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Gazans rally for ‘decisive’ PLO decisions

Monitoring Desk

GAZA CITY: Scores of Palestinians staged a rally in Gaza City on Sunday to demand the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) take “decisive” decisions.

The PLO Central Council is set to convene on Sunday in the West Bank city of Ramallah to discuss steps to be taken against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem has sparked outcry across the Arab and Muslim world and protests in the Palestinian territories that left at least 16 people dead.

Protesters waved banners calling on participants in Sunday’s meeting to break the decade-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and scrapping the 1993 Oslo peace accords with Israel.

“Our Palestinian people aspire to taking decisive decisions that help enhance their steadfastness,” Sufian Matar, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Front, told the rally.

He called for drafting a new “national platform” with a view of restricting the PLO.

“The PLO Central Council must take decisive decisions for ending the suffering of Gaza people,” he said.

On Saturday, the PLO Executive Committee called for a UN-sponsored international conference to solve the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The PLO is an umbrella group that includes most major Palestinian political factions, with the exception of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of which are committed to a policy of armed resistance against Israel’s decades-long occupation.


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Trump denies saying he probably had good ties with Kim

Monitoring Desk

PALM BEACH: U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday disputed a newspaper’s account of an interview with him last week in which he was quoted as saying he probably has a very good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said in tweets that in the Wall Street Journal interview on Thursday, he said “I’d probably” have a good relationship with Kim, using a conditional tense.

The White House released a portion of the audio from the interview that it said showed Trump said “I’d.” The Wall Street Journal released its own audio that it said backed up its version of the events.

The Trump comment was key because it suggested he feels he has a good relationship with Kim, who has resisted global pressure to stand down from a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Trump has derided the North Korean leader as a “maniac” and referred to him as “little rocket man.” Kim has responded by calling the U.S. president a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

Kim has warned the United States that he intends to build a nuclear arsenal capable of hitting the United States, prompting threats of military action by Washington.

In the Wall Street Journal interview, Trump was asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader.

“I don’t want to comment on it. I‘m not saying I have or haven‘t. I just don’t want to comment,” he had said.

Trump is spending a long weekend at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Obviously I didn’t say that,” tweeted Trump. “I said ‘I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,’ a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters … and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!”

A White House official said the delay in publicly disputing the Journal’s account was the result of a failed attempt to get the paper to correct the record.

“The reason there was a delay is because we had several calls and emails with WSJ, starting Friday morning, asking them to issue a correction.

They refused and so we pushed out our own clarification,” the official said.

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Hudaibiya Mills case: NAB files review petition against SC decision

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision regarding dismissing the Hudaibia case appeal on December 15 last year.

The apex court had dismissed NAB’s appeal to reopen the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the members of Sharif family.

The NAB filed review petition and it stated that the apex court ruled out its appeal in three days and adding that a reinvestigation of Hudaibia case cannot be stopped.

The petition also stated that the Supreme Court overlooked several materials provided by NAB.

The Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, involving money laundering charges against the Sharif family, was initiated by NAB in 2000 but quashed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2014. The NAB had appealed the LHC decision in the Supreme Court.

The three-member bench of apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Mazhar Alam Miankhel dismissed the appeal last year issued a detailed verdict this year.

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Rouhani says US has failed to undermine nuclear deal

Monitoring Desk

TEHRAN: Iran’s president said on Sunday the United States had failed to undermine a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, and hailed the accord as a “long-lasting victory” for Iran, state television reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday delivered an ultimatum to European signatories of the deal to fix the “terrible flaws” of the agreement with Iran, or the United States would pull out.

“The American administration has failed to undermine the nuclear deal … Trump, despite his repeated efforts, has failed to undermine the accord … The deal is a long-lasting victory for Iran,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech, broadcast live on state TV.

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Zainab’s father refuses to meet IG Punjab police

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Police have decided to carry out large scale DNA tests to find out the killer of Zainab, who was  brutally raped and strangled to death in Kasur.

According to the details, the police will take DNA samples of all the families live within the remits of two police stations from Zainab’s house.

The jurisdictions of concerned police stations are divided into eight blocks so as to launch the DNA drive.

The decision is taken after the police confirmed that the results of DNA tests carried out in the wake of the rape and murder of Zainab, indicated the involvement of one culprit in at least eight similar cases that occurred in the district over the past year.

Whereas Muhammad Ameen, the Zainab’s father, expressed dissatisfaction over the investigations into her daughter’s murder case and refused to meet IG Punjab.

Earlier on Saturday, a new CCTV footage of the suspect involved in Zainab murder case surfaced in which he can be seen roaming outside the victim’s residence.

The culprit is wearing a coat over shalwar kameez and a cap on his head.

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Saudi Prince Alwaleed in settlement talks with govt

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI/JEDDAH:  Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained for over two months in an anti-corruption crackdown, is negotiating a possible settlement with authorities but so far has not agreed on terms, a senior Saudi official said.

Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, is chairman and owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, and one of the country’s most prominent businessmen.

“He offered a certain figure but it doesn’t meet the figure required from him, and until today the attorney-general hasn’t approved it,” the official said on condition of anonymity under government briefing rules.

A second source familiar with Prince Alwaleed’s case told Reuters on Saturday that he had offered to make a “donation” to the Saudi government, which would avoid any admission of wrongdoing, and to do so from assets of his own choosing. But the government refused those terms, the source said.

Since early November Pri-nce Alwaleed has been held, with dozens of other members of Saudi Arabia’s political and business elite deta-ined in the crackdown, in Ri-yadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton hotel as authorities seek to reach settlements with the detainees. Saudi officials say they aim to claw back some $100 billion of funds that rightfully belong to the state. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who launched the crackdown, has indicated he wants to close existing cases quickly and expects most suspects to cut a deal.

The allegations against Prince Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, a Saudi official told Reuters soon after his detention. Neither he nor his company has commented publicly on the charges.

Kingdom Holding, which has said it is continuing to operate normally, did not respond to requests for comment when asked about any settlement talks.

Construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said on Satu-rday that some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities. Chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were detained in the crackdown.

In late November, senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching a settlement with authorities that involved paying more than $1 billion, according to a Saudi official.

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Mother cries for help, seeks justice from COAS, CJP

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Funeral prayer of Intezar Ahmed, who was allegedly shot dead by Personnel of Anti-Car Lifting Cell of the Sindh Police, offered in Sultan Mosque in Defence on Sunday.

The deceased’s father, Ishtiaq Ahmed said that Intezar, who recently come back from Malaysia, had a fight with two men two days back — Fahad and Haider, sons of a lawyer and policeman, respectively.

SSP South Javed Akbar said that 15 bullet cases of 9mm were recovered from the crime scene, adding that a girl was also with the deceased, who fled after the incident.

Speaking to the media at a press conference, the victim’s family’s counsel Mohammad Asif said the boy was in a conscious state until a few hours before the incident and was at a friend’s house.

“There was a clear intention to kill,” said the lawyer, explaining that bullet holes in the car show the police aimed to kill and not stop him.

He also complained that 3-4 hours after the incident, no police officer recorded the parents’ statements.  Speaking to the media, Intezar’s father said: “I want justice, I want the killers of my son”.

Expressing zero faith in the police, he said he only trusts the chief justice of Pakistan and army chief to deliver justice.

The victim’s parents informed the media that their son, an only child, was 19 years old and studying at a university in Malaysia after completing his O and A levels from City School, Darakshan.  Intezar had come to Pakistan for his winter break on November 29, they informed further.

The victim’s father, Ishtiaq, said the car was registered in his son’s name. An FIR has been registered aga-inst unidentified individuals.

Chief Minister Murad took notice and summoned the additional inspector general, deputy inspector general South and others to CM House, said a statement issued by CM House.

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Saudi-led planes strike rebel sites in central Yemen

Monitoring Desk

SANAA:  Saudi-led coalition warplanes on Sunday struck Houthi rebel positions in central Yemen.

The raids targeted Houthi military sites in the Qaifa district in the central al-Bayda province, pro-government commander Hussein al-Hum-aiqani told Anadolu Agency.

He said a number of rebels were killed and injured in the attacks without specifying the exact toll.

There was no comment from the Houthi militia on the claim.

On Saturday, coalition planes struck a rebel training camp in al-Bayda, reportedly leaving dozens dead.

Yemen has fallen into civil war in 2014, when the Houthi militia overran much of the country, including capital S-anaa, forcing the internationally-recognized government to set up an interim capital in the coastal city of Aden.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its other Arab allies launched a massive military campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains and shoring up the Yemeni government.

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N. Korea threatens to pull out of Winter Olympics

Monitoring Desk

SEOUL: North Korea’s state-run news agency on Sunday cautioned that Pyon-gyang may abandon its promise to participate in Winter O-lympics scheduled to be held in South Korea next month.

Only last Tuesday, the North agreed during the first inter-Korean talks in over two years to send a delegation of athletes, officials and performers to PyeongChang 2018.

Sunday’s threat was directed at South Korean President Moon Jae-in after he suggested last week that North Korea’s willingness to hold dialogue may have been influenced by American pressure on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon development.

The North has remained h-ostile to the US even amid o-ngoing efforts to improve ties with Seoul, blaming Wash-ington for regional tensions.

“Rash remarks that pour cold water over the reconciliatory phase are dumbfounding and disappointing people,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency stated.

Pyongyang urged the South Korean government to “think deeply about what ugly results their impolite behavior would cause” and to remember “the train and bus that will take our delegation to the Winter Olympics are still in Pyongyang”.

Meanwhile, the Koreas’ representatives are set to convene on Monday morning for follow-up talks to start ironing out the details of the North’s participation in PyeongChang.

North Korea boycotted Seoul 1988, the only previous Olympics to be held on the peninsula.

