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JIT rejects Safdar's plea to change hearing date2017/06/22
ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), that is probing the Panama Papers case against the Sharif family, Wednesday rejected Captain (Retd) Safdar's application of changing the date of his hearing.
According to sources, Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law had submitted an application before the JIT to change the hearing date as he planned to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah this week ...

Reforms in energy sector important, says FinMin Dar2017/06/22
ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Wednesday underscored the importance of reforms in the energy sector which will directly impact the overall economic growth of Pakistan. 
He expressed these views after witnessing the signing of 100 million Euros Credit Facility Agreement between Pakistan and France for the Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Program.
Tariq Mahmood Pasha, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Rene Consolo, Charge d'Affaire a.i., Embassy of France, and Jacky Amprou, Country Director of the French Agency for Development (AFD), signed the agreement.
The Finance Minister congratulated EAD and AFD on the signing of the agreement. He expressed appreciation for AFD's continuous support for development projects in Pakistan, including in the energy sector. 
He added that, "With signing of this agreement, economic cooperation between Pakistan and France would be further strengthened."
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also approved $300 million in co-financing of the program.
The main objective of the program is to revamp the energy sector to make it more affordable, reliable and sustainable, supporting the country's economic growth, and alleviating the energy crisis through expeditious implementation of the National Power Policy, 2013.
This reform program will help in improving the financial viability of the power sector by better managing tariff and subsidies, improving sector performance and opening up the market to private participation. The program will also facilitate in improving the transparency as well as accountability of power sector institutions. 
The Asian Development Bank has also approved $300 million in co-financing of the program.
The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar congratulated EAD and AFD on the signing of the agreement. He underscored the importance of reforms in the energy sector which will directly impact the overall economic growth of Pakistan. 
He expressed appreciation for AFD's continuous support for development projects in Pakistan, including in the energy sector. He added that with signing of this agreement, economic cooperation between Pakistan and France would be further strengthened.
The main objective of the program is to revamp the energy sector to make it more affordable, reliable and sustainable, supporting the country's economic growth, and alleviating the energy crisis through expeditious implementation of the National Power Policy, 2013.
This reform program will help in improving the financial viability of the power sector by better managing tariff and subsidies, improving sector performance and opening up the market to private participation. The program will also facilitate in improving the transparency as well as accountability of power sector institutions. - NNI
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Objectives of NAP, RuF to be achieved soon: Mamnoon2017/06/22
ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday said that the concept of 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) has laid the foundation for far-reaching changes in the world after which new Strategic doctrine will be inevitable in the region. 
Addressing the 16th Convocation ceremony of National Security and War Course-2017 at National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad, he expressed optimism that National Defence University (NDU) will play an important role as defence think tank in this regard.
The President said, "Twenty-first century has a unique status because of the astonishing inventions and strategic changes. The concept of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and 'One Belt One Road' has laid the foundations for far-reaching changes in the world which also have significant relevance to the matters of defence."
He added that, "With the progress on these projects there will also be changes in the region's strategic realities. Thus a new Strategic Doctrine will be inevitable." He hoped that National Defence University will meet this future challenge in an effective manner.
The President noted that, "Emergence of new trends of extremism and terrorism during 
the last three decades has further increased the challenges and Pakistan has to remain in a constant state of war to tackle them." 
He appreciated that, "In such difficult circumstances Pakistani nation and its state institutions have succeeded in this trial. Under the National Action Plan (NAP), the Government of Pakistan and its institutions have bravely fought the war against extremism and terrorism and successfully repulsed the enemy." 
He expressed confidence that, "The desired objectives of the operations Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasaad will be achieved very soon and peace and security will prevail in the motherland."
President Mamnoon Hussain emphasized that, "Pakistan came into existence with the resolve that it will become a source of promoting global and regional peace and stability through its positive and constructive role and at the internal level Pakistan was envisaged to be an excellent example of a welfare state to the world by ensuring provision of all necessities of life to its citizens with dignity and respect." 
"But unfortunately, immediately after the creation of Pakistan such incidents began to occur in this region especially in our country which made it difficult to achieve our objectives. These issues also included wars which led to the generation of political, social and economic problems which we are still grappling with," stated the President.
The President further said, "In the present era not only the economy and society but also all other fields of life including justice have achieved equal significance like military affairs. In this backdrop, the importance of National Security and War Course has increased more than before." 
