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Rabbani warns against emerging nexus of US, Israel and India

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ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has warned the Muslim world that the emerging nexus between the United States, Israel and India is a major threat to the ummah.

According to a press release issued by the Senate secretariat ,Rabbani sounded the warning while addressing the 13th session of the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Countries (PUIC) being held in Tehran.

He said that Pakistan strongly opposed the US attempt to alter the legal and historical status of Al Quds, adding that the move was a blatant violation of international law and United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.

 

The co-sponsoring of the UN resolution on the Al Quds issue had brought US pressure on Pakistan and the Muslim world should realise that, the Senate chairman said.

“Today it is Pakistan and Iran, tomorrow it can be any other country. We must … rise above divisive conflicts be it sectarian, ideological or communal. I propose that the way forward lies in enhancement of multi-stratum cooperation in areas such as economy, trade, infrastructure, investment, education, health, science and technology, agriculture, energy and defence.”

He said that Pakistan had borne the brunt of the war on terror for over one-and-a-half decades. Thousands of Pakistanis — military personnel as well as civilians — had lost their lives and almost as many had been maimed and wounded, he added.

Despite that, Mr Rabbani said, Pakistan would continue to play a proactive role against this tide of extremism and anarchy.

He called for collective efforts to root out the menace of terrorism and said that the Muslim world must not let a handful of extremists and transnational terrorists to malign Islam for their vested interests. He stressed the need for promoting the true image and message of Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance and respect for human dignity, rights and freedoms.

The Senate chairman said that being a forceful institutional voice of the Muslim world, the PUIC could play an important role (in this regard) through elected representatives of people.

He termed the PUIC a step forward for increased mutually-beneficial integration within the Muslim world as it envisaged the “strengthening of contacts, cooperation and coordination between various Muslim countries’ parliamentary, governmental and non-governmental orga­ni­sations, with the aim of advancing common objectives”.


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International

Imran Khan reshuffles cabinet amidst mounting criticism over govt performance

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan reshuffled his Cabinet amidst mounting criticism at the lackluster performance of the government.

The key ministry of interior was assigned to former ISI officer, Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah who was recently appointed as minister for parliamentary affairs.

He was a confidant of former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto reportedly named him among three people who were a threat to her life.

 

Shah was elected as a member of Parliament in last year elections.

Azam Swati, who stepped down last year as minister of science and technology for allegedly using his influence over police to register a case against a poor family, made a comeback and appointed as minister for parliamentary affairs.

Among other changes, information minister Fawad Chaudhry was made minister for science and technology and petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar made minister for aviation.

Mohammad Mian Soomro would cease to hold portfolio of aviation and would be just the minister for privatisation. Minister of State for Interior and Shehryar Afridi was shifted and appointed as Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions.

Dr Zafarullah Mirza was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services in place of Amir Kiani who was sacked.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Nadeem Babar appointed as SAPM on Petroleum Division.

The Prime Minister has not appointed a new finance minister and instead planning to appoint an advisor on finance. Several names were making rounds for the key post. Those being discussed included Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, Dr Hafiz Pasha and Shaukat Tareen. It is the first major reshuffle in the Cabinet since Khan became the prime minister eight months ago.

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International

213 died in Libya clashes, says WHO

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Washington: A total of 213 people have been killed and 1,009 others injured in the fighting between the UN-backed Libyan government and the east-based Army in and around the capital Tripoli so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“Tripoli toll is now 213 dead and 1,009 wounded. WHO medical teams continue assisting surgical staff at local hospitals,” WHO tweeted.

“Two more ambulances have been damaged. WHO calls on all parties in Libya to protect civilians, health workers and health facilities,” the agency said.

 

The Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, has been leading a military campaign since early April to take over Tripoli where the UN-backed government is based.

Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

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International

Peace talks postponed after Taliban object to size of Afghan delegation

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KABUL: A meeting between the Taliban and Afghan politicians and civil society aimed at ending more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan has been postponed, officials and diplomats said on Thursday, citing Taliban objections to the size of the Afghan delegation.
The talks were set to begin in Doha, but a senior government official in Kabul said “the gathering has been called off for now and details were being reworked.”
Afghan delegates scheduled to fly to the Qatari capital on Thursday were told the trip was postponed and new dates were being discussed, a western diplomat in Kabul said.
“The government will have to change the composition of the delegation to make this meeting happen,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said leaders of the hardline Islamist group were uncomfortable with the size of the Afghan delegation and its composition.
“Presence of some participants was completely against the list of what was agreed upon,” Mujahid said, adding that the delegation included Afghans working for the government.
The Taliban have repeatedly refused to meet President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which they call a puppet regime, but have held several rounds of peace talks with US officials.
Ghani said on Wednesday the 250-member Afghan delegation included some government officials attending in a personal capacity. But the group did not include some of the most powerful figures in Afghan politics, who are reluctant to join forces with Ghani ahead of presidential elections due in September.
A senior government official said Afghan-to-Afghan peace talks are in jeopardy.
The talks between Afghan and Taliban officials at the same table for the first time have been considered a significant first step towards finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s protracted war.
The senior official said negotiations went awry after President Ashraf Ghani opposed a list of participants announced by the Qatar government, which is sponsoring the talks. The list of 243 people was announced by Qatar on Thursday.
The list differs in part from Ghani’s list of 250 people, according to the senior government official.

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