Pro-Khalistan group ‘Sikhs For Justice (SFJ)’ has claimed that the Pakistan government has banned the registration of the ‘Khalistan Referendum Team 2020’ on its soil at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.
SFJ legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun claimed on Monday that authorities in Pakistan had stopped the group’s activists from putting up posters and banners of the Khalistan referendum campaign at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal where thousands of Sikhs from India were visiting to celebrate the 320th year of Khalsa Sajna Diwas.
A ‘jatha’ of 389 Indian devotees, under the aegis of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), were visiting Pakistan till April 21 to offer prayers at various gurdwaras in that country on the occasion of Baisakhi.
The SFJ had put up hoardings and banners of its separatist activities at Sikh shrines in Pakistan last year during the visit of Indian pilgrims which was objected to by Indian authorities.
“Pro-Khalistan activists were officially invited to launch the registration the president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on behalf of the Pakistan government. The Khalistan activists from North America and Europe, who reached Pakistan in the first week of April, were not allowed to post banners of Khalistan in Gurdwara Panja Sahib and were forced to stop the scheduled plan to register volunteers for Referendum 2020,” Pannun said in an official statement issued from the SFJ New York headquarters.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan and (Pakistan) Army Chief (Qamar Javed) Bajwa, who have been deceptively claiming to be the messiah of the Sikh community have succumbed and bowed down to Modi government’s dictatorial pressure to ban SFJ’s ‘Khalistan Referendum Team 2020’ registration event at Panja Sahib during the visiting Sikh pilgrims from India,” Pannun said.
The SFJ is a secessionist group which is seeking a separate Sikh homeland — Khalistan.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has been critical of the SFJ saying that it is a “one-man army caked by Pakistan’s ISI” (Inter-Services Intelligence).
“Pakistan Army and ISI have treaded the path of alienating the global Sikh community who have continuously supported Pakistan during India’s threat of jingoistic war,” Pannun said.
Reiterating that ‘Punjab Independence Referendum 2020’ is a democratic campaign for “right to self-determination through ballot not bullet”, he claimed that SFJ’s global peaceful movement was being undermined by the Pakistan government.
Donald Trump expected to refile paperwork to end DACA program
US President Donald Trump is expected to refile paperwork this week to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that offers protections for thousands of young immigrants and work lawfully.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hinted in an interview on Monday that the President was readying executive action on immigration issues, but he did not offer specifics, reports Xinhua news agency.
The US Supreme Court, which ruled last month that the Trump administration failed to give an adequate justification for terminating the program as required by federal law, made clear that the President had the authority to rescind the program.
“We have to refile,” the President told Fox News days after the ruling.
“And everything’s going to work out for DACA and the young people, who aren’t so young, if you want to know the truth.”
DACA was established via an administrative memo in 2012 when Barack Obama was in office.
The Trump administration in 2017 rescinded DACA, which shields certain undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation.
The move was a central feature of the President’s initial efforts to restrict immigration upon taking office, The Hill news website said in a report on Monday.
Trump’s 2017 rescission of the program gave Congress six months to create a statutory replacement for DACA, while shutting down new applications and renewals, but without prematurely ending the two-year permits granted by the program.
It was unlikely that a new rescission would abruptly end benefits for current DACA recipients.
Trump has in recent weeks turned to immigration issues to appeal to his core supporters as he scuffles in polls, analysts observed.
If the Trump administration refiles this week, the new DACA policy will coincide with the official visit of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Mexico is the country of origin for a majority of DACA recipients.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tests COVID-19 positive
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but was feeling “strong and energetic”.
In a tweet on Friday, Qureshi said that he had a slight fever earlier on Friday and had immediately quarantined himself at home, reports Dawn news.
“I have now tested positive for COVID-19… I feel strong and energetic. I will continue to carry on my duties from home…”
Several politicians, including members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have been diagnosed with the virus over the past few months as it continues to spread in Pakistan.
Prominent political leaders who have contracted the virus so far include National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, PPP leader Saeed Ghani and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, all of whom have recovered.
In June, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had also tested positive for the virus.
Former Balochistan governor Syed Fazal Agha, PTI Punjab MPA Shaheen Raza, Sindh Minister for Human Settlements Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, MNA Munir Khan Orakzai and PTI’s Mian Jamshedud Din Kakakhel are among politicians who passed away after contracting the virus.
Pakistan, one of the worst hit South Asian countries, has so far reported 221,896 COVID-19 cases, with 4,551 deaths.
Japan extends strong support to India on Ladakh
In a strong show of support for India, Japan on Friday hit out at China, saying that it opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh where the Chinese aggression led to the killing of 20 Indian soldiers last month.
Tokyo’s envoy in New Delhi, Satoshi Suzuki on Friday revealed that he had a conversation with Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla about the government’s efforts at peaceful resolution of the Indo-China face-off in Ladakh.
Suzuki later tweeted: “Had a good talk with FS Shringla. Appreciated his briefing on the situation along LAC, including GOI’s policy to pursue peaceful resolution. Japan also hopes for peaceful resolution through dialogues. Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo.”
The statement came weeks after Japan revised a certain legislation which allows it to share defence intelligence with India, Australia and the UK. Until now, the legislation covered only its closest ally, the US.
The move will facilitate joint exercises, tie-ups for developing equipment and sharing data on Chinese troop movements — strategically significant issue — for Tokyo as its finding harder to keep a track of Beijing’s activities in East China Sea.
Chinese Coast Guard vessels, as per media reports from Tokyo, have been sailing through waters in the East China Sea around the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands for the last 80 days continuously. China disputes Japan’s sovereignty over Senkaku islands.
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