Pakistan Airforce Chased Away Indian Planes That ‘Tried’ To Enter Pakistan

Indian military planes violated the Line of Control (LoC), intruding from the Muzaffarabad sector, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Asif Ghafoor said on his official Twitter account

  • ISPR says Pakistani forces responded effectively
  • Payload dropped at Balakot
  • No casualties

Maj-Gen Ghafoor in his tweet said “Indian Air Force violated Line of Control”, following which “Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled” and Indian aircraft went back.

He later added that the aircraft faced “timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force” and ended up releasing “payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot”. Payload is the carrying capacity of an aircraft, which is usually measured in terms of weight. This could include cargo, passengers, an explosive warhead or any instruments.

No casualties or damage occurred, the military spokesperson said.

In another tweet, he said that “Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LoC in Muzaffarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles”.

Technical details and other important information to follow, he added.

PTI, via Twitter, linked the violation to India’s upcoming elections, saying: “We realise it’s election year and [there is] a desperation across the border. Fact of the matter is, Indian jets were forced to retreat in haste by Pakistan army patrols and dumped fuel, which in their scramble they thought was a bomb.”

India’s new high speed train breaks down after hitting cow on first trip

India’s new high-speed train broke down on its first trip after after hitting a cow on the tracks – just a day after it was launched.

The Vande Bharat Express made its first journey from New Delhi to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi on Friday after being inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi.

But on its return the following day it collided with cattle causing the brakes to fail, according to Indian Railways.

It comes after rail bosses were left red faced when they were mocked for altering footage of the train on social media to make it look twice as fast.

Soon after the collision with the cow, the drivers noticed smoke billowing from the last four carriages and the electricity stopped working.

‘The train later experienced technical issues and was stranded on the way to Delhi,’ Indian Railways spokeswoman Smita Vats Sharma told AFP.

The train reached the capital ‘safely’ ahead of its first commercial journey on Sunday, she added.

The accident is the latest controversy for the express train – touted as India’s fastest and a special project of Modi’s government.

Last week India’s rail minister Piyush Goyal was mocked after he tweeted a digitally altered video of the train zipping by a station at lightning speed.

He was later accused of altering the video to make the train appear faster, triggering widespread social media ridicule.

A member of a trainspotters Facebook group wrote under the Twitter post that the video appeared to be sped up footage he had taken in December.

The Vande Bharat Express, touted as India’s fastest train was built under the Modi government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ programme.

Cattle obstructions on roads and rail tracks are common in India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh state where Saturday’s collision happened.

Since coming to office, Modi’s nationalist party launched a crackdown on the slaughter of cows – considered sacred by many Hindus – which has led to crisis numbers of stray and unwanted cattle.

India is struggling to upgrade its colonial-era railway system, which relies on creaking and outdated infrastructure to transport 23 million travellers each day.

The locally-made express train has a rated top speed of 180 kilometres (111 miles) an hour, 20 percent quicker than the next fastest train in service.

Railway authorities say the train is expected to reduce the 850-kilometre journey between the two cities from 14 to eight hours.  

Father who was denied a heart transplant has died aged 38

A father who was denied a heart transplant on the NHS has died.

Nasar Ullah Khan, a Pakistani citizen, was ordered to pay £32,000 for end-of-life care.

The 38-year-old spent his final moments with wife Sania Butt and his children Abdullah Muhammad, ten, and Saif Ullah, eight.

Mr Khan was told he could not have a transplant because he had overstayed his visa BirminghamLive reports.

He was discharged from Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday and died at St Mary’s Hospice at 2pm on Thursday. He was just 38.

His funeral took place today in Birmingham and his body is due to be repatriated to his Jhelum in Pakistan for burial.

His younger brother Faisal Hanif spoke to BirminghamLive briefly today.

He said: “We’re all OK. Sania, his wife, was crying for hours.

“It’s tough for us all and difficult. His funeral is taking place today, it’s incredibly sad. I’ve lost my brother.”

Speaking earlier this week, Faisal said: “His wife has not left his side, she has been at the hospital 24 hours.

“My brother came here for a better life, he went to London at first but I invited him to Birmingham to be with my family because he was alone.

“Then he found a flat just a five-minute walk from us. He had tried to work but he had overstayed his visa and he had heart problems, which meant he had collapsed several times and needed treatment.

“In August, he was struggling with his health and he had decided to go back to Pakistan to be with his family, he had completed all the paperwork, but then he had a cardiac arrest and he needed treatment at Heartlands Hospital.

“I am disappointed because we were told on December 14 that he would be considered for a transplant and they would look into placing him on the waiting list, they were saying he would be having tests and scans.

“Then they said he would not be eligible because of his immigration status, because he did not have leave to remain.”

Mr Khan, who had been in the UK for nine years, was refused an operation because he did not have leave to remain in the country.

He was being granted palliative care but had been told he will have to foot a £32,000 bill.

“The NHS are not chasing us for the bill, but we don’t know what is going to happen,” Faisal said.

Doctors of the World, a humanitarian group supporting people denied access to healthcare, took up Mr Khan’s case, helping to secure ‘fast-track’ visas for his wife and sons to travel from Pakistan.

