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Tuesday,16-August-2022

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Speculation on Pakistan’s role in Zawahiri drone attack

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The American drone that killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul was possibly laun�ched from an airbase in Kyrgyzstan, some US media reports claimed.

The reports claimed that the attack was launched from Ganci Airbase, a US transit facility at Manas in northern Kyrgyzstan, says Dawn news.

According to the US Department of Defence, Ganci is a former American military base in Kyrgyzstan, near the Bishkek international airport.

It was operated by the US Air Force, which handed it over to the Kyrgyz military in June 2014.

The national Public Radio, America’s largest radio news network, noted that US officials were not saying where they launched the drone from, “but the US no longer has any military bases in the immediate region, suggesting the aircraft may have flown a long distance before reaching its target”.

Michael Kugelman, a scholar of South Asian affairs at the Wilson Center, Washington, noted that the drone strike has generated “lots of discussion” in the US on “Pakistan’s possible role” in the raid, Dawn reported.

“I wouldn’t overstate its role, but also would take with some grains of salt the contention that there was no role at all.”

Kugelman focused his attention on two possible forms of support: airspace and intelligence. “The geography doesn’t lie. If this drone was launched from a US base in the Gulf, it wouldn’t be able to fly over Iran. Flying over Central Asia is circuitous and hard to pull off if you’re undertaking a rapid operation,” he wrote.

“This leaves the Pakistani airspace as the most desirable option for intelligence support and US officials have indicated the planning and surveillance for this operation took months.”

“Could it do that all alone, with no on-ground presence?” he asked, adding that if not Pakistan, “some renegade Taliban members might have supplied that information to the US”.

But Kugelman does not rule out the possibility of Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbours providing that support to the US, Dawn reported.

Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the drone that targeted and killed Zawahiri was not operated from the country, Geo News reported.

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Operating licence of Pak’s ARY News revoked, paves way for permanent closure

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In an unprecedented move, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) revoked the operating licence of ARY News after the security clearance of the channel was withdrawn by the Ministry of Interior, paving the way for its permanent closure.

In a notification, the Ministry said: “The NOC issued in favour of M/S ARY Communications Pvt Limited (ARY News) is cancelled with immediate effect and until further orders on the basis of adverse reports from agencies.”

The decision by Pemra was taken during its 172nd meeting which was chaired by re-appointed chief Saleem Baig, reports Dawn news.

Sources in the regulatory authority said Baig chaired the meeting in the presence of three other members, while four members, including the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and the interior secretary joined the meeting via video link.

After detailed information and background regarding the renewal of the operating licence, the working paper of the meeting said: “Ministry of Interior vide letter dated 10.11.2021 had initially granted NOC/ security clearance for renewal of satellite TV licences of M/s ARY Communication Ltd. However, the Ministry has withdrawn the NOC in respect of M/s ARY Communication Ltd. (ARY News) vide letter dated 11.8.2022.

“Foregoing in view and based on the fact that the mandatory requirement of security clearance has not been fulfilled since NOC has been withdrawn by Ministry of Interior, the request of M/s ARY Communication Ltd. for renewal of licence for another term of 15 years may be regretted by the authority.”

The decision to shut down the news channel was met with disapproval across the board, Dawn news reported.

The ARY management condemned the ban, saying the network was being victimised by the federal government.

This move is akin to the “economic murder of more than 4,000 media workers associated with the news channel”, it said, adding that the Ministry’s notification will be taken to the courts as it was done without any due notice.

Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) President Azhar Abbas condemned it as an “excessive measure” and said such moves have never worked. He urged the government to immediately withdraw the decision, Dawn reported.

PPP leader and former senator Farhatullah Babar tweeted that the use of state power “arbitrarily will backfire”.

“There may be 101 good reasons but question as to who is competent to cancel, how & whether due process followed must be answered… Effects of (the) law of diminishing returns already becoming apparent,” he tweeted.

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Imran’s arrest may trigger ‘bloody politics’, warns ex-Minister

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 Reacting to the Pakistan governments move to file references against the PTI chairman in prohibited funding and Toshakhana cases, former Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has warned that attempts to arrest Imran Khan or break the party would trigger “bloody politics” in the country.

Rasheed said that the security of the country is more important than politics and power, adding that the instability in Afghanistan will also affect peace in Pakistan, Geo News reported.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched a probe into the illegal funding and has summoned senior PTI leaders to appear before it.

The government is tightening the noose around PTI after the ECP ruling in the prohibited funding case and a smear campaign against the military following the Balochistan helicopter crash.

Warning the ruling alliance in a series of tweets, Rasheed said that the economic collapse, political instability, increasing extortion and terrorism incidents will bury their politics, Geo News reported.

He further added that China is thinking well of Pakistan and the rulers should understand its signals and don’t make Independence Day “a day of destruction”.

“Arresting Imran Khan and plans to break PTI will be the start of bloody politics.”

He maintained that their agenda is to disqualify Khan and make Nawaz Sharif eligible.

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Noida Police declares Rs 25,000 bounty on Shrikant Tyagi

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Noida Police on Monday declared a reward of Rs 25,000 for the person who gives information on the location of absconding politician Shrikant Tyagi accused of assaulting a woman during an argument, three days ago over the plantation of palm trees near his apartment here.

According to sources, an intense operation to nab the absconding accused is currently underway and multiple teams of the Noida Police are currently working in coordination to zero in on his location.

Sources told IANS that Tyagi’s last location was traced in Uttarakhand between Haridwar and Rishikesh and multiple police teams went there but still he was not found.

Earlier in the day, the district administration, acting tough on the accused, demolished a structure that was illegally constructed by the self-claimed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

Tyagi had encroached the common area of the society and constructed a wooden shed that had multiple pillars below it.

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