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  1. Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Asif. Photo: Geo News file ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday said that India may test Pakistan?s resolve if that is what it wishes to do. The foreign minister was responding to a recent statement by the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who, according to Indian media outlets, had said the force was ready to call Pakistan's 'nuclear bluff' and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the government. ?Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief,not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve.The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah,? tweeted Asif. Spokesperson of the Foreign Office Dr Mohammad Faisal also termed the Indian army chief's statement as "irresponsible." "The threatening and irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief today is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability," tweeted Dr Faisal. The foreign office spokesperson further said that Pakistan is 'fully capable of defending itself'. "We will call the [nuclear] bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff," General Rawat had said at a press conference on January 12. The Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor Saturday earlier today had responded to the Indian army chief's 'nuclear bluff' assertion saying that such statements are unbecoming from a person of a responsible stature. Speaking to the state television's world service, the Pakistani military spokesman had said: "We believe COAS is a very responsible appointment and four-star is a rank with age-long experience and maturity." Pakistan's credible nuclear deterrence only thing stopping India from war: DG ISPR Such statements are 'unbecoming' from a person of responsible stature, Maj Gen Ghafoor responds to Indian army chief statement of calling Pakistan 'nuclear bluff' When asked what if India undertakes any misadventure against Pakistan, Ghafoor had said: "Well, it's their choice. Should they wish to test our resolve they may try and see it for themselves." The DG ISPR had said that Pakistan has a credible nuclear capability, exclusively meant for threat from the east. "But we believe it?s a weapon of deterrence not a choice."
  2. Pakistan's alliance with the United States seems to be coming towards an end following the latter's decision to suspend security aid, Minister of Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif told the Wall Street Journal in an interview late Saturday night. Asif added that he believes the US-Pakistan relations are now at risk, especially after the tensions heightened and moods turned sour when President Donald Trump warned Islamabad to "do more" against terrorists, to whom, he alleges, the country provides safe havens. ?We do not have any alliance [with the US], this is not how allies behave," the minister emphasised to WSJ. The foreign minister noted that the nation had erred when it became a party in the 2001 US campaign against Afghanistan, calling it a ?huge mistake?. That decision, more than a decade ago, brought about the terrorist counteraction that seeped into Pakistan, creating a problem way bigger than could have been anticipated.
  3. [embed_video1 url= style=center] ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has completely destroyed the sanctuaries of the Haqqani network in the country, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday, but added that the possibility of 'unorganised presence' of the terrorist group still remains. The foreign minister was speaking in Geo News show ?Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath?, where he said the primary allegation of the United States against Pakistan is of the presence of Haqqani network on its soil. Asif said that Pakistan has repeatedly been the target of allegations linked to the presence of the Haqqani network in the country. "We do not totally reject that allegation. We say that there is no organised presence (of the Haqqani network) in our country. We have destroyed their entire organised presence, including their sanctuaries, safe havens or areas under their control, either in North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Khyber, or Bajaur agency," said the foreign minister. "They should come and visit. We will take them to these areas. We have destroyed (sanctuaries) but the possibility still remains of their unorganised presence." Asif while responding to a question regarding the treatment to the problem said that the refugees should be sent back to Afghanistan and border management is quite important as 645km is lying exposed. The foreign minister said that the US policy regarding Afghanistan has been inconsistent over the years, having its own ups and downs. He said at the end of former US president Barack Obama?s tenure, he pulled out the US troops in huge numbers and left minimal figure behind, while US President Donald Trump during his election campaign always supported withdrawing the troops from the Afghan soil. ?If the US is so erratic in its approach, then how come we support them by putting everything on the line,? said Asif. The foreign minister said that Pakistan twice did it in the past, once during the 1980s then following the 9/11 incident, but the country didn?t yield any good results. Asif said that if the US is so uncertain regarding its investment in terms of human soldiers and funds, then it is not possible that Pakistan keeps on following it in a robotic manner. The foreign minister said the contemporary situation led to the formation of a national united narrative through the parliament and collaboration of the institutions. While speaking about the US strategy regarding Pakistan and the possible measures in future, Asif was of the opinion that the US measures have started to unfold already such as putting Pakistan on the watchlist and suspension of the security aid. In response to a question, the foreign minister said that it is heartening that Pakistan?s stance on the issue is being heard, especially in the region. The statements of the foreign minister came as the United States on Friday announced that it is suspending the transfer of military equipment and security-related funds to Pakistan. "Today we can confirm that we are suspending security assistance only to Pakistan at this time," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced at a press briefing. US suspends national security assistance to Pakistan State Dept spokesperson says Pakistan could receive the funding if it takes decisive actions against terrorism The spokesperson added that Pakistan could receive the suspended funding if it takes decisive actions against Haqqani Network and Afghan Taliban. The suspension of security assistance to Islamabad comes after Washington accused Pakistan of playing a ?double game? on fighting terrorism and warned Islamabad it would have to do more if it wanted to maintain US aid.
