Pakistan PM to urge Trump to restart Afghan peace talks

Taliban Mullah Abbas Stanikzai, center, attends “intra-Afghan” talks in Moscow on Feb. 6. (AP)
Updated 18 September 2019

Pakistan PM to urge Trump to restart Afghan peace talks

  • Calls the suspension of peace talks “unfortunate“
  • Says “no chance of talks” with India until the curfew is lifted in disputed Kashmir region 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he would urge US President Donald Trump next week to revive Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban militant group.
Trump abruptly canceled secret talks with the Taliban at his Camp David retreat that were planned for Sept. 8 and has since said the talks are “dead.”
“It will be a big tragedy if these talks don’t make headway,” Khan said at a ceremony at Pakistan’s Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.
Khan said he would meet Trump in New York on Monday, and would emphasize that there had been “destruction and chaos in Afghanistan for the last 40 years.”
“We will put our best (effort) that these talks are resumed again,” he said.
Khan said Pakistan had directed Taliban leaders to participate in earlier peace talks in Qatar and only discovered too late that talks had broken down. He said his next role would have been to convince the Taliban to open talks with the Afghan government.
Khan is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly while in New York.
The PM also said there was “no chance of talks” with India about its clampdown on the disputed territory of Kashmir until it lifted a curfew for people there.


Government not to appeal court verdict allowing ex-PM Sharif to travel abroad

Updated 19 November 2019

Government not to appeal court verdict allowing ex-PM Sharif to travel abroad

  • Accountability process is for everyone, says the law minister
  •  Government says collecting data to provide relief to elderly prisoners

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal cabinet decided on Tuesday it would not appeal a court verdict that allowed the country’s ailing former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“The cabinet has decided not to file an immediate appeal against a Lahore High Court verdict,” Federal Minister for Law Farogh Naseem said while addressing a news conference in Islamabad.

The Lahore High Court on Saturday permitted Sharif to leave Pakistan for four weeks on medical grounds, without imposing any other conditions. The court said he could also apply for an extension to the bail period if his treatment required him to stay abroad for a longer duration.

69-year-old three-time premier, Sharif on Tuesday left for London on an air ambulance. He is suffering from an autoimmune blood disorder and was recently released on an eight-week medical bail from a prison facility in Lahore where he was serving a seven-year sentence on corruption charges.

The former prime minister, who has dominated Pakistan’s politics for about three decades, denies all corruption allegations against him, claiming they are politically motivated.

The government of Sharif’s rival, Prime Minister Imran Khan, had earlier said it would not stand in the way, though it demanded him to pay indemnity bonds of seven billion Pakistani rupees last week, which Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), immediately rejected.

After days of political deadlock, the court has granted the PML-N founding leader four weeks to receive treatment after getting an undertaking from him and his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif that he would return to Pakistan soon after his medical recovery.

“We respect the court’s verdict …. The Pakistan High Commission in London and the British government will be informed about Nawaz Sharif’s illness and stay over there [for medical treatment],” the law minister said.

He added that the court would decide about the indemnity bond in January while clarifying that Prime Minister Khan did not have any personal “agenda” against the opposition. “We believe in accountability for all …. There is a need to make the criminal justice system more effective,” he continued.

Naseem said the government was collecting data of elderly and other prisoners involved in petty crime and “the cabinet will review all the cases [to provide them legal relief].”

Earlier in the day, in a veiled reference to Sharif’s departure to London for medical treatment, National Accountability Bureau Chairman Javed Iqbal said that while multiple people were sharing a single hospital bed in the country, there were others who were going abroad – “London or the US” – for treatment “even when they caught a cold.”

“Are the rest of us not humans …. God has created everyone equal,” he said while speaking at an event in Islamabad.