Pakistani politicians condemn Houthi targeting of Saudi civilians

This composite image shows the damage on a building caused by falling debris from a Houthi drone that was shot down by Saudi Air Defense Forces over the city of Abha on Friday. (SPA photo)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Pakistani politicians condemn Houthi targeting of Saudi civilians

  • Arab Coalition air defenses shot down a drone fired by Houthis from Yemen toward the city of Abha
  • Five people injured by wreckage from the aircraft, which ‘showed characteristics of Iranian manufacturing’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s major political parties on Saturday condemned a Houthi attempt to target civilians in the southwest Saudi city of Abha, a day after the Royal Air Defense Force shot down a Houthi drone 230 km north of the Yemen border.

Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the ruling party’s central information secretary, told Arab News: “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf strongly condemns this incident, as it is against international law and the UN charter to target civilians in any conflict.”

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict.

“This is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through negotiations,” he said.

The civil war in Yemen has pitted the Houthis against the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi since 2014, and the Saudi-led coalition intervened on the government’s side the following year, accusing Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms, including drones and missiles.

Since the beginning of the four-year conflict, the Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia with most intercepted by the Saudi military. In recent weeks, tensions between warring parties rose after the stalling of a UN-led peace deal.

The attempted attack has been met with unified condemnation across all party lines in Pakistan.

Raja Mohammed Zafarul Haq, of the PML-N and leader of the opposition in the Senate, said that Houthi rebels were trying to undermine the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia “with the complicity of some other countries.”

Naveed Chaudhry, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, said Houthi rebels should understand the human cost of the conflict and abide by recent UN agreements.

“It is better if the conflict is resolved at the OIC level to the satisfaction of all relevant stakeholders,” he said. “It is a historic fact that Pakistan has always stood by the Kingdom and will continue to do so to protect the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia.”

Pakistan’s foreign office has in the past condemned the Houthis for their missile and rocket attacks on Saudi territory, reiterating full support and solidarity to protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia and its two holy cities.

After Friday’s attack, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson, told Arab News, “We have always condemned such incidents.”


Supporters say Manning in ‘solitary confinement’: WikiLeaks probe

In this file photo taken on May 24, 2018, former US soldier Chelsea Manning speaks during the C2 conference in Montreal, Canada. (AFP)
Updated 16 min 3 sec ago
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Supporters say Manning in ‘solitary confinement’: WikiLeaks probe

  • The Chelsea Resists group said confinement was having a toll on her mental health, evoking her experience when in 2013, as then-Army Private Bradley Manning, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison

WASHINGTON: Chelsea Manning, the anti-secrecy campaigner who was jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, has been held in solitary confinement for over two weeks, supporters said Saturday.
Since being sent to a detention center in Alexandria, Virginia earlier this month, “Chelsea has been placed in administrative segregation... a term designed to sound less cruel than ‘solitary confinement,’” the Chelsea Resists group said.
“However, Chelsea has been kept in her cell for 22 hours a day.
“Chelsea can’t be out of her cell while any other prisoners are out, so she cannot talk to other people, or visit the law library, and has no access to books or reading material. She has not been outside for 16 days,” they added.
“Keeping her under these conditions for over 15 days amounts to torture, possibly in an attempt to coerce her into compliance with the Grand Jury.”
Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of leaking more than 700,000 classified US documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks, was ruled in contempt of court on March 8 after rejecting a court demand that she testify in the WikiLeaks probe.
The transgender woman, 31, cited “ethical” objections to the grand jury system.
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech,” she said at the time.
The Chelsea Resists group said confinement was having a toll on her mental health, evoking her experience when in 2013, as then-Army Private Bradley Manning, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
At that time she spent time in solitary and attempted suicide twice, before her sentence was commuted in 2017 by president Barack Obama.
She has argued that since the grand jury investigation is officially secret, it is not clear what they want to learn from her about WikiLeaks’ activities in 2010 that she hasn’t recounted in her earlier trial.
In a previously secret court filing unsealed this week, Manning’s lawyers said she “reasonably believes that the current administration is unhappy with her release [in 2016], and seeks to punish her further by using any means at their disposal to incarcerate her.”