8 Indian troops killed in J&K
NEW DELHI: Eight jawans have been killed while 28 injured after fighters attacked a CRPF convoy in Jammu & Kashmir's Pampore on Saturday.
Security forces shot dead two fighters in retaliatory firing after the militants attacked the CRPF bus. The jawans were returning from a firing range practice when the fighters attacked the convoy.
CRPF commandant Rajesh Yadav confirmed the deaths and said 20 CRPF personnel have been injured in the attack.
Director general of the CRPF briefed home minister Rajnath Singh on the attack. The DG will visit Pampore today.
"Deeply anguished to learn of the death of CRPF personnel in an ambush at Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir. My heart goes out to the families of the CRPF men who lost their lives. I also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured," Rajnath Singh tweeted after the attack.
As soon as the two fighters were eliminated, evacuation process was carried out and the injured CRPF personnel were rushed to Army's base hospital.
The sources said that five personnel were declared brought dead, while the condition of four others was stated to be critical. As many as 28 other personnel were still admitted with gunshot wounds.
Inspector General of CRPF Nalin Prabhat rushed to the spot and was leading the combing operations as the security agencies suspected two militants could have been removed from the spot with some local help.
Jammu and Kashmir director general of Police K Rajendra, who visited the spot, said the two fighters had been neutralized but "unfortunately we have suffered some causalities too".
He did not give the number of CRPF causalities and said "our focus is on nabbing the culprits".
Asked whether the slain fighters were from across the border, Rajendra said, "In all probability they seem to be from Pakistan." - Agencies
Pakistan becomes full member of SCO
SCO membership a milestone: FO
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan became a full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) after signing Memorandum of Obligations (MoOs), on Friday.
The memorandum was signed by Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at SCO's Heads of State Summit at Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Radio Pakistan reported.
The document was jointly signed by the Foreign Ministers of Six SCO member states, Secretary General SCO and the Adviser on Foreign Affairs.
"Pakistan has been an observer at SCO since 2005. It has been a regular participant in the meetings of SCO and was the first SCO observer to apply for full membership in 2010," a statement issued by Pakistan's Foreign Office said.
Pakistan's request for membership was approved in principle at the SCO heads of state summit in Ufa, Russia last July. The SCO Heads of State Council had 'agreed to launch the procedure' of accepting Pakistan as a member state of SCO.
India also signed the SCO memorandum of obligations on Friday, commencing the process of its membership into the organisation.
"We expect that our partners will be able to accede as quickly as possible, by our next meeting in Kazakhstan" next year, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said after Pakistan and India signed the memorandums on joining, the Kremlin website said.
He added that it was time to 'work closely' on ensuring Pakistan and India are integrated into the organisation's cooperation mechanisms, which include regular meetings between member states' foreign ministers and heads of government.
Putin told Chinese state news agency Xinhua ahead of the summit that the accession of Pakistan and India would increase SCO's "relevance, both in the region and worldwide."
Uzbek president Islam Karim told local media Friday that the accession negotiations for Pakistan and India had been 'difficult' but that organisation members had managed to reach a compromise.
The SCO - whose members also include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - is mainly focused on security, although critics say it has done little to prepare the region's weaker states for potential fallout from instability in Afghanistan on the bloc's southern border.
Putin also said at the Friday summit that there were 'no obstacles' left for Iran - currently an SCO observer - to join the organisation now that sanctions connected to Tehran's nuclear programme have been lifted.
Pakistan has described its permanent membership to SCO as an important milestone with regard to its national objectives.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakariya said this would provide a platform to Pakistan to collectively work with other SCO member states in different fields, including security.
The spokesperson said given the strategic location of Pakistan, other regional countries can also take full benefit of it for the promotion of trade and economic activities through enhanced connectivity.
Responding to a question about the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the spokesperson said Pakistan will continue efforts to muster support of the NSG members for its membership.
He said Pakistan being a responsible nuclear country fully qualifies for membership of the nuclear club.
