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First batch of Indian fishermen released from Pakistan arrives in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first batch of 110 fishermen released recently by Pakistan, arrived here from Amritsar and will soon leave for their natives places to be reunited with their families, an official said.Pakistan had on December 25 released 220 Indian fishermen, a goodwill gesture which came amid strain in ties after the recent cross border terror incidents.Due to non-availability of required number of coaches in the train from Amritsar, the fishermen, mostly from Gujarat, were divided into two batches. The first batch boarded the train on Tuesday and arrived here late Wednesday night, Gujarat Fisheries Department Superintendent Ashok Patel said.The other batch of 110 fishermen will reach Vadodara on Thursday night, he said.Several fishermen broke into tears upon their arrival here while some of them expressed concern about how to resume fishing, as they said that their boats were still in possession of the Pakistani authorities, an official said.The released fishermen belong to Una, Kodinar Junagadh, Jamnagar, Valsad and Navsari in Gujarat, Diu and also Uttar Pradesh, from where they come to the western state to earn their livelihood.They will now head to their native places to be with their families.The Gujarat Fishermen Association thanked Pakistan based NGO, Edhi Foundation, for making arrangements to bring the fishermen to Lahore from Karachi by a special train.

Asif Karadia to return to Pakistan? After spending 49 years in India, he might be deported

Asif Karadia, a 51-year-old Pakistani national, was denied long-term visa extension by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. Karadia, whose parents are India, is not a tourist in the country, but has been living in India for the last 49 years.

File image of Bombay high court. IBNliveFile image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

File image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

According to Mumbai Mirror, Karadia was born in Karachi, and his mother is a naturalised Indian. Karadia had applied for an Indian passport in 2012, but the authorities rejected the application and asked Karadia to apply for a long term-visa. This was extended twice and it was valid till last December.

Karadia, 51, could face deportation after having lived in the country for 49 years as the court said that it would not be able to decide on renewing his visa. Karadia’s case has been postponed to 17 January and he has been denied interim relief by the division bench comprising of AS Oka and Anuja Prabhudesai.

Abbas Karadia, his father, was quoted by Mumbai Mirror saying: “We never thought this would become such a big issue…Asif has never been to Pakistan again and doesn’t want citizenship of that country.”

An Asian Age report claims that the court rejected Karadia’s application on grounds that Karadia did not have a Pakistani passport and a visa couldn’t be issued without a passport. According to a report in Hindustan Times, the court ordered a probe into how the central government had been issuing Karadia long-term visas for so many years without Karadia possessing neither an Indian not a Pakistani passport.

Karadia’s father Abbas and his wife Zaibunnisa were born in India. Karadia’s mother Zaibunnisa migrated to Pakistan with her family in 1947, therefore becoming a Pakistani national, but almost twenty years after that, she came back to India and married Abbas. Karadia was born in Karachi because his mother went to Pakistan for the delivery and at the time there was no system to issue a passport to the infant.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 11:23 IST

ISI’s new chief has an agenda: scuttle India-Afghanistan ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic reshuffle, Pakistan has replaced the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar with Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.The implications of the new appointment remain to be seen, but one can get a glimpse of Mukhtar’s strategy and his views on the relationship between India and Afghanistan and the troubled neighbourhood, in general, from his thesis ‘Afghanistan — Alternative futures and their implications’, written at the US Army War College.In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.Intelligence sources here say that his role in the ISI had been drafted as early as in September by the then army chief General Raheel Sharif for his expertise in counter-terrorism and also for the role he played in Karachi, where he succeeded in manoeuvring the Mohajer political outfit Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).A fierce critic of the Pakistan army so far, the MQM was controlled from London by its exiled leader Altaf Hussain. During his former stint at the ISI and as then head of the Karachi Corps, Lt Gen Mukhtar is believed to have led secret missions against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.In sync with the trajectory upheld by the Pakistan military on handling the conflict-ridden Afghanistan, Mukhtar, in the thesis for his Masters in Strategic Studies, envisages the accommodation of the ‘moderate Taliban’ in the governance of the country.Mukhtar, who was elevated from his position as a corps commander in Karachi, had earlier served as the DG of the ISI’s counter-terrorism wing. His strategic mindset vis-a-vis Pakistan’s foreign policy on Afghanistan is reflected in his analyses on the future of the neighbouring country.Analysing Afghanistan’s transition when the US started withdrawing coalition forces in 2011, Mukhtar said that Pakistan needed to prevent the opening of another hostile front, should Afghanistan emerge as a proxy for India, and, to this effect, it “will closely follow India’s efforts to influence Afghanistan and may take aggressive measures to undermine India’s efforts in this regard.”India has huge stakes in the development of Afghanistan and has made major strides in the reconstruction of public infrastructure in the war-ravaged country through visible symbols like the new parliament building, Salma friendship dam, Afghan National Agriculture Science & Technology University, Kandahar, and many other projects in the health, power and education sectors.Its close alliance with Afghanistan in the civil-military sphere has made India a target of Taliban. Pakistan, too, views India as working against its interest in Afghanistan. Mukhtar presents four plausible future scenarios for Afghanistan, all of which include a positive outcome: accommodation of moderate Taliban factions as part of the governance structure.”Although India’s uncompromising anti-Taliban position has recently softened, India could still move to be a major destabilising force if it perceives that a return of a radicalised Taliban government is likely,” he writes.While acknowledging the indisputable power and role of the US in bringing long-term stability in Afghanistan, along with regional stakeholders, Mukhtar emphasises: “The US must employ major diplomatic measures to ease regional tensions, especially between India and Pakistan, with a focus on Kashmir.”

World Bank cancels US $100 million loan for Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The World Bank has cancelled a US $100 million loan to Pakistan for a natural gas efficiency project due to no progress in achieving the development objectives and a lack of interest on the part of the gas distribution company. The project, which was to be carried out by Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in its distribution areas in Karachi, interior Sindh and Balochistan, was aimed at enhancing the supply of natural gas by reducing physical and commercial losses of gas in the pipeline system.A World Bank report said the failure of the project led to its closure and, as a result, the levels of unaccounted-for gas (UFG) remained high while continuing to drain the precious natural resource, Dawn reported. Illegal connections, one of the drivers of UFG, were increasing at a rate faster than the countervailing reduction of technical losses.Justifying its rating of “unsatisfactory”, the World Bank report said it should have exercised caution and not proceeded with a project that did not receive sustained interest from the board and management of SSGC, which had insufficient ownership in the project. Against the original commitment of US $200m, the bank had disbursed only US $0.25m.The ministry of petroleum and natural gas was keen on the reduction of UFG, which was on the rise at the time of the project preparation and increased further during the project implementation phase. Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had imposed a penalty on gas companies for UFG beyond the benchmark of 4.5%.Bureaucratic processes within SSGC also contributed to procurement delays and bid expiration. The SSGC management attributed the failure of the project to the procurement process. Most of UFG comes from dilapidated or deteriorating pipelines, leaking joints, gas theft in the form of tampered-with metres, illegal connections and malfunctioning metering equipment.The World Bank undertook a strategic review of the project, which identified strong implementation challenges with no progress towards achieving the development objectives of the project as well as no disbursement against project-related activities.

Pakistan lifts ban on Indian cotton imports

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has lifted an “undeclared” ban on import of ginned cotton from India, days after rejecting a consignment of 10,000 bales of cotton from India citing violation of plant quarantine rules by importers.Earlier, the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research put cotton imports from India on hold through Wagah and Karachi port from November 23, saying the shipments did not fulfil phyto-sanitary conditions, Dawn newspaper reported.The rising border tensions between the two neighbours had prompted Islamabad to impose the ban on 10,000 bales of cotton worth US $3.3 million from India. “The DPP has started issuing permits for importing cotton from India via Wagah. But the DPP has also made it clear to importers that only the consignments free from cotton seeds will be accepted and allowed into the country,” a DPP official said. “If implemented strictly, we will not be able to import cotton from any country in the world, let alone India, because no consignment is completely free from cotton seeds,” he said.Last year, Pakistan imported ginned cotton worth more than US $800 million from India which accounted for two-thirds of India’s cotton exports.Traders are expecting cotton imports from India and elsewhere to surge this year in view of the anticipated shortfall in the domestic crop while the government expects cotton output to remain close to 10.5 million bales of 170kg each against a reduced industry demand of 14 million bales owing to widespread factory closures in Punjab because of higher energy prices.Last year, a drop of 27% in domestic cotton output shaved 0.5% off gross domestic product growth rate of Pakistan.

Will stop every drop going waste in Pak and give to Indian farmers: PM Modi on Indus Water Treaty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the waters of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers that rightfully belong to India will be stopped from going waste in Pakistan and he will ensure that farmers here utilise it. “Indus Water Treaty- Sutlej, Beas, Ravi – the waters in these rivers belong to India and our farmers. It is not being used in the fields of Pakistan but flowing into the sea through Pakistan. “Now every drop of this water will be stopped and I will give that to farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and Indian farmers.I am committed to this,” he said addressing a rally. He said a task force has been constituted to ensure that “each drop of water” that flows out of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi reaches Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. “There is no reason that we cannot use our rights (over our waters) and let our farmers suffer,” he said, adding, “I need your blessings in order to fulfill your requirements for watering your fields.” The solution for the problems of water could be found out through common dialogue, he said. Criticising the previous governments at the Centre, Modi said, “Waters kept flowing to Pakistan, but successive governments kept sleeping on this issue and my farmer kept crying for the want of water.” “If Punjab farmers get sufficient amount of water, they could produce ‘gold’ from the soil and could fill the coffers of the country,” he said. “Our government is committed to work in tandem with the Badal government in Punjab to get farmers their rights and address their concerns,” he said. All you need to know about the Indus Water TreatyThe Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is a water sharing arrangement, signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960, by then Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President General Ayub Khan. The World Bank (the erstwhile international bank for reconstruction and development) brokered the treaty and is also a party to it.The Indus system of rivers comprises three western rivers which includes the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab and three eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.What does the treaty grant India and Pakistan?Under the treaty, India has exclusive rights on the eastern rivers and their tributaries while Pakistan has exclusive rights on the western rivers. Pakistan also received a one-time financial compensation for the loss of water from the eastern rivers and to build a new canal system.The waters of the Indus basin begin in the Himalayan mountains in the region under China. The river flows from the hills through the arid and dry states of Punjab and Sindh, converging in Pakistan, and empties out in the Arabian Sea, south of Karachi.History of the TreatyDuring the first years of Partition, the water of the Indus was apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 5, 1948 between India and Pakistan which required India to release sufficient waters to the Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from Pakistan. The accord was, however, meant to fulfil Pakistan’s immediate requirements and was to be followed by negotiations for a more permanent solution. Thereafter, though there was a stalemate. Read more… With inputs from PTI

