Posts Tagged ‘india’

Pakistan, China pledge to work for regional stability through SCO

    FOREIGN Minister Khawaja Asif shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on Monday.—APP

    FOREIGN Minister Khawaja Asif shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on Monday.—APP

    BEJING: Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif has said that Pakistan and China have resolved to enhance bilateral cooperation with the pledge to play a key role for regional stability through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

    Talking to media, along with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after their meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) moot held here at Diaoyutai State Guest House on Monday, he said Mr Wang termed Pakistan and China close friends, all-weather strategic and cooperative partners during their meeting.

    He said Mr Wang also appreciated Pakistan’s active participation in the SCO and expressed Beijing’s strong support to Islamabad’s efforts in enhancing regional peace and cooperation besides its tireless efforts in countering terrorism in the country.

    Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, along with foreign ministers of other SCO member countries, also met Chinese President Xi Jinping here at the Great Hall.

    Asif meets Chinese president, foreign minister

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure Yevgeniy Sysoyev also attended the meeting.

    Welcoming the foreign ministers, President Xi said the SCO set a new pilot model for mutual respect, as well as a just, fair, win-win relationship, since its founding 17 years ago.

    Mr Asif in his meeting with Mr Wang highly appreciated the vibrant role of the SCO in the region and said it was significantly vital forum for regional cooperation.

    He said Pakistan was looking forward to productive and fruitful meeting of the heads of states of the SCO at Qingdao in June this year. President Mamnoon Hussain would participate in the summit.

    The foreign minister expressed his appreciation for the Chinese initiative of Pakistan-China-Afghanistan Foreign Ministers Trilateral Mechanism for enhancing cooperation with Afghanistan.

    He also apprised Mr Wang of grave situation prevailing in India-held Kashmir.

    Mr Asif congratulated Mr Wang on his re-election as foreign minister and his elevation as state councillor. He also congratulated him on re-election of Xi Jinping as president of People’s Republic of China and as core leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

    He informed him about Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit to China earlier this month and his participation in successful and productive Boao Forum for Asia conference.

    Mr Wang said that China and Pakistan were all-weather strategic and cooperative partners and friendship between the two countries had received support from the peoples’ hearts, with solid public opinion foundation.

    “No matter how the international and regional situation changes, the mutual trust between China and Pakistan remains unbreakable. No matter how domestic situations of the two countries change, the friendship between China and Pakistan is as stable as always. No matter how geopolitical structure adjusts, the cooperation between China and Pakistan enjoys continuous development,” he added.

    He said that China-Pakistan relations showcased strong soundness, stability and persistence, which were not only conducive to both countries, but also increasingly becoming an anchor of regional peace and stability.

    Mr Wang said China firmly supports Pakistan in defending its sovereignty and national dignity, its constant development and growth, and in fighting terrorism and safeguarding national security.

    Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018

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    Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - April 24, 2018 at 11:25 am

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    Missing Indian Sikh pilgrim returns home today

      LAHORE: A Sikh pilgrim who had arrived in Pakistan from India to attend the annual Baisakhi festival but went missing later has been traced and will be sent back home on Tuesday (today) via the Wagah border.

      Amarjeet Singh, 23, had arrived from India on April 12 and was scheduled to return with a group of over 1,700 pilgrims on April 21— the last day of his visa duration.

      Explore: ,Glare and galore at Baisakhi festival,

      “But a couple of days before his visa expired, probably April 18, he left the group in Nankana Sahib and went missing. Since the issue was so sensitive, the law enforcement agencies made extensive efforts to get any clue in this regard,” said an official source in the evacuee trust property board (ETPB). His mother was also worried as her son did not return on April 21 with the others.

      Amarjeet, he added, was later found in Sheikhupura where he had been residing at the residence of his friend. “Now he is in the custody of a law enforcement agency. And in a day or two, he will be sent back to India,” he said.

      When contacted, ETPB secretary Tariq Wazir said that Amarjeet would be sent back to India on Tuesday. “Actually he had left the group and gone to meet his friend in Sheikhupura, near Nankana. But after a couple of days, family of Amarjeet’s friend contacted us on its own, confirming his stay at their home,” the ETPB secretary told Dawn on Monday.

      “They will hand over Amarjeet to us on Tuesday after which we will send him back to India,” he added.

      Earlier, the ETPB administration had informed the ministries of interior and foreign affairs and other departments concerned about Amarjeet gone missing. The foreign office had confirmed the report as well.

      Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018

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      ‘CPEC is a reality’: Two-day summit kicks off in Karachi

      • ,’CPEC is not a debt trap’,
      • ,’CPEC is a reality’,
      • ,’CPEC not only about economic growth’,
      • ,’CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.’,
      • ,’China and Pakistan have enjoyed great relations for past 5 generations’,
      • ,‘KP’s hospitality being extended to economic friendships through CPEC’,
      • ,‘One can’t imagine CPEC without Gwadar’,
      • ,Objectives of CPEC,

      The ,two-day CPEC Summit,, being hosted by the Dawn Media Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, kicked off at Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah on Monday.

      Various speakers, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, addressed the conference on the first day of the event.

      While addressing the summit, PM Abbasi remarked that while the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was unheard of merely three years ago, the world acknowledges it as a reality today.

      The prime minister and all of the other speakers discussed the importance of CPEC with the attendees of the summit.

      Representatives of all four provinces discussed the importance of the joint initiative with reference to the development that it has brought to their particular region.

      ‘CPEC is not a debt trap’

      Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his address talked about the progress and development made in the country during the tenure of the PML-N’s government.

      Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

      Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

      “This event proves that Karachi is changing,” he said, adding that when the PML-N came to power in 2013, the city was known for target killings and extortion.

      “This is an age of development and growth, with the speed of an electron,” he remarked.

      Talking about the Belt and Road initiative, he termed it a huge opportunity. “Pakistan will become a hub of development with the help of this project.

      “We made regional connectivity a key component of our Vision2025 project,” he said, terming CPEC the biggest flagship project of the One Belt One Road initiative.

      PM Abbasi, Sindh CM Shah, Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the first day of CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

      PM Abbasi, Sindh CM Shah, Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the first day of CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

      “China extended its hand towards Pakistan when no one wanted to invest even 10 dollars.”

