South Sudan rebels kidnap Pakistani Engineer

JUBA: South Sudanese rebels have kidnapped four oil workers including a Pakistani engineer, in a bid to force their Chinese and Malaysian consortium to leave the country.

The 26-year-old engineer, Ayaz Hussain Jamali from Badin Sindh was kidnapped on Sunday in Paloch Upper Nile State South Sudan. The fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar said they had seized the four working for DAR Petroleum Operating Company from Upper Nile State on Saturday – the second group of oil workers abducted this month.

There was no immediate comment from DAR, a consortium including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China´s Sinopec and Malaysia´s Petronas. South Sudan, which split away from Sudan in 2011 after decades of conflict, has been mired in civil war since President Salva Kiir sacked Machar in 2013. The fighting has forced 3 million people to flee their homes, split much of the population along ethnic lines and paralysed agriculture, leaving the country facing famine, according to the United Nations.

Rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel said, “There are no conditions for their release, but we want to make it clear to their country of residence and the government that we do not want their company to operate in South Sudan.” He did not say why the rebels wanted the consortium to leave the area bordering Sudan and Ethiopia. The kidnapping came just over two weeks after two Indian employees of South Sudan´s petroleum ministry were seized in northeast Maiwut county.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistani Mission in Addis Ababa Ethiopia is in touch with South Sudan authorities for the release of Ayaz Hussain Jamali. He expressed these views while responding the queries of Online News Agency on the kidnapping of Jamali.

Zakaria said that Pakistan has not diplomatic relations with South Sudan and Pakistani Mission at Addis Ababa was aware of the kidnapping of Ayaz Jamali. “We are making efforts for his early recovery,” the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, brother of Jamali, Altaf Hussain told Online that his brother was kidnapped from South Sudan around 11: 30 am on Sunday. He said that his another brother Babar Hussain was also working in the same company in Ghumri city of South Sudan. He said that both the brothers had resigned from the company due to security unrest in the area and after few days they both would have to return to homeland. He demanded the government for the concrete efforts for the recovery of his brother. He also demanded from international and national human rights organizations to raise his brother’s issue on different forums for his early recovery. (Reuters/Online)


Pakistan, India Revive Talks on Indian Hydropower Plants


ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif welcomed the Indian decision to attend the talks and said he hoped the meeting would help resolve bilateral issues under the IWT framework. He said that settling disputes under the historic treaty would serve interests of both India and Pakistan.

The minister said that flood data supplied by India and tour programs of inspection, as well as meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of interest in the Indus Basin, are also on the agenda of the talks. The last meeting of the commission took place in May 2015, but a spike in political and military tensions prevented the two sides from holding the usually-annual meeting in 2016.

Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to revoke the 57-year-old Indus Water Treaty. The bilateral treaty assigns the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers to India, and the Chenab, Jehlum, and Sindh rivers to Pakistan. Narendra Modi suggested that the sharing of water resources could be conditional on Pakistan preventing militants from undertaking cross-border terrorist attacks in India and divided Kashmir. Islamabad, which denies Indian terror charges, condemned Modi’s statement and warned such a move would be viewed as an act of war.

Pakistan’s objections ignored New Delhi also recently intensified work on proposed power station projects on rivers in Kashmir flowing into Pakistan, ignoring objections from Islamabad and warnings these projects will deprive the country of its due share of water. While India has resumed talks with Pakistan on water-related issues, it has refused to resume a wide-ranging bilateral dialogue aimed at normalizing political ties and finding solutions to outstanding disputes, including Kashmir. New Delhi continues to cite Islamabad’s lack of action against anti-Indian militants. The two countries have been locked in military skirmishes across the Kashmir border in recent months, raising fears of another war between India and Pakistan.