Giving Pakistan's stance on NSG membership, the spokesperson said our stance is that a single, fair and non-discriminatory criteria should be adopted for the entry of non NPT states in the nuclear club.
He stressed that the applications of both Pakistan and India in this regard should be taken simultaneously as any discriminatory approach will have far-reaching effects on the strategic stability in the region.
US rules out including India, Iran in Afghan peace bid
WASHINGTON: The United States has ruled out involving India, Iran and any other country in the Afghan peace process until actual negotiations with the Taliban kick off.
"With regard to the quadrilateral there clearly is a role at some point for other countries in the region," Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson said as he essentially ruled out involving India and Iran in the ongoing Taliban peace efforts through the four-way talks involving the US, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"There are number of other fora like the Heart of Asia Process which could at appropriate time facilitate reconciliation, but for the moment the challenge is to get the negotiations going," he said at the Atlantic Council early this week.
Olson was responding to a question on why Afghanistan's two important neighbors India and Iran have not been included in the peace process with the Taliban.
"Because India and Iran has much more stake in Afghanistan than China," said T Kumar of Amnesty International in a question to the top American diplomat.
"Quadrilateral offer the modalities that brought together some of the most internally involved players. Once we have the negotiations going, that would be the time to talk with other countries," Olson said.
"The United States and other members of the quartet would be prepared to enter into negotiations without any preconditions. That offer is sincerely extended," he said.
Cautious about internal dynamics of the Taliban, Olson said it appears that the Taliban have consolidated its leadership quickly under Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
To another question on including Central Asian countries, Olson reiterated that there were other forums like the Heart of Asia process that could address questions of reconciliation. "Why are they not involved in the process," he was asked.
"For the moment the challenge is to get the negotiations going. Once we have the negotiations going that would be the time to talk about other global supporters," he said. - Pajhwok
As its NSG bid fails, India says Paris Climate Agreement ratification may be delayed
NEW DELHI: India's high energy, high profile campaign to get into the NSG failed Friday morning, as China remained adamantly opposed to even considering the issue.
After a plenary meeting in Seoul, which saw Chinese diplomats attempt to block even a discussion, the 48-member nuclear cartel could not take a decision on India's membership.
A last minute diplomatic outreach by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese president Xi Jinping also failed to cut any ice.
A big outcome of the NSG failure is that India will now not ratify the Paris Agreement anytime soon. That agreement is a key element of US President Barack Obama's legacy.
The Indian statement says clearly, "An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement." This will be a big blow to the Obama administration which wanted India to ratify the pact so it could enter into force.
It was understood that an NSG membership would help India clear the Paris Agreement.
In the end, diplomats said 38 countries declared outright support for India's accession, while nine others held out questions on procedure. China however maintained its line against India which helped to sway fence-sitters like Ireland, New Zealand and Austria, who pushed for a process and criteria to determine entry of non-NPT countries.
Others like Switzerland spoke about rules of entry but supported India, said sources in the room. China's closest ally was Turkey, they said.
The NSG non-decision on India's membership will have implications for India's bilateral relations with China. Chinese diplomats exercised a filibuster for the better part of Thursday to block a discussion on India. They only relented to a three-hour discussion on "technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG" on condition that there would be no decision.
Ultimately, it took the joint efforts of the western countries, UK, Germany, France, Australia and US to build in an escape clause for India in the NSG plenary statement. The key sentence there, "Participating Governments reiterated their firm support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime" was amended by some countries to include the word "implementation of the NPT" rather than "adherence" to NPT. This helps India revisit the NSG membership question later this year or the next NSG plenary in Switzerland.
India has maintained that even as a non-NPT nation, it had implemented all NPT commitments.
A less remarked aspect of the NSG meeting was the lack of high level American support for India. Sources in Washington said the Obama administration put some of its middle level bureaucrats to make the necessary calls on India's behalf, which doesn't carry adequate heft. Unlike in 2008, when George Bush and Condoleezza Rice took a personal interest, there was no intervention by either Obama or Kerry. That made it easier for China to maintain its tough position, without adequate pushback from the US.