Welcoming the senior officers from friendly countries participating in the course, the President said, "Their presence has enhanced the significance of the course because in this age cooperation among nations is the only basis of mutual co-existence." 
The President appreciated that, "NDU has played a valuable role in the study of defence matters, training of the officials of different tiers in state institutions and honing their skills." He hoped that, "With the passage of time the performance of this national institute will further improve which will be useful in the defence issues not only for our country but also for the friendly countries." 
Senior officers from armed forces and state institutions as well as 42 senior officers from 23 friendly countries also attended the course. President NDU Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar also addressed the ceremony which was attended by National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (Retd) Nasir Janjua. - NNI
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Diplomatic efforts on for Pak-India dialogue to resolve Kashmir dispute2017/06/22
NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that diplomatic efforts are being made to reinitiate a dialogue between Pakistan and India for resolving the decades-old Kashmir dispute. 
Responding to a question, Antonio Guterres said that he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thrice and two times Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring them to the negotiating table ...

India, Pakistan may jointly address S Asia challenges2017/06/22
NEW DELHI: Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit has said it is important that India and Pakistan should work together to address South Asia's challenges.
In an interview to Indian newspaper The Hindu, he said, "Most of our diplomatic processes are consumed by perennial gridlocks. This is an important relationship. We need to spend more time and energy resolving the key issues." Responding to a question he said, "Pakistan has been engaging with the Hurriyat, and we never thought it should be a problem, and still don't. We have been meeting the Hurriyat leadership and there has been no problem. Our meetings should be seen in a constructive way, as it helps us find a just and fair solution to the long-standing dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan's position is that the Hurriyat represents the political aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and that's why these talks are necessary."
Talking about Pakistan's triumph over India in the ICC Champions Trophy final at the Oval in London, Basit said, "We should play cricket and other sports too. If we put off all sporting ties until we solve our problems, that wouldn't be wise. These events do help create a better environment and we need that."
He stated that, "Sports and politics should be kept separate and Pakistan has been proposing and suggesting cricketing ties and others throughout. So our position is very clear."
He said, "Pakistan is very hopeful because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took a very bold decision to travel to India in May 2014, but after that the process got stuck. Notwithstanding all the problems, the two countries were able to agree on a framework to restart talks in December 2015 and on the comprehensive bilateral dialogue, which was our biggest achievement in the last three years. Now, whenever the two sides agree to talk to each other, at least we wouldn't be spending too much time finalising the modalities for talks." 
"In diplomacy, you cannot simply lock the door and throw the key away. You have to keep the door open for possibilities. I am hopeful that Pakistan and India will talk to each other, but whether it happens now or two years down the road, I do not know," he added.
Abdul Basit told that, "Pakistan strongly feels that talks and preconditions do not go together. India has a different position. Now terrorism is also a big issue for us, and in Pakistan, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav's conviction has proven our concerns." 
He said, "We aren't shying away from issues like terrorism. But even when you look at the Mumbai or Pathankot attacks, if you want to conduct a proper trial, the two countries would need to cooperate with each other. And this cooperation cannot take place in a void or a vacuum. Without talking, how can you realistically expect these issues to come to a close? I feel that now that we have a framework under which to resume talks, it is just a matter of time." 
The Envoy said, "The issues remain the same. No matter how much you fiddle with this framework, you will end up coming to the same issues. Obviously we don't expect overnight results, but our engagement must not be interrupted. Only then can we move beyond this environment of accusations."
"As I said, talks and preconditions can't go together. We have no qualms about solving our problems bilaterally, and we have been trying to do that," he said.
When asked that Pakistan seems to be constantly looking for a third party," Basit said, "We have not seen much progress in the 40-plus years since the Shimla agreement (1972) on bilateral talks, on the core dispute. If there is no movement on the bilateral front, you cannot expect Pakistan not to even discuss that with the rest of the world. Jammu and Kashmir is central to Pakistan-India relations and we feel that is the root cause of all our problems."
"The UN Security Council did in its resolution 1172 of June 1998 state that Pakistan and India should resolve their bilateral disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir. So the international community is aware of the problem. In a recent interview, the Saudi Ambassador also showed an interest in facilitating dialogue between India and Pakistan," he said.-NNI
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