Welcome to Fundayforum.com - Pakistani Urdu Community Forum

Guest Image

Welcome to Fundayforum.com - Pakistani Urdu Community Forum, like most online communities you must register to view or post in our community, but don't worry this is a simple free process that requires minimal information for you to signup. Be apart of Fundayforum.com - Pakistani Urdu Community Forum by signing in or creating an account via default Sign up page or social links such as: Facebook, Twitter or Google.

  • Start new topics and reply to others
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get email updates
  • Get your own profile page and make new friends
  • Send personal messages to other members.
  • Upload or Download IPS Community files such as:  Applications, Plugins etc.
  • Upload or Download your Favorite Books, Novels in PDF format. 

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'policy'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Help Support
    • Announcement And Help
    • Funday Chatroom
  • Poetry
    • Shair-o-Shaa'eri
    • Famous Poet
  • Islam - اسلام
    • QURAN O TARJUMA قرآن و ترجمہ
    • AHADEES MUBARIK آحدیث مبارک
    • Ramazan ul Mubarik - رمضان المبارک
    • Deen O Duniya - دین و دنیا
  • Other Forums
    • Chitchat and Greetings
    • Urdu Adab
    • Entertainment
    • Common Rooms
  • Music, Movies, and Dramas
    • Movies Song And Tv.Series
  • Science, Arts & Culture
    • Education, Science & Technology
  • IPS Community Suite
    • IPS Community Suite 4.1
    • IPS Download
    • IPS Community Help/Support And Tutorials


  • Ishq_janoon_Dewanagi
  • Uzee khan
  • Beauty of Words
  • Tareekhi Waqaiyaat
  • Geo News Blog
  • The Pakistan Tourism
  • My BawaRchi_KhaNa
  • Mukaam.e.Moahhabt
  • FDF Members Poetry
  • Sadqy Tmhary
  • FDF Online News
  • Pakistan
  • Dua's Kitchen
  • Raqs e Bismil
  • HayDay Game


  • Books
    • Urdu Novels
    • Islamic
    • General Books
  • IPS Community Suite 4
    • Applications
    • Plugins
    • Themes
    • Language Packs
    • IPS Extras
  • IPS Community Suite 3.4
    • Applications
    • Hooks/BBCodes
    • Themes/Skins
    • Language Packs
    • Miscellaneous XML Files
  • XenForo
    • Add-ons
    • Styles
    • Language Packs
    • Miscellaneous XML Files
  • Web Scripts
  • PC Softwares


  • Articles


  • Community Calendar
  • Pakistan Holidays


  • English
  • New Movie Songs
  • Old Movies Songs
  • Single Track
  • Classic
  • Ghazal
  • Pakistani
  • Indian Pop & Remix
  • Romantic
  • Punjabi
  • Qawalli
  • Patriotic
  • Islam


  • Islam
  • Online Movies
    • English
    • Indian
    • Punjabi
    • Hindi Dubbed
    • Animated - Cartoon
    • Other Movies
    • Pakistani Movies
  • Video Songs
    • Coke Studio
  • Mix Videos
  • Online Live Channels
    • Pakistani Channels
    • Indian Channels
    • Sports Channels
    • English Channels
  • Pakistani Drama Series
    • Zara Yaad ker
    • Besharam (ARY TV series)
  • English Series
    • Quantico Season 1
    • SuperGirl Season 1
    • The Magicians
    • The Shannara Chronicles
    • Game of Thrones

Found 55 results

  1. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, US, on February 27, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/file WASHINGTON: Jerome Powell heads for his first interest rate increase as Federal Reserve Chairman this week with an unanswered question looming above others: could his optimism about the US economy lead to more hikes than markets have prepared for? Powell?s public comments and Reuters conversations with his Fed colleagues since January, when he was confirmed as chairman, suggest such fears are overblown: Powell, the consensus-builder, may make some tweaks to reflect changing economic conditions but is as committed to gradual, moderate rate increases as his predecessor Janet Yellen who adopted that approach. The new chairman?s overriding concern will be to sustain one of the longest US recoveries for as long as possible, according to conversations with Fed officials and analysts. But given signs that the economy?s potential has strengthened, that might mean a policy-tightening cycle that lasts longer, with rates going a bit higher than earlier thought. Powell was widely seen as a choice of continuity when President Donald Trump picked him. He served as one of the Fed governors during the central bank?s transition from crisis-era stimulus to a more balanced approach that led to three rate increases last year in response to steady growth and falling unemployment. Yet uncertainty over how the 65-year old lawyer and former investment banker would steer the Fed was on full display last month when global stocks sold off briefly after Powell?s first congressional testimony. Investors initially took his upbeat assessment of the US economy as a sign he was more of a policy ?hawk? than Yellen, and that four rate hikes might be in store for this year rather than the three previously telegraphed by the Fed. This might still turn out to be the case. Even the dovish Fed Governor Lael Brainard noted recently that the economy?s ?headwinds are shifting to tailwinds.? But a stronger economy does not necessarily mean the Fed is abandoning its balanced assessment of risks to growth and price stability. Rather, it can give Powell wiggle room in balancing nudging inflation up after more than five years below target, and guard against the risk of runaway prices as some $1.8 trillion in tax cuts and new government spending take hold. Under Yellen, the central bank was still more guarded about the economic impact of such fiscal stimulus that could overheat an economy already near full capacity, but also boost business confidence and productivity, giving the rates more room to rise. One hint whether the Powell Fed now sees more policy leeway will come on Wednesday when the central bank will publish its new median estimate of the so-called neutral rate of interest - the level that neither stimulates nor chills the economy. This rate has drifted down to a 2.75 percent median, from 4 percent in 2013. A rise to, say 3 percent, could signal the fiscal stimulus and recent data like the blockbuster February jobs report have begun convincing Powell and others that the gradual rate-hike cycle could go on for another couple years or more, allowing extra room to cut rates in the next recession. IF IT AIN?T BROKE The Fed is expected to lift its policy rate to a range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday and also update its assessment of the economy. Months of synchronised global growth, some signs of US price pressures and fears Trump's protectionist steps could escalate into a trade war have fanned concerns within the Fed that inflation, now a bit below its 2-percent target, could accelerate. Some policymakers also worry the tax cuts could stoke risky investments that could tip the economy into another downturn. But the Powell Fed is likely to take extreme care not to over-react to stronger economic data, according to a series of public statements by policymakers and minutes of their January meeting. Investors can also take comfort from what those who have worked with Powell describe as his ?if it ain?t broke, don?t fix it,? approach, which ultimately helped him land his job. While Powell has shown little appetite for sweeping changes, such as revamping an inflation-targeting regime as advocated by some of his colleagues, the new Fed chief has already begun setting his own tone. He is ?careful and practical but definitely open to new approaches,? said Narayana Kocherlakota, former Minneapolis Fed president who worked with the then-Fed Governor Powell between 2013 and 2015. For one, Powell, a Republican former Treasury official who enjoys his regular private meetings with lawmakers of both parties, emphasises a warmer relationship with Congress and avoids venturing outside of the Fed?s strict policy remit. During his first appearance on Capitol Hill as Fed chief, when asked what he was willing to do to ensure economic growth benefits all Americans and not just elites, Powell stuck to the script saying the Fed simply lacked the tools to do that. That marks a contrast to the era when Yellen and her predecessor Ben Bernanke were in charge. Their years in office were dominated by innovation and experimentation in the face of crisis, an overhaul of how the Fed sets and communicates policy, and sometimes free-form public discussions about social issues like inequality that put Yellen in particular at odds with the Republicans who control Congress. So far Powell has dropped no hints of immediate changes to press conferences or other means of communication. His reluctance to take unnecessary risks may convince him that any change could confuse the public, do little to improve policy, and draw unnecessary political fire.
