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Pakistan minister warns India of ‘potentially catastrophic consequences’ from Kashmir tensions

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 While admitting to a “fragile” food situation in his country, Pakistan’s Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal has thrown a warning that India’s policies in Kashmir could have “potentially catastrophic consequences” from another conflict.

“If the tensions created by India’s current policies in occupied Kashmir and aggressive postures are left unattended, it could lead to another conflict in the region with potentially catastrophic consequences,” he warned at a news conference here on Wednesday.

Listing a host of complaints about India’s treatment of the union territory, he said, “I emphasise the need to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Pakistan has, however, ignored Security Council Resolution 47 adopted on April 21, 1948, that requires it to withdraw from all of Kashmir its nationals and tribesmen who had intruded there and not to give them any aid.

Iqbal admitted that his country’s food station is “fragile” and that it came to the “brink” of a Sri Lanka-like scenario but turned his attention to Kashmir, which does not face a “fragile” food situation like the part of it under Pakistan occupation.

“Pakistan’s food security situation has become fragile (and) we will need to import wheat this year, whereas the supply chain of wheat at global level is already disrupted,” Iqbal said.

The government of Prime Minister Shehbas Sharif has taken some tough measures and “saved. Pakistan from Sri Lanka-like situation where almost we were at the brink of that scenario”.

“We had analysts predicting how many weeks will it take for Pakistan to become like Sri Lanka,” but managed to avert it, he said.

In Washington, the International Monetary Fund announced on Wednesday that its staff had reached an agreement with Pakistan for $1.177 billion in emergency funding, but that would have to be approved by the Executive Board.

Iqbal said that his government would now have to stabilise the country’s economy.

Sri Lanka is facing an economic and political meltdown because of a lack of foreign exchange to pay for energy and food imports leading to severe shortages.

Outlining its country’s problems, Iqbal said, “Pakistan is facing challenges in food security, water security and energy security because of a whole host of issues ranging from climate change and global developments”.

He blamed its food insecurity on insufficient investment in agriculture and climate change.

Asked by a reporter about reports that India was planning to host a meeting of the G20 — the group of developed and developing nations and the European Union — in Kashmir, Iqbal said that if countries participated in it there, it would amount to “validating” what he called India’s “unilateral occupation of Jammu and Kashmir” and throwing “Security Council resolutions in the dustbin of history”.

“If the Security Council has any sanctity, if it’s resolutions of any sanctity, I hope that the G20 countries will not violate the sanctity of those resolutions by going there and validating the unilateral occupation of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

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Palestine urges Europe to tie relations with Israel to extent of Israeli commitment to int’l law

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Palestine has urged the European countries to tie their relations with Israel to its adherence to international law, UN resolutions, and human rights principles.

“The international community is required to hold Israel directly responsible for the escalation in the West Bank against the Palestinians, and to put real pressure on it to stop it immediately,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Israel insists on escalating the situation, and we seriously view the dangers of this escalation that serves its interests,” the statement was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

The call came ahead of the 12th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, which will be held in Brussels. The meeting will cover topics such as trade, energy, climate change, culture, science, and technology.

The meeting takes place amid ongoing tensions between the Israeli army and Palestinians in the West Bank.

Since early January, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, according to official Palestinian figures. In contrast, 18 Israelis have been killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israeli cities since March.

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Mahatma Gandhi comes to UN, an avatar provoking, prodding, inspiring ideas of true education

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 Mahatma Gandhi “came” to the UN Trusteeship Council chamber with the message of holistic education.

He came on Friday as a holographic avatar, to animate a discussion on “Education for Human Flourishing” at the UN’s observance of the International Day of Nonviolence.

And while he spoke of education creating new people and a world of peace, at the nearby Security Council chamber mighty nations were clashing over an intractable war and its violence.

India’s UN Mission and UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) brought him to the UN for the observance of the International Day of Nonviolence, and who better to learn nonviolence and the education for the creative change it inspires.

