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Thursday, 17 April 2014

 

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World News
UN Envoy urges fresh talks with besieged Syrians, authorities -
UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (APP): Regretting the abrupt halt in talks between the Syrian authorities and the negotiating committee representing civilians and fighters trapped in the Old City of Homs, U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Thursday urged all the parties to return to the negotiating table and complete the deal that had been on the verge of being signed.



On first visit to Gaza, UN official calls for end to Israeli blockade -
UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (APP):  On his first official visit to the Gaza Strip, the new head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East underscored the need to lift the seven-year Israeli blockade and end the ‘illegal collective punishment’ unleashed on the population there.


US lauds Pakistan’s economic upturn; hopes for Pak-India progress -
WASHINGTON, April 17 (APP): The United States has been encouraged by Pakistan’s economic turnaround over the past year and hopes for Pakistan-India progress after the Indian elections towards trade expansion, a senior American official said.  “We are encouraged by the economic progress that Pakistan has made in the past year, though it still faces many challenges ahead,”


Pak maritime trade to further boost as China accelerates planning to re-connect Maritime Silk Road -
BEIJING, April 17 (APP): The maritime trade of Pakistan will get further boost through inter-connectivity as the Chinese government is stepping up the planning of reviving the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st century, with port construction as the priority, according to local media.The plan is expected to focus on infrastructure construction of countries along the route, including ports of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the China Securities Journal said.China will coordinate customs, quality supervision, e-commerce and other agencies to facilitate the scheme, which is also likely to contain attempts to build free trade zones.


In memory of Naga Parbat tragedy, a women expedition team starts climbing Mount Everest -
BEIJING, Aril 17 (APP): A four members of the first ever private Chinese women expedition to Mount Everest (Qomolangma) left from Kathmandu Tuesday to fulfill their dream of conquering the world’s highest peak from the south, reports state media.Ma Liyamu, the team leader, is a Muslim woman from Xinjiang, which is located in the northwest of China. She started doing outdoor sports in 1996, and if she successfully reaches Everest’s 8,848-metre-high peak, she will be the first woman from her region and community to achieve such a feat, said Xinhua news agency in a dispatch from Kathmandu.


Sport News
Saqlian questions “Doosara” in present era
KARACHI, Apr 17 (APP): Master off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq indirectly questioned the legality of “Doosra” in the current era.  The inventor of the mystery ball, said that, due to his technique, he never felt any difficulty in managing the away going delivery,” he told a private television channel on Thurdsay. He declined to comment on the official rules, in this regard, saying that it was the job of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to look into the matter.
 
11th National Women Softball Championship from Friday
RAWALPINDI, April 17 (APP): A three-day 11th National Women Softball Championship-2014 will be held at Pindi Cricket Stadium from Friday. In a joint announcement here, District Coordination Officer  (DCO) Sajid Zafar Dall and Chairperson Senate Standing Committtee on Sports Kalsoom Perveen, said Six teams from all over the country including defending champions Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Islamabad and Police Department would participate in the championship.
 
National Shooting trials for Asian, CW Games on May 10
KARACHI, Apr 17 (APP): Second phase of trials to select Pakistan sharp shooters for this year’s Asian Games and Commonwealth Games will be held at Naval International Shooting Range here on May 10, National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) announced on Thursday. “Trials will be conducted in all events like Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun,” Executive Vice President NRAP Razi Ahmed Khan told APP here.
 
Army excels in National Taekwondo
KARACHI, Apr 16 (APP): Pakistan Army swept all the 30 gold medals at stake in the National Taekwondo Championship at the Rangers Training Centre & School here, said a news release issued here on Wednesday. Army martial arts players dominated the event from start to finish with superb technique and power.
 
First round of Inter-Media cricket tournament ends
ISLAMABAD, Apr 16 (APP): The Inter-Media Cricket Tournament organized by Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) continues in full swing here. The tournament, organized in collaboration with National Press Club, comprises of teams belonging to national and international print and electronic media. The first round saw thrilling matches between various teams which competed fiercely to reach the second round.
 