  2. RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's cabinet on Tuesday approved the national policy of its atomic energy programme, state media said, as the kingdom prepares to award contracts for its first nuclear power plants. The policy insists on limiting nuclear activities to peaceful purposes and calls for enhanced safety measures as well as the use of best practises for radioactive waste management, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is seeking nuclear power to diversify its energy supply mix in order to free up oil to boost exports. The policy announcement comes ahead of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the United States on March 19-22, which is likely to see efforts to reach a civilian nuclear cooperation accord with Washington. The kingdom has accelerated plans to build 16 nuclear reactors over the next two decades, officials and analysts say, at a cost of some $80 billion. Negotiations are underway with the United States for its agreement to export technology needed for their construction. Besides the US company Westinghouse, Russian, French, Chinese and South Korean firms have all been seeking the Saudi contracts. Some analysts have voiced concerns that Saudi Arabia seeks to use its atomic programme as a hedge against its arch-rival Iran, which signed a deal with the United States in 2015 to curb its own nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. Saudi Arabia, which insists its intentions are peaceful, has signed cooperation agreements with over a dozen countries in recent years to boost nuclear cooperation, including France, China and Russia.
  3. Photo: PID FILE ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Tuesday held a meeting, wherein the top civil-military brass reviewed the current regional and international situation, read a press statement issued late Tuesday. The meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, was attended by ministers of foreign affairs, defence, interior, PM's aide on finance, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and chiefs of the three armed forces. The forum was briefed on the current international and regional situation, particularly on relations with regional countries. The foreign minister briefed the committee on his recent "successful" visit to Russia and recalled the desire of the two countries to further strengthen bilateral relations in all areas, the statement read. The meeting agreed on the importance of recalibrating the foreign policy framework to bring more focus on countries of the region. It was agreed to launch new initiatives to enhance economic partnerships with friendly countries in the region and beyond for a win-win cooperation. The committee reiterated the significance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the benefits it brings for the development of Pakistan, the region and beyond. The participants agreed on further strengthening the CPEC cooperation as a flagship program of China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. Fight against terrorism The top civil-military leadership agreed that Pakistan will continue its fight against terrorism and extremism in the interest of its people. "Our policies will continue to be formulated and implemented in light of our national interests," read the statement. Afghan peace The forum reaffirmed Pakistan?s abiding interest in lasting peace in Afghanistan, stressing the importance of peace among the Afghan people through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national peace and reconciliation process. The meeting underscored the need for consistent and continued engagement with Afghanistan, and emphasised the importance of effective border management as well as time-bound repatriation of Afghan refugees in a dignified manner. Indian ceasefire violations The NSC condemned unprovoked Indian ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary. It observed that Indian forces committed more than 400 ceasefire violations in 2018 alone, which resulted in martyrdom of and injuries to scores of innocent civilians. The meeting observed that the Indian government, through consistent ceasefire violations, was trying to divert international attention from blatant human rights violations in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the NSC demanded that India must give priority to peace.
  4. Donald Trump Jr. speaks during the Global Business Summit in New Delhi, India February 23, 2018. REUTERS NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump?s son dropped a planned speech on foreign affairs in the Indian capital on Friday after ethics experts said he should avoid wading into policy issues as a private citizen. Donald Trump Jr. is on a tour of India to promote real estate projects in several cities but ethics watchdog groups in the United States say there is a possible conflict of interest in pushing the Trump brand name while his father is in the White House. He was billed to make a speech on the topic ?Reshaping the Indo-Pacific - The New Era of Cooperation? but hours before the conference began that was changed into a ?fireside chat? where he spoke about his business and stayed clear of policy issues. ?I am here on business, I am not representing anyone,? he said at the conference organized by the Economic Times, a leading newspaper, and Yes Bank. He spoke before Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a keynote speech on preparing India for the future to a gathering of business leaders from India and overseas. US Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to the US ambassador to India this week to ask for guarantees that the embassy and the State Department will not offer any support to Trump Jr. beyond helping the US Secret Service to provide him with security. Trump Jr. said he had been coming to India for more than a decade to build business for The Trump Organisation and it had reached a take-off stage but there were self-imposed curbs following the election of his father as president. ?I learnt about doing business here through the school of hard knocks, we have built partnerships here,? he said. This week he was wooing buyers to book luxury apartments in Trump Towers in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi as well as in Mumbai, attending champagne receptions. Trump?s partners in India are playing up the Trump brand. In the days leading up to Trump Jr.?s visit, one of its development partners in Gurgaon began an advertising campaign in newspapers offering dinner and conversation with the president?s son. But Trump said his company could not build on the gains it had made in India because of the curbs over the past year. ?Ten years of hard work to get there, this would be a time to capitalize, but its a sacrifice, its a big sacrifice,? he said. ?But we will be back, once we are out of politics.? Shortly before taking office last year, Trump Sr. said he would hand off control of his business empire, which includes luxury homes and hotels across the world, to his sons Donald and Eric, and move his assets into a trust to help ensure that he would not consciously take actions as president that would benefit him personally. Several government and private ethics watchdogs said he should have gone further, divesting himself of assets that could cause a conflict of interest.
