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Pakistan acts on Pathankot attack, submits initial probe findings to India

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Pakistan on Monday submitted to India its initial findings on alleged Pakistani links to the Pathankot terror attack saying that the telephone numbers given by India were not registered in Pakistan, a news report said.

A Joint Investigation Team, formed following a directive of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, submitted the initial findings on the alleged Pakistani links to the terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force station in Punjab’s Pathankot district earlier in January.
Sharif had on Monday directed the Intelligence Bureau to probe the leads provided by India on the alleged Pakistani links to the Pathankot terror attack.
“According to sources close to the development, the investigation report has been handed over to Indian authorities,” reports said.

Indian authorities had provided Pakistan details of telephonic conversations that terrorists, believed to be Pakistanis, had had with their handlers and family members from the air base.

According to the Indian authorities, the terrorists who sneaked into Punjab and attacked the IAF base on January 2 were affiliated to the proscribed outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad.

The report quoted unnamed sources as saying that the telephone numbers given by India were not registered in Pakistan. “The investigation agencies were further investigating (leads) pertaining to Pathankot attackers,” it said.

A media report on Monday said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence were helping probe the suspected Pakistani link to the terror attack on the IAF base.

The ISI, the Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau were part of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed following a directive of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Express Tribune reported.

The decision to form the JIT was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Sharif “a few days ago”, it said.

Pakistani news reports on Friday had said that Sharif directed the Intelligence Bureau to probe the leads provided by New Delhi on the alleged Pakistani links to the January 2 terror attack in Punjab.

The pre-dawn attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) station killed seven security personnel. Security forces killed all six attackers who were said to have sneaked into Punjab from Pakistan.

“Nawaz (Sharif) is taking an active role in getting to the bottom of the Pathankot incident,” a source in the Prime Minister’s House was quoted as saying.

“He (Sharif) also discussed the issue with army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and took him on board about the decision to form a JIT,” it added.

India has provided Islamabad “actionable information” on the terrorists’ alleged Pakistani links. New Delhi wants Sharif to crack down on those who planned the audacious terrorist attack.

After the terror attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that his government will act on information provided by New Delhi on the terrorists’ alleged Pakistani links.

“Nawaz (Sharif) has assured his Indian counterpart (Narendra Modi) that Pakistan will investigate the matter and make the results public,” the report said.

But Pakistani officials have told their media that the information given by India was not enough and may not stand scrutiny in a court of law.

The News International quoted “highly placed diplomatic sources” as saying that the foreign secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India could be deferred by New Delhi as there was no information so far about the visit of the Indian foreign secretary for the January 15 talks in Islamabad.

“It is likely that India would notify the postponement at the eleventh hour some time next week,” the daily said.

No communication has taken place between Islamabad and New Delhi on the foreign secretary-level talks since the Pathankot attack, it said.

Pakistan does not want the foreign secretary-level talks to get derailed as they were expected to pave the way for a comprehensive composite dialogue covering all outstanding disputes, including Kashmir, it added.

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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KP-Sharma-Oli
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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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COVID-19 Vaccine
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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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TWITTER

Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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