      Addressing the reservations about CPEC, Iqbal said: “There are lobbies that are not happy with CPEC — it is not a debt trap.”

      “Some say China will become the East India Company; they haven’t read history. China seeks partnership. There is nothing to fear for Pakistani businesses [...] this is propaganda.”

      “Long live China-Pak friendship,” Iqbal concluded.

      ‘CPEC is a reality’

      PM Abbasi addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

      PM Abbasi addressing the CPEC Summit. — DawnNewsTV

      “We look upon CPEC as a partnership between two governments,” said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi — the event’s chief guest — at the inauguration of the summit in the morning. “It is a new form of cooperation.”

      “Three years ago CPEC was unheard of — today it is known globally. The BRI initiative of Chinese President Xi is a project for generations,” he said, “Recently, we discussed security and connectivity with Afghanistan, which also recognises CPEC as an opportunity.”

      “CPEC has now become a reality — two power projects under the initiative have been completed and the third one is about to be finished.”

      ‘CPEC not only about economic growth’

      For the past 40 years, China has made every effort to develop and grow its economy, said Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing in his address.

      “We’ve combined socialism and market economy to benefit people.”

      Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing speaking at the CPEC Summit. ? DawnNewsTV

      Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing speaking at the CPEC Summit. ? DawnNewsTV

      “China wants to see its relationship with Pakistan serve as an example for its relations with other states,” said Jing while speaking on the CPEC.

      “We look at CPEC as a significant project. I’m proud that after five years of implementation, it [CPEC] has contributed to Pakistan’s development.”

      “CPEC is not just about economic growth; we want to develop a community.”

      ‘CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.’

      Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif addressed the summit in the session ‘View from Punjab’.

      “CPEC has helped strengthen the federation of Pakistan; today, Pakistan is a happening place and CPEC has proven that it is a country where people’s money is safe,” he said.

      Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif — DawnNewsTV

      Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif — DawnNewsTV

      “CPEC has been a turning point in Pakistan’s history,” he said, adding: “Those who doubt intentions of the Chinese are enemies of Pakistan.”

      He negated the impression that CPEC was limited to one area or province, saying, “Together with Sindh, Balochistan, KP, FATA and AJK, we will build a better tomorrow.”

      “China is one of Pakistan’s most reliable friends. Once the Chinese were convinced that people of Pakistan rightly deserved their support, then came President Xi’s vision of ,Belt and Road Initiative, (BRI) which came to be known as CPEC,” said Shahbaz.

      Praising China’s support further, the Punjab CM said there has been no conditions or mantra of “do more” — a reference to the ,often repeated demand from the United States, — from the neighbouring country.

      “CPEC is not about roads and motorways; it’s about connectivity.”

      ‘China and Pakistan have enjoyed great relations for past 5 generations’

      Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah addressed the summit in the session ‘View from Sindh’.

      “The past five generations of the Chinese leadership and previous Pakistan governments have all had a great working relationship with each other,” the CM said.

      Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah — DawnNewsTV

      Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah — DawnNewsTV

      He added: “When China stood isolated on the world stage, it was Pakistan under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that staunchly supported its neighbour. Today, China Pakistan Economic Corridor has seen light of day because of President Xi Jinping and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s vision.”

      Speaking about the development taking place in Sindh under the CPEC plan, CM Shah said: “CPEC has resulted in the optimal utilisation of two commercial ports and the opening of Keti Bunder. The development of our commercial ports is in line with the CPEC plan, and Sindh pledges its full cooperation and facilitation in this regard.”

      “Sindh had started working towards renewable energy projects long before the formal launch of CPEC and it remains the the only province which has a land grant policy for renewable energy parks,” the CM said, adding that the long-term vision of the Sindh government has produced “turning results.”

      He elaborated that Sindh currently contributes 930 megawatts of wind energy to the national grid, “a large chunk of which comes from three early-harvest CPEC projects.”

      He also told the audience that an additional 300MW generated through wind power projects would be added to the grid once the projects are completed in October 2018.

      ‘KP’s hospitality being extended to economic friendships through CPEC’

      Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Secretary Hassan Ansari, who was representing the KP government at the summit, said that the province is responsible for the production of 15pc of Pakistan’s natural gas output.

      “In hydropower, KP has the potential of producing 30,000MW of energy. There are a number of fruits that grow in the province around the CPEC route,” Ansari briefed the attendees of the summit.

      Ansari also said that two hydropower projects in Chitral are part of the CPEC framework.

      ‘One can’t imagine CPEC without Gwadar’

      Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, who claimed to be representing the people of Balochistan and not the provincial government, said, “CPEC could not be conceived without Gwadar.”

      Bizenjo said that Balochistan constitutes 43pc of Pakistan, and is home to Reko Diq, the second largest copper reserve in the world, and many other minerals.

      “The people of Balochistan are hopeful that CPEC will grow and when it does, they will get to grow with it,” he explained.

      Objectives of CPEC

      A symposium, “The dynamics of economy and finance”, preceded the inauguration ceremony.

      The discussion featured, among others, former State Bank governor Ishrat Husain and former finance ministers Shaukat Tarin and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

      It’s one of the biggest events to be held in the country on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor aimed at educating the public about the objectives of CPEC and its umbrella project, the Belt and Road Initiative.

      The highlight of the second day will be a session titl¬ed “The view from China”. Yao Jing is slated to be the main speaker.

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      Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - April 23, 2018 at 3:26 pm

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      Ailing Hockey hero Mansoor Ahmed seeks New Delhi’s permission for heart transplant in India

        Pakistan’s World Cup winning field hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed on Monday reached out to India for help in securing a heart transplant — despite years of breaking his rivals’ “hearts on the field”.

        The 49-year-old has been suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart.

        Ahmed has been a sporting icon in Pakistan since helping the country win the 1994 World Cup in Sydney with his penalty stroke save against the Netherlands in the final.

        “I may have broken a lot of Indian hearts on the field of play by beating India in the Indira Gandhi Cup (1989) and in other events but that was sport,” Ahmed told AFP.

        “Now I need a heart transplant in India and for that I need support from the Indian government.”

        India-Pakistan ties, including sports and cultural contacts, plummeted after the 2008 militant attacks in Mumbai.