  5. Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer. ? ANI KARACHI: Indian Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer has hailed Pakistan for seeking to resolve issues with India through dialogue, saying that New Delhi does not have this policy. "There is only one way of resolving India-Pakistan issues and that is by uninterrupted and un-interruptable dialogue," Aiyer said at a session at Karachi Literature Festival here. The Indian politician said that he is "proud" of Pakistan for having this policy, however, regretted its non-reciprocation by New Delhi. "And I am very proud and half very sad that this sentence of these three words has been accepted as Pakistan policy, but has not been accepted as Indian policy." His words followed an applause from the audience. Aiyer further stressed that Kashmir and terrorism are the two main issues that need to be dealt with. He also said that both India and Pakistan should adopt a framework that was formulated by former president Pervez Musharraf's government.
  6. GENEVA: The United States defended its controversial new nuclear policy at the United Nations on Tuesday, insisting a more assertive stance was needed to confront a worsening security climate. The Pentagon's so-called Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), unveiled last week, outlined US plans to revamp its nuclear arsenal by developing new low-yield atomic weapons. Washington has portrayed the policy as a necessary response to actions taken by Russia and China, claims Moscow and Beijing have fiercely denounced. "Today's security environment is more dynamic, complex, demanding, and threatening than any since the end of the Cold War", the US ambassador to the UN's conference on disarmament, Robert Wood, said as he unveiled the NPR at the Geneva-based body. He accused Russia, China and North Korea of boosting their nuclear stockpiles and "raising the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies". "Some in that room may think that we should just put our heads in the sand and ignore the threats that are being faced out there and just let Russia and China and North Korea continue to do what they are doing," Wood told reporters outside the conference hall. "This NPR reflects the reality of the security situation", he added. "It is important to strengthen nuclear deterrence." Moscow has called the new US policy "bellicose" and "anti-Russian" and warned it might take responsive measures to boost its own security. China has said that Washington's assessments of its nuclear intentions amounted to "wild guesses", while Iran charged the US with bringing the world "closer to annihilation". The new NPR is the first time since 2010 that the US military has spelled out how it foresees nuclear threats in the coming decades. It has triggered accusations that President Donald Trump's administration was seeking to lower the threshold needed for a nuclear strike and breaching non-proliferation agreements. "The nuclear threshold is not being lowered", Wood said. "Our intention is to reduce the risk that others might miscalculate or gamble that they have some exploitable advantage. The objective is to make clear it is not in others´ interest to use nuclear weapons."
  7. The United States´ new nuclear policy brings humanity "closer to annihilation", Iran´s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. Photo: file TEHRAN: The United States´ new nuclear policy brings humanity "closer to annihilation", Iran´s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said. His comments late Saturday came a day after the Pentagon revealed plans to revamp its nuclear arsenal, largely in response to a perceived renewed threat from Russia. Zarif said the new policy was "in violation" of the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). "The US Nuclear Posture Review reflects greater reliance on nukes in violation of the #NPT, bringing humankind closer to annihilation," Zarif said on Twitter. Zarif said the same impulse was driving the United States to undermine the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which President Donald Trump has demanded be renegotiated. "Trump´s obduracy in killing the #JCPOA stems from the same dangerous imprudence," Zarif wrote, using the technical name for the nuclear deal. The latest Nuclear Posture Review published by the Pentagon called for a larger arsenal of smaller, low-yield nuclear weapons to act as a more "credible" deterrent to threats, particularly from Russia. The NPT, which came into force in 1970 and has been signed by almost all countries including the United States, calls on nations "to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament". Iran´s nuclear deal, reached with six world powers, lifted some international sanctions in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme. Trump has consistently attacked the accord and said in January he would not continue to waive sanctions unless new restrictions were placed on Iran´s missile programme and wider actions in the Middle East. The other parties -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- as well as the European Union have strongly defended the deal, saying it has achieved its aim of limiting Iran´s ability to build a nuclear weapon.
  8. The US military has put countering China and Russia, dubbed ?revisionist powers?, at the centre of a new national defence strategy unveiled earlier this month-Reuters BEIJING: China urged the United States to drop its ?Cold War mentality? and not misread its military build-up, after Washington published a document on Friday outlining plans to expand its nuclear capabilities to deter others. ?Peace and development are irreversible global trends. The United States, the country that owns the world?s largest nuclear arsenal, should take the initiative to follow the trend instead of going against it,? said China?s Ministry of Defence in a statement on Sunday. The review of US nuclear policy has already riled Russia, which viewed the document as confrontational, and raised fears that it could increase the risk of miscalculation between the two countries. The US military has put countering China and Russia, dubbed ?revisionist powers?, at the centre of a new national defence strategy unveiled earlier this month. By expanding its own low-yield nuclear capability, the US would deter Russia from using nuclear weapons, say American officials. China accused the United States of ?presumptuous speculation? about China?s intentions, and said it has always adopted a restrained attitude towards the development of nuclear weapons and kept its nuclear forces to a minimum. With an eye on Russia, US to increase nuclear capabilities The focus on Russia is in line with the Pentagon shifting priorities from the fight against militants to ?great power competition? with Moscow and Beijing ?We hope that the United States will abandon its Cold War mentality, earnestly assume its special disarmament responsibilities, correctly understand China?s strategic intentions and objectively view China?s national defence and military build-up...,? the ministry said in the statement posted on its website. It called on the US to work together with China and for their armies to become a stabilising factor in Sino-US relations and in the region.