Pak political crisis part of ‘Indian conspiracy’, alleges Hafiz Saeed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JuD chief Hafiz Saeed has alleged that the current political crisis in Pakistan was part of an “Indian conspiracy” to divert international attention from its ‘oppression’ in Kashmir.The political crisis in Pakistan – Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaaf (PTI)’s call for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation over Panama leaks, protesters’ clash with police and the government’s aggressive response to the protests – were all affecting the Kashmir cause, the LeT founder said. “If you go through analytically, in all that panic and crisis-like situation, the Kashmir issue has disappeared from the national scene,” he was quoted as saying by the Dawn while addressing a press conference at the Markaz-i-Taqwa, the Karachi headquarters of the party on Monday.He said it seems Pakistan had forgotten the plight of Kashmiris and called upon ruling and opposition parties to resolve their issues through talks to “avoid becoming tools of international forces which wanted them to ignite a crisis in Pakistan”. The current political crisis in Pakistan was part of an “Indian conspiracy” to divert global attention from Kashmir, he said, adding that Indian spy agency RAW was behind it so that Islamabad could not raise the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan court releases 3 ‘R&AW agents’ for lack of evidence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three Pakistani men, alleged to be ‘spies’ of India’s external intelligence agency R&AW, have been acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi citing lack of evidence in five cases relating to carrying explosives and illegal weapons, media reported on Sunday. Tahir, alias Lamba, Junaid Khan and Imtiaz have been booked for allegedly carrying explosive materials and unlicensed weapons in a Malir locality in April last year, Dawn reported.Police had alleged that the men belonged to Muttahida Qaumi Movement – a Karachi-based political party claiming to represent Mohajirs (Urdu-speaking people of Sindh province) – and were trained by the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).MQM is the single-largest party in Karachi and has dominated its political landscape for years, but since a “clean-up” operation began on the orders of the federal government, the political party has come under pressure.Judge Abdul Naeem Memon of Anti-Terrorism Court-VI, who conducted the trial inside the central prison, exonerated the accused, saying the prosecution was unable to establish their cases against the accused beyond any shadow of the doubt, the report said. There were glaring contradictions in the documentary evidence and in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the court said adding that the police also conducted faulty investigations.According to the prosecution, initially police arrested Tahir and Junaid and allegedly found explosives, weapons and hand-grenades in their custody. They disclosed that Imtiaz, who was arrested by Rangers at MQM headquarters Nine-Zero in March 2015, had provided the explosives and asked them to keep them, it added. Later, Imtiaz was also shown arrested in the main case of explosive material. Three explosives and two illicit weapons cases were registered against them. The court directed the jail authorities to release the three men if they were not wanted in any other criminal case.After the arrest of the accused, SSP-Malir Rao Anwar had claimed that they were MQM men and had been trained by R&AW in India to carry out terrorist activities in the city. The officer had also urged the federal government to ban the MQM and termed it an “anti-state” organisation.Police had not registered any case of anti-state offences against them.

Pakistan’s deep-rooted hostility will always come in the way of Indo-Pak relations

Pakistan has decided to enforce a complete ban on Indian TV and radio at a time when Bollywood is under increasing pressure from the distributors and exhibitors not to promote movies starring Pakistani actors. This is in addition to its earlier decision to ban the screening of Indian movies in Pakistani theaters.

Obviously, the Indian peaceniks, who are essentially for unilateral gestures by India without any reciprocity by Pakistan, are unhappy. For them, the villain is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is “promoting” a “nationalistic” and “jingoist” culture in the country. They are of the opinion that unrestricted flow of the people and their ideas through movies, music, art, literature will bring India and Pakistan together. Unfortunately, these unilateralist peaceniks are speaking the half-truth.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

First, they should realise that unlike in India, restrictions on people-to-people contacts in Pakistan are always from the side of the government. In India, as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) explained on 20 October, “As far as the Government of India is concerned, there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artists. However, in view of the prevailing atmosphere and taking into account security considerations as well and the sentiments of local organisers, we will do so on a case-to-case basis, but there is certainly no blanket ban on Pakistani artists.” He, in fact, added in Hindi, when asked about Pakistan’s decision to impose ban on Indian TV channels, “Dekhiye hum logon ne to is tarh ka koi ban nahi lagaya hai. Abhi bhi aap Pakistani serials dekh sakte hain, Zindagi Channel ya aur kai channelon par. Main isko durbhagyapoorn kahunga aur mere khayaal se ye Pakistan ki taraf se, ek tarah se aatmvishwas ki kami darshata hai.”

It may be noted that this is not the first time that the Pakistan government is banning Indian films, TV, radio and artistes. In fact, these bans prevail most of the time; what the government agencies do in that country is to reassert or reiterate them periodically. Why is it that melody queen Lata Mangeshkar has never been allowed to have a concert in Pakistan? The legend once told an interviewer about how she was scheduled to tour Pakistan but it was cancelled just one day before departing to Pakistan. She was supposed to participate in a cultural festival in Karachi, but the then military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq called it off at the very last moment.

Secondly, it is worth finding out the composition of these unilateralist peaceniks. Almost all of them have remained largely confined to the quasi-official realm with a few retired government personnel and the so-called left-liberalist academicians, journalists and artists. There may have been some odd men here and there, but the overall composition has more or less remained the same. These people are essentially from Delhi and the adjoining states (Bollywood actors shedding tears for Pakistan are mostly from North India). And in many cases, they (at least their parents and grandparents) have been refugees from what is today Pakistan, following India’s partition in 1947.

This I really find bizarre. We are talking of people-to-people contacts, but essentially the tracks have remained an elitist preserve, and that too from a particular region of the country. Why should not we involve individuals and grass-root organisations from different parts of the country, while framing our policy towards Pakistan? Why are the views on Pakistan by people from the North East, Odisha and Tamil Nadu are ignored? Do they not constitute India? By not doing that, we are giving a wrong picture of India to a Pakistani that Delhi or North Indian-based people represent the whole of India and that they are the wisest.

My problem with the peaceniks becoming the representatives of people like me and you is not that they are the fifth columnists (they love India as much as you and I do); the problem is essentially the fact that while looking at Pakistan, they follow their hearts, not heads. And that is mostly due to their common ethnic background. Therefore, I have always argued that India’s Pakistan policy has a much better chance of success if handled by leaders and officials hailing from the south of the Vindhyas. Any day, I will prefer a Narasimha Rao and Narendra Modi to a Jawaharlal Nehru or IK Gujral or Atal Behari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh on matters pertaining to Pakistan.

Even otherwise, if one goes by the history books written for students in Pakistan, the intensity of the anti-India venom and the ferocity with which it is being injected into young minds are mind-blowing

For the unilateralist peaceniks, let me demystify some vital aspects of Indo-Pak relations.

First, it is totally meaningless for India to talk to any civilian leader of Pakistan. The ultimate decision-maker in Pakistan as far as India is concerned happens to be the Army Chief. Therefore, if any breakthrough in the India-Pakistan impasse is to be made, New Delhi should insist that the Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif or his nominees should be in the Pakistan delegation for negotiations. The hard reality is that Nawaz Sharif and his ministers and advisers are simply helpless in pursuing any meaningful negotiations with India. Let us not forget that Pakistan is essentially an “Army with a country”. It is the Pakistan Army that decides country’s policy towards India. There are three Lakshman Rekhas (limiting lines) that the Army has drawn for the civilian Prime Ministers and Presidents. One, they would not interfere in any manner in the organisational and administrative work of the armed forces. Two, they would abide by the advice of the Army Chief on matters of foreign and defence policies. Three, they would not interfere with the army-controlled nuclear weaponisation and missile programmes.

Secondly, unlike China, which is and can be India’s rival and partner simultaneously, Pakistan will always behave as India’s enemy. Come what may, it will continue to promote jihad in Kashmir and other parts of India. Indeed, it is a huge myth that Pakistan will shed its hostility to India if Kashmir issue is resolved on Islamabad’s terms. Even if Kashmir joins Pakistan, Islamabad will find out another issue to trouble India. Because, Pakistan’s antipathy towards India is deep-rooted. Pakistan’s very existence as an entity depends on hostility towards India. Take India away and Pakistan’s justification as a separate country in the map of the world will hold no water.

And this explains why the Pakistan Army promotes fundamentalist mullahs in the country and uses them in tirades against India trough terrorist organisations like the LeT. Their fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam negates the Sufi tradition that promoted Hindu-Muslim amity and coexistence in the subcontinent for centuries. So much so that many Pakistanis now suffer from some identity crisis — they are not sure whether they should retain their age-old cultural roots (that are obviously influenced by Hinduism) or develop totally new “Arab identities”.

Even otherwise, if one goes by the history books written for students in Pakistan, the intensity of the anti-India venom and the ferocity with which it is being injected into young minds are mind-blowing. This great historic discovery is taught: “Previously, India was part of Pakistan.” In these books, Muhammad-bin-Qasim, the first Muslim conqueror of the Hindu-dominated Sindh province in the 8th century, is declared the first Pakistani citizen.

Thirdly, erosion of Indian power, dismemberment of its territories and consolidation of an anti-India geostrategic nexus are Pakistan’s predominant foreign policy goals. Pakistan’s war against India is no longer confined to Kashmir. Pakistan wants to Balkanise India by cutting off the country’s northern, eastern (North-East) and southern (Kerala) wings. In fact, Mushahid Hussain, once a former information minister under Sharif, has argued that Pakistan should work towards the division of India into three or four independent countries. Simultaneously, Pakistan’s ISI machinery will concentrate on widening the Hindu-Muslim divide, spreading hatred and destroying India’s inherent ethos of communal harmony.

Unless the typical mindset of the Pakistanis is changed, India will remain their eternal enemy, whatever the Indian peaceniks may say to the contrary.

Bomb kills one, wounds dozens at Shi’ite mosque in Karachi | Reuters

Bomb kills one, wounds dozens at Shi’ite mosque in Karachi | Reuters

Updated: Oct 17, 2016 23:10 IST

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KARACHI At least one child was killed and dozens of people were wounded in a drive-by bomb attack at a Shi’ite mosque in Karachi, police said.Police said two men on a motorcycle lobbed the bomb as women and children sat outside the mosque in the Pakistani port city’s densely populated Liaquatabad district.Radical Sunni Islamists periodically target mosques frequented by minority Shi’ites, whom they see as infidels. Shi’ites make up about a fifth of Pakistan’s mainly Sunni population of around 180 million. “One boy has expired and another boy and a woman are in critical condition,” Karachi police chief Mushtaq Meher told Reuters. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Soon after the blast, Shi’ite men and woman gathered outside the mosque and chanted slogans to protest about the lack of security provided to them in the Islamic month of Muharram.That marks the time when Shi’ite Muslims around the world frequent mosques to mourn the slaying in battle of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein.

The government pledged to crack down on all militant groups following the December 2014 massacre of 134 children at an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.It has reintroduced the death penalty, set up military courts to speed convictions and widened its military campaign in lawless tribal areas.

But Pakistan’s religious minorities, among them Shi’ites, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus, say the government is still doing little to alleviate their daily struggle against discrimination and violence. (Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; editing by John Stonestreet)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Interview: TAPI gas pipeline consortium plans investor roadshows in November | Reuters

By Drazen Jorgic
| ISLAMABAD

ISLAMABAD A long-delayed pipeline project from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan is in the final stages of financing, and investor roadshows are due to be held next month, a Pakistani official involved in the project said on Friday.Originating at the giant Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan, the $10 billion TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipeline, which involves the four countries’ own energy companies, would carry 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year.But difficulties in obtaining financing for the project and concerns about security in Afghanistan, where Islamist Taliban insurgents control swathes of the territory earmarked as the pipeline route, have led to lengthy delays.Mobin Saulat, head of Pakistan’s state-owned Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS), told Reuters there was “significant progress” with the TAPI project and that investor roadshows to raise funds are planned for November.”There will be roadshows soon in all the major financial hubs,” he said. “The project’s planned commissioning is 2020 and I think we are very much on target.”Over the decades, international oil giants have expressed interest in the proposed pipeline, but the region’s complex geopolitics and contract disagreements meant none ever fully committed.A total $4 billion for the pipeline has been put forward by the four TAPI countries, Saulat said. Pakistan’s ISGS has a 5 percent stake in the 1,814 km (1,127 mile) pipeline project.

