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Pakistan declines India’s offer of joint investigation

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Islamabad: Pakistan declined India’s proposal to jointly investigate Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar and other suspects linked with Pathankot airbase attack, official sources said.

Pakistan authorities arrested Masood Azhar after the terrorist attack at Pathankot airbase on Jan 2. A number of suspects are arrested and authorities closed down several JeM-run madarsas (seminaries) in different cities, The Nation reported on Monday.

Azhar, was released by India in 1999 in exchange for 155 passengers of the Indian Airlines plane hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and was quizzed by the investigators. The JeM chief’s brother Mufti Abdul Rehman Rauf was also detained, officials said on Saturday.

Pakistan is supposed to send a special investigating team to Pathankot in consultation with the Indian government for further investigations.

On January 2, some militants suspected from neighboring country attacked the Pathankot airbase, heavily armed. While neutralising the attack, seven security personnel lost their lives.

Due to the incident, Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to postpone scheduled diplomatic talks till the end of this month.

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande said India was “fully justified” in asking Pakistan for justice against the perpetrators of Pathankot attack.

Hollande said India and France were “united in their determination to act together against terrorism”.

India demanded, to let investigation against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and his brother. But Pakistan refused.

Pakistan assured India that Islamabad is investigating the case and will take action if anyone is found guilty, Official said.

“India wants us to hand over Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed and as we have declined a number of times, they want us to at least give access to the investigators to interrogate them. We have told them it was not possible,” he added.

Another official said investigators were interrogating the suspects arrested in the Pathankot case.

He said that Indian authorities are in contact with and is being updated timely. Pakistan has already submitted the initial report to India regarding Pathankot attack.

The phone numbers used by attackers were not registered therefore it is not possible to trace the numbers.

They have been working on the leads given by India to find out if Pakistan’s soil was used in the plot, he said.

Analyst Brigadier (retd) Agha Hussain Ahmed said the basic motive of terrorists behind this attack was to derail the recently initiated peace process between Pakistan and India.

“Pakistan has assured the Indian government of its full support in this regard and demanded India to hand over the proofs and evidence against any Pakistani involvement to take further action. Investigation of our citizens must be held in Pakistan,” he added.

Defence analyst Mohammed Khan said the two countries needed to see who was behind the attack on Pathankot airbase in India.

“Pakistan warmly welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival to Lahore. The international community appreciated the meeting between the two premiers and stressed to resolve all matters by using the option of dialogue. After the Pathankot incident, Indian media said the military establishment of Pakistan is against the talks between India and Pakistan,” he said.

Mohammed Khan said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Raheel Sharif both are under pressure and they will fully cooperate with India in eliminating and countering terrorism.

He said that they cannot hand over its citizens to India or any other country for investigations.(IANS)

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)