WASHINGTON: Former Fox News anchor and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Saturday that she has withdrawn from consideration to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.
“The past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw,” Nauert said in a statement. The abrupt statement, issued in the evening of a holiday weekend, came after weeks of often mocking criticism of the nomination of Nauert, who had no foreign policy experience until two years ago when she was named State Department spokeswoman.
Opponents questioned whether Nauert, despite her poise at the podium, had the gravitas and skill to go head-to-head on complex international issues with seasoned diplomats from adversaries such as Russia. President Donald Trump, an avid viewer of conservative-leaning Fox News where Nauert was once an anchor on the morning show “Fox and Friends,” told reporters in December that he wanted her to be UN ambassador.
Her nomination, however, was never formally submitted to the Senate and she has vanished for over two months as she prepared for a confirmation hearing – and, eventually, the top diplomatic job. With Trump’s Republican Party in control of the Senate, her nomination had not seemed to be in serious risk, barring any disclosure that had not been made public.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said that Trump would put forward a new name “soon.” The UN post has been vacant since the start of the year after Nikki Haley, a former governor seen as a rising star in Republican politics, decided to leave after two years in the position. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Nauert in a statement, saying that he had “great respect” for her “personal” decision to withdraw.
Musharraf to record his statement in treason case
ISLAMABAD: The Special Court constituted to try former President Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case has decided to prepare a questionnaire to record his statement.
The three-member Special Court bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar accepted the credentials of Salman Safdar as Musharraf’s counsel.
The court directed that a questionnaire should be prepared for Musharraf. Defense counsel Salman Safdar opposed recording the former president’s statement through video link or a commission. He said Pervez Musharraf was ill and his statement could not be recorded through video link as his presence was mandatory. The statements of eight witnesses were recorded in his absence, he added.
The court, however, rejected his argument, observing the statements of witnesses were recorded in his presence. The prosecution’s counsel, however, said the former president did not want to record his statement. The course of law could not be hindered and the court should proceed with the trial, he added. The court adjourned the hearing till 28th March.
Sino-Pak FMs hold strategic dialogue
BEIJING: China and Pakistan Tuesday held strategic dialogue and undertook in-depth discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations, including CPEC trade, investment, and economic cooperation, people-to-people contacts and regional and international issues.
The dialogue was co-chaired by State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi for China and Minister of Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi for Pakistan.
The two foreign ministers reaffirmed their time-tested and all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and agreed to maintain regular two-way high-level political and official exchanges.
They expressed commitment to translate the vision of the leadership to build a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era.
The two sides reaffirmed support to each other on all core issues of their national interest. They underlined that state sovereignty and territorial integrity were cardinal principles of UN Charter and international law.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for de-escalation of tensions in South Asia and underlined the need for dialogue and peaceful means to resolve all outstanding disputes.
The two sides also agreed to further intensify cooperation with regular meetings of all bilateral mechanisms to take forward practical cooperation in respective fields.
They agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts, cultural cooperation, and tourism. It was noted that China and Pakistan were celebrating 2019 as the year of sister-cities exchanges.
The two foreign ministers reaffirmed the commitment to CPEC and agreed to continue the smooth implementation of CPEC projects, especially it’s Special Economic Zones.
While rejecting the negative propaganda against CPEC, they expressed a strong resolve to safeguard CPEC from all kinds of threats. The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation against terrorism by strengthening communication and coordination in relevant fields.
The Chinese side highly appreciated Pakistan’s commitment and efforts to counter terrorism. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan expressed appreciation for Chinese support for Pakistan’s efforts.
The two foreign ministers discussed the situation in Afghanistan and expressed support for the ongoing efforts for peace and reconciliation. Both sides reiterated support for Afghan-owned Afghan-led inclusive peace process and called on all stakeholders in Afghanistan to become part of an intra-Afghan dialogue.
They also urged all sides to show flexibility to find a durable solution to the Afghan conflict. The two sides agreed to continue their mutual collaboration at the regional multilateral and international forums. They expressed their support for consensus-based reform of the United Nations so that it responds to the interests and concerns of all member states.
Deciding bills for minorities seats!
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice Tuesday sought verified figures of the census from Statistics Division in order to move further on two bills seeking an increase in minorities seats in the lower house.
The committee discussed the constitutional amendment bills moved by Naveed Aamir Jeeva and Ramesh Kumar Vankwani for the increase in seats of minorities.
Committee Chairman Riaz Fatyana directed that Election Commission of Pakistan and National Database and Registration Authority give their input in the next meeting on the issue of correct population figures.
The committee members decided that political parties would be taken on board and their opinion would be sought on reserved seats.
Some members suggested that seats of minorities should be enhanced according to the increase made in the general seats.
MNA Aaliya Kamran was of the view that reserved seats should be abolished and all members should come in the Assembly through direct election.
MNA Saad Rafiq said it should also be ensured that elections in the future would be held without interference.
The chair endorsed his standpoint and added that elections should be held in a free, fair and transparent manner.
Riaz Fatyana observed that according to a report, democracy was prevalent in 85 percent countries of the world while Pakistan was considered among those 10 percent of countries which were semi-democratic besides the five percent which were ruled by monarchs.
At one point, the chair ruled that as per rules of procedure of the National Assembly and article 19A of the Constitution, the committee could ask for any document from the ministries and departments.
Riaz said the committee would work on amendments to turn National Assembly into a representative body instead of the mere legislature by allocating seats for deprived sections of society and trade and professional bodies.
The chairman clubbed the two bills of the minority members and said further discussion would be undertaken to reach a decision on the bills.
MNA Agha Hassan Baloch suggested that factors of area and backwardness should also be taken into consideration while deciding about representation in the Assembly, adding Balochistan was a large province and one of its Chaghi Kharan constituency was 750 kilometers long which made it difficult to reach out to constituents.
The members belonging to the minorities expressed concern over the delay in passage of bills and said the matter should be settled without further wasting of time.