  9. WASHINGTON: United States Central Command Commander General Joseph L. Votel on Friday said Pakistan is essential for the success of United States' policy in South Asia. The commander said that the US is implementing its policy in the region and reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban is a part of the effort. Votel added that the policy also includes solving the long-running conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan plays an important role in solving the Afghan issue. Earlier in January, the United States announced that it was suspending the transfer of military equipment and security-related funds to Pakistan. The suspension of security assistance to Islamabad came 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. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had also confirmed that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. Haley's statement followed an angry tweet from Trump that the US had been rewarded with ?nothing but lies and deceit? for giving Pakistan billions in aid. In August, Trump concluded a months-long review of America?s strategy to win the brutal war in Afghanistan ? now entering its 17th year ? and called for an increase in the tempo and intensity of strikes against the Taliban. The aim was to persuade some Taliban factions to enter talks with the government in Kabul. This month?s spate of bombings and Trump?s comments indicate that the end game may be further away than the White House would like.
  10. KARACHI: Suspended SSP Malir, Rao Anwar, has said encounters were a policy of Sindh IGP AD Khwaja, which he followed. The suspended official said this in connection with Naqeebullah killing case. While talking to Geo News on Thursday, Anwar said Counter-Terrorism Department, crimes branch and local police ?also? carry out fake encounters, apparently referring to claims that slam him for carrying out fake encounters. However, Anwar added, if he would be charged then high officials of the police department would also be questioned as it was their orders that he worked on. According to the suspended SSP, police high-ups should also be booked under Section 109 of the Pakistan penal Code. Section 109 of PPC refers to punishment of abetment i.e. the person helping another in committing a crime shall be penalised for the offence. Anwar said If he has hatched a conspiracy then other police officials all will be a part of it. However, he said, it was wrong that houses of policemen were being raid following killing of Naqeebullah. Anwar added if the series of raids did not stop he would file a case of robbery against everyone, including the IGP. About Naqeebullah killing case, Anwar said he would have cooperated with the police department had they talked to him properly on the issue, as he also wanted to know who was at fault. ?[But] case of terrorism has been filed against a person [himself] on the hit list of terrorists.? While reiterating his demand for the formation of a Joint Investigation Team on the case, Anwar said he would only appear before the team and would not let himself get arrested as he did not do anything wrong.
  11. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif speaks during a joint news conference in Beijing, China, December 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files DAVOS: Pakistan will neither develop its nuclear policy with the United States' permission nor change it on its orders, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News Tuesday night here in Switzerland. Asif is on a tour to Davos, in eastern Switzerland, for the much-talked-about annual session of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The minister went on to say that Pakistan reserves the right to its defence. It has neither bowed down to pressure from the US in the past nor does it intend to do now, Asif added, referring to the country's strategic policies.
  12. The Trump administration?s draft document, said that Obama-era assumptions of a world where nuclear weapons were less relevant proved incorrect WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump?s administration could pursue development of new nuclear weaponry and explicitly leave open the possibility of nuclear retaliation for major non-nuclear attacks, if a leaked draft policy document becomes reality. The Pentagon did not comment on the document, which was published by the Huffington Post website and prompted sharp criticism from arms control experts, who voiced concerns it could raise the risks of nuclear war. The Defense Department said on Friday it did not discuss ?pre-decision, draft copies of strategies and reviews.? ?The Nuclear Posture Review has not been completed and will ultimately be reviewed and approved by the President and the Secretary of Defense,? the Pentagon said in a statement. One source familiar with the document told Reuters the draft was authentic, but did not say whether it was the same version that will be presented to Trump for approval. The Republican Trump?s predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, declared his intent to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in his Nuclear Posture Review in 2010, the last time the policy document was crafted. The Trump administration?s draft document, said, however, that Obama-era assumptions of a world where nuclear weapons were less relevant proved incorrect. ?The world is more dangerous, not less,? it said. It more readily embraces the role of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to adversaries, and, as expected, backs a costly modernization of the aging US nuclear arsenal. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that modernizing and maintaining the US nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years will cost more than $1.2 trillion. The document sought to put those costs in perspective, noting that maintenance of the existing stockpile would account for nearly half the projected costs. An effective nuclear deterrent was also less expensive than war, it said. New weapons The draft document noted that Russia and China were modernizing their nuclear arsenals, while North Korea?s nuclear provocations ?threaten regional and global peace.? The draft document said the United States, while honoring all treaty commitments, would pursue development of a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile. It would also modify a small number of existing submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM, warheads to provide a nuclear option with a lower payload. In what arms control experts said appeared to be a nod to the threat of a devastating cyber attack, perhaps one that could knock down the US power grid, the document also left open the possibility of nuclear retaliation in ?extreme circumstances.? ?Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,? it said. Kingston Reif, director for disarmament research at the Arms Control Association advocacy group, said the draft document was a departure from long-standing US policy. ?It expands the scenarios under which the United States might use nuclear weapons and therefore increases the risk of nuclear weapons use,? Rief said. Although it reaffirmed an Obama-era pledge not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states if they joined and adhered to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the draft introduced a caveat. The United States reserved the right to alter that assurance, given the evolving threat from non-nuclear technologies. Michaela Dodge, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said the draft document appeared to be intentionally ambiguous about when and how the United States might retaliate, to better deter adversaries. ?If we are explicit about saying (when) we will not retaliate with the strongest weapons we have, we are implicitly telling our adversaries you can plan for these scenarios more freely,? Dodge said.
  13. FAISALABAD: Opposition leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah on Tuesday commenting on repeated US criticism said Pakistan will not take anyone?s dictation on its foreign policy. Speaking to the media, Shah, however, said that Pakistan needs to tread carefully in its engagement with the US. He said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) wants no confrontation with the US but only an independent foreign policy. Even in the US, there is a huge lobby which opposes US President Donald Trump?s position on Pakistan, Shah added. After Trump, CIA chief accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists If Pakistan fixes this problem, we're happy to continue to be their partner, Mike Pompeo tells US media The PPP leader once again lamented that the government failed to appoint a foreign minister for four years before appointing Khawaja Asif. Commenting on domestic politics, the opposition leader said that elections should be held as per the law and Constitution. He added that Senate elections will be held according to their schedule. About the PPP's alliance with Tahirul Qadri, he said that his party had demanded justice for Model Town incident victims from day one.
