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Pakistan minister warns India of ‘potentially catastrophic consequences’ from Kashmir tensions



 While admitting to a “fragile” food situation in his country, Pakistan’s Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal has thrown a warning that India’s policies in Kashmir could have “potentially catastrophic consequences” from another conflict.

“If the tensions created by India’s current policies in occupied Kashmir and aggressive postures are left unattended, it could lead to another conflict in the region with potentially catastrophic consequences,” he warned at a news conference here on Wednesday.

Listing a host of complaints about India’s treatment of the union territory, he said, “I emphasise the need to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Pakistan has, however, ignored Security Council Resolution 47 adopted on April 21, 1948, that requires it to withdraw from all of Kashmir its nationals and tribesmen who had intruded there and not to give them any aid.

Iqbal admitted that his country’s food station is “fragile” and that it came to the “brink” of a Sri Lanka-like scenario but turned his attention to Kashmir, which does not face a “fragile” food situation like the part of it under Pakistan occupation.

“Pakistan’s food security situation has become fragile (and) we will need to import wheat this year, whereas the supply chain of wheat at global level is already disrupted,” Iqbal said.

The government of Prime Minister Shehbas Sharif has taken some tough measures and “saved. Pakistan from Sri Lanka-like situation where almost we were at the brink of that scenario”.

“We had analysts predicting how many weeks will it take for Pakistan to become like Sri Lanka,” but managed to avert it, he said.

In Washington, the International Monetary Fund announced on Wednesday that its staff had reached an agreement with Pakistan for $1.177 billion in emergency funding, but that would have to be approved by the Executive Board.

Iqbal said that his government would now have to stabilise the country’s economy.

Sri Lanka is facing an economic and political meltdown because of a lack of foreign exchange to pay for energy and food imports leading to severe shortages.

Outlining its country’s problems, Iqbal said, “Pakistan is facing challenges in food security, water security and energy security because of a whole host of issues ranging from climate change and global developments”.

He blamed its food insecurity on insufficient investment in agriculture and climate change.

Asked by a reporter about reports that India was planning to host a meeting of the G20 — the group of developed and developing nations and the European Union — in Kashmir, Iqbal said that if countries participated in it there, it would amount to “validating” what he called India’s “unilateral occupation of Jammu and Kashmir” and throwing “Security Council resolutions in the dustbin of history”.

“If the Security Council has any sanctity, if it’s resolutions of any sanctity, I hope that the G20 countries will not violate the sanctity of those resolutions by going there and validating the unilateral occupation of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

International News

PM Narendra Modi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Discuss Defence & Global Issues On Call




Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephone conversation with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A number of issues were discussed, said a tweet by PM Modi. “Spoke to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince & PM HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Discussed boosting ties in connectivity, energy, defense, trade & investment, and exchanged views on regional and global issues,” said PM Modi in his tweet.

The Prime Minister also lauded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s support in the evacuation of Indians from the conflict torn Sudan. “Appreciated his support in safe evacuation of Indians from Sudan and for Haj,” the tweet by PM Modi read.

Recently, India had launched Operation Kaveri to rescue the Indians stranded in Sudan. Close to 3,000 people were rescued by India from Sudan.

At an MEA press briefing, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra had said in May regarding the rescue efforts, “What we did was that as soon as the fighting broke out in Khartoum, our Embassy in Khartoum immediately alerted. As it turns out, they pretty much reached out to almost all of them by and large.”

The government of India had put to task a high-level diplomatic team. India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan were overlooking the rescue efforts carried on by the Indian Air Force and security forces. 

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Erdogan calls for promoting dialogue over Turkey’s accession to EU




Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighted the necessity of promoting dialogue for his country’s accession to the European Union (EU) in a phone talk with Charles Michel, the president of the European Council.

“It is necessary to increase contacts at all levels with a concrete and positive agenda in the direction of Turkey’s full membership to the EU, which has great strategic value for Europe,” an official statement quoted Erdogan as saying.

The EU’s “fair treatment and supportive perspective” for Turkey’s full EU membership would open up new horizons in relations between Ankara and the block, the statement said.

During the phone conversation, Erdogan also underlined the importance of updating the customs union agreement between Ankara and Brussels, ensuring visa-free for Turkish citizens within the EU, and strengthening bilateral cooperation on migration management and counterterrorism, it added.

Turkey started accession talks with Brussels in 2005, which have been at a standstill for several years following a prolonged state of emergency declared by Erdogan in the wake of a botched coup aiming to topple his government in 2016.

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International News

Pakistan to shut markets by 8 p.m. to save electricity




Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments have unanimously decided to shut markets by 8 p.m. across the country as part of the efforts to conserve energy, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said.

He said this while addressing the media following the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held in Islamabad with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in chair, Geo News reported.

Iqbal said Chief Ministers of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated in the huddle while the planning minister of Balochistan represented the provincial government.

This initiative could save around $1 billion annually, he added.

He said representatives of provincial governments were present in the NEC meeting and they had been advised to get it implemented to save precious resources, Geo News reported.

Iqbal said energy had become a big challenge for Pakistan and the government would reduce dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil, and give due focus on energy conservation, Geo News reported.

Likewise, the minister said government would promote green energy including solar, hydel and wind and no new imported fuel based project would be introduced.

Earlier in January, the federal government had approved a new energy conservation plan under which markets/malls were supposed to be closed by 8.30 p.m., while it also banned the usage of inefficient appliances to save around 62 billion PKR annually.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had directed the authorities concerned to cut the usage of electricity by all departments of the federal government by 30 per cent.

The coalition government had claimed that measures approved by the cabinet aim to save the cash-strapped country about 62 billion PKR and help reduce the energy import bill.

However, the measures were never fully implemented across the country,

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