Lahore, Oct 17 (AP/UNB) — A man convicted of killing eight children was executed at a Pakistani prison early Wednesday after the country's top court rejected a request for his public hanging, officials said.
Mohammad Imran was hanged in the eastern city of Lahore in the presence of the father of 7-year-old Zainab Ansari, whose rape and murder in January ignited nationwide outrage. Imran was arrested two weeks after he threw the body into a garbage dump in the city of Kasur in Punjab province.
After his arrest, Imran confessed to the other slayings and was convicted by a court. Other courts later upheld his death sentence.
In this Jan. 23, 2018, file photo, Chief Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province Shahbaz Sharif, second from right, addresses a news conference with Mohammed Amin Ansari, third from right, father of 7-year-old Zainab Ansari, who was raped and killed, in Lahore, Pakistan.
"Imran was taken to the gallows just before dawn and he has been hanged with a rope in the presence of magistrate and a doctor," local police official Mohammad Afzal said. Zainab's father, Mohammed Amin Ansari, was allowed to witness the execution.
Ansari had demanded that Imran should be hanged at some public place in order to deter others, but the judges rejected his plea this week. Shortly after witnessing Imran's execution, Ansari thanked the judiciary, government and investigators for giving them speedy justice.
"My daughter will not come back, but I am satisfied that we got justice," he said.
Authorities handed over the body of Imran to his family and he was expected to be buried later Wednesday.
In this Feb. 7, 2018, file photo, Pakistani police commandos escort a police van carrying Mohammad Imran, who is accused of the brutal killings of eight children in the eastern city of Kasur, as it arrives at an anti-terrorist court, in Lahore, Pakistan.
Zainab's rape and murder shocked the nation after a photo of her went viral on social media, showing the smiling girl in her favorite bright pink coat, with a pink barrette in her hair. Pakistanis rallied across the country, demanding the immediate arrest of the killer.
Ansari was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia with his wife at the time of his daughter's disappearance.
His daughter disappeared while going to a nearby home for Quranic studies.
Dhaka, Oct 16 (UNB) - The Congress had set up a three-member committee to look into the issue after a woman levelled charges of sexual harassment against the chief of its youth wing.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accepted the resignation of NSUI national president Fairoz Khan after charges of sexual harassment surfaced against him, PTI quoted Congress sources as saying, reports The Indian Express.
Khan, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, resigned from the post of the Congress student wing president on Monday after a woman Congress worker from Chhattisgarh levelled charges of sexual harassment against him amid the ongoing #MeToo movement.
The party had set up a three-member committee to look into the issue. Khan, while denying the charges on him, said the allegations are hurting the party’s image and hence he would like to step down from the post.
The woman had first complained against Khan in June. She had met Rahul Gandhi and other senior members of the party, demanding strict action against the youth wing president. She had also accused Khan of sexually harassing her sister and some other women from the party. She also lodged a complaint against him in the Parliament Street police station, saying that she feared for her life.
The allegations on Khan have come at a time when Congress is actively seeking the Centre’s response to sexual harassment allegations over Union minister MJ Akbar. The opposition party has attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for keeping quiet about the allegations against Akbar and has demanded the latter’s resignation.
Kabul, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — An Afghan official says a Taliban attack on a security outpost in northern Samangan province has killed seven policemen, including a deputy provincial police chief.
The provincial governor, Abdul Latif Ibrahimi, says the attack occurred late on Monday in Dari Suf district.
Ibrahimi told The Associated Press on Tuesday that another five policemen were wounded in the attack. He says the attackers made away with two armored personnel carriers, a police vehicle and an ambulance.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but in recent months, the Taliban have staged near-daily attacks on Afghan forces across the country.
On Saturday night, the Taliban attacked an army base in western Afghanistan, killing 17 Afghan soldiers and abducting 11. They also overran two checkpoints near the base, seizing weapons and ammunition.
Seoul, Oct 16 (AP/UNB) — The rival Koreas and the U.S.-led United Nations Command were meeting Tuesday to discuss efforts to disarm a military zone the rivals control within their shared border under a peace agreement between the Koreas.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said the talks at the Panmunjom border village mark the first meeting between the Koreas and the U.N. Command to discuss ways to demilitarize the village's Joint Security Area.
The Korean militaries in past weeks have been clearing mines from the area following a broad agreement meant to reduce military tensions that was forged between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in their summit last month.
The Koreas plan to withdraw guard posts and firearms from the Joint Security Area once the demining is complete.
Further details from Tuesday's meeting weren't immediately available.
The military agreement between the Koreas also calls for the creation of buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries, a no-fly zone above the border and the removal of 11 front-line guard posts by December.
Moon has said the military agreement is an important trust-building step that will reduce border tension and create diplomatic space without negatively impacting the South's defense readiness.
Some military experts say South Korea is at risk of conceding some of its conventional military strength before the North takes any material steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons program, the goal of global diplomatic efforts.
The Joint Security Area is overseen by the U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (yards) apart. It is located inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which is a heavily-fortified zone that has formed the de facto border between the Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The Joint Security Area has been used for diplomatic engagements but was also a site of occasional bloodshed during the Cold War, including the killing of two American army officers by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers in 1976. It was also where a defecting North Korean soldier fled south last year in a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades.
Seoul, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.
South Korea said Monday's talks will be aimed at finding ways to carry out peace agreements announced after the summit last month between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
The meeting between senior officials comes at a sensitive time as Washington has expressed unease over the fast pace in inter-Korean engagement, which it says should move in tandem with U.S.-led efforts to denuclearize the North.
South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said the discussions will include setting up a joint survey of a North Korean railroad section the Koreas plan to connect with the South. The North's chief delegate to the talks is Ri Son Gwon, who chairs the North Korean agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.
There could also be discussions over the specifics of a joint military committee agreed between their leaders to evaluate tension-reduction steps and maintain communication to prevent crises and accidental clashes.
"The infinite waters of the Pacific and the Atlantic start out as a gathering of smaller repositories of water," Ri told South Korean reporters as he arrived at the border village of Panmunjom for the meeting. "Likewise, the high-level meeting today will contribute to peace, prosperity and unification (between the countries) that are desired by the entire nation," he said, referring to the people of both Koreas.
In their third summit this year, Moon and Kim committed to reviving economic cooperation when possible, voicing optimism that international sanctions could end and allow such activity, and holding a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of the year on an ambitious project to connect their roads and railways.
The North and South also announced measures to reduce conventional military threats, such as creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border, removing 11 front-line guard posts by December, and demining sections of the Demilitarized Zone. The Koreas also said they will make a push to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics.
Moon has described inter-Korean engagement as crucial to resolving the nuclear standoff and is eager to restart joint economic projects held back by sanctions if the larger nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea begin yielding results.
However, South Korea's enthusiasm for engagement with its rival appears to have created discomfort with ally United States amid growing concerns that the North is lagging behind its supposed promise to denuclearize.
Moon's government last week walked back on a proposal to lift some of its unilateral sanctions against North Korea following President Donald Trump's blunt retort that Seoul could "do nothing" without Washington's approval.
South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had expressed displeasure about the Koreas' military agreement. Kang was not specific but her comments fueled speculation Washington wasn't fully on board before Seoul signed the agreement.
Trump has encouraged U.S. allies to maintain sanctions on North Korea until it denuclearizes to maintain a campaign of pressure against Kim's government.