Author - Alina Hashmi

“War crimes were committed in Ukraine”: U.N

Geneva: On September 23, the head of a U.N.-mandated investigation body laid that war crimes including rape, torture, and confinement of children had been committed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. "Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine," Erik Mose, who heads the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

EU committee urges Pakistan to tackle human rights challenges

On Friday, members of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) urged Pakistan to undertake timely reforms and legislative changes on human rights issues. “They called for determined and structured action, including the swift adoption of laws against torture and enforced disappearances, steps to substantially reduce the number of crimes carrying the death penalty and to apply the new procedures for mercy petitions,” a press release issued by the EU mission in Islamabad said.

Four killed in Kabul blast

On Friday, a blast outside a mosque attended by Taliban members in the Afghan capital killed four people minutes after Friday prayers had ended, according to a hospital. The explosion occurred near the entrance of Wazir Akbar Khan mosque, not far from the fortified former Green Zone that housed several embassies before the Taliban seized power in August last year. Italian non-governmental organization Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said it had received “14 casualties” from the explosion.

“Pakistan should suspend debt repayments”: UN paper

Pakistan should suspend international debt repayments and restructure loans with creditors after recent floods added to the country's financial crisis, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing a UN policy memo. The memorandum states: "the country's creditors should consider debt relief so that policymakers can prioritize financing its disaster response over loan repayment." The memo further proposed debt restructuring or swaps, where creditors would let go of repayments in exchange for Pakistan agreeing to invest in climate change-resilient infrastructure, FT said.

FM thanks G77 members for support in flood crisis

On Friday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari thanked G77 countries for their “generous support” in providing relief to Pakistan during the catastrophic floods. Moreover, he also called on industrialized nations of the world to compensate their developing counterparts for the loss from damage caused by climate change. He passed these remarks while chairing the G77 Ministerial Meeting of Foreign Affairs on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Canada appoints new Ambassador to China

Ottawa: On Sept 23, Canada appointed Jennifer May its first female ambassador to China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. "A dedicated public servant, Ms. May's many years of diverse experience on international missions, and her deep understanding of Asia, will serve to manage this important bilateral relationship and advance Canadian interests in China," Trudeau stated.

Ukraine will never forgive Russia ‘shameful’ conflict: Nobel Laureate

On Sept 23, journalist and Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov stated that Ukraine would never forgive Russia for a shameful conflict. He further added that the war had thrown back Russia's development by half a century to Soviet times predating Mikhail Gorbachev. "You may want to forgive everything, but you click in the search engine: Mariupol, Irpin, or Bucha. And you can't forgive a goddamn thing anymore," Muratov said. "Every step of this war, every crime and every shot, every torn scrotum will now remain forever," he added.

Muslim clerics warn Uzbeks against joining Russia-Ukraine war

Tashkent: On Sept 23, Uzbekistan's top religious authority urged Uzbeks not to get involved in the conflict in Ukraine. They said that doing so was against the Islamic faith after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to foreigners who join its army. The Muslim Board said members of some "terrorist organizations" were recruiting Muslims to fight in the Ukraine conflict under the pretext of "jihad" or holy war. In reality, it said, it was not permissible for a Muslim to participate in any military action except to defend their homeland.

UN chief warns Russia against annexation of Ukraine

United Nations: On September 22, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a Security Council that talk of a nuclear conflict was "totally unacceptable". Moreover, he effectively warned that so-called referenda in areas under Russian control would be annexation. "Any annexation of a state's territory by another state resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the U.N. Charter and international law," Guterres said.

Biden, Marcus discuss South China Sea tensions

Washington: On September 22, U.S. President Joe Biden and his Philippine counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos, held their first face-to-face talks with tensions in the South China Sea high on their agenda. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Marcos, son of the late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, took power in June. “The role of the United States in maintaining the peace in our region is something that is much appreciated by all the countries in the region and the Philippines especially," Marcos said.

Kazakhstan to host Russian-led bloc’s military drills

Almaty: On Sept 22, the Kazakh defense ministry said that a Russian-led security bloc would hold military drills in Kazakhstan from Sept. 26 to Oct. 8. He also told the public not to be surprised by the arrival of foreign troops and military vehicles. Kazakhstan is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) which also includes Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan as well as Russia.

Russian draft triggers exodus by men as air fares jump

Moscow: On September 22, some Russian men headed swiftly to the borders after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization. The traffic at frontier crossings with Finland and Georgia surged and prices for air tickets from Moscow rocketed. Prices for air tickets out of Moscow soared above $5,000 for one-way tickets to the nearest foreign locations, with most air tickets sold out completely in coming days.

Govt rejects criticism on transgender bill

Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar on Thursday rejected criticism over the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act. He stated that “some friends” had created a misconception that the law had opened doors for homosexuality and was repugnant to Islamic injunctions. “Our team is busy preparing a draft which will be tabled in the assembly soon. No law that is against the spirit of Quran and Sunnah will be allowed to be passed as the parliament has no right to pass any bill that runs counter to the Quran and Sunnah,” he added.

FO rejects reports of Pakistani delegation visiting Israel

On Thursday, the Foreign Office “categorically rejected” reports of a Pakistani delegation visiting Israel. Moreover, it clarified that there was no change in the country’s policy on the subject. According to FO spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed, the “reported visit in question was organized by a foreign NGO (non-government organization) which is not based in Pakistan”. The statement comes a day after several foreign media outlets reported that a “Pakistani delegation”, including a former government minister, met Israeli Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem.

