Connect with us

International

US looks forward to working with Imran-led govt

Agencies

Published

on

IST


 

WASHINGTON: As Pakistan forms a new government, the United States looks for opportunities to work with it to advance the goals of security and stability in South Asia, the State Department said .
In a statement on Wednesday’s election that gave Imran Khan and his party a clear edge over others, a spokesman for the State Department also expressed concern over some developments.
“As Pakistan’s elected leaders form a new government, the United States will look for opportunities to work with them to advance our goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia,” the spokesperson said.
“We are concerned by reports of constraints placed on freedoms of expression, association, and the press leading up to the elections.”
Asked to comment on the election results, the spokesperson said: “We are awaiting official results from the Electoral Commission of Pakistan and observer missions to release their preliminary findings.”
Meanwhile, The Financial Times in a report observed that election in Pakistan produced a rare victory for a candidate who comes from outside the country’s two major dynasties, the Sharifs and the Bhuttos.
Other media outlets also noted this change in the stories published or broadcast in the United States since Wednesday evening, when election results from Pakistan showed Imran Khan and his party emerging as a clear winner.
The FT article pointed out that Imran Khan projected himself on the campaign trail as a fighter against corruption, willing to take on the country’s established political elite. “But his opponents say he has been supported and funded by the armed forces,” the report added.
The Bloomberg financial wire reported that Imran Khan’s win would clear the way for Pakistan to “open negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over another, much-needed bailout”.
The reported noted that investors in Pakistan were “already expressing relief at the prospect of an outright win after expectations of a hung parliament”.
The report warned that the PTI leader’s alleged link to Pakistan’s Islamists would be viewed with concern in world capitals and pointed out that in one of his past statements he threatened to shoot down US drones if they entered the Pakistani territory in his government.
Khan maintains that “America’s presence (in Afghanistan) puts him in direct conflict with US President Donald Trump”, the report added.
Bloomberg also noted that Khan, who won power as an anti- corruption crusader, has emphasised the need for more transparency in the $60 billion CPEC projects.
“For now, he may choose to focus on Pakistan’s economy rather than battle the country’s powerful generals over foreign policy and national security issues,” Bloomberg observed.
An agency report published on some news sites noted that religious extremists and banned groups failed miserably in Pakistan’s elections.
Although the extremists had fielded hundreds of candidates, only one appeared to be winning a provincial assembly seat from Karachi, it added.
A Washington Post article noted that PML-N had rejected the results, claiming the election was rigged and other major political parties were also backing this claim.
Although the rigging allegation had cast a shadow on the legitimacy of the entire electoral exercise, it would not prevent the PTI from forming the next government, the report added.
“The PTI-led government would take office, and the opposition parties would concurrently maintain a strong protest movement to pressure the new government for the foreseeable future,” the Post added.
The report noted that if rigging allegations led to a protest movement, the political parties led by the PML-N, could boycott the newly elected parliament and demand a repeat election.
“But such a call would require deep coordination between all major political parties … (and) with the PPP in a strong position to easily form one provincial government, there is no obvious reason to believe they would collaborate.”
The Foreign Policy magazine also carried a report on its website, noting that Pakistan’s foreign relations “are the most frayed they have been in decades” as Imran Khan prepares to take over.
The report noted while the United States and Afghanistan accused Pakistan of allowing Taliban militants to operate out of sanctuaries in Pakistan, the dispute with India over Kashmir was growing tense.
“Pakistan has once more been placed on a terrorism-financing watch list by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, rendering it ever more internationally isolated,” it added.
The report stressed the need for dealing with the growing anti-Americanism in Pakistan if Mr Khan wanted to improve his country’s ties with Washington.
The report also noted that before his election, Mr Khan presented himself “as a leader of conscience who would better safeguard Pakistani honour by engaging with the United States on more equal terms”.
But “once Khan is finally and safely in power …, he may no longer need to surf Pakistan’s permanent wave of popular anti-American sentiment with such dedication”, the report added.

 
Comments

International

Trump to meet Kim Jong-un again in late February: White House

Agencies

Published

on

WASHINGTON: The White House announced that US President Donald Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in late February.

