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Wednesday,26-January-2022

International News

Imran Khan wants ISI chief Faiz Hameed to continue amid differences with Pak Army

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan informed the federal cabinet that he had told Pakistan Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that he wanted Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed to continue as Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general for some time due to the critical situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, Dawn reported.

Reports about lack of consensus between the civil and military leadership over the matter had been making rounds on social media for the last few days, but after it appeared on regular media on Tuesday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was compelled to clarify the government’s point of view.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar said Prime Minister Khan and Gen Bajwa held a detailed meeting late Monday night on the matter.

The meeting was also confirmed by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry during his presser after the cabinet meeting, stating that the issue of appointment of new ISI DG Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed Anjum had been resolved and that the PM enjoyed the authority to appoint the chief of the country’s premier spy agency in accordance with law and Constitution.

Also sharing details of the meeting, Pak PM’s aide on political affairs Amir Dogar said the premier wanted Lt. Gen. Hameed to stay as DG ISI in view of the situation in Afghanistan, adding that Prime Minister Khan and Gen. Bajwa enjoyed relation of respect and dignity, the report said.

Khan was of the opinion that the government wanted to take all institutions on board, Dogar said. “The body language of the prime minister was quite positive and he seemed confident,” he added.

The PTI’s chief whip said the prime minister had told the cabinet that he was an elected prime minister and chief executive of the country.

“The prime minister has the authority to appoint the DG ISI and he held a detailed meeting with Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in this regard,” Chaudhry told the press conference.

“The federal government will follow a legal and constitutional procedure on the appointment of the Inter-Services Intelligence director general,” he said.

The minister categorically stated there would be no step taken from the PM Office or the military setup that damaged the repute of one another, the report said.

Referring to rumours circulating about the matter, the minister said: “I see on social media, there are many who have wishes; I want to tell them that the Prime Minister’s Office will never undermine the respect of the Pakistan Army and army chief. And the COAS and the army will never take any step that will undermine the respect of Pakistan’s prime minister or civil setup.”

He stressed that both the prime minister and the military leadership were in close coordination, and the DG ISI would be appointed after fulfilling all legal requirements. “Both (PM Khan and Gen Bajwa) are in agreement over this and the prime minister has the authority over it,” he added

International News

India and China hold 12-hr long talks on border point disengagement

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 India and China military delegates deliberated for over 12 hours focusing on disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 — Hot Springs.

The Wednesday meeting between the military commanders of the two countries at Moldo on the Chinese side started at 10 a.m. and ended at 10.30 p.m. This the 14th round of military talks between India and China to resolve the border dispute.

Talking about the military discussions, Indian Army chief General M.M. Naravane said on Wednesday that he hoped for some positive developments in the days ahead.

Along the Northern Borders, the Indian Army has continued to maintain the highest levels of operational preparedness, while engaging in sustained dialogue with the People’s Liberation Army, Gen Naravane had said.

“We hope to resolve Patrolling Point 15 (Hot Spring) in the current round of talks. Once that is done we will look at other issues which predate the current standoff,” he said.

After persistent joint efforts, mutual dis-engagement has taken place at many locations. “So there has been positive movement,” the Indian Army Chief said.

Replying to a query about the positive developments, the officer explained, “Talks have been going on for a long time. It is a good thing that talks are going on. We have to keep talking to each other. The 4-5th round of talks resulted in resolving patrolling point 14, the 9-10th round North and South Bank and Kailash ranges and subsequently patrolling point 17.”

However, the Indian Army chief said that while there has been partial disengagement, the threat has by no means reduced.

General Naravne said the force levels in areas where disengagement is yet to take place have been adequately enhanced. Threat assessment and internal deliberations have resulted in the reorganisation and realignment of forces in keeping with the Army’s mandate of ensuring territorial integrity and to cater for the major augmentation of the PLA forces, and military infrastructure.

Just ahead of talks, China has implemented new border law and has also renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh on its map.

India and China have been engaged in an intense border dispute for around two years and are now in talks to resolve the issues.

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International News

Crisis-hit SL asks China to restructure debt repayments

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 Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asked China to restructure the crisis-hit island nation’s debt repayments as part of efforts to help the South Asian country navigate its worsening financial situation, the BBC reported.

Rajapaksa made the request during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday.

In the last decade, China has lent Sri Lanka over $5 billion for projects including roads, an airport and ports, the BBC report said.

China is Sri Lanka’s fourth biggest lender, behind international financial markets, the Asian Development Bank and Japan.

But critics say the money was used for unnecessary schemes with low returns.

“The President pointed out that it would be a great relief to the country if attention could be paid on restructuring the debt repayments as a solution to the economic crisis that has arisen in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Rajapksa’s office said in a statement.

The statement also said China was asked to provide “concessional” terms for its exports to Sri Lanka, which amounted to around $3.5 billion last year, without providing further details, the report added.

Rajapaksa also offered to allow Chinese tourists to return to Sri Lanka provided they adhere to strict coronavirus regulations.

Before the pandemic, China was Sri Lanka’s main source of tourists and it imports goods from the Asian giant more than from any other country.

In recent months, Sri Lanka has been experiencing a severe debt and foreign exchange crisis, which has been made worse by the loss of tourist income during the pandemic, the BBC report said.

The country has received billions of dollars of soft loans from China but the island-nation has been engulfed in a foreign exchange crisis which some analysts have said has pushed it to the verge of default, as per the BBC report.

Sri Lanka has to repay about $4.5 billion in debt this year starting with a $500 million international sovereign bond, which matures on January 18.

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International News

Singhvi says don’t rely on Chinese media, Cong embarrassed

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In a major embarrassment to the party, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Tuesday said that Indian media should not fall for Chinese propaganda after few reports emerged that Chinese have hoisted flag which turned out to be fake.

Singhvi said, “Would urge the Indian media not to take the CCP & Global Times propaganda machinery seriously. They are nothing but an absolute joke especially in the digital age, a psy ops that can be easily busted by few minutes of Google search.”

But his own party on Monday attacked the government on the same report and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi too criticized the government.

The Congress on Monday slammed the government over reports that Chinese troops are celebrating new year at Galwan Valley. “How dare China raise the Chinese flag over Galwan Valley, where only the Indian Tri-colour can be flown, unfurled proudly. How dare Chinese continue to occupy Indian territory in Depsang plains up to ‘Y junction’ and our Prime Minister remains mum? How dare China continue to illegally occupy Indian Territory in Gogra, Hot Springs and our government doesn’t utter a word?” Randeep Surjewala, Congress spokesperson had said.

Now it is clear the PLA was not present at the the disputed area of Galwan Valley on the new year eve, which is now a demilitarized zone after the June 2020 clash between the two militaries and subsequent series of talks between India & China through proper diplomatic channels.

It all started after a video surfaced on social media, shared by the Chinese media, showing PLA troop celebrating new year and unfurled the Chinese national flag, with a caption, ‘China’s national flag rises over Galwan Valley on the New Year Day of 2022’, which read further ‘the flag was special since it once flew over Tiananmen Square in Beijing’.

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