Zardari Visits India
Zardari, Manmohan Discuss Kashmir, Terrorism
President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh last Sunday discussed the Kashmir issue and terrorism-related challenges, and said the two countries are willing to find "practical, pragmatic" solutions to a "number of issues" affecting the bilateral relationship. The leaders discussed all bilateral issues and agreed to further improve and promote ties. Dr. Manmohan Singh also accepted the invitation of President Zardari to visit Pakistan and said that the dates for his visit will be finalised later on. The talks were held at the Prime Minister House before the luncheon reception hosted for President Zardari by the Indian premier. Dr. Manmohan Singh, while talking to media after the meeting said, "President Zardari is on a private visit and I have taken advantage of this visit to discuss with him all bilateral issues and am very satisfied with the outcome of this visit. President Zardari has also invited me to visit Pakistan and I would be very happy to visit Pakistan on a mutually convenient date."
President Zardari, while talking to media, said, "I'm grateful to Dr. Manmohan Singh for inviting me for lunch although I'm on a private visit here. We've had some fruitful bilateral talks together. India and Pakistan are neighbours, and we can, and we would like to have better relations with India. We've spoken on all topics that we could have spoken about and we're hoping to meet on Pakistan's soil very soon."
Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, while giving details of the meeting between President Zardari and Dr. Manmohan Singh said both sides discussed all bilateral issues, including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek and emphasised the need to move forward step by step.
Bilawal Meets Rahul
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was accompanying his father President Zardari on his trip to India, met Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi at a lunch hosted at the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi. Bilawal, reportedly invited Rahul Gandhi to visit Pakistan and the latter is said to have accepted the invitation. After the meeting, Bilawal was quick to tweet that the two young leaders had lot to learn from each other. "Prez n I enjoyed Lunch with Rahul Gandhi and PM Singh. Lovely meal. Much to learn from each other," he posted.
President Zardari Visits Moinuddin Chishti's Shrine Amid Tight Security
President Zardari visited the shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer Sharif and offered special prayers for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan and the wellbeing of people. Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik accompanied the President. President Zardari was warmly received at the gate of the shrine and presented a bouquet. He performed the rituals at the Mazar of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti and untied the threads tied to the shrine when Shaheed Benazir Bhutto visited this shrine to make a wish. The President laid a wreath at the mazar and offered fateha. The President also announced a donation of one million dollars for the dargah of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti.
JSQM Chief Bashir Qureshi Dies
Chairman Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz Bashir Khan Qureshi passed away due to cardiac arrest in a local hospital in Sakrand. Maqsood Khan Qureshi, brother of the deceased, confirmed that Bashir Khan had died due to cardiac arrest. Hundreds of Sindhi nationalists and civil society members gathered at the late Sindhi leader's Gulistan-e-Jauhar residence in Karachi as news of his demise broke. Bashir Khan, 54, was at his political colleague Fahim Magsi's house in Sakrand where he had come from Karachi. He was reported to have been there in order to attend a wedding ceremony the next day and then to travel to Larkana. However, after dining with his friends at Fahim Magsi's house, Bashir Khan felt unwell and was taken to the Taluka Hospital. He was pronounced dead after a little while, and the cause of death was declared to be severe cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife, four sons and four daughters.
Indian SC Grants Bail To Dr. Chishti
The Indian Supreme Court has granted interim bail to 80-year-old Pakistani microbiologist Khalil Chisti during the pendency of his appeal against Rajasthan High Court order upholding his conviction in a murder case. Dr. Chishti had applied for bail on the ground that he is 80 years old and has already been in prison for the last 20 years. Dr. Chishti pleaded before court that he be allowed to return to his home town Karachi or be allowed to live in Delhi because of vitiated family atmosphere in Ajmer. Supreme Court asked him to surrender his passport and allowed him to file a fresh application. The court has asked Dr. Chishti to remain in Ajmer till further orders. The Pakistani doctor was given a life term on January 31, 2011 by a trial court for a murder in Ajmer in 1992. The doctor, born in Ajmer to a prosperous family of caretakers of the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti shrine, was studying in Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947. He didn't return to his family in Ajmer till he came to visit his ailing mother in 1992. Chishti allegedly killed a man after a fight over some dispute. According to sources, the issue of Khalil Chishti figured during the lunch hosted by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for Pakistani President
Snowfall Hampers Siachen Rescue Efforts
Heavy snowfall hampered efforts to boost the search for 139 soldiers and civilians buried underneath an avalanche in the Gayari sector. The US team of high altitude specialists who arrived in the country could not reach the site of the avalanche due to bad weather. Rescue efforts were further hampered as the Meteorological Department had predicted more snow for the next few days. According to the ISPR, an expert team comprising of 3 Swiss individuals and a 6 member disaster management team with necessary equipment from Germany would arrive in Islamabad. At least 286 Pakistani troops and 60 civilians worked at the site of the disaster at the entrance to the Siachen Glacier with the aid of sniffer dogs and heavy machinery, said the army. But they struggled to dig through some 25 meters (80 feet) of snow spread over an area of about one kilometre. Pakistani Army Spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said that it was unclear whether any of the people who were buried are still alive. At least 124 soldiers from the 6th Northern Light Infantry Battalion and 11 civilian contractors are missing. Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani also visited the site to supervise rescue operations.
US Announces $10M Bounty On Hafiz Saeed
The US has announced a $10M reward for the capture or information leading to the capture of Jamaatud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed. In her maiden visit to India, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told Indian officials and a select audience at the Aspen Institute that apart from Saeed, his brother-in-law Abdul Rahman Makki now carries a bounty of $3 million on his head, said a report published in The Times of India. Hafiz Saeed, are accused of planning and executing the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
US Needs To Provide Concrete Evidence Against Hafiz Saeed: Foreign Office
Pakistan made it clear to the United States last week that it should provide concrete evidence against Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki so that a legal process could be initiated against them rather than engaging in a public battle.
These first official comments from Pakistan surfaced when visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. Officials said that Nides raised the issue of Hafiz Saeed during his meetings, though statements from the Foreign Office and the US Embassy did not mention it. The visiting US dignitary was also informed that no 'workable' extradition treaty exists between the two states, so there was no question of Saeed being extradited to the US.
Babar Awan Submits Apology In Contempt Case
Former Law Minister Senator Babar Awan's attorney Barrister Ali Zafar submitted a plea to the registrar of the Supreme Court (SC), seeking unconditional apology from SC. The apex court was hearing the contempt case against former law minister for his remarks in a press conference pertaining to the decision of the SC on Memo Commission. He has decided to seek the SC's pardon in the wake of consulting with his lawyers and after which his counsel submitted the four-page written apology in which he (Babar) stated that whatever was said about the court in the press conference on December 1 was unintentional, requesting the apex court to end the proceeding of the contempt of court against him. Babar Awan has also sought apology from Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and specially requested him to pardon him. The apex court, all set to indict Awan, resumed the hearing of the contempt case