Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Pakistan to raise Kashmir issue at UN meeting

UNITED NATIONS: When some 146 world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, they are expected to discuss issues of international peace and security as several conflicts from Syria to Yemen rage on, defying any resolution.

The Pakistani delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who arrives in New York, which houses the UN headquarters, from Washington on Sunday night. It will be the new Pakistani government’s first senior level interaction with the United Nations.

However, the much-heralded India-Pakistan foreign ministers’ meeting was called off by New Delhi citing an incident in occupied Kashmir.

According to Pakistani officials, a busy programme awaits the foreign minister who will attend at least 40 events and hold about two dozen bilateral meetings.

The highlight of his visit will, of course, be his speech in the General Assembly on Sept 29 in which he will set out the new government’s priorities and its position and policy on key international and regional issue including the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the light of UN Human Rights Council’s report which has cited India of violations. New Delhi bristles at the mention of occupied Kashmir and human rights violations there.

Pakistan’s foreign minister is expected to deliver his speech in Urdu language.

Daunting challenge

This year, the diplomats here say, the big and daunting challenge that looms over the gathering is actually one of the world leader: US President Donald Trump.

It is a known fact that US President Trump is not a fan of the UN. In the past, he has criticised the UN calling it a club of sorts. And he has also proposed steep cuts to US funding for the UN that the world body has said would make it impossible for the organisation to maintain its essential operations.

The US is the biggest financial contributor to the UN in the world and its most important player when it comes to decision-making on issues ranging from food aid to peacekeeping to nuclear non-proliferation.

So now all eyes are on President Trump, who will preside over a UN Security Council meeting which is going to focus on the Middle East, and Iran in particular.

The big question baffling the world leaders is: will President Trump behave like past American presidents have and speak in measured tones about the need for global cooperation on various fronts, diplomats here say.

Or will he try to break things — degrade the UN, issue threats to other countries, and propose actions that suggest the US wants to go it alone.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 24, 2018 at 4:25 am

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Gunmen attack Iran military parade, killing at least 24

A Revolutionary Guard member carries a wounded boy after a shooting during a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. — AP

A Revolutionary Guard member carries a wounded boy after a shooting during a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. — AP

Gunmen attacked an annual Iranian military parade Saturday in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 24 people and wounding 53 others, local media reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in Ahvaz, which saw gunfire spray into a crowd of marching Guardsmen, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser. However, Iran faced a bloody assault last year from the Islamic State group and Arab separatists in the region have attacked oil pipelines there in the past.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately blamed the attack on regional countries and their “US masters,” further raising regional tensions as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers is in jeopardy after President Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord.

“Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” he wrote on Twitter.

State television aired footage of the aftermath of the assault on Ahvaz’s Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard, which like many other places around the country saw an annual parade marking the start of Iran’s long 1980s war with Iraq. The images included paramedics trying to help one person in military fatigues as other armed security personnel shouted at each other. The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack’s aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.

A local news agency in Khuzestan province, of which Ahvaz is the capital, aired grainy mobile phone footage showing parade goers fleeing as soldiers lay flat on the ground. Gunfire rang out in the background.

“Security forces have restored security in the area but the parade has totally been disrupted,” a reporter on the scene for Iranian state television said by phone in a live broadcast. “People have been killed but we have no figures yet.”

Zarif on Twitter said that the gunmen were “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime”. He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there in the past and Iran. The separatists also accuse Iran’s Shiite theocracy of discriminating against its Sunni Arab citizens. Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding their activity.

Reports of how the attack unfolded remained unclear immediately afterward. The state TV reporter said the gunfire came from a park behind a riser. The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, top center, reviews army troops marching during the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. ? AP

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, top center, reviews army troops marching during the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. ? AP

The state-run IRNA news agency said the attack killed 24 people and wounded 53, citing “knowledgeable sources” without elaborating. It said gunmen were dressed in Guard uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting.

Khuzestan Gov. Gholamreza Shariati told IRNA that two gunmen were killed and two others were arrested.

Who carried out the assault also remained in question. State television immediately described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen”, a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply involved in the fight against IS in Iraq and has aided embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s long war.

Among those involved are members of the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard also has vast holdings in Iran’s economy.

Meanwhile, Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif told ISNA that an Arab separatist group carried out the attack, without elaborating. However, those groups in the past previously have only attacked unguarded oil pipelines at night.

Saturday’s attack comes after a coordinated ,June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault, on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989. The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 22, 2018 at 12:25 pm

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Shireen Mazari calls out Trump’s ignorance on US role in destabilising ME

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Friday hit back at United States (US) President Donald Trump’s tweet in which he complained that despite the ‘protection’ afforded to Middle Eastern countries by the US, they continue to raise oil prices.

President Trump in a tweet on Thursday said: “We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he said. “We will remember.”

In 2016, major oil producers both within and outside OPEC agreed to slash production in an attempt to boost prices following the 2014 oil market crash.

The US ,withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal, with Iran earlier this year, after which it reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic that had been suspended in return for controls on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

India and China, Iran’s top buyers, have also distanced themselves from Tehran ? after Trump warned importers to stop buying oil from Iran or ,face US sanctions, ? leaving its crude output the lowest it’s been since July 2016.

A new set of US sanctions is due to hit Iran’s oil industry on November 4, while Venezuela, another OPEC founding member is also under sanctions from Washington.

Describing the oil cartel as a “monopoly”, the US president in his tweet issued a fresh call on the OPEC members to lower their crude prices, reminding them that the US is providing ,certain Middle Eastern energy giants with security,.

“The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!” Trump wrote.

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In a strongly worded response to the US president, Mazari wrote: “Surely there is someone in Washington DC who can teach him [President Donald Trump] history and how [the] US has historically destabilised the Middle East with its support for illegal Israeli expansionism and unbridled militarism!”

Read: ,Israel’s man in the White House,

She added: “Also oil comes primarily from west Asia and Gulf, not Middle East! He should also be told about OPEC member states!”

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya and Ecuador are other countries that are part of OPEC, in addition to Iran and Venezuela.

