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Posts tagged as Islamic

Int’l congress on Islamic history, culture, heritage of Kashmir to be held on April 4-5

Staff Reporter. Islamabad. The Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), a subsidiary organ of the Organization of the Islamic.
Subsequently, IRCICA proposed to hold an International Congress in Pakistan on this topic in collaboration with NH LH Division and Government of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK).In its Program of work for 2019, IRCICA has scheduled an International Congress on “Islamic History, Culture and Heritage of Kashmir” in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan and Government of AJK in mid-2019. The Congress will be held on 4th – 5th April 2019 at Serena Hotel, Islamabad.

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Afghan Taliban, US suspend talks for two days

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban and American officials on Thursday suspended the peace talks for two days and agreed to resume negotiations from Saturday after they failed to evolve consensus on two major issues – US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid and US Special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation confirmed suspension of talks for two days.
Taliban sources in Qatar, however, said the talks were suspended for two days after the US negotiation team allegedly deviated from the two main topics and started discussing other irrelevant issues and pressed to declare on ceasefire. They said there was a deadlock in talks and this was the reason the process was suspended for two days.
This issue is not that much simple to be resolved within two or three rounds of talks. We were told to discuss two major issues US withdrawal from Afghanistan and our commitment not to let our soil to be used against any country and particularly the US and its allies after we reached an agreement, said a senior member of the Afghan Taliban.However, he stated that the US delegation members deliberately’ deviated from the main agenda and started asking questions about the future government in Afghanistan, women rights and Taliban relations with the international community. Some of the Taliban representatives had adopted a very simple approach towards peace talks and wanted to find a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict but unfortunately that does not seem to be easy, the Taliban leader argued.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said: Amid the ongoing talks between the negotiation teams of Islamic Emirate and United States in the Qatari capital of Doha, extensive discussions were held about the method of foreign troops’ withdrawal from Tuesday till Wednesday noon and from that time onwards, discussion revolved around preventing Afghanistan from being used against others.He said the meeting ended on Wednesday night, as both negotiation teams agreed to take a break today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) for consultations and preparation for the third meeting which shall be held on Saturday.
According to Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban’s head of the Political Commission, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar held a meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad, the top NATO commander General Scott Miller and senior Qatar government officials including deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Rahman al-Thani and National Security Advisor Mohammad al-Masnad.Taliban sources said Mulla Baradar informed them about Taliban’s priorities and explained to them that they would continue to demand the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan.Taliban said they had already explained their position about militant groups in Afghanistan such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying no foreign militant group would be allowed to operate independently or use their soil against any other country.Zabihullah Mujahid said Mulla Baradar emphasized Taliban commitment to the current peace process and their struggle for peace and establishment of an Islamic system of government in Afghanistan.
Taliban sources said they had already maintained that al-Qaeda members who pleaded allegiance to their supreme leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada would not be asked to leave Afghanistan.They would need to live in Afghanistan and obey the Afghan constitution but would never run any militant group or use the Afghan soil against any other country.As for the ISIS or Daesh, we have nothing to do with it and would not allow it to create any law and order situation in the country if we came into power, said the Taliban leader.He said their talks with US had been practically suspended due to the deadlock and now the two sides would discuss the future line of action with their respective leadership.
Americans and particularly Zalmay Khalilzad during the talks demanded the Taliban to declare a ceasefire before the launch of Taliban’s proposed spring offensive, fearing that it would escalate fighting and attacks against foreign and Afghan forces. They repeatedly asked for ceasefire and our representatives constantly said No’ to them, said a Taliban leader privy to the peace talks in Doha.He said Taliban Rahbari Shura, the top decision-making Leadership Council, is expected to be approached and informed about the present deadlock in peace talks.We had agreed with Americans that irrelevant issues would be discussed later once we develop consensus on US withdrawal and our commitment to keep Afghanistan a peaceful country not posing threat to any country.But they started debating other issues that created a deadlock in talks, said the Taliban leader.Taliban and US representatives resumed the peace negotiations in Doha on February 25.
They were supposed to discuss the draft framework for US forces’ withdrawal and Taliban pledge to prevent Afghan soil from being used against other countries.The path to peace doesn’t often run in a straight line.
