2017 July : AsiaNet-Pakistan

Archive for July, 2017

Pakistan’s Northwest Region Continues its Struggle Against Terror Financing

July 30, 2017 |

WASHINGTON � Pakistan’s restive northwest province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has issued directives to its administrative and security departments to make serious efforts to cut off the money supply of banned terror groups.

The provincial departments have been instructed to devise a strategy to crack down and to closely monitor the proscribed groups and individuals involved in raising funds illegally for welfare or religious purposes, Pakistani media reported.

Despite its continued efforts against terrorism, terror financing remains a challenge for Pakistan due to political resistance, sympathizers and money trails that are hard to track, analysts say.

Pakistan will have to come up with a strategy to freeze assets of terror groups, make it difficult for terrorists to gather funds, but to also spot those who’ve adopted new identities and have re-established their networks, A. Z. Hilali, head of political science department at the Peshawar University told VOA.

Suspect groups identified

The official document circulated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government emphasized banned groups are not allowed to gather money under any circumstances and security forces and the administration should ensure people and groups raising money for mosques, charity or madrassas (religious seminaries) are lawfully doing so.

In 2015, Pakistan banned around 200 terror groups after establishing their involvement in sectarian and terrorism related activities against the state.

Pakistan had also frozen around $3 million worth of assets of 5,000 suspected terrorists last year. “We will make every possible effort to implement National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terror financing in our province, Shaukat Yousafzai, spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government told VOA.

“We’re the biggest victim of terrorism and we do not want them [terrorists] to succeed. We’ll also work to start awareness programs so that banned groups can be prohibited from gathering funds from the masses, Yousafzai said.

A report issued by the Financial Monitoring Unit of Pakistan in March estimated the annual operational budget of terrorist organizations is $48,000 to $240,000.

The terror groups in Pakistan generate hefty amounts through charity and welfare work, receive huge foreign donations and use the “hawala system,” an alternative finance system, used for money laundering, experts say.

National plan

Pakistan’s National Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at eliminating extremism mentions the state should choke financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations.

Hilali says there is a need to introduce legislation to prohibit collection of funds from the general public. Terrorists collect large sums of money especially during the holy month of Ramadan under the guise of Zakat [mandatory Islamic charity].

The madrassas [religious seminaries] also play an important role and we are aware that a few of them remained involved in collecting funds on behalf of banned terror outfits in the past, Hilali added.

Security analysts also stress that the government should regulate and register all the religious seminaries across the country and should practice caution before making donations to religious organizations and seminaries.

In 2016, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government received scathing criticism when it allocated a grant of $3 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania, a religious seminary that is interpreted by some critics as the University of Jihad.

The Haqqani network, considered a terrorist group by Afghanistan and the United States, continues to fight Afghan and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of providing support to the Haqqani network. The U.S. State Department released its annual Country Report on Terrorism 2016 earlier this month. It criticized Pakistan and said it remained unsuccessful in stopping the activities of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Source: Voice of America

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‫کیروئی پٹرولیم نے 2017ء او جی اے میں ملائیشیا میں قائم مشترکہ منصوبے کے معاہدے پر دستخط کردیے

July 27, 2017 | General, Urdu

کوالالمپور، ملائیشیا، 27 جولائی 2017ء/پی آرنیوزوائر/– توانائی کی صنعت کی کلیدی سالانہ نمائش سہ روزہ 2017ء آئل اینڈ گیس ایشیا (او جی اے) کی افتتاحی تقریب 11 جولائی کو ملائیشیا کے دارالحکومت کوالالمپور کنونشن سینٹر میں منعقد وئی۔ نمائش 9 ایوانوں پر پھیلی ہوئی تھی اور 11 بین الاقوامی خیموں کی میزبانی کی۔ 60 ممالک […]

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Court of Appeal in London makes freezing order against entities owned by Gela Mikadze worth $42.5 million

July 26, 2017 | General

London, 26 July – Gela Mikadze, a Georgian MP for the Alliance of Patriots Party and former head of the Government of Ras Al Khaimah’s (‘RAK’) entities in Georgia has suffered a significant defeat in the UK Court of Appeal. English entities owned by Mikadze are now the subject of global freezing injunctions totalling $42,561,555. This […]

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Dozens Killed In Taliban Attack On Afghan Military Base

July 26, 2017 | General, Sports

Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry says 26 soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in a Taliban attack on a military base in the southern province of Kandahar, although other government officials said the death toll was at least 30.Defense Ministry spokesman D…

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Afghan Forces Rescue 2 Pakistani Diplomats

July 26, 2017 | Legal & Politics

ISLAMABAD � Afghan security forces Wednesday safely recovered two Pakistani diplomats weeks after they were abducted in eastern Afghanistan.