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,Oil prices steadied on Thursday, after Trump’s call on OPEC to “get prices down now!”, slowing after an upward surge that had pushed the market towards four-year highs.

Mazari responds to alleged gender discrimination in NUST smoking policy

Dr Mazari also took to Twitter on Wednesday to respond to a notification making the rounds on social media allegedly released by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), which provided locations of designated on-campus smoking areas to be used by male students, and simultaneously restricted female students from smoking or appearing within the university’s designated smoking area.

The notice warned that female students found in these designated smoking areas would be fined and their parents informed, although there is no similar rule applicable to male students ? who, according to the notice, will be fined for smoking in areas other than the designated smoking areas.

“Girls are not allowed at these smoking areas. In case of violation, fine of Rs1,000 will be imposed, in addition to information to parents,” the notice reads.

“The purpose of dedicated smoking area is to curb tendency of cheating, smoking at hidden places and save non-smokers from passive smoking hazards,” the notification read.

“Good to discourage smoking but discriminatory approach towards girl students and gender-biased rules cannot be acceptable,” Mazari ? who has herself been a victim of sexism in the National Assembly ? tweeted, adding: “Wrong message being given to our young students — that it is okay to discriminate against women. Banning smoking for all on campus would be far healthier too.”

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

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Muharram 9 observed across Pakistan amid tight security

The 9th of Muharram was observed on Thursday amid stringent security arrangements across Pakistan and with due solemnity and sanctity to pay homage to the sacrifices of Imam Husain and his companions in Karbala.

Cities across the nation echoed with nohas, marsiayas and mourning in various majalis and processions.

Ulema and zakireen shed light on the teachings of Imam Husain and his great companions.

Pakistani security personnel patrol in Karachi. —AFP

Pakistani security personnel patrol in Karachi. —AFP

In the federal capital, 2,586 policemen, Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary men were deployed to ensure security for 17 processions.

In Lahore, as many as eight DSPs, 19 SHOs, and more than 2,000 policemen under the supervision of two SPs were performing duties to protect the processions of 9th Muharram-ul-Haram.

Mourning procession with Zuljana passing through a road in Quetta. —APP

Mourning procession with Zuljana passing through a road in Quetta. —APP

In Karachi, the traditionally significant areas in connection with Muharrum related activities remained Karbala Gamey Shah, Bibi Pak Daman, Shadman Colony, Model Town, the inside Mochi Gate, Chowk Nawab Sahib, Nisar Havaili, Bhati Gate’s Mubarak Havaili, Pando Street (Islampura), Minhajul Hussain, Niaz Beg village, Khaima Sadaat near Jain Mandir, Bhaekeywal Morr in Iqbal Town, Batapur, Samanabad, Sadar, among many other places of the provincial metropolis.

The main mourning procession of Muharram 9, amidst extra-ordinary security arrangements, emerged from Nishter Park.

Scouts posted along procession route in Karachi. —APP

Scouts posted along procession route in Karachi. —APP

Law enforcers including police and Rangers along with scouts were deployed all along the route of the main procession, which culminated at Hussainiya Irania Imambargah at Kharadar.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including welfare organisations set up sabeels (stalls for refreshment drinks and snacks) and stalls of emergency medical aid facility as per tradition on the route of the procession.

Various small mourning processions taken out from different parts of the metropolis also merged into the main procession.

Cellular phone services remained suspended in sensitive areas and pillion riding was declared completely banned in all areas of the city.

Procession participants in Karachi touch the Zuljana, a symbolisation of the horse used by Imam Husain in the Karbala battle. —AFP

Procession participants in Karachi touch the Zuljana, a symbolisation of the horse used by Imam Husain in the Karbala battle. —AFP

All link roads and lanes leading to the route of main procession had been blocked with the help of containers and heavy vehicles to stop unwanted entries.

The traffic police had given an alternate route plan for the public to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the roads of the port city.

Elaborate security arrangements were made for the maintenance of law and order and to provide security to the mourning processions. Walk through gates, snipers and thousands of police officers were deployed along the procession route.

The district municipal corporations have taken necessary steps to provide civic facilities like cleaning of sewerage lines, repair of roads and lighting arrangements on the routes of procession to facilitate the mourners.

Control rooms were set up while CCTV cameras were also placed to avoid any untoward incident.

Youm-e-Ashur, the 10th of Muharram, will be observed with reverence and religious solemnity in the country on Friday.

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

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Mobile services suspended in parts of Karachi ahead of Ashura

Residents of Karachi are experiencing partial suspension of cellular services on Wednesday, the 8th of Muharram, ahead of Ashura.

The cellular services have been suspended in areas through which mourning processions will pass during the day.

Citizens took to social media to post that they stopped receiving mobile signals starting in the morning.

Some were taken by surprise by the blockage of signals in their area.

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Sindh Home Secretary Kazi Kabeer told Dawn that mobile phone services will remain suspended between 7am and 12 midnight on 8th, 9th and 10th Muharram in various cities of Sindh including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur, Larkana, Shikarpur and Jacobabad.

In Karachi, the cellular service will be blocked only in areas near procession routes for the convenience of the public, he said.

Mobile services are suspended every year during Ashura as part of the security measures.

According to a letter sent by the Sindh government’s Home Department to the interior ministry and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), dated August 30, the provincial authorities had requested the federal government to place a ban on mobile services/internet in major cities of Sindh on the 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram.

The request was made in view of “apprehensions of coordination of criminal activity by miscreants/criminals through the use of cellular phones/internet during Muharram related majlis (religious gathering) and processions”.

The mobile companies could be asked to restore cellular services in case of an emergency, the letter read.

Several key roads in Karachi and other cities of Sindh will remain closed for mourning processions, and traffic from blocked roads will be diverted to alternative routes that were ,notified by the Karachi traffic police, on Tuesday.

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On Muharram 8, a procession will be taken out at 1:30pm from Nishtar Park, and will end at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah.

