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Lanka set to repatriate 303 from Vietnam

It said that it continues to monitor the progress of the passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and bought to the Port of Vung Tau in Vietnam on Tuesday….reports Asian Lite News

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said that it is working with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the country’s mission in Vietnam for the early repatriation of 303 Sri Lankans, who were rescued off the Spratly Islands following a failed attempt to migrate to Canada.

It said that the screening of Sri Lankans – 264 men, 19 women, and 20 children who were rescued from the Myanmar-flagged Lady 3 fishing vessel would be done by the IOM in coordination with the Vietnam authorities and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to work closely with the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and IOM for early repatriation, once the screening process to ascertain their nationality and other formalities are completed,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said that it continues to monitor the progress of the passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and bought to the Port of Vung Tau in Vietnam on Tuesday.

The Sri Lanka Navy told IANS that following a call by a Sri Lankan in the distressed

boat on early Monday, the Navy and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Colombo alerted Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines to help those onboard.

SL Navy spokesman, Captain Indika de Silva said following the alert, the passengers in the drifting vessel had been rescued by a Japanese vessel. “The vessel with the distressed passengers had not originated from Sri Lanka,” he said.

According to Vietnam’s Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, the fishing vessel was heading to Canada, about 6,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean. Each member in the group had paid around $4,000 to $5,000 to migrate to Canada via a fishing vessel after they had flown to Myanmar from Colombo.

There had been an issue with the ship and water flowed into the engine room and

could not be fixed since November 5, the Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre stated.

After rescuing all aboard the drifting vessel, Japanese-flagged vessel “Helios Leader” had handed them over to Vietnam authorities at Vung Tau Port in south Vietnam.

Affected by inflation and dollar crunch, many Sri Lankans try to leave their home

in search of green pastures, both legally and illegally. With the severe shortages of

food, fuel, medicine and other basic essentials, many have been making boat journeys to the closest neighbour India and taking up perilous boat rides to Australia.

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Lanka seizes 300 kilos of heroin

While six Sri Lankans aboard the fishing trawler were arrested by the Navy, four others were nabbed by the police…reports Asian Lite News

The Sri Lankan Navy on Monday announced that it seized a boat carrying over 300 kg of heroin, with a street value of over 6 billion LKR ($17 million), the navy announced on Monday.

The Navy intercepted the fishing trawler about 18.5 km off the Little Basses Reef Lighthouse in the Southern Province, reports Xinhua news agency.

While six Sri Lankans aboard the fishing trawler were arrested by the Navy, four others were nabbed by the police.

The Police Narcotics Bureau is conducting further operations in search of more suspects in connection to this case.

With the latest seizure, the Sri Lankan Navy has detected drugs with a street value of over 22.5 billion LKR in 2022.

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India reacts as Pakistan exits FATF ‘grey list’

In a statement, the FATF announced that Pakistan is no longer subject to its increased monitoring process, reports Asian Lite News

 India has said that Pakistan must continue to take “credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustained” action against terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from territories under its control.

The remarks were made by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in response to media queries on Pakistan’s removal from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday.

“It is in global interest that the world remains clear that Pakistan must continue to take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustained action against terrorism and terrorist financing emanating from territories under its control,” Bagchi said in a statement.

“As a result of FATF scrutiny, Pakistan has been forced to take some action against well-known terrorists, including those involved in attacks against the entire international community in Mumbai on 26/11,” he added.

“We understand that Pakistan will continue to work with the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) to further improve its Anti Money Laundering (AML)/Counter Terror Financing (CFT) system,” the spokesperson further said.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

In a statement, the FATF announced that Pakistan is no longer subject to its increased monitoring process.

The FATF reportedly welcomed Pakistan’s “significant progress in improving its AML/CFT (anti-money laundering & counter-terrorist financing) regime”.

Pakistan was included among jurisdictions under the increased monitoring list in June 2018 for deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigation, prosecution, judicial and non-government sectors in fighting money laundering and combat terror financing, which are considered serious threats to global financial system.

Islamabad made high-level political commitments to address these deficiencies under a 27-point action plan. But later the number of action points was enhanced to 34.

The country had since been working with FATF and its affiliates to strengthen its legal and financial systems against money laundering and terror financing to meet international standards in line with the 40 recommendations of the FATF, Dawn reported.

