PM chairs meeting of high-powered Taliban talks committee

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday morning gave guidelines for holding negotiations to the four-member committee formed to facilitate talks with Taliban militants, DawnNews reported.

The first meeting of the committee, chaired by the prime minister, discussed in detail the framework and strategy for the talks.

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Al-Sudais, Indian CG discuss Haram expansion, Haj services

Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai briefed Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, about the preparations being made in India for Haj pilgrims.

Kidwai called on Al-Sudais at his Makkah office recently to brief him on the preparations and also to offer condolences to him on demise of his father Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Sudais.

Al-Sudais briefed the Indian envoy about the ongoing expansion projects at Haram and the commitment of the Saudi leadership to ensure that pilgrims perform rituals without any problems, a statement issued by Presidency of Two Holy Mosque Affairs said.

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Saudis have Pak commitment of nuclear bomb: US expert

Given the rapid increase of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, a former CIA analyst suspects the country has a commitment to provide a nuclear bomb to Saudi Arabia.

“One of the great unknowns is whether they (Saudi Arabia) have already got a deal with the Pakistanis for a bomb. That’s  one of the mysteries of the contemporary Middle   East and South Asia,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who is currently with the Brookings Institute, an eminent American think-tank.

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Turkey, Iran to establish high level cooperation council during Erdogan’s Tehran visit

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan departed for Tehran Jan. 28 for his first meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Turkey and Iran will sign an agreement to establish a high-level cooperation council during the visit, after Western countries eased sanctions on Tehran over an interim nuclear deal.

Paying a two day visit to Tehran, Erdogan will hold talks with Rouhani, First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, and the religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. He will also deliver a speech at the international institute of the Iranian Foreign Ministry. According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, a visit to Turkey by President Hassan Rouhani will also be on the agenda. Spokeswoman Marzihe Afkham described the visit as “very important.”

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Grenade attacks on law enforcers wound six in Karachi

KARACHI: At least six persons, including two Rangers personnel, were wounded in grenade attacks in Karachi’s Nazimabad area on Wednesday whereas five other persons were killed in different incidents of violence in the city, DawnNews reported.

A Rangers checkpost and a police mobile van were targeted in two separate hand-grenade attacks in Nazimabad area of Karachi.

Rescue and emergency teams reached the site of attack and shifted the victims to a nearby hospital for treatment.

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Obama threatens to veto new Iran sanctions bill

WASHINGTON: United States President Barack Obama says negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program will be difficult and may not succeed, but he’s warning Congress he will veto new economic sanctions against Tehran while the discussions are ongoing.

Obama described the US on Tuesday as cleared-eyed about longstanding mistrust between Iran and six world powers that are working to prevent the Islamic republic from enriching enough uranium to build nuclear weapons.

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PML-N resolves to take battle to TTP bastion

ISLAMABAD: Although the government and the military continued to discuss matters behind closed doors, government officials took pains on Tuesday to argue that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made up his mind to take the battle to the TTP stronghold in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).

“More than one option is being considered for going into NWA; it’s just a matter of time now,” a government official privy to the development told Dawn.

He added that the military planning would take time, but the ball had been set rolling by the PML-N government in meetings between the prime minister and the army chief over the past week or so.

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