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‘Fabricated’: India denies Pakistan ‘terror’ funding allegations | India



Pakistani foreign minister on Saturday accused India of sposoring ‘terrorism’ aimed at destabilising the country.

India has denied allegations by its arch foe Pakistan that the Indian government had helped fund armed groups on Pakistani soil, with a foreign ministry spokesman dismissing them as “fabricated” and “figments of imagination”.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday accused India of sponsoring “terrorism” aimed at destabilising the country and undermining its economic partnership with China. He said that Islamabad would present its evidence to the United Nations and other international bodies.

“This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan’s tactics,” India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

He added that Pakistan itself funds rebels – an allegation Islamabad also denies.

“We expect the international community to force India to end its terrorism & bring to justice those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in Pakistan,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter.

A statement from Pakistan’s military said India was “training, harbouring and launching… terrorists into Pakistan,” from 87 training camps – 66 in Afghanistan and 21 in India.

The nuclear-armed neighbours – that have fought three wars since both won independence from colonial power Britain – have long accused each other of equipping rebels.

This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan’s tactics.

India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava

But Saturday’s announcement by Pakistan’s foreign minister and military at a news conference in the capital Islamabad provided a heightened level of detail and specific accusations.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that Islamabad had gathered “irrefutable” evidence of Indian involvement in “terrorist” activities impacting Pakistan [File: Farooq Naeem/AFP]

‘Irrefutable facts’

Pakistani officials said they had obtained documents that showed India had met with and funded members of the Pakistani Taliban, as well as armed groups from the southern province of Balochistan who have claimed responsibility for attacks on Chinese interests as part of an effort to sabotage China’s $65bn Belt and Road investment plan in Pakistan.

“We have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and international community through this dossier,” the Pakistani foreign minister claimed.

Major-General Babar Iftikhar, who heads the media and public relations office for Pakistan’s armed forces, presented some of the dossier’s evidence purporting to show India’s involvement in attacks within Pakistan, including bank receipts showing funding and photos showing alleged perpetrators of attacks inside the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

We have irrefutable facts that we will present before the nation and international community through this dossier

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

He also played an audio clip purporting to record a conversation between an Indian intelligence official and Allah Nazar, who is the top leader of Baloch separatist fighters in southwest Pakistan.

The news conference came a day after at least 10 civilians and five security personnel were killed in cross-border shelling between the two rivals, in one of this year’s deadliest days.

India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped Kashmir of its limited autonomy last August [File: Anupam Nath/AP Photo]

Pakistan’s military said five civilians and an army soldier were killed by shelling from Indian troops across the highly militarised border that separates the Pakistani and Indian sides of Kashmir.

India, meanwhile, has long alleged that Pakistan has founded, trained and funded secessionist groups operating in Indian-administered Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region claimed by both countries.

Last August, India’s Hindu nationalist government stripped Kashmir’s limited autonomy and brought the region under direct central rule – a step activists said took away Kashmiris’ democratic rights to choose the local government.

Also on Sunday, Afghanistan’s foreign ministry “strongly rejected” the Pakistani allegations its territory was used for acts of “terror”.

“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan explicitly declares that, as a major victim of terrorism, we are committed to a policy of combating all forms of terrorism, without discrimination around the world and will never allow Afghan territory to be used for destructive activities against other countries,” it said in a statement.

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Chinese cities using anal swabs to screen COVID infections | Coronavirus pandemic News



Study shows virus traces in faecal samples could remain detectable for a longer time and provide more accurate test results.

Some Chinese cities are using samples taken from the anus to detect potential COVID-19 infections as China steps up screening to make sure no potential carrier of the new coronavirus is missed ahead of next month’s the Lunar New Year holidays when tens of millions of people usually travel home to their families.

China has been battling new pockets of the disease that have appeared in the north and northeast with strict lockdowns and mass testing in a bid to stamp out the outbreaks.

Justifying the decision to take anal swabs, a city official in Weinan in northern Shaanxi province said a 52-year-old man with symptoms including coughing initially tested negative for COVID-19. He was then tested via an anal swab.

The man, who was confined to a centralised facility for medical observation as a close contact of another COVID-19 patient earlier this month, was then confirmed to have the virus, the official told a news conference.

Anal swabs require inserting a cotton swab three to five centimetres (1.2 to two inches) into the anus and gently rotating it.

In a video posted online by state-backed newspaper Global Times, Zhang Wenhong of Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, said that such swabs could be useful in helping minimise the risk of a relapse after recovery.

“There may be traces of the coronavirus detected in the abdominal cavity faeces and intestine,” Zhang was quoted as saying in the report.

Last week, a Beijing city official said that anal swabs were taken from more than 1,000 teachers, staffers and students at a primary school in the city after an infection had been found there. Nose and throat swabs and serum samples were also collected for testing.

Additional tests using anal swabs can pick up infections that other tests miss, as virus traces in faecal samples or anal swabs could remain detectable for a longer time than in samples taken from upper respiratory tract, Dr Li Tongzeng, a respiratory and infectious disease specialist in Beijing city, told state TV last week.

Li added that such samples were only necessarily for key groups such as those under quarantine.

‘Low harm, extreme humiliation’

Stool tests may be more effective than respiratory tests in identifying COVID-19 infections in children and infants since they carry a higher viral load in their stool than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) found in a paper published last year.

Users of China’s Weibo, its Twitter-like social media platform, reacted to the method with a mix of mirth and horror.

“So lucky I returned to China earlier,” one user wrote.

“Low harm, but extreme humiliation,” another said, using a laughing emoticon.

Others who had undergone the procedure chimed in with dark humour.

“I’ve done two anal swabs, every time I did one I had to do a throat swab afterwards – I was so scared the nurse would forget to use a new swab,” one Weibo user joked.

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