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Sherry Rehman rejects impression Pakistan allowing drone attacks after US apology PDF Print E-mail
WASHINGTON, July 10 (APP): Pakistan has not okayed any American drone strikes on its territory in exchange for Washington’s apology over the Salala attacks, Pakistani ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman said.The ambassador told CNN that Pakistan continues to deem unilateral unmanned aerial attacks a violation of humanitarian and international law.Referring to the complexities of the drone programme, she said it tests the relationship at every juncture.“And we honestly feel that there are ‘better’ ways now of eliminating al Qaeda, which has been done with our help. We have been doing that consistently, ridding high and medium value targets consistently. We’re the heavy lifters in this relationship.”Although, the drones may appear as a precise tool to target militants, the damage they do in radicalizing people and challenging the bilateral relationship far outweigh the benefits, she said.

She said the drone strikes were not only radicalizing a large population, but was also seen as predatory.“It’s seen as against the law. And it continues to challenge a relationship that can actually accomplish a lot more on the ground than we are doing today in eliminating terrorism.”The Pakistani envoy, who, according to CNN played an instrumental role in resolving the dispute over Salala attacks, reiterated serious concerns the Pakistani people and Islamabad have over drone strikes on its territory.
Sherry Rehman said Pakistan considered the drone program counterproductive and said “the concerns over drones ‘can’t just be brushed aside.”
She said the last week’s expression of remorse by the United States - over killing of Pakistani soldiers in November 26, 2011 in American cross-border attacks on the Salala posts has certainly opened the way for constructive discussions on bilateral relations, but “no, we have not agreed on anything,” she said, and added that many conversations were yet to happen.
“As I said, the apology has opened the space for an opportunity where we can have constructive conversations on several strategic issue,” Ms Rehman told the American news channel’s Christiana Amanpour in an interview.
The Pakistani ambassador drew attention to the need for acknowledgement of her country’s huge sacrifices and successes in the fight against terror.
“We need to understand that Pakistan is looking for some amount of strategic sympathy in the losses we have incurred over the last 10 years. We didn’t have more than one suicide bombing before 2001.”
“So it’s not that we are saying that all our troubles or  volatility, even within parts of Pakistan, have come as a result of joining force with the United States and NATO. But much of it has.  I think there needs to ‘be less tough talk in public’.”
Ambassador Rehman also pointed out the need to bridge the lingering trust deficit between the two countries. “There’s a trust deficit that you know about ‘between’ the two countries, and we must work to build that, because both people are quite able to work together.”
Regarding Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor employed by the CIA in hunt for Osama bin Laden before the al-Qaeda chief’s death in an American cross-border operation last year, the ambassador said the doctor had no knowledge about the goal that he was working for he knew he was contracting with a foreign intelligence agency, but he had no knowledge that he was seeking to bring Osama bin Laden in.
“So let’s not lionize him.”
The envoy said Dr Afridi was known to contract with terrorist outfits. He was even kidnapped by one, and he was in many transactions on the ground, all over the place. She said no country, including the US would allow its citizens to work with a foreign intelligence agency in secret, whatever the cause.
“His conviction is really for contracting with one of the terrorist groups that is waging or attempting to attack our soldiers. We’ve had several martyred recently.”
The Ambassador forcefully articulated Pakistan’s position against terrorism by saying that “they haunt our own people and our own children, our girl schools, our hospitals, our Sufi shrines.  They have bombed our people almost every day, including our police and security services.”
She said that its not something Americans see, since Pakistan’s sacrifice was not the staple of international television, but over the last ten years, terrorism has transformed the daily reality of its people.
“We are a resilient people but it doesn’t help to tell us to ‘continue’ to do more. It is our fight as much as anyone else’s, because we are committed to eliminating terrorism at its root and source,” Sherry Rehman said.
 

     

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