The federal government has declared 9th and 10th Muharram as public holidays.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

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Syria downs Russian plane, Moscow blames Israel

Syria accidentally downed a Russian military aircraft with a crew of 15 onboard when its air defences went into action against an alleged Israeli missile strike, the Russian army said on Tuesday.

The incident, which happened late Monday, was the worst case of friendly fire between the two allies since Russia’s game-changing military intervention in September 2015.

The Russian Ilyushin dropped off the radar over the Mediterranean moments after Turkey and Russia announced a deal that offered millions of people reprieve from a threatened military assault in northern Syria.

There was no immediate word from Damascus, but the deadly air war sequence started when missiles struck the coastal region of Latakia on Monday.

Israeli pilots carrying out attacks on Syrian targets “used the Russian plane as a cover, exposing it to fire from Syrian air defences”, the Russian military said.

The plane downed by Syria’s Russian-made S-200 air defence had a crew of 15, who were all killed, Moscow said.

The Russian government stressed that the incident would have no impact on the Idlib deal but warned Israel of reprisals and summoned its envoy in Moscow.

Moscow had earlier said rockets were fired from a French frigate positioned in the same area of the Mediterranean.

The French military denied any involvement. Syria state media reported late Monday that air defences had intercepted missiles targeting Latakia.

“Our air defences are countering hostile missiles coming from the sea towards the city of Latakia, and a number of them have been intercepted,” it said, quoting a military source.

Israel mum

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some missiles did get through and struck ammunition depots at the site of the technical industries institute.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring group, said at least two fighters were killed and 10 wounded in the strike.

“Two bodies were found,” he told AFP, adding that he could not immediately confirm whether the casualties were soldiers or militiamen from the forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel, which did not comment on Monday evening’s strikes, has conducted frequent raids in recent months against Syria’s military infrastructure, including against bases it believes host Iranian combatants.

Earlier in September, Israel admitted carrying out 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months.

The Syrian blunder came hot on the heels of a major deal announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan after talks in the Russian resort of Sochi.

The two main brokers in northern Syria agreed to create a 15-20 kilometre-wide demilitarised zone along the line of contact between rebels and regime troops in the Idlib region.

That would be achieved by October 15 and would entail a withdrawal of all jihadist fighters from the area.

The demilitarised zone will be secured with the help of “mobile patrol groups of Turkish contingents and contingents of Russian military police,” Putin said.

By the end of the year, transport routes between the key port of Latakia and Aleppo as well as Latakia and the major city of Hama must be restored, he added.

Idlib reprieve

Iran, the third member of the so-called Astana process aimed at ending the seven-year civil war in Syria, praised the deal as an example of “responsible diplomacy.”

Damascus, which has regained swathes of territory thanks to deadly Russian-back offensives in recent months, welcomed the Sochi agreement.

Three million people reside in the Idlib region, the last significant chunk of Syria still held by rebels.

The UN had warned that a fully-fledged ground assault aimed at completing Damascus’s military reconquest could spark the worst humanitarian catastrophe yet in a conflict that has killed more 360,000.

Observers and residents of the Idlib region were sceptical however of a deal that appeared to be little more than a temporary fix.

“This could be a win for diplomacy and that’s what Syria needs more of to solve this crisis,” said Lorraine Bramwell, country director for the International Rescue Committee.

“However, we have seen previously how de-escalation deals haven’t lasted long term,” she added.

Hundreds of people gathered in Binnish, a town in the rebel-held province of Idlib, following Monday’s announcement in Sochi.

“The demand of the Syrian people, since the very first day, has remained unchanged: it’s the fall of the regime,” said Wassim Souweid, one of the demonstrators.

“I reckon this decision will not stop bombardments on civilians, will not offer any alternative to the people,” he added.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm

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In maiden parliamentary address, President Alvi urges lawmakers to support the govt

President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday made his inaugural address in a joint sitting of the parliament, where he talked about wide-ranging problems plaguing Pakistan and urged the lawmakers to support the govt in taking the country forward.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had claimed that the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party had assured the government that its members will not disrupt the proceedings.

However, the session started with a protest from opposition lawmakers, which was overruled by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, following which opposition lawmakers — mostly from the PML-N — walked out as the president began his speech.

“Today’s address marks the beginning of the new parliamentary year,” President Alvi said. “I am grateful to be elected to Pakistan’s highest Constitutional office, and pray that I will be able to fulfill the responsibilities that have been given to me.

President Alvi addresses the parliament for the first time — DawnNewsTV

The new president commented on the continuation of parliamentary democracy in the country, saying: “Pakistan’s parliamentary system has been a victim of instability due to various reasons. However, that the fact that past three governments have been able to complete their terms is encouraging.”

President Alvi stressed the need to root out corruption and strengthen the nation’s various institutions.

“The elections proved that the nation is tired of dishonesty and is looking from relief,” he said. “This government wants to make a new Pakistan, and we need to remember that we are one nation.

“On one hand, to rid the nation of corruption, we need saaf shaffaf institutions, on the other hand, we need to strengthen the institutions that are responsible for accountability, so that they could function and do their job without any fear.

“Governments are only successful when they cater to the needs of their people. The current government has set out to make a Naya Pakistan, it is this same slogan that led us to winning the elections.”

The president urged his audience to support the government in its austerity drive, and also help it cut down its dependencies on foreign loans.

“I wish that we all take part in the austerity initiatives taken by the government in an effort to create Naya Pakistan,” he said. “These measures include ending the practices of protocol for members of the government. If we take on the practice of austerity we could get back on track and head towards the right direction.

“We need to remember the fact that we are a nation in debt. And then we take on more debt to pay off the interest on our old debts, instead of building development projects. According to the law, the loan to GDP ratio should not be more that 60 per cent. However, for the past several years, we have been breaking our own law.

“We need to follow the example of the state of Madinah to take the country forward. In his final address, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said that no person had any advantage over another on the basis of caste, creed or religion. Islamic nations are based on these principles and Dr Allama Iqbal and Quiad-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also dreamed of a Pakistan where the welfare of the people is at the fore and the state works for the betterment of its people.