        Despite the strained ties, Pakistanis are eligible to apply for medical visas to India, renowned for its booming medical tourism industry.

        Ahmed — who played 338 international matches, participated in three Olympics and various other high-profile events in a career spanning from 1986 to 2000 — said the visa could be a lifesaver.

        “Humanity is paramount and I too would be obliged if I get a visa and other help in India” said Ahmed.

        Sport has been one of the few avenues to improve relations between the arch rivals, he added.

        “We have had a great rivalry and sports have helped on a number of occasions so that should continue,” said Ahmed.

        India has suspended most bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan since 2008, with high-profile cricket tours bearing the brunt of the moratorium.

        They have, however, continued to play each other in multinational events like the World Cup.

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        Boult’s jaw-dropping IPL catch leaves cricket world in awe

          Trent Boult left the cricket world stunned with his fielding brilliance after taking a ,sensational catch, hailed as the “greatest ever” during an Indian Premier League match.

          New Zealand’s Boult, playing for Delhi Daredevils in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament, leapt airborne on the deep square leg boundary to pouch one-handed a shot by Virat Kohli, skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, that appeared to be heading for six.

          The wrong-handed diving effort by the left-arm pacer — completed just millimetres inside the boundary rope — left Kohli in disbelief and sent social media into a frenzy.

          “I was stunned when he took it, that’s a brilliant catch. It happens in the IPL especially,” Kohli said after his team went on to win the match on Saturday night.

          “Good to see. That’s a catch when you look back, you don’t feel bad about getting out,” Kohli added of his dismissal that came off the bowling of Harshal Patel.

          “I think we could quite easily have just seen the Greatest EVER catch,” tweeted the former England captain Michael Vaughan.

          ,,

          Commentator and former England Test batsman David Lloyd termed it a moment of “magic” while England and Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes wrote on Twitter: “Don’t think you can even describe that as a catch… that’s something different.”

          ,,

          The match will also be remembered for AB de Villiers’ unbeaten 90 off 39 balls that led Bangalore to a six-wicket win at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

          The South African batsman hit 10 fours and five sixes to pulverise the Delhi bowlers, for whom Boult returned figures of 1-33.

          The IPL is now in its 11th season with 60 matches over 51 days.

          There is $8 million in prize money at stake including $4m for the winning team. The final takes place on May 27 in Mumbai.

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          Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - April 22, 2018 at 7:25 pm

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          India approves death penalty for rape of girls under 12

            NEW DELHI: India’s cabinet on Saturday approved the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting in response to nationwide outrage in the wake of a series of cases.

            The executive order, or ordinance, amends the criminal law to also include more drastic punishment for convicted rapists of girls below the age of 16, government officials said. The order will come into effect once it is signed by India’s president.

            India launched fast-track courts and a tougher rape law that included the death penalty after a gruesome assault on a young woman shocked the country in 2012, but India’s rape epidemic has shown no sign of dying down. There were 40,000 rapes reported in 2016.

            The victims were children in 40 per cent of those cases. Every day, newspapers carry fresh stories of sexual violence against women.

            Read: ,India tired of rape culture excuses,

            The latest outpouring of national revulsion came after details emerged of the ,gang rape of an eight-year-old Muslim girl, in a Hindu-dominated area of Jammu and Kashmir state. Local leaders of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party had appeared to offer support to the men accused, adding to the public disgust.

            Protests around the country were also prompted by the arrest of a lawmaker from the BJP last week in connection with the ,rape of a teenager in Uttar Pradesh,, a populous northern state that is governed by the party.

            More recently, a sexual attack on an 11-year-old girl was reported in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. The post-mortem revealed the girl had been tortured, raped, strangled and smothered.

            Modi’s failure to speak out soon enough during the latest bout of public anger fuelled criticism that his government was not doing enough to protect women.

            With a general election due next year, ,Modi moved swiftly to remedy, that negative perception by holding the emergency cabinet meeting as soon as he returned on Saturday morning from an official visit to Europe.

            The cabinet also prescribed measures for stronger punishment and faster trials in rape cases, a government document showed.

            In cases of the rape of a girl below the age of 16, the cabinet increased the minimum punishment to 20 years from 10 years. The penalty for the rape of women was raised to 10 years from seven years. The document made no mention of the rape of boys or men.

            India’s judicial system has been unable to keep up with the growing number of rape cases. The cabinet also recommended mandatory completion of rape investigations within two months and advised that trials should also be completed in two months.

            “Government has taken serious note of incidents of rape in various parts of the country,” the document said. “While expressing deep anguish over such incidents, it has been decided to devise a comprehensive response to deal with the situation.” The cabinet also approved the establishment of more fast-track courts to deal with rape cases, the appointment of more public prosecutors, and ordered police stations to be equipped with special forensic kits, among other steps.

            Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2018

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            Miftah meets US, Afghan officials in DC

              WASHINGTON: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to form working groups to address trade-related issues and will hold a high-level meeting in Islamabad early next month to finalise the proposal, official sources told Dawn.

              The decision was taken in Washington on Thursday at a meeting between Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail and Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, who agreed that the meeting should be held in the first week of May.

              The Pakistani team will include representatives from the ministries of finance and commerce as well as the Federal Board of Revenue. Afghanistan also agreed to send a similar, high-powered delegation to Islamabad for the talks.

              In Thursday’s meeting, Pakistan is believed to have expressed concern at a sudden decrease in bilateral trade while the Afghan delegation urged Islamabad to allow transit trade between Afghanistan and India. The Pakistani side informed their Afghan counterparts that in the past such trade created internal problems as most of the goods intended for Afghanistan were sold in Pakistani markets instead. The officials said that once such problems were resolved, Pakistan could open its borders for transit trade between Afghanistan and India.

              Transit trade, current account deficit come under discussion; US side shows no interest in talking about FATF

              The Pakistani team pointed out that trade between the two nations had reached a record high of $2.4 billion in 2010-11 but now it was down to almost $800 million a year. In an earlier meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan had also underlined the links between the suspension of trade talks and a rapid decline in bilateral trade.

              Last year, Kabul unilaterally put off a meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA), a high-level forum set up to deal with problems hindering smooth implementation of a revised transit treaty. In October 2017, India too rejected an offer from Pakistan for talks on transit trade to Afghanistan.