Saulat said the Asian Development Bank had shown interest in funding some of the project and there was “huge interest shown and commitments made from some of the major suppliers who said they would be able to get supplier credit.”Turkmenistan, which sits on the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, last December started building its section of the pipeline, designed to ease its dependence on Russia and China, but the three other countries have yet to begin work.Saulat said selecting project management consultants for TAPI was in the “final stages” and TurkmenGaz, Turkmenistan’s national gas company, was in advanced talks with suppliers about the purchase of giant compressors, needed to funnel gas down the route.

AZERBAIJAN INTEREST
TAPI is one of three main pipeline projects aimed at securing long-term energy supplies to Pakistan, where chronic energy shortages are proving a major drag on growth.The other two planned projects include a $2 billion Russian-funded North-South liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline from the coast city of Karachi to Pakistan’s industrial heartlands in Punjab, and a Chinese-funded LNG pipeline starting from a proposed LNG terminal at the port city of Gwadar in Baluchistan.Saulat said Pakistan expected to finalise contracts for the (LNG) terminal at Gwadar port in November and the final deal for the Gwadar-Nawabshah pipeline should be finished this month.

“We have had a number of sessions with the Chinese team, so we see an immediate kick-off after we sign the contracts.”China has agreed to fund 85 percent of the port and pipeline project and Pakistan will pay the rest, Saulat said. Officials expect the terminal and pipeline to be complete in mid-2018, and local media put the cost of the deals at about $2 billion.Saulat, who is also managing director of newly-formed Pakistan LNG, said Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR had approached the country to supply it with LNG gas.Saulat said the approach was linked to Pakistan’s plans to issue two international LNG tenders for 750,000 tonnes per year, most likely due before the end of 2016.”Their trading wing is actually interested, but again, it’s one of the players, we have to follow the process.” (Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

In search of ‘moksha’, ashes of 160 Pakistani Hindus make their way to Ganga

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hoping to attain ‘moksha’, the ashes of 160 Pakistani Hindus waited at Karachi for more than five years, before finally being immersed in the Holy Ganga last week.Carefully stored at the Panchmukhi Hanuman temple, said to be 1500 year old, the ashes were brought to India by the head priest of Panchmukhi Hanuman temple, Ramnath Maharaj and his nephew Kabir Kumar via the Wagah border with the help of the Indian government. The ashes were immersed with much fanfare, including an entourage of approximate 50 people who followed with a band and the sound of drums, after performing a yagya which lasted almost six hours.The journey of the ashes was, however, not a simple one. The urns of ash or ‘asthi kalash’ from Pakistan were among 6,000 others from India which were immersed in Ganga on September 24 as part of a nation-wide campaign undertaken by a Delhi-based NGO, Shri Devodhan Sewa Samiti (SDSS). The Samiti performs the last rites of immersing the ashes after cremation of those in need or those who don’t have a next of kin. The samiti has so far, performed the immersion ritual in Hindu religion, for more than 1.5 lakh departed souls over the past 12 years. “We collect ashes from cremation grounds in fives states and bring out advertisements in others to bring out others to help the departed souls attain Moksha as per the Hindu rituals. These are mainly unknown people or those who don’t have next to kin,” said Vijay Sharma of the Samiti. Bringing the ashes from Pakistan is, however, a difficult task. The tiresome visa process, adds to the delay in immersing the ashes of Pakistani Hindus in the Ganga, claim the Samiti officials. The growing tension between the two nations, however, meant a longer wait restricted the entry of the delegation carrying the ashes, whereby leaving some souls to wait a little longer. “We could only carry 160 asthi kalash from Karachi as only two out of 10 were granted visas. There are more than 40 other ‘asthi kalash’ waiting at Sondari Shamshan (the cremation ground in Karachi),” said the head priest. This was the second time that the priest had come to India with the ‘asthis’. “My last visit to India was in 2011, then I had arrived with 135 ‘asthi kalash’, some as old as 30 years. The ashes are of those who may have shifted to Pakistan during partition along with their families, but continued to wish for the Holy Ganga to be their final resting place,” Ramnath added.

Surgical strike: Influx of Pakistani-Hindus migrating to India increases

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Where on one hand, the entire country is happy and in high spirits after the surgical strike by the Indian Army in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), on the other hand this strike has added to the problems of Hindu Pakistani citizens.They were already being harassed and oppressed in Pakistan but after the surgical strike, the atrocities have multiplied. As a result, the influx of Pakistani-Hindu migrants entering India via the Thar Express, that connects Karachi to Jodhpur, has increased significantly.Last week 31 Pakistani-Hindus arrived in India via the Thar Express and even as they are struggling to get a permanent residence, another 216 Pak-Hindus came to India on Thursday in Jodhpur. They came to India on pilgrim visas and have denied going back to Pakistan with plans to settle here permanently. For now, these people will stay in camps for displaced Pakistanis in Dali Bai, Kali Beri and Angnwa.The Pak-Hindu migrants said that the situation there is really bad. Maya and Moti, two of the migrants, who arrived with the group of 31 people, said they would rather die than return back. Head of the Frontiers Works Organisation Hindu Singh Sodha said that due to atrocities in Pakistan, the number of Hindu migrants coming to India has increased and people are arriving in Jodhpur on pilgrim visas and creating new problems for the government.

High alert declared along Gujarat coast after reports of Pak terror boats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As tension prevails between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack, India’s Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) has issued a high alert along the costal states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The states have been warned about the suspicious movement of two boats which could be coming from Karachi in Pakistan. According to the intelligence report, latitude and longitude of the boats has been given, it also mentions that one boat is still holed up in Pakistani water due to a technical snag, while the other one is holding the position near the former.Earlier on Sunday, a Pakistani boat with nine crew members was apprehended off the Gujarat coast by the Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Samudra Pavak’. Preliminary information available had indicated that those on board were Pakistani fishermen. However, the boat and the crew members were taken to Porbandar for further investigation. The apprehension of the Pakistani boat came days after the Indian Army conducted surgical strike across LoC, following which a high alert has been sounded across the land and sea border with the neighbouring country. Earlier on Friday, the Coast Guard had said that sensitive sea areas off Gujarat coast have been “sanitised” and surveillance enhanced following India’s surgical strike on terror launch pads across the LoC. The Coast Guard had also advised the fishing community and other stakeholders to maintain enhanced vigil and report any abnormal activity either at sea or in areas close to the coast. With PTI inputs

Surgical strike: Mehbooba Mufti expresses note of caution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting aside their differences, political parties today came together to hail the anti-terror surgical strikes carried out by Army across the LoC, with BJP saying it signals the “rise of new India” and Congress terming it as a “strong message” to Pakistan to stop aiding terrorism.However, BJP ally and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti struck a note of caution as she voiced concern over escalation of situation along the borders and warned that confrontation could lead to a “disaster of epic proportions” for the state. Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi said a “strong message” has been sent with the surgical strikes by Army and insisted that Pakistan bears a “great responsibility” in the continuing cross-border attacks in India.Offering her party’s support to the government in the battle against terror, she said in a statement that “this is a strong message that conveys our country’s resolve to prevent further infiltration and attacks on our security forces and our people”. Her son and party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that all stand firmly united against terrorism and those who support and sponsor it.Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah said every Indian today feels safe in the fight against terrorism under his leadership. “Today’s strikes signal the rise of a new India where the Government doesn’t get cowed down by nefarious designs of terrorists,” Shah said. BJP ally Shiv Sena, which has often taunted the central government over its alleged lack of action against Pakistan- based terrorists, congratulated the Prime Minister and said armed forces have the capacity “to unfurl the tricolour in Lahore and Karachi”.Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “We congratulate the armed forces and government over this action. We should not step back and go ahead as India and armed forces have the capacity to unfurl the tricolour in Lahore and Karachi. We congratulate the Prime Minister.” NCP President and former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar also lauded the army while JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said the whole country is one in support of the defence forces and the government.”Bravo Brave hearts! Feel proud of Jawans for Surgical Strike on terrorist camps in PoK,” Pawar tweeted.

26/11 case: Pakistani judicial commission to inspect boat used by terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Pakistani judicial commission has been ordered by an Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad to visit Karachi to inspect a boat which was allegedly used by LeT terrorists in the 2008 Mumbai attack.An ATC Judge on Tuesday heard the Mumbai attack case and accepted a request filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to inspect the boat ‘Alfoz’ in Karachi.The FIA had requested the court to send a judicial commission to examine the boat as it was difficult to produce it before the court,In addition to examining the boat, the commission would also record the statement of a witness, Munir, during its visit to Karachi.Earlier, ATC-II judge had allowed the FIA’s application requesting the court to exhibit the boat as evidence as it was allegedly used for transporting the assailants to India and ultimately led to the attack in Mumbai.The court s decision to inspect the boat in Karachi comes days after India wrote a letter to Pakistan, suggesting legal ways to expedite trial of the Mumbai terror attack case.India had written the letter after the FIA dropped charges against a suspect in the Mumbai attack case after failing to find any incriminating evidence.The FIA had submitted a charge sheet before the ATC and placed the suspect, Sufiyan Zafar, in the second column of the charge sheet, which means no evidence was found against him.According to the prosecution, Zafar had reportedly provided financial assistance to the other suspects.In the charge sheet, the FIA said that Zafar had transferred Rs 14,000 into a suspect’s account. During the course of investigation, the investigators said it had emerged that Zafar had lent the money to the other suspects also without asking why they needed it.LeT operations commander Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are accused of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people in November, 2008.Lakhvi, believed to be the mastermind of the Mumbai attack, is living in undisclosed location after being released from jail on bail a year ago. The other six suspects are in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. The case has been underway in the country for more than six years.