  14. US National Security Advisor McMaster during interview with VOA - Courtesy: VOA WASHINGTON: While stating that US President Donald Trump is ?frustrated? but also values a ?partnership with Pakistan?, United States National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has alleged Islamabad only goes after terrorists ?selectively? while it ?sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy.? In an interview with Voice of America, McMaster said the US president?s tweet was not a ?blame game? rather termed it America?s ?effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that our relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions, and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilize Afghanistan.? [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/8066c4d30902db61a274c76e8c268aa8.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MS80LzIwMTggODowMTozNyBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPWhZMFd3cXoycTVYeTROMmJ5OUJVc2c9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] He added that doing so would be a ?huge benefit to Pakistan?. McMaster claimed that Pakistan is ?operating against the interested of its own people? by ?providing safe havens and support bases for Taliban and Haqqani network leadership? who ?perpetuate hell in portions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.?
  15. ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged Pakistan?s present Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to devise a strategy which ends the country?s reliance on US aid. Referring to US President Donald Trump's 'anti-Pakistan' tweet, the former premier said Trump should know the elected government launched anti-terrorism operations after assuming power. ?Pakistan paid the highest price after 9/11? Nawaz said, emphasising that the country had lost the most in the war on terrorism. "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. The former premier said further that the Coalition Support Fund should not be termed aid. 'Will divulge everything if schemes don't stop' Nawaz said being a three-time prime minister, several facts are in his knowledge. ?We need to take stock of the domestic situation and find out why the world has a negative view of Pakistan,? he added. Nawaz lamented that not a single prime minister has completed his or her term in this country. Quoting surveys, he said the PML-N is the most popular party among the public, and its vote bank is stronger than the combined vote bank of all political parties. ?Those afraid of this rise [of PML-N] are attempting to change the present situation,? he added. ?I want to state categorically that the country?s future is linked with impartial elections,? he said, urging that equal opportunities be given to every electoral contender. He said illegal decisions and secret backdoor deals should not be initiated to keep some parties out and other favourites in. ?Those who indulge in the politics of lies and sit-ins and have been repeatedly rejected by the voters should not be forced upon the people,? he asserted. Asking that the voters? decisions not be usurped, Nawaz warned that is the scheming being undertaken behind the curtains does not stop, he ?shall present all such evidence before the people and share the story of what has transpired in the last four years?. ?I shall also inform the people of the political games being played from behind the scenes at the moment,? he added. Starting his press conference, Nawaz said this is the year of general elections when the electorate will choose their representatives for the next five years. Nawaz reached the Punjab House alongside his daughter Maryam where the press conference was taking place. Earlier, Nawaz appeared before the accountability court which is hearing corruption proceedings against him and his family. Speaking with reporters outside the court, Nawaz lamented the favourable treatment of Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan by the judiciary, referring to his recent 'clearance' by the Supreme Court in the disqualification case against him as well his bail in the anti-terrorism cases against him. The former premier also expressed disappointment at rumours that his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was to seek 'safe passage' from his present predicaments. This is a developing story and will be updated as further details are available.
  16. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/0a1626419786ffe1a8fd2dbcdf613abf.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTIvMjcvMjAxNyAyOjUzOjE2IFBNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9dFFpWGtrV3pINFplRWNjTjlBNnpiZz09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] ISLAMABAD: The federal government approved on Wednesday the Hajj Policy for 2018, according to which the official hajj scheme quota will be 120,000. Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf in a press conference said that the hajj applications will be accepted from January 15 to 25, 2018. He said that for the official scheme draw will be held on January 26, 2018. Sadar Yousaf said that the policy of the last year will continue and Pakistan?s hajj quota will be 179,000. He said that the hajj policy was revised due to the verdict of the Supreme Court, adding that the public?s trust over the official hajj scheme has been restored. The minister said that if there are any discrepancies in the scheme then the government will bear them. He said that it is the fifth consecutive year that the government has successfully announced a hajj policy.
  17. ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will chair a meeting of the federal cabinet Tuesday evening (today), where the new Hajj policy for next year will be among the agendas discussed. According to official sources, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has almost finalised preparations to announce new Hajj policy 2018 during the current week, subject to the approval of the federal cabinet. geo_embedgallery The ministry would start receiving applications for Government Hajj Scheme from mid-January 2018. The successful intending pilgrims would be selected through balloting in last week of January, the sources said. Pakistan's total Hajj quota is 179,210, of which 60 percent of total allocated Hujjaj would perform the sacred religious ceremony through Government Hajj Scheme while 40 percent would perform the Hajj through Private Hajj Scheme, the sources added. Decisions taken regarding the Economic Coordination Committee and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will also be approved during the cabinet meeting today.
  18. Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique addressing the media in Lahore on December 24, 2017. Photo: Geo News LAHORE: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Sunday said that his party is not implementing any policy that advocated clashing with the judiciary. "Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) does not have any policy in place that advocates locking horns with the judiciary," Rafique said while addressing his father's death anniversary in Lahore. "Only democracy will flourish in Pakistan," he said, adding that the PML-N will campaign for the upcoming elections in 2018 under Nawaz's leadership. He further said that the votes of the common man, 'not decisions made behind closed doors', will form the new parliament. Referring to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa's recent briefing on national security to the members of Senate, the federal minister said that it was a 'very significant' event. "The COAS openly supported the democratic system," he said. Rafique also discussed the recent resignations from the party and said that those who had resigned had no connection with the finality of Prophethood (PBUH) issue.