In a further show of support, businessmen in Birmingham rallied to raise the funds for the end-of-life care and to support Mr Khan and his family.

Mr Khan entered the UK as a visitor with ‘entry clearance’ that expired in 2011 but remained in the UK without appropriate leave.

He made an unsuccessful request to the Home Office for further leave under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As he is too unwell to travel back to Pakistan, he had made a ‘fast-track’ application for visas allowing his wife and sons to travel to his bedside.

Connected to his tubes from his hospital bed, Mr Khan made a direct appeal to the British and Pakistani authorities to speed up the process, thought to have been mired in red tape.

His prayers were answered and he had an emotional reunion with his family in his hospital room two weeks ago.

MP Joram who branded Islam ‘a disease’ becomes a Muslim

A Dutch former MP and right-hand man of far-right politician Geert Wilders has shocked his supporters by announcing he has converted to Islam.

Joram van Klaveren, who once called Islam ‘the biggest disease to have hit our country in the last hundred years’ was an MP for Wilders’ far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) from 2010 to 2017.

During that time, Van Klaveren fought a relentless campaign against Islam in the Dutch Parliament, calling for bans of both the Muslim face-veil and minarets, which are slim towers often seen on mosques.

But the 40-year-old said he had changed his mind halfway through writing a-book criticising Islam, when he found out he had more in common with the religion than he initially thought.

Van Klaveren said: ‘I looked at the Bible on my bookshelf, on the table were books about the Prophet Muhammad.

‘The prior years I had a big aversion to Islam. When you then have to conclude that you were wrong, it is not a fun moment. 

‘But while searching for God I always felt a certain unease. And that slowly disappeared. It felt a bit like coming home in a religious way.’

Van Klaveren, who grew up in a reformed protestant family, said he is ‘very sorry that he contributed to giving people a false image about Islam’.

He said that the manuscript of the Islam-critical book he initially planned to write has since been thrown into a rubbish bin and will be replaced by a book in which he will counter the arguments of critics of Islam.

Van Klaveren said that the analysis which he made as a far-right MP that most problems in the country and the world can be blamed on Islam were false.

He said: ‘That was just the policy of the Party for Freedom: everything which was not right had to be linked one way or another to Islam.’

The Dutchman said that his wife had accepted his conversion and that he does not plan to force her or their two children to make the same decision as they are free to determine their own life.

He said: ‘I never wanted to impose Christianity and I won’t do it with Islam either.’

Van Klaveren said he ‘did not suddenly become a lefty’ and still holds dear many of his old views as his conversion is purely a personal religious matter.

He said: ‘I suddenly get questions like: do you hate gays? Will you go to Syria as well? Can you pet a dog?

‘I contributed to maintaining and feeding a bad image of Islam, but you cannot realise how these prejudices work until you have to deal with them yourself.’

Van Klaveren’s former political leader Geert Wilders was critical about the conversion and tweeted an image of the Saudi Arabian flag writing ‘for all converts, read carefully’.

Wilders replaced the calligraphic script of the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith which reads ‘there is no god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God’ which normally features on the Saudi flag.

Instead, he wrote, in Arabic,: ‘Islam is a lie, the prophet [Muhammad] is a criminal, the Koran is poison.’

Van Klaveren split with Wilders in 2014 after the PVV leader’s controversial comments that year when asking supporters whether they wanted ‘fewer or more Moroccans in your city and the Netherlands’.

Wilders in 2016 was found guilty on discrimination charges. The sentence is currently being appealed.

Van Klaveren then went on to form his own far-right party called ‘For Netherlands’ (VNL) but left politics after failing to win a single seat in the 2017 elections.

‘If this really isn’t a PR stunt to promote his book, then it really is an extraordinary choice for somebody who had a lot to say about Islam,’ his former VNL co-founder Jan Roos told the AD.

‘But we have religious freedom in the Netherlands. He can worship whomever he wants,’ Roos added.

Said Bouharrou, who serves on the Board of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands, praised Van Klaveren.

‘It is great when somebody who has been so critical of Islam… realises that it is not so bad or perverse,’ he told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD).

‘It is brave that he’s prepared to do it in public,’ Bouharrou said.

Around five percent of the Dutch population of 17 million people or some 850,000 are Muslim, according to the Dutch Central Statistics Bureau (CBS).

The Netherlands also last year introduced a partial burqa ban from some public places such as schools and hospitals, ending years of discussions on the hot-button issue.

Van Klaveren is not the first high-profile PVV member to convert to Islam, and follows in the footsteps of Arnoud van Doorn, a former Hague-based PVV city councillor who switched in 2013.

Van Klaveren could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

‘World’s oldest woman’ dies age 129 while saying her prayers

A woman believed by Russian government officials to be the oldest person who ever lived has died quietly while saying her prayers.

Koku Istambulova, a survivor of Stalin’s repressions against the Chechen people, would have been 130 in June, according to records accepted by the country’s state pension fund.

She was older than a woman listed in the Russian Book of Records who died last month supposedly aged 128, officials said.

