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US -Pakistan clash at UN; US needs reality check on ‘terrorist safe havens’ Maleeha Lodhi

UNITED NATIONS (INP): In a forceful rebuttal of U.S. accusation of terrorist ‘safe havens’ on Pakistan’s soil, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council Friday that envisioning that these sanctuaries lie outside Afghanistan need a reality check.

“Afghanistan and its partners, especially the US, need to address the challenges inside Afghanistan rather than shift the onus for ending the conflict onto others,” the Pakistani envoy said in a debate on building regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Convened by Kazakhstan in its capacity as the President of the security Council for the month of January, the ministerial level debate was chaired by the country’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov.

Strongly rebutting to US Deputy of State John Sullivan’s charge that Pakistan provides safe havens inside its territory, Ambassador Lodhi said, “Those who imagine sanctuaries are outside Afghanistan need a reality check.”

She also said that any strategy that continues to rely on military force was delusional as it would produce more violence, not a political solution.

“After 17 years of war, it is more than evident that neither the Afghan government and its military partners, nor the Afghan Taliban are in a position to impose a military solution on each other,” Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-nation Council.

“At the same time,” she added, “we call on the Taliban to abandon the path of violence and join talks.”

Ambassador Lodhi also hit back at Indian Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin’s allegation about Pakistani mindset of promoting cross-border terrorism, saying, “Those who talk of changing mindsets need to look within, at their own record of subversion against my country as our capture of an Indian spy (Kulbhushan Jadhav) has proven beyond doubt.”

In her remarks, the Pakistani envoy pointed out that over 40 percent of Afghanistan was under the control of insurgent groups, and that illicit drug trafficking provided them with a steady financial income estimated at US$ 400 million a year.

“Indeed, with its safe havens inside the country and income from the narcotics trade, the insurgency does not need any outside assistance or ‘support centers’ to sustain itself,” she added.

Sustainable peace would only be achieved through a negotiated settlement to the conflict, ambassador Lodhi emphasized.

“Apart from Afghanistan, it is Pakistan, which has the most to gain from peace in Afghanistan,” she said. Pakistan, she said, continues to host the largest protracted presence of Afghan refugees anywhere in the world.

“My country has been the major victim of terrorism and violence emanating from Afghanistan’s wars,” the Pakistani envoy told delegates.

“Our ability to totally eliminate terrorist attacks in Pakistan depends on effective control of the border with Afghanistan,” she said, adding that Islamabad had enforced stringent border management measures on our side of the border — yet to be matched on the other side by the Afghan government.

Strengthening bilateral relations was a priority for her Government, and Pakistan had undertaken a number of initiatives to promote the development of Afghanistan, including commitments totalling some $1 billion to various infrastructure development projects in Afghanistan. Yet, she said none of those efforts could be successful without the restoration of peace.

Earlier US deputy secretary of state John Sullivan said the United States can’t work with Pakistan if it continues to give sanctuary to terrorist organizations and need to stop this and join efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict.

Sullivan told the council that an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned approach to peace, with firm international support for Afghan security forces, “will make clear to the Taliban that victory cannot be won on the battlefield — a solution is and must be political.”

But he said: “We must recognize the reality that while the Afghan government has been adamant about its interests in initiating peace talks with the Taliban, there has been no reciprocal interest on the part of the Taliban.”

He urged international efforts to isolate the Taliban, eliminate its sources of income and equipment.

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PM slams Imran over ‘anti-parliament’ remarks, challenges him to dissolve assemblies

–Dares PTI chief to make his party resign from parliament

–Govt fulfilled its promises made with people

F.P. Report

BHAKKAR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi slammed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan over his alleged anti-parliament remarks, daring his party to resign from the assemblies and dissolve them.

“No one in past has cursed the parliament,” he recalled, stating that the politics of his party head Nawaz Sharif is based on decency. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the people to decide whether they want to follow the message of love or that of curse.

Addressing a Health Cards under PM Health Programme among deserving people in Bhakkar Saturday, the prime minister said the present government completed many energy projects during the last five years to overcome the energy crisis. He said gas facility will also be provided to every city of the country.

He said the Pakistan Muslim Lealgue-Nawaz (PML-N) always speaks about connecting the provinces instead of dividing them.

