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Feldman assumes charge as US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan -
WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (APP): US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Dan Feldman- currently visiting Kabul- Friday assumed charge of office, after his predecessor Ambassador James Dobbins concluded his tenure on July 31, the State Department said.


UN-backed task force set up to reduce risks of flying over conflict zones -
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 1 (APP): In the wake of the recent downing of a Malaysia airlines plane over eastern Ukraine, the United Nations and its partners have set up a task force to reduce the risks of civilian planes flying over conflict areas and ensure that the "right information reaches the right people at the right time."


Israel and Hamas agree to 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire -
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 1 (APP): Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour pause in their three-week conflict, the United Nations and the United States announced, allowing for both sides to begin talks on a longer-term ceasefire.


Pakistan stresses strengthening peacekeeping and global and regional partnerships -
UNITED NATIONS, July 31 (APP): Pakistan has called for strengthening partnerships between global and regional organizations in the field of peacekeeping to enable the international community to respond more quickly and effectively to violent conflict and promote solutions.


Washington conference explores Pakistan's options to meet exponential energy needs -
WASHINGTON, July 31 (APP): Pakistan's energy crisis could best be addressed through a holistic approach integrating immediate improvement in current generation and supply systems with judiciously planned exploitation of diverse sources, top experts emphasized at a one-day conference.


Sport News
Pakistan Test squad leaves for Colombo on Saturday
KARACHI, Aug 1 (APP): Led by veteran batsman Misbah-ul-Haq, a 15-member Pakistan Test squad is due to leave for Colombo on Saturday to play a two-Test match series against Sri Lanka starting in Galle on August 6.
 
Misbah 7th in Test batsmen rankings
ISLAMABAD, Aug 1 (APP): Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is ranked 7th with 824 rating points in the latest Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, released on Friday.
 
National ranking tennis tourney from Aug 2
ISLAMABAD, July 31 (APP): Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) will hold Warid National Ranking Tennis Tournament from August 2-7 here at PTF Complex.
 
FIH announce teams for Youth Olympic Games
ISLAMABAD, Jul 31 (APP): The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced the 20 teams that will be competing in the Hockey competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing next month.
 
Warid national ranking tourney from Aug 2
ISLAMABAD, July 30 (APP): Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) will hold Warid National Ranking Tennis Tournament from August 2-7 here at PTF Complex.
 
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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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