              Miftah, who is ,in Washington to attend spring meetings, of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), also held bilateral talks with US officials.

              The American team asked if Islamabad was seeking another aid package from the IMF, as it did in 2013 but the adviser is believed to have informed the US team that the current government had no such plans as it had enough resources to cover its expenses for the next six months.

              The current government will launch the next fiscal year’s budget in end of April and hopes to leave enough funds for the interim government to meet its needs as well.

              In 2013, the country acceded to a $6.6bn loan from IMF’s Extended Fund Facility to help deal with “slow growth, declining reserves and increasing fiscal deficit.” Pakistan successfully completed the 36-month package and earned IMF’s praise for displaying fiscal discipline and reserve accumulation during this period. In its first post-programme monitoring report, however, the Fund has warned that these gains are now at risk as reserves fall and the external deficit persists, as well as a slackening of fiscal discipline.

              Americans ask if Pakistan is seeking another IMF programme

              Miftah also had a series of meetings with IMF and World Bank officials, and in those with the US team, the government’s fiscal policies also came up for discussion. In previous meetings. US, IMF and World Bank officials had all insisted that the government needs to revise its fiscal policies as the Pakistani currency was overvalued.

              In this week’s meetings, the Pakistani team pointed out that since December 2017, the government had devalued the currency by 9.25 per cent, in two steps. The Pakistani team informed the officials that while it felt the currency was no longer overvalued, Islamabad was ready to continue evaluating the exchange rate if it felt the need to do so. “The current policymakers in Islamabad do not share the rigidity of the former Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, on this issue. They appear flexible,” said an official who attended some of the meetings.

              The Pakistani side also acknowledged that current account deficit and trade gap were issues that needed more consideration, as did national savings. Though the country’s gross national savings (per cent of GDP) fluctuated substantially in recent years, it tended to decrease through 1998-2017, ending at 11.8pc of GDP in 2017. They said the government was working on plans to enhance it to 16pc.

              The discussions also covered other issues, such a decline in remittances, which had hit the national economy but the team noted that global remittances were once again going up, which will also benefit the country. Last year, Pakistan’s imports were valued at $45bn while exports only brought home $21bn. The delegation, however, explained that much of this gap was due to capital goods, which will bring medium to long-term dividends for the national economy. They also highlighted year-on-year increase in exports, which was in double digits in the last nine months, indicating a positive trend.

              In their conversation with US officials, Pakistani side also mentioned its preparations for a national action plan to avoid being ,put on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force, (FATF). The US team, however, did not show much interest in this issue.

              The FATF has already put Islamabad on a watch list of the countries whose financial systems have strategic deficiencies in combating money laundering and terror financing. It will decide in June whether to keep Pakistan on its grey list.

              Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2018

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              Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - April 21, 2018 at 4:25 am

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              FO rubbishes Modi’s fresh claim on 2016 ‘surgical strike’

                FOREIGN Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal says the US administration has notified Pakistan about the travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the United States that would take effect from May 1.

                FOREIGN Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal says the US administration has notified Pakistan about the travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the United States that would take effect from May 1.

                ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday rejected Indian Prime Minister ,Narendra Modi’s latest assertion on the so-called surgical strike of September 2016, telling New Delhi that repeating lies did not make them true.

                FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal, speaking at the weekly media briefing, said: “Constant repetition of a fallacious claim does not make it real. The Indian government is increasingly sounding like a broken record.”

                He said that the Indian claim of surgical strike had already been rejected by Pakistan as a figment of imagination.

                Read: ,Mystery of the ‘surgical strike,

                India had in September 2016 claimed to have ,carried out a surgical strike, on suspected terrorist targets across the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir. The claim was made days after four terrorists attacked a military camp near Uri in India-held Kashmir killing around 19 soldiers.

                Says repeating lies doesn’t make them true

                The claim was followed by an exchange of barbs by both sides.

                Mr Modi, who is currently visiting the UK, attempted to reignite the controversy while speaking to Indian diaspora by claiming how the Indian army tried to contact their Pakistani counterparts after the alleged strike to inform them about the attack.

                “I said before India gets to know, we should call Pakistan and tell them what we did so they can come and collect the dead bodies if they have time. We were calling them since 11am but they were scared to answer the phone. At 12 we spoke to them and then told the Indian media,” Mr Modi was ,quoted by Indian media, as having said.

                The Indian prime minister made the statement as protests over Kathua and Unnao rape incidents expanded in India and ,demonstrations were held against him in Britain, as well during his trip.

                “The widespread protests against the complete failure of the Indian government to bring the perpetrators to justice, especially when the government is complicit in such incidents, have exposed the deepening fissures in Indian society and the government. This criticism is not confined to India but has spread to the whole world, including the UK and Sweden,” Dr Faisal said.

                He also spoke about the atrocities of Indian occupation forces in held Kashmir.

                “We have repeatedly seen attempts in India to externalise internal problems or dragging in Pakistan for electoral gains. Baseless Indian allegations are just sad political gimmickry, an absurd attempt to put on a show to divert attention from such heinous incidents and its (India’s) abject failure,” the spokesman added.

                Mr Modi had in his speech said that Pakistan had put up a “terror export factory in place, attacks my people, has no power to fight a war so attempts to attack behind the back… in such a case Modi knows how give a reply in the same language”.

                Dr Faisal, responding to the allegations, said: “History is replete with instances of Pakistan being back-stabbed by India, rather than the other way around.”

                Captured Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row, was the “living proof of who exports terror”, he said.

                The spokesman said the US administration had notified Pakistan about the travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the United States that would take effect from May 1.

                He said it was a reciprocal matter. “Both sides are in touch and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved. We have nothing more to add to this at the moment,” he maintained.

                Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2018

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                Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - April 20, 2018 at 8:25 am

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                Girl injured in Indian firing dies in AJK

                  MUZAFFARABAD: A teenage girl succumbed to her wounds on Thursday, a day after suffering an injury in Indian firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

                  Raja Tahir Mumtaz, Deputy Commissioner of Poonch, told Dawn that Aamna Miskeen, 15, was injured in her home some 200 feet from the LoC in Battal sector of tehsil Hajira on Wednesday.