Uri attack: Options for India’s response and calling Pakistan’s nuclear bluff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The attack on the Army camp at Uri in the early hours of the Sunday, September 18, that killed 18 personnel was planned with military precision with a clear stamp of Pakistan Army. The materials recovered from the militants have Pakistani markings. It has been perceived as an attack on India’s pride and self-respect. The public opinion in the country is surcharged with a desire to take revenge and punish Pakistan through a suitable strong response. The Army has briefed the political establishment and the DGMO has publically stated that the Army is prepared for any evil design by the adversary and will give a befitting response at place and time of our choosing.The ground reality between the two nuclear neighbours is that India has the third largest army, fourth largest Air Force and seventh largest Navy. The Pakistan Armed Forces are less than half our strength. India’s economic capacity to sustain any operation is much higher. Both India and Pakistan have nearly 100 nuclear warheads each with India having a clear edge over Pakistan in delivery means. Pakistan military being in the driver’s seat gives them a decision making edge vis-a-vis a more responsible democracy like India. China, having invested in the CPEC, has a strategic interest in Pakistan and is the country’s only real friend but any flare-up in the region will affect their interests adversely. For India, the advantage is that the entire world, including China, is suffering from terrorism and knows that Pakistan is the fountain head of terror. Being a big importer of Chinese goods, China cannot antagonise India and lose a huge market. For the first time ever, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are also openly against Pakistan. With little vocal support from India, the Baloch uprising is already on the international stage.In view of Pakistan’s openly stated first use nuclear policy, India has to calibrate any response only to the extent of not crossing the threshold by not physically capturing huge territory. But there is enough leverage with India on this count. Pakistan establishment has been upping the ante for nearly two decades because they always found a weak Indian response after each incident triggered by them. They could thus plan Kargil, the Parliament attack, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Kaluchak and the Pathankot attacks among others. Coming as it does on a sensitive Army unit, there is a need to recover the morale of a demoralised nation. There thus has to be a clearly visible response to the Uri attacks.It is time to turn the heat on. As a first step, make it hard for Hurriyat and all separatists in Kashmir by cutting all support and quell any secessionist activities of any group with a heavy hand. It will send signals to their backers in Pakistan. Tighten security at Indian military establishments and move up arms and ammunitions to all formations on LoC. Increase surveillance across LoC and move additional IAF assets into the valley. Resort to massive routine shelling/firing on LoC against Pak posts. Indian Army has to increase covert operations across LoC. These have to be well planned. India must also increase funding of activists in PoK and Baluchistan to make things prohibitive for Pakistan. India must accede to plea of political asylum plea by Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti. We should continue to fund reconstruction of Afghanistan to strengthen foothold. Simultaneously, India must provide military training and hardware to the Afghan national forces. Have a re-look at the Indus water treaty of 1960 and slowly start reducing the flow of water to Pakistan from Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers without making much noise but giving an open threat. Also, make sure not a drop goes across from Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. All those weak-kneed analysts who think China will stop water to Indus and Brahmaputra rivers must know that both these rivers come as a small stream into India and get bulk of the water in India. Close all border posts on LoC for now. It will hurt Pakistan more than us. Stop the Wagah and other border ceremonies as a symbolic protest. Modi government’s global diplomatic offensive against Pakistan is already paying dividends. India must revoke the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) states given to Pakistan in 1996. Like Afghanistan and Bangladesh, India should not take part in the SAARC Heads of State meeting in Pakistan to confirm branding them as a rogue state. Stop all cricketing contact with them for the time being. Indian Navy has a huge asymmetric advantage over Pakistan Navy and India should consider a show of force exercise in the northern Arabian Sea off the Karachi port to bring international attention. India already has a good nuclear second strike capability. What stops India from reviewing its ‘No first strike’ policy? It will send strong international signals and put pressure on Pakistan. A combination of these actions will show Indian resolve and restore the public morale. A young Indian diplomat Eenam Gambhir has made us proud by her response to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s UNGA diatribe (speech) by calling Pakistan the “Ivy League of Terror.” The international discourse is now on terror and not on Kashmir. The security-related efforts and pressure on secessionists and LoC has to be continuously sustained.The author is a retired Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. Views expressed are his own.

Won’t allow release of films like ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, ‘Raees’ which star Pakistani actors, says MNS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In wake of the Uri terror attacks, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has demanded that Pakistani artistes leave India immediately in 48 hours and warned them of physical attacks if they did not comply.On Friday, MNS leader Ameya Khotkar, who is an office bearer of the party’s cine workers wing, charged that after the killing of 18 Indian soldiers in the Uri attacks, Pakistanis had celebrated this on social media. “We do not want to see Pakistani actors perform on TV in Maharashtra and Hindustan,” he added, warning these artistes to leave India immediately in 48 hours, failing which they would be attacked physically.He added, “Pakistani kalakaar toh maar khaayenge hi, saath mein jo yahan producer, director hain unko bhi peetenge. (Pakistani artists will be beaten up but we will also attack producers and directors here.)”
ALSO READ MNS sets 48-hour deadline for Pakistani actors, artists to leave IndiaHe also declared that they would not allow movies like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees to be released since they starred Pakistani actors. “We have enough talent here,” said Khopkar, opining that Indian artistes be given an opportunity in television and movies.”For many years, Pakistan has fomented trouble in the country, Mumbai and Maharashtra. We do not agree with allowing Pakistani artistes to work here in these circumstances,” said Khopkar, adding that they did not want to gain any political mileage out of this.Like it’s political adversary the Shiv Sena, the MNS too is known for its vitriolic opposition to cultural and sporting ties with Pakistan considering the country’s role in fomenting terrorism and organised crime in India.Shiv Sena MP from South Mumbai and spokesperson Arvind Sawant said that the Sena was the first to put its stance about Pakistan and had disrupted events by Pakistani actors. “Our stance is not a political one but a nationalistic one,” he said.In 2010, the MNS had objected to the participation of Veena Malik and Begum Nawazish Ali in the reality show Bigg Boss and had also protested against a Pakistani comedian in the “Comedy Circus” show.The party had forced a book store to withdraw works by Pakistani authors and had also objected to a sweet shop which carried the name Karachi. In 2012, the party opposed the presence of Pakistani artistes on a singing reality show on a television channel in which singer Asha Bhosle was to be one of the judges. It later withdrew its agitation on the issue.

Uri terror attack: Pakistan’s Chief Justice accuses political parties of supporting terrorism

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali has blamed political and religious parties in Pakistan for having backed terrorists to further interests in a public meeting on Monday with the commencement of the new judicial year in the country, according to India Today.

“It is disappointing to see some political parties supporting terrorists for their own interest,” Jamali was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.

Pakistan has always denied links to terrorist attacks in India, and did so again, with regard to the Uri attack.

India on Sunday said the terrorist attack in Uri has highlighted Pakistan’s desire to use “poison” instead of dialogue as it lodged a strong protest against Islamabad at the NAM summit in Margarita Island for its “mischievous” and “malignant” support to terror. India has blamed Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack and called Pakistan a “terror” state that needs to be isolated. Pakistan, on the other hand, refuted the charges, which they touted as a knee-jerk reaction, not based on “facts.”

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Uri attack, described as the deadliest attack on the Indian Army in the last 26 years, has invited censure for Pakistan from multiple countries. “We have noted relevant reports. We are shocked by this attack,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in reference to Uri attack and India’s charge that Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) is behind it. JeM has special significance as Beijing has put a technical hold over India’s efforts to bring about a UN ban on the outfit’s leader Masood Azhar for his involvement in Pathankot attack.

Two powerful American lawmakers have introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, saying it was time the US stopped paying the country for its “betrayal”. Germany, Russia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Algeria, France, Venezuela and UK too have slammed Pakistan for endorsing terrorism.

With potential global isolation seeming likely for Pakistan, CJ Jamali urged various institutions of governance in Pakistan to function properly so Pakistan can become stable and was quoted as saying: “The constitution allows all faiths to practice their religion without fear of being persecuted.”

Courts in Pakistan are being persecuted by terrorist groups, he added, to instill fear among lawyers and judges, because of the same internal backing, reported Zee News. He urged Pakistan’s security agencies to provide ‘foolproof security’ to the country’s judicial institutions to stop the spread of terror and said that judges were responsible for protecting democracies both from terrorism and from the means the state wants to use to fight terrorism, reports Pakistani daily, Daily Times.

Another Pakistani daily, Dawn, said in reference to Jamali’s comments, that it is not only a resolute affirmation of the truth but upholds what many even within Pakistan have been saying for a long time. The daily listed various examples of these liaisons as ‘open secrets’ such as the presence of the militant wing of Muttahida Quami Movement in Karachi, Pakistan People’s Party’s patronising of the Karachi underworld and PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah Khan’s interaction with banned sectarian groups. Religious parties like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) have launched opprobrious campaigns against attempts by the state to regulate and register madrassas that have been aligned with hard-line outfits.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and top officials of the ministries of Home and Defence, paramilitary forces and chiefs of intelligence agencies met to review the situation in Kashmir. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti and Governor NN Vohra met to assess the ground situation in the state.

Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will address Pakistan’s soft approach on terrorism, going beyond Uri, to list out a number of instances where Pakistan has treated terror groups softly. PM Modi held a cabinet meeting on Uri on Wednesday. Determined to use a strategic, tight and focused response to Uri, India is likely to take Pakistan’s case internationally, reports DNA.

With inputs from agencies

dna Evening Must Reads: From Jaitley disagreeing with Swamy’s comments to renowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri’s death

1. Disagree with Subramanian Swamy on Raghuram Rajan, Arvind Subramanian: Arun JaitleyFinance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media on Wednesday that he did not agree with Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy on his views about Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian. Read more here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Renowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri shot dead by unidentified men in PakistanRenowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri was shot dead by unidentified motorcycle-borne gunmen on Wednesday in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi. Sabri, 45, and an associate were travelling in a car in Karachi’s Liquatabad 10 area when unidentified gunmen fired at their vehicle, critically injuring them. The two were rushed to Abbasi Shaheed hospital, where Sabri succumbed to his injuries. Read more here.3. Modi govt approves new textile policy; seeks to aid in employment and manufacturingCabinet on Wednesday approved textile policy which will provide incentives the sector and aid in job creation, manufacturing and exports. Government announced that the policy will strengthen employment in the country. Read more here.4. NSG membership: PM Narendra Modi to attend SCO summit in Tashkent tomorrowPrime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Tashkent on Thursday to attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a China-dominated six-nation grouping, which is likely to focus on exploring ways to enhance security cooperation to combat terrorism. Read more here.5. Anju Bobby George resigns from post of Kerala Sports Council President, alleging ‘insult’ by Sports MinisterAnju Bobby Goerge, India’s lone World Championship medalist, resigned as the Kerala Sports Council President on Wednesday after alleging that Kerala Sports Minister EP Jayarajan insulted her. Read more here.

Devendra Fadnavis confident Khadse will emerge clean

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday expressed confidence that former revenue minister Eknath Khadse, who had resigned from the state cabinet, would emerge clean from the probe into allegations against him.While stating that he would not like to comment on the issues involving former state revenue minister who resigned recently in the wake of accusations of wrongdoing, as an inquiry has been ordered, Fadnavis nevertheless said “I am confident that Nathabhau (Khadse) will emerge clean from this “Agnipariksha” (test by fire).” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Khadse, who drew flak for alleged irregularity in buying an MIDC plot at Bhosari in Pune and subsequently stepped down, was present on the dais when Fadnavis made the comments during the two-day BJP state executive meeting here. Addressing the meeting here, the chief minister attacked the opposition Congress and NCP saying they were “targeting” the ministers because there were no scams in the government that was working “honestly”.He alleged that NCP leaders had grabbed government plots and deserved criminal investigation into their dealings, adding that they had no moral right to accuse the BJP ministers of wrongdoing. “Return the government plots before making such baseless allegations against our ministers”, Fadnavis said.Those who were present at the meeting included union ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari and BJP state president Raosaheb Danve. Khadse resigned on June 4 after facing heat over a series of allegations including irregularities in a land deal here and calls allegedly received from mob boss Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his mobile phone besides the alleged bribe sought by his “PA”.

Pakistan releases 18 Indian fisherman, to arrive in Vadodara today

As a goodwill gesture, Pakistan released the fishermen, who were held for violating the territorial waters of the neighbouring country. Eighteen Indian fishermen, who were released by Pakistan on Sunday, will reach Vadodara on Wednesday, a senior Gujarat fisheries department officer said on Tuesday.The fishermen, held for violating the territorial waters of the neighbouring country, were freed from Malir jail in Karachi as a goodwill gesture. Fisheries Department Superintendent Ashok Patel said that one of the fishermen, identified as Ajit Bhagu who hails from Valsad district, was admitted in a Amritsar hospital on Tuesday night for treatment.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Bhagu’s condition is good. He was administered glucose. He will join 17 others who will leave Amritsar late tonight and reach Vadodara on Wednesday night,” Patel said.
ALSO READ 14 Pakistan fishermen apprehended by BSF in KutchA team of Fisheries department from Gujarat had taken custody of the fishermen on Monday after they were released at Wagah border by the Pakistani authorities.

AAP wants FIR, court-monitored probe against Khadse

Panaji: The Aam Aadmi Party has demanded a court-monitored investigation into the allegations against former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse, who stepped down after a host of allegations including irregularities in a land deal.

