Pakistan flags to fly at half-mast in memory of nine NZ victims

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Pakistani peoples embrace with Rizwan Rashid (C), elder brother of Pakistani national Naeem Rashid, who was killed in the attacks to the Christchurch mosques in New Zealand, at Naeem house in Abbottabad on March 17, 2019. (AFP)
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Relatives and family members of Naeem Rashid who was killed along with his son Talha Naeem in the Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand, pray during a condolence gathering at the family's home in Abbottabad, Pakistan March 17, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Relatives arrive for condolence at the family home of Haroon Mahmood, a Pakistani citizen who was killed in Christchurch mosque shootings, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 17, 2019. (AP)
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People gather to pay respects after Friday's shooting, outside the Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Pakistan flags to fly at half-mast in memory of nine NZ victims

  • Tales of heroism, suffering and incredible grace begin to emerge

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said flags would fly at half-mast on Monday, in solidarity with the families of victims of the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the shootings a terrorist attack. So far 50 people have died, nine of them Pakistanis, with a list of people missing released by the Red Cross including Afghan, Bangladeshi, Indian, Jordanian, Pakistani and Saudi nationals.
Another Pakistani remains in critical condition in hospital.
“The whole nation is in mourning, and the prime minister has decided that our national flag will fly at half-mast tomorrow,” Qureshi said at a news conference on Sunday, adding that the process of identifying citizens killed in the attack had finished, with bodies due to be released to their families on Monday.
“We are in touch with all the families. Six want their loved ones to be buried in Christchurch, while three bodies will be brought back to Pakistan.”
He said Wellington had agreed to keep Islamabad abreast of ongoing investigations into the attacks.
Qureshi paid special tribute to one of the dead, Naeem Rashid, who was seen in video footage launching himself at the gunman in an attempt to disarm him. He will be honored with a posthumous national award on Pakistan Day, March 23.
An emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of countries belonging to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been called in Istanbul on March 22 to discuss Islamophobia in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks.
“The idea (behind the meeting) is to devise a strategy against Islamophobia, while keeping the Christchurch tragedy in mind,” Qureshi said. He added that he had contacted the leader of the opposition, Shehbaz Sharif, and the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, to discuss the National Action Plan, Pakistan’s primary counter-terrorism strategy, on March 28.
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack on Twitter, saying: “I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 (where) 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror.”


Russia ready to discuss nuclear treaty with China, US

Updated 43 min 19 sec ago
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Russia ready to discuss nuclear treaty with China, US

  • An official said that Russia “would like to convince” the US to adopt a joint statement that would condemn any use of nuclear weapons
  • The comments come just months after the US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a cornerstone of the post-Cold War security

MOSCOW: A top Russian diplomat says Russia is willing to negotiate a new nuclear weapons treaty with the United States and China.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Friday Moscow is closely following reports in the United States that the US would like to reach a nuclear weapons deal with both Russia and China, and is “willing” to negotiate. The story was reported by CNN earlier Friday.
Ryabkov also said that Russia “would like to convince” the US to adopt a joint statement that would condemn any use of nuclear weapons.
Ryabkov’s comments come just months after the US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a cornerstone of the post-Cold War security, and Russia followed suit. Each claims breaches by the other.