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Afghan envoy expresses surprise over FO’s claim of handing over terror suspects

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Wednesday expressed his surprise after Pakistan’s Foreign Office claimed a day earlier that the country had handed over 27 suspected terrorists to Afghan authorities in November 2017.

On Tuesday, FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal had said that Pakistan had handed over individuals, who were suspected of belonging to Tehreek-i-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA) and Haqqani Network (HN), to Afghanistan.

Zakhilwal, in a post on a social media platform, said it would be it would be a huge step in the bilateral relationship between the two countries “if this indeed happens”.

Afghan authorities, on a regular basis, blame Pakistan after major terrorist attacks in the country and accuse Pakistan of providing safe haven to terror networks operating inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan, in its defence, counters the allegations by stating that a large portion of Afghan territory is outside of Kabul’s influence and control, providing adequate room to terror outfits to carry out their activities in both countries.

Faisal had also said that Pakistan has continued to push any suspected TTA and HN elements to prevent them from using Pakistani soil for terrorist activity in Afghanistan.

Earlier in January, the United States announced that it was suspending the transfer of military equipment and security-related funds to Pakistan.

The suspension of security assistance to Islamabad came after Washington accused Pakistan of playing a “double game” on fighting terrorism and warned Islamabad it would have to do more if it wanted to maintain US aid.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had also confirmed that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan.

Haley’s statement followed an angry tweet from Trump that the US had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit” for giving Pakistan billions in aid.

In August, Trump concluded a months-long review of America’s strategy to win the brutal war in Afghanistan — now entering its 17th year — and called for an increase in the tempo and intensity of strikes against the Taliban.

The aim was to persuade some Taliban factions to enter talks with the government in Kabul.

This month’s spate of bombings and Trump’s comments indicate that the end game may be further away than the White House would like.

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Corruption case: Accountability court resumes hearing against Ishaq Dar

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Wednesday resumed its hearing against former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar in corruption case.

Former finance minister Ishaq Dar, a close aide of Nawaz Sharif, facing a case of possessing illegal assets to his declared sources of income.

In light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) file a reference against him.

Joint Registrar, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Sidra Mansur submitted documents of two Dar’s companies in court.

Moreover, SECP Deputy Registrar Salman Saeed requested Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir for some time to present further details of Dar’s companies saying the record is on its way from Karachi.

The court then briefly adjourned the hearing.

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ATC summons Imran Khan on Feb 15 in Dharna violence case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Wednesday summoned Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan on February 15 in four cases linked to violence during Islamabad sit-in in 2014.

The court was hearing four cases against the PTI chief, including the attack on the state television building, Parliament and the then Islamabad SSP Operations Asmatullah Junejo.

Earlier in the day, the court approved the interim bail of PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cases.

The Islamabad police on Tuesday had submitted an interim charge-sheet before an ATC. The charge-sheet named PTI chief Imran Khan as a suspect and included a list of 14 witnesses against the party chief. CCTV footage of the attack on the SSP was also included in the charge-sheet.

At present, Imran is out on bail in the case.

In August 2014, violence broke out in the federal capital when PTI and PAT supporters attempted to break a police cordon and storm the PM House, using cranes to remove barricades.

The clashes between police and protesters resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to over 560. Of the injured, 77 were security officials deployed in the Red Zone, including SSP Junejo.

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Sheikh Rasheed takes back NA resignation decision

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Awami Muslim League, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has taken back his decision to resign from the National Assembly (NA) and he appears in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Earlier on January, 17 Sheikh Rasheed while addressing the joint opposition rally in Lahore, has repeatedly cursed Parliament and also announced his resignation from NA-55 seat.

At the NA today, Sheikh Rasheed told media persons that the time for resignation has passed and now it is not necessary for him to do it.

The AML leader attended the Public Accounts Committee meeting today in the NA Secretariat.

Yesterday, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that politics of resignation will soon have no meaning.


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High level Afghan delegation in Pakistan for talks: FO

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson, Dr Muhammad Faisal has said that Afghan delegation including Interior minister and chief of National Directorate of Security (NDS) is on a visit to Pakistan to hold talks on common interest.

Dr Faisal shared this on his twitter account on Wednesday. Dr Faisal added that earlier Afghan government had requested that a high level delegation would like to visit Pakistan with a message from Afghan President and for discussions about cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Officials of both the countries will have talks today.

In the recent weeks, a new wave of terrorist attacks has hit Afghanistan, as the Taliban and Daesh increased their terrorist activities against the Kabul government.

Earlier on Monday, the Afghan capital suffered its third major assault in recent days when a suicide attack on an Afghan army battalion killed at least 11 soldiers and wounded 16.