The Prime Minister mocked that there were less number of listeners in the Mall Road protest. Without naming anyone, he criticised the political rivals in the opposition parties who appeared united in the Lahore protest.

The PTI chief had stood by his remarks related to parliament saying that “laanath” is a mild word to use for parliament where the law passed in the House foar a disqualified person.

He told that the vision of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is to deliver public welfare. He noted that the PML-N government has executed several development projects including around 1,800 kilometers long motorways, either completed or in final phase, during the last five years.

The Prime Minister said despite sit-ins and obstacles by the opposition, the government has never stopped the development works.

He said those who curse the parliament actually want to create anarchy and stop development of the country.

Addressing the ceremony, Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said under the PM Health Programme free treatment facility will be provided for seven infectious diseases.

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Cursing parliament means cursing himself: PM

ISLAMABAD (INP): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that if a member curses the parliament, then it means he is cursing himself.

Speaking to a private TV channel on Friday he said a member of the parliament should speak after due deliberation. “Those who indulged in cursing (the parliament) should apologise, or else they will get an answer in the election.”

The comments by the prime minister come days after an ‘anti-government’ rally in Lahore, at which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had cursed the Parliament for allowing Nawaz Sharif’s re-election as the party head after his disqualification.

“I give Laanat (curse) the parliament that made a criminal the president of a party,” he said, in an apparent reference to ousted premier Nawaz Sharif being elected the PML-N president.

Imran’s remarks followed the repeated cursing of the parliament from Rasheed, who also announced his resignation from the assembly.

The prime minister denied placement of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Dr Tahirul Qadri’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

“According to my knowledge, Tahirul Qadri has Canadian citizenship,” he said, adding that the PAT chief was not alone on the stage of Lahore rally, but leadership of major political parties was also accompanied him.

Abbasi said, “Controversial statements were also made regarding the parliament from the stage, of which the House took notice.”

He said whatever Tahirul Qadri is doing is being seen; he is on the roads.

“I had this thing in my mind whether a foreign citizen can issue anti-government statements,” the premier said, adding they would take notice of the PAT chief’s statement regarding toppling the government.

Asked about growing incidents of child abuse, he said, “We are trying our best to arrest the suspects of child abuse. High-ranking officials of police are present in Kasur and it’s hoped that the suspect in Kasur incident would be apprehended soon on the basis of available evidence.”

Shahid Abbasi, however, said that there are some difficulties despite the availability of CCTV footage. He also said that investigations have been ongoing into firing during protests in Kasur.

“It is difficult to establish white-collar or cyber crime across the world,” he noted.

Speaking about Balochistan political crisis, the prime minister said that he visited Quetta to inquire about motives behind it. “Members told me that they are under immense pressure and receiving calls.”

“I went to Quetta to inform that in politics such motives are not good,” he said, adding that it was a party matter as their members had expressed no confidence in their chief minister.

The prime minister said that he had a meeting with the entire (PML-N) parliamentary party a few weeks ago, adding, “Differences lie in every household, every party.”

Asked about recent statement by Chaudhry Nisar and Pervaiz Rashid, he said the two figures issued statements which came forth in the form of a disagreement.

“The things, which create ambiguity, do not benefit politics,” Abbasi said, adding that the matter has been resolved and, if it isn’t, then it is their duty to resolve it.

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Army Chief confirms death sentence for 10 terrorists

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed the death sentences 10 hardcore terrorists on Friday, according to statement issued by the ISPR.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement, the 10 terrorists were awarded death sentences by military courts.

The convicts were involved in terrorists activities, killing of innocent civilians, attacks on educational institutions, slaughtering of soldiers, attacking Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and Armed Forces of Pakistan, the statement added.

The terrorists were involved in killings of 41 personnel and injuring 33 others. Arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession.

Besides the 10 awarded death sentences, another 3 convicts were awarded imprisonment for varying periods by military courts.