  19. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid NEW YORK: Wall Street closed at a record high and the dollar rose on Tuesday as sentiment was buoyed by progress on US tax reform, strong economic data, and comments by the nominee for chairman of the Federal Reserve. The British pound briefly rallied more than 1 percent from its lows after The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Britain and the European Union had agreed on the amount of the Brexit financial settlement, citing unidentified sources. Sterling was last 0.31 percent higher at $1.3357. US stocks had a volatile afternoon after news of a North Korean missile launch caused the S&P 500 to pare gains. But indexes regained ground as investors? focused on progress for a US tax cut bill, and all three major indexes posted record closing highs. The US Senate budget committee voted along party lines to send a Republican tax bill for a full Senate vote. ?People are trying to move in front of what they think now is likely to be some tax reform on the corporate side,? Rick Meckler ? the president of New Jersey-based LibertyView Capital Management ? said. The S&P?s biggest boost came from financial stocks after Fed chair nominee Jerome Powell, in his Senate confirmation hearing, discussed potentially lightening regulation. He also said the best way to sustain the US economic recovery would be to continue gradual interest rate increases. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 255.93 points (or 1.09 percent) to 23,836.71, the S&P 500 gained 25.62 points (or 0.98 percent) to 2,627.04, and the Nasdaq Composite added 33.84 points (or 0.49 percent) to 6,912.36. The pan-European 300 index rose 0.59 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.48 percent. The dollar index rose 0.35 percent, with the euro down 0.44 percent to $1.1844. On top of the policy news, the dollar was helped by data that showed US consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, driven by a robust labour market, and that home prices rose sharply in September, which should underpin consumer spending and boost economic growth. ?This is partly an unwind of some of the move we saw last week, which took place in the wake of the slightly more cautious minutes from the Fed and in an especially illiquid holiday market,? Omer Esiner ? the chief market analyst at Washington-based Commonwealth Foreign Exchange ? said. Esiner also cited the positive data. US Treasury yields inched higher as risk appetite improved due to the consumer confidence data and the Senate panel vote to advance the tax bill. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 1/32 in price to yield 2.3259 percent, from 2.328 percent late on Monday. The 30-year bond last rose 7/32 in price to yield 2.7554 percent, from 2.765 percent late on Monday. Oil prices eased on uncertainty over the outcome of a meeting of the organization of the petroleum exporting countries (OPEC) this week at which an extension to OPEC?s price-supporting oil output cuts will be discussed. US crude fell 0.74 percent to $57.68 per barrel and Brent was last at $63.28, down 0.88 percent on the day. Spot gold dropped 0.1 percent to $1,293.74 an ounce.
  20. European Council (EC) President Donald Tusk attends a debate on the outcome of the last European summit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Files WARSAW: European Council (EC) President Donald Tusk said on Sunday he was alarmed by the similarity of policies pursued by Poland?s right-wing government to what he described as ?Kremlin?s plan?. Poland?s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has been increasingly at loggerheads with the EU and Tusk since coming to office in late 2015, although the acrimony between Tusk and PiS dates back many years. The PiS is locked in disputes with the bloc over immigration, logging of an ancient forest, and putting courts and media under more government control. Tusk ? the former Polish prime minister and arch-rival of PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski ? won a second term in March as chairman of EU summit meetings, with his own country voting against his extension. ?Alarm! A vehement dispute with Ukraine, isolation in the European Union, departure from the rule of law and independent courts, attack on non-governmental sector and free media - PiS strategy or Kremlin?s plan?? Tusk tweeted. ?Too similar to rest easy.? Tusk was referring to, among other things, the fact that Ukraine summoned the Polish ambassador in Kiev on Saturday after Poland denied entry to a Ukrainian official in an escalation of a diplomatic spat over the two neighbours? troubled past. Tusk did not provide details of what he described as the ?Kremlin?s plan?. In May, Tusk urged Group of Seven leaders on to stick to their sanctions policy on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. He also sided with member nations such as Poland and the Baltic states in their efforts to oppose a new pipeline connecting Russia and Germany. The Polish government denies all charges from Brussels that it is undermining the rule of law or isolating Poland in Europe, saying it needs to overhaul Poland?s ineffective legal system and stand up for Poland?s interests in the EU. A majority of EU lawmakers on Wednesday demanded punishment for the eurosceptic government in Poland, saying it was undermining the rule of law and promoting intolerance. In a response to Tusk?s comment, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo tweeted: ?@donaldtusk as @eucopresident has done nothing for Poland. Today, using his position to attack the Polish government, he is attacking Poland.? In March, Poland?s defence minister accused Tusk of working with Russian President Vladimir Putin to harm Polish interests following the 2010 plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski ? Jaroslaw?s twin brother ? and 95 others. In April, Tusk testified for eight hours in a separate intelligence probe by Warsaw?s right-wing government that he described as a smear campaign to discredit him.
  21. Smog in the provincial capital this month crossed all the international benchmarks as PM2.5 level-AFP LAHORE: The Lahore Court on Saturday directed the Punjab government to prepare and submit a revised policy on the issue of smog in the province in three months. The court was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Sheraz Raza against the government?s failure to take effective steps to contain smog. LHC chief justice Mansoor Ali Shah in a written interim order chided the government for wasting time on collecting data instead of taking steps for citizen?s health. The order said that the smog index has reached a dangerous level in the province and directed the government to immediately implement the health emergency plan. Relevant departments should create awareness about smog among citizens and ensure practical steps to rid the province of smog, Justice Shah said. The order also directs the government to clarify the role of health and education departments in the revised smog policy, besides asking the Met department to issue smog score on its website. The court adjourned the hearing until December 18. Smog in the provincial capital this month crossed all the international benchmarks as PM2.5 level, which is termed the most dangerous pollutant in the air across the world, remained between 450ug/m3 and 500ug/m3 against the notified standards of 35ug/m3 per day. As per World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, the daily average level of PM2.5 should not be more than 10ug/m3 and aggregated annual mean 25ug/m3 in a day whereas as per a gazette notification of the Punjab government, the daily limit of PM2.5 is 15ug/m3 and aggregated annual mean 35ug/m3 per day.
