20 November 2019

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday renewed calls on Pakistan to curb extremists fighting in Afghanistan, saying Washington was holding its uneasy war partner accountable. Pompeo made the comment as he welcomed long-delayed legislative elections in Afghanistan, saying the United States was "encouraged" by voter turnout, despite reports of widespread problems including poll centers that failed to open or lacked voter rolls. "Our expectation is that Pakistan will not provide safe harbor to terrorists on their western border," Pompeo told reporters when asked about Islamabad's role. "We couldn't have made that message any more clear," he said, adding: "Pakistan will be held to account if they don't achieve that, if they're not sincere in that effort." "Everyone wants a reconciliation in Afghanistan and to achieve that, you can't have a safe harbor for Taliban, for Haqqani and for others inside of Pakistan," he said, listing extremist movements fighting in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump's administration last month cut $300 million in military aid to Pakistan after years of US complaints that Islamabad has kept nurturing ties with militants that target both Afghanistan and rival India. Pakistan has countered that it has paid a heavy price internally for fighting militants and that it can help bring the Taliban to the table.

Friday September 14, 2018 Kabul (BNA) Safiya Wazir, 27, who fled the Taliban with her family in 1997, won an upset victory in a New Hampshire primary. “There can be change, yes. Why not?” she said. It was a mere state house race, below the radar, with fewer than 500 votes cast. But Safiya Wazir’s upset victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday is yet one more striking example of how nontraditional candidates are upending expectations in this extraordinary election season. Ms. Wazir, just 27 and a refugee from Afghanistan, toppled a four-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for state representative in a blue-collar neighborhood of Concord, the state capital. Her opponent was Dick Patten, 66, a former city councilor and former police dispatcher who was first elected to the state legislature in 2010. His campaign focused on immigrants, whom he blamed for “getting everything,” such as welfare benefits, to the detriment of people born and raised in New Hampshire. She beat him, 329 to 143. It was a stunning upset, not just because Ms. Wazir is so young, a woman and new to politics — not to mention relatively new to this country — but because New Hampshire is 94 percent white. Its neighbors, Vermont and Maine, are 95 percent white, making northern New England collectively the nation’s whitest region. Nytimes Ansari

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Kabul (BNA) Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said Saturday that Iran has resumed electricity supplies to neighboring countries after it overcame its domestic power shortage.
“Iran is committed to supplying electricity to neighboring countries of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Ardakanian told reporters on Saturday, while he did not reject the possibility to import power from some other neighboring countries as well.
Iran cut electricity supplies to Iraq due to unpaid bills as well as a sharp rise in domestic consumption during the hot days in summer back in July.
The Iranian energy minister said that the Iraqi side has started paying its accumulated bills, calling for an acceleration in the process of payments.  He also said that Iran will probably import power from Turkmenistan and Armenia if necessary.
 

Monday April 9, 2018 Kabul (BNA) Pashtun Tahafuz Movement's (PTM) grand gathering in Peshawar kicked off on Sunday afternoon with the speakers demanding the release of missing persons as well as provision of basic human rights to the Pakhtun community in Pakistan. People numbering in thousands, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), participated in the gathering at Pishtakhra Chowk near Ring Road and intermittently chanted the slogan da sang azadi da (what kind of freedom is this) their movement's rallying cry. The families of missing persons arrived at the gathering holding pictures of their loved ones, whose whereabouts remain unknown. The protesters were largely mobilised through social media, as well as pamphlets and PTM workers creating an awareness about the movement among local communities. It is pertinent to mention that mainstream TV channels across the country gave little to no airtime to the Sunday protest. "We are only against the oppressors," PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen told a charged audience as he took the stage. "We are only the 'agents' of our nation," he said, addressing allegations that the movement is being backed by foreign agencies. "What has happened so far for the missing persons?" he asked. "The mothers and elders whose beloveds are missing should not be coerced." Family members of a missing person hold poster demanding his recovery. Photo by Author "In Karachi, money is taken in return for bodies. Even Genghis Khan did not take money after killing people," Pashteen said. "After Rao Anwar (the ex-SSP Malir accused of the extrajudicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud), it is now the turn of Ehsanullah Ehsan (former TTP leader)," he said, demanding that the erstwhile TTP spokesperson should be brought to the courts. "After Ehsanullah, we will bring [former president] Musharraf to the courts," he added. He also spoke about how businesses in Fata have been affected by the ensuing violence. "Fruit from Wana and Swat is being sold in Lahore instead of Peshawar." "In Waziristan, the 'good Taliban' are threatening the people," he said. Pashteen demanded that the practice of imposing curfews in Fata should come to an end, and that schools, hospitals under occupation should return to their usual course of action. "We will go to every village until our demands are met," Pashteen announced, adding that more jalsas will be held in Karachi, Hyderabad, Loralai and Bannu, followed by a sit-in in Islamabad. He also announced that a gathering named "Jalsa Raddul Fasaad" will be held on April 22 in Lahore, whereas another one in Swat on April 29 will be called "Raah-e-Raast". Thousands gather to demand basic human rights at PTM jalsa in Peshawar. Photo by Author The Islamabad sit-in would end only after an international guarantee, Pashteen told the audience. He also said that a rally will be taken to Waziristan after Ramazan. "We have to give the coming generations a bright future," he concluded.
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