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Defence, intelligence cooperation with US suspended: Pakistan

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Islamabad, Jan 10: Pakistan has suspended defence and intelligence cooperation with the US amid growing tensions over Washington’s suspension of military aid to Islamabad, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir has said.

US officials have said that almost all security assistance to Pakistan has been suspended following President Donald Trump’s Tweet on January 1 in which he alleged that Pakistan “gives safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan”.

Pakistani leaders had shown restraint but the Defence Minister’s statement could be seen as an indication of growing tension, Xinhua news agency reported.

“You see the facilities that we have extended to them (Americans) are still in operation. We have not suspended them. But there is also a wide field of intelligence cooperation and defence cooperation which we have suspended,” Dastagir said on Tuesday.

Referring to the US suspension of Pakistan’s aid, he said: “the recent suspension of military aid by the US comes in the wake of a more grave suspension, which is the suspension of the strategic dialogue for more than a year between the US and Pakistan.”

He also complained that the US had not extended help to fence the border with Afghanistan in the rugged mountains to stop the cross-border movement of the militants.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2,500 km of border, mostly porous, and the militants take advantage of the open border to move on both sides for violence.

Pakistan last year started fencing the border. Most fencing will be completed this year, according to military officials.

“It is convenient to blame Pakistan for cross-border terrorism whereas the US has not lifted a finger to help fence-up the border,” Dastgir was quoted as saying.

“Now all veils are off… It is time for a courteous yet ruthlessly candid dialogue between Pakistan and the US,” he said.

The US has long alleged that Pakistan was “providing sanctuaries to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network”, which are blamed for attacks on the US-led foreign and Afghan forces.



SC should stay operations of 3 farm laws, and hear constitutionality: Tewari

Earlier in the day, while hearing the petition, Chief Justice said, “We will stay implementation if the Centre doesn’t do it.”




New Delhi, Jan 11 : The Congress on Monday said that the Supreme Court should stay the operations of the three farm laws and hear the Constitutionality of these laws as it has an impact on 65 per cent of the country’s population.

Speaking to IANS over phone, Congress Lok Sabha member and former Union Minister Manish Tewari said, “The Supreme Court should stay the operation of these farm laws and hear the constitutionality of these laws on a daily basis.”

He said that the Supreme Court should do this because this impacts 65 per cent of the population of the country.

The Congress leader’s remarks came after the Supreme Court while hearing the petitions challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, said ‘it will stay the implementation of the farm laws if the government did not do it’.

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill also took to Twitter and wrote, “Supreme Court observations and hearing today has completely exposed BJP government “3M: Mismanaging, Mishandling and Maligning” blunders on farmers issue and has sent a strong signal to government that they do not have licence to bulldoze over farmers rights and consultative process preceding legislation.”

Speaking to IANS, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, said, “The country witnessed how the farm laws were brought in through an ordinance. How it was bulldozed in the Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha members were barely given time and how farmers have were given empty promises and called vile names. As the protest continues, heartening that Supreme Court has taken note.”

Earlier in the day, while hearing the petition, Chief Justice said, “We will stay implementation if the Centre doesn’t do it.”

The Supreme Court said it wants to make it clear that it is not stifling protest and the protest could carry on. But the question is whether protest should be held at the same site or should be shifted to accommodate free movement of citizens, the top court said.

The apex court told the Centre that it is reiterating to form a committee to examine the farm laws. “Until then, the court can stay the implementation of the farm laws.

“We want the atmosphere to be conducive, let the laws be on hold and go to the committee,” said the CJI.

The court said it apprehends there may be violence at the protest site, intended or unintended.

“We don’t want blood on our hands,” said Chief Justice S.A. Bobde.

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5-day BSF-BGB meet to fortify security for people living along India-B’desh borders




BSF-BGB meet

Guwahati : The five-day Director General (DG) level Border Coordination Conference (BCC) between India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), which begun here on Tuesday, would deliberate upon the steps being taken to reinforce the security grid in a cohesive manner for the betterment of people living along the borders of both the countries, an official release said.