Shehbaz Sharif.(photo:instagram)

A 15-member joint delegation of the FATF and its Sydney-based regional affiliate – Asia Pacific Group – had paid an onsite visit to Pakistan from August 29 to September 2 to verify the country’s compliance with the 34-point action plan committed with the FATF.

The authorities, which kept the countrywide visit of the delegation low profile, later termed it “a smooth and successful visit”. The delegation had detailed discussions with the relevant agencies pursuant to the authorisation of an onsite visit by the FATF Plenary in June 2022.

Pakistan believed that as a result of “strenuous and consistent efforts over the past four years, it has not only achieved a high degree of technical compliance with FATF standards but also ensured a high level of effectiveness through the implementation of two comprehensive FATF action plans”.

ALSO READ: WORLD BANK: Economic Distortions Derail Pakistan’s Growth


Apple halts its plan to use chips from China

‘NAND’ is flash memory, a key component found in all electronic devices such as smartphones, personal computers, and servers…reports Asian Lite News

Amid political pressure, tech Giant Apple has suspended plans to use memory chips made by China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) in its products, media reports said.

According to Nikkei Asia, the move comes when the latest round of US export controls was imposed against China’s tech sector.

The report said that Apple had already certified YMTC’s 3D NAND flash memory for use in iPhones before the US government tightened export restrictions against China earlier this month. However, YMTC’s chips, which the government subsidises, were initially planned for Apple to use by this year on account of them being at least 20 per cent less expensive than those of its competition, supply chain executives were quoted as saying.

‘NAND’ is flash memory, a key component found in all electronic devices such as smartphones, personal computers, and servers.

Due to the tighter controls, tensions with Beijing have increased since companies who do not provide the needed information within 60 days may be blacklisted. Moreover, the US Commerce Department investigated the YMTC over whether it violated Washington’s export controls by selling chips to Huawei, which is already blacklisted.

ALSO READ-Apple AR headset to use iris scan to identify people

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Imran flips on army chief’s tenure

Khan has been making headlines since his ouster in April because of his constant remarks regarding the army chief…reports Asian Lite News

Former Pakistan Prime Minister and PTI chief, Imran Khan has proposed to extend the tenure of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa till the next elections.

In an interview with a private TV channel, Khan said that the appointment of an army chief should be deferred until the government is elected, which should then choose the new military head, Geo News reported.

Khan has been making headlines since his ouster in April because of his constant remarks regarding the army chief.

Earlier this month, while speaking during a public rally in Faisalabad, the PTI chairman had called out the government, saying that it was delaying the elections to appoint an army chief of its own and that if a “patriotic chief of army staff comes in, he will not spare the incumbent rulers”, Geo News reported.

However, in a change of stance, the former premier said that he was ready to hold talks with the coalition government regarding snap polls.

Regarding the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to indict him in a contempt of court case on September 22, Khan said that if the five-member bench hearing the case would have allowed him to say something, he would have apologised.

The court had last month taken notice of the former prime minister’s speech at a public rally, where he allegedly threatened Islamabad additional sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry for extending PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s remand.

The PTI chief said that he regrets if something was misinterpreted and was ready to take back what he said during his public gathering.

“I could have said what they wanted if they had allowed me to speak,” he said.

Khan, while taking a jibe at the coalition government’s performance, said that the country will be stuck in a quagmire if the incumbent leaders’ tenure is prolonged further.

ALSO READ: Pakistan’s ‘triple whammy’


Over 200,000 Lankans leave for foreign jobs in 2022

The minister said that remittance sent by expatriate workers to Sri Lanka reached $325 million in August, an increase of 16.4 per cent compared to July…reports Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara said that more than 200,000 Sri Lankans have left for foreign jobs in 2022 so far.

He said that these are the people who have registered with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, and some may have left without registering, Xinhua news agency reported.

The minister said that remittance sent by expatriate workers to Sri Lanka reached $325 million in August, an increase of 16.4 per cent compared to July.

Around 330,000 people are expected to leave Sri Lanka for foreign jobs by the end of this year, the minister said.

The minister expressed gratitude to workers who have sent money through the banking system at a time when the country is facing a foreign exchange shortage.

ALSO READ: India helps Lanka to print school text book


Moscow vows tit for tat response to EU visa curbs

Foreign Ministers of the EU member states agreed to suspend a visa facilitation agreement the bloc has with Russia…reports Asian Lite News

Moscow will take serious retaliatory measures if the EU formally introduces visa restrictions on Russian citizens, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russia is closely monitoring the EU decision and the retaliation, symmetrical or not will definitely meet Russia’s interests, Peskov told a local TV program on Sunday without disclosing what the retaliatory steps could be.