The situation in Afghanistan is complex and like all sensitive talks, not everything is conducted in public. We made significant progress on two vital issues: counter terrorism and troop withdrawal.That doesn’t mean we’re done. We’re not even finished with these issues yet, and there is still work to be done on other vital issues like intra-Afghan dialogue and a complete ceasefire, he explained.He added that skeptics have rushed to judgment based on just the first part of a much larger effort as though they have a completed agreement.But you can’t eat an elephant in one bite! And a forty year old war won’t be resolved in one meeting, even if that meeting runs for close to a week, said Khalilzad, a seasoned diplomat.He said it was a moment for the Afghans to begin to heal old wounds and chart a new course for their country.PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban and American officials on Thursday suspended the peace talks for two days and agreed to resume negotiations from Saturday after they failed to evolve consensus on two major issues – US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban’s pledge of preventing their soil from being used by the militant groups in future against the United States and its allies.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid and US Special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation confirmed suspension of talks for two days. Taliban sources in Qatar, however, said the talks were suspended for two days after the US negotiation team allegedly deviated from the two main topics and started discussing other “irrelevant” issues and pressed to declare on ceasefire.They said there was a deadlock in talks and this was the reason the process was suspended for two days.“This issue is not that much simple to be resolved within two or three rounds of talks.We were told to discuss two major issues – US withdrawal from Afghanistan and our commitment not to let our soil to be used against any country and particularly the US and its allies after we reached an agreement,” said a senior member of the Afghan Taliban.However, he stated that the US delegation members ‘deliberately’ deviated from the main agenda and started asking questions about the future government in Afghanistan, women rights and Taliban relations with the international community.
“Some of the Taliban representatives had adopted a very simple approach towards peace talks and wanted to find a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict but unfortunately that does not seem to be easy,” the Taliban leader argued.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said: “Amid the ongoing talks between the negotiation teams of Islamic Emirate and United States in the Qatari capital of Doha, extensive discussions were held about the method of foreign troops’ withdrawal from Tuesday till Wednesday noon and from that time onwards, discussion revolved around preventing Afghanistan from being used against others.”He said the meeting ended on Wednesday night, “as both negotiation teams agreed to take a break today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) for consultations and preparation for the third meeting which shall be held on Saturday.”According to Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban’s head of the Political Commission, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar held a meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad, the top NATO commander General Scott Miller and senior Qatar government officials including deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Rahman al-Thani and National Security Advisor Mohammad al-Masnad.
Taliban sources said Mulla Baradar informed them about Taliban’s priorities and explained to them that they would continue to demand the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan.Taliban said they had already explained their position about militant groups in Afghanistan such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying no foreign militant group would be allowed to operate independently or use their soil against any other country.
Zabihullah Mujahid said Mulla Baradar emphasized Taliban commitment to the current peace process and their struggle for peace and establishment of an Islamic system of government in Afghanistan.Taliban sources said they had already maintained that al-Qaeda members who pleaded allegiance to their supreme leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada would not be asked to leave Afghanistan.
“They would need to live in Afghanistan and obey the Afghan constitution but would never run any militant group or use the Afghan soil against any other country. As for the ISIS or Daesh, we have nothing to do with it and would not allow it to create any law and order situation in the country if we came into power,” said the Taliban leader.He said their talks with US had been practically suspended due to the deadlock and now the two sides would discuss the future line of action with their respective leadership.“Americans and particularly Zalmay Khalilzad during the talks demanded the Taliban to declare a ceasefire before the launch of Taliban’s proposed spring offensive, fearing that it would escalate fighting and attacks against foreign and Afghan forces.
They repeatedly asked for ceasefire and our representatives constantly said ‘No’ to them,” said a Taliban leader privy to the peace talks in Doha.He said Taliban Rahbari Shura, the top decision-making Leadership Council, is expected to be approached and informed about the present deadlock in peace talks.
“We had agreed with Americans that irrelevant issues would be discussed later once we develop consensus on US withdrawal and our commitment to keep Afghanistan a peaceful country not posing threat to any country. But they started debating other issues that created a deadlock in talks,” said the Taliban leader.
Taliban and US representatives resumed the peace negotiations in Doha on February 25. They were supposed to discuss the draft framework for US forces’ withdrawal and Taliban pledge to prevent Afghan soil from being used against other countries.
“The path to peace doesn’t often run in a straight line. The situation in Afghanistan is complex and like all sensitive talks, not everything is conducted in public.
We made significant progress on two vital issues: counter terrorism and troop withdrawal. That doesn’t mean we’re done.
We’re not even finished with these issues yet, and there is still work to be done on other vital issues like intra-Afghan dialogue and a complete ceasefire,” he explained.He added that skeptics have rushed to judgment based on just the first part of a much larger effort as though they have a completed agreement.
“But you can’t eat an elephant in one bite! And a forty year old war won’t be resolved in one meeting, even if that meeting runs for close to a week,” said Khalilzad, a seasoned diplomat.He said it was a moment for the Afghans to begin to heal old wounds and chart a new course for their country.

