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Pakistan tells US it won’t bow down for Washington’s interests

Pakistan on Wednesday told the United States that mutual interests of the both the countries need to be considered in bilateral relations and that it would not bow down only for Washington’s interests, diplomatic sources informed Geo News.

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan on Wednesday told the United States that mutual interests of the both the countries need to be considered in bilateral relations and that it would not bow down only for Washington’s interests, diplomatic sources informed Geo News.

Pakistan conveyed so during a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the PM House in Islamabad. The meeting also had Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and others in presence.

Also read: US to cancel $300m in aid as Pakistan says ‘no more’

According to diplomatic sources, US officials reiterated the demand of “do more” at the meeting, however, Pakistani leadership presented its stance in a comprehensive manner.

The US delegation led by Secretary Pompeo reached the US Embassy in Islamabad after meeting with PM Khan, the sources said. from where the delegates left for airport after a while.

The US secretary of state and others then left for India from Islamabad Wednesday evening.

Upon arrival in Islamabad, Pompeo held talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Pompeo, who was accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and a four-member delegation, was received by Qureshi upon reaching the Foreign Office from Nur Khan Airbase.

During the talks at the FO, bilateral, regional and international issues were discussed.

FM Qureshi underscored the need to reset bilateral ties on the basis of mutual trust and respect, the FO said regarding the talks.

Safeguarding Pakistan’s national interests will remain supreme priority, it added.

Earlier this afternoon, Pompeo landed in Islamabad and was received by officials of the Foreign Ministry.

This is the first high-level visit from Washington since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government assumed office.

Pompeo is also expected to call on Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa during his brief stay in the capital, diplomatic sources said.

He is due to visit India on the next stop of his South Asia tour where he is expected to pile pressure on New Delhi over its purchases of Iranian oil and Russian missile systems in talks with senior Indian officials.

Hope Pakistan, US will leave past behind: Pompeo

Speaking to the media from his airplane en route to Islamabad, Pompeo said he hopes to reset the relations between the two countries.

“We hope that both countries could leave the past behind and begin to make progress,” Pompeo said.

“We will have three opportunities to walk through the complexity that is this relationship and hopefully begin to make some progress so that we can get back to set of common understandings. So that’s really the very straightforward objective,” the US secretary of state regarding his visit.

Pompeo also indicated that the Trump administration could release aid to Pakistan that was halted earlier this year.

“Pakistan was told this past summer that they weren’t likely to get that money,” the Secretary said.

Stating that the rationale for Pakistan not getting the money is very clear, he said, “It’s that we haven’t seen the progress that we need to see from them.”

“And the very reason for this trip is to try and articulate what it is our expectation is, the things that they can do, the things that they expect us to do, and see if we can’t find a path forward together,” he upheld.

Further, Pompeo stressed on Pakistan’s assistance and help to resolve issues related to stability in Afghanistan.

“We need Pakistan to seriously engage to help us get to the reconciliation we need in Afghanistan,” he said and mentioned General Nicholson and General Miller having the same opinion on the issue.

Pakistanis have “important interests, security interests in Afghanistan to make sure they get the issues at their border right, and we need their help”, Pompeo said.

Also read: US out of the game as Pakistan assures Iran of its support in Iranian nuclear deal debacle

He was also hopeful that his trip could convince the new government in Pakistan to provide the assistance for reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Pompeo said that the eventual result of working together could mean the aid to Pakistan could revive. “If that arises again, I am confident we’ll present to the US president the rationale for that, and then something like that might make sense,” the US secretary of state said.

This article first appeared on Geo News.

Pakistan News

Independence Day: Sale of Kashmiri flags on the rise

Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day.

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MUZAFFARABAD, Azad Kashmir/KARACHI, Pakistan: Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day, ARY News reported on Thursday.

As marking of 73rd Independence Day is right around the corner, the preparations have gained momentum as a huge rush of people were seen at different stalls of Kashmiri flags, national flags buntings, badges, set up by vendors in different areas of Karachi.

