Category Archives: Entertainment

PML-N govt fulfilled promises: Dastgir

Minister for Defence, Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that PML-N government has fulfilled promises made during electoral campaign.

He expressed these views while talking to party workers in Gujranwala on Sunday.

The Minister said that present government has defeated terrorism and extremism.

He said the government has executed record development projects across the country for uplifting the living standard of the masses.

Source: Radio Pakistan

British Army releases new advert showing Muslim soldier praying as it defied critics

London (UNA-OIC) – The British Army has released a new advert film showing a Muslim soldier praying as it defied critics of an inclusive recruitment campaign.

The new film, called ‘Keeping My Faith’, shows a soldier taking off his helmet and kneeling down in prayer while his comrades wait respectfully nearby.

It is the latest step in the Army’s ‘This is Belonging’ campaign, which has featured adverts telling recruits they are allowed to be emotional, Mail Online reported.

In the latest video, the Muslim soldier is shown washing his face and using a prayer mat while his colleagues keep quiet.

The caption ‘This is Belonging’ appears as the soldier gets up again and the squad moves on with its hillside patrol.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Cautious Optimism in India About US Suspension of Aid to Pakistan

NEW DELHI There is cautious optimism in India about the U.S. suspension of about $ 1.9 billion in security aid to Pakistan to pressure it to take action against terror groups. But analysts in New Delhi say the move is unlikely to prompt Islamabad to stop providing safe havens to groups that are active in Kashmir such as the Hizbul Mujahideen.

India’s reaction to Washington’s tough new posture has been muted, with only a brief statement from a junior minister following President Donald Trump’s New Year tweet that Pakistan had rewarded past U.S. aid with nothing but lies & deceit.

It has abundantly, abundantly vindicated India’s stand as far as terrorism is concerned and as far as Pakistan’s role in perpetrating terrorism is concerned, according to Jitendra Singh.

Washington’s warnings in recent days that it will ratchet up the pressure if Islamabad fails to take “decisive action” against terror groups has won quiet appreciation in New Delhi, which has long complained that it is a victim of attacks by terror groups that find sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

It is too early to judge what he [President Trump] might do, but the perspective is fresh and new, said Arvind Gupta, director at the research organization Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi.

At the same time, many in India feel that Washington’s main concern will be to ensure that Islamabad takes action against groups that target Afghanistan, such as the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban because its primary focus is on stabilizing Afghanistan. There is also some skepticism about how far Washington will go in imposing punitive measures on Islamabad due to its reliance on Pakistan for access to the war torn country.

‘Wait and watch’

Analysts say New Delhi is in a wait and watch mode to see how the new policy will unfold in coming months.

Would they [the United States] really proceed further, number one? Number two, whether it will take the Indian front also into consideration and stick to it, questions Sukh Deo Muni, a South Asia expert at New Delhi’s Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses.

There has been increasing sensitivity in Washington to India’s concerns on terrorism following a closer strategic embrace between the two countries � last August the U.S. administration named the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit as a global terrorist group and added its chief, Syed Salahuddin, to its list of global terrorists. Hizbul is one of the frontline groups active in Kashmir, the territory divided between the two countries.

And in an indication that India’s concerns are being taken seriously as the United States firms up its new policy on Pakistan, the U.S. ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, said on Thursday that Washington has made it clear it will not tolerate cross border terrorism or terrorist safe havens anywhere.

However, when asked why the terror groups active against India were not named during the announcement of suspension of aid to Pakistan, Juster simply said, “Pakistan is important too for the situation in Afghanistan” and stability will not be possible without its contribution.

There are also some worries in India that continuing U.S. pressure will push Islamabad further towards China and expand Beijing’s footprint in the South Asian region � an outcome New Delhi does not want to see. We are already seeing that the Chinese are probably going to set up a naval base in Jiwani (Pakistan). You have already seen that China, Pakistan and Afghanistan have formed a new grouping, said Gupta, referring to the first dialogue of the foreign ministers from the three countries hosted by Beijing in December.

Still, amid increasing frustration in India over efforts to make headway with Islamabad on combating terrorism, the new U.S. policy represents a ray of hope. Formal talks between the two rivals have been virtually frozen for two years but the national security advisers of the two countries met in Bangkok last month to hold a dialogue, which New Delhi said focused on terrorism.

But officials and analysts admit that there is little progress. “We’ve had a hard line policy for some time and it has not really yielded results, because we are still having attacks across the border, points out Manoj Joshi at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation. So if the U.S. gets into the picture, the U.S. has much more clout than us and is able to do something about it, it is obviously something New Delhi would be happy with. As far as India is concerned, it’s a plus for us.

Source: Voice of America

Pakistani Father Blames Police in Daughter’s Killing

LAHORE, PAKISTAN The father of an 8-year-old Pakistani girl whose rape and killing shocked the nation accused the police Thursday of being slow to respond when his daughter went missing in eastern Punjab province.

The father, Anees Ansari, who was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia with his wife at the time of his daughter’s disappearance, spoke after meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Sharif traveled to the city of Kasur to visit the family hours after Ansari returned home from Saudi Arabia to attend his daughter’s funeral Wednesday.

The girl, Zainab Ansari, disappeared last week while going to a nearby home for Quranic studies, and her body was found in a Kasur waste-yard Tuesday.

Her killing sparked clashes Wednesday between angry Kasur residents and police after protesters enraged over her death attacked a police station in the city. Two people were killed and three others were wounded in the clashes.