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Newspaper banned for publishing article about Khamenei-Assad meeting in Iran

TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday banned reformist newspaper Ghanoon for publishing an article about a meeting between Iran’s supreme leader and visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Ghanoon daily has received notification and its publication has been halted due to its (front page) headline on Tuesday, ISNA said.The order stating that Ghanoon would be temporarily banned was delivered to the papers management by Tehrans culture and media court, it added, without saying how long the ban would remain in place.Assad met Irans supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani on Monday during a surprise visit to the Islamic republic, his first since the start of the Syrian conflict.
The news agency did not elaborate on the article about their meeting, but the online version of the story was headlined Uninvited Guest.GhanoonThe reformist publication has been banned twice before in recent years.
One occasion was over a caricature deemed offensive to governmental organisations, and the other was due to a report on an Iranian prison headlined 24 Damned Hours, according to Tasnim news agency.Iran has been a key ally supporting Assad as he has battled to maintain his grip over Syria during nearly eight years of conflict in which more than 360,000 people have been killed.Assads visit to Tehran also coincided with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifs shock resignation announcement via an Instagram post.According to ISNA, Zarif was not present at any of the meetings.

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It is divisive politics all the way

Arun Joshi in Jammu. The contesting narratives about the idea of India and Pakistan define the politics in Jammu and Kashmir. That, when translated in the current political lexicon, means the expansion of Hindutva forces versus the Islamic fundamentalism.