  4. [embed_video1 url= style=center] KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Pakistan needs to revisit its ties with the United States. The minister said so while speaking exclusively to anchorperson Hamid Mir on Geo News' programme Capital Talk. The interview will be aired 8pm tonight. The statement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan and the United States. It all began with a tweet by US President Donald Trump accusing Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools. "They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" he said on Monday. "The US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend," Asif said. "It is a friend who always betrays." He also ruled out the perception that Pakistan had been diplomatically isolated. Trump to announce cuts in 'security assistance' to Pakistan today: sources Congressional offices' aides said the State Department called to inform it would announce Wednesday or Thursday that aid was being cut off The minister further said that in case of any aggression by the US, Pakistan would respond in a manner that would reflect the nation's will. Trump tweet followed a statement by the White House on Tuesday saying that it wanted to see Pakistan do more to fight terrorism and that it would likely announce actions to pressure Islamabad within days. Meanwhile, Islamabad reacted strongly to the allegations and summoned the US ambassador to the Foreign Office in a rare public rebuke. On Tuesday, a high-level huddle of the Pakistani civil-military leadership expressed disappointment over the US president's anti-Pakistan statement, however, decided not to take measures in haste in reply to US allegations. Trump's comments "struck with great insensitivity" and "negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation", read a press statement issued after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in Islamabad. It said that Pakistan cannot be blamed for failures in Afghanistan and accusing allies will not lead to the establishment of peace in the neighbouring country.
  5. [embed_video1 url= style=center] Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif has said the past of Pakistan suggests the country should be careful of trusting the United States. In a tweet posted on Wednesday, Asif addressed the US government, saying they should not blame Pakistan for their failure. ?We are upset that you are not pleased [with us], but we will not compromise our honour.? In his series of tweets, the foreign minister also stated that Pakistan has been cleaning the mess of decades since the past four years. ?Our army is fighting a major war ? a never-ending tale of sacrifice.? Asif?s response has come following a tweet by US President Donald Trump that triggered widespread response. As per the US president, they regretted giving aid to Pakistan for the past 15 years, only to get ?lies and deceit? in return. Earlier on Wednesday, Asif briefed a meeting of the federal cabinet on the future political discourse in relation to Trump?s allegations. Trump can hire US audit firm on Pakistan?s expense to verify $33bn aid: Khawaja Asif Asif says can Trump can hire firm on Pakistan?s expense to verify $33 billion aid, in order to know ?who is lying and deceiving' The national as well as regional security situation, economic and social affairs were also a part of the meeting's agenda. Earlier, Asif had said Trump can hire a US-based audit firm on Pakistan?s expense to verify the quoted figure of $33 billion aid to the country, in order to know "who is lying and deceiving". ?President Trump quoted the figure of $33 billion given to Pakistan over 15 years, he can hire a US-based audit firm on our expense to verify this figure and let the world know who is lying and deceiving,? tweeted Asif. However, according to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Trump?s tweet is ?sad? and ?non-serious,? and stressed that a head of state should be mindful of the diplomatic rules of engagement. Trump?s tweet ?non-serious?, policy needed to end reliance on US aid: Nawaz Sharif Former PM Nawaz Sharif says Pakistan has paid the highest price since 9/11 ?Pakistan paid the highest price after 9/11? Nawaz said, emphasising that the country had lost the most in the war on terrorism. The former premier said further that the Coalition Support Fund should not be termed aid, adding that we do not need "taunts" about aid. "Had there been a democratic government in 2001, it would not have sold its conscience," said Nawaz, who was deposed in 1999 by the-then army chief General Pervez Musharraf. ?We need to take stock of the domestic situation and find out why the world has a negative view of Pakistan,? he during a news conference at the Punjab House on Wednesday.
  6. When US President Donald Trump?s tweet on New Year against Pakistan created ripples in international and local political scenario, it was hard believing that ace impersonator Syed Shafaat Ali will take a back seat. The much-adored and super talented comedian Shafaat is back with a new video, including Trump, Khawaja Asif and our friends the Chinese. The two politicians hurl quirky, accusatory statements at each other, while our foreign minister (Shafaat here obviously) putting a dash of his sexist ?tractor trolley? comments into the conversation. Watch the video here: [embed_video1 url= style=center]
  7. ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump can hire a US-based audit firm on Pakistan?s expense to verify the quoted figure of $33 billion aid to the country, in order to know ?who is lying and deceiving?. The Foreign minister shot back at Trump, on social media platform, for the reckless tweet against Pakistan, threatening to cut aid. ?President Trump quoted figure of $33 billion given to Pakistan over 15 years, he can hire a US-based audit firm on our expense to verify this figure and let the world know who is lying and deceiving,? tweeted Asif. Earlier today, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC)in wake of the allegations by the US president. The forum stated that Pakistan has fought against terror with unflinching resolve and action was taken against all militant organisations. On Monday, Pakistan?s Foreign Office summoned US Ambassador David Hale to record a protest over President Trump?s tweet. "The United States has Trfoolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump had said in the early-morning New Year's Day tweet. Khawaja Asif, in a reply to the US president's tweet earlier also said Pakistan will let the world know the truth and will be responding to Trump's tweet. He added that there is a difference between facts and fiction.
