News and Views

Pakistan’s plan for tackling deforestation: A billion trees

The Washington Post | Max Bearak  It's a rough life in Pakistan, even for a tree.
The country's hills were once home to endless stretches of pine and fir, but these days Pakistan's forest cover is somewhere below 2 percent. In the United States, that number is roughly 33 percent and in India 23 percent.
In an ambitious plan to counter this deforestation, which ecologists say is a major cause of deadly landslides, the government of a province along Pakistan's restive border with Afghanistan says it is a quarter of the way to a goal announced last year: planting 1 billion saplings. The so-called Billion Tree Tsunami campaign was recognized by the Bonn Challenge, a global partnership of forestry ministries to regain green cover.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST

Nuclear, missile developments in S. Asia worry US, Pakistan

DAWN | BAQIR SAJJAD SYED  ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States expressed on Tuesday concerns over the ‘nuclear and missile developments’ in South Asia and called for resolution of outstanding disputes between India and Pakistan for lasting peace in the region.
“Both sides recognised their interest in strategic stability and discussed their respective concerns over nuclear and missile developments in South Asia,” a joint statement issued at the end of the eighth round of the Pakistan-US Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonpro­liferation Working Group said.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0808 PST

Pakistan expresses concern over India’s controversial ‘maps bill’

DAWN | MATEEN HAIDER  ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has expressed serious concern to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General and the President of the UN Security Council (UNSC) over efforts to pass into law the controversial Geospatial Information Regulation Bill which aims to restrict geographical depictions of India and disputed Kashmir to those that are government-approved.
Under the draft bill, anyone distributing a map the Indian government deems to be "wrong" could be liable for a billion-rupee fine and jail time.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0711 PST

‘India planning to prolong forced occupation of IHK’

Daily Times | Online  SRINAGAR: All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) Chairman Syed Ali Gilani has said that India is working on different plans including construction of soldier colonies, separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits and introduction of industrial policy to prolong its forced occupation of Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).
Presiding over a meeting of the APHC advisory council at his Hyderpora residence in Srinager, he said that work on these anti-people projects had been expedited since the PDP-BJP coalition came into power, Kashmir Media Service reported on Tuesday. He pointed out that communal forces had started materialising the dream of RSS through use of government machinery.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 1054 PST

Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan, says Janjua

Daily Times | Online  ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua, a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army, has said that Pakistan is a peace-loving country and it wants peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Addressing a ceremony here on Tuesday, he said that Pakistan hosted three million Afghan refugees despite adverse circumstances. He said that Pakistanis provided them shelter in their homes with dignity and respect and extended hospitality to them. He said that many of the Afghan refugees were being used in acts of terrorism and smuggling in Pakistan.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST

Pakistan wants to contribute to global efforts towards non-proliferation, disarmament: Fatemi

Daily Times | Online  GENEVA: Pakistanis are determined to tackle myriads of daunting challenges that beset the region, including disease, poverty, illiteracy, climate change and environmental degradation, a top government aide said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi said a peaceful neighbourhood was the sine qua non for a prosperous society. He said that Pakistan attached a great importance to the conference’s role as world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST

Pakistan: Joint security efforts needed for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

CCTV |   A Pakistani official says the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flagship joint project that will help regional development. Pakistan's chief military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa was speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.
Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa said both sides need to guarantee a safe environment for the construction of the economic corridor. China and Pakistan are celebrating 65 years of diplomatic relations this year. The military spokesman expressed hope that the two countries could deepen communications and cooperation to tackle regional challenges, maintain regional peace and promote mutual development.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0038 BJT

India’s anti-ballistic missile defence shield

Daily Times | Dr Qaisar Rashid  As if the list of trials for Pakistan was already not long enough, another challenge has popped up. On May 15, India successfully test fired its acclaimed, indigenous supersonic interceptor missile as Advance Air Defence, which is a product of the missile interception technology, to destroy an incoming hostile inter-continental ballistic missile in mid-air in an endo-atmospheric (short range) altitude (i.e. below 100 kilometres, within the earth’s atmosphere). After 11 failures, this was the 12th test that finally yielded fruit for India. With that, in South Asia, India heralded the era of constructing an anti-ballistic missile defence shield to protect its air from the entry of any nuclear-armed ballistic missile.

Read MorePosted Date: May 18, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST

Upgrading Pakistan’s defence

Daily Times | News Reporter  The test of India’s Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile on Sunday raised security concerns in Pakistan, as the balance of power between the two states is being adversely affected by the build-up of India’s military technology. The technology will allow the Indian military to intercept incoming missiles, and this coupled with nuclear-capable K-4 Submarine will mean that India could have an effective second strike capability. In light of these concerns, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz stated that Pakistan would consider upgrading its defence capability. For two states that have historically adopted hostile postures towards each other, locking horns over securitisation, and that too over nuclear weapons, should be cause for grave concern.

Read MorePosted Date: May 16, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST

Pakistan Tells U.S. It Qualifies for Nuclear Suppliers Club

The New York Times | REUTERS  ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's foreign secretary on Tuesday told a U.S. envoy his country has the "credentials" to join a club of nuclear trading nations, signalling Islamabad may apply alongside India and force a showdown in the consensus-based group next month.
Such a move would drag the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) into the long-running tension between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed neighbours who have fought three wars since being split amid violence at the end British colonial rule in 1947.

Read MorePosted Date: May 17, 2016  Last Updated at 1400 EDT

Pakistan army chief assures China of full security to USD 46 bn CPEC

Indian Express | PTI  Pakistan’s powerful Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif met top Chinese leadership here and assured them to provide full security to the ambitious USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through restive Balochistan province.
Gen Sharif, who is in China on a two-day official visit, met Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President of the Central Military Commission Fan Changlong, the highest military official of the People’s Liberation Army which is headed by President Xi Jinping, on Monday.

Read MorePosted Date: May 17, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST

India Acts East

Foreign Policy | MICHAEL KUGELMAN  Washington’s Asia rebalance, first articulated by President Barack Obama in a 2011 speech to Australia’s parliament, has received ample attention. India’s envisioned pivot to Asia has garnered far less. Nonetheless, India’s planned pivot is freighted with significance for the country’s economic prospects, and for its relationship with the United States.
India’s rebalance is the subject of the Wilson Center’s new India in Asia initiative, set to launch on May 18. Its inaugural event will feature a discussion with distinguished Indian diplomat Nirupama Rao on how she envisions India’s role on the continent.

Read MorePosted Date: May 17, 2016  Last Updated at 0800 PST