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Politics

British PM calls for early general election on June 8

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May called Tuesday for an early general election on June 8 in a surprise announcement as Britain prepares for delicate negotiations on leaving the European Union. "We need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done... before the detailed talks begin," May said, despite previously denying that she would do so. Speaking outside her Downing Street residence in London, May warned that "division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit". She said parliament would be asked to vote Wednesday to decide on whether or not to hold an election. The dramatic announcement comes after months of tumult in British politics followi...

April 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm | News Desk

UN rejects Saudi-led coalition call to supervise Yemen port

The United Nations on Monday rejected a call by the Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen for the key port of Hodeida to be placed under its supervision. The coalition made the appeal following an attack on a boat carrying Somali refugees off the coast of Yemen that killed 42 people, and as the country faced famine. UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the warring sides in Yemen have a responsibility to protect civilian infrastructure and civilians. “These are not obligations they can shift to others,” Haq said. Hodeida, which is a key transit point for desperately-needed imports, is controlled by Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi-backed government. The coalition said in a statement Sunday that it was not responsible for th...

March 21, 2017 at 12:50 pm | News Desk

PM to visit Qatar from tomorrow

Nawaz Sharif will hold talks with Emir of Qatar and the prime minister of Qatar. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will pay a two-day visit to Qatar from tomorrow. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation. During the visit, the Prime Minister will hold talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani on promotion of bilateral relations in different fields. These include energy cooperation, trade and investment, defence and increase in employment opportunities for the Pakistani workforce in Qatar. The two sides would also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. A number of Memorandums of Understanding in the ...

February 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm | News Desk

IMF approves $497m loan for Pakistan after bailout review

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund said on February 4 it had agreed to release a $497 million tranche for Pakistan after the latest review of a bailout package awarded in 2013, though the disbursement still requires IMF board approval. Once the latest disbursement is made the IMF will still have to release $1.1 billion of the total $6.7 billion loan agreed three years ago. IMF agrees to delay PIA sell-off for six months “After constructive discussions, the mission and the Pakistani authorities have reached stafflevel agreement on the completion of the tenth review under the EFF (Extended Fund Facility) arrangement,” the IMF said in a statement. Pakistan has shelved plans to privatise its power supply companies and wi...

February 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm | News Desk

Concern over delay in disbursement of US Coalition Support Fund

ISLAMABAD: The defence ministry has expressed concern over the delay in release of the $350 million tranche of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) by the US Congress for want of a certification by the American defence secretary that Pakistani counter-terrorism operations were disrupting the Haqqani Network’s sanctuaries on its soil. “The issues of the decrease in Coalition Support Fund and the economic difficulties in dealing with the crises of North Waziristan’s internally displaced persons also came under discussion,” a defence ministry statement said, after a meeting between defence secretary, retired Lt Gen Muhammad Alam Khattak, and US Ambassador David Hale. Under the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for the fisc...

February 4, 2016 at 11:36 am | News Desk

Obama makes first visit to US mosque

WASHINGTON: Seven years into his presidency, Barack Obama will make his first trip to an American mosque on Wednesday, offering a symbolic rebuttal of harsh Republican election rhetoric against Muslims. Obama, whose grandfather converted to Islam, will make the short helicopter ride to the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, where he will meet community leaders and deliver remarks. He has visited mosques from Malaysia, to Indonesia and Egypt as president, but has yet to visit one of America's 2,000-plus mosques. In 2009, a freshly elected Obama travelled to the Egyptian capital to call for a "new beginning" with the Muslim world. Much of Obama's foreign policy agenda has focused on improving ties with Muslim nations, from makin...

February 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm | News Desk

Protesting PIA employees will be fired, warns PM Nawaz

KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said protesting employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will be fired from service and can be sent to jail for a year, media reported. Talking to reporters during his visit to a coal power plant in Sahiwal, the premier went on to say that airline employees working during the strike will be given special rewards for their service. Nawaz accused PIA workers of politicising the privatisation issue by resorting to strikes, adding that such acts were costing PIA Rs100 million per day. In a move to stall the strike, Nawaz had already enforced the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952 for six months, barring protesting members of the PIA from participating in any union activit...

February 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm | News Desk

Pakistan disrupted terror plots against US, says Obama

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Thursday appreciated Pakistan’s on-going efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, noting that it had disrupted terror plots against the US homeland as the two sides renewed their resolve to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism in the region. During a bilateral meeting between a high-powered delegation led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Obama at the White House on Thursday, the two discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, particularly terrorism in South Asia. According to a joint statement of the meeting, Obama, while acknowledging the sacrifices rendered by Pakistani security forces in the region, noted how it had degraded the ability ...