“We are not happy with Khadse’s resignation. It appears that BJP wants to protect him. That is why when he addressed the press conference, he was flanked by two senior BJP leaders,” AAP leader Ashish Khetan said in Panaji.

Eknath KhadseEknath Khadse

Former Maharashtra revenue minister Eknath Khadse. Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

“Why are they not registering FIRs in three cases against him. In all three cases there should be FIRs and there should be court-monitored investigation which is not happening,” he said.

“Everybody has a feeling that they are trying to protect him. They should put him behind bars and they should register cases and investigate thoroughly,” he said.

Responding to a question, Khetan said, in Maharashtra, if the second most powerful minister after CM, is so corrupt you can imagine what is happening in the government.

The senior BJP leader resigned on Saturday in wake of a series of allegations including irregularities in a land deal in Pune, getting calls allegedly from fugitive Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his phone besides the alleged bribe sought by his personal aide.

Following this, CM Devendra Fadnavis announced an inquiry by a retired high court judge into the allegations against Khadse, as sought by the senior leader himself.

Maharashtra: Eknath Khadse resigns as revenue minister

Embattled Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse has tendered his resignation as Revenue Minister on Saturday after meeting CM Devendra Fadnavis, according to reports. Khadse has been under the fire recently over a host of allegations including irregularities in a land deal in Pune and calls allegedly received from mob boss Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his mobile phone. The senior BJP leader is considered “number two” in the Cabinet had earlier called the charges against him as baseless. He has been facing the heat over the purchase of a three-acre Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp land in Pune allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law. The market value of the land is reportedly Rs 40 crore.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday he had said that he was a loyal BJP worker and would “act according to any directive coming from the party”.
ALSO READ Will quit public life if allegations proved: Eknath KhadseA formal announcement is expected at 1 pm when BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve addresses the media. (With agency inputs)

No ‘directive’ from BJP central leadership, says Eknath Khadse

Facing a host of allegations, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse on Friday said he has not received any directive from the BJP central leadership on the charges against him which he dubbed as “baseless”.A day after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over the issue, fuelling speculation he is on his way out, the senior leader told a television channel he was not given any directive by the leadership but asserted he would abide by its decision. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have not received any directive from the party. I am a loyal BJP worker and will act according to any directive coming from the party,” he said. Asked about his whereabouts — which has given rise to speculation that he is sulking — Khadse said, “I am in the country and Maharashtra. I am at present working on proposals to deal with drought situation if the monsoon is delayed.” He maintained he was ready to face punishment if found guilty of wrongdoing. “But what is happening at present is only baseless allegations without any proof. Astronomical figures are being spoken of in the transactions involving me. Time will tell who is behind this making me a target,” he said, adding it had taken him four decades of hard work to build a political career which his detractors were seeking to destroy.Khadse, a senior BJP leader and considered “number two” in the Cabinet, is facing heat over a host of allegations including irregularities in a land deal in Pune and calls allegedly received from mob boss Dawood Ibrahim’s residence in Karachi on his mobile phone. He is in a spot over the purchase of a three-acre Maharashtra Industrial Development Corp land in Pune allegedly at a low price of around Rs 3.75 crore from its original owner in the name of his wife and son-in-law. The market value of the land is reportedly Rs 40 crore.

Pakistan accuses India of involving in creating instability through ‘subversive activities’

Pakistan on Thursday alleged that India was involved in creating instability through “subversive and terrorist activities” in Karachi and Balochistan province.Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at a briefing that the international community had already been informed about the alleged Indian involvement.”The apprehension of a serving officer of Indian intelligence agency RAW has vindicated Pakistan’s longstanding position that Indian intelligence agencies are involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan especially Balochistan and Karachi,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our security agencies are fully aware of all threats and are actively working to counter them, wherever required. You are aware that we have briefed the international community. As the investigations are in progress, we would apprise the world community accordingly,” he added.Zakaria also said that the all necessary actions have been taken based on “Kulbushan Yadav’s confession and I am aware that many arrests have been taken place”.He said that the phenomenon of terrorism has affected Pakistan more than any other country in the world.”We have deeper concern over foreign hands behind perpetration of terrorist attacks and terrorist financing in Pakistan,” he said.He said Pakistan was ready for dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir. He said in addition to other issues, the dialogue would include the discussion on terrorism.To a question about what was discussed when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi before his operation, he said it was an exchange of telephone calls, which related to Sharif’s health.”This was hardly the occasion to discuss other issues though I am not privy to the exact details of the conversation,” he said.The spokesperson said Pakistan’s NSG application stands on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety.”Pakistan has operated secure and safeguarded nuclear power plants for over 42 years. Safe and sustainable civil nuclear energy is essential for Pakistan’s future energy security and its economic development,” he said.Zakaria said Pakistan’s NSG membership is in the interest of nuclear trading countries as it will further promote NSG non-proliferation objectives by the inclusion of a state with nuclear supply capabilities and its adherence to guidelines.”We are, therefore, hopeful that NSG decision for expansion in membership for non-NPT countries will be for an even-handed approach since any country-specific exception will not be beneficial for the non proliferation regime, the objective of strategic stability in South Asia or the credibility of NSG itself,” he said.To a question about India and Japan agreement to build six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh, he said India was given a waiver.”Our position on the issue has been very clear. We don’t want any discriminatory treatment for any country which is not party to NPT. Pakistan calls for a non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach lest that would actually further add to the reasons disturbing the strategic stability in the region,” he said.

Maharashtra: AAP’s Anjali Damania makes fresh allegations of graft against Eknath Khadse

Adding to the troubles of Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, former Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania on Monday levelled allegations against him with regard to irrigation projects.She threatened to stage a hunger strike in front of the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s residence from Wednesday evening if he did not sack the minister and initiate action.Addressing a press conference here, Damania also alleged that Khadse was in cahoots with NCP leader and former Irrigation minister Ajit Pawar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior state BJP leader, when he was a minister in Shiv Sena-BJP Government in late 1990s, had conceived the Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation, and got awarded contracts to his relatives and supporters, she alleged. Damania also alleged that a plot purchased by Khadse’s wife in April 2012 was not mentioned in Khadse’s election affidavit in 2014, and the user (the stipulated purpose for which the land is to be used) was changed arbitrarily from educational purpose to residential. Khadse was unavailable for comment.The beleaguered minister is already facing an allegation that calls were made to his mobile from gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s house in Karachi. Another allegation against him is that his family illegally purchased a plot near Pune which had been acquired by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. He has denied all these allegations.

Pakistan can’t confirm Taliban leader is dead, criticises U.S. drone strike | Reuters

ISLAMABAD Pakistan’s interior minister said on Tuesday he could not confirm that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour had been killed in a U.S. drone strike, and described Washington’s justification for the attack as “against international law”.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that Mansour had been killed in the drone strike, and the Pentagon said separately that Mansour was plotting attacks that posed “specific, imminent threats” to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters that the body recovered on Pakistani soil, near the Afghan border, was charred beyond recognition, adding that DNA samples would be tested against a relative who had come forward to claim the body.

“The government of Pakistan cannot announce this without a scientific and legal basis,” Khan told a news briefing.

He did not identify the relative or say whether he or she claimed to be related to the Taliban leader or someone else.

Khan rejected the U.S. argument that it could launch attacks across borders in order to protect its interests.

“For the U.S. government to say that whoever is a threat to them will be targeted wherever they are, that is against international law,” he said. “And if every country in the world adopts this rule, it will be the law of the jungle.”

Pakistan and the United States have been uneasy allies in the war against the Taliban and other Islamist militants in the region.

Critics in Afghanistan and the United States accuse Pakistan of allowing the Afghan Taliban’s leadership to take shelter on its territory, something that Islamabad has denied.

The militant movement has made territorial gains and carried out a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan since NATO forces officially wound down their combat mission at the end of 2014, undermining the Western-backed government in Kabul.

Recent events echo those in 2011, when U.S. special forces raided a building in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad that killed longtime al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, infuriating and severely embarrassing Islamabad.

CROSS-BORDER STRIKE?

Khan said the car was destroyed on Pakistani territory but was fired “from another country”, presumably Afghanistan, where more than 10,000 U.S. and coalition troops remain.

Khan added that Pakistani authorities were also investigating a passport bearing the name of Wali Muhammad, which was found near the burned out shell of the car believed to have been the target of the drone attack.

He confirmed the passport in question had been used to travel from Pakistani airports multiple times, and that it held valid visas for Iran, Dubai and Bahrain.

If the travel document proves to have been used by Mansour himself, it would raise fresh questions about how the Taliban leader was able to move freely in and out of Pakistan and whether he had help from the country’s security apparatus.

Khan on Tuesday disputed that elements of Pakistan’s security apparatus supported the Taliban leadership.

“If (Mansour) was availing Pakistani intelligence agency support and help, would he be travelling like this?,” he asked, referring to reports that the target was alone with a single driver.

The circumstances surrounding the killing remain murky, including how the U.S. verified it was Mansour who was killed in the attack and how any documents could be recovered from the fiery scene.

“You could not see a spot of paint … that’s how bad it was hit,” Khan said. “How was a passport lying just a few yards away? So first we have to establish that, whether he was actually using it.”

The Taliban have not issued any official statements on Mansour since Saturday’s drone strike.

However, Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Mansour is dead and a council is meeting to choose a successor, the second such leadership shura in a year after the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was confirmed in 2015.

MYSTERIOUS PASSPORT

Authorities in Quetta, the Baluchistan capital, showed a copy of the recovered passport, which has a photo bearing a strong likeness to the officially released Taliban picture of Mansour, to a Reuters reporter.

They also noted that it bore an exit stamp from Iran’s land border with Pakistan dated May 21, the day of the drone strike.

Pakistani immigration records show that the Wali Muhammad passport was used at least 18 times since 2006 to travel internationally, two senior officials in the Federal Investigation Agency, which manages borders, told Reuters.

One of the officials in the southwestern province of Baluchistan said the passport was used mostly over the land border with Iran and from the airport in the southern city of Karachi, with the last exit from Karachi en route to Dubai on March 31, 2015.

The second official reviewed computerised records of the passport and said there were “18 travel events” from Karachi airport starting in 2007, with the last arrival at Karachi on April 2, 2015.

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry was quoted on state media denying that such an individual had crossed the border from Iran to Pakistan at the time in question.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates did not respond to questions on whether Mansour might have entered Dubai using an assumed name or whether there was any record of a Wali Muhammad visiting.

(Additional reporting by Gul Yousufzai in QUETTA; Writing by Kay Johnson; editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Pakistan can’t confirm Taliban leader is dead, criticizes US drone strike | Reuters

ISLAMABAD Pakistan’s interior minister said on Tuesday he could not confirm that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour had been killed in a U.S. drone strike, and described Washington’s justification for the attack as “against international law”.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that Mansour had been killed in the drone strike, and the Pentagon said separately that Mansour was plotting attacks that posed “specific, imminent threats” to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters that the body recovered on Pakistani soil, near the Afghan border, was charred beyond recognition, adding that DNA samples would be tested against a relative who had come forward to claim the body.

“The government of Pakistan cannot announce this without a scientific and legal basis,” Khan told a news briefing.

He did not identify the relative or say whether he or she claimed to be related to the Taliban leader or someone else.

Khan rejected the U.S. argument that it could launch attacks across borders in order to protect its interests.

“For the U.S. government to say that whoever is a threat to them will be targeted wherever they are, that is against international law,” he said. “And if every country in the world adopts this rule, it will be the law of the jungle.”

