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Eid Milad-un-nabi(PBUH) observed with religious fervor in Pakistan
24 Dec,2015: The day starts off with an official 31-gun salute at the federal capital and a 21-gun salute in provincial headquarters. The national flag is hoisted on all major public buildings, governmental, non-governmental facilities, mosques and even households are tastefully decorated and colorfully illuminated at night.
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Nation pays homage to Quaid on 139th birth anniversary
KARACHI: The 139th birth anniversary of Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah is being celebrated across the country on Friday with due enthusiasm. Jinnah was born on Dec 25, 1876, in Karachi. The day has been declared a public holiday. A change of guard ceremony was held at the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi in the morning, where Commandant PMA Major Gen Nadeem Raza was the guest of honour. Cadets from PMA Kakul assumed guards’ duties at Quaid’s mausoleum. A contingent comprising 180 cadets from the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul assumed guards’ duties at the mausoleum. President Mamnoon Hussain along with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah paid a visit to the mausoleum where they placed wreaths and offered Fateha.
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India and Pakistan to resume high-level peace talks
8 Dec. Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Islamabad to attend a regional conference on Afghanistan for first time since 2012. “I have come with a message of good relations between the two countries,” she told media after her arrival.  9 Dec, 2015: India and Pakistan have agreed to resume high-level peace talks, according to a joint statement that signalled a thaw in tense relations between nuclear-armed neighbours that have fought three full-scale wars. The breakthrough came early yesterday at the close of a regional conference in Islamabad attended by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, which also saw Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meet in a bid to revive the Taliban peace process.“Both the countries have agreed to resume the stalled talks,” said Swaraj, who met with Sharif and his foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz. “We will start the dialogue process from scratch.” The dialogue will cover peace and security as well as territorial disputes, including over Kashmir, a Himalayan region that has seen India and Pakistan fight two wars since gaining their independence from Britain in 1947. The countries agreed to resume the peace process in 2011 but tensions have spiked over the past two years, with cross-border shelling over the disputed border in Kashmir claiming dozens of lives since last year.
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Sushma Swaraj Meets Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif & FM Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad amid efforts by both countries to improve ties.”The External Affairs Minister conveyed to Prime Minister Sharif India’s commitment to good neighbourly relations,” foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. Ms Swaraj also met her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Aat the ‘Heart of Asia Summit’, she said it was time that India and Pakistan displayed “maturity” in doing business with each other. “It is time we display maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation,” Ms Swaraj said. Ms Swaraj also pushed for Pakistan to allow the transit of goods from Afghanistan to India through its territory.”The heart of Asia cannot function if its arteries are clogged. India’s vision for Afghanistan is one of interlinked trade, transit, energy and communication routes with the country as an important hub,” said the minister. She added that on “our part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with. But today, let us at least resolve to help Afghanistan – in the best traditions of good neighbourliness.” Ms Swaraj invited foreign ministers from Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other participating countries in the “Heart of Asia”.conference to India for next year’s edition. The first visit by an Indian foreign minister to Pakistan in three years comes as part of a series of events following a surprise meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Paris two weeks ago on the sidelines of the climate change conference. That meeting led to secret talks between the National Security Advisors of both countries in Bangkok last week.
India, however, has not given green signal for the resumption of cricketing ties between the two nations, Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahryar Khan has said. It was expected that the series would go ahead after a meeting between Ms Swaraj and Mr Aziz.
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Indian prime minister makes surprise stopover in Pakistan
25 Dec, 2015: Narendra Modi meets counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the first visit by an Indian premier to Pakistan in more than a decade. The visit, requested by Modi just hours earlier before he flew back home from Afghanistan, raised hopes that stop-and-start negotiations between the nuclear-armed neighbours might finally make progress after three wars and more than 65 years of hostility. Nawaz Sharif hugged Modi after he landed at Lahore airport and left by helicopter for Sharif’s nearby family estate. “So, you have finally come,” Sharif told Modi, according to a Pakistani foreign ministry official who was at the meeting. “Yes, absolutely. I am here,” Modi said, according to the official. Modi phoned Sharif earlier in the day to wish him a happy 66th birthday and asked if he could make a stop in Pakistan on his way home, Pakistan’s foreign secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, told reporters. “And the PM said to him: ‘Please come, you are our guest, please come and have tea with me.’” Modi and Sharif talked for about 90 minutes and shared an early-evening meal before the Indian leader flew back home. “Among the decisions taken was that ties between the two countries would be strengthened and also people-to-people contact would be strengthened so that the atmosphere can be created in which the peace process can move forward,” foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said.
