Karachi operation to continue till normality restored, reiterates army chief
Interior Minister, Governor Sindh discuss law and order situation in Sindh
KARACHI: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif visited on Sunday Rangers Headquarters in Karachi, where he was briefed by DG Rangers about the continuing operation and the security situation of the metropolis.
The army chief’s visit comes in wake of the recent unrest in Karachi triggered after the high-profile kidnapping of Sindh High Court chief justice’s son Ovais Shah and the assassination of famed qawwal Amjad Sabri.
The army chief applauded the sacrifices and achievements of Pakistan Rangers Sindh, which “have brought about significant improvement in the law and order situation of the city”.
According to the ISPR, the army chief said the determination, courage and resolve of Sindh Rangers, to rid Karachi of the terrorists and criminals have earned them wide respect the city’s dwellers.
General Raheel reiterated the operation focuses on the entire network of terrorists, their abettors and financiers, and will continue till the objective of peace is achieved and normality restored in all parts of Karachi.
All assistance, including intelligence and material combat support will be provided to Rangers to accomplish this mission, the COAS said.
Reports suggested the COAS will also visit the Corps Headquarters in Karachi. The interior minister, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and other high-ranking officials will be in attendance.
Meanwhile, Nisar and Sindh governor visited Sabri’s residence for condolences.
Sabri, acclaimed Sufi singer and qawwali maestro, was shot dead by motorcycle-borne gunmen in a central Karachi neighbourhood on Wednesday, triggering an outpouring of grief nationwide.
The targeted killing came two days after masked men kidnapped the son of Sindh’s top judge from outside a supermarket in broad daylight in an upscale locality of the city.
Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who arrived here on Sunday called on Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad Khan at the Governor House.
A statement from the Governor House said that the overall law and order situation in the province, the on-going operation in the metropolis and other matters came up for discussion during the meeting.
The Governor Sindh briefed the Minister regarding the operation against terrorists, target killers, kidnapping for ransom and extortion (Bhatta).
It was resolved that the operation would continue till the elimination of last terrorist and that it would be taken to the logical conclusion.
An improved law and order situation in Karachi, the economic hub of country was essential for the economic progress and prosperity of the country, it was further pointed out.
If Pakistan fires, we won’t keep an account of our bullets: India
NEW DELHI: Union home minister Rajnath Singh, on Sunday, came out strongly against Pakistan in the light of Saturday’s terror strike in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pampore in which 8 troops were kiiled while several were injured.
“We won’t fire first but if Pakistan does, we won’t keep an account of our bullets,” Rajnath said.
“An attempt is being made by these terrorists and our neighbouring country to destabilise India. I call upon Indian youth to stand up to face such forces and we should greet and welcome the bravery of our security people and the way they are working with such valour and courage,” Singh had earlier said without naming any country.
After the Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pampore town of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath Singh said the Centre will be sending a two-member committee to find out the loopholes which led to the untoward incident.
“All our security forces are fighting very bravely and efficiently and in this small span of time the numbers of terrorists they have gunned down is highly commendable,” he added.
Saturday’s attack was the fourth one on the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir this month. At least 17 security personnel were killed and several others injured in the last three major strikes along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway during the period.
Officials say infiltration has dramatically gone up compared to the previous year with more than 50 terrorists crossing the border in the last five months. Last year, there was zero infiltration in the first four months. - TNN/Agencies
Pakistan vows to cooperate against WMD proliferation
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has reaffirmed its support and cooperation with the international community to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), reported Radio Pakistan.
“Pakistan will continue cooperating with efforts to promote fair and equitable solutions to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation challenges,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi.
The representative added Pakistan has made remarkable progress towards the resolution’s implementation. She also outlined the legislative, regulatory, administrative and organizational steps taken in this regard.
“Pakistan always supported the globally agreed objectives of promoting nuclear non- proliferation and disarmament,” stated Lodhi.
While Pakistan possesses nuclear arms, the country is not known to possess chemical or biological weapons. Pakistan has signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in 1972, which it ratified in 1974.
In 2004, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1540, which affirmed that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
Pakistan has also submitted its membership application on May 19 for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a week after India, which applied on May 12.
The NSG was formed in 1974, in response to India’s first nuclear test, to prevent further proliferation.