Pakistan and the United States have been uneasy allies in the war against the Taliban and other Islamist militants in the region.

Critics in Afghanistan and the United States accuse Pakistan of allowing the Afghan Taliban’s leadership to take shelter on its territory, something that Islamabad has denied.

The militant movement has made territorial gains and carried out a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan since NATO forces officially wound down their combat mission at the end of 2014, undermining the Western-backed government in Kabul.

Recent events echo those in 2011, when U.S. special forces raided a building in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad that killed longtime al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, infuriating and severely embarrassing Islamabad.

CROSS-BORDER STRIKE?

Khan said the car was destroyed on Pakistani territory but was fired “from another country”, presumably Afghanistan, where more than 10,000 U.S. and coalition troops remain.

Khan added that Pakistani authorities were also investigating a passport bearing the name of Wali Muhammad, which was found near the burned out shell of the car believed to have been the target of the drone attack.

He confirmed the passport in question had been used to travel from Pakistani airports multiple times, and that it held valid visas for Iran, Dubai and Bahrain.

If the travel document proves to have been used by Mansour himself, it would raise fresh questions about how the Taliban leader was able to move freely in and out of Pakistan and whether he had help from the country’s security apparatus.

Khan on Tuesday disputed that elements of Pakistan’s security apparatus supported the Taliban leadership.

“If (Mansour) was availing Pakistani intelligence agency support and help, would he be traveling like this?,” he asked, referring to reports that the target was alone with a single driver.

The circumstances surrounding the killing remain murky, including how the U.S. verified it was Mansour who was killed in the attack and how any documents could be recovered from the fiery scene.

“You could not see a spot of paint … that’s how bad it was hit,” Khan said. “How was a passport lying just a few yards away? So first we have to establish that, whether he was actually using it.”

The Taliban have not issued any official statements on Mansour since Saturday’s drone strike.

However, Taliban officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Mansour is dead and a council is meeting to choose a successor, the second such leadership shura in a year after the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was confirmed in 2015.

MYSTERIOUS PASSPORT

Authorities in Quetta, the Baluchistan capital, showed a copy of the recovered passport, which has a photo bearing a strong likeness to the officially released Taliban picture of Mansour, to a Reuters reporter.

They also noted that it bore an exit stamp from Iran’s land border with Pakistan dated May 21, the day of the drone strike.

Pakistani immigration records show that the Wali Muhammad passport was used at least 18 times since 2006 to travel internationally, two senior officials in the Federal Investigation Agency, which manages borders, told Reuters.

One of the officials in the southwestern province of Baluchistan said the passport was used mostly over the land border with Iran and from the airport in the southern city of Karachi, with the last exit from Karachi en route to Dubai on March 31, 2015.

The second official reviewed computerized records of the passport and said there were “18 travel events” from Karachi airport starting in 2007, with the last arrival at Karachi on April 2, 2015.

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry was quoted on state media denying that such an individual had crossed the border from Iran to Pakistan at the time in question.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates did not respond to questions on whether Mansour might have entered Dubai using an assumed name or whether there was any record of a Wali Muhammad visiting.

(Additional reporting by Gul Yousufzai in QUETTA; Writing by Kay Johnson; editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

No calls made from Khadse phone to Dawood: Joint Comissioner of Police Kulkarni on AAP claims

Senior BJP leader and Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse was on Saturday at the centre of a fresh controversy with the Aam Aadmi Party alleging that calls were made from underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s mansion in Karachi to his mobile phone, a charge rubbished by him.Now Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atul C Kulkarni claimed that initial analysis shows no calls were made or received from the cell number of Eknath Khadse to that of Dawood Ibrahim.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said: “No calls made or received from the cell number(Eknath Khadse)to that of fugitive(Dawood),initial analysis shows. Initial analysis of cellphone record(of Khadse)indicated that there have been neither outgoing calls or incoming calls from his(Eknath Khadse)cell number to that of fugitive during the period of Sep ’15 to Apr ’16.”Though Khadse has dismissed the allegations as “baseless” stating the particular telephone number was not in use for last one year, AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon claimed otherwise. “Eknath Khadse lied about his phone being out of service. His number 9423073667 received several calls from Dawood Ibrahim’s wife Mehjabeen Shaikh’s number 021-35871639 between September 4, 2015 and April 5, 2016,” Menon told reporters here.The AAP leader claimed that CM has asked the Mumbai Police to investigate the matter. She had met Fadnavis and raised the issue of call records of four landline numbers registered at the underworld don’s mansion in Karachi and of Khadse’s name allegedly figuring on the list. Menon claimed today that the call details between September 5, 2015 and April 5, 2016 were procured with the help of an “ethical hacker”. The AAP spokesperson claimed that “Police Commissioner’s office has contacted Bhangale who has assured all out support to police or any other central investigating agency”.”The call list of frequent internationally dialled numbers from Dawood Ibrahim’s home phone also includes Eknath Khadse’s number and it was a total lie that Khadse’s number was not in service,” she said. Explaining how he got the call data records, Bhangale said he first went to Dubai and got Dawood’s wife Mehjabeen’s number, hacked it and placed call details request on her behalf to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).He also claimed that “four out of 10 frequently dialled numbers belonged to Indian politicians who hold command (over) central politics”. However, Khadse said, “no international call was made from or received on this phone in last one year”. Suggesting that the number could have been cloned, he said, “I have asked the CM and Jalgaon SP to probe if any person is using this number. I have also asked the CM to initiate an in-depth inquiry into the Gajanan Patil (his ‘PA’) bribery issue”.The issue has taken a political turn with the BJP terming the charge as “ridiculous” and accused AAP of seeking “cheap publicity”.”The phone (number), which the AAP spokesperson is referring to, is not in use for the last one year. During this period, no international call was made from or received on this phone,” Khadse said. “The telecom service provider has sent a letter clarifying the facts. There is a possibility that the number was cloned,” Khadse, a senior member in the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet, said. “I have asked the CM and Jalgaon SP to probe if any person is using this number. I have also asked the CM to initiate an in-depth inquiry into the Gajanan Patil bribery issue,” Khadse said.State BJP has described the AAP leader’s charge as ridiculous. “The allegation is ridiculous. AAP woke up 15 days after the news appeared in a Gujarati daily,” state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said. “Khadse has been proactive about the allegation and he himself has sought a probe into this,” he said. Bhandari said AAP is after cheap publicity. “What is the authenticity of the ethical hacker, which they paraded at the press conference,” Bhandari asked.He said all these things are concocted and fabricated. “The truth will come out after a comprehensive inquiry,” the BJP leader said. Meanwhile, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP has described the AAP allegation as a “very serious issue”. “Khadse claims the phone number is not in service. The PM must sack Khadse and a thorough inquiry must take place,” party spokesperson Nawab Malik said.With agency inputs

Pakistan will never hand over Dawood Ibrahim to India, says Chidambaram

A day after the whereabouts of wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim were reportedly revealed by CNN-News18, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has claimed that “no Pakistan government is going to admit that Dawood has sought refuge in their country,” according to another CNN-News18 report.

Dawood Ibrahim. Ibnlive

Dawood Ibrahim. Ibnlive

Through a sting operation, it had earlier been reported that Ibrahim lived at D 13, Block 4, Clifton, Karachi in a huge bungalow barricaded on all sides.

As a response to the video of Ibrahim’s house released by the news channel, Chidambaram said, “the Pakistan government is never going to yield Dawood Ibrahim to you. They are never going to admit that Dawood has sought refuge there and even if they do, they are never going to make them available to you.”

Dawood’s address has been known to Indian intelligence agencies for a long time. Hindustan Times reported in 2015 that India possessed a telephone bill addressed to D 13, Block 4, Clifton in the name of Ibrahim’s wife Mehjabeen.

The Congress leader too referred to this in his statement. “The whole world knows that Dawood Ibrahim has an address in Pakistan. In fact we have shared with the Pakistan government. They have of course denied it,” he added, according to the CNN-News 18 report.

Pakistan has indeed been in denial. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit asked the Indian government to “share information on Dawood, if you have any.” Chidambaram also commented on the efforts of the Indian government. He reportedly said that not being able to bring back Ibrahim is “not a failure of any Indian government. The problem is with Pakistan.”

Chidambaram’s remarks on Dawood Ibrahim come at a time when the MEA said that the government was pursuing the matter of bringing back the underworld don from Pakistan.

“Dawood is a UN-designated global terrorist and a fugitive of the Indian law. At several points of time, his details have been shared by India with Pakistan government, including his possible locations in Pakistan. We will continue to pursue this matter and we expect Pakistan to hand over this international terrorist to us,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said on Thursday.

With inputs from IANS

Pakistan’s lies exposed, Dawood’s house found in Karachi: Reports

For the last 23 years, India has been trying to locate the accused in 1993 Mumbai blasts which killed 257 people. Pakistan has always officially denied that Dawood Ibrahim lived among them. However, a CNN-News 18 report claims that they have tracked down Dawood’s house in Pakistan. According to them, Dawood resides at D 13, Block 4, Clifton, Karachi. The sting operators interviewed locals and Dawood’s bodyguards, and almost everyone seemed to know where he stayed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The video of the operation showed the house flanked on two sides by a cricket stadium on one side and a popular wedding and banquet hall on the other. Clifton is an upmarket suburb in Saddar Town of Karachi and the investigation claimed the house looked like Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.Earlier, India Today had claimed that they had tracked down four landline numbers registered at underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s Karachi mansion. The call records are of a seven-month period from September 2015 to April 2016, and the report claims that the underworld don was in touch with some Indian politicians as well. The media house reported that one of the numbers belonged to a senior Maharashtra leader from a major political party but declined to name him.Ethical hacker Manish Bhangale was quoted saying by India Today: “I was able to get the call records.”The 66-year-old is wanted in connection with the 1993 serial blasts which led to 257 deaths and 717 injuries. While one of his associates, Yakub Memon was hanged in July 2015, his brother Tiger is still at large.

Indian residing illegally in Pakistan for over five years arrested

Pakistani law enforcement agencies claimed to have arrested an Indian who has been illegally residing in the country with fake documents for the past five years.The Foreigners Registration Cell (FRC) said that Indian national Arshad Hussain was picked up from the Jail road area in Karachi on Saturday. “He has been living in Karachi illegally for the last five years as we have recovered his Indian passport and other documents,” Arif Khan, an FRC official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to Arif, Hussain had reached Karachi from Mumbai in 2011. “He somehow arranged for a fake Pakistani passport and national identity card and other educational documents pretending to be a legal Pakistani national,” he said.
ALSO READ Watch: Pakistan’s ‘confessional’ video of alleged ‘RAW spy’, India rejects allegationThe official, however, admitted that while investigations were continuing they had not yet found any clue which could prove the arrested man’s involvement with any foreign spy agency. Pakistani government officials had claimed that operatives of the Indian spy agency RAW were active in Balochistan and Karachi.On March 24, the Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti claimed that security forces arrested Indian naval intelligence officer Kulbhushan Yadav from the province.

India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim suffering from gangrene, might lose legs: Report

It appears that Dawood Ibrahim is suffering from an advanced stage of gangrene and is unlikely to be cured fully, reports News 18. Docs treating the underworld don believe that the reason behind gangrene is caused due to the loss of effective local blood supply due to high blood pressure and blood sugar. The report goes on to claim that his condition is life-threatening, and some of his body tissues in the legs are already dead. Sources added that he was under protection from Pakistan’s ISIS and he won’t be moved out of the city of Karachi.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report added that Army doctors will help out with his treatment. If Dawood’s condition worsens, and he dies in Pakistan, it will be a big loss for those waiting for him to be tried for the crimes he has committed including the 1993 blasts in Mumbai.The 66-year-old is wanted in connection with the 1993 serial blasts which led to 257 deaths and 717 injuries. While one of his associates, Yakub Memon was hanged in July 2015, his brother Tiger is still at loose.