  22. SYDNEY: Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has criticised the country´s selection policy and says the constant team changes hampered his attempts to develop his all-round game. The 30-year-old left-hander scored 55 runs in four innings during Australia´s 3-0 test series defeat in Sri Lanka in 2016 before being dropped for the third test. He then scored half-centuries in six consecutive home tests but did not play in the four-test series in India this year. Khawaja was brought back for the first test in Bangladesh, only to be dropped for the second match of the series. "They never used to do it before, I´m not really sure why they do it now," Khawaja told ABC Radio of the selection policy. "It creates a lot of instability in the team I reckon, going in and out for everyone. "You hear things like ´the players are playing afraid´ or whatnot, but that´s what happens when you drop players all the time. We´ve been doing that a fair bit lately." The Pakistan-born cricketer has played 24 tests since making his debut in the 2011 Ashes series against England and has scored five hundreds, averaging over 45.The Queensland captain is in good form in domestic cricket and is expected to earn a place in Australia´s top order in the Ashes series against England which starts next month. "For some reason it seems like lately in Australia that the best players always seem to be the next guy in, which I don´t totally agree with," he said. "(It is) very hard to develop your game and play some consistent cricket if you´re not getting consistent opportunities overseas, which I haven´t been getting. "It´s frustrating but I´ve just got to focus on what´s in front of me. I´d love to win an Ashes series - it´s something I haven´t been able to do yet." Khawaja believes the Australian selectors already know what side to pick for the five-test series against England starting in Brisbane on Nov. 23. "I think the Australian team is pretty stable," he said. "I´m confident the selectors already know what their make-up of the team is going to be for the first test. "There might be a few positions up for grabs depending on what happens in the Shield games but I´m pretty confident they know what they´re expecting.
  23. US President Donald Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it. Trump announced the major shift in US policy in a speech in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East. He accused Iran of ?not living up to the spirit? of the nuclear agreement and said his goal is to ensure Tehran never obtains a nuclear weapon, in effect throwing the fate of the deal to Congress. ?We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran?s nuclear breakout,? Trump said. Trump?s hardline remarks drew praise from Israel, Iran?s arch-foe, but was criticized by European allies. The move by Trump was part of his ?America First? approach to international agreements which has led him to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. His Iran strategy angered Tehran and put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord - Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union - some of which have benefited economically from renewed trade with Iran. Responding to Trump, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday on television that Tehran was committed to the deal and accused Trump of making baseless accusations. ?The Iranian nation has not and will never bow to any foreign pressure,? he said. ?Iran and the deal are stronger than ever.? European allies have warned of a split with the United States over the nuclear agreement and say that putting it in limbo as Trump has done undermines US's credibility abroad, especially as international inspectors say Iran is in compliance with the accord. The chief of the UN atomic watchdog reiterated that Iran was under the world?s ?most robust nuclear verification regime.? ?The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,? Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said, referring to the deal by its formal name. US Democrats expressed scepticism at Trump?s decision. Senator Ben Cardin said: ?At a moment when the United States and its allies face a nuclear crisis with North Korea, the president has manufactured a new crisis that will isolate us from our allies and partners.? CONGRESS DECIDES While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact. If Congress reimposes the sanctions, the United States would in effect be in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal and it would likely fall apart. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal remains in place. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker was working on amending the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act law to include ?trigger points? that if crossed by Iran would automatically reimpose US sanctions. The trigger points would address strengthening nuclear inspections, Iran?s ballistic missile programme and eliminate the deal?s ?sunset clauses? under which some of the restrictions on Iran?s nuclear programme expire over time. Trump directed US intelligence agencies to probe whether Iran might be working with North Korea on its weapons programs. The president, who took office in January, had reluctantly certified the agreement twice before but has repeatedly blasted it as ?the worst deal ever.? It was negotiated under his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. Trump warned that if ?we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.? ?We?ll see what happens over the next short period of time and I can do that instantaneously,? he told reporters when asked why he did not choose to scrap the deal now.
  24. Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attends an opening ceremony of a newly constructed residential complex in Ryomyong street in Pyongyang. Photo: Reuters SEOUL: The promotion of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un?s 28-year-old sister to the country?s top decision-making body is a sign he is strengthening his position by drawing his most important people closer to the center of power, experts and officials say. Kim Yo Jong was named as an alternate member of the politburo within the ruling Workers? Party of Korea - the opaque, all-powerful party organ where top state affairs are decided, the North?s official media said on Sunday. It makes her only the second woman in patriarchal North Korea to join the exclusive club after Kim Kyong Hui, who held powerful roles when her brother Kim Jong Il ruled the country. ?Since she is a female, Kim Jong Un likely does not see her as a threat and a challenge to his leadership,? said Moon Hong-sik, research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy. ?As the saying goes ?blood is thicker than water,? Kim Jong Un thinks Kim Yo Jong can be trusted.? Unlike her aunt, who was promoted to the politburo in 2012 after serving more than three decades in the party, Kim Yo Jong has risen to power at an unprecedented pace. Kim Kyong Hui has not been seen since her husband, Jang Song Thaek, once regarded as the No.2 leader in Pyongyang, was executed in 2013. South Korea?s spy agency believes she is now in a secluded place near Pyongyang undergoing a treatment for an unidentified disease, according to an August briefing to parliament. Jang and his wife are not the only relatives to fall from Kim Jong Un?s favor. Kim Jong Un?s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was killed with a toxic nerve agent at a Malaysian airport in February. Two women are on trial for the murder, which South Korean and U.S. officials believe Kim Jong Un?s regime was behind. Kim Jong Nam, who lived in exile in Macau, had criticized his family?s dynastic rule and his brother had issued a standing order for his execution, according to some South Korean lawmakers. IN A PONYTAIL AND BLACK SUITS The smartly dressed Kim Yo Jong, her hair usually pulled back in a ponytail and mostly seen in black suits and black-heeled shoes, made her first debut on state media in December 2011, seen standing tearfully next to Kim Jong Un at the funeral of their father. Since then, Kim has made several appearances with her brother, giggling at concerts, riding a white horse, smiling as she receives flowers on his behalf at state functions. Her youth and bubbly personality seen in state media are in stark contrast to the usually glum generals and aging party cadres who follow Kim Jong Un on official duties. Having previously only occasionally appeared in the background, the young heiress has moved to the front and center of media photos more recently, assisting her brother at numerous high-profile state events. At a massive military parade in April to mark the 105th birth anniversary of founding father Kim Il Sung, she was seen rushing out from behind pillars to bring paperwork to her brother as he prepared to give an address. The same month, she stood alongside him during the unveiling ceremony of a construction project in Pyongyang. In March 2016, she accompanied Kim Jong Un to a field guidance for nuclear scientists, where he claimed successful miniaturisation of nuclear warheads. ?Kim Yo Jong?s official inclusion in the 30-strong exclusive club of North Korea?s chief policy makers means her role within the regime will be expanded further,? Cheong Seong-chang, senior fellow at the Sejong Institute south of Seoul. BEHIND THE VEIL Apart from her age, little is known about Kim Yo Jong. She was publicly identified for the first time in February 2011 when a South Korean TV station caught her at a Eric Clapton concert in Singapore with her other brother, Kim Jong Chol. The three, who all reportedly went to school in Switzerland, are full blood siblings, born to Kim Jong Il?s fourth partner, Ko Yong Hui. Kim Jong Chol, the oldest of Kim Jong Il?s sons, does not involve himself in politics, leading a quiet life in Pyongyang where he plays guitar in a band, according to Thae Yong Ho, North Korea?s former deputy ambassador in London who defected to the South. In 2014, Kim Yo Jong was made vice director of the Workers? Party?s Propaganda and Agitation Department, which handles ideological messaging through the media, arts and culture. The position led the U.S. Treasury Department to blacklist her along with six other North Korean officials in January for ?severe human rights abuses? and censorship that concealed the regime?s ?inhumane and oppressive behavior?. Last year, South Korea?s former spy chief said Kim Yo Jong was seen ?abusing power?, punishing propaganda department executives for ?minor mistakes?. In a North Korean state media photo in January 2015, she was spotted wearing a ring on her fourth finger during a visit to a child care center. South Korean intelligence officials say Kim might have wed a schoolmate from the prestigious Kim Il Sung University, but there has been no confirmation of whether she is indeed married or to whom.