The NSG is one of the main tools for controlling the exports and proliferation of materials that could potentially be used in making weapons of mass destruction. It also tacks the black market trade of nuclear technologies.
Pakistan fears that if India becomes a member, it would use the consensus clause to prevent Pakistan from ever joining the group. Pakistan also fears that joining the NSG would increase India’s access to nuclear technology, which could also enhance its weapons programme, even if indirectly. - Agencies
Khattak announces Rs1m cash prize for students of govt schools making it to top ten
PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Parvez Khattak Sunday announced a Rs1 million cash prize for all those students of public sector government schools who make it top ten position holders in their respective BISE in the province. This cash prize will be in addition to the merit scholarships and other prizes awarded as usual. Every year each of the eight BISEs in KP is awarding a National talent scholarship of Rs.10,000 per month for two years to the top twenty five position holders i.e science Group-I7 and Humanities/Arts Group-8 but this announcement is exclusively for the students of government schools where mostly the poor parents sent their wards.
The Chief Minister made this announcement while handing over a cheque of Rs.500,000 to one Faisal, a special child from a government high school in Haripur for making it to the top position in the recently declared SSC results by the BISE, Abbottabad.
Minister for Education Mohammad Atif and Minister Health, Science and Technology Shahram Khan Tarakai were also present on this occasion.
The Chief Minister also announced that besides this prize and usual scholarships the outstanding special child will be given a laptop also. He remained with the talented but disabled child for quite some time and said that this achievement is a proof of the hard work of a student and commitment. He said that his government is concentrating on improving the standard and quality of education in the public sector institutions where mainly the poor students read and thus narrowing the gap between the poor and the rich.
Talking to Minister Education Mohammad Atif, Chief Minister stressed that the codal formalities for these scholarships and cash prizes be finalized on urgent basis so that the talented students are provided maximum benefits of it.
India may become full NSG member by year-end, says US official
WASHINGTON: As a strong China-led opposition stopped India from entering into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the United States has said there is a ‘path forward’ for India to become a full member of the elite atomic trading club.
“We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year,” a top Obama administration official said on Friday.
“It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year,” the official told on condition of anonymity.
The statement came hours after the group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in face of strong China-led opposition.
Refusing to divulge the discussions and opposition to India’s membership within the 48-member grouping, the official said details of the internal deliberations are confidential.
“But the US strongly believes in India’s membership in the NSG and the Obama administration has worked closely with New Delhi and other countries on this issue,” the official said.
The NSG met last week in Seoul, but China said it would not bend the rules and allow India membership, as it had not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “Applicant countries must be signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT),” Wang Qun, the head of arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying in Seoul on Thursday night.
Later, a US Democratic hailed the decision of the NSG to refuse India’s entry to the elite atomic trading club. “Today, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) reaffirmed its strong support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by refraining from admitting India,” Democratic Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts said in a statement. - Agencies
India to get access to 99% of US defence technologies, says US official
WASHINGTON: India will be the only country outside US’ formal treaty allies that will gain access to almost 99 per cent of latest America’s defence technologies after being recognized as a ‘Major Defence Partner’, a senior Obama administration official has said.
“India (now) enjoys access to (defence) technologies that is on par with our treaty allies. That is a very unique status. India is the only other country that enjoys that status outside our formal treaty allies,” the official told PTI explaining what ‘Major Defence Partner’ status means for India.
Early this month, after a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, the US, in a joint statement, recognized India as a ‘Major Defence Partner’.
“We were looking for something unique. This language you would not find in any arms transfer legislation or any of our existing policies. This is new guidance and new language that is intended to reflect the unique things that we have done with India under our defence partnership,” the senior administration official said.
“This is intended to solidify the India-specific forward leaning policies for approval that the (US) President and (Defense) Secretary (Ashton) Carter...and our export control system have implemented in the last eight years,” the official said.
Under this recognition, India would receive license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that New Delhi has committed to take to advance its export control objectives.
Acknowledging that the impression in New Delhi is that India is not getting access to the kind of technology it needs from the US, the official said it is a constant source of discussion.
“(In reality), less than one per cent of all exports (requests) are denied (to India). They are not denied because of India. They are denied because of global US licensing policies. We do not share certain technologies with anybody in the world,” the official asserted.
The perception in India that the denial of such technologies is reflective of India-US relationship is far from the truth, the official said.