Don crippled? Dawood Ibrahim may be suffering from crippling form of gangrene

Even as underworld don Dawood Ibrahim remains a point of acrimony between India and Pakistan, media reports are now saying that he is now suffering from a crippling form of gangrene.

CNN-News18 has reported that the gangster’s condition of gangrene is at such an advanced stage that doctors may have no option but to amputate his legs. The channel has quoted sources as saying that at this stage, he is unlikely to be fully cured.

Dawood Ibrahim. File photo. IBNLiveDawood Ibrahim. File photo. IBNLive

Dawood Ibrahim. File photo. IBNLive

In December last year, reports had said that Dawood was all set to retire on his 60th birthday in that month and was expected to announce his succession plan. However, no successor has been named as of yet.

The don is said to be undergoing treatment at the Liaquat National Hospital and Combined Military Hospital at Karachi, and his health is reported to be deteriorating by the day, as per a report by India Today.

Loss of effective blood supply caused the gangrene, leading to body tissues dying, reports said. Dawood Ibrahim is a wanted criminal in India for allegedly masterminding the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, in which 257 people died.

In August last year, a Hindustan Times had cited fresh evidence in the form of a telephone bill and a passport to support India’s claim that Dawood Ibrahim is in Pakistan.

The bill mentioned D-13, Block 4, Karachi Development Authority, Sch 5, Clifton, as the address, and was issued by the Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited. The passport had a recent image of Dawood, which shows him now to be clean shaven and with a receding hairline.

An India-Pakistan love story that went horribly wrong

Mohammad Javed, who spent nearly 12 years in an Indian jail, tells the BBC how his calls and letters to his love in Pakistan saw him branded a terrorist.

Pakistan apprehends 24 fishermen; 4 boats off Gujarat Coast

24 Indian fishermen were apprehended and four boats seized by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) on Thursday off Gujarat’s Jakhau coast, officials of the National Fisherworkers’ Forum (NFF) said.The fishermen had sailed off the coastal town of Porbandar and Okha few days ago and were apprehended by the PMSA near the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) this morning, secretary of NFF, Manish Lodhari told PTI. “We have learned that at least 24 fishermen on four boats were apprehended by PMSA near Jakhau coast today morning. Two boats are registered in Okha while two belong to Porbandar. These fishermen and their boats were being taken to Karachi port by PMSA,” Lodhari said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The PMSA has been capturing Indian fishermen at regular intervals off Gujarat coast. Within last three months, as many as 191 fishermen along with 34 boats were captured by PMSA in six separate instances before Thursday’s incident. Recently, Pakistan released 172 fishermen, who reached Gujarat last month.

Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif accuses India of undermining China investment corridor

Pakistan’s army chief on Tuesday accused longtime regional rival India of seeking to undermine his country’s $46 billion project to build an economic corridor to transport goods from China’s western regions through the Pakistani deepwater port of Gwadar.Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, speaking at a development conference on the impact of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said the significance of a Pakistan-China economic alliance had “raised eyebrows” in the region.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In this context, I must highlight that India, our immediate neighbour, has openly challenged this development initiative,” Sharif told the conference in Gwadar.”I would like to make a special reference to Indian intelligence agency RAW that is blatantly involved in destabilising Pakistan. Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in anypart of Pakistan. Therefore, it is important for all to leave behind confrontation and focus on cooperation.”Indian officials could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday night.RAW is India’s Research and Analysis Wing, its main external intelligence agency.Last month, Pakistan said it had detained a suspected Indian spy for RAW in Baluchistan, the southwestern Pakistani province where most of the CPEC is taking shape.India has confirmed that the man is a former Indian navy official but denied that he is a spy.Majority Hindu India and mostly Muslim Pakistan, once part of a vast British colonial holding, have fought three wars since they were partitioned upon independence in 1947, leading to a violent separation that has fed decades of mutual suspicion.Pakistan believes India is supporting a separatist insurgency in resource-rich Baluchistan. It also accuses India of fuelling strife in the city of Karachi. India denies any such meddling.India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants fighting Indian security forces in its part of the divided Kashmir region, of helping militants launch attacks elsewhere in India and backing the Taliban in Afghanistan.Pakistan says it only offers diplomatic support to the Muslim people of Kashmir living under what Pakistan says is heavy-handed Indian rule. It denies backing militant attacks in India.

Basit exemplifies Pakistan’s double dealing: Ex-envoys

New Delhi: Was Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit speaking at variance with the official line on relations with India when he said that the bilateral “peace process is suspended”, or was it said deliberately with the permission of Islamabad?

According to former envoys, Basit’s statements are another example of Pakistan’s “double-dealing”, with one suggesting that Islamabad should “recall him for spoiling bilateral relations.”

Abdul Basit. File photo. AFPAbdul Basit. File photo. AFP

Abdul Basit. File photo. AFP

Both Prabhu Dayal, who has served in the Indian consulate of Karachi and recently released a book “Karachi Halwa”, and Rajiv Dogra, India’s former consul general in Karachi, say that the current impasse in relations and Basit’s statements show that ties with Pakistan are not moving forward.

G. Parthasarathy, India’s former high commissioner to Pakistan, was more direct. “There are two categories of Pakistani diplomats, one reporting to the foreign office, and the other beholden to the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). I regard Basit as belonging to the second category,” Parthasarathy told IANS.

“Pakistan is not at all sincere about peace. Its game-plan has been to talk peace with us, while at the same time doing everything possible to pursue a proxy war with India and to hurt us in whichever manner possible,” Dayal, who was India’s Consul General in New York before retiring in 2013, told IANS.

“I am not at all surprised that Pakistanis have back-tracked on the peace talks, and they are not likely to become serious or sincere in this regard at any time in the near future,” he said.

On Thursday Basit, speaking at an event here, said that the peace process between India and Pakistan were “suspended” and that the National Investigation Agency team from India could not go to Pakistan to probe the Pathankot attack.

“The Pakistan ambassador says whatever the foreign ministry tells him to. He will not say anything on his own; he represents the government of Pakistan and he cannot be saying anything at variance with their position,” said Dayal, adding that Pakistan’s policy has “always been double-faced, and this is another example of it”.

Dogra termed Basit’s statement that the peace process has been suspended as “perhaps the most undiplomatic statement that I have ever heard a diplomat make”.

“You can say that negotiations are suspended, the talks are suspended; but to say that the peace process is suspended means that you are declaring war,” Dogra said.

“So, should such a high commissioner be taken seriously?” he added.

He wondered whether the Pakistan High Commissioner and the government in Islamabad were playing good cop, bad cop. “He (Basit) keeps provoking India, and Islamabad plays a calming effect, tries to temper it down – whether by design or error,” he Dogra said.

“And while Islamabad was giving the officialese (that India and Pakistan are in talks on holding talks), the high commissioner was giving his sentiments – maybe at the behest of someone or the other,” he added.

To Basit saying that a NIA would not be allowed, the former diplomat said: “The high commissioner is so authoritatively saying there is no reciprocity, it can only mean that from the Pakistan side there was no confirmation of the conditions put in our letter (India’s letter on allowing the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team).”

Asked where he saw the bilateral relations headed, Dogra, who has also served as India’s Permanent Representative at the UN. said: “I don’t think relations are headed on an upward swing. Unfortunately, the signals from Islamabad, and more particularly from the high commissioner in Delhi, are negative.”

He said the latest developments are a “signal that its (Pakistan’s) intentions are not exactly peace-like.”

The problem, he said, was that “every time India tries to open the door, Pakistan slams it shut.”

On Basit, the envoy said: “If Pakistan feels its high commissioner has stepped out of line and given a statement contrary to Pakistan’s official stand, should it not reprimand him for spoiling relations, and even call him back.”

Pakistan’s video of ‘RAW officer’s confession’ clearly indicates tutoring, claims MEA

Another war of words broke out on Tuesday between India and Pakistan after the Pakistan army released a video of an arrested ex-Indian Navy officer purportedly “confessing” his “involvement” in terror activities in Balochistan which India promptly rubbished.

The head of Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt Gen Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid held a press conference in Islamabad to release the video, saying Kul Bhoshan Yadav “confessed” of working for Indian intelligence agency RAW to “foment trouble” in restive province of Balochistan.

“Kul Bhoshan Yadav is a serving Indian naval officer whose primary mission was to foment terrorism in Karachi and Balochistan,” Bajwa told the media.

Ex-Naval officer Kul Bhoshan Yadav. PTI

Ex-Naval officer Kul Bhoshan Yadav. PTI

Bajwa claimed that Pakistan and Balochistan’s maps were recovered from Yadav’s possession. “He used to establish a network of operatives, provide funds, arrange and smuggle people for terrorism in the country,” the spokesman added.

Yadav had been arrested recently in Pakistan, which described him as an officer of the Indian Navy, a claim debunked by the Indian government which said he had no link with the Government since his premature retirement from the Navy but Bajwa claimed that Yadav was still a serving officer due to retire in 2022.

Official sources in New Delhi rubbished the purported “confession” and said it was Pakistan’s “propagandist ploy” to deflect the attention from its own problem of “home-grown terrorism”.

The sources also said India was not given the consular access to Yadav despite its requesting for the same and alleged that the release of the video was Pakistan’s attempt to deflect the attention from the Pathankot terror strike probe.

Citing Yadav’s case, Bajwa accused India of carrying out “state-sponsored terrorism” in Pakistan. There cannot be a clearer “evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan”, he claimed.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had also cited violation of Vienna Convention on Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access to Yadav. “Yadav converted to Islam and worked at Gadani under the cover of a scrap dealer. He was working for the Indian spy agency and there is an active RAW network in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan,” Bajwa was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune newspaper.

The Pakistanis claimed that Yadav had established a small business in Chabahar in Iran and had “directed” anti-Pakistan activities in Karachi and Balochistan.

“He converted to Islam and worked at Gadani under the cover of a scrap dealer,” Bajwa said at a joint press conference with Rashid.

Pakistan last week summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge its protest over “subversive activities” of the alleged RAW officer.

The government sources in New Delhi, however, said Yadav has nothing to do with India’s external Intelligence agency. There is no proof that the retired navy officer, who owns a cargo business in Iran, was arrested in Balochistan as claimed by Pakistan, they said.

Yadav owns a small ship and used to carry cargo from Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports in Iran and other adjoining areas to various destinations, sources said.

He could have been arrested after he strayed into Pakistani waters and was being wrongly charged, they added.

With inputs from agencies

Detained ‘RAW spy’ Kulbhushan Yadav was a serving Indian naval officer: Pakistan army

Pakistani military on Tuesday claimed that the detained “spy” was a serving Indian naval officer who converted to Islam to “foment terrorism” in Balochistan province and the country’s financial capital Karachi. “Kul Bhoshan Yadav is a serving Indian naval officer whose primary mission was to foment terrorism in Karachi and Balochistan,” military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He converted to Islam and worked at Gadani under the cover of a scrap dealer,” Bajwa said in a joint press conference with Information Minister Pervez Rashid. “He was working for the Indian spy agency and there is an active RAW network in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan,” Bajwa was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune newspaper.The press conference started with a confessional 6-minute video of the alleged Indian spy. Bajwa claimed that Pakistan and Balochistan’s maps were recovered from Yadav’s possession. “He used to establish a network of operatives, provide funds, arrange and smuggle people for terrorism in the country,” the spokesman added.Pakistan last week summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge its protest over “subversive activities” of the alleged RAW officer. The government sources in New Delhi, however, said Yadav has nothing to do with India’s external Intelligence agency.There is no proof that the retired navy officer, who owns a cargo business in Iran, was arrested in Balochistan as claimed by Pakistan, they said. Yadav owns a small ship and used to carry cargo from Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports in Iran and other adjoining areas to various destinations, sources said.He could have been arrested after he strayed into Pakistani waters and was being wrongly charged, they added.