                  “As she came out in the courtyard at about 5am, she was sniped at by Indian troops in an incident of targeted firing,” Mr Mumtaz said.

                  He said the victim was taken to a hospital in Islamabad where she died on Thursday. She would be buried on Friday.

                  Of late, apart from heavy mortar and artillery shelling, Indian army has also started sniping at innocent civilians while they are busy in their routine life, unmindful of any attack from across the heavily militarised dividing line.

                  Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2018

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                  Informed Pakistan about ‘surgical strike’ before making it public in India: Modi

                  • ,’Don’t politicise rape’,

                  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India will not tolerate those who like to “export terror” and will respond to them “in the language they understand”, referring to the 2016 ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control (LoC), ,reported Times of India,.

                  On September 28, 2016, India had claimed that the country carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC, inflicting “significant casualties”.

                  The Pakistan military, however, had ,swiftly rubbished the notions of a surgical strike,, saying: “This quest by the Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as a surgical strike is fabrication of the truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, the same will be strongly responded.”

                  Read: ,Mystery of the ‘surgical strike’,

                  Modi, during the ‘Bharat ki Baat, Sabke Saath’ diaspora event in London on Wednesday, claimed that before making the news of the ‘surgical strikes’ public, India had repeatedly attempted to contact Pakistan government to inform them about the operation.

                  “I said before India gets to know, we should call Pakistan and tell them what we did so they can come and collect the dead bodies if they have time. We were calling them since 11am but they were scared to answer the phone. At 12 we spoke to them and then told the Indian media,” he was quoted as saying.

                  Explore: ,Surgical strikes — The questions that still remain,

                  “We believe in peace. But we will not tolerate those who like to export terror. We will give back strong answers and in the language they understand. Terrorism will never be accepted,” Modi said.

                  The Foreign Office on Thursday reiterated that India’s claims about the ‘surgical strike’ were false and baseless. “Repeating a lie doesn’t turn it into the truth,” said FO Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

                  In response to Modi’s comments on Pakistan exporting terrorism, Dr Faisal said that it was the other way around and that India was backing terrorists in Pakistan. “Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav is proof of Indian state-sponsored terrorism.”

                  ‘Don’t politicise rape’

                  ,Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Modi, when he arrived in London on Wednesday. Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed”, they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

                  Kashmiris held aloft flags, while others displayed posters depicting an eight-year-old Muslim girl, who was raped and murdered earlier this year in a brutal attack blamed on Hindu men.

                  Speaking on the gruesome incident during the event, Modi said: “Rape is rape. It cannot be tolerated. But should we compare the number of rapes in different governments? We cannot say there were this many rapes in our government and that many in yours. There cannot be a worse way to deal with this issue.”

                  Read: ,No Muslims left in Rasana — the village that has become a symbol of India’s rape crisis,

                  He also urged people and political leaders to refrain from politicising the rape cases, reported Times of India.

                  Sexual violence against women is a highly charged political issue in India. Protests have erupted across India after the latest rape cases — one of the Kashmir girl and the other of a teenager — were reported. Police officers and a politician are under investigation in two of the unrelated cases.

                  A state lawmaker from Modi’s Bha­ratiya Janata Party stands accused of raping the teenager. No action was taken against the politician until the girl threatened to set herself on fire earlier this month. Her father died soon afterwards from injuries he sustained while in police custody.

                  Nearly 40 per cent of India’s rape victims are children and the 40,000 reported rapes in 2016 marked a 60 per cent increase over the level in 2012. But women’s rights groups say the figures are still gross underestimates.

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                  Pakistan reducing dependence on US arms: FT report

                    WASHINGTON: Pakistan is gradually reducing its dependence on American military technology and China is filling the gap, says a ,Financial Times report,, which also warns that this shift will have geo-political repercussions as well.

                    The long, almost 2,000-word report notes that the shift started in the last few months of the Obama administration, when Congress blocked the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

                    In Islamabad, this move was seen as a confirmation of Pakistan’s fear that the United States “could no longer be relied on as their armed forces’ primary source of advanced weapons”, the report adds.

                    The shift started in the last few months of Obama administration, when Congress blocked sale of eight F-16s to Islamabad

                    So, Pakistan shifted its focus from F-16s to the JF-17 fighter jets it is developing with China, and which is catching up with the F-16 in terms of capabilities.

                    The ban accelerated Pakis­tan’s efforts to shift its “military procurement away from American-made weapons towards Chinese ones, or those made domestically with Chinese support.

                    The report also quotes data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, showing that since 2010, US weapons exports to Pakistan have plummeted from $1 billion to just $21 million last year. During the same period, those from China have also fallen, but much more slowly, from $747m to $514m, making China the biggest weapons exporter to Pakistan.

                    “The shift coincided with Islamabad’s growing suspicion about the closeness between the US and India, but was accelerated by the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in 2011, which badly damaged relations with the US,” the report added.

                    US President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend $2bn of military aid to Pakistan — announced in January — further exacerbated the situation.

                    Identifying one immediate impact of the move, the FT noted that US officials were “now finding that Islamabad is less responsive than usual” to their requests for support in Afghanistan.

                    Harrison Akins, a research fellow at the Howard H Baker Jr Centre for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, told FT: “The Trump administration’s decision … can only push Pakistan further into the arms of Beijing — especially with Pakistan’s shift from US military supplies to Chinese military supplies.”

                    The report also identified longer-term consequences of this development, noting that sales of weapons systems, often backed by preferential financial terms, were central to the way the US managed its network of military alliances and partnerships. But many of those countries were now buying some of that hardware from other governments, particularly China.

                    The Financial Times noted that Pakistan has been buying from Beijing for decades, starting after the US placed an arms embargo on it in the wake of the 1965 war with India. “After that, every time Islamabad has suffered diplomatic problems with Washington supplies of Chinese weapons have risen,” it added.

                    In the 1980s and 1990s, Beijing provided supplies and technical knowledge to help Pakistan develop its nuclear weapons, and in the early 1990s shocked Washington by selling its neighbour more than 30 M-11 missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

                    The report also noted that in the past decade, the nature of the military relationship between China and Pakistan had changed. China was now selling the “high-end systems in which the US once specialised to Pakistan’s military, and is co-developing many others”.

