Tag Archives: ISLAMABAD

China opposes India’s plans to hold G20 meeting in J&K, says report

“We have noted this latest development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing

China on Thursday voiced its opposition to India’s reported plans to hold the next year’s meeting of G-20 leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, echoing close ally Pakistan’s objection, and underlined that relevant sides should avoid “unilateral moves” that may “complicate” the situation..

“We have noted this latest development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here on Thursday while replying to a question from the official media.

“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement,” Zhao said.

He said the “parties concerned need to avoid unilateral moves that may complicate the situation. Efforts should be made to settle the dispute through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain regional peace and stability.”

Stating that the G20 is a premier forum for international economic and financial cooperation, Zhao said, “we call on all major economies to focus on steady recovery of the world economy, avoid politicising relevant cooperation and make positive contributions to improving global economic governance.”

Asked whether China, a member of G20, would attend the meeting to be held in 2023, he said, “We will look at whether China will attend the meeting.”

To another question that China is building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the disputed region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and India’s objections over it, Zhao said the “two matters are completely different in nature. China has undertaken some projects in Pakistan to help it grow its economy and improve people’s livelihood.”

“These projects are in Pakistan-occupied areas of Kashmir,” Zhao said, perhaps a rare occasion when China has described PoK in this way.

“Relevant Chinese companies conduct the relevant projects with the purpose of helping Pakistan to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood,” he said.

“This does not affect China’s position on the Kashmir issue,” he underlined.

On June 25, Pakistan said it rejected India’s attempt to hold a meeting of G20 countries in Kashmir, hoping that members of the grouping will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would oppose the proposal outright.

Jammu and Kashmir will be hosting the 2023 meetings of G-20, an influential grouping that brings together the world’s major economies, with the union territory administration last Thursday setting up a five-member high-level committee for overall coordination.

This will be the first major international summit expected to be held in Jammu and Kashmir after its special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn and the erstwhile state was divided into two union territories in August 2019.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement that Islamabad had taken note of news items appearing in the Indian media indicating that India might be contemplating to hold some G20-related meeting in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Pakistan completely rejects any such attempt by India,” Ahmad said.

He said it was a well-known fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory between Pakistan and India, and has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades.

He hoped that in case of any such controversial proposal from India, the G20 members will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would reject it outright.

Russian journalist’s Nobel Peace Prize fetches record $103.5 mln at auction to aid Ukraine children

June 21 (Reuters) – Dmitry Muratov, the co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize and the editor of one of Russia’s last major independent newspapers, auctioned off his Nobel medal for a record $103.5 million to aid children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

All proceeds from the auction, which coincided with the World Refugee Day on Monday, will benefit UNICEF’s humanitarian response for Ukraine’s displaced children, Heritage Auctions, which conducted the sale in New York, said in a statement

Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, fiercely critical of President Vladimir Putin and his government, suspended operations in Russia in March after warnings from the state over its coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Pressure against liberal Russian media outlets has been continuous under Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, but it has mounted after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Muratov was attacked with red paint in April

Russia’s mainstream media and state-controlled organisations follow closely the language used by the Kremlin to describe the conflict with Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to ensure Russian security and denazify its neighbour. Kyiv and its Western allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression.

According to U.S. media reports, the auction of Muratov’s prize shattered the record for any Nobel medal that has been auctioned off, with reports saying that the previous highest sale fetched just under $5 million.

“This award is unlike any other auction offering to present,” Heritage Auctions said in a statement before the sale.

“Mr. Muratov, with the full support of his staff at Novaya Gazeta, is allowing us to auction his medal not as a collectible but as an event that he hopes will positively impact the lives of millions of Ukrainian refugees.”

Muratov, who co-founded Novaya Gazeta in 1991, won the 2021 the Nobel Peace Prize with Maria Ressa of the Philippines for what the Nobel Prize committee said were “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.

Muratov, who pledged to donate about $500,000 of that prize money to charities, dedicated his Nobel to the six Novaya Gazeta journalists who have been murdered since 2000.

That list included the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of Russia’s war in Chechnya, who was killed in 2006 in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building.

Pakistan ‘genuinely and seriously’ wants to boost trade ties with Turkey: PM Shehbaz

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said Pakistan “genuinely and seriously” wanted to boost bilateral, trade and cultural ties with Turkey as he made the case for the Turkish business community to invest in Pakistan.

“Suffice to say, we are here to convey this message to our Turkish brothers and sisters, President Tayyip Erdogan and his team, and to the Turkish business community that we genuinely and seriously want to work with you,” PM Shehbaz said while speaking at the Turkey-Pakistan Business Council in Ankara.

The premier is currently on a three-day official visit to Turkey.

He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Investment Board Chaudhry Salik Hussain and special assistants to the prime minister Tariq Fatemi and Fahd Husain.

He stated that it was important to transform the brotherly relations between the two countries by promoting trade, investment and cultural relations. He went on to say that even though the countries don’t speak the same language, the nations hail from the same culture and have a shared history.

“We have been partners and have supported each other through thick and thin,” he said, adding that he had received “hundreds of businessmen” between 2008 and 2018.

“Your active participation in investments in Pakistan is highly appreciated. And above all your participation in humanitarian projects in Pakistan is very well-known.”