  8. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif (left) and US President Donald Trump (right). Photo: Geo News file ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to a tweet by US President Donald Trump, said that Pakistan has already refused to ?do more? for the United States. ?We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump?s ?no more? does not hold any importance,? Asif said in an exclusive interview with Geo News. ?Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,? Asif said in a strongly worded statement in response to Trump?s tweet that accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists that the US is hunting in Afghanistan. ?Trump is disappointed at the US defeat in Afghanistan and that is the only reason he is flinging accusations at Pakistan,? the foreign minister said. ?The US should try to negotiate with Taliban in Afghanistan instead of using military force,? he added. 'Will let the world know truth' Soon after the US president took to twitter to make serious accusations against Pakistan, Asif had said that he would let the world know the truth. He had further said that there is a difference between facts and fiction. The foreign minister, following the tweet by Trump, called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, sources informed Geo News. The meeting held a detailed review of Trump's statement, sources added, besides discussing the country's foreign policy. ?Pakistan has done enough, time for Afghanistan, US to do more? In a news conference held on 28 December, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor had stated no organised infrastructure of a terrorist organisation exists in Pakistan. His statement was in reference to the unfounded talk by the US and Afghanistan on the presence of terrorist bases in Pakistan. ?We have been saying that Pakistan has fought twice an imposed and imported war inside Pakistan. We have sacrificed a lot. We have paid a huge price both in blood and treasure. We have done enough and we cannot do any more for anyone. Whatever we are doing and shall, will only be done for Pakistan.? The spokesperson had clarified that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace. "Had we not supported, al-Qaeda would not have been defeated," the ISPR chief had stated. Commenting on blaming Pakistan for inaction against the Haqqani Network, Ghafoor had said: ?Blame for inaction against [the] Haqqani Network might have been relevant owing to our capacity issues till Zarb-e-Azb". Trump puts Pakistan on 'notice' US Vice President Mike Pence, during an unannounced trip to Afghanistan in December, had said; "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in Afghanistan. The days to shelter terrorists have gone. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists." US President Trump has put Pakistan on notice, Pence had said on the Afghanistan visit. He had said President Trump had "put Pakistan on notice for providing safe haven" to the terrorists on its soil. "For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over.. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice," Pence had told American troops at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.
  9. KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, sources told Geo News, in what is seen as an important meeting after US President Donald Trump statement regarding US aid to Pakistan on Monday. The meeting held a detailed review of the Trump statement, sources said, besides discussion on the country's foreign policy. Trump earlier tweeted that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years. The US president accused Pakistan of given nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools. "They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" "We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly," Asif said in a tweet. The minister said they will let the world know the truth, and the difference between "facts and fiction." ?Pakistan has done enough, time for Afghanistan and US to do more? In a news conference held on 28 December, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), Major General Asif Ghaffor stated no organised infrastructure of a terrorist organisation exists in Pakistan. His statement was in reference to the unfounded talk by the US and Afghanistan on the presence of terrorist bases in Pakistan. ?We have been saying that Pakistan has fought twice an imposed and imported war inside Pakistan. We have sacrificed a lot. We have paid a huge price both in blood and treasure. We have done enough and we cannot do any more for anyone. Whatever we are doing and shall, will only be done for Pakistan.? The spokesperson clarified that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace. "Had we not supported, al-Qaeda would not have been defeated," the ISPR chief stated.
  10. [embed_video1 url= style=center] ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while responding to Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah?s statements on Shehbaz Sharif?s visit to Saudi Arabia, said on Friday that the Sharifs have old with the kingdom and no one should have reservations over it. The foreign minister was speaking to Geo News and said that the Sharif brothers have spent eight years in exile in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that due to religious reasons one person or another visits the kingdom from time to time. ?Not necessary that politics is brewing over there,? said the interior minister. 'Moving towards NRO' Earlier in the day, Khursheed Shah was asked about Shebaz Sharif's visit to Saudi Arabia. Shah said that it would be worrisome if this visit was aimed at resolving internal matters of the country. ?Pakistan is a nuclear country and should have its own policies and rule of rule. We do not need to knock on anyone else?s door.? Saad Rafique?s statement did not require such a response from ISPR: Shah Opposition leader said he did not find anything objectionable in railways minister's Dec 24 remarks The PPP leader added that the reason for the visit might be to get a new National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). When asked was the difference between this NRO and the one issued during the Musharraf government, Shah responded ?there is a huge difference. Democracy came in the country, an army general removed his uniform, Nawaz Sharif returned from exile. Parliament completed its tenure and there was a historic transfer of power. In this NRO it seems there are ongoing corruption cases. It is a problem of ladlas (dear ones)." Shah was referring to the departure of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saad Rafique to Saudi Arabia. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to leave for the Kingdom over the weekend.
