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Modi has sought “progress in India-Pak relationship”: Pakistan daily

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Islamabad: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to improve ties with Pakistan, said a leading daily which noted that Modi’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif has produced “several specific breakthroughs”.

An editorial in the Dawn on Saturday over the meeting that took place on Friday between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Modi in Russia said that “progress in the India-Pakistan relationship depends on whether the political leadership is invested in it”.

“Sharif clearly is, but has not demonstrated the ability to convince other institutions, particularly the army, of the imperative to improve ties. Meanwhile, Modi has actually done the opposite of seeking to improve ties,” it said.

The daily said that both sides need to demonstrate they aren’t talking just to show the outside world that they are.

The editorial said that Friday’s meeting “produced several specific breakthroughs that must surely be welcomed in the context of a deteriorating regional security and diplomatic climate”.

“The headlines will focus on Modi accepting the Pakistani premier’s invitation to attend next year’s SAARC summit in Islamabad and if the visit does take place, it would be worth a great deal of symbolism at least, given that Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh was unable to visit in his 10 years as prime minister despite ardently wanting to,” it said.

The daily added: “There is reason to hope the visit will actually take place because Modi has made furthering regional relationships, especially with SAARC countries, a foreign policy priority, even if that approach has thus far tended to exclude Pakistan.”

It noted that a refusal to attend the SAARC summit would also deal a significant blow to the organisation, setting it back even further. “Yet, there is, as always, many a slip between cup and lip in the India-Pakistan relationship.”

The daily went on to say that the decision to focus on how to further the Mumbai-related anti-terrorism trial in Rawalpindi and the mention of specific potential evidence such as the provision of voice samples is also a positive shift from the status quo, which has essentially involved India demanding that Pakistan do more and Pakistan claiming that the trials are in limbo because of India’s non-cooperative approach.

(IANS)

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IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to "isolate" its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

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IOC, Olympic, India, tokyo games, pakistan
FILE - Shimaa Hashad of Egypt takes part in a pratice session with an air rifle at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, in New Delhi, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

The International Olympic Committee on Thursday canceled places for the 2020 Tokyo Games shooting competition to be awarded at an event in India after the host country refused to give visas to Pakistani shooters, the head of the sport’s governing body said.

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to “isolate” its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

Sixteen qualifying places for the Tokyo Games were to be decided at the opening shooting World Cup event in New Delhi. But Vladimir Lisin, president of the ISSF world body, said these would now go to other qualifying events.

“The International Olympic Committee informed us this World Cup will not be included in the competitions for Olympic quotas,” Lisin, himself an IOC executive member, told the tournament opening ceremony late Thursday.

“The quotas will be distributed at another World Cup. No one can be discriminated against and we have to follow the IOC decision as part of the IOC family,” he added.

IOC, olympic, tokyo games, india, pakistan
FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

The IOC said it was deliberating on the controversy and would soon announce a decision.

Over 500 shooters are taking part in the Indian event, for which competition starts Saturday.

Pakistan, which has denied any role in the Kashmir attack, says two shooters and a coach were denied visas to attend the contest.

Lisin said the International Shooting Sport Federation and the Indian organizing committee had done everything possible to get the shooters to the contest.

But National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said he could not go against the Indian government’s decision.

Singh also insisted no final decision on the Olympic places had been taken.

“Nothing is canceled as of now. The status as of now is we don’t know,” Singh told reporters. “There are meetings that are going on where the position is being assessed by the IOC and the government.”

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Amid widespread anger over last week’s Kashmir attack, some calls have also been made for India’s cricket team to boycott its scheduled World Cup game against Pakistan in England later this year.

Media reports said Indian cricket’s governing body, the BCCI, had prepared a letter calling for Pakistan to be banned from the cricket World Cup. (VOA)