Particulars of the 10 convicts are as follows:

Sami ur Rahman & Azeem Khan

Rahman son of Gul Habib and Khan son of Shaiber, were both members of a proscribed organization and were involved in attacking LEAs and armed forces of Pakistan, resulting in the death of Major Muhammad Ihsan, 9 soldiers as well as 2 police officials and injuring 13 others. They were also found in possession of fire-arms and explosives. The convicts admitted their offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

Arshad Bilal and Anwar Ali

Bilal son of Khadim Khan and Ali son of Fazal Ghaffar, were also members of proscribed a organization. They were involved in attacking armed forces of Pakistan which resulted in death of 9 soldiers and injured 9 others. They were also involved in destruction of Government Boys Primary School, Langer, Swat. They were found in possession of fire-arms and explosives. These convicts admitted their offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

Muhammad Aleem and Fazal Aleem

Both sons of Abdul Rasheed. The convicts were members of a proscribed organization. They were involved in attacking Law Enforcement Agencies and armed forces of Pakistan which resulted in the death of 4 soldiers. They were also involved in destruction of Government Boys High School, Nangolai, Swat. The convicts admitted their offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

Rasool Muhammed

Muhammed son of Ahmed Jan, was a member of a proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking LEAs and armed forces of Pakistan which resulted in death of 4 soldiers. The convict also abetted other terrorists in slaughtering of civilian Said Raheem as well as Assistant Sub Inspector Irshad Ali, Head Constable Sarwar Ali Khan and Head Constable Sher Ahmed. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

Sohail Ahmed

Ahmed son of Usman Ali, was a member of a proscribed organization. He was involved in killing of innocent civilians and attacking LEAs of Pakistan which resulted in the death of 3 civilians, Sub Inspector Mustafa Khan, a constable of police and injuries to 4 others. He was also found in possession of explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

Naimat Ullah

Son of Ahmed, the convict was a member of a proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking armed forces of Pakistan, which resulted in death of 2 soldiers and injuries to 4 others. He was also found in possession of fire-arm and explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

Rahmat Ali

Ali son of Noor Said, was a member of a proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking armed forces of Pakistan which resulted in the death of a soldier. He was also found in possession of fire-arms. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court.

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CJP takes notice of Naqeebullah murder in alleged police encounter

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday took suo moto notice of the alleged extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud during an encounter in Karachi.

The Chief Justice has directed the Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) to submit a report within seven days.

Naqeebullah’s killing has sparked a social media outcry, as his family members reject claims by authorities that he was a member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, saying he was an innocent aspiring male model.

Police allegedly fatally shot Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, during a raid on what they described as a “terrorist hideout” in eastern Karachi last week.

Earlier today, A high-level committee, headed by Additional IG CTD Sanaullah Abbasi grilled Rao regarding the murder.

Formed on directives by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the committee comprises DIG East Sultan Khawaja and DIG South Azad Khan and is mandated to investigate murder of 27-year Naqeebullah.

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal also took notice of the death following reports that the 27-year-old hailing from South Waziristan was innocent and allegedly killed in a “staged encounter”.

Naqeebullah was allegedly among the four suspects killed in an ‘encounter’ with a police team headed by Rao Anwar on outskirts of Karachi.

Social media burst into an outcry against the killing of Naqeeb in the staged encounter. A protest was also staged outside Karachi Press Club to condemn the killing, calling for justice for the victim’s family.

Earlier today, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar appeared before the inquiry committee formed to probe alleged police encounter in which Naqeeb Mehsud was killed.

Submitting evidence in the case, Rao ANwar provided an FIR to the committee according to which Mehsud was declared a fugitive in 2014 in attempt to murder and terror-related cases. He informed that the case was registered against Naqeeb Mehsud in Sachal police station.

“Noor Alam, Zahidullah and two others were killed in police encounter in 2014. Their head Abid Machar, Saifuddin Mehsud, Irshad Mehsud, Naqeeb Mehsud, Maulvi Yar Muhammad were fugitives. They had also kidnapped Memon trader for ransom,” said Rao Anwar.

“Why Mehsud’s family did not contact police if he was really missing? He is hundred percent criminal,” maiatained the SSP.

On the other hand, inquiry committee’s member DIG East-Zone Sultan Ali Khowaja told media that they will not tolerate any sort of pressure in the probe. “The inquiry will be held on the basis zero-tolerance. Naqeebullah’s family has also been summoned by the committee.”

Naqeebullah Mehsud was buried in his native town of Makin, in the South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, on Friday.

