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Ready to return IAF pilot if it eases tensions with India: Pak Foreign Minister

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Shah Mehmood Qureshi (File Photo)

Islamabad, Feb 28: Pakistan would be prepared to return the Indian Air Force pilot captured this week if it helped ease the crisis with its neighbour, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.

Qureshi also said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to with Narendra Modi over telephone “to extend an invitation of peace”.

The Minister told Geo News: “Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to Narendra Modi on the telephone and ready to extend an invitation of peace. Is Modi ready?”

He added: “I have just received the (Indian) dossier (on the Pulwama terror attack) and have not gotten the chance to examine it… I will still say that we will see and examine the dossier with an open heart.

“I wish they (India) would have sent this dossier earlier. They attacked first and then sent the dossier. If they would have sent the dossier first and sought Pakistan’s answer, there would be no need for an attack.

“If there is de-escalation with the return of this (Indian) pilot, Pakistan is willing to consider this. We are ready for all positive engagement,” he said amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan since a JeM suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF troopers on February 14.

Asserting that Pakistan had been calling for peace since day one, Qureshi said: “If India wants to talk about terrorism, then we are ready.

“You (India) want to risk regional stability for politics,” he said, in an apparent reference to upcoming parliamentary elections in India. “It could be the need of politics but history will not forgive you.”

Qureshi asked: “God forbid there is a war, Pakistan will be affected but will India’s economy not suffer?”

The Minister added that the Saudi Foreign Minister was departing for Pakistan.

He also welcomed US President Donald Trump’s statement on Pakistan-India tensions.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was detained by Pakistani authorities following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control in which a Pakistani jet F-16 was downed. IAF also lost a MiG 21 aircraft.

India has asked Pakistan to ensure safe return of the IAF pilot and strongly strongly objected to Islamabad putting out photographs and videos of the pilot, calling it a “vulgar display” of an injured personnel.

The ministry of external affairs had on Wednesday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to lodge a protest against Paksitan Air Force’s attempt to attack military installations.

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Investigation was quarantined, says Bihar Cop on Sushant Singh Rajput case

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Vinay Tiwari IPS

Patna/Mumbai, Aug 7: Commenting on Mumbai police probe into actor’s death, Bihar IPS officer Vinay Tiwari said that not only he but Bihar Police’s investigation into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death was also “quarantined and obstructed”.

Tiwari arrived in Mumbai to probe the case but was quarantined in Mumbai after his arrival and Mumbai authorities said it was done in line with COVID-19 protocols relating to inter-state travel.
IPS Officer was released and allowed to return to home.
Tiwari will now leave for Patna this evening, according to news agency ANI.

“I would say I wasn’t quarantined. The investigation was quarantined. Investigation of Bihar Police was obstructed,” Mr Tiwari, whose release had been requested by the Nitish Kumar government, told ANI.

After he arrived on Sunday, Tiwari, City Superintendent (central Patna), had been asked to stay in quarantine till August 15. City authorities insisted this was common procedure during the coronavirus outbreak and said Tiwari would have to make an application for exemption. In the meantime, they said, he could conduct his business via video conferences with the help of software like Zoom.

Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey, however, claimed the officer had been “forcibly quarantined”. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: “Whatever happened to him is not right, It is political”.

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Rains triggers landslide in Kerala : 15 dead

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 7: At least 15 people have been killed after heavy rain caused a landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district early this morning, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Friday evening, While announcing Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the families of those killed, the chief Minister said that the cost of treatment will be borne by the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted Friday afternoon to say he was “pained by the loss of lives” and to announce compensation, from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, of Rs 2 lakh each to family members of those who had died and ₹ 50,000 to those who were injured.

Fifteen others have been rescued so far and are undergoing treatment at the Tata General Hospital in Munnar. An NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team is engaged in rescue operations.

Officials say the landslide happened in the Rajamalai area of the district, which is around 25 km from the tourist town of Munnar. Around 80 people lived in the area, officials said, adding that they do not know, at this point, how many more are trapped under the mud.

A connecting bridge was swept away making access to the area difficult.

A 50-member strong special task force of the state fire service – who have been equipped for night-time work – are among the emergency services personnel sent, Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan has said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that a second team, based in Thrissur, was also en route and police, fire service personnel and forest and revenue officials had been instructed to join rescue efforts.

A 50 member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities. #KeralaRainspic.twitter.com/olo1eraMNV

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‘Politically motivated activism’: Ex-judges, CEC counter pro-Bhushan lobby

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Prashant-Bhushan


New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS):
 Trouble for prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan seems to be far from over. After 131 “prominent personalities” urged the Supreme Court to withdraw its contempt notice against Bhushan, a group of 174 eminent citizens have countered it, including 2 former High Court Chief Justices, in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind.

In a no holds barred attack on the first letter in support of Bhushan, the 174 people including former Rajasthan Chief Justice Anil Deo Singh, former Foreign Secretary Amar Sinha and former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami termed the ones vouching for Bhushan, as an “odd group of persons”.

Bhushan is being tried for contempt in the Supreme Court.

“It is a matter of concern that one odd group of persons, claiming themselves to be distinguished public men of the past, has been observed to repeatedly avail of every opportunity to put Indian democracy and its sacred institutions like Parliament, Election Commission of India, and now the Supreme Court of India, in poor light before the whole world. They end up issuing ill-considered statements, and writing misconceived communications to various authorities to attract media attention,” wrote the anti-Bhushan group, in a damning counter.

This was a reference to the previous group of 131 citizens which included former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur and Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav, expressing solidarity with Prashant Bhushan. Their statement, arguing for Bhushan read, “The initiation of contempt proceedings against Mr Bhushan, who had articulated some of these concerns in his tweets, appears to be an attempt at stifling such criticism, not just by Mr Bhushan, but by all stakeholders in the Indian democratic and constitutional set-up.”

But on Friday, in their letter to the President, the 174 others retorted, saying, “Freedom of speech is another foundation of democracy, but the freedom to speak can certainly not be misconstrued as a freedom to make a hate speech, subversive speech with the intent to shred national integrity, a diatribe undermining national sovereignty, or carrying out tirades to demolish the sacred institutions of Indian democracy.”

The counter group argued that the contempt case is “exclusively” between Prashant Bhushan and the apex court. But the group consisting of the likes of Yogendra Yadav, has “interfered with the administration of justice,” they said.

They even raked up Bhushan’s previous call for a “referendum” in Kashmir, blaming it on “gaping loopholes in the system”. Calling it “interference in the garb of politically motivated activism”, the 174 signatories say they reject the pro-Bhushan group’s “unprincipled posturing”.

“We concerned citizens, hereby disapprove of this group in its acts of routinely producing a negative public narrative replete with disrespect to Indian democratic institutions,” wrote the group of 174.

This elaborate list consists of 2 former High Court Chief Justices, 15 former High Court judges, 4 former Chief Secretaries, a former CEC, a former DG of the CISF and 12 former DGPs. It also consists of 4 former ambassadors and former Chief Commissioners of Income Tax, each. Shakti Sinha, who has been the Director of Nehru Memorial, also signed on this strongly worded petition to the President.

The Supreme Court issued a contempt notice to Prashant Bhushan earlier on July 22, for a couple of his tweets in which Bhushan had written about the “role of the Supreme Court” in the alleged “destruction” of democracy during the last 6 years.

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