed a contract with France to buy 30 Rafale fighter jets, its defence ministry said in a statement early on Tuesday, in a deal that investigative website Disclose said on Monday was worth 3.75 billion euro ($4.5 billion). President Emmanuel Macron said in December he would not make the sale of weapons to Egypt conditional on human rights because he did not want to weaken Cairo’s ability to counter terrorism in the region, a comment that drew the ire of critics.

Egypt’s defense ministry said the deal would be financed through a loan to be re-paid over at least 10 years, but did not disclose the value of the deal or further details. Citing confidential documents, Disclose said an agreement had been concluded at the end of April and a deal could be sealed on Tuesday when an Egyptian delegation arrives in Paris.

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SOURCE: REUTERS

Disagreements over intellectual property rights mean Germany, France and Spain have yet to agree the next steps for a joint fighter jet project, the defence ministry in Berlin said on Saturday after a deadline to find a solution ran out. Last week, the defence ministers of Germany and France set an end-April deadline to broker a deal over the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Europe’s largest defence project.

“No agreement over the use of the intellectual property rights has been found yet,” a ministry spokeswoman said. “For Germany, unrestricted access to the results of the jointly financed research is of utmost importance.”

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SOURCE: PTI

The US will never waver in its commitment to prevent another terror attack on the country and to keep the American people safe, President Joe Biden has vowed, as he marked the 10th anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

The al Qaeda leader who evaded justice for 10 years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 met his end in a covert raid by US special operations forces on May 1, 2011 in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad. In a statement on Sunday, Biden, then Vice President, recalled that he joined President Barack Obama and members of the national security team, crowded into the Situation Room of the White House in 2011 to watch as the US military delivered long-awaited justice to bin Laden.

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SOURCE: TNN

Last week the veteran journalist Nusrat Javeed went through multiple drafts of his press diary for the emergency session of the National Assembly. Javeed has been in the media since 1975 and has been a witness to Pakistan’s political adventures . He later wrote in the Nawai Waqt that he was editing drafts as “My main concern was that the writing was becoming too bitter. Not in line with the current climate of ‘freedom of expression’. Rather than writing down the key thoughts in my mind, I was struggling to come up with words that would not cause me harm.”

Javeed is not wrong in being so vigilant. A short time later he received a call that a beloved colleague Absar Alam, who had criticised the country’s military intelligence, had got shot walking in his neighbourhood park. With no clear personal enmities it was evident that this was a warning that there was a limit to how candid he could be in one’s writing.

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SOURCE: TOLO NEWS

The Afghan Defense Ministry says that more than 100 militants were killed in fighting between government forces and the Taliban over the past two days. Another 52 Taliban fighters were wounded in the clashes, the ministry said on May 2, without giving details of any casualties suffered by government forces.

The ministry said Taliban and government forces clashed across several provinces, including in the former militant stronghold of Kandahar where the U.S. military carried out a “precision strike” on May 1 as it began a final troop pullout.

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SOURCE: ANI

After succumbing to the demands of the proscribed radical Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which was banned by the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan appears to want to impose Islamic blasphemy laws across the world. “I want the Muslim countries to devise a joint line of action over the blasphemy issue with a warning of trade boycott of countries where such incidents will happen,” Khan said in an address last week, reported The Spectator.

This comes after three days of violent protests last month, where hundreds of protesters and police personnel were injured and thousands of TLP activists and supporters were arrested and booked for attacking law enforcement personnel and blocking main roads and highways in protest against the arrest of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.

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SOURCE: THE DAILY STAR

West Pakistan newspapers on May 3 quoted government sources as denying that large numbers of refugees were fleeing East Pakistan to neighbouring India. Statements attributed to officials in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad said the majority of persons who had crossed from East Pakistan into India since March 25 were Indian military infiltrators who had been sent to cause trouble in Pakistan.

According to the Pakistan government, these and local “miscreant” followers were crushed by the Pakistani army and survivors were returning to West Bengal Province in India. The Pakistani statement followed reports from India that roughly one million East Pakistani refugees had arrived in India, posing a severe economic problem for the New Delhi government.