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CM KPk participation in DPC: Why controversy?

Ghulam Idris Khan

The Awami National Party (ANP) expressed strong criticism to the  participation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister in Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) gathering in Peshawar on Sunday. Mr. Zahid Khan, spokesperson of the Awami National party, said that  “PTI has buried the National Action Plan(NAP)”. This rally was also addressed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of Jama’at ud Da’wah (JuD) a banned outfit by government of Pakistan, while senior leader of the banned organization Prof Abdul Rehman Makki was also present on the stage.

After being nominated by the party for the position of CM, Pervez Khattak held a press conference with media, asking Taliban not to carry out attacks or any terror relating activities in KP, because, according to CM, they share same ideology. Recently in interview with media anchorperson, CM Pervez Khattak was asked a similar question, about having a soft spot for the TTP, which he bluntly denied, saying “it was not me; it was Shahbaz Sharif (CM Punjab)”. The TV program then playe a video clip from the archives in which Pervez Khattak can be clearly seen advocating in favour of the Taliban.

In recent past, the PTI chairman Imran Khan had openly offered for the establishment of office in Peshawar for Taliban and asking the federal government not to initiate any operation against them. The PML-N government too was following the same policy. PTI was so sympathetic towards Taliban that a news appeared in media that some Taliban leader was treated in Shaukat Khanum hospital in Lahore. The government under the leadership of Pervez Khatk even contributed in turning down the resolution which was under consideration in favour of Malala, daughter of the land, who showed courage against the Taliban.

The federal government of Nawaz Sharif and his interior minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan of that time and PTI camp were favoring dialogue with Taliban. A committee was established for this purpose. Bomb blasts were carried out routinely but they were unaffected.

It was black day of 16th December 2014 when the terrorists attacked Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar and martyred young school kids, who were like flowers. The entire Pakistan, KP and Peshawar in particular were shocked on this tragedy. On the other hand, PTI was busy with the sit-in in Islamabad to resolve the 35 puncture (related to general elections of 2013) with federal government of Nawaz Sharif. The PML govt. was not ready to agree to their demands.

The blood of young Pushtoon  school-going students brought back both parties to senses. Nawaz govt. called All Parties Conference to chart out  comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue. PTI called off their sit-in, which was terminated without achieving the goal. National Action Plan was announced and launched. It was a twenty point action plan prepared to be executed by federal and provincial govt.

In year 2016, the provincial govt. of KP made drastic cut in the fund for minorities which was reserved for text books and fee for deserving students of minorities, and instead allocated a whopping Rs 300 million for religious seminary of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak. The govt of KP justified the move, saying that Haqqania at Akora Khattak produced many scholars in past. PTI chairman defended it by saying that we are doing it to “bring them to the mainstream and to keep them away from radicalization.” He further stated that in the past, Khan Abdul Wali Khan visited this religious school. In recent past, PTI chairman Imran Khan and KP chief minister Pervez Khattak also visited this seminary and made an election alliance with Jamiat ul Islam (Sam-Ul-Haq Group). The chief of his own group Maulana Sami-ul-Haq also announced this arrangement for the upcoming election of 2018.

The participation of KP’s CM in this rally and later on, a meeting with them in CM House Peshawar is not astonishing to political players in the KP. The relation between them are so sweet that the day PTI installed govt in KP,  it allocated huge funds to that religious school, hoping that this may attract some political gain for PTI and dent the reputation of JUI-F (Fazal-ur-Rehman) group in district Nowshera, the home town of Pervez Khattak.

Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) once included Lt. Gen (R) Hamid Gul, a famous character and key player in  the formation of Islami Jumhoori Ittehed (IJI) with the objective to defeat Pakistan People’s Party led by Benazir Bhutto in 1988 elections.

The presence of senior leader of Juma’at-ud- Da’wah on the stage and telephonic address by Hamid Saeed of banned organization is an eye opener for the operators of National Action Plan. These are the same group or parties now assembled minus Nawaz Sharif in the shape of DPC, who nowadays claim to be an “ideologist” having a political road map.

Lt. Gen(R) Nasir Khan Janjua National Security Advisor, in an interview with the research journal of Pak institute for peace studies (PIPS), a reputable think tank based in Islamabad, clearly stated that in provinces, chief ministers are conveners of NAP in their respective provinces, when it come to the implementation.

The KP has its border with FATA. According to PIPS report, FATA remained critical area for the terrorism related killing in 2017. The Chief Minister is hosting outfit entities in the chief minister house. As convener of NAP in KP, he is ignoring national responsibility for political mileage.

It is shocking to know that not even a single member of provincial assembly is able to ask the govt of KP, regarding the Chief Minister’s role in NAP.

The PTI govt in KP headed by Pervez Khattak is following the same stance as that of 2013 that is having soft view for the religious elements to gain their votes in 2018 election.

The 300 million rupees provided to Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania had already borne fruit which is clear from the political alliance of JUI (S) and PTI for the coming general election of 2018.