Foreign Ministers of the EU member states agreed to suspend a visa facilitation agreement the bloc has with Russia, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Wednesday.

The decision, which has yet to be legalised, will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by the EU member states to Russian citizens and make the process to get a visa longer and more difficult, Xinhua news agency reported.

ALSO READ: G7 to impose price cap on Russian oil


A third US delegation lands in Taiwan

Holcomb plans to meet with other senior government officials and representatives from the semiconductor sector..reports Asian Lite News

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday received another delegation from the US amid rising tensions with China.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb arrived in Taipei on Sunday night for a four-day trip, reports dpa news agency.

Upon his arrival, he said in a tweet: “I landed in Taipei to kick off an economic development trip in Taiwan and South Korea. Indiana’s home to 10 Taiwanese & 12 South Korean businesses. This week marks my 2nd trip to South Korea as Governor and I’m proud to be the first governor to visit Taiwan since before the pandemic.”

His visit comes after recent trips by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrat Ed Markey drew ire from Beijing, which rejects official contacts between Taipei and other countries.

Beijing started large-scale military manoeuvres around Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s August 2 visit.

Tsai stressed in a presidential office meeting with Holcomb that the US and Taiwan are key security and economic allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China, in and around the Taiwan Strait. At this moment, democratic allies must stand together and boost cooperation across all areas,” Tsai told the Indiana Governor.

She also said Taiwan was eager to strengthen cooperation to build sustainable supply chains.

Holcomb signed a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs to facilitate bilateral business, trade and scientific cooperation.

He told Tsai that Indiana will continue to seek strategic partnerships with Taiwan and said he was excited about the prospect of future collaborations with Taiwan.

Holcomb plans to meet with other senior government officials and representatives from the semiconductor sector, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the island part of its territory.

ALSO READ: Pelosi ensures that US assurances regain credibility

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Imran under probe for threatening police, judiciary

As the police opened its investigation, investigators said that nKhan may have breached the country’s anti-terrorism act for allegedly making threats against the state officials…reports Asian Lite News

Pakistan police have launched a probe against former Prime Minister Imran Khan after he made threats against the police and judiciary while addressing a political rally over the weekend, media reports said on Monday.

Addressing a PTI rally on Saturday in Islamabad, the former premier warned the judiciary against its “biased” attitude towards his party, saying that it should brace itself for the consequences, while also threatening to file cases against the police, bureaucracy, the Election Commission of Pakistan and political opponents over the treatment allegedly meted out to his chief of staff, reports Dawn news.

As the police opened its investigation, investigators said that Khan may have breached the country’s anti-terrorism act for allegedly making threats against the state officials, the BBC reported.

Late Sunday night, hundreds of Khan’s supporters gathered outside his home in Islamabad after news of the investigation broke, vowing to “take over” the capital if police tried to detain him.

Police who were present at the scene said they were not there to arrest the former leader, but to maintain law and order.

According to Dawn news, YouTube services in parts of the country reportedly faced disruptions during Khan’s speech, while his live addresses were banned on TV channels on Saturday night by the electronic media regulator.

Earlier on Sunday at another political rally in Rawalpindi, the former leader claimed the incumbent government was trying to censor him, reports the BBC.

“What crime has Imran Khan committed? I will never accept this gang of thieves,” he told his supporters.

Khan also accused the government of blocking access to YouTube halfway through the speech in an effort to prevent people from listening to him live.

Despite being ousted from power in a no-confidence vote in April, Khan continues to count on the support of many Pakistani voters.

ALSO READ: Imran slams ‘drama’ over Army Chief’s appointment

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‘Che Guevara’ of South Asia seeks intervention of India in Balochistan

Our enemy is coward and scared of our scholars in the universities from their fame and their enlightened minds and is trying to silence them through assassinations”…Dr Allah Nazar Baloch interacts with Mark Kinra

Before India’s independence and Pakistan’s creation, on 11 August 1947, Balochistan got independence. But it lasted only nine months as Pakistan occupied Balochistan on 27 March 1948. Since then, Balochistan has been fighting for its independence and for more than two decades one person-Dr Allah Nazar Baloch has been fighting tooth and nail against the Pakistani Army.

In an exclusive interview, Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) leader Dr Allah Nazar Baloch speaks with Mark Kinra about his journey in the field of politics, torture in Pakistani dungeons, the newly created BRAS group, the Iran connection, Barrick Gold, Baloch expectations from India and much more.