A lifesize, speaking, gesticulating presence on the stage, the avatar provoked, prodded and challenged a panel made up of an activist, a diplomat, a youth and an economist to delve into the meaning of education for humanity.

The avatar was created with digital graphic files merged with motion graphics to produce the high-definition hologram that spoke authentic, researched statements made by the Mahatma himself in the context of the topic.

The Mahatma Gandhi Digital Museum made the hologram to spread his message creatively, said Anantha Duraiappah, the director UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), who moderated the panel discussion.

The Gandhi avatar, bringing his words with vocal clarity, said that “education is merely an instrument, and an instrument may be well used or abused. The same instrument that may be used to cure a patient may be used to take his life”.

“We want to provide only such education as would enable the student to earn more. We hardly give any thought to the improvement of the character of the educated. Schools and colleges and really a factory of turning out clerks for the government,” Gandhi’s words reverberated.

“On the contrary, real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself. What better book can there be than the book of humanity?”

The Gandhi avatar also questioned the value of even literacy if it is without values.

“Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning,” the avatar repeated his words.

For him, education meant “an all-round growing” bringing out the best in the child’s “body, mind and spirit”, spiritual training and “education of the heart, the training of the Spirit”.

India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj, who was a panellist, summed it up saying that Gandhi “was very big on holistic education” and “education for the upliftment and dignity of all”.

The New Education Policy introduced in India reflects this approach with an emphasis on “holistic development across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and sports” blending “the systems and traditions that have been a part of the rich legacy of India”, she said.

The policy “lays special emphasis on the socially and economically disadvantaged groups” and facilitates “multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes” with a lot of emphasis on digital education platforms”, she said.

Bernice King, the daughter of Gandhi-inspired civil rights icon Martin Luther King, said that for her father the “chief aim of education was to save people from the morass of propaganda”.

He said that education’s “function, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and critically, but if it stops with efficiency, it may prove the greatest menace to society”.

“We must remember that intelligence is not enough Intelligence plus character is the true goal of education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate,” she quoted him.

Bernice King said that the current education system is “doing a disservice to our young people and to our society, because we’re not developing people, enough people who have the level of compassion and courage and conscientiousness to create a just, humane, equitable and peaceful world”.

But changing the education system is going to take “some radical action” when a “critical mass of people decide, let’s organise, mobilise and strategise and begin to make demands”.

She said in the footsteps of Gandhi and King, the people would have to resort to nonviolent resistance and noncooperation to bring about the change.

Princess Hayu, the daughter of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and youth representative on digital education transformation, said that “each culture has its own local wisdom” even though the underlying values are universal.

“That cannot be forgotten, so that has to be continually taught as well because otherwise we are just going to blend in and by becoming just one identity we lose our identity,” she said.

Omar Hilale, the Permanent Representative of Morocco said, Gandhi inspired the “constitutional building of our nations and of the United Nations” because “his notion is that peace can be achieved in a very unique manner, nonviolently and with extreme courage, and sacrifice and tolerance”.

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Israeli Minister orders expulsion of families of Palestinian attacker

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Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has ordered the expulsion of families of a Palestinian man who carried out an attack five years ago in East Jerusalem.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Shaked said that she sent a notice to seven family members of Fadi al-Qanbar who killed four Israeli soldiers when he rammed his truck into a group of troopers in East Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighbourhood in 2017, asking them to “leave the country within a week or (they will) be forcefully evicted”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Minister also asked Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev to prepare policing forces to expel the seven if they won’t leave by October 6.

“Israel should fight terrorism with all the available means and it’s time to use also this tool for deterrence,” Shaked said.

The recent move came after a ruling by a Jerusalem court on September 21 that Israel can revoke the residency permits of al-Qanbar’s 17 family members.

The Palestinian family lives in Jabel Mukaber, a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

In past years, several Israeli interior ministers made attempts to expel family members of Palestinian attackers but were usually blocked by the Supreme Court.

The al-Qanbar family told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz newspaper that they intend to appeal the ruling.

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