“Pakistan is going through a very difficult phase, but our nation is high-spirited, and it is also heartening to see the way the overseas Pakistanis are looking forward to rebuilding this nation.”

President Alvi, in his maiden address, also talked about the growing water crisis in the country. “There is a lack of water in Pakistan,” he said. “Our urban centres are facing severe environmental pollution. In these circumstances we need to build dams and plant trees to tackle the issue.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also in attendance during the joint session — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan was also in attendance during the joint session — DawnNewsTV

“We need to give a preference to drip irrigation over traditional irrigation processes. As a nation we also need to bring a change in our lifestyles and take on more water conservation practices.”

President Alvi called for countrywide improvements in the educational and healthcare sectors, while also urging the empowerment of women, without which he said “no country can progress”.

He assured the parliament that Pakistan’s relations with other countries during the PTI rule will be further strengthened. “China, the US, Iran and Turkey’s FMs [have had meetings with us],” he said. “God willing, our relations with all of them will improve.”

The president said that instead of indulging in “blame game” on the Kashmir issue, he would like for the govt to “continue its efforts at every level”.

President Alvi also paid tribute to the efforts of Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism, and referred it as “the most successful army”, adding that “the world should learn from us”.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 17, 2018 at 10:25 pm

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Pakistan willing to open Afghan land route for India: US envoy

WASHINGTON: Pakistan approached Afghanistan earlier this year, indicating its willingness to discuss the resumption of trade between Afghanistan and India through the Pakistani land route, says a senior US diplomat.

In an interview to India’s Economic Times newspaper, Ambassador John Bass said that reopening land routes between South and Central Asia will benefit all countries in the region.

Pakistan does not allow India to use the land route for trading with Afghanistan, arguing that technical and strategic issues connected to transit trade should be resolved first.

“A couple of months ago, for the first time the Pakistani government expressed a willingness to start talks with its Afghan counterparts for parameters to enabling trade between India and Afghanistan through Pakistan,” Mr Bass said.

The US ambassador to Afghanistan also said that Indian firms were gradually increasing their investments in Afghanistan. Last year’s trade show in Delhi led to $27 million of investments at the event itself, and another $200 million of “prospective” investments from Indian companies, much of which had materialised, he added.

Ambassador Bass told the Indian newspaper that a political settlement in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s long-term interest. “Increased trade in both directions, increased connectivity through central and south Asia through Afghanistan — those are all missed opportunities if Pakistan has its sole focus on perpetuating the status quo,” he said.

The US envoy said that India raised the issue of US sanctions on Iran when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis visited New Delhi earlier this month for Two-plus-Two talks.

The Indians were particularly interested in knowing how the sanctions would impact Chabahar port, which was built in Iran with Indian assistance for connecting India with Central Asia through Afghanistan.

The Indian government conveyed its perspectives “on the importance of Chabahar as a means to expand bilateral trade and help improve Afghanistan’s connectivity with South Asia,” he said.

“We are processing and evaluating how best to reimpose sanctions on Iran, with the Iranian regime’s malevolent behaviour and its activities in destabilising its neighbours,” Ambassador Bass said.

“My government is still thinking through how Chabahar factors in the reimposition of the toughest sanctions that we believe need to be put in place to hold the Iranian government accountable for its action.”

He said the US administration was reviewing the sanctions to see how to deal with such issues, without hurting the US objective of persuading Iran to change its policies.

Ambassador Bass said the US realised that the conflict in Afghanistan could not be resolved through military means alone. “No one in the US government is saying at this point that we expect this conflict to end with a military victory.
We believe that this conflict will end with a political settlement,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2018

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 16, 2018 at 6:25 am

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Turkey pledges to support Pakistan on Kashmir at UN

ISLAMABAD: Turkey has assured Pakistan of complete support in its quest for a peaceful solution to the long-standing issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“In the group, which has been formed over Kashmir in the UN, we will stand with Pakistan and try to make [its efforts] successful,” the visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference he jointly add­ress­ed with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi after a formal round of talks between the two sides on Friday.

He said it was Turkey’s desire that the Kashmir dispute involving India and Pakistan was resolved in a peaceful manner.

Cavusoglu and Qureshi say both countries will collectively confront Islamophobia

Mr Qureshi welcomed Turkey’s decision to support Pakistan’s bid for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue at the UN. He said: “At the United Nations, there will be a separate conference on Kashmir on the sidelines. It happens every year, but it is different this time because a new UN report has come out which sheds light on India-occupied Kashmir,” he said.

There had certainly been a surge in people’s interest in human rights abuses which were taking place in Kashmir, he added.

The Turkish foreign minister said: “In today’s meeting, I discussed a lot of issues with FM Qureshi. The most important aspect of our discussion was on the [High-Level] Strategic [Cooperation] Council, the sixth conference of which, God willing, will take place in Pakistan, and we will do all we can to make it happen.

“We have strengthened our commercial ties, and [decided to facilitate] our companies that want to work in Pakistan. We have a unique relation, therefore, we should work together to further enhance our relations. The security issue for both the countries is important and so is the economic and military cooperation.”

FM Cavusoglu said: “There is propaganda against Islam in Europe. We ran a campaign against the Netherlands caricatures, and thank God they shut it down.”

He said Pakistan and Turkey had suffered the most hardships in the war against terrorism. He said Turkey would never forget Pakistan and its people’s help” in the failed 2016 coup attempt.

“The Gulen movement not only damaged Turkey but it also caused destruction wherever it went,” he said, adding that Pakistan helped Turkey on that front too.

The Turkish foreign minister congratulated FM Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on forming the new government in Pakistan. “Governments and people come and go, but real friendships cannot end,” Mr Cavusoglu remarked. “This friendship should remain forever.”

Mr Qureshi said: “In our meeting today we focused on enhancing our economic relations. [We discussed] ways to facilitate each other.

“Our relationship has been very strong. There is a mutual interest. We understand each other’s sensitivities. Turkey has played a role in improving regional consensus and stability.”