Shaukat Tarin fails to give clear answers in Jhagra call probe

On Thursday, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin appeared before the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) cybercrime wing. He was to join the probe pertaining to the leaked audio of his alleged call to Khyber Pakhtunkwa Finance Minister Taimoor Saleem Jhagra, sources privy to the matter laid bare. As per the sources, Deputy Director Mohammad Ayaz and Inquiry Officer Muneeb Ahmed interrogated Tarin, but he couldn't give clear answers to the questions.

U.S. kills Shabaab militants in Somalia air strike

Mogadishu: On September 21, the U.S. military said it had killed 27 fighters from the al Shabaab militant group in an air strike in Somalia's central Hiran region. The United States has been carrying out air strikes in Somalia against al Shabaab, an al Qaeda franchise, for years. Sunday's strike was the sixth recorded in 2022, according to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) website.

Two killed in helicopter crash fighting fire in Turkey

Ankara: On September 21, a firefighting helicopter crashed, killing two people on board and injuring five others. The unfortunate incident happened during a wildfire that burned the Turkish port town of Marmaris. Turkey's interior ministry said in a statement that the firefighting helicopter crashed near Cardak province, some 200 km (125 miles) away from the wildfire. The helicopter was carrying two Turkish and five Russian personnel, it said.

Malaria spreading fast in flood-hit areas: Officials

Karachi: On September 21, officials stated that Malaria cases were rampant in Pakistan's flood-ravaged regions, with the death toll from diseases reaching 324. They also noted that the situation might get out of control if required aid did not arrive soon. The displaced families are exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards, such as snake and dog bites, they added.

“Russia will not give in to blackmail and intimidation”: Putin

Moscow: On Sept 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the country would not lose its sovereignty and won't give in to "blackmail and intimidation". He made these comments hours after he declared partial mobilization to bolster Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine. He also lauded the Russian military, which he said was fighting to save people in Ukraine's region of Donbas.

Putin orders mobilization for Ukraine

Kyiv: On September 21, President Vladimir Putin ordered a Russian mobilization to fight in Ukraine and made a thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons. Defence Secretary Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 people would be mobilised out of a pool of 25 million. In his televised address, Putin effectively announced plans to annex four Ukrainian regions, saying Moscow would facilitate referendums in Ukraine's Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions on joining Russia.

“Putin’s partial mobilization is a mistake”: Macron

New York: On September 21, French President Emmanuel Macron said that plans announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare a partial military mobilization was a "mistake" and would further isolate the country. "His decision is bad news for Russian people, young people and will increase isolation of his county", Macron said. He made these remarks after talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

PM Shehbaz apprises world leaders at UNGA session

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, briefed them about the flood crisis in Pakistan. The premier highlighted the need for joint action to deal with climate change. “I also told them that Pakistan is keen to build partnerships in the realms of trader and economy,” he said in a tweet.

Imran Khan to launch ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ movement

On Wednesday, former prime minister PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that PTI’s movement for “Haqeeqi Azaadi” (actual freedom) would begin on Saturday (September 24). Moreover, he called on supporters to get ready for his call. Last week, Khan renewed his demand for snap polls as he warned that the PTI’s patience was wearing thin. He had hoped that the election announcement would be made before he unveiled plans for the final march on Islamabad.

Cricketer Mohammad Amir welcomes baby girl

Cricketer Mohammad Amir and his wife Narjis Khatun’s family expanded with the birth of their third daughter. He shared the good news on Twitter on Wednesday accompanied by a photo of the newest addition to his family.“Alhumdulillah we are blessed with a baby girl, Ayra Amir,” he wrote. Fans flooded the tweet replies with congratulations. Even Indian fans came through to wish the cricketer the best.

France extends helping hand to flood-hit Pakistan

On Wednesday, France stepped forth to assist in the revival of Pakistan's economy and its reconstruction after floors with an international conference this year. Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron had a meeting on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The two leaders spoke about mobilizing international support for Pakistan to help recover and rebuild its economy on a sustainable footing in the upshot of the climate change-induced floods.

Iran death toll grows as protests intensify

Dubai: On September 21, Iranian authorities said three people including a member of the security forces had been killed during unrest sweeping the country. The death toll rose during angry protests at the death of a woman in the custody of the morality police. Official sources now say a total of seven people have been killed since protests erupted on Saturday over the death of Mahsa Amini, after being arrested in Tehran for "unsuitable attire".

Rupee surpases 245 against Dollar

Karachi: The Pakistani rupee fell to a record low against the US dollar on Monday, breaching threshold of 245 against the greenback in the open market. With a fresh decline of Rs4.40, the local currency closed at Rs245.40 against the greenback in the open market. Meanwhile, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the rupee closed at 237.91 after losing Rs1.07 (or 0.45%) as it inches closer to an all-time low of 239.94 hit on July 28.

‘CPEC to bring benefits for both countries’: Chinese defense minister

On Monday, China's defense minister General Wei Fenghe had a meeting with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Both sides discussed the progress related to the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The army chief is on an official two-day visit to China during which he called on Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe. According to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the two sides agreed that the CEPC was aimed at bringing "more benefits and prosperity to the people of both countries."

Terror case registered against federal ministers

On Monday, a case has been registered against Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and PML-N central leader Javed Latif in Lahore under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Punjab Home Minister Hashim Dogar shared the FIR filed against the PML-N leaders on Twitter. He said incitement of sectarian hatred and violence against any citizen, including [PTI Chairman] Imran Khan will not be allowed.