Similarly on Saturday, a Taliban suicide attacker driving an explosives-packed ambulance blew up in a crowded area of Kabul, killing at least 103 people and wounding 235, in one of the worst bombings in the city in recent years.

Moreover, on January 20, Taliban fighters stormed Kabul’s landmark Intercontinental Hotel and killed at least 25 people the majority of them foreigners in an assault lasting more than 12 hours.

Pakistan has strongly condemned the terror attacks and conveyed its condolences at the bloodshed.



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One killed, nine injured as earthquake jolts parts of country

F.P. Report

ISLAMAB-AD: An earthquake measuring 6.1 magnitudes hit different parts of the country including Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Abbottabad and others on Wednesday.

According to private news channel, a minor girl was killed and nine others were injured in Lasbela after a house collapsed.

The quake also jolted parts of neighboring countries, India and Pakistan. The quake’s epicenter was Afghanistan-Hindukush region and its intensity has been gauged at 6.1 on the Richter scale.

The people came out onto streets after the tremors.

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Afghan Defense ministry criticizes soldiers for failing to stop attack on military base

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) has criticized the soldiers for failing to thwart the deadly attack on the Marshal Fahim Military Academy in which 11 security personnel were killed earlier this week.

Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said the soldiers who were deployed at the entrance gate of the academy should have killed all five suicide attackers before they managed to enter in the building of Afghan military. A gunfight between insurgents and security forces lasted five hours and resulted in the death of 11 military personnel.

Waziri added that the guards deployed from the army unit failed to do their jobs and it cause lives of our soldiers.

It to be mentioned that this was the third major attack in Kabul in the past 10 days after insurgents first held the Intercontinental Hotel under siege for over 15 hours and also detonated an ambulance laden with explosives close to Chicken Street in the heart of the city on Saturday.  At least 103 people were killed in this incident.

While talking to Afghan news channel, Former military officer Atiqullah Amarkhail has said these attacks in the capital have undermined the security agencies efforts to ensure the safety of the people.

The Interior Ministry said they have a new plan to assess security vulnerabilities that have led to these deadly attacks.

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Contempt petition: LHC issues notice to Nawaz, Maryam

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court issued a notice to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah in a contempt of court case on Wednesday which was filed by Advocate Azhar Siddiqui.

Advocate Azhar Siddiqui filed a petition and he stated that  Nawaz, his daughter Maryam Nawaz has insulted the judiciary during their speeches in the recently held Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s rally  in Jaranwala and demanded form the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against them.

During the hearing, Justice Shahid Karim directed the requester to present the evidence of contempt in the next hearing.

The petitioner has stated that Nawaz, Maryam and Rana Sanaullah did contempt of the court in the public gathering and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority (PEMRA) allowed it to run on the tv channels, hence action should be taken against them.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) accepted hearing on a contempt of court petition against the above-mentioned PML-N leaders on Jan 29.

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US aid should only go to friends: Donal Trump

Monitoring Desk

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has advised the congress to pass a law to ensure that the aid should only be given to the friends of America’s.

Donald Trump said this in his maiden annual speech at State of the Union. He said that it was a mistake for the country to send money to those nations who are voting against US at the United Nations and rejecting our interests.

President Trump added that he reorganized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel just a month before after it was endorsed by the Senate Unanimously and dozens of countries voted in the UN General Assembly against the America’s sovereign right to make this recognition.

We are sending billions of dollars aid of our taxpayers to those countries but yet they are not supporting US then why we spend that money on our friends, he added.

Trump suggested that tonight I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.

During his speech, president Trump also added we should put a focus on prosperity, rebuilding, and cooperation and proclaiming a “New American Moment”.

US President further added that as we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.

Regarding the Guantanamo bay, he said that he directed the defense secretary, James Mattis, to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.

Trump claimed that in the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield including the Isis leader, al-Baghdadi.


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Nawaz’s counsel to appear in SC today in Article 62 case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Azam Tarrar will represent the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the supreme court on Wednesday as it takes up the case relating to the disqualification time period of lawmakers under Article 62(1)(f).

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar is heading the five member bench and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

According to legal expert the decision of the case, which is likely to have a significant effect on disqualified politicians including Nawaz, is being heard to determine the duration of the disqualification of elected officials on violation of Article 62(1)(f) and other related laws.

On Tuesday, the court had summoned both Tareen and Nawaz, however, only the PTI leader showed up in court.

As the hearing went underway, the bench was informed that neither Nawaz nor any counsel representing him is present in court.

The court then issued another notice to Nawaz to appear in court today or be represented by a counsel.