He said they also had a trilateral arrangement, which could be used to further improve regional stability and connectivity. “I got the chance today to thank the Turkish FM for supporting Pakistan’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group. On the Netherlands caricature issue as well, Turkey supported us.”

Mr Qureshi said the situation in Afghanistan, Iran and Kashmir were also discussed at the meeting.

Earlier while welcoming Mr Cavusoglu at Foreign Office, FM Qureshi said Pakistan and Turkey were brothers, friends and partners. The inseparable bond of common faith, history and culture had been reinforced by mutual trust and a sense of inter-dependence on critical issues, he said. The strength of Pakistan-Turkey relationship was not relative to time, situations or individual choices, as it was a relationship anchored in affection and solidarity among the people of the two nations, he added.

Both foreign ministers held a one-on-one meeting followed by talks between senior officials from both sides. Mr Qureshi noted that regular exchange of delegations and the presence of a number of institutional frameworks under the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council were indicative of the close bilateral ties maintained at various levels. Pakistan and Turkey supported each other on all issues of core concern to both sides, he added.

While referring to the “heart-to-heart” and “Two Countries-One Nation” relationship, Mr Cavusoglu underlined that Pakistan would always have a special significance in Turkish foreign policy. He appreciated Pakistan’s successful and strong action to subdue and defeat the menace of extremism and terrorism.

Both sides reiterated that Pakistan and Turkey were important members of the Muslim world. “Our people take pride in their faith and are determined to make collective efforts in confronting Islamophobia and other attempts to malign or distort the great message of peace and respect for humanity imbibed in the Holy Quran and repeatedly demonstrated in the life of our Holy Prophet (PBUH),” the two leaders said.

The Turkish foreign minister during his fifth visit to Islamabad also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2018

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Turkey desires a peaceful solution to Kashmir issue: Turkish FM Cavusoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday assured Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi of his country’s support in the bid to find a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue.

Cavusoglu, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for high-level discussions with Pakistani officials, held a meeting with FM Qureshi at the Foreign Office today, following which the two addressed a joint press conference.

Read: ,Pakistan reiterates ‘strong support’ for Turkey after US sanctions,

FM Qureshi said that Turkey has agreed to support Pakistan’s bid for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue at the UN.

“At the United Nations conference there will be a separate conference on Kashmir on the side. It happens every year but it is different this time because a new UN report has come out which sheds light on the India-occupied Kashmir.

FM Qureshi addresses a joint presser in Islamabad — DawnNewsTV

FM Qureshi addresses a joint presser in Islamabad — DawnNewsTV

“There has certainly been a surge in the interest of people in the human rights abuses that are taking place there. I invited FM Cavusoglu to that conference, and I am thankful to him that he accepted the invitation.”

Cavusoglu said that it’s Turkey’s wish that the Kashmir issue involving India and Pakistan gets resolved the UN in a peaceful manner.

“In the group that has been formed over Kashmir in the UN, we will stand with Pakistan and try to make [its efforts] successful.”

FM Qureshi said that ways to enhance economic and commercial ties with Turkey were also discussed in his meeting with Cavusoglu.

“In our meeting today we focused on enhancing our economic relations,” FM Qureshi said. “[We discussed] ways to facilitate each other.

“Our relationship has been very strong. There is a mutual interest. We understand each other’s sensitivities. Turkey has played a role in improving regional consensus and stability.

“They also have a trilateral arrangement, which we can be used to further improve our regional stability and connectivity.”

“I got the chance today to thank the Turkish FM for supporting Pakistan’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). On the Netherlands caricature issue as well, Turkey supported us.”

Qureshi further said that the situation of Afghanistan, Iran and Kashmir were also discussed during the meeting.

Turkish FM Cavusoglu congratulated Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on forming the new government in Pakistan.

“Governments and people come and go, but real friendships cannot end,” Cavusoglu said. “This friendship should remain forever.

Turkish FM Cavusoglu addresses a joint presser in Islamabad — DawnNewsTV

Turkish FM Cavusoglu addresses a joint presser in Islamabad — DawnNewsTV

“In today’s meeting I discussed a lot of issues with FM Qureshi. The most important aspect of our discussion was on the strategic council, the sixth conference of which — God willing — will take place in Pakistan, and we will do all we can to make it happen.

“We have strengthened our commercial ties, and [decided to facilitate] our companies that want to work in Pakistan.”

“We have a unique relation, therefore, we should work together to further enhance our relations.
The security issue for both the countries is important and so is the economic and military cooperation.”

FM Cavusoglu said that “there is a propaganda against Islam in Europe. We ran a campaign against the Netherlands caricatures, and thank God they shut it down.”

The Turkish minister said that Pakistan and Turkey have suffered the most hardships in the war against terrorism.

Cavusoglu said that “Turkey will never forget Pakistan and its people’s help” in the failed 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt.

“The Gulen movement not only damaged Turkey but it caused destruction wherever it went,” he said. “Pakistan helped us in that and we would for it to keep doing so.”

Cavusoglu meets Army chief Bajwa: ISPR

Turkish FM Cavusoglu, following his meeting with FM Qureshi, called on Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

“The focus of the discussion remained on Pak-Turkey relations and regional security, including the evolving situation in the Middle East, management of defence and security cooperation between both the countries,” according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The Turkish minister, the ISPR said, “acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s contributions for conflict prevention in the region, and also pledged to keep working for better relations between the two brotherly countries”.

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Surname change case: SC asks father of petitioner to pay daughter’s expenses

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday resumed hearing of an unusual case of a 22-year-old woman seeking the removal of her father’s name from official documents and replacing it with her mother’s name instead.

Tatheer Fatima claimed that her father had abandoned her in her childhood and that she had never seen him. She raises an important question in her petition: whether or not an individual who abandons his child either before or after birth can be called the father of that child. She also asks if a child can be entitled to be registered as a citizen of Pakistan without identifying the parents.

In the last hearing of the case ? which it described as the first of its kind ? the Supreme Court named the law secretary, the director general of the Immigration and Passport department as well as the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) as respondents in the petition. The bench also directed Nadra officials to acquire information about Tatheer’s real father so that he could be summoned to court.