Sharif, who had assured Zainab’s father that justice would be done, also fired Kasur’s police chief over negligence in the case, according to a Punjab government statement Thursday. Three police officers were arrested for opening fire at the mob instead of into the air during Wednesday’s clashes.

Zainab’s killing, which has drawn wide public outcry, prompted dozens of civil society activists to rally Thursday in the city of Lahore. A similar rally took place Wednesday in the port city of Karachi.

Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and champion for female education, tweeted Wednesday she was heartbroken about Zainab’s tragic fate and demanded action against the killer.

Source: Voice of America

Pakistan Mulls NATO Offer to Ship Afghan Supplies Through Gwadar Port

ISLAMABAD Pakistani officials say the U.S.-led NATO military coalition in Afghanistan has offered to import vital supplies through the southwestern port of Gwadar, calling it a much shorter and economically viable route into landlocked Afghanistan.

The federal minister for maritime affairs, Hasil Bizenjo, says NATO representatives proposed the idea at a recent meeting he convened with local and international business leaders.

They (NATO) are very interested and we are working on it, Bizenjo told VOA in an interview.

The coalition of about 16,000 troops, known as Resolute Support, mostly consists of Americans advising and assisting Afghan forces in their battle against the Taliban and other militant groups.

The military mission is dependent on ground lines of communication and air lines of communication, known as GLOC and ALOC, through Pakistan for receiving supplies.

Currently, NATO supplies are shipped through the southern Pakistani port of Karachi, where they then are placed on trucks and transported on a week-long journey to neighboring Afghanistan via the northwestern Torkham border crossing.

NATO people told us it would be extremely convenient for them in terms of quick transportation of supplies from Gwadar directly to Kandahar. They are very interested and we are working on it, Bizenjo told VOA in an interview.

The Chinese-built, Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is in the southwestern Baluchistan province adjoining Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, which hosts one of the five U.S. military bases in the war-shattered country.

Gwadar port is connected to the Chaman border crossing with Kandahar through a newly constructed highway, enabling truck convoys to reach Afghanistan in fewer than 24 hours.

Pakistani minister Bizenjo said companies dealing in Afghan transit trade also want their cargo to be shipped completely through Gwadar.

Another meeting with Pakistani business and NATO representatives and Afghan transit trade dealers has also been scheduled to further the discussions, Bizenjo said, without saying when.

Pakistan earned the status of non-NATO ally for allowing U.S.-led international forces to use the GLOC and ALOC supply lines to invade Afghanistan in 2001 and oust the Taliban from power for harboring al-Qaida leaders. In return, Islamabad received U.S. security assistance and civilian aid.

The proposal to redirect U.S. and NATO military cargo from Karachi to Gwadar comes as Pakistan’s traditionally rollercoaster relations with the United States suffer fresh setbacks.

It started with a New Year’s Day tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump in which he accused Islamabad of providing havens to terrorists fighting in Afghanistan despite receiving over $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years. Subsequently, the Trump administration suspended security assistance to Pakistan until it takes concrete steps against militant hideouts on its soil.

Islamabad promptly rejected Trump’s comments as unwarranted and completely incomprehensible, saying it was being scapegoated for U.S. failures in Afghanistan.

Officials also maintain that Pakistan has received around $14 billion, not as aid, but as reimbursement for money spent on deploying security forces on the Afghan border and conducting counterterrorism operations in support of the U.S.-led mission. They say Washington still owes Islamabad around $9 billion.

The tensions have led to negative public statements coming from both sides; but, Pakistani and U.S. officials have both dismissed the widespread impression that Trump’s Twitter comments pushed the relationship to the brink of collapse and that Islamabad intended to shut down the NATO supply lines.

Pakistan blocked the ground lines of communication for months after a 2011 attack by the NATO air force accidentally hit two Pakistani border posts, killing more than two dozen Pakistani soldiers. The lines were restored only after the U.S. military formally apologized for the incident.

A U.S. government source tells VOA a robust ongoing bilateral dialogue is on track between the two countries, particularly their militaries. A U.S. military delegation was in Islamabad on Monday. Late last week, Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had a phone conversation with General Joseph Votel, the CENTCOM commander.

Army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor told VOA the contact helped remove any apprehensions about future cooperation. Cooperation and not coercion is the way forward, Ghafoor said.

Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain, who heads the defense affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, told VOA his country has allowed U.S. and allied forces to undertake more than one million overflights free of charge since 2001 to conduct counterterrorism and other missions.

The U.S. needs Pakistan more than we need it because of our location, because of our role and because of the options (available to Islamabad), Hussain said. He was referring to Islamabad’s deepening ties with China, Turkey, Iran and improving relations with Russia.

The senator, however, noted that despite the latest strains in mutual ties, the GLOC and ALOC lines remain operational because Pakistan is committed to supporting efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Pakistan is considered the safest and cheapest route to resupply NATO troops. Other possible routes that go through Iran and central Asian countries are more expensive and pass through a region Russia considers its backyard. Tensions between the United States and Russia have been high since Moscow was accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

Without Pakistani cooperation, our army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale, wrote former U.S. diplomat Richard Olson in an article for The New York Times this week.

“Pakistan has greater leverage over us than many imagine,” noted Olson, who served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan before being appointed as U.S. special envoy for both the countries by the previous administration of President Barack Obama.

Source: Voice of America

Governor Balochistan visits civil hospital Quetta

Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai visited civil hospital Quetta today (Wednesday).

He inquired after the health condition of the people who were wounded in suicide bomb attack on a truck of Balochistan Constabulary in Quetta yesterday.

The governor directed the concerned medical staff to provide best treatment facilities to the injured.

Source: Radio Pakistan