Russia’s Vladimir Putin rejects invitation to visit Pakistan

Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned down the invitation to visit Pakistan for inauguration of the North-South Pipeline Project with Moscow emphasising that there was not enough substance in this trip.

This comes as the recent bonhomie between both sides has not lasted long despite Pakistan’s plans to buy armament, including aircraft from Russia, and signing of a number of bilateral agreements and setting up of the high-level consultative mechanism between Islamabad and Moscow Strategic Dialogue between their respective Foreign Ministers, Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism.

Read more » DNA
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US lawmakers question Pakistan’s policies

WASHINGTON: Several members of the US Congress launched on Wednesday a multi-pronged attack on Pakistan, questioning its policies and priorities.

 

Pakistan had to bear this humiliation for the $742 million that the Obama administration has proposed for the country in the next fiscal year. The lawmakers suggested using this money somewhere else.

Two US officials, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson and US Agency for International Development’s Donald Sampler, made feeble attempts to defend the proposed aid but they could not match the angry legislators.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chaired the hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, set the tone, with a frontal attack on Pakistan.

“The Taliban operate freely because Pakistan refuses to take action against them inside its borders,” she said while calling Pakistan “a direct contributor to the Taliban success”.

“It makes little sense to continue giving Pakistan billions of dollars if it’s going to continue to work against our interests,” she said, urging the US administration to “leverage our aid” to make Pakistan “a better regional partner with Afghanistan”.

Read more » DAWN
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US congress blocking funds for F-16 purchase: report

Jf thunderBY DAWN.COM

WASHINGTON: The United States (US) administration is withholding funds earmarked for Pakistan’s purchase of eight F-16 fighter jets, BBC Urdu reported, citing an unnamed senior US State Department official.

The State Department official told BBC Urdu on condition of anonymity that the Obama administration is still willing to sell the fighter jets to Pakistan, but will not contribute US funds towards the deal.

The US administration took this step with directions from US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker because only Congress has the authority to dispense or withhold the funds, the official said.

As a result of this move, Pakistan may have to foot the bill of $700 million for the eight fighter jets.

As per the earlier arrangement, Pakistan would have paid $270 million while the US would grant the remaining $430 million for the purchase.

The $742 million earmarked for American military aid to Pakistan in the 2016-2017 budget has also been put on hold, but may be released if Congress changes its mind, the State Department official said, adding that the Obama administration is working with Congress in this regard.

Read more » DAWN
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