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Pakistan to take another $1.4 bln loan to curb power sector arrears: report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to borrow another 200 billion rupees ($1.44 billion) to help clear power sector debt destabilising the finances of the government and private power producers, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting a senior official tasked with  44 billion) to help clear power sector debt destabilising the finances of the government and private power producers, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting a senior official tasked with energy reforms.
Pakistan’s economy and society have been racked by a decade of chronic electricity shortages which have crippled its manufacturing industries and stoked voter anger in the South Asian nation of 208 million people.Electricity shortages have eased in the last 12 months but years of mismanagement and funding shortfalls for subsidies have led to accumulated power sector payment arrears, or circular debt, soaring to 1.4 trillion rupees ($10.1 billion).
Independent power producers (IPPs), angry with late government payments, have warned they face a financial crisis, while economists fear rising circular debt will further widen Pakistan’s yawning fiscal deficit, a key part of ongoing bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund.Pakistan earlier this month raised 200 billion rupees through an Islamic bond to ease a financial crunch in its power sector, but critics say much more needs to be done.
Nadeem Babar, head of the Task Force on Energy Reforms created by new Prime Minister Imran Khan, told Reuters the government plans to ease financial pressures on power generation companies by taking another 200 billion rupee loan by April.That total of 400 billion will not bring the outstanding amount down to zero, but it will pay it down substantially to a point where no generator will be at risk of shutting down or having liquidity issues, Babar told Reuters on Thursday.
The loans are a key part of the government’s strategy to rethink how it deals with power arrears and will give the government breathing room to enact wide-ranging reforms, Babar added.He said Khan’s government is looking to save money by moving power sector arrears from the balance sheet of the independent power producers (IPPs) on to the balance sheet of government-owned distribution companies.
Under Pakistan’s power purchasing system, IPPs bill the government monthly for the power they produce, but when the government fails to pay up, power generators take commercial bank loans to stay afloat and the government is hit with financial penalties for late payments.In the past, to keep debt off the government’s power companies’ balance sheet, the government has allowed a run up of the same debt on IPP balance sheets – but at what cost?, said Babar, who is currently writing Pakistan’s 25-year future energy policy.
The finance minister has understood and agreed that it is nonsensical that we are paying about 3 percent higher interest rate to keep this debt off our balance sheet when we acknowledge that it is our debt, said Babar.Pakistan hiked electricity prices in January and the new tariff, set to gradually increase over the next two and half years, will drastically slow the accumulation of circular debt and will eventually help eradicate it, Babar said.
Transmission losses and theft are also being aggressively targeted by the government, he added.ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to borrow another 200 billion rupees ($1.44 billion) to help clear power sector debt destabilising the finances of the government and private power producers, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting a senior official tasked with energy reforms.Pakistan’s economy and society have been racked by a decade of chronic electricity shortages which have crippled its manufacturing industries and stoked voter anger in the South Asian nation of 208 million people.
Electricity shortages have eased in the last 12 months but years of mismanagement and funding shortfalls for subsidies have led to accumulated power sector payment arrears, or “circular debt”, soaring to 1.4 trillion rupees ($10.1 billion).Independent power producers (IPPs), angry with late government payments, have warned they face a financial crisis, while economists fear rising circular debt will further widen Pakistan’s yawning fiscal deficit, a key part of ongoing bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund.
Pakistan earlier this month raised 200 billion rupees through an Islamic bond to ease a financial crunch in its power sector, but critics say much more needs to be done.Nadeem Babar, head of the Task Force on Energy Reforms created by new Prime Minister Imran Khan, told Reuters the government plans to ease financial pressures on power generation companies by taking another 200 billion rupee loan by April.
“That total of 400 billion will not bring the outstanding amount down to zero, but it will pay it down substantially to a point where no generator will be at risk of shutting down or having liquidity issues,” Babar told Reuters on Thursday.The loans are a key part of the government’s strategy to rethink how it deals with power arrears and will give the government breathing room to enact wide-ranging reforms, Babar added.
He said Khan’s government is looking to save money by moving power sector arrears from the balance sheet of the independent power producers (IPPs) on to the balance sheet of government-owned distribution companies.Under Pakistan’s power purchasing system, IPPs bill the government monthly for the power they produce, but when the government fails to pay up, power generators take commercial bank loans to stay afloat and the government is hit with financial penalties for late payments.“In the past, to keep debt off the government’s power companies’ balance sheet, the government has allowed a run up of the same debt on IPP balance sheets – but at what cost?,” said Babar, who is currently writing Pakistan’s 25-year future energy policy.“The finance minister has understood and agreed that it is nonsensical that we are paying about 3 percent higher interest rate to keep this debt off our balance sheet when we acknowledge that it is our debt,” said Babar.
Pakistan hiked electricity prices in January and the new tariff, set to gradually increase over the next two and half years, will drastically slow the accumulation of circular debt and will eventually help eradicate it, Babar said.Transmission losses and theft are also being aggressively targeted by the government, he added.

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