  11. ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Thursday categorically rejected all the Indian allegations regarding Kulbhushan Jadhav's meeting with family, saying that a comprehensive security check was necessary, which was earlier agreed upon by both the sides through diplomatic channels. According to an official Foreign Office press release, the foreign minister said that the visitors were treated with dignity and respect, adding that the change of clothes and removal of jewelry were entirely for security reasons. ?The visitors changed into their own clothes after the meeting. All their belongings were returned to them before they left. The wife's shoes were retained as they did not clear the security check. A metal chip has been found in one of the shoes, which is being analysed,? said the statement. While referring to Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Asif said that Pakistan?s humanitarian efforts do not take away attention from the fact that this wasn?t an ordinary meeting between a son and his family. ?The reality remains that Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is a serving Indian naval officer and a convicted Indian terrorist and spy responsible for multiple deaths and destruction in Pakistan,? the statement read. The foreign minister further stressed that Pakistan has been open and transparent throughout the meeting. He said that Pakistan does not wish to indulge in fallacious accusations and blame game, adding that the focus was on the bigger positive outcome that the meeting happened, despite immense challenges and impediments. He said that distortion of facts and baseless propaganda, which vitiates the atmosphere and is counter-productive and should be avoided. India's Sushma Swaraj alleged earlier on Thursday that spy Kulbhushan Jadhav?s family was harassed while they were visiting him in Pakistan. Indian FM alleges spy Jadhav?s family was harassed Sushma Swaraj says if there was a camera in Jadhav's wife's shoes, it should have been displayed to the media Swaraj, speaking in the Indian parliament after submitting a report on the meeting, claimed that the visit was used by Pakistan for propaganda purposes. On December 25, Jadhav?s mother and wife met him at the Pakistani Foreign Office in Islamabad. The meeting was allowed by Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.
  12. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif remarked that the United States should learn from Pakistan?s experiences in the war against terrorism rather than threatening or blaming the country. Photo: file1 ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif remarked that the United States should learn from Pakistan?s experiences in the war against terrorism rather than threatening or blaming the country. On US?s harsh statements after the United Nations vote on Jerusalem, Asif remarked on social media that ?frustrations on diplomatic front in UN and war in Afghanistan reflected in US statements.? 'US statements can affect war against terrorism' Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor responded to US Vice President Mike Pence's statement on Friday saying that such statements by US officials can affect the war against terrorism. Pence, during his surprise visit to Afghanistan earlier today, said; "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in Afghanistan. The days of shelter terrorists have gone. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists." He said President Trump has "put Pakistan on notice for providing safe haven" to the terrorists on its soil. Following a response by the Foreign Office, the Pakistani military also responded to Pence's statement saying that allied countries do not 'put each other on notice.' Externalizing blame should be put on notice, FO responds to Pence A press release by Pakistan's Foreign Office states allies do not put each other on notice "Pakistani forces took effective action against terrorists and no one has ever done what Pakistan did against terrorism," said Maj Gen Ghafoor in an interview to a private TV channel on Friday. "Pakistan and the United States have had cordial ties; we do not need aid from the US, but mutual trust." The Pakistani military spokesman said that Afghanistan's war was imposed on Pakistan and stressed on the need for elimination of terror dens inside Afghanistan. "Pakistan has repeatedly urged for eliminating TTP leadership present inside Afghanistan," he said. The Pak Army general further stressed management on the Afghan side of border between the two countries, noting that Pakistan fenced its own side. He said the two countries should have intelligence sharing. Commenting further on US statements, Ghafoor said the Pakistan has responded to the US allegations on Foreign Office level, adding, "Such statements can affect the war against terrorism."
  13. BEIJING: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif will attend a trilateral dialogue between the foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan to be held in Beijing on December 26 to discuss development, security and counter-terrorism. ?It will be the first meeting of its kind since the three countries agreed to establish a trilateral dialogue mechanism in June,? Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for Chinese foreign ministry, said during a routine press briefing here on Thursday. Elaborating on the dialogue, she said the three foreign ministers will have an in-depth exchange on mutual trust and reconciliation, development and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism. The spokesperson said that as a common neighbour and friend of Pakistan and Afghanistan, China has always supported the friendly cooperation between the two countries and their common development. ?In June this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi conducted a shuttle diplomacy between the two countries and the three sides agreed to establish a dialogue mechanism for foreign ministers and set up a platform for enhancing tripartite dialogue and cooperation,? Chunying added. She said China hopes that the meeting will promote trilateral cooperation and enhance peace, stability and development in the region.