                    Jon Grevatt, an analyst at the defence research company Jane’s IHS Markit, told FT that in the last decade, China collaborated much more expansively with Pakistan. Since 2010, China has provided A-100 rocket launchers and HQ-16 air defence missile systems to Pakistan while VT-4 tanks were now being tested in Pakistan.

                    The report, however, focused on three weapons systems that encapsulate the new Chinese capabilities, and threaten US influence in South Asia.

                    The first is the JF-17 fighter aircraft.

                    In 2007, Pakistan flew its first two JF-17s, which cost about a third of the price paid for an F-16. Later, China also shared the designs so the Pakistan’s armed forces can build their own, and even export them.

                    In 2015, Pakistan used a drone to attack militants near the Afghan border, which strongly resembled a Chinese design.

                    In October 2016, just a month after the US refused to subsidise new F-16s, Beijing agreed to sell eight attack submarines to Pakistan for about $5bn — the biggest single arms export deal in the country’s history.

                    The report noted that submarines deal came at a time when Washington was relying on India to provide a bulwark against perceived Chinese maritime expansionism.

                    Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2018

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                    Hundreds of protesters confront Modi in London

                      LONDON: Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Ind­ian Prime Minister Nare­n­dra Modi when he arrived in London on Wednesday.

                      Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed”, they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

                      Also read: ,Why political parties in India play upon fears of Muslims,

                      The demonstrators inclu­ded Muslims and Sikhs, who called for end to religious persecution, and human rights activists, who called for end to violence against women.

                      Kashmiris held aloft flags, while others displayed posters depicting an eight-year-old Muslim girl, who was ,raped and murdered earlier this year, in a brutal attack blamed on Hindu men.

                      ,Kathua rape: BJP is not the only party using rape as a political tool,

                      “Lots of different groups are here,” said Dupinder Jit, a Sikh businessman. “What is happening in Modi’s regime is unacceptable, he is killing minorities.”

                      Sexual violence against women is a highly charged political issue in India, where protests regularly erupt about entrenched violence against women and the failure to protect them.

                      “The Indian government is doing nothing, and you feel sorry for the families because of the total injustice of it all,” said Navindra Singh, an Indian-born lawyer who lives in Britain.

                      “He has been in power for four years now and there has been no policy change to help protect women and children.”

                      Protests have erupted across India after the latest rape cases were reported. Police officers and a politician are under investigation in two of the unrelated cases.

                      In a crime that shocked India, an eight-year-old Mus­lim girl in the disputed region of Jammu and Kash­mir was kidnapped, drugged and held for several days while she was raped repeatedly and then murdered.

                      In the other case, a state lawmaker from Modi’s Bha­ratiya Janata Party stands accused of raping a teenager. No action was taken against the politician until the girl threatened to set herself on fire earlier this month. Her father died soon afterwards from injuries he sustained while in police custody.

                      Modi addressed the outrage over the rapes last week by promising justice regardless of whoever the guilty were.

                      Nearly 40 per cent of India’s rape victims are children and the 40,000 reported rapes in 2016 marked a 60 per cent increase over the level in 2012. But women’s rights groups say the figures are still gross underestimates.

                      Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2018

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                      Army, judiciary urged to work within constitutional framework

                        ISLAMABAD: The country’s five major political parties — four of them from the ruling coalition — have vowed to launch a movement for the ,supremacy of parliament, and preservation of the democratic process and urged the army and the judiciary to work within “constitutional framework”.

                        Speaking at a “National Seminar on Sanctity of Ballot” at the National Library auditorium here on Tuesday, supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) president Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and National Party (NP) president Hasil Bizenjo expressed concern over “continued interference of the judiciary and the military in the domain of the executive” and warned that the country could face a 1971-like debacle if they did not act now.

                        Take a look: ,Judiciary, parliament should avoid ‘entering into controversy’, advises Rabbani,

                        Following the Lahore High Court’s directives regarding ban on airing of anti-judiciary speeches, the state-run Pakistan Television and most of the private TV channels did not cover the speeches of the speakers of the seminar. The channels went live when Nawaz Sharif came to the rostrum, but as soon as he started talking about his disqualification, the channels first muted his speech and then discontinued the live coverage.

                        The Awami National Party (ANP) was the only party from the opposition which participated in the seminar that was jointly organised by the PML-N, PkMAP and the NP. The ANP was represented by its general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who told the audience that he was representing party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan who could not travel due to illness.

                        Coalition partners NP, PkMAP and JUI-F as well as opposition ANP throw their weight behind PML-N movement for ‘sanctity of vote’

                        All speakers, except Maulana Fazl, extended support to the ongoing Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and called for giving its leaders a ‘patience hearing’, terming all their demands “genuine and within the constitution.”

                        “We should engage those running the PTM. If we can talk to India and the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan people, then what’s wrong in talking to the Pashtun youth?” asked PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed who was the convener of the seminar.

                        Nawaz Sharif said when they did not respect the sanctity of vote in 1970, they faced the East Pakistan tragedy. He regretted that not a single prime minister was allowed a full five-year term, saying 20 elected prime ministers had ruled the country for 38 years whereas four military rulers had ruled for 32 years.

                        The former prime minister alleged that by continuing unabated use of powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, the judiciary’s hands had now reached parliament. He said the executive had been paralysed as it could not even make ordinary transfers and postings. And all this wass happening when millions of cases were pending before the judiciary.

                        Mr Sharif alleged that the PML-N was not being provided a level-playing field in the coming elections as most of the party leaders were either facing cases in accountability courts or contempt charges. He alleged that like in Balochistan and Karachi, efforts were now on to form a political group in southern Punjab to manipulate results of the elections.

                        Mr Bizenjo said “trust deficit” among the state institutions was increasing at a time when Pakistan was facing international isolation. He said it was the State and not the government which was weakening due to the tussle between the institutions. The most impressive and emotional speech was delivered by ANP’s Iftikhar Hussain, who said that his party was participating in the seminar despite not being in the ruling coalition because they also wanted to ensure “sanctity of ballot” in the country.

                        He said all demands of the PTM were constitutional. “Do you want that Pashtuns should keep silence even after facing oppression?” he asked.

