Daesh tried to use woman suicide bomber in foiled Pakistan Easter plot: Army

Noreen Leghari, a would-be Daesh female suicide bomber, is seen in a video confession shown during a news conference by Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, director general of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Monday. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)
Updated 19 April 2017

Daesh tried to use woman suicide bomber in foiled Pakistan Easter plot: Army

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A female would-be suicide bomber who had pledged allegiance to the Daesh group had planned to carry out an attack on a church in Lahore on Easter Sunday, a Pakistan military spokesman said Monday.
Noreen Leghari, a second year medical student, is in army custody after being captured during a raid overnight Friday that left four soldiers wounded and her male accomplice dead, army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor told reporters.
A filmed confession was later shown to reporters in which Leghari, dressed in a veil, said: “We were provided equipment on April 1, including two suicide vests, four hand grenades and bullets.
“We were told to use these jackets to attack a church on Easter and I was supposed to be used as a suicide bomber.”
Lahore suffered one of Pakistan’s deadliest attacks on Easter Sunday 2016 — a suicide bomb in a park that killed more than 70 people, including many children, and was claimed by the Jamaat ul Ahrar faction of the Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistan has seen a surge in militant attacks this year that have dented optimism after the country appeared to be making strong gains in its decade-and-a-half long war on militancy.
But Ghafoor said that since launching a new nationwide military operation in February, the army had killed some 108 militants while 558 had been captured or surrendered — including Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesman of the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.
“The former spokesman of Jamaat ul Ahrar and the Pakistani Taliban Ehsanullah Ehsan has surrendered himself to security forces. He’s not the only one. We will share further details in the coming days,” he said. He did not indicate when Ehsan had handed himself in or give any further details.


Indians demonstrate against ‘divisive’ citizenship bill

Updated 11 December 2019

Indians demonstrate against ‘divisive’ citizenship bill

  • The bill, which goes to the upper house on Wednesday, would ensure citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but exclude Muslims

NEW DELHI: Protests erupted across various parts of India on Tuesday, a day after the lower house of Parliament passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which makes religion the basis for granting Indian citizenship to minorities from neighboring countries. 

The bill, which goes to the upper house on Wednesday, would ensure citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but exclude Muslims.

“After the CAB, we are going to bring in the National Register of Citizens (NRC),” Home Minister Amit Shah said after the passage of the bill. 

The fear among a large section of Indians is that by bringing in the CAB and the NRC — a process to identify illegal immigrants — the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to target Muslim minorities. 

They insist that the new bill protects all other communities except Muslims, who constitute around 14 percent of India’s total population.

The opposition Congress Party said that the bill was a move to “destroy the foundation” of India.

“The CAB is an attack on the Indian constitution. Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation,” party leader Rahul Gandhi posted in a tweet.

Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul’s sister and a prominent opposition leader, called the bill “India’s tryst with bigotry.”

However, BJP spokesperson Sudesh Verma said: “The opposition is communalizing the bill. 

The CAB saves minorities who owe their origin to India from being prosecuted on grounds of religious status. The same is not the case with Muslims since they have not been prosecuted because of their religion.”

Eight northeastern states observed a day-long strike against the CAB. 

“Once the bill is implemented, the native tribal people will become permanent minorities in their own state,” Animesh Debbarma, a tribal leader who organized the strike in the state of Tripura said.

“The bill is against our fundamental rights and it is an attack on our constitution and secularism,” he told Arab News.

In Assam, some places saw violence with a vehicle belonging to the BJP state president vandalized.

In New Delhi, different civil society groups and individuals gathered close to the Indian Parliament and expressed their outrage at the “open and blatant attack” on what they called the “idea” of India.

“The CAB is not only against Muslim minorities but against all the minorities — be it Tamils or Nepali Gurkhas — and is a blatant attempt to polarize the society in the name of religion and turn India into a majoritarian Hindu state,” Nadeem Khan, head of United Against Hate, a campaign to connect people from different faiths, said.

Rallies and protests were also organized in Pune, Ahmadabad, Allahabad, Patna and Lucknow.

On Tuesday, more than 600 academics, activists, lawyers and writers called the bill “divisive, discriminatory, unconstitutional” in an open letter, and urged the government to withdraw the proposed law.

They said that the CAB, along with the NRC, “will bring untold suffering to people across the country. It will damage fundamentally and irreparably, the nature of the Indian republic.”

Delhi-based activist and a prominent human rights campaigner, Harsh Mander, said: “I feel the CAB is the most dangerous bill that has ever been brought by the Indian Parliament. We need a mass civil disobedience movement to oppose this legislation.”

Meanwhile, the international community is also watching the domestic debate on the CAB. 

Describing the initiative as a “dangerous turn in the wrong direction,”  a federal US commission on international religious freedom has sought US sanctions against Shah and other Indian leaders if the bill with the “religious criterion” is passed.

EU ambassador to India, Ugo Astuto, in a press conference in New Delhi on Monday said that he hopes: “The spirit of equality enshrined in the Indian constitution will be upheld by the Parliament.”