Naqeebullah, also known as Naqeeb, ran a popular Facebook page where he posted pictures of himself modelling clothes and hair styles.

“He used to work in a garment mill in Karachi, and he used that money to fund his modelling,” Naqeebullah’s cousin Alamgir Mehsud told Al Jazeera. “He was a sort of idol to young people from the Mehsud tribe in Karachi.”

By late December, Mehsud s page had more than 14,000 followers, and he often posted light-hearted messages.

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Shehbaz Sharif suggests Pervaiz Rashid to avoid media interaction over Nisar row

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif suggested the ex-Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid to avoid giving certain statements in media over his ongoing row with the party leader Chaudhry Nisar.

Commenting on the rift between Nisar and Rashid, Shehbaz Sharif favoured the former and called him A “senior leader of PML-N”. “Nisar is one of the closest aides of Nawaz Sharif,” he stated.

He told that the ruling party’s president Nawaz Sharif will himself resolve the matter, explaining that the matter of differences between members of political party is not unusual. He advised his elder brother to summon both leaders to resolve their differences.

Punjab CM further added that all PML-N leaders and workers have mutual consent on the party’s manifesto. He vowed to serve the best interest of the people.

The ex-interior minister Chaudhry Nisar had censured fellow party leader, former information minister Pervaiz Rashid by saying that a politician who did not contest for a councillor’s election is acting as if he is the ‘chief minister of the party’.

Nisar had warned that actions of the lawmaker would be clear once the report is made public.

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PAF equipped with modern weapon systems to thwart any threat: Air Chief

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Air Chief Sohail Aman says Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is well equipped with modern weapon systems to thwart any external or internal threat.

He was addressing the passing out parade of Aero Apprentices was held at PAF Base, Korangi Creek, in Karachi on Friday.

Air Vice Marshal Haseeb Paracha, Air Officer Commanding Southern Air Command, PAF received the chief guest at the venue.

Addressing at the occasion, the Air Chief warned the enemies of Pakistan that their coward acts would not yield any results and Pakistan would continue to prosper by the grace of Allah Almighty. He further said, “Pakistan Air Force is equipped with modern and indigenous weapon systems, radars and other sophisticated military equipment to thwart any external or internal threats. For maintenance of these precious assets, PAF is investing heavily in training of technical force on modern highest international EASA standards, in order to produce sound professionals.

He further added, “PAF has uniquely brought theoretical and practical modes of training. I am certain that new training scheme would go a long way to meet the maintenance requirements of vital PAF Assets”. In the end, the air chief reminded the aero apprentices that the time ahead would continue to pose formidable challenges before them, but with faith in Allah and their abilities, they should overcome all odds with courage, commitment and professional excellence. He urged them to fully devote their time and energies to their profession and work with resolute commitment to attain mastery in their respective trades.

A total of 782 Aero Apprentices including personnel from friendly countries and Pakistan Navy successfully completed their technical training. The Air Chief awarded trophies among the distinction holders. Asghar Khan Trophy for the Best in Aero Space Technology was awarded to Air Weapon Technician M Arsalan Bajwa; Whereas, Nur Khan Trophy for the Best in Avionics Technology was awarded to Aircraftman M Usman. Zafar Choudhry Trophy for the Best in Aero Support Technology (School of Aeronautics) was awarded to Aircraftman Naimatullah; While, Rahim Khan Trophy for the Best in Aero Support Technology (School of Electronics) was awarded to Aircraftman Amir Danish. Best Performance Trophy for foreign trainee was awarded to Leading Aircraftman Amarakoon from Sri Lanka; Whereas, Base Commander Trophy for the Best in General Service Training was awarded to Aircraftman Base Sergeant M Usman Ashfaq. The coveted Chief of the Air Staff Trophy for the Overall Best Performance was clinched by Aircraftman M Usman.

Air Commodore Ibrahim Asad, Base Commander, PAF Base Korangi Creek was also present at the occasion.

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Zainab murder case: At least 600 DNA samples taken in ten days in Kasur

KASUR (Monitoring Desk): Collection of DNA samples and their examination to possibly identify murderer of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur is continuing on Friday with authorities having taken at least 600 samples within ten days.

