The visiting foreign minister of neighboring Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said in Kabul on Monday that the Afghan peace process is making good headway.
At a meeting chaired by Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the two sides discussed matters such as bilateral ties and especially the peace process in the war-ravaged country. According to the presidential palace, the two sides emphasized the importance of regional consensus to further the intra-Afghan talks and peace process.
“I had productive meetings with the Afghan leadership this morning. The peace process is making positive headway,” Qureshi tweeted. The Pakistan Embassy said in a statement that the solution to the conflict in Afghanistan lies in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. “The International community’s recent consensus to adopt this as the guiding principle to resolve the 40-year Afghan conflict vindicates Pakistan’s long-held view.”
Court to give verdict on ex-PM on Monday in Pakistan
A Pakistani court will announce its verdict in two corruption cases against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday in capital Islamabad following a deadline set by the Supreme Court earlier this month, court records and local media reported.Sharif will be present in the accountability court to hear the much-awaited judgment in the corruption cases commonly known as Al Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment references, launched by the country’s corruption watchdog National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in September 2017 on the Supreme Court’s directives.Pakistan plans to relax visa policy in bid to revive tourismLiteracy rate in Pakistan falls 2 pct: education ministerIf found guilty, the three-time premier could be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail.The court, which has indicted Sharif for allegedly making assets beyond his known sources of income, had reserved the judgment earlier this week rejecting the ex-prime minister’s request for postponement of the verdict as he wanted to submit some more documentary proofs to support his case.Sharif, 68, had been sentenced to 10 years in jail in a corruption case by an accountability court in May this year, however, the Islamabad High Court suspended the conviction in September. UAE announces $3B for PakistanJinnah House in Mumbai belongs to Pakistan: Foreign OfficeIn July 2017, he was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal, which also led to the filing of three corruption cases. Not long after, the top court also barred him from holding the leadership of his party.Sharif, who served as the premier from 1990 to 1992, 1997 to 1999, and 2013 to 2017, could not complete even a single five-year term. His two previous governments were dismissed over corruption charges and through a bloodless military coup in 1992 and 1999, respectively.Turkish, Pakistani officials talk defense cooperation
Four Pakistani youngsters massacred over ‘family honor’
Four cousins were shot dead in northwestern Pakistan over family honor, according to a police statement.Two men and two women, who were aged between 18 and 21, were brutally shot to death on orders of the local village council. Their bodies were discovered Friday.Police have arrested one man who is thought to be the perpetrator and are searching for others, District police chief Raja Abdus Saboor said Sunday.Over 1,000 women are killed every year, mostly by their own relatives, on the justification that they engaged in relationships that went against their family’s wishes.
The assessment comes just after the U.S. hinted it could withdraw up to 7,000 American troops, around 50 percent of foreign troops, from Afghanistan amid a renewed push for talks with the Taliban. Top U.S. peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad met the Taliban representatives in Abu Dhabi last week, but the Taliban refused to meet Afghan officials in the same venue.
The development also comes in the wake of Kabul on Sunday appointing two former intelligence chiefs to head the country’s defense and interior ministries. Analyst see newly appointed Interior Minister Amrullah Saleh and Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid as seasoned and hawkish intelligence chiefs who claim Islamabad is manipulating both the Afghans and Washington, a charge Pakistan denies.
Kashmir gunfight leaves six dead
Six militants were killed in a gunfight on Saturday morning in Tral area in southern Jammu and Kashmir, according to Indian media reports.Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia confirmed the casualties in a statement. “Weapons and war-like stores have been recovered. The operation is over,” the statement read.According to reports in Indian media, the militants killed in the operation against the banned outfit Ansar Ghazwatul-Hind.According to reports, one of the slain militants is a senior operative in the group.Mobile Internet service in the district and rail services in the south of Kashmir were suspended.Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
Pakistan plans to relax visa policy in bid to revive tourism
Pakistan is planning to ease visa restrictions for visitors from 55 countries, including most European nations, in a bid to revive tourism.”We are reviewing our visa policies. We are trying to bring 55 countries into a visa-free region, which includes most of the European countries,” Pakistan’s information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told reporters.That comes after Portugal this month declared Pakistan safe for travel, while France has also relaxed its advisory on travel to the South Asian nation”I’m happy our (travel) advisories are changing,” said Chaudhry.Potentially restarting tourism has been one of the most talked about parts of new Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policies, but visitors to the country often complain of an arduous visa process. Former Real Madrid soccer stars Kaka of Brazil and Portuguese playmaker Luis Figo were recently denied visas to the country for a promotional visit, Chaudhry said, highlighting the nation’s laborious visa process.Pakistan was last a prominent tourist destination in the 1970s when the “hippie trail” brought Western travellers through the apricot and walnut orchards of the Swat Valley and Kashmir on their way to India and Nepal.British Airways on Tuesday announced it would resume flights to Pakistan next year after a 10-year absence that followed a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart such flights.