Pakistan lodges protest over ‘subversive activities of RAW officer’; India dismisses allegations

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge its protest over “subversive activities” of an alleged RAW officer, a day after Pakistani security forces claimed to have arrested him.

“The Indian High Commissioner was summoned by the Foreign Secretary on Friday and through a demarche conveyed our protest and deep concern on the illegal entry into Pakistan by a RAW officer and his involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti on Thursday identified the “official” as Kul Yadav Bhushan who he alleged was a commander-ranking officer in the Indian Navy and was working for Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Representational image. IbnliveRepresentational image. Ibnlive

Representational image. Ibnlive

Bugti claimed that Bhushan was in contact with Baloch separatists and terrorists fueling sectarian violence in Balochistan.

The Minister, however, did not disclose the exact location of where he was arrested.

However, sources said that Bhushan was arrested from Chaman area of Balochistan, which is close to the Afghanistan border.

Pakistan had accused India of stoking violence in Balochistan and Karachi in the past but it is for the first time that it has claimed arresting a RAW officer.

Reacting to the development, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson in New Delhi Vikas Swarup said the matter was raised on Friday by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary with the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

“The said individual has no link with Government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy. We have sought
consular access to him.

“India has no interest in interfering in internal matters of any country and firmly believes that a stable and peaceful Pakistan is in the interest of all in the region,” he said.

Pakistan had accused India of stoking violence in Balochistan and Karachi in the past but it is for the first time that it has claimed arresting a RAW officer.

India has dismissed all such allegations.

PTI

Pakistan releases 86 Indian fishermen for trespassing

Pakistan on Saturday released 86 more Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly trespassing into its territorial waters, the second such batch freed this month in a goodwill gesture. The 86 fishermen freed from the Malir jail in Karachi would travel to Lahore by train and be handed over Indian authorities at the Wagah border, Superintendent of Karachi’s Malir prison Raja Mumtaz said. “The Edhi trust arranged for their journey to Lahore and also bid them farewell with gifts and cash,” he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is the second time this month that the government has released Indian fishermen in a goodwill gesture. On March 6 also, 86 Indian fishermen and a civilian prisoner, who had served nearly two and half years in the jail, were released from Landhi jail. Rights activists say that currently, around 363 Indian fishermen are languishing in Pakistani jails. Both Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often arrested for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location. In two incidents last month, Pakistani authorities arrested 108 Indian fishermen and seized a total of 20 boats for what they called was illegally fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters.

Hope for India to get 22 boats back from Pak

Vadodara: A delegation of Gujarat government, which had gone to Pakistan to initiate process of bringing 22 boats back, on Tuesday said the Pakistani authorities have shown readiness in sending the boats to India.

The delegation, led by Gujarat Fisheries department deputy director MK Chaudhary, which returned on Tuesday, was in Karachi from March 3-5.

Representative image.  AFPRepresentative image.  AFP

Representative image. AFP

“We visited ports at Karachi where these 22 boats are anchored. We have prepared the ground for repair and their subsequent repatriation. Boats need some minor repairs. We also consulted some Karachi-based boat traders and mechanics,” Chaudhary told PTI.

“PMSA had expressed its readiness to sent the boats to ports in Gujarat,” he said.

The total cost for repair work for the 22 boats is estimated at Rs 44 lakh. Chaudhary said they will submit a report to Gujarat government.

He further mentioned the Pakistani Marine Security Agency (PMSA), which has custody of the boats, extended full cooperation in the process.

The 22 are among the 861 boats seized by Pakistan in the last 13 years. These boats and many fishermen are apprehended by the PMSA for allegedly violating its territorial waters.

PTI

Welcome home: 87 fishermen freed by Pakistan to return to India on Tuesday

Lahore/New Delhi: The 87 Indians, mostly fishermen who were freed by Pakistan on Sunday, will return home on Tuesday after the issuance of travel documents by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Earlier, an official of the Pakistan Rangers had told reporters that it has handed over the 87 Indian nationals who were released from a Karachi jail after over two years detention.

Representational image AFPRepresentational image AFP

Representational image AFP

However, Indian officials in New Delhi said the intimation about their release was given at a very short notice and though it was a case of “verified nationality” they need to be given documents to cross over to India.

Meanwhile, the Rangers also maintained that since the official who was to “debrief and record their (Indians) statements” was not present at the Wagah Border, the handing over will happen on Tuesday.

Pakistan’s leading charity Edhi Foundation spokesman Younis Bhatti told PTI that it has been asked to provide food to the Indian nationals.

“We are told that the Indian nationals could not cross the border because the official concerned was not present at Wagah to debrief and record their statements,” he said.

The Indian nationals were freed from the Landhi Jail in Karachi on Sunday. They arrived in Lahore by a train on Monday morning.

“After releasing 87 Indians, we now have a total of 457 more (Indians) in the prison, and most of them are fishermen arrested for territorial violation,” Jail’s deputy superintendent Shakir Shah said.

PTI

Branding Kher as ‘someone who represents fascism’, Pakistan daily calls for political action to fix relations

Islamabad: Political breakthrough is required to normalise ties between Pakistan and India, said a Pakistani daily on Friday.

An editorial ‘Visa woes‘ in the News International said that the evergreen issue of the Pakistan-India visa regime hit the headlines again after Indian actor Anupam Kher alleged that he was denied a visa to attend the Karachi Literature Festival.

“Kher recently targeted and led rallies against those like actor Aamir Khan who spoke out against the rise of intolerance in India. Why someone who represents fascism would be invited to a festival meant to promote tolerance is mystifying in the first place,” said the daily.

Representational image. IBNLive

Representational image. IBNLive

The daily noted that “what is undeniable is that the two countries have made it unreasonably difficult to facilitate cross-border visits”.

Last month 75 pilgrims were denied a visa and “our blind cricket team also faced innumerable problems in obtaining their visas for the Asia Cup“.

“Pakistan is still being kept out of the IPL and India seems in no mood to resume bilateral sporting ties,” it said.

The editorial went on to say that the continued visa problems highlight the failure of Track-II diplomacy.

“At a time when political ties are all but suspended, the occasional overture from (Prime Minister Nawaz) Sharif and (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi notwithstanding, the purpose of Track-II diplomacy was to foster an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation through person-to-person contact.

“Instead, all such exchanges mainly take place in third countries like Thailand.”

The daily said that diplomacy, no matter which track it is traversing, still requires governments that will allow people access to each other.

“Seventeen of the 18 Indians invited to the Karachi Literature Festival have received their visas and we will get to hear Indian voices. That, however, does not mean that ties are anywhere near being normalised.

“For that to happen, we will need more than artists and sportspersons meeting each other. Political breakthroughs will be required and the power to achieve that lies in the hands of the political actors in both countries.”

IANS

Hurt, upset over visa denial by Pakistan High Commission, says Anupam Kher

Actor Anupam Kher on Tuesday said that he was ‘hurt’ and ‘upset’ on account of the denial of a visa to him by the Pakistan High Commission. The statement, during a media conference on Tuesday evening, came amid drama through the day, even as the High Commission claimed that he had not applied for a visa in the first place.

Kher, however, said that the Karachi Literature Fest’s organisers sent documents of 18 persons to the High Commission, and that everyone got a visa but him.

On being asked about the possible reasons for being denied a visa, the actor said, “The reason could be either that I am a Kashmiri Pandit, or because I have spoken out on the intolerance debate.” He also said that those who spoke about intolerance in India should speak up now.

Anupam Kher during the media conference. Image courtesy:  CNN-IBN screengrabAnupam Kher during the media conference. Image courtesy:  CNN-IBN screengrab

Anupam Kher during the media conference. Image courtesy: CNN-IBN screengrab

Kher, however, said that he was open to artists from Pakistan coming to work in India. “I believe that art has no boundaries and have worked with several people from Pakistan.”

To a question on what he would have done if another person from the group had been denied a visa by Pakistan, Kher said, “I would not have gone.”

However, he said that he would visit Pakistan in future if he were to be invited.

Responding to a war of words between him and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Kher said, “Tharoor sent me a message saying that we should now call it a truce.”

Earlier in the day, Kher had said, “Didn’t Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately? Pakistan High Commission should know their own rules. #KarachiLitFest had given my name to authorities 1 month back and have my name in every poster.”

Manzoor Ali Memon, a diplomat from the Pakistan High Commission, said, “He (Anupam Kher) has not submitted (any) visa application. Please check out from him if he has any receipt.”

This, Anupam, said on a TV channel, is a “laughable explanation”.

In May last year, the actor was denied a visa to Pakistan. He was due to visit Lahore for an event hosted by an NGO, but according to reports, back then it was denied on security grounds.

With inputs from IANS

Has my visa been denied because I may expose Pak terror nexus? asks Anupam Kher

Veteran actor Anupam Kher who has been denied visa by Pakistani government on Tuesday questioned if Pakistan was afraid of him exposing the country’s terror nexus.Kher has been invited by the organisers of the Karachi literary festival starting February 5, as one of their guests.Taking to micro-blogging site, in a series of tweets Kher questioned, “Has my visa been denied because I speak about India’s rich tradition of tolerance or I am a Kashmiri Pandit who may expose Pak terror nexus?”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further asked, “Indian government welcomes Pakistan-based writers, artists, actors etc. Pakistan Govt. bans entry of Indian actors. Why fear a free dialogue?””Didn’t Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately?,” he said in another tweet.Slamming Pakistan High Commission, who had said that they had not received his visa application, Kher said, “They should know their own rules, saying, “Karachi literature festival had given my name to authorities one month back & have my name in every poster.”Earlier, Kher said he was very saddened by the development as he was looking forward to participate in the festival and use the platform to dispel misunderstandings in the minds of people there.Kher was one of the 18 Indians invited to the four-day festival by the organisers but he is the only one whose visa has not been cleared. The other 17 Indian participants have been given visas.

Arrested Al-Qaeda terrorist to be police remand till February 1

Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Arvind Deep on Monday said that Abdul Sami- the arrested Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) terrorist, has been sent to police remand till February 1.”Abdul Sami has been arrested from Nuh and he was produced in the court. He has been given police remand till February 1. He was in constant touch with Abdur Rehman from 2001,” Deep said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He had gone to Dubai in January 2014 for training, then he went to Karachi. After Karachi, he went to Mansehra where he was trained in intensive arms. He returned on January 2015. His further task was for Abdur Rehman, but before that only, they were arrested and their module was destroyed,” he added.Abdul Sami, who hails from Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur city, was arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Monday. Earlier this year, a suspected member of Al-Qaida was arrested by Delhi Police in Bengaluru. The Special Cell had in December last year arrested three AQIS operatives Zafar Masood and Abdul Rehman and Mohammad Asif, who is suspected to be the training and recruitment chief of AQIS.

How artist Shilo Shiv Suleman’s Fearless Collective broke barriers in Pakistan

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