During the meeting, the two leaders will hold talks over the steps taken by Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear and missile programmes. It may be recalled that the first meeting between the two leaders was held on June 12, 2018 in Singapore. The White House, however, did not reveal where the two leaders will meet in February.

The White House made the announcement shortly after Trump held a meeting with North Korean envoy, Kim Yong Chol, on Friday for a discussion that included talk about Kim Jong-un’s unfulfilled pledge to dismantle nuclear weapons programmes of North Korea.

 

“President Donald J Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February. The president looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The press secretary told reporters: “We continue to make progress, we continue to have conversations. The US is going to continue to keep “pressure and sanctions” on North Korea until “we see fully and verifiable denuclearization”. We had very good steps and very good faith from the North Koreans with the release of hostages and other moves and so we’ll continue this conversation.And the President looks forward to it next February.”

Kim yong Chol arrived at the White House after meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun at a hotel in Washington.

“The Secretary, Special Representative Biegun, and Vice Chairman Kim discussed efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore. At the conclusion of the Secretary’s meeting with Vice Chairman Kim, the two sides held a productive first meeting at the working level,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said.

Continue Reading

International

Blast targets Al Qaeda ally in Syria, kills 11

Agencies

Published

on

BEIRUT: An explosion outside an office belonging to an Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria’s northwest killed at least 11 people and wounded several others, opposition activists said.

The blast comes a week after members of the Al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Arabic for Levant Liberation Committee, or HTS, took over control of wide parts of Idlib province and the surrounding countryside after forcing rival insurgents to accept a deal for a civil administration run by HTS in their areas.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Smart news agency, an activist collective, said the blast occurred on the southern edge of the rebel-held city of Idlib.

 

The observatory said 11 people were killed in the blast, including seven HTS members. Smart said 12 people were killed, many of them militants.

In the country’s east, an air strike in the last area held by the militant Islamic State group killed at least 20 people.

State news agency SANA said 20 people were killed in the air strike on the IS-held village of Baghouz, while the observatory said 23 people were killed including 10 IS members.

They both blamed the US-led coalition that has been providing air cover to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their monthslong offensive to capture the area from extremists near the Iraqi border.

The SDF has intensified its offensive over the past weeks on the IS-held area.

Meanwhile in Turkey, President Tayyip Erdogan met with US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to discuss the situation in Syria as the United States prepares to withdraw troops.

Graham, a prominent voice on foreign affairs in the US, met with Erdogan and other Turkish officials on Friday for talks that were also expected to include a proposal for the creation of a “safe zone” in northeast Syria.

The visit comes days after a suicide bombing, claimed by IS, killed two US service members and two American civilians in the northeastern town of Manbij.

Graham has said he is concerned that US President Donald Trump’s troop withdrawal announcement had emboldened IS militants and created dangerous uncertainty for American allies.

The Pentagon identified three of the four Americans killed in the suicide bomb attack in Manbij Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, who was based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, from upstate New York and based at Fort Meade, Maryland; and a civilian, Scott A. Wirtz, from St. Louis.

The Pentagon hasn’t identified the fourth casualty, a civilian contractor.

Continue Reading

International

Pakistan rules out India’s role in Afghan peace process

Agencies

Published

on

Islamabad: Pakistan has ruled out any role for India in the Afghan peace process, the media reported on Friday.

“India has no role in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing on Thursday while responding to a query about Islamabad’s position on New Delhi’s part in the reconciliation process.

Faisal acknowledged that Pakistan has a difficult relationship with India, saying that despite Pakistan’s efforts for normalisation, no concrete progress could be achieved in ties with India, Dawn news reported.

 

“You all know that India is not willing to engage with Pakistan,” he reminded.

Faisal’s remarks were in sharp contrast to what Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told the National Assembly last month.

“Since India is present in Afghanistan, its cooperation in this regard (facilitating a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict) will also be required,” he had told legislators.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to discuss with the senior civil and military leadership the latest efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country.

Khalilzad, who met Taliban representatives last month in Abu Dhabi, is leading an inter-agency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan from January 8-21 to “facilitate a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan”.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor and receive notifications of new stories by email.

Join 980,016 other subscribers

Archives

January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Advertisement