Bangladesh looks to boost tourism from OIC states 

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proposed to ease visa procedures with the aim of promoting intra-OIC tourist flows. (Reuters)
Updated 13 July 2019
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Bangladesh looks to boost tourism from OIC states 

  • Experts suggest building more infrastructure to attract international visitors

DHAKA: To attract tourists from these countries, Dhaka has proposed to build a special tourist zone at the world’s longest sea beach in Cox’s Bazar.  
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the proposal during the inaugural session of a two-day festival called “Dhaka the OIC City of Tourism 2019” on Thursday.
The program was attended by tourism ministers from Sierra Leone and Gambia and all other OIC states’ ambassadors in Dhaka. 
Dhaka was chosen as the “city of tourism” for 2019 during the 10th Islamic conference of tourism ministers, held in Dhaka between Feb. 5-7, 2018. 
Bangladesh has many historic Islamic sites, such as ancient mosques, holy shrines of different preachers of Islam, and great architectural structures of the Mughals.
The country boasts special natural spots including the beach at Cox’s Bazar, the world’s only mangrove forest Sundarbans, and the serene beauty of Chottogram Hill Tracts. 
While addressing the OIC delegates, Hasina talked about the potential of increasing tourism in the country.
“The value of the Islamic tourism market will increase to $243 billion by 2021, with an annual 8.3 percent growth. We’ll have to take great efforts and prepare a roadmap aimed at promoting Islamic tourism as a global business brand, which will attract tourists further,” Hasina said. 
“There’s an urgent need to galvanize our tourism sector. Islamic tourism is the best possible area where we have the opportunity to work together,” she said. 
To boost tourism from OIC citizens, Hasina proposed to “promote intra-OIC tourist flows through easing visas,” and “for investment promotion, branding and standardization and capacity building.”

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Bangladesh boasts special natural spots including the beach at Cox’s Bazar, the world’s only mangrove forest Sundarbans, and the serene beauty of Chottogram Hill Tracts.

She said that her country is willing to “designate and develop a particular place on the Cox’s Bazar sea beach for their tourists.”
“Since we want to develop our tourism sector internationally, we can also designate and develop a separate place for the tourists from the western world,” she added. 
“Bangladesh has a strong tradition of halal foods. Moreover, we have so many Islamic heritage sites across the country which will attract the Muslim tourists,” said Dr. Bhubon Chandra Biswas, CEO of Bangladesh’s Tourism Board.
“We will work on preparing a special tourist zone for OIC nationals on Cox’s Bazar. Bangladesh will organize a series of tourism fairs in the OIC states,” Biswas added. 
Shamser Mobin Chowdhury, former ambassador and foreign secretary of Bangladesh, suggested that the country needs to build more infrastructure to attract foreign tourists.  
“Around 80 percent of our tourists are domestic. We need to introduce e-visa and port-entry arrival systems for OIC nationals to promote intra-OIC tourism,” Chowdhury said. 
“The government should support the private sector like the Maldives and Sri Lanka did. The government should facilitate and coordinate the policies along with the private sector operators,” Chowdhury added. 


Afghans react angrily to Trump’s boast that the US could ‘wipe Afghanistan off the face of the Earth’

Updated 24 July 2019
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Afghans react angrily to Trump’s boast that the US could ‘wipe Afghanistan off the face of the Earth’

  • Trump made his remarks at the White House ahead of a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
  • “I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump tells Pakistani PM

KABUL: The Afghan government demanded clarification from Washington on Tuesday after President Donald Trump said that the country “would be wiped off the face of the Earth” if he decided to win the conflict there.

Trump made his remarks at the White House ahead of a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday in which he sought to mend ties with Islamabad and seek its help to end the war in Afghanistan, the longest and most unpopular conflict in US history.

“I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump said, referring to what he claimed were prepared military plans in Afghanistan.

“If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth, it would be gone, it would be over in literally 10 days.”

The US leader’s comments could be a blow for President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which signed a security pact with Washington in late 2014 allowing US-led troops to stay in Afghanistan and, in 2017, hailed the US after it dropped the world’s largest non-nuclear bomb in the east of the country.

Trump’s remarks come amid rising violence in Afghanistan, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of Taliban, government troops and civilians in recent months. Many Afghans are asking why the world’s leading superpower has failed to defeat the insurgents 18 years after the ouster of the Taliban regime.

"Trump’s comments highlight Washington’s failure to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan” 

Political analyst Wahidullah Ghazikhail

The Afghan government, which relies heavily on US troops and funding in the war against the Taliban, has sought official clarification over Trump’s comments.

“Our partnership and cooperation with the world, and in particular with the US, is based on mutual interest and respect,” a statement issued by the presidential palace said on Tuesday.  

“The Afghan nation has never allowed and will not permit any foreign power to choose its destiny,” it added.

Many Afghans, including former government officials, reacted angrily to Trump’s comments.

Rahmatullah Nabil, a presidential candidate who served as Afghanistan’s spy chief, said in a tweet that Trump’s comments should prompt Afghan leaders to set aside their differences.

“In reply to the insults of #Afg by @realDonalTrump, all Afg politicians, including Ashraf Ghani and Taliban leaders, should drop their selfishness and announce that we will make peace among ourselves & there is no need for mediation for US/Pak,” he said.

Modaser Islami, a leading Afghan religious scholar, said that Trump’s remarks showed “hostility toward Afghans” and questioned if Trump was “fighting the Taliban, as terrorists or as Afghans? His recent remarks show he is enemy of latter.”

Veteran journalist Bilal Sarwary described the comments as “offensive, stupid and arrogant,” while another senior journalist called the remarks an “insult to the entire Afghan nation.”

Political analyst Wahidullah Ghazikhail told Arab News that Trump’s comments “highlight Washington’s failure to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.” 

“Obviously, the US wants to strike a deal with the Taliban and Pakistan’s role is key in the peace process,” he said.