Oct 252018
Targeted by pipe bomb, CNN denounces White House's rhetoric

CNN’s president on Wednesday denounced the White House for its “total and complete lack of understanding” of the consequences of attacks against the media after the cable news network’s New York office and several prominent Democrats were sent pipe bombs. Feelings were raw over a perceived reluctance by the administration to mention that CNN was sent one of the crude devices, which also went to Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and others. A fundraising email attacking CNN sent out as the story unfolded deepened that perception. Trump’s campaign later apologised for the email. “The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.” CNN has been a frequent target of Trump’s “fake news” barbs, and a “CNN sucks” chant broke out at a Monday campaign rally. Amid that backdrop, some at CNN were angered by an initial tweet by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that condemned “the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and other public officials,” but omitted any reference to CNN. An hour later she sent another tweet that said the White House’s condemnation “certainly includes threats made to CNN as well as current and former public servants”. The president, who has labeled reporters “enemy of the people,” condemned the threat of political violence at a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday evening, and called on the media to end [Read More…]

Sep 302018
FM Qureshi to meet NSA Bolton on visit to White House

In addition to his planned meeting with United States (US) Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will also hold a meeting with the country’s National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton at the White House, Dawn reported on Monday. Qureshi had arrived in Washington DC on Sunday for talks on bilateral relations with US officials following his trip to New York for the United Nation’s General Assembly session. He is expected to meet both, Bolton and Pompeo, on Tuesday. His first stop is expected to be the White House where he will meet Bolton for talks on untangling Pakistan’s ruffled relations with the US. He will then proceed to the US State Department for his second meeting with the secretary of state. On Monday, Qureshi will meet Pakistani diplomats and experts to prepare for the crucial talks that are to be held on Tuesday. Pompeo and Qureshi first met in Islamabad early in September when the US government approached the new Pakistani government to discuss key issues that have strained decades-old ties between the two countries. In a briefing about his earlier meeting, Pompeo said that, following the election of Prime Minister Imran Khan in July, the US “wanted to get out there at the beginning of his time in an effort to reset the relationship between the two countries”. It was during his Islamabad visit that Pompeo invited the Pakistani foreign minister to visit Washington for further talks. Pak-US relations and the Afghan dynamic Speaking to [Read More…]

Sep 292017
Fall out

While refusing to take the blame for Haqqani Network and other alleged militant outfits, Pakistan has reminded the US that these ‘terrorists’ were considered the ‘darlings’ of the White House until a few decades ago. That is the inherent problem with being someone’s darling, you fall out one day. Dr Irfan Zafar (Canada)

Jul 212017

WASHINGTON DC: White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, ending a brief, turbulent tenure that gained global notoriety, after President Donald Trump named adviser and Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as his top communications official. A White House official said Spicer, 45, had resigned. Spicer’s departure reflected turmoil within Trump’s legal and communication teams amid a widening investigation into possible ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, a problem undermining the White House’s policy agenda. Trump spokesperson sparks outcry by comparing Assad to Hitler Parodied memorably on the Saturday Night Live sketch comedy show for his combative encounters with the White House press corps, Spicer became one of the Trump administration’s most recognised figures after taking the job in December. He was sometimes targeted by critics for what they said were false or misleading statements. In recent weeks, Spicer has less frequently taken the lectern in the White House press room. Trump offered Scaramucci, a longtime supporter who has frequently appeared on television to defend him, the White House communications post. The post White House spokesperson Sean Spicer resigns appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Jun 232017
‘Trump Village’ unveiled in India ahead of Modi’s US visit

MARORA (India): A rural Indian settlement with little electricity or running water renamed itself “Trump Village” on Friday in an unusual gesture to the American president ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington. A huge billboard declaring “Welcome to Trump Village” in Hindi and English, accompanied with a beaming portrait of the US president, was unveiled in the tiny hamlet officially known as Marora, in the largely agriculture northern state of Haryana. Large posters of Trump adorned with marigold flowers were placed throughout the village of mainly mud-brick houses for a renaming ceremony, which was presided over by village heads and an Indian charity. But despite the bold lettering greeting visitors at the arched village gateway, the name change is not official or sanctioned by the government. The symbolic gesture comes just days before Modi’s first meeting with Trump this weekend at the White House. The water and sanitation group Sulabh, which has been installing toilets in the impoverished settlement, suggested the name change to the local council. Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said the idea sprang to mind during a recent visit to the US. “I was speaking there and I thought why not in the name of Trump?” Pathak said, adding other villages in the region had also been renamed in recent years. Aziz Ahmed, a villager, said he was sure the new name would stick even without official approval. Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2017

Jun 222017
Drone strikes violate Pakistan's sovereignty: FO

US's hardening stance Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria on Thursday said that drone strikes are against Pakistan's sovereignty. During the weekly news briefing, the spokesperson said that Pakistan's policy regarding drone strikes had always been clear, adding that such attacks are "unacceptable". The FO's statement came a day after a Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Thunder jet shot down an unmanned Iranian drone allegedly on a spying mission in Balochistan's Panjgur area. Officials said the drone was shot down after it had ventured "deep inside Pakistani airspace". In a statement released hours after the drone was shot down on Wednesday, the FO said Islamabad had notified Tehran of the development. US's hardening stance During Thursday's briefing, the FO spokesperson refused to comment on foreign media reports that US President Donald Trump's administration was likely to toughen its policy on Pakistan. Instead, the spokesperson said that Pakistan values its relationship with America and would work closely with the Trump administration. Media reports have indicated that the Trump administration is exploring toughening its approach towards Pakistan to crack down on militants allegedly based in Pakistan and launching attacks in Afghanistan. Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading its status as a major non-Nato ally, news reports quoting officials said. In March, Washington, announcing the first budget after Trump entered the White House, had proposed a substantial cut in foreign aid to Pakistan. Commenting on the budget cut during [Read More…]