Excerpts from the interview:

Please tell me something about your background and how did you start your political journey?

I was born in a common Baloch family in Mashkay, Awaran district. My family’s occupation was similar to that of a common Baloch-living a nomad’s way and working as seasonal farmers. As far as my political life is concerned, it started in 1985 through the Baloch Students Organization (BSO).

What were the turning points in your life that made you put down your stethoscope, shun your medical practice, pick up the gun and become a freedom fighter?

I will not term it as a turning point because we had been hearing the stories of terror from our elders which were perpetrated by Gen. Ayub Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and others, which has affected our living conditions on a day-to-day basis. Later, BSO gave us an understanding of how the Baloch are subjugated and our rights denied.

As far as shunning medical practice is concerned, this was a great opportunity for me as I can indulge myself in understanding my people, my land and my nation I which couldn’t do during five years of medical education. Not that I was waiting for such an opportunity but as soon as I got that opportunity and the BLF came into being; our real political struggle i.e the freedom struggle started. But I never really left the practice completely and tried to continue it alongside the freedom struggle. But surely in some sense, Pakistan’s barbarity towards the Baloch, poverty and stories from our elders was a turning point which led us to pick a weapon and initiate the freedom struggle for Balochistan.

You were a member of the Baloch Student Organization (BSO), what was the reason to form your own student organization BSO (Azad)?

Gen. Zia-ul-Haq’s martial law was still in place when I became a member of BSO. Soon after his plane crashed in August 1988, elections were announced. A section of BSO to which I was attached, had relations with the Baloch National Youth Movement (BNYM) and the latter contested the elections on the condition that they will use this platform to highlight the freedom struggle. But later they got entangled in Pakistani politics and it became a challenge for us.

Until that time, I held several top positions in BSO. I was the Senior Vice-Chairman of BSO when BSO (Azad) was created. Our thought was to create a platform which would be free from the influence of Pakistani politics and to create leadership for the community. We were eventually successful and as of today, the Baloch freedom struggle movement takes its credit that most leaders were part of BSO (Azad).

Please tell us in detail about BLF. Does it relate to Jumma Khan’s BLF of the 1960s or is it a completely different organization?

Jumma Khan’s BLF has nothing to do with our BLF. Mir Jumma Khan was a seasoned politician who used to fight in Iran-occupied Balochistan. Yes, we have taken our name from the old organization but our organization is very different in its ideology.

You have been arrested many times by Pakistani forces and detained for years. You faced uncountable physical and mental torture. How did you maintain your will and sanity in such extreme situations?

During the political protests, I was arrested many times-sometimes for hours, sometimes for days but the cruellest mental and physical torture which I had to bear was in 2005. I still carry trauma from the torture which was inflicted on me 17 years ago.

It isn’t just me. Numerous Baloch have undergone torture in the torture dungeons of Pakistan and they have the same story to share. This includes several of my colleagues who are fighting for independence today and have survived these torture cells like – Mir Wahid Qambar, Mir Abdul Nabi Bagulzai, Dr Naseem Baloch (BNM Chairman), Kamal Baloch (Senior Joint Secretary), Akhtar Nadeem and my brother Ali Nawaz Gohar who was later martyred and many more friends.

Our longing for freedom kept us strong during these horrific times. I remember once when I was in jail, a professor visited me to ask about my well-being and told me that I have to sustain this torture because I am living for a bigger purpose. All those struggling in Pakistan’s death dungeons today are alive because of their willpower and bigger purpose for the Baloch nation.

In 2018, BRAS was formed, which is an umbrella organization of Baloch armed groups. What was the reasoning behind BRAS, when BLF is already functioning separately?

As far as BRAS is concerned, we needed Etihaad (togetherness) and we were planning this for long. BLF is a successful organization but we believe whichever organization is fighting this independence war should be on a common platform. Groups like BLA, BRG and BRA are all part of BRAS. There are several other groups, which I believe should also become part of BRAS and I intend that this alliance should culminate towards a strong unified organization in future, my firm belief along with other leaders is that this organization will lead the Baloch struggle further.

Over 14,000 persons missing in Balochistan and the count is rising each day

Do you think that the leadership of common Baloch like yourself has replaced the Sardari system?

