Islamabad, Jan 4: Pakistan and the US are discussing plans to hold a maiden meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump but it hinges on the “positive outcome” of the Pakistan-brokered talks to strike a peace deal in Afghanistan, a senior official here said.
In his first comments in 2019, President Trump on Wednesday said that he wants a “great relationship” with Pakistan and is looking forward to meeting the new leadership.
“The proposal for a summit meeting is being discussed but the final decision hinges on the positive outcome of the ongoing efforts to strike a peace deal in Afghanistan,” a senior Pakistani official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
Khan, who took over as the Prime Minister in August, is likely to travel to the US if “all goes well”, the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Trump told his Cabinet colleagues on Wednesday that Pakistan has not been fair to the United States.
“We want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy. They take care of the enemy. We just can’t do that,” Trump said.
“So, I look forward to meeting with the new leadership in Pakistan. We will be doing that in the not too distant future. But I ended USD 1.3 billion that we paid. I think it was water, we were just paying to Pakistan. So, I ended that.”
When asked to comment on the Trump’s statement and whether there was any chance of the meeting between the two leaders, Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan looked forward to “positive engagement” with the US at the leadership level.
“President Trump’s remarks are indeed a departure from his tweet of January 1, 2018,” Faisal told a weekly news briefing.
Trump blasted Pakistan in his first tweet of 2018, saying its leaders have given the US “nothing but lies & deceit.”
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more! he added,” he had tweeted.
The positive vibes coming from the White House are attributed to the recent push for seeking a peace deal in Afghanistan. Pakistan recently brokered direct talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US in the UAE.
The next round is expected in Saudi Arabia, which suggests a positive movement of the talks. “If the process moves forward in positive direction, certainly there is a possibility of engagement between Pakistan and the US at the highest level,” another official said.
Some sources said that the proposal for the Khan-Trump meeting first came from Pakistan.
Officials here believe that engagement at the highest level could help reduce the trust deficit between the two countries.
Ties between the US and Pakistan strained after Trump, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August 2017, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists.
In November, The US suspended USD 1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan and in September, the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million in military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups like the Haqqani Network and the Taliban active on its soil.
Tribunal serves notice to Jamaat-e-Islami
Srinagar, Apr 19: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, constituted by the Centre, has issued a show cause notice to Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir (JeI), which was banned by the government in February, asking it why the organisation cannot be declared as an unlawful association.
“A notice is hereby given under sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and you are hereby called upon to show cause, within 30 days from the date of service of this notice, as to why your Association, declared as unlawful, be not adjudicated to be so and why an order confirming such declaration be not made under Section 4(3) of the Act,” said the notice issued by Registrar, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, Lorren Bamniyal, to the JeI.
The notice was issued on April 5.
The Tribunal asked the Jamaat to file objections or reply affidavits, if any, before the next date of hearing of the Tribunal at the office of the Registrar.
“In case the objections/reply and the documents are in regional language, true English translation thereof be also attached. You may appear through a duly authorised person before the Tribunal on 20 May, 2019 at 3 PM in Court Room number 26 for further proceedings,” the notice said.
The Centre had constituted the tribunal headed by a Delhi High Court judge to decide whether there is sufficient cause for declaring the JeI as an unlawful association.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on March 23 had issued a notification which states that Justice Mukta Gupta would head the tribunal set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The government in its February 28 notification had banned the JeI, saying it was of the opinion that the Jamaat is “in close touch with militant outfits” and is supporting “extremism and militancy” in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
It said the outfit claims “secession of a part of the Indian territory from the Union” and supporting terrorist and separatist groups fighting for this purpose.
The action came following the February 14 attack in Pulwama that killed over 40 CRPF personnel.
Two militants killed in Rafiabad gunfight:Reports
Srinagar, Apr 19: Multiple gunshots were heard in Malpora Watergam area of Rafiabad in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday evening.
Sources said that at around 8:55 pm, unknown persons fired a volley of bullets in paddy fields in Malpora Watergam village of Rafiabad.
Sources said that a joint team of Army’s 32RR and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s SOG cordoned off the area in Malpora Watergam after credible inputs about presence of militants.
They said that as the forces laid the siege, gunshots were heard from the area.
SP Sopore Javid Iqbal said that “we are verifying the incident.”
He said that a cordon has been launched in the area.
Unconfirmed reports at the time of filing this report said that two militants were killed during the gunfight that ensued soon after.
Budgam: NC worker of 4 decades stays away from polls
Srinagar, Apr 18: Outside a two-storey Government Girls Higher Secondary High School in Ichigam village of Budgam, a man donning a chequered pheran loudly quipped at every person entering the polling booth to cast his or her vote on Thursday.
He argued with them over the performance of their elected leaders in the past as agents of political parties tried hard to convince him to cast his vote or stay away from others who wanted to.
Ghulam Hassan, in his 60s, has been an avid supporter of National Conference (NC) at Ichigam for the last 40 years.
Having worked hard over the years to lure voters for NC, Hassan, Thursday, was one among those who sidelined from the party and preferred not to vote.
He said the previous regimes failed to develop his area due to which he had decided to boycott and also not to “befool” people in this Lok Sabha election.
“It was the only option available with me. I have been supporting the party (NC) ever since I became eligible to caste vote. But it didn’t benefit me nor people of my area,” he said.
Hassan, who as per locals, would often engage himself in heated arguments with political rivals during elections, was dejected over the state of roads and growing unemployment in his village.
“I have two sons, who are sitting idle at home. Many students here have completed their higher studies and haven’t got a job. These politicians appear only during elections and forget their promises once they are elected,” he said.
Hassan said the idea of boycotting the election was way better than living with a hope of some relief from the politicians.
“Under these circumstances, it is better that you vote for a candidate who is trustworthy. But we are short of such candidates,” he said.
When agents attempted “tricking” him by saying his vote would secure Article 370 and 35-A, he replied, “Many among you have voted and let us see how your vote will benefit Kashmir,” he said.
Few metres away in another polling booth in Ichigam, Ghulam Muhammad Dar voiced similar concerns but said he voted after trusting the candidate for one last time.
“I have been casting my vote for the last 50 years and have seen how these politicians befool people. But this is going to be my last vote if the candidate didn’t work for the development and safeguarding special position of Kashmir,” he said.