The news stories today report on Pakistan’s call for action against terrorist hideouts inside Afghanistan, new developments in Afghan peace talks and the security measures for maintaining peace and harmony during Muharram. Op-eds discuss the harms of media censorship, rise of IS in Afghanistan, and how the South Asia may be at the brink of a nuclear war.
Today’s News Stories
Pakistan asks Kabul to eliminate terrorist hideouts along border
Rejecting Afghan allegation of shelling along the border, the Pakistan Foreign Office has said that Pakistani troops only responded in self-defence when attacked by terrorists based on Afghan soil. Pakistan has asked Kabul to address the issue of cross-border sanctuaries. Foreign Office spokesperson, Dr. Faisal while briefing media, said the location of these terrorist camps along the border had been formally shared with the Afghan government. “The Government of Afghanistan had been asked to deploy its forces in these areas to bring it under their effective control,” he added.
Afghan Taliban claim conclusion of peace talks with US
The Afghan Taliban have said they had concluded their peace talks with the United States officials in Qatar and were close to signing a peace agreement. Senior Taliban members said the talks with the US negotiating team concluded on Tuesday night. They claimed to have resolved 98 percent of the issues with the Americans. Taliban claimed the United States had agreed to let them use the title of “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” which was the name used by the group when it took over power in Afghanistan in 1996.
‘No room for terrorism in Kashmir’s struggle for freedom’: AJK PM
Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan has said that Pakistan and AJK will not allow India to link the Kashmiri movement for freedom with terrorism.” At a news briefing at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Mr. Haider stressed, “There’s no room for terrorism in our peaceful struggle.” At a recent briefing, a senior US official indicated that while Washington understood Pakistan’s political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir, Islamabad should prevent militants from taking advantage of the situation.
Read more in Dawn
Law minister urges Ulema to disseminate message of love and peace from pulpits
Provincial Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja said that message of peace and love should be promoted to the people during Muharramul Haram through mosques and Imambargahs. Chairing the meeting of Cabinet Sub Committee at Bahawalpur Circuit House, he said that foolproof security arrangements would be made to maintain peace during the month of Muharram. He added that media should play a responsible role in this regard.
Read more in The Nation
Hafizabad administration bans entry of 12 Ulema, Zakireen
The district administration Hafizabad has banned the entry of 12 Ulema and Zakireen into the district in order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere during the month of Muharram. Addressing District Peace Committee, which was attended by all the heads of the departments, MPA Mamoon Jaffar Tarar and Ulema, DC Naveed Shehzad Mirza stressed upon local Ulema and Zakireen to keep strict eyes on the disruptive elements and ensure traditional peaceful brotherly atmosphere by promoting interfaith harmony.
Read more in The Nation
The price of censorship
Khurram Husain comments on the spread of fake news by Indian media about blacklisting of Pakistan by Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He says the news given by a wire service that said Pakistan has been downgraded to enhanced monitoring was perceived wrongly by press and electronic media of the country as ‘blacklisting’. The writer says the spread of news affected Pakistan’s stock market. He says the response from the finance ministry was meek, lethargic and disinterested, which was released when the damaged had already been done. Khurram Hussain says the people’s mistrust on official information channels and private media due to enhanced government censorship made us vulnerable to the propaganda campaign.
Read more in Dawn
A desperate IS
Arsla Jawaid says the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) after losing control of Iraq and Syria and failing in gaining any traction around the world, has returned to a standard form of explicit savagery designed to garner media attention and shock the world. She says the IS exploits political gaps and vulnerable environments to entrench itself and rule through fear or a select few power brokers. Afghanistan offers an opportunity in waiting, due to the ongoing turmoil and uncertainty, she says. In the midst of this anarchy, the viscous IS eyes contested territory, and is ready to sow chaos and discord on the heels of a vulnerable and embryonic peace agreement. She expresses fear that the IS may recruit the defecting factions from the Taliban and gain strength to jeopardize peace in Afghanistan and in the region.
Read more in Dawn
South Asia at the brink of war
This editorial in Daily Jang says the South Asia is at the brink of war due to growing hostilities between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute. The newspaper mentions that India has resorted to various hostile measure towards Pakistan, including flooding of Pakistani rivers by opening dams without intimation. It says the Indian government functionaries have been issuing provocative and threatening statements. As per the newspaper, the Indian Defence Minister and Commander of India’s Eastern Command have also threatened Pakistan of a nuclear war. The newspaper says India’s belligerence may lead the region into a nuclear war.
Read more in Daily Jang
Pakistan Senate’s peace and cooperation pivot
Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani emphasizes on the need of interconnectivity between world nations for resolving mutual issues and shared challenges including those related to peace and security. The writer says he, in the capacity of Chairman, Senate of Pakistan has started various initiatives for promoting cooperation with different countries for peace building and socio-economic development. “Keeping in view the global and regional challenges on peace, security and developmental fronts, the journey ahead may be long, arduous and hard,” he says, “but then, it is often the most difficult paths that lead to the most beautiful destinations,” he adds.
Read more in Daily Nawaiwaqt