ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said today it would not succumb to any ‘demand’ by the United States in the wake of a negotiated settlement as proposed by the US President Donald Trump for Afghanistan’s peace.
“We will be part of negotiations, but without surrendering to any US demand,” Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal said here at the weekly press briefing.
The response came as the spokesman was reminded of Pakistan earlier releasing Taliban leader Mullah Baradar in October following the previous visit of US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to Islamabad.
“It will be negotiations only, not demands. We will move forward through talks, continuing with our stance of no-military solution to the Afghan problem,” he said.
President Trump in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan had sought Islamabad’s assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated settlement on Afghanistan, followed by the visit of Ambassador Khalilzad.
The spokesman termed the recent move by the US as “heartening”, which “registered and acknowledged Pakistan’s stance for the peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict.
He denied confirming the reports of Taliban leaders currently present in Islamabad for talks.
To a question whether the Taliban sought China or Russia as international guarantor for the settlement, he said he “cannot go into intricate details”.
He categorically rejected the impression that groundbreaking of Kartarpur Corridor would lead to putting the Kashmir issue on back-burner.
“Kashmir is our core issue, and no other development at Pakistan-India front can sideline it,” he said, adding the Kashmir dispute would be addressed in accordance with the United Nations’ resolutions and the aspirations of Kashmiris.
He said the Kartarpur Corridor was a step taken in view of religious sentiments of Sikhs and “should not be regarded as an attempt to claim credit”.
Muhammad Faisal said India’s reciprocity was important in response to Pakistan’s initiatives for peace between the two countries, adding India’s attitude was the “biggest impediment in the way to move forward”.
About a recent reward of US $5 million announced by the United States against the facilitators involved in Mumbai attack, the spokesman said the matter was “subjudice and complex” with regular hearings being conducted in Anti-Terrorism Court.
“The Law of land will take its course and I can assure you that justice would be done,” he said.
He dismissed the notion that the map shown at Chinese national television while airing the news of terror incident at Chinese Consulate, Karachi showed Kashmir as part of India.
“Instead, the China Global Television Network showed Kashmir in white shade depicting disputed territory and Pakistan and India in brown color to make distinction,” he clarified.
Envoys briefed about Pulwama attack
ISLAMABAD: Envoys from African & Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states have been briefed on Pakistan’s position apropos Pulwama attack here today.
Talking to the Envoys, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua commented on New Delhi’s accusation and termed it a knee-jerk’ reaction: “deliberate anti-Pakistan frenzy is being spurred in India”, she said.
Dr. Faisal held: “Baseless Indian allegations and aggressive rhetoric are counterproductive and a threat to regional peace”.
Foreign Office Spokesman took to the twitter to maintain: “Pakistan desires normalization of resolutions with Indian Prime Minister Imran Khan and after his inauguration. Pakistan will take two steps if India takes one for normalization of ties. India canceled the agreed meeting between two FMs on UNGA sidelines on baseless pretexts…India owes an explanation on reports of Adil Ahmed Dar’s arrest and custody since 2019. India needs to introspect and respond to questions about its security and intelligence lapses that led to this attack…”
7 militants dead in clash in N. Afghanistan
MAIMANA: Seven militants were killed and four others injured as clash erupted in Garziwan district of Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province on Saturday, an army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai said.
According to the official, the clash erupted early morning after the militants attacked some security checkpoints, and security forces retaliated forcing the militants to flee after leaving seven bodies behind, and four others injured. There were no casualties on security personnel, the official said.
Asian Bourse: Falling Yen lets Tokyo stocks open higher
TOKYO: Stocks here opened slightly higher today, underpinned by a lower yen and gains in US shares on optimism over US-China trade talks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which closed at a two-month high on Wednesday, added 0.18 percent or 37.77 points to 21,182.25 in early trade. The broader Topix index was up 0.23 percent or 3.67 points at 1,593.00. “Japanese stocks will likely test their rebounding power (from lows around the turn of the year) thanks to continued gains in US shares and the yen’s drop,” Okasan Online Securities said in a note.
The market is “prone to profit-taking out of caution” after the Nikkei rose more than 800 points in the past two days, it added. Wall Street stocks rose for a second straight session Wednesday with investors betting that talks this week in Beijing between the top US and Chinese officials will help avert new US tariff actions scheduled for 1st March.
The greenback was changing hands at 110.93 yen early Thursday, up from 110.61 yen when the Tokyo market closed the previous day. A lower yen is positive for Japanese exporters as it makes their products more competitive outside Japan and also inflates profits when repatriated. Nintendo rose 0.25 percent to 30,070 yen and Honda climbed 1.43 percent to 3,044 yen. But Nissan was down 0.23 percent at 936.1 yen ahead of new Renault boss Jean-Dominique Senard’s meeting with officials from the Japanese automaker.
Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday shook up his legal team as he vowed to vigorously defend himself against financial misconduct charges. Investor reactions were muted to Japan’s growth data, released early Thursday, which fell within market expectations. It showed the world’s third-largest economy expanded 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2018 after taking a hit from a series of natural disasters earlier in the year.