US top general says Pakistani spy agency connected to terrorism
Joseph Dunford made the announcement while facing the Senate Armed Services Committee alongside with the US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday.“I think it’s clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” Dunford told the Committee.
Mattis echoed Dunford’s stance on ISI, stating that the agency is pursuing its own agenda while Pakistan itself struggles to fight terrorism. “They have lost probably more troops than any other single country in the fight against terrorism – at the same time we’ve seen havens left to the terrorists’ own devices. We’ve seen the government of Pakistan come down on terrorists when the ISI appears to run its own policy,” Mattis said.
Nawaz Sharif re-elected as ruling party president
Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was re-elected as the leader of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League party on Tuesday, following the passage of a law allowing the party to re-elect the disqualified former PM as party chief, on the eve of a party convention called for the express purpose of electing Sharif to the post.
The party also reposed its complete confidence in Sharif’s leadership when members of its Central Working Committee (CWC) also approved an amendment to the party constitution, removing the bar on disqualified members from contesting the election to any party office.
Pakistani university launches free education for trans people
Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has initiated a free education programme for Pakistan’s neglected and persecuted transgender community. AIOU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Shahid Siddiqu told media: “We have decided to launch a programme for the amelioration of transgender people of Pakistan. Through this programme, we hope to return their long-lost self-respect and dignity to them and make them responsible citizens of the society.”
Election Act 2017 challenged in the Supreme Court
The Election Act 2017, which paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to promptly be re-elected president of the ruling PML-N, was challenged in the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a petition, filed under Article 184/3 of the Constitution, stating that the bill “is against the basic spirit of the Constitution”.
“A party leader controls voting in the National Assembly, as Article 63A of the Constitution states that a MNA can be disqualified if he or she votes against the official party line,” the petition said.
Afghanistan to resume reconciliation process on Pakistan’s advice
After meetings between high officials of the two countries, Kabul on Islamabad’s advice has decided to restart the reconciliation process to maintain peace in the region with both governments agreeing to eliminate terrorism and step up intelligence-sharing efforts. Pakistan has assured Afghanistan of full cooperation in this regard, informed sources in the federal government said on Tuesday.
It is expected that Pakistan, US, China, and Afghanistan will hold a four-nation consultative group conference in Islamabad or Kabul soon to form an integrated policy for reconciliation with the Taliban groups.
The Pakistani officials have informed the Afghan government that Afghanistan’s problems can only be solved through “dialogue”, “not power”.
Khawaja Asif to meet US Secretary of State in Washington today
The United States State Department confirmed on Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif at his office today as part of a bilateral effort to halt further deterioration in relations between the two countries. The agenda of the meeting is not known, although a joint statement is expected after the meeting.
Read here, about the deteriorating relationship between the two countries following Trump’s announcement of his new strategy for South Asia.