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Pakistan renew its commitment to UN peacekeeping at first-ever defence chiefs conference -
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 28 (APP): Pakistan has renewed its commitment to the “noble cause” of United Nations peacekeeping, the world body’s flagship activity that helps countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace.


At UN, Pakistan urges action to end violence against religious, ethnic minorities in Mideast -
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 28 (APP):  Pakistan Friday called for U.N. Security Council action to end the religiously and ethnically-motivated violence sweeping the Middle East by promoting a global consensus for resolving the challenges confronting Iraq, Syria, Yemen and “most importantly” Palestine.


US says Pakistan making sincere effort for Afghan peace -
WASHINGTON, March 28 (APP): Pakistan is making a “sincere effort” towards Afghan peace and it wants to make the best use of the “new environment” by aiding a negotiated political settlement to the conflict in the neighboring country, U.S. Special
Representative Dan Feldman said.


UN leader calls on defence chiefs for ‘unity and backing’ on UN peacekeeping -
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 27 (APP): At the first-ever United Nations Chiefs of Defence Conference Friday,  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to senior military officials for more troop contributions from States around the world and for political will and purpose.


IMF okays release of $ 501.4 million for Pakistan -
WASHINGTON, March 27 (APP): The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Friday approved immediate release of $ 501.4 million tranche for Pakistan as the Fund’s Executive Board completed the sixth review of Pakistan’s economic performance.


Sport News
Australia skipper Clarke decided to quit ODI cricket after World Cup

From Ehsan Qureshi

MELBOURNE, March 28 (APP): Australian skipper Michael Clarke has decided to retire from One-Day Internationals after Sunday’s Cricket World Cup (CWC) final against New Zealand here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

 
Aussies enjoys edge but Kiwis can topple them with fighting spirit in CWC final on Sunday

From Ehsan Qureshi

MELBURNE, March 28 (APP): Though Australia enjoyed the edge but fighting qualities, innovative brand of the game and flair can help New Zealand to topple the favorites in the final of Cricket World Cup (CWC) here on Sunday.

 
NZ captain McCullum rates his team’s chances as 50-50 in World Cup final

From Ehsan Qureshi

MELBOURNE, March 28 (APP): New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum Saturday rated his team’s chances against Australia in the Cricket World Cup final as 50-50.

 
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 breaking records, capturing hearts: Richardson
MELBOURNE, March 28 (APP): ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has been a record-breaking tournament and has cemented the event’s position as one of the most popular sporting spectacles in the world, according to statistics released here on Saturday.
 
President SFP serves notice on Haider Lehri for holding illegal elections
KARACHI Mar. 26 (APP): President Softball Federation of Pakistan (SFP) Mohammed Saleem Khan has issued show cause notice to federation’s secretary general Haider Lehri for holding unconstitutional elections of the federation at Lahore on March 21 last.
 
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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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