  25. The Taj Mahal is probably one of the most recognised symbols of Indian culture all over the world. Foreign dignitaries from each and every corner of the globe make an effort to stop-over and visit the mausoleum whenever flying over this part of the world, US presidents swear by a clichéd couples photo by the bench over the monument's lawn, and many Hollywood personalities and sports superstars have the glistening tomb on their bucket list too. From Princess Diana to Mark Zuckerberg, the Taj is a popular tourist destination. It is a symbol of love and thus, the UP government's incredibly stupid move to exclude the monument from its official tourism booklet shows an unabashed religious bias. “It is like saying we will have (William Shakespeare's) 'Hamlet' without the Prince of Denmark.” – Abhishek Manu Singhvi © Twitter UP Tourism-Unlimited Possibilities (Just Not For Taj Mahal) The 32-page tourism booklet was launched by UP's tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi at a press conference. It has the iconic Ganga Aarti on its cover and depicts the entire gamut of cultural hotspots all around the state, excluding, probably the most popular destination. One would entertain the thought it being an honest mistake, except it features a complete page dedicated to the Gorakhnath temple (where Yogi is the presiding priest), leaving fingerprints of an approval process that's signed by a priest, and not the CM of a state. The Gorakhnath temple, by the way, is just 8.5 km's from another acclaimed possession of Indian culture, the BRD hospital where 290 children died in August because of lack of oxygen. A meek response to this blunder from the UP government shows their unequivocal support for this kind of religious bias. A senior UP govt. official had this to say on dropping the Taj Mahal from the booklet – "This wasn't a compendium of tourist attractions in UP, merely a book highlight the works done by the incumbent government and the projects it plans to take up. The booklet finds mention of projects worth Rs 154 crore in the category of pro-poor tourism, which generate high employment," Avneesh Awasthi, director general UP tourism, told TOI. "In this category, three projects in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal have also been mentioned," he added. Despite these insufficient clarifications, the fact remains that there is no mention or even a picture of the Taj Mahal in the entire brochure. © Twitter However, the Ramayan, Krishna and Buddhist circuits, the Vindhya, Awadh, Bundelkhand, Jal Vihar, eco tourism and adventure circuits were amply included in the booklet. The minister in the conference also said that the govt. plans to develop the Jain, Sufi, freedom struggle, craft, cuisines and culture trails as a part of a bigger project. That the Taj Mahal was unjustifiably targeted and not included in the booklet seems to be more than just an honest mistake. Dumb, Saffron And Proud To understand where this deep rooted hatred for all things Islamic comes from, one need not look any further than the Chief Minister of the state – Yogi Adityanath. The CM of the most populous state in India is a hardline Hindutva fanatic and that's no big news. As recent as this June, Yogi used a public event in Bihar to give his two cents on what Indian culture is. "Ramayana and the Gita represent Indian culture, not the Taj Mahal," he had then said. The self-styled religious leader was also of the view that gifting replicas of the Taj Mahal, a mausoleum, to dignitaries is inauspicious and not a part of Indian culture. Now, no matter how stupid that line of thinking might be, it only goes on to show how Indian culture is being defined by the whims and fancies of some right-wing higher-ups in the government. © Twitter But this is not where the rot stops. It is in fact only the beginning and the deputy CM of the state is not to be left behind in this vitriol infested thought process. Last month, the deputy of the state said that Mughals were ‘plunderers' and ‘not our ancestors', thus shaming the collective intelligence of a complete generation of historians. With explanations like these, who knows maybe the CM might finally include the Taj Mahal in the UP Tourism booklet on the pretext of it being a Shiv temple once, called Tejo Mahal. But The Taj Stands Tall, For Sure We now live in a society where people vote for the Taj Mahal to become one of the Seven Wonders of the World and yet choose to ignore this shameless religious bias in the name of a Yogi. But despite the religious bias, the Taj Mahal stands tall as the symbol of love. It has an annual footfall of 62 lakh tourists and contributes around 23 percent to UP's tourism earnings. Not only is it a source of employment for thousands of people in and around the city of Agra, it is a monument that signifies India's cultural diversity. A picture in a booklet or the lack of it won't change that. © Twitter Also, no matter how much the hindutva leaders might want to distance Indian culture from our medieval past, the fact is it is an integral part of our history and no misprinted booklet is ever going to change that. In the complexity of our Indian culture, lies its true beauty and that is why monuments like the Taj Mahal are a symbol of love that the humanity is capable of. Nothing more. Nothing less. Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are that of the author and don't necessarily reflect the views of Mensxp.com.