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PM Modi will visit Pakistan in 2016: Sushma Swaraj

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan next year, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here on Wednesday.

Modi will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit, Swaraj told the media.

This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the South Asian neighbour in January 2004 to attend that year’s Saarc summit.

Sushma Swaraj said she would accompany Modi during his visit, Geo TV reported.

Sushma Swaraj is in Islamabad to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Sushma Swaraj’s is the first ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since the visit of then external affairs minister S.M. Krishna in 2012.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held in Ufa, Russia, in July, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had invited Modi to attend the Saarc summit next year which the latter had accepted.

After the Ufa meeting, both the prime ministers directed their foreign secretaries to initiate the process of renewing talks, including meetings between the national security advisors of the two countries.

However, NSA-level talks between Doval and then Pakistani NSA Sartaz Aziz scheduled in New Delhi in August were cancelled after the Pakistan high commissioner in New Delhi insisted on inviting Hurriyat leaders for a reception in honour of Aziz.

The two prime ministers again had an impromptu meeting on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (CoP-21) climate summit in Paris on November 30.

Both leaders were seen warmly shaking hands at the summit venue as world leaders converged for the opening of the event.

The two leaders then sat on the same sofa and were seen engaging in an animated discussion.

Following this, on December 6, National Security Advisors (NSAs) Ajit Doval of India and Naseer Khan Janjua of Pakistan held a meeting in Bangkok which was also attended by Foreign Secretaries S. Jaishanker and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said the two NSAs held discussions “in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere”.

According to the statemernt, the NSAs “were guided by the vision of the two leaders for a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia.

“Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues including tranquility along the LoC (Line of Control).

“It was agreed to carry forward the constrictive engagement,” said the statement.

The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Wefornews Bureau

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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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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 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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