Her father, who appeared before the three-judge bench today, was asked by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar when he had last seen his daughter and why he hadn’t contacted her for many years.

Tatheer’s father said that he last met her in 2002.

“You did not meet your daughter for 16 years,” Justice Nisar responded. “You should be ashamed.”

The father claimed he had attempted to meet his daughter, to which the CJP asked: “What efforts did you make? We cannot see anything.”

When the top judge asked him what sort of a father he was for leaving his daughter, he responded saying that he had not left her. Instead, he said, it was Tatheer’s mother who did not allow him to meet her.

The court directed the father to pay the financial expenses he owed to her. “You will have to remedy this,” the top judge told her father, “The expenses for all the years that have passed will be recovered from you, even if you need to steal [to get the money].”

When he told the court that he was a poor man, the court ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe his financial records to determine whether this was true. The FIA DG was directed by the court to closely examine the case.

“If you are poor, you will face the civil case and go to jail,” the CJP asserted.

The top judge said that he would see to it himself how the damage caused to Tatheer could be remedied.

With regards to the change in her last name the CJP told her father that Tatheer wanted his name removed as her last name and changed to ‘Tatheer Fatima binte Pakistan’ instead.

“Pakistan is our mother and our father also,” the CJP remarked. But, he added, Islamic law does not allow for a father’s name to be removed from a daughter’s name.

The Nadra director, who was present in court, was given 10 days to provide all records to the court.

The court also directed that Tatheer’s birth certificate and educational record, that state her name as Tatheer Fatima binte Pakistan should be changed, with her father’s name added to her first name.

During the hearing, Tatheer said when she was a Matric student, she required some documents from her father. But he had told her he would only hand them over if she submitted a written statement to the nearest jail saying that her mother was a woman of bad character and that Tatheer didn’t want to live with her.

She said it should be the right of children who are deprived of their parents to adopt the name of those who have raised them. She maintained that her mother had braved great difficulties to raise her as a single parent and children should have the right to take the name of those who take responsibility for them.

She again asked the court to allow her father’s name to be removed from all government paperwork.

Her mother Fehmida Butt said that providing money was not the only responsibility of a parent, and that removing her father’s name from her documentation would give Tatheer satisfaction.

The court appointed Makhdoom Ali Khan as an assistant to the court and adjourned the case for 10 days.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Tatheer said that she had spent all her time with her mother. “I may not have seen a childhood, but I have seen the workshops and seminars [that my mother attended].”

Despite this, she said, fighting back tears, she still had to face people alleging that her mother’s character was questionable. “How? Prove it,” she said.

Tatheer asked why she should keep the name of a person who has not given her name any respect in his family.

When she was asked about the CJP’s earlier comments that, despite how one’s parents behave with them, children must respect their parents, Tatheer responded saying that a father’s respect is created when their child recognises them to be a relation and gives them that status.

“You can only receive respect when you give someone the opportunity to respect you. If you misbehave with them, you will not get respect,” she asserted.

Tatheer’s father also spoke to reporters after the hearing, saying: “I cannot bear it. I wish the ground would open up and swallow me.”

Tatheer seeks remedy beyond existing laws

Tatheer’s petition is basically an appeal against a similar plea which was rejected by the Islamabad High Court on May 17, 2017. The high court, Tatheer had pleaded earlier, had failed to appreciate before dismissing her plea that she was not seeking any treatment in accordance with the law — instead a remedy which was above the prevailing laws.

She had also questioned Nadra’s earlier attempt of seeking a ‘fatwa’ from a religious authority of Saudi Arabia and Iran to formulate a policy about the registration of orphans in Pakistan, saying that she did not feel like an orphan in the presence of her mother, Fehmida Butt.

“The use of orphan for me is an insult to my loving mother and to Pakistan,” she had contended, highlighting that her status should be determined under the Constitution of Pakistan rather than in the light of customs in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

The court in the least hearing had observed that neither Islamic laws nor laws of the land allowed deletion of a father’s name from a person’s official documents, such as passports.

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5 security men injured in North Waziristan firing

Five security personnel were injured when unknown attackers opened fire on a patrol team in North Waziristan’s Boya area on Thursday, security sources told DawnNewsTV.

The injured ? one of whom is said to be in critical condition ? were identified as Naek Rehman Zafar, Sepoy Syed Jabbar Shah, Sepoy Ali Raza, Sepoy Khurram and Sepoy Muhammad Ali, the sources said.

After the attack, a heavy contingent of security forces reached the site of the incident and the wounded were rushed to Miranshah Hospital.

A search operation is underway in the area, the sources said.

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No waiver to India for Iranian oil, Chabahar port: US

WASHINGTON: A senior US official has said that Washington is not offering waiver to any country from curbs on commercial deals with Iran and so far, the restriction applies to India as well, which is a major importer of oil from Iran.

Alice G. Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said in a conference call with journalists on Monday that restrictions also apply to investments in Iran’s Chahbahar port, a project built with India’s cooperation.

Ms Wells – who was briefing journalists on the two-plus-two talks between the US and India, held in New Delhi on Sept 6 – said there was no “blanket waiver or country-specific waiver” from US sanctions on trading with or investing in Iran.

She said the sanctions on Iran that come into force on Nov 4 are not specific to India, which imports 25 per cent of its oil from Tehran. Iran is India’s third largest supplier of oil, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Between April 2017 and January 2018, Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil to India.

Answering a question on whether US restrictions on trade with Iran were discussed at the US-India talks, she said that there was a discussion in general over the sanctions and on Trump administration’s goal to hold Iran accountable for its alleged ‘maligned behaviour.’

The two sides also talked about how US expects other countries to bring their oil imports from Iran “down to zero as quickly as possible” and on US efforts to ensure that the restrictions do not disrupt the market, she said. The US has assured the Indians that adequate supplies are readily available that could be easily substituted for Iranian oil, the US official added.

“With respect to Chahbahar, we have heard the Indian government’s assertion for Chahbahar both as a means of route to Afghanistan, a means for delivering wheat supplies, for instance, and of opening-up trade to Central Asia,” she said.