He added: “Today, we are here to seriously engage ourselves with you because you are very serious-minded business people, and your achievements are outstanding and a shining example for all of us.”

He called for the two countries to collaborate and cooperate in various sectors, including the automobile industry, agriculture, textile and alternative energy.

“I am here today with my great team to convey this message to you in no uncertain terms, absolutely loud and clear, that we will welcome you with both arms to come and invest in Pakistan, promote trade,” he said.

The premier said that Pakistan’s populace is primarily very young, pointing toward the “mass opportunities that remained undiscovered”.

“I have requested the trade minister, before we conclude this meeting, we must sign a letter of intent that through our untiring efforts we shall achieve bilateral trade of $5 billion in two years to come. [It is] difficult but not impossible,” he declared.

PM, Turkish FM discuss bilateral ties

Earlier today, a high-level Turkish delegation led by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on PM Shehbaz. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other members of Pakistani delegation were also present for the meeting.

Both sides discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties between Pakistan and Turkey, Radio Pakistan reported.

The meeting also discussed the promotion of cooperation in different sectors, particularly trade, investment, education, communication and culture.

PM Shehbaz said the historical and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Turkey were acquiring a new dimension, leading to progress for both nations. He said Pakistan and Turkey had similar views on international issues and the people of both the countries stood by each other in difficult times.

He said there was a strong relationship of mutual trust and respect between Pakistan and Turkey, which had turned into strong economic relations. The premier added that Turkey made rapid progress under the leadership of President Erdogan, terming it a role model for other nations.

Meanwhile, the Turkish foreign minister said the two countries had deep-rooted relations and expressed his government’s desire to strengthen ties in a multitude of areas.

Violence on rise in India-occupied Kashmir after Yasin Malik’s sentencing

SRINAGAR: Indian forces killed six fighters in occupied Kashmir over the past 24 hours while the fighters shot dead a female TV performer and a police officer, officials said on Thursday, following the conviction of the region’s best-known leader.

A New Delhi court on Wednesday ordered life in jail for Yasin Malik for funding “terrorist” activities and on several other counts. The sentencing prompted warnings from politicians that it would promote alienation in the Muslim-majority region.

Shops and businesses in India-held Kashmir remained closed for a second day of protests against the verdict, while police detained 10 people for throwing stones and for sloganeering outside Yasin Malik’s residence.

“Three militants each of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in two separate gun battles in [occupied] Kashmir since yesterday,” Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar said, referring to the two organisations. “We have also lost a cop in one of the operations.”

Kumar said Kashmiri fighters had shot dead 35-year-old television and social-media performer Amreen Bhat on Wednesday evening. They have allegedly killed at least 12 people, mostly police, in occupied Kashmir this year. One of the dead was a Kashmiri Hindu government employee, worrying the disputed region’s tiny minority community.

More than 3,400 Hindus from occupied Kashmir have been given government jobs there in recent years, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government tries to lure them back into the region after attacks forced them to flee during the 1990s. But Hindus have been holding street protests demanding relocation out of held Kashmir.

“We are not secure here,” Amit, a protesting Hindu government emplo­yee, said. “Our colleague was shot dead in his office. Our demand is relocation outside Kashmir, because every so often there is a targeted killing.”

Indian forces have already stepped up their operations, killing 78 fighters this year, according to the administration of held Kashmir. For the whole of last year, 193 were killed, while 232 were shot dead in 2020.

Meanwhile, representatives of Pakistan and India got into a fresh verbal duel in the UN Security Council on Wednesday after Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram castigated New Delhi’s continued oppression in occupied Kashmir, drawing attention to the life sentence awarded to Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik by an Indian court.

Qasim Aziz Butt, who represented Pakistan, rejected India’s claim about Jammu and Kashmir being its integral part, saying it was a disputed territory, as per all United Nations maps and official documents.

The Pakistani representative accused India of being one of the world’s largest purveyors of state terrorism, notably against each of its neighbours, including Pakistan. At home, state-directed terrorism is being unleashed against all minorities, he said.—Agencies

Our Staff Correspondent in Muzaffarabad adds: Business community members across Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) kept their shutters down on Wednesday and joined people from other walks of life in staging rallies and demonstrations to condemn the illegal sentencing of incarcerated JKLF chairman Yasin Malik by an Indian court.

JKLF activists took out a rally from Burhan Wani Chowk which culminated at the UN Military Observers Mission office where the party leaders handed over a memorandum calling for the UN secretary general’s immediate intervention to save the life of the popular Kashmiri leader.

Traders, political workers, students and other citizens took out a rally from Upper Adda to Bank Road to express solidarity with Yasin Malik.

Bush mistakenly calls Iraq invasion ‘brutal, unjustified’

Former United States President George W. Bush mistakenly described the invasion of Iraq as “brutal” and “unjustified” before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bush made the comments in a speech during an event in Dallas on Wednesday, while he was criticising Russia’s political system.

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq,” Bush said, before correcting himself and shaking his head. “I mean, of Ukraine.”

He jokingly blamed the mistake on his age as the audience burst into laughter.

In 2003, when Bush was president, the United States led an invasion of Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that were never found. The prolonged conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced many more.

Bush’s remarks quickly went viral on social media, gathering over three million views on Twitter alone after the clip was tweeted by a Dallas News reporter.

The former US President also compared Ukranian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill, while condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching the invasion of Ukraine in February.