Former militants fly the flag for Indonesian independence  

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Flag bearers hoist Indonesian national Red-white Flag during a ceremony commemorating the country's 74th anniversary of independence at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP)
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An Indonesian man retrieves his prize after climbing up a greased pole during a greased-pole climbing competition held as part of Independence Day celebrations at Ancol Beach in Jakarta, Indonesia. Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP)
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Dancers perform during a ceremony to celebrate Indonesia's 74th Independence Day at the presidential palace in Jakarta on August 17, 2019. (AFP)
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Delegates attend a ceremony to celebrate Indonesia's 74th Independence Day at the presidential palace in Jakarta on August 17, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2019
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Former militants fly the flag for Indonesian independence  

  • Dozens of former militants held a flag-raising ceremony in Tenggulun village in East Java
  • An oath of loyalty to the republic was read aloud by Hamim Tohari, who was convicted over the Bali attacks

JAKARTA: Dozens of former terrorists took part in ceremonies to mark Indonesia’s 74th anniversary of independence as the country raised its red-and-white national flag and celebrated its vast diversity.
In the nation’s capital, President Joko Widodo presided over a flag-hoisting ceremony at the presidential palace with Vice President Jusuf Kalla, former presidents and vice presidents, Cabinet ministers and foreign ambassadors among the guests. Many wore traditional costumes representing Indonesia’s various ethnic groups.
The annual ceremony is marked by reading out the proclamation text at 10 a.m., the same time when Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno, read the original text to proclaim independence in Jakarta more than seven decades ago.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan presided over a similar ceremony with thousands of civil servants in attendance on an artificial islet off the northern coast of Jakarta.
The islet, which is the result of a disputed mega-reclamation project in Jakarta Bay, is now called Maju Beach.
“We are having the ceremony in this particular area because this is an area that did not exist when we declared our independence,” Anies said during the ceremony. “We want to convey a message to everyone that this is not private land, but a land that belongs to the Republic of Indonesia. This is our land and we want to make sure that the red-and-white flag is hoisted on this land.”
Dozens of former militants held a flag-raising ceremony in Tenggulun village in East Java, hosted by Yayasan Lingkar Perdamaian, the Peace Circle Foundation established by Ali Fauzi, the younger brother of Ali Ghufron and Amrozi, the two leading perpetrators executed for the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people.
Amrozi’s son, Zulia Mahendra, and Khairul Mustain, the son of another man convicted of the Bali bombing, also took part as flag raisers.
“The ceremony this year included the former militants’ wives, children and their extended families. There were about 225 who took part, standing in the formation in front of the flagpole,” Ali told Arab News.
Some former terrorists and their families refused to take part in the ceremony, which included saluting the flag and singing the national anthem, he said.
“But I understand their objection. We cannot force them because this is about ideology. It takes time and I am sure with the right approach they will eventually be willing to do that,” he said.
An oath of loyalty to the republic was read aloud by Hamim Tohari, who was also convicted over the Bali attacks.
“Some of the women who wear the face veil also attended the ceremony,” Ali said. “This is also to show them that the Indonesian government guarantees their freedom to wear what they want in accordance with their faith, and also to show to the public that women who wear face veils should not be singled out as terrorists.”


Pakistan’s anti-graft agency arrests opposition leader Khursheed Shah

Updated 18 September 2019

Pakistan’s anti-graft agency arrests opposition leader Khursheed Shah

  • Shah will be presented to court in Sukkur for remand on Thursday
  • Shah was taken away by nearly 20 personnel of NAB and police

KARACHI: Pakistan’s anti-graft agency said on Wednesday it had arrested opposition Pakistan People’s Party leader Khursheed Shah over questions around the source of his income.
“NAB’s Sukkur chapter has arrested Syed Khursheed Shah over ‘assets beyond means’,” the National Accountability Bureau said in a statement, refering to a class of case in which a defendant is accused of possessing assets higher than their known sources of income.
Shah will be presented to court in Sukkur for remand on Thursday, an official statement said.
The opposition stalwart was arrested in a joint operation by NAB’s Rawalpindi and Sukkur chapters, Pakistan’s DawnNewsTV reported. He will remain in custody on Wednesday evening.
Shah was taken away by nearly 20 personnel of NAB and police during a raid at his Islamabad home, the domestic staff at his house told DawnNewsTV.