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SOURCE: WASHINGTON POST

Turkish forces that launched multiple artillery rounds near a U.S. Special Operations outpost in northeastern Syria on Friday have known for months that Americans were there, according to four current and former U.S. officials, raising questions whether Turkey is trying to push American troops farther from the border.

The incident occurred on a hilltop base overlooking the town of Kobane as Turkey continues an operation launched Wednesday against Syrian Kurds, some of whom the United States has partnered with for years in its campaign against the Islamic State. The incursion has focused on an area 60 miles west of Kobane, but U.S. officials contend Turkey has long-term aspirations to control a much larger swath of Syria. Continue reading

SOURCE: MILITARY WATCH

With the Russian military having drastically increased orders for Su-57 next generation air superiority fighters throughout 2019, planning to field over 70 of the jets by 2025 and opening lines for mass production in July 2019, Moscow has also actively sought to gain export orders for the fighter to help subsidise the costs of large scale production.

A number of clients including China, Algeria, Vietnam and India have reportedly shown considerable interest in the design due to its unique capabilities – which also allow it to function as a strike and maritime strike fighter when suitably equipped. While discussions for with India and Vietnam are reportedly ongoing, a new and unexpected potential client for the jet has emerged in Southeast Asia – the air force of Myanmar. Reports of a possible sale came amid fast growing defence ties between the two countries, and following comments from Myanmar’s ambassador to Russia Ko Ko Shein regarding interest in the platform. Continue reading

SOURCE: SUNDAY GUARDIAN LIVE

Suhail Shaheen, a key member of the negotiation team of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or as the political wing of Taliban calls itself, spoke exclusively to The Sunday Guardian on the failed US-Taliban peace talks, the role of India in Afghanistan and why India as a regional power should revisit its stand vis-a-vis Taliban and Kabul.

He sought to allay the concerns of the Indian security apparatus and stated that no Taliban fighter would try to enter Kashmir once US troops left Afghanistan as was being discussed by people in India. Continue reading

SOURCE: SUNDAY GUARDIAN LIVE

The Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, the regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has found that Pakistan has failed to take enough action to stop terror financing by the country, according to a report made public by the group this week. The report was adopted by the APG in September, but was released this week. With Pakistan achieving “significant deficiencies” on both “effectiveness ratings” and “technical compliance ratings”, the chances of Pakistan being put on the “black-list” may have increased.

The FATF had placed Pakistan on its “grey list” in June 2018, giving the country a 15-month deadline to implement its 27-point action plan, a deadline which ended last month. The final review of Pakistan will likely be taken up at the next meeting of the FATF in Paris between 13 and 18 October. Continue reading

SOURCE: ANI

Baloch women and children in Quetta city carried out a protest against enforced disappearances in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The protesters led by Mama Qadir Baloch of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons blamed Pakistan’s secret agencies for abducting Rashid Hussain, a Baloch political activist and a student.

Rashid was arrested by UAE’s secret police from Sharjah in November 2018 and handed over to Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies in June this year. He has since been kept in an undisclosed location which added to the worries of his family about his safety and well being. Rashid’s sister, Farida baloch, said that it has been over three months since Pakistani authorities claimed that Rashid was deported to Pakistan but he has not been presented to any court of law nor has he been provided a legal representative. Continue reading

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN UK

Afghanistan’s government has lashed out at Imran Khan after the former Pakistan cricket star, now a politician, said the Taliban were fighting a “holy war” in the country that was justified by Islamic law. Speaking after visiting a hospital in Peshawar where Malala Yousafzai – the 14-year-old activist shot in the head by the Taliban for supporting girls’ education – was treated last week, Khan told reporters that insurgents in Afghanistan were fighting a “jihad”. Citing a verse from the Qur’an, he said: “It is very clear that whoever is fighting for their freedom is fighting a jihad …

“The people who are fighting in Afghanistan against the foreign occupation are fighting a jihad,” he added, according to a video of remarks to journalists. Afghan politicians have reacted with disbelief, with one parliamentarian suggesting Khan should be arrested. The Ulema Council, a grouping of senior clerics, declared his comments “unislamic”. Continue reading

SOURCE: THE PRINT

For several years, under the ostensible leadership of Moeed Yusuf, the Washington DC-based United States Institute of Peace –working on global conflict reduction – has furthered a relentless pro-Pakistan policy. He has been promoting Pakistan’s interests at US taxpayers’ expense.

I have complained about it many times, and have also reported him to the FBI and to every serving member of the US House Oversight Committee. The institute was founded by the US Congress, which continues to pay its bills. My concerns about Yusuf were vindicated last week when The Dawn announced that he will assume a newly-created position – the chairperson of the Strategic Policy Planning Cell (SPPC) of Pakistan, which functions under the country’s National Security Division. Continue reading

SOURCE: MORNING PK

Leaking letter to India written by the United Nations to government of Pakistan about Hafiz Saeed has come as major reason behind removal of Maleeha Lodhi as permanent envoy of Pakistan to UN.

