US-Taliban peace talks in Doha a ‘significant step’By Ehsan Popalzai and Kara Fox, CNN (January 27, 2019)

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The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilizad said Saturday that talks with the Taliban had been “more productive than they have been in the past,” and that “significant progress on vital issues” had been made. In a series of messages posted to Twitter, Khalilzad also said he would be flying to Afghanistan for consultations with the government and to …

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Finance Minister Asad Umar presents third finance bill for fiscal 2019 amidst loud January 23, 2019


Finance Minister Asad Umar presented the third finance bill for the current fiscal year during the National Assembly session being held on Wednesday evening. Earlier, Umar, without revealing any specifics, had said the ‘mini-budget’ — technically the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill of 2019 — would help generate more revenue for the government. Speaking amidst loud jeering by opposition lawmakers, …

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A Family Ski Adventure in the HimalayasBy Jeffrey Gettleman Jan. 14, 2019 The New York Times

Khyber hotel

Last winter, as I was riding in a car with my family through the Kashmir Valley, the driver’s phone rang. He listened carefully before frowning. “What’s going on?” I asked. “Man killed in avalanche.” “Who?” “A Russian, skier, went by helicopter.” “Where?” I asked . “Where else?’’ The driver shrugged. “Gulmarg.” Gulmarg. That’s exactly where I was taking my family …

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Opposition parties close ranks against govtThe Express Tribune Pakistan (Jan 15, 2019)


ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties in the National Assembly on Tuesday agreed to close ranks against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on crucial matters and formed a special committee to evolve joint strategies on important national issues. The decision was taken in a meeting convened by Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif in his chamber at the Parliament House. It was attended by top …

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PTI operating 18 undeclared bank accounts: SBP reportIftikhar A. Khan (Dawn Newspaper) January 10, 2019


ISLAMABAD: A report submitted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has revealed that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is operating at least 18 undeclared bank accounts across the country. According to the information gathered from scheduled banks and submitted to the ECP by the SBP, the PTI is operating 26 bank accounts in …

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Former Senate Chairman’s Lawn Demolished in Anti Encroachment Drive (Express Tribune) Jan 6, 2019PTI supports while PPP condemns as `political victimisation'


The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Saturday demolished the lawn of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader and former chairman senate Nayyar Bukhari’s house, claiming that it was built on encroached land of Quaid-e-Azam university in Islamabad. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the move and called it an act of victimisation to suppress the political opinion. Bilawal, in a statement, …

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Will not allow removal of govt on JIT report: CJP NisarThe News International (Dec 31, 2018)


ISLAMABAD, Dec 31: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the federal government to review its decision of placing 172 suspects named in the JIT report on the Exit Control List (ECL). When the hearing resumed Monday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar expressed anger on the government over putting CM Sindh and other politicians on the ECL list and remarked that …

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Pakistan ex-president Zardari faces travel ban over corruptionAl Jazeera (Dec 27, 2018)


Asif Ali Zardari is among 172 people linked to cases of money laundering, Pakistan’s information minister says. Pakistan’s former president Asif Ali Zardari will be banned from travelling abroad following allegations of money laundering, according to the country’s information minister. Fawad Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad that Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur were among 172 people involved in cases …

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About half of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to be withdrawn within weeks. Report comes a day after Trump announced troops leaving Syria By Gordon Lubold and Jessica Donati The Wall Street Journal Dec 20, 2018


WASHINGTON — A day after a contested decision to pull American military forces from Syria, officials said Thursday that President Donald Trump has ordered the start of a reduction of American forces in Afghanistan. More than 7,000 American troops will begin to return home from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, a U.S. official said. The move will come as the …

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Taliban confirms meeting with US in the UAEBY THOMAS JOSCELYN | December 16, 2018 | Long War Journal


The Taliban released a short statement today confirming that representatives of its “political office” are set to meet with an American delegation tomorrow (Dec. 17). The face-to-face is to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). And according to the Taliban, “[r]epresentatives of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and [the] United Arab Emirates will also attend the meeting.” Notably absent from …

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US Report Highlights Murky World of “Contractors” in PakistanDawn Newspaper (Dec 8, 2018)


