Sunday, August 30, 2015
Amid rising tensions and firing on the Line of Control, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice is in Islamabad for a day-long visit to discuss “regional security issues”, sources in Islamabad said.
Ms. Rice, who was on a scheduled visit to China on Saturday, had not announced the Pakistan stopover before leaving for Washington, giving rise to speculation that she will discuss the India-Pakistan situation, a week after talks between the NSAs were called off.
Ms. Rice is also expected to discuss the U.S.’ decision to hold military funding over Pakistan’s lack of action against the Haqqani network, the suspended talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the U.S. in September. According to officials in Pakistan, Ms. Rice will meet Mr. Sharif, NSA Sartaj Aziz and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif during what one Pakistani national TV website called an “emergency visit.”
At least 9 civilians, including 3 Indians and 6 Pakistanis, and several people have been injured in the latest escalation of violence on Friday that India blames Pakistan for, while Pakistani Defence Minister Khwaja Asif accused India of conducting a “limited war” on the LoC. The deaths were the single largest toll for a day of LoC tensions since 2013. The U.S. has expressed its disappointment over the cancellation of NSA talks and the increase in the tensions in the past few weeks.
Ms. Rice’s visit also comes a day after U.S. Under Secretary of State Nisha Biswal was in Delhi for talks ahead of the coming Indo-U.S. Commercial and Strategic Dialogue to be held in Washington from September 21 to 23. During her interactions with MEA officials, Ms. Biswal is understood to have discussed the cancellation of talks and the tensions as well.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are expected to lead the C&SD talks ahead of PM Modi’s visit to New York to attend the UNGA special session.
While Mr. Modi and President Obama are expected to meet on the sidelines of a peacekeeping conference on September 28th, officials told The Hindu a structured bilateral meeting is yet to be scheduled.
PPP will not take part in forthcoming by-elections if controversial members of Election Commission of Pakistan do not resign, declared Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab PPP, while talking to media in Islamabad today outside Zardari House.
He added that there was no moral or legal or moral basisof these members of ECP to remain in position and they should better voluntarily tender their resignations and go home with degree of honor and dignity.
While responding to media questions, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said that the PPP, Punjab, had recommended to the top Party leadership of giving up the policy of reconciliation because it had cost dearly to the Party adding it could not afford the same any more.
He said that the PPP would contest the forthcoming local bodies’ elections and was confident to show good results. The PPP will also go for seat adjustment with the opposition parties keeping in view the dynamics of local politics, he added.
He strongly condemned the arrest of PPP leader, Dr. Asim Hussain, which was a sheer political victimization because he was arrested without investigations.
He regretted that the issuance of arrest warrants by the Karachi Court of former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Mr. Amin Fahim, top leader of the Party. All these activities are manifestations of witch hunting that will not accrue well for the country and the democracy, he observed.
He maintained that the PPP was against corruption, but the observance of due process of law was the condition precedent to deal with such cases. Arrests of senior leaders of the PPP without the due process of law are sheer political victimization that would be resisted by the Party, he asserted.