“The US officials were clear that we were still in process of reviewing the implementation of sanctions and that we were taking this under advisement. So it was an informational conversation between the parties.”

She also said that the New Delhi talks were primarily a strategic dialogue, but trade related issues were also discussed focusing on how both countries could grow their trade relationship in a fair and reciprocal manner.

She said that tariff and non-tariff barriers have been the subject of long-standing concerns and the US was now working with the Government of India to address these market access issues.

The US secretary said that, in New Delhi, the Indian and American leaders committed themselves to resolving trade issues and reaching an agreement to promote bilateral trade.

She noted that the US was now India’s top market for exports and the US-Indian bilateral trade expanded by $12 billion in 2017 totalling to $126bn, whereas two-way investment expanded almost $57bn.

She also said that, so far, the US had not taken any decision on giving a waiver to India to purchase S-400 Triumf missile system from Russia.

“We continue to have conversations with the Indian leadership. We are working to hold Russia accountable for its behaviour and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said these sanctions are not intended to adversely impact countries like India. They are designed to impact Russia”, she said.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018

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UN expert urges countries to protect right to privacy in digital age

KARACHI: A United Nations expert on Monday expressed concern over increasing risks to privacy emanating from state surveillance and lack of digital security, including Pakistan’s “vague criminal prohibitions” on encryption.

In a report prepared for the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council — that began on Monday and will end on Sept 28 — the special rapporteur wrote that many governments, including in Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran and Turkey, were neglecting or ignoring their duty to protect online encryption that helped ensure freedom of expression and privacy.

The report highlighted that the right to privacy was a fundamental human right that was recognised in Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in other international and regional instruments.

Pakistan among nations unable to protect online encryption that helps ensure freedom of expression and privacy

However, it noted that many governments had adopted laws or proposed legislation that increased their surveillance powers, often in ways that fell short of applicable international human rights standards.

The report that addressed some of the pressing challenges that the right to privacy faced globally in the digital age, observed that many states had adopted criminal laws banning the use and dissemination of encryption technologies. In Pakistan, the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (Peca) established “vague criminal prohibitions” on the supply of computer software and the programming of computer systems, which could be broadly interpreted to crack down on the use of encryption tools and networks that provide anonymity (such as Tor and VPNs).

“A state’s obligations to respect and ensure the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to privacy include the responsibility to protect encryption,” the report said.

Earlier in 2015, the UN had criticised the vagueness of Peca’s provisions that could have a chilling effect on media activities in Pakistan, and would pose a serious threat to the ability of journalists to work freely, especially investigative journalists, whose work precisely consists of accessing information they are not authorised to access. These provisions could also seriously deter whistleblowers who, by definition, reveal information of general interest by transmitting data they are not authorised to access, copy or transmit, it had said.

Encryption and anonymity tools are widely used around the world, including by human rights defenders, civil society, journalists, whistleblowers and political dissidents facing persecution and harassment. The UN report warned that weakening them jeopardised the privacy of all users and exposes them to unlawful interferences not only by states, but also by non-state actors, including criminal networks.

The government of Pakistan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on June 23, 2010. The Covenant, in particular Article 19, protects everyone from interferences with the maintaining of opinions and protects the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers and through any media. Any restriction, the UN pointed out, on the right to freedom of expression should be narrowly defined and clearly provided by law and be necessary and proportionate to achieve one or more of the legitimate objectives of protecting the rights or reputations of others, national security, public order, or public health and morals, as provided in Article 19(3) of the Covenant.

Surveillance for security

The report regretted that many states continued to engage in secret mass surveillance and communications interception, collecting, storing and analysing the data of all users relating to a broad range of means of communication (for example, emails, telephone and video calls, text messages and websites visited). While some states claimed that such indiscriminate mass surveillance is necessary to protect national security, this practice was “not permissible under international human rights law, as an individualised necessity and proportionality analysis would not be possible in the context of such measures,” it noted.

Quoting the European Court of Human Rights, the report stated: “A system of secret surveillance set up to protect national security may undermine or even destroy democracy under the cloak of defending it.”

In its report submitted to the HCR session, the UN stressed that there was an urgent need for states to fully implement their obligations to respect the right to privacy, as well as their duty to protect the right to privacy, including vis-à-vis corporate abuses. To accomplish that objective, it added, states needed to establish an appropriate legal and policy framework, including adequate privacy protection legislation and regulation.

It called for establishing independent authorities with powers to monitor state and private sector data privacy practices, investigate abuses, receive complaints from individuals and organisations, and issue fines and other effective penalties for unlawful processing of personal data by private and public bodies. It recommended that states pass laws spelling out permissible restrictions on encryption and anonymity.

The UN also asked the countries to ensure, through appropriate legislation and other means that any interference with the right to privacy including by communications surveillance and intelligence-sharing, complies with international human rights law, including the principles of legality, legitimate aim, necessity and proportionality, regardless of the nationality or location of the individuals affected, and clarify that authorisation of surveillance measures requires reasonable suspicion that a particular individual has committed or is committing a criminal offence or is engaged in acts amounting to a specific threat to national security.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018

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Arif Alvi sworn in as 13th President of Pakistan

Dr Arif Alvi was sworn in as the 13th President of Pakistan at a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad on Sunday, a day after outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain’s five-year term ended.

President Arif Alvi and CJP Mian Saqib Nisar seated after the oath-taking ceremony at President House. ? DawnNewsTV

President Arif Alvi and CJP Mian Saqib Nisar seated after the oath-taking ceremony at President House. ? DawnNewsTV

The ceremony, which began after 1pm, commenced with the playing of the national anthem, followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar administered oath to Alvi, a senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader who was elected to the National Assembly from Karachi’s NA-247 constituency during the July 25 polls.

As per the 1973 Constitution, Alvi’s election to the NA seat will stand null and void once he takes oath as President of Pakistan, since an elected member of Parliament cannot hold the office of head of state.