China's insistence on NPT as criteria was clarified by its senior foreign ministry official, Wang Qun. Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the NSG, he said, "If exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non-proliferation order will collapse altogether... NPT is a must. In other words, the applicant state shall be party to the NPT." China has been a major proliferator of nuclear and missile technology to North Korea and Pakistan, so its insistence on NPT as a cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime is ironic. - Agencies
China blocks time-bound non-NPT panel too
NEW DELHI: China turned down a strong bid at the NSG plenary to form a time-bound panel that would identify the process for entry of non-NPT countries. Beijing, sources told ET, was agreeable only for an "open-ended" committee.
The idea was tossed about for a while with many staunch NPT supporters willing to go with any of these ideas. However, the two-thirds strong group fronting India's cases rejected the proposition of an open ended process as that could go on for countless rounds.
India was not in favour of either but with China adopting a hardline on time-bound committee approach, sources said, there was no room left for the Chair to even negotiate the alternative.
Besides this, Beijing also emphasized that it had only been eight years since India got the waiver from the NSG and more time should pass before it can even be considered for membership. China, it must be noted, has not been able to make it to the missile technology Control Regime despite a decade-long effort while India is set to be formally inducted soon.
The difference between China's opposition and those of other countries was bit of procedure versus process. While a handful of countries wanted the process of admission, China stuck to the "NSG procedure of consensus". The basic point being that the Group could take nothing without a consensus. And this is where discussions hit a wall.
Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Iceland and Brazil who focused on the process of admission did not have any opposition to India per se. - Agencies
Nisar optimistic security agencies will nab Sabri’s killers soon
Important leads uncovered in Sabri murder case, claims CM Qaim
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has stated that incident of assassination of famed qawwal Amjad Sabri and kidnapping of Owais Ali Shah, son of Chief Justice Sindh High Court Sajjad Ali Shah, are aimed at creating panic in the port city.
Speaking to Geo News, Nisar Ali Khan said these two incidents did not raise question mark on Karachi operation.
Nisar said he was in touch with all the agencies for the recovery of Barrister Owais Ali Shah.
The minister strongly condemned killing of Amjad Sabri and said the purpose of qawwal's killing was to create panic among the masses.
He was optimistic the security agencies would bring to book the murderers of Amjad Sabri soon.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Saturday said law enforcers have uncovered important leads in famed qawwal Amjad Sabri's murder case.
Speaking during a Sindh Assembly session, the CM announced a Rs10 million grant for the late qawwal's family and also offered Sabri's widow a government job while claiming that he was hopeful the killers will be arrested soon.
About the recent kidnapping of Sindh High Court chief justice's son Awais Shah, he claimed that a nine member committee had been formed to investigate the crime.
He maintained that those who committed the "heinous crime" want to harass the judiciary.
"We have announced that anyone providing information regarding Amjad Sabri or Owais Shah case will get 10 million rupees from Sindh government," Qaim said.
Famed qawwal Amjad Sabri was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon in a targeted attack on his car by armed motorcyclists in Liaquatabad.
The 40-year-old Sabri, son of qawwali maestro Ghulam Farid Sabri, was heading to a private TV channel to perform in a Ramazan transmission when he was attacked, police had said.
On Tuesday, just 48 hours before Amjad Sabri's murder, the Sindh High Court chief justice's son Awais Ali Shah was kidnapped in broad daylight from Clifton.
Both incidents have raised question marks over the gains made in the Karachi operation which was started two years ago in September 2013.
CJP directs authorities to take effective measures for Ovais Shah’s safe recovery
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Saturday directed the Sindh Chief Secretary, Insepector General of Police (IGP) and Director General (DG) Rangers Sindh to effect the early recovery of Barrister Owais Ali Shah, son of Sindh High Court (SHC) Sajjad Ali Shah.
The CJP held separate meetings with the Sindh Chief Secretary and Home Secretary, IGP and other officers of operation and investigation wings of Sindh Police and DG Rangers Sindh at the Supreme Court Branch Registry, Karachi, said an SC press release issued here.
