VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: 14th September, 2018
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PAKISTAN

FO refutes allegations levelled in Indo-US joint statement, calls it violation of 'diplomatic norms': Dawn

September 14, 2018

The Foreign Office has taken "strong exception to the unwarranted reference against Pakistan" in the joint statement issued following the 2+2 India-US dialogue between the US Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defence with their Indian counterparts in New Delhi last week, Radio Pakistan reported. In the Indo-US joint statement issued after the talks, India and US had named and called upon Pakistan to ensure its territory wasn't used to launch terror attacks on other countries. At the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said, "Pakistan rejects the baseless allegations, we have also conveyed our position to the US side". Click here to read....

Kulsoom Nawaz's funeral to be held in Lahore today: Dawn

September 14, 2018

Hundreds of people including PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, Ishaq Dar and other members of the Sharif family attended the funeral of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz — the wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — at London's Regent Park mosque on Thursday, according to DawnNewsTV. The funeral in London, which is separate from another set to take place in Lahore on Friday, was arranged since the deceased PML-N leader's sons Hasan and Hussain cannot travel to Pakistan, a PML-N leader earlier told Dawn. Their sister Asma also attended the funeral in London. Shahbaz had travelled to London, where he arrived on Wednesday evening, to take Begum Kulsoom's body back to Lahore for buria. Click here to read....

AFGHANISTAN

Ghani Defends South Asia Strategy as Politicians Criticize Bilateral Security Agreement: Tolo News

September 13, 2018

The call by Afghanistan’s influential politicians and some political parties to review the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US has been met with mixed reactions by the Afghan government, members of parliament and political experts. This comes a day after Afghan politicians and leaders of a number of political movements gathered in Kabul where they discussed Afghanistan’s ongoing political and security situation with a special focus on the issue of peace and the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) signed between Afghanistan and the United States. Among those who defended the BSA agreement was general Abdul Raziq, the police of chief of southern Kandahar province who said that the BSA had been approved by over 5,000 members of the Loya Jirga who represented the people of Afghanistan from all provinces. Click here to read....

CEO Optimistic About New Khan Govt: Tolo News

September 13, 2018

CEO of the National Unity Government (NUG), Abdullah Abdullah, who was in Mumbai on Wednesday for the India Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show, expressed optimism over Pakistan being able to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the US, according to an Indian Express report. Abdullah also said that he was hoping that sanctions imposed on Iran by the US do not affect the progress of Chabahar Port - this after a tripartite meeting this week between India, Afghanistan and Iran to discuss the key infrastructure project. “We cannot influence the broader context of relationships between different countries. But at the same time, as far as we are concerned, we are in a situation where we need co-operation from all neighbouring countries, especially all the countries of the region. We hope the context of relations between different countries will not affect our relations adversely,” Abdullah told The Indian Express on Wednesday. Abdullah also expressed optimism in Pakistan being able to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the US. Click here to read....

NEPAL

China to extend Tibet rail to India border via Nepal: Kathmandu Post

September 14, 2018

Tibet said it would ‘open up’ to private investment in the trade and business sector from 2020 with Beijing seeking to penetrate the massive South Asian market via Nepal. To this end, the northern neighbour plans to extend the Tibet railway to the borders of the heavily populated Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and to the world’s eighth most populous country Bangladesh through Nepal. In a bid to increase tourism and trade, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China will establish an industrial development fund to channel more private investment into the sector, and encourage private capital through tax holidays, said Qi Zhala, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, while addressing the fourth China Tibet Tourism and Cultural Expo in Lhasa on September 7. Click here to read....

MALDIVES

Maldives Opposition Accuses Government of Denying Access to Foreign Journalists: Voice of America

Opposition leaders in the Maldives are accusing President Abdullah Yameen of measures aimed at limiting foreign journalists entry into the country as part of a plan to steal the upcoming presidential election. The new measures include a mandate that foreign journalists applying for a visa to enter the Indian Ocean archipelago must have a local sponsor. The main Maldivian Democratic Party issued a statement Wednesday calling the measures "a pre-emptive cover-up of planned election fraud." President Yameen is seeking a second five-year term in office in the September 23rd elections. His path to re-election seems assured, with his main rivals either in jail or in exile. He imposed a the state of emergency earlier this year after refusing to comply with a Supreme Court order to release detained political leaders. Click here to read....

CHINA

Beijing, Moscow vow to reinforce military relations, combat abilities: People's Daily

September 14, 2018

China and Russia vowed to further deepen military ties and improve their troops' combat abilities to respond to various security threats, as they formally concluded the "Vostok-2018" strategic drills with a military parade on Thursday. Click here to read....

Li calls for fair market competition: China Daily

September 14, 2018

Equitable supervision should be strengthened to ensure fair competition amid China's efforts to develop its socialist market economy and stimulate market vitality, Premier Li Keqiang told the country's top market regulator. Click here to read....

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