According to the official, India being recognized as a “major defence partner puts it on par with our treaty allies”.
Inside the American bureaucratic system, such a recognition removes a number of major export control hurdles for India. - PTI
European Parliament urges Britain to begin EU exit Tuesday
Scotland will try to block Brexit by refusing to give ‘legislative consent’
BERLIN: The European Parliament’s chief called Sunday for British Prime Minister David Cameron to begin formal proceedings to leave the EU at a summit this week.
Martin Schulz told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that a period of limbo over Brexit would “lead to even more insecurity and thus endanger jobs”.
“Hesitating simply to accommodate the party tactics of the British Conservatives hurts everyone,” he said.
“That is why we expect the British government to now deliver. The summit on Tuesday is the right time.”
The four biggest groups in the European Parliament have also drawn up a draft resolution calling for Cameron to set the Brexit ball rolling on Tuesday, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported. This was crucial, the groups wrote, “to avoid damaging uncertainty for all and to preserve the integrity of the union”.
They added that “no new relationship of whatever kind between the United Kingdom and the EU can be agreed before (Britain’s) exit accord has been completed”.
Cameron said Friday in the wake of the shock referendum outcome favouring Britain leaving the EU that he would resign his office by October and leave the Brexit negotiations to his successor.
To begin the withdrawal process, Britain must invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty, which has never been used before.
The first step is to inform the European Council of member states which sets the clock ticking on a two-year timetable of negotiations.
The EU will hold a summit Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the fallout from the British vote and the European Parliament will also hold a special session.
Foreign ministers from the EU’s six founding states meeting in Berlin on Saturday urged Britain to begin the exit process “as soon as possible”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, was more cautious, saying it was up to Britain to decide when to begin withdrawal proceedings, although they should not “drag on forever”.
“There is no reason to be nasty in the negotiations. We have to follow the rules of the game,” she said Saturday.
Her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, told German public radio Sunday said he did not believe that Cameron would start the Brexit process on Tuesday.
“I have no indication that will happen. I tend to think that the application will be filed in the coming weeks or months, possibly only by a new government,” he said.
After it has been formed, the new British government will “then sort itself out and, as the case may be, present its application. We should all wait calmly for that”.
Meanwhile, the Scottish parliament will try to stop Britain from dragging it out of the European Union, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday, as the five-million-strong country inched closer to breaking away from the United Kingdom.
Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU while England and Wales voted to leave the 28-nation bloc in a historic referendum last week, rattling global financial markets and forcing prime minister David Cameron to resign.
Experts are unclear if an agreement between all four UK nations --- Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales - was mandatory before London sends a letter to Brussels under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which stipulates a two-year period for any member-state to leave the EU. But Sturgeon said she will "of course" ask Scottish Parliament members to refuse to give their "legislative consent" to Britain leaving the EU.
"If the Scottish Parliament was judging this on the basis of what's right for Scotland then the option of saying look we're not to vote for something that's against Scotland's interest, of course that's got to be on the table," she said. Scotland voted to remain in the UK two years ago but hours after the Brexit results, Sturgeon indicated a new referendum was likely. Experts said the 2014 referendum had hinged on the benefits Scotland's young economy would gain from Britain's EU membership.
"The context and the circumstances have changed dramatically. The UK that Scotland voted to remain within in 2014 doesn't exist anymore," she told television channels.
Sturgeon is keen that Scotland - that voted 62% in favour of EU -- remain in the international bloc and is seeking talks with Brussels to protect its interests that include unfettered access to European markets and investment from the continent.
The 45-year-old leads the pro-independence Scottish National Party, which has 63 out of 129 seats in the Scottish parliament, as well as 54 out of 650 seats in House of Commons.
The prospect of re-drawing UK's borders comes amid mounting desperation and regret among British residents after Friday's referendum voted 52%-48% to leave the EU after a bitter campaign that saw bitter campaigning over immigration, jobs and a sentiment of "taking Britain back".
UK petition for
new EU referendum
But hours after Brexit results delivered the most telling blow to European consolidation since World War II, regret appeared to grip the island as markets dived and the British currency was pounded to a three-decade low.
Many "leave" supporters indicated they hadn't taken into account the seismic economic and political fallout of ending the UK's 40-year membership in the EU. Discontent also grew in Northern Ireland and Scotland with two polls showing a majority of Scots supporting independence. - Agencies
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