READ MORE: Top 10 schools of Pakistan (2018-19)

All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Ateeq Meer said that people are very enthusiastic and passionate for purchasing celebratory items to mark Independence Day.

It must be noted that government has decided to observe Independence Day; 14 August, as Kashmir Solidarity Day and 15th of this month as Black Day to express harmony and solidarity with Kashmiris in their recent plight caused by the Indian government.

The national flag will fly half-mast on 15th of this month. A notification to this effect has been issued by the Ministry of Interior.

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Pakistan News

Maryam’s interview “stopped forcefully:” Nadeem Malik

An interview of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a vice president of the PML-N, was “forcefully” taken off air soon after it was run, it was reported on Thursday.

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: An interview of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif was taken off air forcefully seconds after it started.

“Just came to know Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s interview has been stopped forcefully just [a] few minutes after it started live,” tweeted show host Nadeem Malik.

Hum News, the channel on which the interview was aired for a few brief moments, released a statement shortly after the incident, saying: “Hum News believes in a free and responsible media. Protecting freedom of expression is one of our core values. At the same time, we stand for the respect and dignity of [the] judiciary in line with our ethical values and the Constitution.”

The development comes days after AbbTakk TV24 News, and Capital TV all had their broadcasts cut after screening a press conference by Maryam Nawaz.

Authorities say the three channels were unavailable due to “technical issues”, but Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global media watchdog, described the outage as an act of “brazen censorship”.

It slammed the local authorities over the removal of three television channels from the country’s airwaves, saying the move was “indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies” as pressure mounts on journalists in Pakistan.

READ MORE: Arrest me if you want to, I won’t run away like your master Musharraf: Hamid Mir

Maryam is the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — who is currently behind bars for corruption — and a recent press conference she hosted featured a judge reportedly claiming he had been blackmailed into convicting the former premier.

The move came as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration vowed to block any media coverage and interviews of politicians “who are convicts and under trial”.

Earlier this month, Geo News TV abruptly took an interview with former president Asif Ali Zardari off air shortly after it began.

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Pakistan News

Several dead and dozens injured in Pakistan train collision

A collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the central town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan has killed at least 10 people, with more than 70 others injured, according to police and hospital officials.

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RAHIM YAR KHAN, Pakistan: A collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the central town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan has killed at least 10 people, with more than 70 others injured, according to police and hospital officials.

The incident on Thursday took place at the Walhar railway station, located about 35km south of Rahim Yar Khan.

“The Akbar Express [passenger train] going from Bahawalpur to Quetta hit a freight train that was parked there at 7.40am,” a local police official told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Senior police official Umar Salamat told local media the collision took place because the passenger train was diverted onto the incorrect track at the station, hitting the parked freight train.

Rescue operations were under way at the collision site, with workers using equipment to get to some of those trapped in the train wreckage, local media reported.

The injured were taken to a nearby government hospital and to a more advanced facility in Rahim Yar Khan, hospital officials said.

Nine of the dead were taken to the government hospital, with more than 60 people injured in the wreck also treated there, Liaquat Chohan, a senior hospital official, told Al Jazeera.

“The injuries were of multiple types – many had fractures, others had bleeding wounds. Some were crushed under objects,” he said.

At least one dead body was also taken to the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Rahim Yar Khan, where 11 of those wounded in the accident were being treated, hospital official Ilyas Ahmer told Al Jazeera.

“One person’s leg was cut off [in the collision], and another is having serious chest surgery,” he said.

‘Emergency steps’

Pakistan’s aging railway network carries both passengers and goods across the country, but suffers periodic derailments and other accidents due to aging infrastructure.

A major Chinese investment in the country is seeking to upgrade the main railway line that connects the length of the country, raising speeds and safety standards.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences for those who were killed and injured, and ordered Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad to speed up work on the country’s rail infrastructure.

“Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure & ensure safety standards,” Khan tweeted after the accident.

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