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SOURCE: ANI

Despite the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) achieving automation of its weapon systems, the training of troops has reportedly not kept pace with the advances in weapons, prompting the Beijing’s military’s mouthpiece to lash out at commanders for not adopting a modern mindset to technology. Citing several articles published last week, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported the shortcomings in the ground force’s training system highlighted by the PLA, saying many manoeuvres looked very tough, but were “actually distinctly outdated and inefficient”.

“All rivals value and rely on technology [in the modern battlefield]. It will be difficult to hit the bull’s eye if we cannot have breakthroughs in training, and do not pay attention to innovative combat,” wrote Zhang Xicheng, a researcher from the PLA Military Academy.

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SOURCE: SCMP

The complete withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan later this year does not mean China will be able to establish its influence in the region or fill the security vacuum left by Washington, analysts have said. Instead, the withdrawal and the uncertain security situation it poses, including the likelihood of a civil war, is likely to challenge China’s economic interests in the country and may even threaten security within China’s own borders, in the northwestern Xinjiang region where Beijing is trying to keep terrorism and extremism at bay.

In April, US President Joe Biden said the United States would withdraw its remaining troops from Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.

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SOURCE: QUWA

With a new Chief of Air Staff (CAS) – Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu – at the helm of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), the service arm is looking ahead to its modernization pipeline for the 2020s.

JF-17 Block-III

Having delivered 26 dual-seat JF-17B aircraft to the PAF, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex’s (PAC) Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF) is focusing on the JF-17 Block-III. The Block-III is the most significant update to the platform to-date, and for the PAF, it will deliver a range of new technologies to its fleet.

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SOURCE: AP

After 20 years, America is ending its “forever war” in Afghanistan. Announcing a firm withdrawal deadline, President Joe Biden cut through the long debate, even within the U.S. military, over whether the time was right. Starting Saturday, the last remaining 2,500 to 3,5000 American troops will begin leaving, to be fully out by Sept. 11 at the latest.

Another debate will likely go on far longer: Was it worth it? Since 2001, tens of thousands of Afghans and 2,442 American soldiers have been killed, millions of Afghans driven from their homes, and billions of dollars spent on war and reconstruction. As the departure begins, The Associated Press takes a look at the mission and what it accomplished.

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SOURCE: SPUNTIK

While Russian naval strategy has long emphasized long-range missiles as the key to balancing against US aircraft carriers, the 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile packs an especially nasty surprise to catch enemy ship defenses off-guard: a supersonic terminal phase that triples its speed. During a recent test of its new vertical launch tubes, Russia’s Project 1155 destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov launched several Kalibr cruise missiles, one of which spiraled out of control just seconds after launch.

Little is known about the test, but it seems to have been part of a recent round of firings in the Sea of Japan in early April. The tests, otherwise successful, were the first time Marshal Shaposhnikov had fired missiles from the Kalibr family since finishing its refit in which vertical launch tubes were installed.

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SOURCE: ANI

 Several members of the Pakistani police force have said that there is a growing sense of ‘betrayal’ among their colleagues after the government negotiated and agreo ted the demands of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party despite officers being “killed, tortured and humiliated” by the group’s supporters during protests earlier this month.

During the three days of countrywide protests, hundreds of protesters and police personnel were injured and thousands of TLP activists and supporters were arrested and booked for attacking law enforcement personnel and blocking main roads and highways in protest against the arrest of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.

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SOURCE: PTI

In a rare rebuke of Pakistan”s powerful Army, the Lahore High Court has called it the country’s “biggest land grabber” and said its uniform is for the service to the nation and “not to rule as a king”. Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan, during the hearing of a land grabbing case on Wednesday, said that he does not want to say anything wrong about the Army, but the way it occupies the properties of people is nothing but land grabbing.

“The Army seems to have become the biggest land grabber in the country,” he said. “The uniform of the Army is for service and not to rule as a king,” he said while hearing petitions of three citizens seeking an order against the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), which is under the Army, to not disturb their lawful possession of the land they had obtained on lease from the Evacuee Trust Property Board.

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