                        He alleged that the former police officer Rao Anwar, the main accused in the extrajudicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud, was backed by a “network” which needed to be unearthed and punished.

                        There was a pin drop silence when Mr Hussain narrated how his only son was assassinated by terrorists and how he and other party leaders had held negotiations with the Taliban.

                        The ANP leader said popularity of Mr Sharif was increasing after he was being pushed to the wall but warned that the PML-N supreme leader could face more difficulties in the days ahead.

                        Mr Achakzai said a final battle between democratic and undemocratic forces had begun in the country. He said if any institution — be it the armed forces, judiciary or politicians — would go beyond constitutional limits, they would oppose them. He said if the judiciary would indulge in “activism” and interfere in the executive’s affairs, it was against the basic spirit of the Constitution. Similarly, he said, if a general who had taken oath to protect the Constitution violated his oath, it was their duty to stop him from doing so.

                        “Don’t force us to take to the streets like the people of Turkey,” Mr Achakzai warned in a reference to the public revolt against military takeover in Turkey in 2016. He said Pakistan had already suffered a lot due to violation of the vote’s sanctity, and warned that if it happened again, then nobody knew what would be the fate of the country.

                        Maulana Fazl said they had no conflict with the armed forces as the country needed them for protection of the country’s geographical boundaries. “However, when it will overstep its constitutional limits and will take over the government and indulge in politics, then it is unacceptable,” he said.

                        He also criticised the judiciary, saying the “judiciary should play the role for justice (Insaf) and not for Tehreek-i-Insaf.”

                        He said if a judge felt that any of the parties considered him biased, he should recuse himself. “If there is a feeling in the country that a judge has become a party then the decisions of that judge will always be considered controversial,” he said.

                        Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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                        Baloch activist says RAW asked him to heckle Nawaz in 2015

                          WASHINGTON: A senior Baloch activist claimed on Tuesday that he heckled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during his 2015 visit to Washington at the behest of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

                          Ahmer Mustikhan, foun­der of the American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) group, posted three online statements on Facebook on Tuesday after a district court in Maryland rejected an appeal to muzzle him.

                          AFB’s two Indian supporters — Soumya Chowd­hury and Krishna Gudipati — had filed the appeal, asking the judge to stop Mr Mustikhan from publicly sharing the internal affairs of the group. The court agreed with the Baloch activist’s plea that the US constitution guaranteed his freedom of expression.

                          Mr Mustikhan, who is also a journalist, claimed in the videos that he was “let down” by RAW operatives working from the Indian embassy in Washington. He identified one of them as Nagesh Bhushan who, Mr Mustikhan said, manned RAW’s Balochistan Desk.

                          On Oct 22, 2015, Mr Mustikhan heckled Mr Sharif during his speech at the US Institute for Peace in Washington and was removed by security personnel as he continued shouting for several minutes.

                          He then appeared on a series of Indian talk shows, explaining why he heckled the prime minister. He also heckled other Pakistani leaders, particularly former president Pervez Musharraf.

                          “I did this with a heavy heart, as I have no fight with Nawaz Sharif. He is an elected prime minister,” he told Dawn.

                          “Others, I heckled willingly.”

                          Mr Mustikhan said that India was supporting terrorism in Pakistan and this support started after the Kargil war and that’s why the current insurgency had continued for 12 years.

                          Mr Mustikhan claimed that RAW encouraged militants to kill Punjabi, Pakhtun and even Sindhi civilians. “We have no fight with civilians. They are our brothers,” he said. “They gave me a lot of mental torture [for opposing their plans]. They say if you kill, you are a hero otherwise you are zero.”

                          Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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                          Pakistan cautions India against fanning row over pilgrims

                            ISLAMABAD: The Fore­ign Office (FO) denied an Indian allegation on Tuesday that Pakistan had instigated Sikh pilgrims to agitate over the Khalistan issue and cautioned New Delhi against fanning this controversy.

                            The ongoing row has marred the Sikh pilgrimage for Baisakhi and Khalsa Janamdin ceremonies over the last fortnight.

                            “Pakistan categorically rejects Indian allegations of attempts to incite Indian pilgrims on the issue of Khalistan. By spreading such falsehoods, India has chosen to deliberately stoke further controversy around the visit of Sikh pilgrims,” the FO said in a statement.

                            India’s external affairs ministry handed to Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner in New Delhi a protest over alleged attempts to raise the Kha­listan issue during the visit of Sikh pilgrims. The ministry asked Pakistan to immediately stop the alleged activities “aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and incitement of disharmony in India”.

                            The visit by a group of 1,800 Indian Sikhs has this year turned into a diplomatic spat because of deteriorating ties between the two countries. It started after an Indian claim that its high commissioner and high commission staff in Islamabad were being denied access to the pilgrims.

                            The FO had on that occasion said that the matter was being misrepresented.

                            The FO, in its statement on Tuesday, repeated its position that the Sikh community had been protesting against the Indian government over the release of a controversial movie which hurt their religious sentiments. These protests, the FO contended, had started in India and other parts of the world before the pilgrims arrived in Pakistan.

                            “In view of the charged situation and the explicit refusal of the Sikh pilgrims to meet Indian officials, the Indian high commissioner cancelled his visit on April 14. Indian attempts to distort the truth and obfuscate facts are unethical and regrettable,” it said.

                            Recalling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Pakistan’s inter­nal issues, the FO said it was ironic that New Delhi was now indulging in blatant hypocrisy by twisting facts.

                            In reply to the Indian external affairs ministry’s assertion that the latest incident went against the spirit of the 1974 protocol governing the exchange of pilgrim visits between the two countries, the FO said Islam­abad was committed to “continuing such cooperation”.

                            “No amount of Indian propaganda can succeed in turning this right into a wrong. The government of India should respect international and inter-state norms, respect all religions, especially minorities, and refrain from indulging in pointless provocation which only vitiates an already charged environment to the detriment of all,” the FO observed.

                            Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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                            Pakistan calls for making global non-proliferation regime fair, equitable

                              ISLAMABAD: Pakistan continues to remain engaged with global non-proliferation regime despite its politicisation and other defects and calls for making the regime fair and equitable.

