VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 9th April, 2018


Thousands gather in Peshawar as Pashtun tribes protest against Pakistan government, military: India Today
April 08, 2018

Thousands gathered in Peshawar's Ring Road on Sunday for a gathering organized by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), in what seems like a major uprising against the Pakistani government and its military establishment from the Pashtun tribes. Women, children and students have reached the venue with photographs of their loved ones, who have been missing as a result of forced abductions, which they claim, has been done by the Pakistan armed forces. PTM's long march towards Islamabad is the second episode, carrying forward from its first long march against the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a young boy who was killed in a fake encounter in Karachi by the then Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwar. The weeks long protest staged outside the National Press Club in Islamabad ended by an agreement with the government, who agreed to ensure Rao Anwar is arrested, hundreds of people from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), who got injured due to the ongoing military operation, are compensated, recovery of missing persons, abducted by the army and removal of landmines from residential areas in FATA. Click here to read...

Accord with Kabul on action against ‘irreconcilable elements’: Dawn
April 09, 2018

Pakistan and Afghanistan will undertake effective actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries, according to an agreement reached between the two sides during Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit to Kabul last week. During the visit, the two sides agreed on seven key principles to operationalise working groups under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) to remove misunderstandings between the two countries and enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism. According to a statement issued by Foreign Office on Sunday, Pakistan will be required “to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation (efforts),” and “the two countries will undertake effective actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries”. Click here to read...


Pakistan’s Military, Government Split on Afghan Policy: Senators
April 08, 2018
Members of Afghanistan’s Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) were on Sunday skeptical about the results of Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit to Afghanistan, saying Pakistan’s military and civilian government have a different view of Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan. Senators urged the Afghan government to be cautious with regards to talks with Pakistan. But some senators argued that the trip was part of Pakistan’s continued efforts to decrease the mounting pressure on Islamabad by the international community. “Afghanistan in a way recognizes Durand Line while the official policy of the Afghan government is that this border is not the formal border,” said first deputy speaker of the senate Mohammad Alam Ezedyar. This comes two days after President Ashraf Ghani and Abbasi held talks in Kabul where they agreed to seven key principles to finalize Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). Click here to read...


India visit successful, historic: PM Oli: Kathmandu Post
April 09, 2018

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has claimed that his state visit to India was historic and largely successful. Talking to journalists at the Tribhuvan International Airport on his return from the three-day visit on Sunday evening, the PM said serious dialogue with New Delhi had been helpful in resolving disputes. During his maiden visit to the southern neighbour after assuming office in February, PM Oli focused on trust-building with the Indian political leadership, after the lows in bilateral ties caused by India’s border blockade following the promulgation of the constitution in 2015. India accorded great importance to Oli’s visit this time while the media there had an extensive coverage of the trip, rare for a visiting Nepali prime minister. Relations with India have become sound, the PM remarked. “We have always maintained a good relationship with India, unless when another party wants to derail it,” he said. He held three separate and joint meetings with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, with focus on mending ties and building trust. Click here to read...


India considers Rohingya a security concern, wants early solution: Daily Star
April 09, 2018

India sincerely wants an early solution to the current Rohingya crisis as it considers it a serious security concern. The country already conveyed its wish that Myanmar should come forward to solve the crisis and take back its nationals who took shelter in Bangladesh amid a military crackdown in Rakhine State which began on August 25 of last year. The UN termed the military action as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing. This was stated by visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale during a close-door interaction with 10 important personalities, including politicians, academics, media editors, think-tank representatives and retired diplomats, at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel. Gokhale, who arrived in Dhaka yesterday afternoon for talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Shahidul Haque, will also call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, apart from addressing a bilateral conclave on India-Bangladesh relations. Click here to read...


Myanmar not ready for return of Rohingya refugees, says top UN official after country tour: South China Morning Post
April 08, 2018

Myanmar is not ready for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, said the most senior United Nations official to visit the country this year, after Myanmar was accused of instigating ethnic cleansing and driving nearly 700,000 Muslims to Bangladesh. “From what I’ve seen and heard from people – no access to health services, concerns about protection, continued displacements – conditions are not conducive to return,” Ursula Mueller, UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said after a six-day visit to Myanmar. The Myanmar government has pledged to do its best to make sure repatriation under an agreement signed with Bangladesh in November would be “fair, dignified and safe”. Myanmar has so far verified several hundred Rohingya Muslim refugees for possible repatriation. The group would be “the first batch” of refugees and could come back to Myanmar “when it was convenient for them,” a Myanmar official said last month. Click here to read...

Historic visit upgrades ties with Austria: People's Daily

April 09, 2018

President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, pose for a photo with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and his wife, Doris Schmidauer, during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday. The top leaders of China and Austria agreed on Sunday to upgrade bilateral ties to a friendly strategic partnership as the European country sends an unprecedented official delegation to China. Click here to read...

Op-ed: 2018 Boao Forum sets new starting line for peaceful development, win-win cooperation: People's Daily
April 08, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), and attend a host of other activities during the four-day forum scheduled to open on April 8 in Boao, a coastal town in the southern island province of Hainan. Click here to read...

Xi, UN chief discuss multilateralism: China Daily
April 09, 2018

China will continue to safeguard the authority of the United Nations and uphold multilateralism, though major countries should take responsibilities for their actions, President Xi Jinping told visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday. Click here to read...

Li tells Singapore's Prime Minister China will work with ASEAN: China Daily
April 09, 2018

China is willing to bring benefits to surrounding countries through its own development and build a community of both shared interest and shared destiny with countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, Premier Li Keqiang said. Click here to read...

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