Koku made headlines last year by saying she had only lived a single happy day in her long life – when she entered the home she built with her own hands on return from exile in Kazakhstan, reports Daily Mail.

Her grandson Iliyas Abubakarov said she had supper as usual on January 27 at her village home in Chechnya.

‘She was joking, she was talking,’ he said.

‘Then she suddenly felt unwell, she complained of a chest pain.

‘We called the doctor, we were told that her blood pressure had dropped, and injections were made.

‘But they failed to save her. She died some time later. She died in a quiet way, fully conscious, praying.’

She has been buried in her home village Bratskoe, survived by five grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

A Muslim who was born before the last Tsar Nicholas II was crowned, she outlived the Soviet Union by a generation, according to her internal Russian passport.

Her date of birth was claimed to be 1 June 1889 – when Queen Victoria was on the throne in Britain.

But her passport gave only a year of her birth, not the exact day and month.

In extraordinary and moving testimony broadcast last year she spoke emotionally of the appalling day her native Chechen people were deported en masse by Stalin to the steppes of Kazakhstan 75 years ago.

She told how people died in the cattle-truck trains – and their bodies were thrown out of the carriages to be eaten by hungry dogs.

If her age was correct, Koku was 54 at the time, having earlier lived through the coronation of the last tsar Nicholas II two days before her 7th birthday – and his toppling when she was 27.

‘It was a bad day, cold and gloomy,’ she said of the February morning in 1944 when the entire entire nation was banished from their mountain homeland in the Trans-Causacus.

‘We were put in a train and taken … no one knew where. Railway carriages were stuffed with people – dirt, rubbish, excrement was everywhere.’

Stressing the cruelty of Stalin’s action, she told journalists determinedly in her native Chechen language: ‘Write that – there was excrement in the carriages.

‘We were not allowed [to go] anywhere.’

Young Caucasus girls died because from the rupturing of their bladders – they were ashamed to go to the toilet in crowded stinking the crowded trains.

Older women tried to crowd round them to stop their embarrassment as they relieved themselves.

Yet there was worse.

‘On the way to our exile, dead bodies were just thrown out of the train,’ she said.

‘Nobody was allowed to bury the dead. Corpses were eaten by dogs. My father-in-law was thrown out of the train in this way.’

The guard fed them ‘rotten fish’, she said.

‘We had hard times when we were deported.’

A paranoid Stalin had alleged the Chechens were collaborating with the Nazis.

‘We were told that we were bad people and that’s why we had to leave,’ she said.

‘I don’t know what we suffered for… I felt no guilt.’

Before the war, she recalled ‘scary’ Nazi tanks passing her family home.

She suffered devastating personal bereavements in her Kazakh hell – her two sons both perished in the harsh conditions.

‘There were no doctors, no-one to treat them,’ she said.

‘My younger boy came down with something and passed away really quickly. Such things happened in every family.

‘When women gave birth children often died because there were no obstetricians, only neighbours and friends.’

Weeping the old lady said: ‘I only kept my daughter Tamara.’

Exile in Kazakhstan was 13 years – then, after Stalin’s death, people were allowed to return to their homeland.

When she got back, many houses had been grabbed by incoming Russians – so she set to work building her own home, complaining her husband was ‘too lazy’ for the work.

She conceded that despite her earlier claim, the day she moved into her own house, built with her own hands, after returning from internal Soviet exile was ‘happy’.

‘I built it myself, the best house in the world,’ she said. ‘I lived there for 60 years.’

Koku told last year how she never went to school.

‘I was working since early childhood,’ she said. ‘I never studied. I took care of a cow, chickens. I dug the soil in the garden, and kept digging… every day.’

She gathered cotton and corn, and nursed her younger brothers and sisters.

As a child she remembered playing with dolls made of cloth by her uncle.

She had red shoes and white stockings bought by her father at a fair – the first and only ‘nice clothes’ in her short youth.

She said: ‘Father was ill, then mother was ill. Grandma was ill. I was the oldest, how could I leave them?’

She married late when a man was chosen for her from another village.

‘I didn’t know him at all,’ she said. But then I started to love him. What else could I do if I got married?

‘I had to endure. His name was Magomed and he was younger than me.’

She laughed as she recalled: ‘He wasn’t handsome at all.’

Asked about the secret of a long life, she previously said: ‘It was God’s will.

‘I did nothing to make it happen. I see people going in for sports, eating something special, keeping themselves fit, but I have no idea how I lived until now.’

Her receipe for a long life was fermented milk, but she shunned meat and soup.

She asked: ‘Why did Allah give me such a long life and so little happiness?….

‘I would have been dead long ago, if not for Allah who was holding me in his arms.’

Koku said: ‘It is hard to live when all who remembered you died long ago. And it is very scary to die, however old you are.’

As with Nanu Shaova, who died last month, there were no original documents proving her age despite the Pension Fund of Russia accepting that she was 129 when she died.

Unlike Nanu, Koku had vivid recollections of events deep in the past.

The Caucasus has a history of long living people yet the claims are usually impossible to verify.

The oldest documented human lifespan is Jeanne Calment, from France, who lived 122 years, 164 days, dying in 1997.