Islamic bank expands role with new Dhaka hub

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the new regional hub of IsDB in Dhaka, in the presence of Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, the president of IsDB Group. (AN Photo)
Updated 09 September 2018

Islamic bank expands role with new Dhaka hub

A new Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) regional hub opened in Dhaka on Sunday will support the bank’s expanding range of projects in Bangladesh.
The regional office will also oversee IsDB’s operations in 19 countries, including India, Singapore, Thailand and Australia.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the office alongside Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, president of the IsDB Group.
The hub will support projects in Bangladesh in agriculture, education, energy, industry and mining, transport, water, sanitation and urban services.
The IsDB operates in 57 countries, with Bangladesh the largest beneficiary — the group’s financing to the country has totaled more than $21.7 billion.
Speaking at the opening, Al-Hajjar said: “The IsDB has long had a close relationship with Bangladesh. Our Dhaka regional office will focus on partnering with local stakeholders to drive socioeconomic development in the country and provide a platform for Bangladeshi people to build a prosperous future.”
Describing Bangladesh as a “shining beacon” among member states, Al-Hajjar said that “women have played a vital role in the country’s socioeconomic development.
“Bangladesh ranked first among South Asian countries in the gender gap index in 2017 and has consistently done well over the years in this metric,” he said.
To implement the “President Five-Year Program” (P5P), IsDB has adopted new initiatives focusing on “delivery and adoption of a more dynamic, proactive and result-oriented approach.”
Al-Hajjar said: “Decentralization is one if the key elements of P5P with the aim of increasing bank’s footprints across member countries. These decentralized offices will work together with the host governments to develop and implement important and high impact projects that have the highest socioeconomic impact in the country.”
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Prime Minister Hasina urged the international community to put pressure on Myanmar to repatriate more than 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled the persecution in Rakhine state.
“Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed agreements for the safe and permanent repatriation of the displaced Myanmar nationals. I urge the international community to continue to pressure Myanmar to implement the agreements,” she said.
“We’re giving shelter and food to the Rohingyas on humanitarian ground. Now we want them to go back to their own land.”
Praising IsDB’s role as a development partner, Hasina said: “The establishment of the new office in Dhaka is a joint step forward in strengthening the partnership between Bangladesh and IsDB.”
Bangladesh’s Finance Minister, A.M.A Muhith, and Economic Relations Division Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam also spoke at the ceremony.


Kashmir protesters defy restrictions, clash with security forces

Updated 23 August 2019

Kashmir protesters defy restrictions, clash with security forces

  • Paramilitary police tried to enter Soura, which has emerged as a center of the protests, as hundreds demonstrated against Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw autonomy
  • Posters appeared overnight in Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region’s main city, calling for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan

SRINAGAR, India: Security forces used tear gas against stone-throwing local residents in Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar on Friday, after a third straight week of protests in the restive Soura district despite the imposition of tight restrictions.
Paramilitary police tried to enter Soura, which has emerged as a center of the protests, as hundreds of locals staged a protest march against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5.
Posters appeared overnight this week in Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region’s main city, calling for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), to protest against India’s decision.
This was the first such call by separatists seeking Kashmir’s secession from India. India’s move was accompanied by travel and communication restrictions in Kashmir that are still largely in place, although some landlines were restored last week.
The UNMOGIP was set up in 1949 after the first war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, a Himalayan region both countries claim in full but rule in part. The group monitors cease-fire violations along the border between the countries.
In a narrow lane of Soura, blocked like many others with rocks and sheets of metal, residents hurled stones at the paramilitary police to stop them moving into an area around the local mosque, Jinab Sahib, which had earlier been packed for Friday prayers.
The police responded with several rounds of tear gas and chili grenades but were beaten back by dozens of stone-pelting men. Some men suffered pellet injuries.
The locals said the security forces had been repeatedly trying to move into Soura, often using tear gas and pellets.
“We are neither safe at home, nor outside,” said Rouf, who declined to give his full name. He had rubbed salt into his face to counteract the effects of tear gas.
The afternoon had begun peacefully, with men and women streaming into Jinab Sahib for afternoon prayers. A cleric then raised a call for “Azadi” – Urdu for freedom – several times, and declared Kashmir’s allegiance to neighboring Pakistan.
“Long live Pakistan,” the cleric said, as worshippers roared back in approval.
US President Donald Trump plans to discuss Kashmir when he meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in France this weekend, a senior US administration official said on Thursday.
Trump, who has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, will press Modi on how he plans to calm regional tensions after the withdrawal of Kashmir’s autonomy, and stress the need for dialogue, the official said.
Some Indian media reports on Friday said “terrorists” were trying to enter India from Afghanistan, citing unnamed government officials.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan responded on Twitter on Friday that such claims were being made to “divert attention” away from what he called human rights violations in Kashmir.
“The Indian leadership will in all probability attempt a false flag operation to divert attention,” Khan said.
Khan’s comments came a day after United Nations experts called on the Indian government to “end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests” in Kashmir, saying it would increase regional tensions.
“The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offense,” they said in a statement.
At least 152 people have been hurt by teargas and pellets since security forces launched their crackdown, data from the Himalayan region’s two main hospitals shows.
Large swathes of Srinagar remain deserted with shops shut except for some provision stores with shutters half-down. Police vans patrolled some areas announcing a curfew and asking people to stay indoors.
On the Dal Lake, long rows of houseboats, normally packed with tourists at this time of year, floated closed and empty, as police patrolled its mirror-calm waters in boats.