A Punjab chief minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif-formed committee had earlier recommended that authorities collect DNA samples of men living in some two kilometres of area where the minor girl was raped and murdered before her body was recovered in a heap of trash last week.

Sources privy to the probe team have reported that a forensic science agency has completed reports of some 450 samples however, no sample has matched DNA of the criminal.

Reports of another 150 samples are yet to be finalised.

Sources have further reported that law enforcers have made some
80 persons undergo the test for bearing resemblance to the sketch of the perpetrator released earlier.

DNA tests of criminals who have completed their sentences in rape cases were also conducted.

Seven-year-old Zainab was raped and murdered in Kasur last week as her body was found whilst the bereaved parents were in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.

The guardians complained upon return that late Zainab had gone missing at least five days ago and the police did not cooperate with the relatives who were looking for the missing minor.

CM Shehbaz paid a visit to the grieving family and vowed to monitor the proceedings in the case and bring the criminal to justice who is at large over ten days since the national reportage about the incident.

Three suspects held

Earlier in the day it was reported that police have held three suspects named Asif, Umar and Baba Ranjha. Reportedly, police learnt that Asif kidnapped Zainab from a market and handed her over to Umar, after which she was kept at Baba Ranjha’s house.

On the indication, the officers launched a search operation at the house where Zainab was allegedly kept after abduction.

Kasur District Police Officer (DPO) Zulfiqar Ahmad had claimed to have attained a major clue in Zainab murder case.

“It may take a week or several years to apprehend criminals involved in such heinous crimes. Police have attained major clues. We will catch the culprit soon”, Zulfiqar told members of the committee.

He stated that decision has been made to install 450 CCTV cameras in Kasur to void Zainab’s ordeal-like incidents.

“Work on installation of cameras will begin within one month”, he added.

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Pakistan reunites missing Afghan child with family

ISLAMABAD (APP): In a gesture of good will, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Tehmina Janjua handed over the custody of an Afghan child to the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad Friday, the Foreign Office reported.

The child had come here with his parents for medical treatment of his father. However, during their stay in Islamabad, Ubaid ullah went missing. The mother of the child could not find any clue about his whereabouts and due to sudden demise of Ubaid Ullah’s father had left for Afghanistan.

The child was found by Islamabad Police on 7th November, 2015 and was referred to Child Protection and Welfare Bureau who took the custody of the child and provided him a homelike environment along with, education, healthcare and psychological counseling.

Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities as well as Embassy in Kabul continued efforts for tracing his family in Afghanistan.

After successful conclusion of these efforts, 15-year old Ubaid Ullah was handed over to the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad to reunite with his family in Afghanistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Tehmina Janjua said Pakistan wishes Afghanistan to be a peaceful, prosperous and bright country and it is ready to extend cooperation to this effect.

She said peace and stability in Afghanistan is inevitable for a peaceful region and Pakistan will continue joint efforts with Afghanistan.

The reunion of the boy with his family has been made possible due to the efforts of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul and Child Protection and Eelfare Bureau of Pakistan.

The Government and people of Afghanistan have deeply appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for taking good care of the destitute Afghan boy and his safe reunion with his family.

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Interior ministry shuts down Radio Mashaal on ISI recommendation

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry ordered to shut down Radio Mashaal, after receiving intelligence report regarding the operations of a Pashto language broadcaster connected to the US-funded Radio Free Europe.

Interior ministry issued a notification in this regard on Friday and directed the Islamabad chief and police chief of capital to close down the operations of the radio. The ministry added that the programs of the Radio Mashaal was found against the national interests and spreading fake news regarding Pakistan intelligence in the country and in the region.

It added that Radio Mashaal aired programs and trying to portraying Pakistan is safe havens of terrorists and roots of terrorisms is only in the country and also presenting the Pakhtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA are disappointed towards the state and trying to incite the people against the state and its institutions, the Radio Mashaal also propagating and portraying Pakistan as a failed state in terms of providing security to the its minorities.

The ministry, thus, decided to close down the radio’s regional office located in Islamabad and terminate its activities. The

Radio Free Europe which is based in Czech and first it began its services in 2010 by the name of Radio Mashaal with an aim of providing “an alternative to the growing number of extremist radio stations in the region”.