All the officers briefed the CJP about the kidnapping of Barrister Owais Ali Shah and measures so far taken by the Sindh Government for his recovery.
Showing serious concern over the issue, the Chief Justice directed them to take effective and concerted measures to ensure the recovery of the son of SHC Chief Justice.
He said the mishap had sent a wrong message to the general public and had caused disappointment and sense of insecurity among the judges and their families.
He directed the Chief Secretary to employ all resources to ensure improvement in the law and order situation of Sindh in general and Karachi in particular. - APP
PPP gears up to file reference seeking PM’s disqualification
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party has prepared a reference against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his four close relatives to seek their disqualification.
PPP leader Barrister Latif Khosa has said that a reference has been prepared against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, PM's son-in-law Captain Safdar MNA and nephew Hamza Shahbaz Sharif.
Latif Khosa has said that all five of them not meet the criteria of qualification for public office set under Article 62 and 63 of the constitution.
He said the reference prepared by People's Party comprises of around 1000 pages having sufficient evidence to declare them disqualified. It includes self-contradictory statements of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar as evidence.
The reference that also alleged the PM and four others of tax evasion also includes their tax statements.
He said the reference has enough evidence for declaring them disqualified. The reference will be filed with the election commission on Monday, PPP leader said.
It is mentioned here that another major opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had earlier filed a reference against the Prime Minister at Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has become practically non-functional after its all four members retired on June 12 this year.
Under the constitution, the ECP comprises of the Chief Election Commissioner and four members - representing one to each province.
In the absence of ECP members the fate of references and other cases pending in the ECP hanging in balance till the appointment of new members. - NNI
Trump alleges Clinton received money from Indian politicians for nuclear deal support
WASHINGTON: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has alleged that his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton received funds from Indian political leaders and institutions in return for supporting the India-US civil nuclear deal.
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has refuted these allegations several times in the past.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said the information provided in the booklet is an in-depth summary of the top 50 facts about Clinton's record that were detailed by Trump in a major speech early this week in New York.
Citing a New York Times report, the Trump campaign alleged that as early as 2008, Indian politician Amar Singh had donated between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
"Singh visited the US in September 2008 to lobby or a deal allowing India to obtain civilian nuclear technology; then-Senator Clinton assured him democrats would not block the deal," the Trump campaign alleged.
It said in 2008 the Confederation of Indian Industry gave $500,000 to $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
It also alleged that Indian-American Raj Fernando was appointed to the State Department's International Security Advisory Board by Clinton's chief of staff Cheryl Mills at her "insistence".
Fernando, he alleged, has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Trump alleged Clinton's foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars - and unleashed ISIS across the world. - PTI
US carries out first Taliban strikes under new rules
Washington: The US military has carried out its first air strikes against Taliban targets in Afghanistan under newly approved rules, the Pentagon said Friday.
President Barack Obama this month announced greater powers for US forces to go after the Taliban, making it easier to work with Afghan security forces to strike the insurgent group directly.
"There have been operations carried out with these new authorities," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.
"It's fair to say that these strikes did target Taliban positions."
Cook added that the strikes occurred in southern Afghanistan, but he did not provide additional details.
US forces have been in an advisory role in Afghanistan since the start of 2015 and had previously only been authorized to hit Taliban targets for defensive reasons, or to protect Afghan troops.
Now the United States can more proactively support Afghans, including by providing additional close air support and accompanying Afghan forces on the battlefield.
Afghan security forces last year took the lead in ensuring security across the country, but suffered a string of devastating setbacks at the hands of the Taliban.
More than 5,000 Afghan security forces were killed last year alone.
Some 9,800 US troops remain in Afghanistan in an advisory capacity, down from a peak of around 100,000 in March 2011. That number is set to drop to just 5,500 by the year's end.
Diplomatic efforts to engage the Taliban are in disarray and the United States last month killed the group's leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in a drone strike in Pakistan. - AFP
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