The motive behind leakage of letter to India was to thwart the Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan visit to US. On his return to Pakistan following his tremendously successful visit to US, Prime Minister Imran Khan removed Maleeha Lodhi as permanent envoy of Pakistan to UN; certainly a solid reason prompted the quick reaction by PM and this reason was permission granted by UN on the request of government of Pakistan for releasing some amount from the accounts of Hafiz Saeed, Haji Muhammad Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal enabling them to meet their daily expenses. Continue reading

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

Pakistan needs to repay China more than double the amount it owes the International Monetary Fund in the next three years, as loans racked-up to boost foreign exchange reserves and bridge a financing gap become due. The South Asian nation owes $6.7 billion in commercial loans to China over the three years through June 2022, according to the IMF, which this year approved a new program to bail out Pakistan from a crisis. Islamabad needs to pay the multilateral lender $2.8 billion in the same period.

Pakistan, one of the biggest beneficiaries of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, has been borrowing from Beijing to tide over a financial crisis. Still, the money was enough to only partly bridge a financing gap, pushing the South Asian nation to knock at the IMF’s doors. Continue reading

SOURCE: TIMES NOW

 The Army in Pakistan is always suspected to have the final say as far as the country’s politics and foreign relations are concerned, no matter which party or leader is in power. However, the latest development in Pakistan has set off speculation about ‘a silent coup’ underway in the South Asian country.

It has come to light that the Pakistan Army has now taken up the task to rescue the country’s sinking economy. In fact, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has held meetings with top business leaders to find ways to bring the economy back on track. Reports said three such secret meetings have been held this year in Karachi and Rawalpindi, where the Army headquarters is located. Continue reading

SOURCE: TIMES NOW

While Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan claims that his government does not discriminate against the minority community, a recent decision by the country’s National Assembly has exposed its hypocrisy. The National Assembly has rejected a Bill that sought to allow a non-Muslim to become the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Naveed Aamir Jeeva, a lawmaker and a Christian belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) introduced the bill in the National Assembly, The News International reported.

However, the bill was blocked by the National Assembly, with majority voice on Tuesday.The lawmaker proposed an amendment to Article 41 and Article 91 of the Constitution to allow non-Muslims to become Prime Minister and President of Pakistan. Continue reading

SOURCE: PTI

Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China on October 7-8 to meet the country’s top leadership and revive the stalled USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, according to a media report. Multi-billion dollar CPEC was launched in 2015 and several projects under the first phase are close to completion. But the progress on CPEC next phase projects have slowed since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power last year.

Khan’s visit to Beijing comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s likely visit to India for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, amidst fresh tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir. Prime Minister Khan while chairing a meeting on the economic corridor on Wednesday said the removal of all bottlenecks in CPEC projects and their timely completion is the top priority of the government, the Dawn newspaper reported. Continue reading

SOURCE: ZEE MEDIA

Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia, all of which has ‘problematic human rights records when it comes to minorities, including Islamic minorities, and one of which has threatened to invade foreign countries’, have united to push for a television channel to fight for ‘Islamophobia’, said a comment piece in an Israeli-based state-run website..

“A leader of a country that has the death penalty for blasphemy, a leader who says he is a proud antisemite and a leader who threatens to invade foreign countries have united to push for a TV channel that will fight Islamophobia,” read the article published on Jpost.com said. “It’s unclear when he says our great religion if he means including other Muslim groups, such as Shi’ites or Ahmadis, both of which are routinely the victims of attacks in Pakistan. Khan again tweeted about his meeting on September 30, claiming that this channel would be a BBC type,” read the article. Continue reading

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off a parade marking 70 years of Communist rule in China, as pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong planned to upset the celebrations with a series of potentially violent protests.

The Oct. 1 National Day events in Beijing include a speech from Xi, as well as a military parade past Tiananmen Square expected to show off China’s most advanced weaponry, including ballistic missiles and warplanes. In Hong Kong, where protests have rocked the financial hub for 17 straight weekends, residents braced for numerous protests to push back against China’s tightening grip over the city. Continue reading

SOURCE: PTI

China has said that there was no slowdown of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and the two countries have identified three key areas to promote the USD 50 billion initiative as it entered a “new phase”. The CPEC, which connects China’s Xinjiang province with the strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan, is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The 3,000-km CPEC is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical fibre cable networks. India has been severely critical of the CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). “CPEC is running according to our satisfaction and there is no slowdown in it,” Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said at a seminar titled ‘Friends of Silk Road’, organised by the Pakistan-China Institute, in Islamabad on Sunday. Continue reading