October 23, 2015 at 10:06 am | News Desk

Pakistan on track to become third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons

Farhan Bokhari High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Pakistan could have the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons after the US and Russia within a decade if it continues to build up to 20 nuclear warheads annually, a new report warns. The report, written by two respected US analysts and published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, concluded that Pakistan is outpacing India, with its neighbour and rival appearing to produce just five warheads annually. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this articl...

August 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm | News Desk

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Hatf IX (Nasr) is a Pakistani ballistic missile which can deliver a sub-kiloton nuclear warhead over a range of 60 km, or 37.3 miles. It is supposed to have entered service in 2013 and is believed to be fully integrated into Pakistan’s C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence). Its purported role is as a low-yield battlefield deterrent against mechanised columns. Should India – and the world – take Nasr seriously? The development and deployment of Nasr by Pakistan was inevitable and  the impact of this tactical nuclear weapon (tac nuke) on the emerging India-Pakistan deterrence relationship is inherently destabilising. Defining Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Pakistani Context There are four different yardst...

August 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm | News Desk

150 influential’s on NAB list

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted before the Supreme Court a report containing details of 150 mega corruption cases against prominent parliamentarians, politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, former president Asif Ali Zardari, former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, PML-Q chief Shujaat Hussain, former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, QaumiWatan Party chief AftabSherpao, former ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani are some of the prominent people on the list. The document lists 50 cases each of monetary irregularities, misuse of powers and land scandals. Among the monetary irregul...

August 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm | News Desk

Putin is playing with fire

Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing a very dangerous game. On July 4, while Americans celebrated Independence Day, a cinematic, tension-filled drama unfolded along America's western skies. In two separate incidents, U.S. fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian bombers approaching the country's airspace; first near the California coast, then just outside U.S. airspace over Alaska. [caption id="attachment_6360" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures as he chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, June 25, 2014. The Russian parliament on Wednesday revoked the right it had granted Putin in March to order a military intervention in Ukraine, where...

August 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm | News Desk

Iran is Not a Bulwark

An unnamed American diplomat told the Sunday Times in Britain that President Barack Obama “believes a peaceful Iran could be a bulwark against ISIS in the Middle East and the key to peace there.” The Iranian people and government strongly oppose ISIS, no doubt about it. They are predominantly Shias while ISIS is the most deranged Sunni Islamist terrorist organization in the world. Its attitude toward the Shia is outright genocidal. It’s easy, then, to see why a powerful Shia bloc might act as a “bulwark.”   The problem here is that the Iranian- led Resistance Bloc—which includes the Assad regime in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a smorgasbord of Iraqi Shia militias—is the primary instigator of ISIS. Look: ISIS is jus...

August 21, 2015 at 5:59 pm | News Desk

China’s economic illness contagious for Asia

When the US sneezes, an old saying goes, the world catches a cold. That’s been nowhere more true than in Asia. But as China’s coughing fit grows louder, countries in the region are wondering whether their neighbor’s illness will also prove contagious. Since Wall Street’s crash in 2008, Asia has been pivoting to China. The $16.8 trillion US economy is still 1.8 times bigger and its per capita income dwarfs China’s. But China is Asia’s biggest trading partner and, increasingly, its benefactor. Flush with $3.7tr of currency reserves and its new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has used checkbook diplomacy to make friends across the region. Asia’s social media accounts are now pulsating with talk of h...

August 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm | News Desk

Stabilizing Baluchistan

Born and raised as privileged individuals, it’s often the case that we end up raising our voice and concern for the rights of Muslims far away in Palestine or Myanmar, forgetting our very own neighbourhoods that have been struggling for their rights for decades. Many of us who do even end up raising our voices, seldom do so beyond social media, doing more harm than good to the Baloch cause — a cause which is more about getting an equal playing field and less about Baloch independence. My experience with Baluchistan has been different, and naturally my problem-identification and solution is also counter-intuitive. Successive governments in Pakistan, both democratic and military, have tried to reach middle ground to resolve the crisis ...

August 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm | News Desk

Australian Government Looks to Threat of Terrorism to Save Itself

Looking from abroad at the statements of the Australian government regarding security, one would be forgiven for thinking the country had just suffered a 9/11 scale attack or was currently engaged in a war for its very survival. The country’s hard right Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has over the past six months employed increasingly shrill and fearful language to address the threat posed by terrorism and the Daesh in particular. The government’s increasing use of such loaded language began last year, in the months after the release of its first Federal Budget. The Government had fought its election campaign around the issues of illegal immigrants and the budget deficit, with the latter in particular being spoke of as a “debt ...

August 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm | News Desk

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