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Pakistan seeks to shift Obama-Sharif talks focus to India

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Washington: Ahead of his meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama, visiting Pakistan Prime Minister has sought to shift the focus of talks to India rather than counter-terrorism and safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons highlighted by US.

Sharif’s meeting with Obama “will highlight the enduring nature of the US-Pakistan relationship and provide an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation on issues of mutual interest,” a White House statement said Wednesday.

These include “economic growth, trade and investment, clean energy, global health, climate change, nuclear security, counter terrorism, and regional stability.”

“The President looks forward to discussions with Prime Minister Sharif on ways we can advance our shared interest in a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.”

According to official Pakistani news agency APP, Pakistan Wednesday handed over three dossiers to US Secretary of State John Kerry about alleged Indian involvement in subversive activities in the country.

The dossiers were handed over to Kerry when he called on Sharif at the Blair House. Kerry, it said, was briefed about the alleged destabilising role of Indian agencies in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan and Karachi.

Sharif, according to APP, also reiterated his commitment to seek normalisation with India.

However, State Department spokesperson, John Kirby told reporters he was “not aware that we have” received any documents relating to India from Pakistan.

Declining to “get into the specifics of the discussion” between Kerry and Sharif he said: “We continue to believe that India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation, and we encourage both India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions.”

“The normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India is vital to both countries and to the region, and steps that initiate closer regional trade and energy ties we believe will create jobs, lower inflation, and increase energy supply,” he said.

Kirby said “there is much that Pakistan has done and can continue to do to help us get at the counterterrorism challenge there in the region.”

On the issue of nuclear safety, he noted that Pakistan “is engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues.”

“I’d also note that they have a professional and dedicated security force that understands the importance of nuclear security,” Kirby said. “We believe that they believe in the importance of nuclear security issues.”

Declining to “get into specifics” of discussion on nuclear safety, he said: “But obviously it remains a significant challenge, counter terrorism, and it’s something that we continue to want to partner with Pakistan on.”

Kerry, he said, had also thanked Sharif for “Pakistan’s regional efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, especially in bringing to justice Al Qaeda leadership and disrupting terrorist plots.”

They discussed the recent announcement to keep US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, noting that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and in the region, Kirby said.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

 

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Badshah: Indians Don’t Take Rapping Seriously

Sunidhi and Badshah will be judging the second season of the reality show "Dil Hai Hindustani"

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Badshah Says, Indian Don't Take Rapping Seriously
Badshah Says, Indian Don't Take Rapping Seriously, flickr

Rapper and music composer Badshah, who is excited about his new reality show “Dil Hai Hindustani 2”, says that rapping is not taken seriously in India as an art form.

Badshah was interacting with the media at the launch of Star Plus channel’s forthcoming reality show along with singer Sunidhi Chauhan on Monday.

Badshah, who has delivered some chart-busting rap songs like “Chull”, “Saturday Saturday” and most recent “Tareefan” is eager to spread awareness about rap as an art form.

Talking about it, he said: “Rapping along with dance and stand-up comedy is not taken seriously as an art form in India and this misconception should change.”

“That is one of the main reasons why I have chosen to be a judge on the show. But apart from that, I’m here to have fun as well, and have a better connection with the audience,” he added.

Badshah
Badshah, flickr

The rapper is also gearing up to produce Bollywood and Punjabi movies and also launching a web series soon through his production house.

Talking about the future of the digital platform, Badshah said: “I think it (digital media) is the future, so it’s very important for any production house right now to concentrate on digital media.”

Sunidhi and Badshah will be judging the second season of the reality show “Dil Hai Hindustani”, along with Bollywood singer and composer Pritam.

Also read: Malaysian Rapper’s Dog Video Sparks Claim of Insulting Islam

The show, which first aired in January 2017, provides a platform for people from all over the world and of varying age groups to showcase their talent in Indian music. (IANS)