According to a BSF press statement, the 51st DG level talks (DGLT) between the BSF and the BGB would discuss various aspects and issues related to border management.

This is the first time that the bi-annual DGLT is being held outside the national capital.

A senior BSF official said that in the all important Border Coordination Conference, BSF chief Rakesh Asthana, a senior IPS officer, is leading the 12-member Indian delegation while the 11-member BGB team is headed by Major General Shafeenul Islam.

The Inspector Generals of BSF’s six of the nine frontiers would participate in the BCC.

“The DGLT would conclude with the signing of a joint record of discussions by the DGs of BSF and BGB,” the statement said.

The meeting between the BSF and the BGB, according to an official, would also review the ongoing strategies and further improve them for better coordination between both the border guarding forces deployed along the 4,096 km frontiers, including 1,116 km of riverine boundary, between the two neighbours.

Five Indian states – West Bengal (2,216 km), Tripura (856 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Mizoram (318 km) and Assam (263 km) – share 4,096 km borders with Bangladesh.

BSF sources said that the Joint India-Bangladesh guidelines for border authorities, 1975 envisaged that there should be frequent contacts between the border authorities of the two countries to discuss the matters of immediate administrative concern.

An Indian delegation under the leadership of former BSF DG Ashwani Kumar and a Bangladesh delegation headed by former DG BDR (now BGB) Major General Quazi Golam met in Kolkata on December 2, 1975 for the first time to discuss mutual border problems.

Since 1975, the meetings between the DGs of BSF and BGB were held annually, alternatively in India and Bangladesh till 1993.

“During the discussions held in Dhaka from October 7-9, 1993 between the Home Secretaries of India and Bangladesh, it was agreed that the DG level meetings will be a bi-annual event. In the agreed summary of discussions during the said meeting, it was emphasised that problems in the areas of mutual interests and concerns could be progressively resolved through close contacts and continuing meaningful dialogue at various levels,” sources said.

Accordingly, the DGs of BSF and BGB have been holding BCC twice a year alternatively at Delhi and Dhaka and the joint record of discussions of these meetings are forwarded to the Home Ministries of the two countries after each such meeting.

The last BSF-BGB meeting was held from September 16-19 this year in Dhaka.


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Mayawati to support Dec 8 Bharat Bandh

The joint statement has been signed by top Opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar.





New Delhi, Dec 7 : Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday announced her party’s support to the December 8 Bharat Bandh called by the farmer unions.

“BSP supports the farmers’ Bharat Bandh against the three farm laws and also appeals to the Union government to listen to the farmers’ demand,” Mayawati tweeted.

The Bandh has found support from parties such as Congress, Samajwadi Party, DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India, CPI-M, among others.

A joint statement was issued by the Opposition leaders on Sunday.

“We the undersigned leaders of political parties extend our solidarity with the ongoing massive struggle by the Indian farmers organised by various Kisan organisations from across the country and extend our support to their call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8 demanding the withdrawal of these retrograde Agri-laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill.”

The statement said “these new Agri laws passed in the Parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, threaten India’s food security, destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers, lay the basis for the abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage Indian agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates”.

The Central government must adhere to the democratic processes and norms and meet the legitimate demands of farmers, the statement said.

The joint statement has been signed by top Opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar.

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh are protesting along the borders of national capital Delhi against the recently bought three agricultural laws by the Central government.

Even as the fifth round of talks could not bring any breakthrough, both the sides — farmers’ representatives and the government, agreed to continue the dialogue on December 9.

The fifth round of parleys between the government and farmer leaders remained inconclusive on Saturday with both sides adamant on their stand over the three contentious farm laws.

The next meet is scheduled on December 9 with farmers giving a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call on December 8, and asserting that the protest will continue if the government does not repeal the three laws which they said are “anti-farmer”.

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