  14. KARACHI/LONDON: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif asserted early Thursday that representative assemblies will complete their term and there is no such problem, which may delay elections in the country. Asif's assertion followed National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ayaz Sadiq's statement in which he had expressed fears that assemblies might not be able to complete their tenure. Sadiq had said that uncertainty had been looming and fuelled by instances such as the delimitation bill not being passed. "The speaker expressed concern over circumstances in the country," the minister said, while speaking to newsmen upon reaching London. "Legislation has its own pressures, however, the government and assemblies will complete their term." NA speaker expresses fear over assemblies not completing tenure Ayaz Sadiq expresses concern over delimitation bill not being passed yet He said that situation in Pakistan is better and soon [the government] will overcome all problems. Asif said the perception of democracy weakening in the country is wrong and there is no threat to the next elections. "The government has achieved 70-80 per cent of its targets. The promises Nawaz Sharif made are being fulfilled." He further said that forging alliances and opposing them is the right of opposition parties, adding, "We know how to defend ourselves." The minister said the purpose of his visit is to hold meetings with investors in UK. Asif confirmed that he would also meet former premier Nawaz Sharif, however, added, "Rumours about a major, very important meeting are not true." Commenting on religious extremism in Pakistan, he said that it grew in the 1980s due to the Afghan war, but soon it will turn into religious harmony.
  15. ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that the ruling party always has an option to dissolve the assemblies if they are faced with a situation which calls for it. ?Ruling parties always have this option. If it comes to that, and if we face a situation which calls for it, then we might go for it. But there has been no discussion on this as yet and no decision either? he said in an interview to a private channel. It will be a political move, the foreign minister added. He also said Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not in a position either to dissolve their assemblies. Asif?s comments are in response to the increasing calls for resignations from political opponents, the latest being demands for Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif to step down. An unprecedented alliance of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Tahirul Qadri on Thursday demanded Shehbaz?s resignation in the wake of the Model Town inquiry report. ?Enough is enough! Nawaz Sharif?s brother Shehbaz must resign. After this report, he stands condemned, and a condemned man cannot remain the chief minister of the largest province of Pakistan,? Zardari told reporters at a press conference alongside Qadri in Lahore. Model Town report: Zardari, Tahirul Qadri demand Shehbaz Sharif?s resignation 'Now we will not tolerate Shehbaz; we'll fight and take to streets,' says Zardari after meeting Qadri The foreign minister criticised the alliance, saying ?people of the same flock? are coming together and trying to achieve what should only be done through a vote. He also slammed Zardari, saying the PPP co-chairman has destroyed PPP and is celebrating the demise of the party envisioned by its founders, in a reference to Zardari?s dance moves at a rally. Model Town report The Punjab government, at the behest of the Lahore High Court, made the report for the Model Town incident public on December 5. The report was drafted by Justice Baqir Najfi and termed the 2014 tragedy in Lahore's Model Town as the "most unfortunate incident" in the country's history. Justice Baqir Najfi commission inquiry report said that police tried to cover up the facts regarding who gave orders to open fire on protesters, according to the commission report released Tuesday. The report added that no legal opinion was sought from the Punjab advocate general prior to the start of the operation. The commission also stated that on the ground, the standoff continued the whole night, resulting in minor injuries to police constables as well as PAT workers.
  16. LAHORE: Former president Asif Ali Zardari arrived at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore on Thursday evening to hold a meeting with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri. This is the first time that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman has visited the Minhajul Quran Secretariat. A meeting is underway at between the former president and PAT chief, wherein Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, Manzoor Watto and Qamar Zaman Kaira are also in presence. Earlier in the day, Zardari contacted Qadri and extended his support to him for bringing those responsible of Model Town tragedy to justice.
  17. KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif Wednesday said the United States, by means of its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, targeted not only Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. President Donald Trump on Wednesday recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a historic decision that overturns decades of US policy and risks triggering a fresh spasm of violence in the Middle East. "I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said from the White House. "It's the right thing to do." Speaking on Geo News' programme 'Aapas Ki Baat', Asif said, "Not only Palestinians are a target of this wound, but the entire Muslim world." He said the sanctity of Al-Quds for Muslims is not hidden from anyone. United States recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital Jerusalem is the home of the modern Israeli state, says Trump "This is a blatant evidence of opposition to Muslims. A proxy is being propped up in the Middle East, which is extremely condemnable," the foreign minister said. Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying his decision marked the start of a "new approach" to solving the thorny conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Asif said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the OIC summit, adding, "We fully back it and the Muslim world will present its detailed stance from the platform, so that we may fight for the aspirations of our Palestinian brothers." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called an OIC summit in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the US move, his spokesman said on Wednesday, hours before Trump's announcement. Earlier in a tweet prior to the announcement by President Trump, Asif had said that "by moving the embassy US will practically alter the status of Jerusalem, an affront to Palestinians and the Muslim world." He had said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be practically burying the two states solution. "It will add another wound to already bleeding body of Muslim Ummah."