WASHINGTON Dec 8: “The contractor must maintain a constant capability to surge to any location within Afghanistan or Pakistan” within a 30-day period, says an official US announcement released in 2010. The announcement — highlighted by The Nation, the oldest US weekly, in May 2010 — solicits bids from private war contractors to secure and ship US military equipment through …

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`Gwadar Port May Be Gateway to Landlocked Central Asian States’ – Balochistan CMStaff Correspondent (Dec 5, 2018)


QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has said that Gwadar Port can serve as the gateway for the landlocked Central Asian states by providing them access to maritime routes and a trade corridor for doing business with all countries of the world. According to a statement issued by the Balochistan government, the chief minister was speaking at a meeting …

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Donald Trump writes to Pakistan’s Imran Khan in Afghanistan peace move (The Independent UK Dec 3, 2018)The initiative comes after anger in Islamabad over recent remarks by the US president


President Donald Trump has reached out to Pakistan’s prime minister, sending Imran Khan a letter seeking Islamabad’s co-operation in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table to end the 17-year war in neighbouring Afghanistan, officials have said. The development could help ease tension between Washington and Islamabad. Relations soured after Mr Trump last month alleged that Pakistan harboured al Qaida …

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Pakistan rupee hits record low against US dollarPakistan struggles with chronic inflation as it burns through its dwindling foreign currency reserves (Al Jazeera)


Islamabad, Nov 30 – Pakistan’s rupee has plunged almost five percent to a record low after what appeared to be a sixth devaluation by the central bank in the past year as the country struggles with an acute balance of payment crisis. The unit sank to 143 rupees against the dollar on Friday, just a day after Prime Minister Imran …

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Why Balochs Are Targeting China (Akbar Notezai – The Diplomat)CPEC, Balochistan, and unresolved political issues are a potent mix.


Over the years, China-Pakistan relations have evolved positively. The mainstream media of the two countries always features the mantra of friendship and brotherly ties. Despite that, however, from day one China has been concerned about one thing in Pakistan: security. Both religious extremists and Baloch separatists have reportedly killed Chinese citizens inside Pakistan in the past. The most recent incident …

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Pakistani woman police commander led defense of Chinese missionSyed Raza Hassan (Nov 25, 2018) Reuters


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani policewoman Suhai Aziz Talpur heard of the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi while driving to work. She rushed to the scene to find two of her colleagues dead, and a trio of insurgents attempting to blow their way into the building. Her fast response and actions during the nearly two-hour assault on the diplomatic …

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Fahmida Riaz passes away in LahoreThe News International (Nov 21, 2018)


LAHORE: Well-known progressive Urdu writer, poet, human rights activist and feminist Fahmida Riaz has passed away on Wednesday night. She was 73 years of age. She passed away after a prolonged illness in Lahore where she was with her daughter Fahmida Riaz was born on July 28, 1945 in a literary family of Meerat, UP, India. Her family settled in …

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The ascent of Sindhis in ChattisgarhSuvojit Bagchi The Hindu (Nov 17, 2018)


“No, no I’m told not to discuss any money issues here. Central offices will directly deal with it,” with these words, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate in Raipur North nearly whisked himself away to give an interview to a television channel. It took a while to explain it to Shrichand Sundrani, the candidate, that it was not money but …

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Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi murder Kingdom is seeking death penalty for five people accused of carrying out journalist's killing, Shaalan al-Shaalan says. (Al Jazeera Nov 15)


Saudi Arabia’s deputy public prosecutor has said the kingdom is seeking the death penalty for five people who have been accused of carrying out the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Shaalan al-Shaalan told a news conference in Riyadh on Thursday that Ahmed al-Assiri, the kingdom’s former deputy head of intelligence, dispatched a team to Turkey to persuade Khashoggi …

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Interview Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai: ‘I became a person who hates all injustice’ – Alex Clark (Guardian UK)The activist and former teacher on returning to Pakistan for the first time since his daughter Malala was shot, and his new book, Let Her Fly

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Ziauddin Yousafzai: ‘I will fight for women’s rights, for girls’ education, for women’s empowerment.’ Ziauddin Yousafzai founded a school in the Swat valley, Pakistan, where girls and boys were educated together. When his eldest child, Malala, was shot at point-blank range by the Taliban in 2012 in retaliation for her activism, the family relocated to Birmingham. In 2014, Malala was …

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