The men were serving at Pakistan’s consulate general in the Afghan city of Jalalabad and traveling back to their country on June 16 when they went missing. No one had claimed responsibility for kidnapping the diplomats.

President Ashraf Ghani personally phoned Pakistan’s Charge d’Affiares in Kabul to inform that the Afghan security forces had recovered the two Pakistani officials in a security operation, the foreign ministry in Islamabad said.

The two officials were later handed over to the embassy and were to be flown back to Pakistan to join their families as soon as possible, the ministry said, and thanked the Afghan government for the rescue.

The ministry statement did not provide further details about who was behind the kidnapping or from where in Afghanistan the two men were rescued.

Jalalabad is the capital of volatile Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, and where Taliban insurgents and militants linked to a local branch of Islamic State also have strongholds.

The kidnapping of the diplomatic officials and their subsequent rescue by Afghan forces come as Kabul’s relations with Islamabad have deteriorated in the past several years.

The two countries share a long border and routinely accuse each other of sponsoring terrorist attacks on each other’s soils.

Source: Voice of America

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Pakistan, Maldives agree to further enhance bilateral ties

July 26, 2017 | Medical

Pakistan and Maldives onTuesday agreed to further enhance their bilateral relations invarious fields, overcome common challenges and work jointly tomake SAARC a vibrant organization.Speaking at a joint press conference here along withPresident of Maldi…

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Two Abducted Pakistani Diplomats ‘Safely Recovered’ In Afghanistan

July 26, 2017 | Education

Two Pakistani diplomats who were abducted in June have been “safely recovered” by security forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says.A ministry statement on July 26 said the diplomats, who were with the Consulate General in Jalalabad, had…

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Two Abducted Pakistani Diplomats ‘Safely Recovered’ In Afghanistan

July 26, 2017 | Education

Two Pakistani diplomats who were abducted in June have been “safely recovered” by security forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says.A ministry statement on July 26 said the diplomats, who were with the Consulate General in Jalalabad, had…

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Top Democrat IT Aide Arrested While Trying to Leave US for Pakistan

July 26, 2017 | Business

WASHINGTON � A top technology aide to Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives was arrested Monday at a Washington airport while attempting to leave the United States for Pakistan.

Imran Awan, an IT aide who worked for the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and several other congressional Democrats, was arrested on fraud charges related to a housing loan he received.

Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, who also worked as a technology aide for Democrats, requested and received a home loan from Congressional Federal Credit Union (CFCU) for $165,000 under the pretense that the couple would occupy the home, according to Awan’s arrest warrant. The couple didn’t occupy the house, but instead rented out the property to tenants, in violation of their loan agreement.

Within a week of accepting the loan money on January 12, 2017, Alvi requested a wire transfer form from the CFCU branch located within the U.S. Capitol in the amount of $283,000 to be sent to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

According to the arrest warrant, a representative from the bank called Alvi on January 18, 2017, to confirm the purpose of the outgoing wire transfer.

The person answering the call, who was a male, pretended that he was Alvi, the arrest warrant says.

While on the call, the bank representative asked the purpose of the wire transfer, to which the male pretending to be Alvi responded that it was to be used for funeral arrangements. The bank representative informed the man that funeral arrangements wouldn’t necessarily qualify as an acceptable reason for the wire.

After a long pause, the male said that the reason for the wire was ‘buying property’, and the representative accepted that reasoning before initiating the wire transfer to Pakistan, the warrant says.

Bank records showed that $165,000.00 of $283,000.00 wired to Pakistan came from the illicit home loan.

A little more than a month after wiring the money to Pakistan, Alvi and her three children boarded a plane to Pakistan and never returned to the U.S.

According to the arrest warrant, the children were abruptly taken out of school without notifying their teachers, and investigators do not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States.

Awan purchased a ticket for a flight departing from Washington to Pakistan Monday night, but was arrested at the airport by federal agents prior to boarding.

Awan pleaded not guilty to the bank fraud charge Tuesday during an arraignment in federal court in Washington. He was released but was forced to turn over all his passports and wear a GPS monitoring device.

Chris Gowen, Awan’s attorney, told Politico the arrest is clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”

“A quick glance at what the government filed in court today confirms the lack of evidence or proof they have against my client, he said.

In March, a group of House Democrats fired Awan and Alvi after they allegedly stole IT equipment from congressional members and may have exposed House information online. The couple had been barred from accessing House computer networks since early February.

Two of Awan’s relatives, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan also worked as IT aides for Democrats, and are linked to the criminal investigation.

Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC last year after emails released by WikiLeaks appeared to show the organization working to unfairly support Hillary Clinton over her former rival Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary process.

Awan and his relatives began working for congressional Democrats more than a decade ago, and records show Awan made nearly $2 million since starting IT work on Capitol Hill in 2004. His wife, Alvi, who started working for Democrats in 2007, earned more than $1.3 million during that time.