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5th Heart of Asia Conference 2015 Islamabad-Pakistan
Heart of Asia Conference : Pakistan’s peace efforts acknowledged as genuine 11 Dec:2015 : ISLAMABAD: The treasury benchers in National Assembly (NA) debated the Heart of Asia Conference and issues of national significance and told the House that Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region were acknowledged as genuine by the conference participants. Speaking in the House, Adviser to the Prime Minister (PM) on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the Heart of Asia Conference (HoAC) was an initiative of Turkey and Afghanistan for ensuring stability and security in the region and for agreeing on economic cooperation. Aziz said the meeting in the federal capital on enhanced cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the heart of Asia region was the fifth so far and 14 countries participated with the support of 17 countries and 12 regional and international organisations. Aziz said the participating countries have agreed to work on “Islamabad Declaration” and added that 17 agreements were signed, benefiting 52 fields. He said the participating countries have agreed to a collective approach for tackling the Afghan security issue. He informed the Lower House of parliament that senior security officials from participating countries will meet in the first half of 2016. For confidence-building measures, he said, the participating countries have agreed for cooperating against disaster management (led by Pakistan and Kazakhstan), counterterrorism (led by Afghanistan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates), counternarcotics (led by Russia and Azerbaijan), trade, commercial and investment opportunities (led by India), regional infrastructure (led by Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan) and education (led by Iran).On talks with India, Aziz said that a range of items including disputes on the Working Boundary and the Line of Control, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul navigation project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter terrorism, narcotics control, humanitarian issues, people to people exchanges and religious tourism.
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Turkmenistan launches $10bn gas pipeline to South Asia
13 Dec 2015:- Afghan, Pakistani and Indian leaders take part in breaking ground ceremony of 1,814km project that is due by 2019. The 1,814km TAPI pipeline, named after the countries it is designed to cross, is expected to be operational by 2019 at an estimated cost of up to $10bn. “TAPI is designed to become a new effective step towards the formation of the modern architecture of global energy security, a powerful driver of economic and social stability in the Asian region,” Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan’s president, said during the ceremony held in the Karakum desert outside the city of Mary. He was joined by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who all praised the pipeline as a political project that will help improve relations in the region. “The TAPI gas pipeline project will help promote peace and trade amongst the regional countries,” Sharif said. Ansari called TAPI “more than a project” and described it as “the first step to the unification of the region”, while Ghani said it demonstrated the countries’ political will. “We are committed to the stable development of the entire region which will develop in an active and stable manner if we cooperate,” he said. However, experts say the TAPI project faces several risks, including the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and lack of clarity about its financing. Foreign policy analyst Richard Weitz told Al Jazeera that the project brings a variety of potential benefits to the countries involved. “It allows Afghanistan to gain revenue as well as some of the gas that would be produced. More importantly, Pakistan and India would gain needed access to energy resources,” said Weitz, a Senior Fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute. Weitz added, however, that security risks in Afghanistan and mistrust between India and Pakistan could hamper the massive project.  Project funds TAPI’s construction is led by state gas firm Turkmengas and none of global energy majors have so far committed to the project that will cost as much as a third of Turkmenistan’s total 2016 budget.The only company known to have confirmed interest in the project is Dubai-based Dragon Oil which produces oil off Turkmenistan’s Caspian Sea coast. Russia’s state gas company – Gazprom – was also looking to join the project in the past. Turkmenistan, a central Asian nation of 5.5 million people, holds the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves and sees the TAPI pipeline as a way of boosting exports.

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