  18. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif while speaking to Imran Garda on The Newsmakers. Photo: TRT world ISTANBUL: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif remarked that the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hampering the relations between Pakistan and India. ?We would like to have a good relationship with the Indians, but I don't think there is a chance of any improvement for relationship with the present religious extremist government in Delhi,? he said while speaking to Imran Garda on The Newsmakers, a current affairs programme of TRT World. When asked if Modis' government is religious extremist, he remarked: "Modi's government what they did in Gujarat when Modi was the chief minister he killed, he massacred over 2,000 Muslims over there. He's massacring Muslims in Kashmir also. So there is actually a genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims going on.? The foreign minister also alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in India is ?a religious extremist movement.? [embed_video1 url= style=center] Asif was also asked about Indian claims that Pakistan is ?obsessed? with it. Responding to this, Asif said that it is not an obsession. ?India is a danger to our security, we must be vigilant. This is the bedrock of our policy.? On relations with Afghanistan, Asif shared: ?We want to be a part of a peace process in Afghanistan in any bilateral or multilateral platform. However, if people in Kabul want to play proxy of India, then that is also not acceptable.? Replying to a question on Afghanistan claims that Pakistan spreading terrorism in their territory, Asif clarified that Afghan government making such allegations because of ?lack of control and lack of writ of Kabul government." The Afghan government just wants someone to blame, he said, adding that Afghanistan failed in fight against terrorism, while Pakistan succeeded. ?They [Afghan government] lost territory to Talibans, not because of us. They have record opium harvest this year. They have huge corruption in government machinery. Their soldiers sell arms to Talibans. Daesh is present in three of their provinces,? Asif remarked He called the claims of the United States and Afghanistan of Pakistan supporting Haqqani Network as ?absolutely baseless.? "Haqqanis don't need safe havens in Pakistan. They have about 40 percent territory of Afghan territory with Taliban. Why would they have safe havens in Pakistan?? There was some truth the claims a few years back. But in the operation launched in 2014, Pakistan has pushed the terrorists ?out Bajaur, Khyber, South Waziristan, Swat.? He added, ?We cleared our area at huge cost. Human cost." Reiterating his earlier claims, Asif said that US harsh statements against Pakistan was just them trying to ?scapegoating? Pakistan for ?their own failures of last more than 15 years.? The foreign minister while explaining the country?s foreign policy said: ?We are trying to disengage ourselves from the role we played in two to three decades [and] have a more regionally oriented [policy].? He added, ?Our national interest is our primary concern. We will weave our foreign policy around our own national interests.? Our region is more of a priority for us than the United States, he remarked. "This is where we live and this is where we should search for foreign policy options," he added. On the role of Pakistan Army in the country, Asif explained that the institution of the army is actively involved in defending the country and determining Pakistan?s priorities. ?Army has a constitutional role of consultation on major issues,? he added.
  19. KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday that the civil-military leadership was on the same page in meetings with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis. The statement was made during the foreign minister's appearance on Geo News' programme 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath' aired on Monday night. Asked about separate meetings with the US defence secretary, in contrast with earlier meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillersen during his visit to Pakistan, Asif replied: "We had already exchanged notes with each other for the prime minister had other engagements as well. A single script was discussed at the meetings [on Monday]. "Mattis has been engaged with the Pakistan Army for quite some time and he expressed his resolve for restoration of peace." COAS highlighted Pak?s concerns regarding Indian use of Afghan soil: ISPR Pakistan has done much more than its due share despite capacity constraints, says US defence secretary Noting that 125 out of 128 attacks in Pakistan were coordinated from Afghanistan, he said the civil-military leadership stressed on effective border management with Afghanistan and repatriation of Afghan refugees. The US defence secretary was conveyed that we do not need aid, but understanding, the minister added. Mattis acknowledged Pakistan's concerns and said the US wants to maintain a "consistent" relationship with Pakistan, he said. "To maintain such a relationship, the two sides need to build up trust in each other," Asif quoted Secretary Mattis as saying at the meetings. "We are aware of the human cost Pakistan has paid in this war on terror." He said the US defence secretary was told that Pakistan's fight against terrorism was greatly hindered by non-provision of F-16 fighter jets by the United States and that such measures limited their capacity [to fight terrorism]. "It was quite a frank exchange overall, in which there was no hostility," the minister said of the Pakistani leadership's meetings with the top US official.
