Islamabad, Oct 4: Islamabad is seeking an American role in facilitating talks between India and Pakistan because the two South Asian neighbours are not engaging bilaterally, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said, warning that absence of such a facilitation could lead to escalation of tension.
But the latest Pakistani request in this regard has again been rejected by the US, the top Pakistani diplomat told a Washington audience, a day after he had meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, during which he raised the issue only to be pushed back by the Trump administration.
“When we asked the US, to play facilitating role…Why do we ask? Simply because we are not engaging bilaterally. And that bilateral disengagement is…a distraction. We want to focus, we want to move on the western side of the border, which we are not being able to because we have to watch our back from eastern side (of the border with India). That is not a healthy situation to be in,” Qureshi said in response to a question at the US Institute of Peace, a US Congress-funded top American think-tank.
Now can you (United States) facilitate? The answer from them is no. They wanted bilaterally. But there is no bilateral movement,” Qureshi said warning that this could lead to escalation of tension between the two South Asian countries.
“If that lack of facilitation leads to escalation and some of the statements that have come out of late have not been very helpful,” the Pakistani foreign minister said in an apparent reference to the remarks by Indian leaders. “The so-called surgical strikes and stuff like that doesn’t make sense. It does not, that’s politics.. there are elections around the corner,” he said in response to a question.
The new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan in Pakistan, he claimed, is not shy of engaging. Referring to the cancelling of his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New York, he alleged that India backed off. However, he quickly skipped India’s reasons for this – glorification of terrorists by issuing postal stamps and brutal killing of India security personnel. “If the Indians have a better option, share it with us. If disengagement, if not talking to each other will resolve and stabilise the region, fine. If that’s their analysis fine,” Qureshi said.
Qureshi who left for Pakistan after his meetings with Trump administration officials said it is unfortunate that the two countries are not engaging. “It’s unfortunate. That’s the way it is. Now. What does this government want? We want normalisation. We want co-existence. You’ve got to recognise the reality. Pakistan is a reality. So is India. We have issues. How do we resolve them?” he asked.
After coming to power, the first speech made by the Prime Minister Khan was “that every step you (India) take towards peace, we will take two. And he meant it. It wasn’t just because it sounded good. It wasn’t to please anyone. He is too blunt a person to please people. He can be very straight and he can be very blunt. But he said that because he feels that way,” Qureshi said.
India has said that Pakistan created the conditions for cancellation of the talks – due to issuing of postage stamps glorifying terrorists and brutal killing of its three security personnel. The Pakistan foreign minister did not mention that in his answer and only said that the stalled dialogue process is not good for the two countries and the region.
Responding to a question on India’s stand that talks and terrorism cannot go together, a view which is shared by Washington too, Qureshi referred to a statement by Khan while he was an opposition leader and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a trip to New Delhi that there would always be spoilers. “There will always be spoilers. There will always be elements that will scuttle the process of peace. But when they do that, let re-engage to fight them. They will push us back. But we have to see what is in our interest, what is in the regional interest. What’s in Pakistan’s interest,” Qureshi said quoting what Khan had told Modi.
Soon, he raised the Kashmir issue. “They have to realise, and I think they were being simplistic, if they feel that everything that’s wrong on the Indian side of Kashmir is all of Pakistan’s making, that is an unrealistic approach,” he said. India, he said, should also revisit its policies and see why and how people have been alienated.
After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul
Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).
Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.
“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.
Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.
“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.
He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.
While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.
“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.
Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.
Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.
Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.
In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.
Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today
New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.
While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.
Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.
IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister
Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.
They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.
Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.
The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.
Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.
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