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If Berlin Wall can go, so could Line of Control: Pakistan FM Qureshi

Addressing the first Indian ‘jatha’ led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sikh community across the world, he said, “The doors of Kartarpur have been opened for you.”

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Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Kartarpur, Nov 9 : Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi politicised the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, saying if the Berlin Wall can be demolished, the temporary boundary of the Line of Control (LoC) can also be ended.

In his address during the inauguration ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor, he said, “If the Berlin Wall can be demolished, if the Kartarpur Corridor can be opened, then the temporary boundary of the LoC can also be ended,” adding that the promise of granting the right of self-determination to the people of occupied Kashmir can also be fulfilled, The Dawn reported.

He also gave credit for the project to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the government team.

Addressing the first Indian ‘jatha’ led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sikh community across the world, he said, “The doors of Kartarpur have been opened for you.”

The message of founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak Dev was one of peace and love, but “seeds of hate are being sown” in the region, the minister said.

He asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had earlier in the day thanked Pakistan PM Imran, whether he will also give his Pakistani counterpart the chance to thank him.

“You (Modi) can do so,” he said, “by lifting the curfew in occupied Kashmir, ending the use of pellet guns, ending the violations of human rights [and] by ending the communication blackout”.

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Pak FM in Riyadh to defuse Saudi-Iran tensions

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Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Islamabad, Dec 12 Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held talks with his Saudi counterpart in Riyadh in what appears to be a visit linked to Islamabad’s efforts to seek de-escalation in rising tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office here said that Qureshi on Wednesday met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, during which regional and international issues were discussed, reports The Express Tribune.

A separate statement issued by the Saudi official news agency said the foreign ministers reviewed bilateral relations between the two “brotherly countries” and ways of enhancing them in all fields.

Although no further details were available, official sources told The Express Tribune that the visit was part of ongoing efforts by Pakistan to defuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The two countries are at loggerheads since Saudi oil facilities came under missile attacks in September. Saudi Arabia and the US blamed Iran for the attack.

Tehran, however, denied the allegations.

Pakistan has since been making efforts to facilitate dialogue between the two countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan made a stopover in Saudi Arabia on his way to the annual UN General Assembly session in New York in September to meet Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

In New York, he held meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to defuse tensions between Tehran and Riyadh.

The efforts in September were followed by a flurry of visits undertaken by Pakistani civil and military leadership both to Riyadh and Tehran.

All such diplomatic maneouvers, observers believed, were aimed at avoiding any conflict in the Persian Gulf region.

Pakistan enjoys close strategic ties with Saudi Arabia but at the same time considers its relationship with Iran important given its proximity as well as other factors.

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Car bomb blast, firing outside US base in Afghanistan

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Kabul, Dec 11 Militants detonated a massive car bomb and seized a building outside a main US and NATO military base in Afghanistan’s Bagram on Wednesday morning, pushing security forces to respond, officials and witnesses said.

“A car bomb explosion occurred at 5.50 a.m. local time Wednesday in Bagram district. We still cannot provide details on causalities. There is fear of possible causalities,” Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman of the Afghan Interior Ministry, told Xinhua news agency.

“We heard a huge blast in Janqadam locality in Bagram district after militants detonated a huge car bomb. A second group of militants seized a health clinic’s building, clashing with security forces and firing rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) onto the Bagram base,” a witness told local Arman FM radio.

The whole place has now been sealed off by the US and Afghan security forces, the witness added.

The blast caused a plume of gray smoke to rise above the scene. Military helicopters were hovering over the site.

Located in Bagram district of eastern Parwan province, the Bagram military base, some 50 km north of Afghan capital of Kabul, has been serving as a main US and NATO military base in Afghanistan over the past 18 years.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

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A Nobel ceremony: Abhijit, wife Esther woo netizens in ethnic wear

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

Stockholm, Dec 11 Indian-American economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, and his French-American wife Esther Duflo were conferred the Nobel Prize for Economics in Sweden here, alongside their American colleague Michael Kremer.

Unlike other laureates, who arrived in tuxedos and fancy Red Carpet dresses, the couple glorified the prestigious occasion in traditional Indian attire.

Abhijit wore a black bandhgala jacket paired with an off-white dhoti, and wife Esther wore a blue, two-toned saree, while Michael Kremer was spotted wearing a black suit.

‘The Nobel Prize’ tweeted “Watch Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer receive their medals and diplomas at the #NobelPrize award ceremony today. Congratulations!

They were awarded the 2019 Prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

The Twitter post was flooded with comments and congratulatory wishes from across the world, with 1.4K retweets and 3.6K likes.

The three economists were awarded medals and the prize money of nine million Swedish krona (approx Rs 6.7 crore), which will be shared among them.

As “#AbhijitBanerjee” trends on Twitter, tweeple are praising the couple’s attire, saying “Moment of pride for Indians as Abhijeet Banerjee and his wife received biggest prize in the world… wearing Indian attire is icing on cake”.

While another wrote: “We live in an era where people are banning movies and pre wedding shootings for cultural in-approproation , whereas progressive Indians like #AbhijitBanerjee and her better half are showing the world what Indian culture is. Thank you for making us proud sir.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Banerjee, an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Calcutta, is the second person of Indian Origin to be awarded the prize after Amartya Sen who received it in 1988.

He is the 10th person of Indian origin or citizenship to win a Nobel.

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