                              Speaking at a seminar at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) on Tuesday, retired Lt Gen Mazhar Jamil, who retired as the director general of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) a few months ago, said: “There is a concern that the non-proliferation regime is becoming increasingly politicised and discriminatory. Despite these abnormalities in the nuclear order, Pakistan remains positively engaged.”

                              The statement follows last week’s meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s consultative group that deliberated on the criteria for admitting non-NPT countries into the 48-member cartel controlling the international nuclear trade. Stalemate on the issue of admission of non-NPT countries persisted at the last meeting of the consultative group.

                              The US is spearheading India’s campaign for inclusion in the group and contends that after attaining membership of other multilateral export control regimes like Missile Techno­logy Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group, and Wassenaar Agreement Indian case is ripe for membership. However, a small albeit depleted group is holding out preventing consensus on new admissions.

                              Pakistan believes that key decisions at NSG, like admission of new members, are politicised. The decisions instead of following an equitable and non-discriminatory approach are motivated by geo-political considerations.

                              Gen Mazhar Jamil said: “Pakistan does what it can, the non-proliferation regime should also do what it must to become equitable and rule-based.”

                              He recalled that Pakistan had voluntarily committed itself to the ideals such as non-proliferation and prevention of arms race in outer space. “Pakistan is a responsible nuclear power and shall continue to exercise restraint and responsibility,” he added.

                              Speaking about the regional situation, he asked India to “shun belligerence and war-mongering and resolve disputes peacefully”.

                              Comparing the Indian strategic thinking with that of Pakistan, the former SPD chief said Pakistan’s strategic culture, in contrast, “has always been characterised by restrained responses, pursuit of conflict resolution and closing the space for war”.

                              SVI president Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema, on the occasion, said Indian National Security Strategy (NSS) objective was to maintain an overwhelming conventional and nuclear weapons capability by developing strategic and conventional offensive capabilities for full spectrum of military conflicts.

                              The main instruments of India’s force posture were deterrence, coercion and coercive diplomacy, he said. The joint Indian armed forces doctrine contemplated the use of military force aimed at destruction, disruption and constraining its adversaries in South Asia, with specific concentration on Pakistan, he added.

                              Meanwhile, the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad hosted a Public Talk on “The 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR): Global and Regional Security”.

                              Ambassador Munir Akram said that although South Asia had not been mentioned in the NPR, the region had been covered in the context of non-proliferation.

                              The NPR, which endorses nuclear modernisation and sustenance programme of the US, he believed, would trigger arms race and also increase greater likelihood of use of weapons. He said the NPR would affect Iran and North Korea.

                              Director General Strat­egic Studies Dr Shireen Mazari said Pakistan had increasingly become the target of US criticism, especially in the context of its nuclear weapon. She reiterated that Pakistan should remain wary of the US-India strategic partnership.

                              Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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                              SC drops Marriyum Aurangzeb’s name from Pemra search committee

                                ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered removal of Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb from a search committee constituted to find and appoint a suitable and eminent professional as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

                                Headed by Planning Commission’s Deputy Chairman Sartaz Aziz, the search committee will include All Pakistan Newspapers Society President Hameed Haroon, veteran journalist Arif Nizami, Pakistan Broadcasters Association Chair­man Mian Amir Mehmood, Information Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera and Establishment Secretary Maroof Afzal.

                                A three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, asked the relevant authorities not to include the name of the information minister in the six-member search committee, observing that Ms Aurangzeb would not find time as she must be busy issuing statements.

                                Additional Attorney General Mohammad Waqar Rana said all the proposed members of the search committee, including Ms Aurangzeb, were independent people.

                                The bench observed that since the information minister was busy issuing political statements, she should not be included in the committee.

                                Says Marriyum Aurangzeb can’t be included in committee for Pemra chairman’s appointment as she is busy issuing statements

                                The Supreme Court was hearing a suo motu case relating to advertisements issued by the federal and provincial governments to the media.

                                The bench also took exception to slogan-chanting by some women outside the apex court against the verdict about the length of disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution on Friday. While pointing to other members of the bench, the chief justice said they were the “real lions”. If those criticising the judiciary were real men of dignity, they should come forward instead of using women as a shield, he said. “Come forward like a man so that the court can take some action,” the bench observed, adding the court was extra cautious and exercising much restraint.

                                The chief justice then regretted that a private television anchorperson raised a hue and cry when the court named former Indian railways minister Lalu Prasad at a hearing in Lahore about the losses incurred by the Pakistan Railways.

                                Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed observed that things went too far from mere statements, but hastened to add that the independence of the media was a guarantee to the independence of the judiciary. He observed that any criticism should be directed towards the judgements but not towards individual judges.

                                Referring to the appointment of the Pemra chairman, the Supreme Court at the last hearing had suggested to the information secretary that the government might have to re-initiate the entire process for selecting the Pemra chairman since none of the individuals shortlisted were qualified to head the regulatory authority.

                                The court had told the information secretary that the government might have to re-advertise for initiating the process of the appointment of the chairman.

                                Additional Attorney General Mohammad Waqar Rana argued that the government intended to resolve issues about proposed amendments to the Pemra laws within three weeks, but currently the most important issue was the appointment of the Pemra chairman.

                                Petitioner Hamid Mir argued before the court that the draft amendment regarding the Pemra board was ready with the government and the proposed draft suggested amendments to Section 5 of the Pemra Ordinance, which deals with the power of the federal government to issue directives.

                                Justice Saeed then wondered if there was any section of the ordinance regarding broadcasting fake or defamatory news and recalled how in Malaysia telecasting of wrong or fake news had been made a criminal offence.

                                Earlier, the state had dominance over the fake news but now the authority to disseminate such news had landed in the hands of others, the judge regretted.

                                The additional attorney general agreed that regulating fake news had become the most important issue these days.

                                Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan observed that Section 5 of the Pemra Ordinance was an open-ended provision that allowed the federal government to intervene in its matters.

                                The court also summoned the chief executive officer of Geo television, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, to appear before it on Tuesday for not paying salaries to workers and, while pointing towards the petitioner, wondered that some journalists had told him that anchors were getting salaries to the tune of Rs3.8 million to Rs5m, whereas the reporters who worked day and night received a little over just Rs20,000 as monthly salary.

                                Published in Dawn, Aprill 17th, 2018

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