The two were considered shared employees, which means they worked for dozens of Democrats at the same time, and no one member paid their entire salaries.

Source: Voice of America

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Dozens Killed In Taliban Attack On Afghan Military Base

July 26, 2017 | General, Sports

Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry says 26 soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in a Taliban attack on a military base in the southern province of Kandahar, although other government officials said the death toll was at least 30.Defense Ministry spokesman D…

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Top Democrat IT Aide Arrested While Trying to Leave US for Pakistan

July 26, 2017 | Business

WASHINGTON � A top technology aide to Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives was arrested Monday at a Washington airport while attempting to leave the United States for Pakistan.

Imran Awan, an IT aide who worked for the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and several other congressional Democrats, was arrested on fraud charges related to a housing loan he received.

Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, who also worked as a technology aide for Democrats, requested and received a home loan from Congressional Federal Credit Union (CFCU) for $165,000 under the pretense that the couple would occupy the home, according to Awan’s arrest warrant. The couple didn’t occupy the house, but instead rented out the property to tenants, in violation of their loan agreement.

Within a week of accepting the loan money on January 12, 2017, Alvi requested a wire transfer form from the CFCU branch located within the U.S. Capitol in the amount of $283,000 to be sent to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

According to the arrest warrant, a representative from the bank called Alvi on January 18, 2017, to confirm the purpose of the outgoing wire transfer.

The person answering the call, who was a male, pretended that he was Alvi, the arrest warrant says.

While on the call, the bank representative asked the purpose of the wire transfer, to which the male pretending to be Alvi responded that it was to be used for funeral arrangements. The bank representative informed the man that funeral arrangements wouldn’t necessarily qualify as an acceptable reason for the wire.

After a long pause, the male said that the reason for the wire was ‘buying property’, and the representative accepted that reasoning before initiating the wire transfer to Pakistan, the warrant says.

Bank records showed that $165,000.00 of $283,000.00 wired to Pakistan came from the illicit home loan.

A little more than a month after wiring the money to Pakistan, Alvi and her three children boarded a plane to Pakistan and never returned to the U.S.

According to the arrest warrant, the children were abruptly taken out of school without notifying their teachers, and investigators do not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States.

Awan purchased a ticket for a flight departing from Washington to Pakistan Monday night, but was arrested at the airport by federal agents prior to boarding.

Awan pleaded not guilty to the bank fraud charge Tuesday during an arraignment in federal court in Washington. He was released but was forced to turn over all his passports and wear a GPS monitoring device.

Chris Gowen, Awan’s attorney, told Politico the arrest is clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”

“A quick glance at what the government filed in court today confirms the lack of evidence or proof they have against my client, he said.

In March, a group of House Democrats fired Awan and Alvi after they allegedly stole IT equipment from congressional members and may have exposed House information online. The couple had been barred from accessing House computer networks since early February.

Two of Awan’s relatives, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan also worked as IT aides for Democrats, and are linked to the criminal investigation.

Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC last year after emails released by WikiLeaks appeared to show the organization working to unfairly support Hillary Clinton over her former rival Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary process.

Awan and his relatives began working for congressional Democrats more than a decade ago, and records show Awan made nearly $2 million since starting IT work on Capitol Hill in 2004. His wife, Alvi, who started working for Democrats in 2007, earned more than $1.3 million during that time.

The two were considered shared employees, which means they worked for dozens of Democrats at the same time, and no one member paid their entire salaries.

Source: Voice of America

Read More

Afghan Forces Rescue 2 Pakistani Diplomats

July 26, 2017 | Legal & Politics

ISLAMABAD � Afghan security forces Wednesday safely recovered two Pakistani diplomats weeks after they were abducted in eastern Afghanistan.

The men were serving at Pakistan’s consulate general in the Afghan city of Jalalabad and traveling back to their country on June 16 when they went missing. No one had claimed responsibility for kidnapping the diplomats.

President Ashraf Ghani personally phoned Pakistan’s Charge d’Affiares in Kabul to inform that the Afghan security forces had recovered the two Pakistani officials in a security operation, the foreign ministry in Islamabad said.

The two officials were later handed over to the embassy and were to be flown back to Pakistan to join their families as soon as possible, the ministry said, and thanked the Afghan government for the rescue.

The ministry statement did not provide further details about who was behind the kidnapping or from where in Afghanistan the two men were rescued.

Jalalabad is the capital of volatile Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, and where Taliban insurgents and militants linked to a local branch of Islamic State also have strongholds.

The kidnapping of the diplomatic officials and their subsequent rescue by Afghan forces come as Kabul’s relations with Islamabad have deteriorated in the past several years.

The two countries share a long border and routinely accuse each other of sponsoring terrorist attacks on each other’s soils.

Source: Voice of America

Read More