Top civil and military leadership, including members of the federal cabinet, the three services chiefs, parliamentarians, justices of the Supreme Court, diplomats and other well-known personalities and foreign officials were in attendance at the ceremony.

Among them were Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of Naval Staff Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat.

L-R: Outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain, President-elect Arif Alvi, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and Prime Minister Imran Khan minutes before the oath-taking. ? DawnNewsTV

L-R: Outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain, President-elect Arif Alvi, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and Prime Minister Imran Khan minutes before the oath-taking. ? DawnNewsTV

A beaming Alvi clad in a black sherwani walked into the ceremony hall accompanied by CJP Nisar. Prime Minister Imran Khan and outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain flanked Alvi and Justice Nisar at the dais as the oath was administered.

After Alvi took oath, the national anthem was played a second time. It was then directed that Alvi’s swearing in as president be notified in the Gazette.

Later in the day, the Cabinet Secretariat issued the Gazette notification saying that Alvi had “assumed the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” on Sept 9.

In the evening, after the swearing-in ceremony concluded, Alvi was presented a guard of honour by contingents from Pakistan’s armed forces.

Who is Arif Alvi?

Dr Alvi’s career in politics spans over five decades and began with his role in student politics as a president of the student union at de’Montmorency College of Dentistry in Lahore.

Alvi was part of the student movement of 1969 during Gen Ayub Khan’s military regime and, as his party men say, was among those who fought for democracy in the country.

For the first time, Arif Alvi emerged as an election candidate in 1977 when he secured a Pakistan National Alliance ticket for a Sindh Assembly seat for Karachi. However, he did not take part in the elections as they were boycotted by the opposition parties.

Born in 1949 and a dentist by profession, Dr Alvi was among more than 100 candidates who were fielded by the PTI in the 1997 elections. All the aspirants, including Imran Khan, lost, most of them to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Dr Alvi ran in the 1997 elections from, now erstwhile, PS-114 (Clifton Karachi) but could secure only 2,000 plus votes. He contested from another constituency — PS-90 (Karachi West) — in the 2002 elections but received fewer votes (1,276) than his previous tally.

For a long time, Dr Alvi has remained the only known face of the party in Sindh as he dedicated his time, house and money for the party.

According to the PTI’s official website, he is one of its founding members and was the party’s secretary general from 2006 till 2013.

For the first time, he was elected a member of the National Assembly from the erstwhile Clifton constituency NA-250 (now NA-247) in the 2013 polls, which was the only NA seat won by the party in Sindh.

He was re-elected to the National Assembly from the same Clifton constituency now called NA-247 (Karachi South-II) in the July 25 general election.

Alvi, who was up against PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan and JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman for the post of president last week, ,won the election with at least 352 electoral vote,s ? 44 more than his two rivals could collectively obtain. Fazl and Ahsan clinched 185 and 124 votes respectively.

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Turkmenistan to double power exports, eyes Pakistani market

MARY (Turkmenistan): Turkmenistan completed an upgrade of its largest electric power plant on Saturday, which it hopes will help boost exports and eventually allow supplies to Pakistan, which would require the construction of a new transmission line.

The Central Asian nation, which sits on the world’s fourth-biggest natural gas reserves, has been hit hard by the plunge in global hydrocarbon prices and is seeking to diversify exports in order to increase its hard currency earnings.

Launching the upgraded gas- and steam-turbine plant in the southern Mary province, Turkmen Pres­ident Kurbanguly Berd­ymukhamedov said it would boost power exports by three billion kilowatt hours (kWh) from the current 3.3bn kWh a year.

“In the future, we plan to build a gas turbine power plant on the Turkmen-Afg­han border together with Japan’s Sumitomo,” he said.

In addition to its current customers — Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey — Ashgabat plans to tap Pakistan’s market by building a power transmission line through Afg­hanistan, where it is already laying a gas pipeline in the same direction.

The Mary power plant upgrade, carried out by Turkey’s Calik Holding together with United States’ General Electric, cost $1.2 billion, a government source told Reuters.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018

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India signs pact for sharing of military equipment, intelligence with US: reports

India and the United States (US) on Thursday signed a pact paving the way for closer military and intelligence cooperation between both countries, according to media reports.

The 10-year Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) will allow New Delhi to “buy advanced American weaponry and to share sensitive military technology”, according to the ,New York Times,.

Under the agreement, the US will also “transfer high-tech communications platforms to India”, NYT reported.

According to the ,Wall Street Journal,, the agreement will allow sharing of “encrypted military intelligence”, and is a prerequisite if India wishes to buy advanced US military equipment.

Officials have previously said that the pact would also allow the transfer of equipment such as armed surveillance drones to India from the US, according to a ,Reuters, report.

A report on ,The Hindu, said that Comcasa would allow India to procure “specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is”, and “enable greater communications interoperability between the militaries of India and the US”.

The Comcasa, which was signed during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis’ visit to Delhi, had been stalled for years due to India’s concerns that it would “open up its communications network to the US military”, according to ,Reuters,.

However, The Hindu said, there are provisions within the agreement to safeguard Indian’s security and national interests, and prevent the disclosure of data acquired through these systems to a third party without India’s consent.

Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during a press conference on Thursday with Mattis and Pompeo, had hailed the defence cooperation as “the most significant dimension of our strategic partnership and as a key driver of our overall bilateral relationship”

Both countries also agreed to open up a hotline between their foreign ministers, Reuters reported.

The US has signed similar pacts with less than 30 other countries, the report added, citing a senior US defence official.

The US and India had on Thursday held long-delayed “2+2″ talks amid a series of divisive issues, including Washington’s demands that India stop buying Iranian oil and a Russian air-defence system.

Pompeo and India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met separately before joining top defence officials for talks, and both sides’ defence ministers also met separately before joining the other two leaders for talks.

Sitharaman at the press conference had said: “We have acquired various advanced defence platforms from the US. We are thus partners in building defence capability in the broadest sense of the term,” adding that the two countries were putting in place a framework for closer cooperation between their militaries and defence establishments.

Mattis described the India-US partnership as “one of the most consequential in the region and in the world”.

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