  20. ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif submitted a written reply to the Islamabad High Court in the disqualification case against him on Friday. Asif faces disqualification from Parliament over possessing an Iqama ? a permit to work in the UAE. In the 23-page long reply, Asif explained that he has never denied his employment contract with a foreign company. He accepted that he worked as the legal adviser for International Mechanical and Electrical Co (IMECO). Moreover, he also raised objections against the petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf?s Usman Dar. Asif claimed that it is not correct to say that Usman Dar is a law-abiding citizen as the petitioner hid many facts from the court. This is the reason why Dar?s election petition, appeal and request have been rejected, he said. He remarked that his business dealing with IMECO has nothing to do with the petitioner. The petitioner has no right to raise questions about the business dealings, he said, adding that the petitioner has failed to prove that any illegal activity was conducted. Asif also stated that it is incorrect to claim that he never disclosed receiving AED50,000. He said that he has shown AED50,000 as foreign income in his tax returns. On November 13, Asif had challenged the formation of a larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to hear his disqualification case. Submitting a 7-page reply in court, Asif challenged the formation of a larger bench on September 23. He claimed that his right of appeal has been affected by the formation of a larger bench. Asif further contended in his reply that the petitioner has gone through all legal remedies to get him (Asif) disqualified from Parliament. The disqualification petition was filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Usman Dar, who was fielded by his party during the general elections of 2013 in NA-110, the same constituency from where Asif was elected to the National Assembly. Iqama case: Khawaja Asif challenges formation of larger IHC bench PTI?s Usman Dar has filed a disqualification petition against his electoral rival and foreign minister Asif As per the petitioner, Asif is not entitled to hold the office of MNA nor of the federal minister under the Unlimited Term Employment Contract between him and International Mechanical and Electrical Co (IMECO), a company located in Abu Dhabi. Asif has been hired as a full-time employee of IMECO since at least July 2, 2011 and has held various positions, including those of the legal adviser and special adviser, the petition states. The contract signed between the foreign minister of Pakistan and the company claim that Asif was to receive a monthly basic salary of AED35,000 along with a monthly allowance of AED15,000. He is receiving the same while serving as the foreign minister at the same time, it is alleged.
  21. ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday confirmed that US Defence Secretary James Mattis would conduct a one-day visit to the country on December 3. Mattis had earlier visited India in September and the Pentagon said the United States views India as a valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia. In 2016, the United States designated India a "Major Defence Partner" and Trump has sought to further boost military ties, praising India for contributing to regional peace and stability and purchasing US military equipment. The foreign minister also said that two important conferences would be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and would be attended by senior government representatives. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa would be attending the conferences. The Islamic military alliance, formed by the kingdom earlier, and Pak-Saudi relations would be discussed during the visit.
  22. ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Asif tweeted on Friday that Pakistan Peoples Party supremo should refrain from criticising Nawaz Sharif as reaction on their statements from his party would hurt the 'political community' of the country. Asif's statement has come in backdrop of PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari's refusal to meet PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's constant disparagement against the ruling party. The foreign minister said Zardari and his son should not taunt on Nawaz Sharif, let us remain silent, even our dignity doesn?t allow us to respond to him. "Zardari is a wise politician. He understands all indications. May Allah keep him happy," he said. Zardari refused to meet former prime minister Nawaz, foiling the latter?s attempts for a meeting for the fourth time within three months. The PPP leader, rejecting once again the possibility of any contact with Nawaz, was quoted by sources as saying that the former prime minister ?only remembers democratic promises where his interests are concerned?. ?Nawaz Sharif is responsible for the current political situation of the country. Meeting him or shaking his hand is [out of the question],? the PPP co-chairperson remarked. Nawaz does not understand meaning of ideology: Bilawal Nawaz has been a part of all conspiracies against democracy in Pakistan, he remarked Earlier, Nawaz, while speaking to Geo News said that he is willing to have an unconditional dialogue with the PPP supremo. However, Zardari has reiterated his position time and again. Meanwhile, Bilawal slammed the PML-N leader by saying that he doesn?t even understand the meaning of ideology. Bilawal was taking a jibe at Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz?s claimed that Nawaz Sharif is not a person but an ideology. PPP chair pointed out that Nawaz is being opportunistic by changing his position and statements to favour himself. ?Mian Nawaz Sharif sahab doesn?t understand the meaning of ideology. You can't change your position for your own purposes,? he said while speaking to media on Thursday. He went on to further criticise the PML-N head and said that Nawaz has been a part of all conspiracies against democracy in Pakistan. ?Mian Nawaz Sharif sahab is a threat to democracy.?
  23. Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday presented Pakistan?s national report on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: UNHRC GENEVA: Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday presented Pakistan?s national report on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the Human Rights Council in Geneva. This was the third report by Pakistan since the inception of UPR process in 2006, the first two being in 2008 and 2012. Asif outlined the wide range of legislative, institutional, administrative and policy measures to advance and safeguard human rights in Pakistan. He highlighted the substantial progress that the country has made and reaffirmed Pakistan?s commitment to promote human rights in the spirit of constructive dialogue, engagement and cooperation. Pakistan?s active role and contribution as a consensus builder within the international human rights policy debates was also underscored. 117 countries participated in Pakistan?s UPR. An overwhelming majority of states welcomed Pakistan?s advancement of Human Rights Agenda and made suggestions. The foreign minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation, which included Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Minister of Human Rights Punjab Khalil Tahir Sindhu, and Pakistan?s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Farukh Amil.