The Sardari system hasn’t benefited the Balochistan independence war from the beginning. Moreover, we feel there are a lot of pitfalls in the tribal system as they cannot fulfil the desires of the independence struggle. That is why the Baloch nation has decided to fight a war which leads the whole nation together. I don’t want to name myself, but there are a lot of Baloch under whose leadership the Baloch nation is fighting a commendable independence war and they have no linkages to the family of any Sardar but they are fighting like a common Baloch. Sardars and their families should realize that the tribal system will not fulfil the desires of the national movement and they should fight this war as Baloch.

In a recent interview, Mehran Marri said that the genesis of Balochistan’s struggle was laid by Marri and Bugti families, how do you see this statement considering that the fight for Balochistan has gone beyond these families and common people have joined in?

I disagree with Mehran Marri sahib that the struggle for independence of Balochistan was started by either family. The freedom struggle was started by the people of Balochistan. Though both Nawab Khair Bax Marri and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti were stalwarts of the Baloch nation and we highly regard them for their sacrifices which are inspiring to the Baloch nation today and in times to come. I believe, the trust which the Baloch nation had towards the two stalwarts is lesser towards the current family members. If they can fight this independence war being a Baloch and not a Sardar then the Baloch nation wholeheartedly will support our friends.

Pakistani intellectuals and authorities have stated that Iran is supporting and backing you while Mehran Marri, without naming the BLF, has stated that many new activists are being monetarily supported by Iran, Saudi Arabia and ISI. How much truth is there in this statement?

I don’t know on what basis, the concerned person is saying that I am getting support from Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia doesn’t even share a border with Balochistan. We are fighting independently, we want support from the EU, UK, US, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Gulf states and all those countries who consider the Baloch as a victim. They should support our cause for independence and we would welcome them. Neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia has supported us till and I don’t see any plan in the foreseeable future. However, hope God-willing these countries support us.

There have been some major attacks on Pakistan since the start of this year. After the Lahore blast at the Anarkali market, you stated that each independence war is unique and depends upon the war strategy of the oppressed. Are you favouring the killing of civilians in this independence war?

I will never favour attacking the civilian population as a human being but the fact of the matter is the psychology of our enemy, the realities of our land and region are very different than in other parts of the world. Our enemy doesn’t even spare our mothers and children.

Men and women, old or young are treated in the same manner, they are being dragged out of their homes and put in jail or killed and their mutilated bodies are dumped. Our enemy is coward and scared of our scholars in the universities from their fame and their enlightened minds and is trying to silence them through assassinations. And in this context, I have stated that our struggle is different from anywhere else in the world, especially in regards to the enemy and geography as we are fighting a complicated war, therefore our strategy also needs to be different. Our enemy doesn’t have any ethics nor cultural values or redlines in war, so we need to act accordingly at times.

BRAS has warned Canadian company Barrick Gold to stay from the Reko Diq deal. The new deal will give 25% to Balochistan and will give employment to Baloch. Why do you oppose the deal, even the Balochistan Assembly has given its assent to the deal?

Balochistan Assembly doesn’t represent Baloch, all those people who are sitting in the Assembly are brought in by ISI. Baloch doesn’t even know the names of these representatives. They are all selected people. The alleged CM of Balochistan belongs to my place, what kind of popular support does he have? He couldn’t even bag 8% support among the registered voters but now he has become the CM. I firmly believe Baloch has never trusted this Assembly for its legality or its freedom struggle. I request the media to take note of this that this Assembly is created by ISI and from time to time people sit here like in musical chairs. I completely support the warning which BRAS has given to Barrick Gold officials for Reko Diq or Chinese for CPEC that foreign companies should not trade with illegitimate people who have colonized us and these projects are displacing people, exploiting them and they do not have approval or sanctity of the Baloch nation.

Pakistan has alleged that BLF has for a long time received funding and support from India. Is this true? If No, do you wish that the Indian people and Indian Govt. should support the cause of Balochistan?

Pakistan has always alleged from the start that we receive funding and support from India, which is ridiculous. These Pakistani Punjabis are perpetual liars, they even blame their politicians/political parties as Indian agents. This is part of their culture and political narrative. We are fighting for our independence, so Pakistan will use this propaganda. We want to clarify that we want India to intervene in Balochistan as an immediate neighbour but unfortunately India is not openly supporting Balochistan’s independence nor providing any kind of support to Baloch. We appeal and welcome India being the biggest democracy to intervene in Balochistan as India knows how Pakistan is committing genocide upon us, it is also your responsibility from our shared history.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with

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