  24. [embed_video1 url= style=center] ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday claimed that Pakistan has neither been diplomatically isolated nor has its position weakened following US President Donald Trump's speech outlining the country's policy on South Asia. "We have neither been diplomatically isolated nor has our diplomatic position weakened," Asif said in a Senate session. "An incorrect impression was created that our support in the region was affected following Trump's speech," said the foreign minister while addressing the Senate. The state minister went ahead to say that prior to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) notification, its tougher predecessor ? Heart of Asia ? was signed by Pakistan. Earlier, Asif said that the role of US in ending the conflict between India and Pakistan is welcomed. Addressing a session at the Pakistan-US dialogue, Asif had said Pakistan has long-standing ties with the US. But, he added, they have reservations over the new US policy that blames Pakistan for instability in the region, including Afghanistan. During Asif's recent visit to the US, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said Pakistan is critical for the long-term stability of South Asia. "Not just Afghanistan, but it is the importance of Pakistan and Pakistan's long-term stability as well," he remarked while speaking about US's policy towards South Asia. Tiller was quoted as saying that Pakistan's relation with the US is "extraordinarily important". The bilateral visits of Pakistani and American diplomats were scheduled during the visit of PM Abbasi to the US. Trump, in his speech announcing the revised US approach to Afghan war, had accused Pakistan of providing "safe haven" to militants, angering the ruling party and the opposition alike.
  25. KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif remarked that he failed to establish contact between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. Asif also shared that he had contacted Farooq Naek, who is the lawyer of PPP, to take up the Iqama (work permit) case against him. ?He is my wife?s elder brother and my maternal cousin,? he shared. However, Naek refused to help me and said that Zardari has stopped him from taking up the case. In this regard, I tried to contact Zardari many times, even left messages for him with his ADC, claimed Asif. ?We have to work towards improving the political situation,? said the foreign minister, adding that ?politicians shouldn?t make a drama of themselves.? ?But, Zardari didn?t answer any of my calls,? he added. When asked if there is a chance of PML-N and PPP working together, the minister said that he can not say anything for sure. ?Personally speaking I think there is no chance of contact between the two parties.? Asif?s entire interview will air on Geo News programme, Capital Talk, at 8:05 PM tonight. Don't want to be in contact with Nawaz: Zardari On August 16, PPP supremo Zardari had said that he has no interest in establishing contact with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, reported Geo News. Sources said the former president made the comments during a meeting of the party's core leadership at Bilawal House. Zardari said the PPP also has no interest in becoming part of a 'Grand National Dialogue' proposed recently by Nawaz Sharif. Zardari accuses Nawaz of trying to 'stir fight between Islamabad, Rawalpindi' PPP co-chairman says he has received ten messages from Nawaz since the time he started taking a little heat Sources quoted Zardari saying that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief has a different attitude when he is in power and a completely different tone when he is not. Zardari has reiterated his position time and again. On October 9, Zardari remarked in an interview that former president said a disqualified individual cannot become a party's president in a democratic system. He said that following his statement, Sharif, who was then the sitting prime minister, did not hold a meeting with him out of fear. His statement referred to an instance when Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari were both in London nearly a year ago, where the latter approached the former for a meeting, according to some media reports. The PPP co-chairman had gone abroad in June 2015 and stayed in Dubai and London for nearly 18 months, following his controversial statement allegedly against the military. However, reports had suggested that Nawaz had declined to meet the former president. There had been no official word on the matter from either side. "I do not care about Nawaz Sharif's luncheon; I do not eat 'Paaye'," he said, adding, "I took my own meal along whenever I had a lunch with him." The PPP co-chairman revealed that he has received "ten messages from Nawaz Sharif since the time he started taking heat, but did not have a word with him." "This is not a fight between Islamabad and Rawalpindi, but Nawaz wants to make it one," he said. Can revive contact between Nawaz, Zardari: Asif On August 16, Asif had claimed that he can revive contact between PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif if he is instructed by the party?s high command. Speaking on Geo News? Capital talk, Asif had said that he is certain that Zardari will agree to revive dialogue with the PML-N leadership. "Yes, if I am instructed by Nawaz Sharif, I can play a role to revive dialogue," said the foreign minister. Can revive contact between Nawaz, Zardari: Khawaja Asif The foreign minister said he is certain that Zardari will agree to revive dialogue with the PML-N leadership "I am a political worker. Politics is the name of possibilities. Doors are not kept shut forever." However, PPP spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that as per the policy of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the party has decided to not maintain any contact with the PML-N leadership.