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Shiv Sena says no to Pakistani artistes till peace on border

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Mumbai, Oct 8 : The youth wing of the Shiv Sena on Thursday said it won’t be proper to host shows by Pakistani artistes in India as long as tensions continued on the India-Pakistan borders.

“We are admirers of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and listen to his music… But we cannot permit his concert here in view of the killings perpetrated by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists on our borders,” Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray told the media.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural of Jain International Trade Organisations Games.

Justifying the Shiv Sena’s opposition to Ghulam Ali concerts scheduled later this week in Maharashtra, Thackeray claimed the move was in support of Indian armed forces that were “grappling terror on the borders”.

“Instead of providing security to Ghulam Ali, it is more important to enhance security for our countrymen and on our borders,” he said, referring to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ assurance on providing full security to the Pakistani maestro in the state.

Thackeray’s reactions came a day after the Shiv Sena’s film wing, Chitrapat Sena, issued threats against the Ghulam Ali concert in Mumbai on Friday and in Pune on Saturday.

The events were planned as part of a tribute to the Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary.

Even as Fadnavis promised adequate security to Ghulam Ali, the event organisers met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and decided to cancel Ghulam Ali’s participation in the commemorative programmes.

“The programmes will be held as per the schedule but Ghulam Ali will not participate. This decision was taken at a meeting between event organisers and Uddhav Thackeray,” Chitrapat Sena general secretary Akshay Bardapurkar told IANS after the meeting late Wednesday.

“We respect the art and artistes of Pakistan. However, we are strongly against any form of cultural association with that country since it regularly kills our soldiers and civilians in attacks from across the borders,” said Chitrapat Sena president and Marathi actor Aadesh Bandekar.

He had warned of protests not only in Mumbai and Pune but wherever Ghulam Ali, 75, performed in the country.

In the past, the Shiv Sena had protested against Pakistani singer Atif Aslam’s concert and against Pakistan cricket team playing in India.

On Tuesday, the Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, urged the central government to attack Pakistan in retaliation to the cross-border attacks on Indian solders and civilians.

(IANS)

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U.S. Determined To Address ‘Legitimate Concerns’ To Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

Washington opened direct peace talks with the Taliban last summer to promote a political settlement to the war.

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USA, afghanistan, taliban, peace talks, pakistan
U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, talks with local reporters at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 18, 2018. VOA

The United States said Saturday that it was determined to address “legitimate concerns” of all sides in the conflict in Afghanistan to achieve peace.

Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, tweeted the pledgefrom neighboring Pakistan, where officials are trying to arrange and host the next round of talks with representatives of the Afghan Taliban.

The insurgent group has been reluctant to send its envoys to the dialogue since its last meeting with Khalilzad’s team in the United Arab Emirates a month ago. Representatives from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the host country also attended that meeting.

The Taliban has since accused the U.S. team of backing away from holding discussions on key insurgent demands for all American and NATO troops to leave the country to allow Afghans to resolve political differences themselves.

Afghanistan, Peace Talks
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, right in backgroud, and U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, left in background, meet in Kabul, Nov.10, 2018. VOA

Washington has been pushing the Taliban to open direct talks with the Afghan government, but insurgents have refused to do so, rejecting Kabul as an “American puppet.”

“To achieve peace, we are ready to address legitimate concerns of all Afghan sides in a process that ensures Afghan independence and sovereignty, and accounts for legitimate interests of regional states,” Khalilzad said.

He called for insurgents to agree to a cease-fire, and warned that U.S. troops would hit back if they came under attack from the Taliban.

“Urgent that fighting end. But pursuing peace still means we fight as needed,” the U.S. envoy underscored in his messages via Twitter.

Pakistan promotes dialogue

Pakistan said it was trying to facilitate U.S.-Taliban discussions, hoping the dialogue would lead to an intra-Afghan peace process. Islamabad has long been accused of sheltering and covertly helping Taliban rebels orchestrate attacks inside Afghanistan. Pakistani leaders reject the charges.

Taliban, afghanistan, peace
Taliban fighters are seen in Shindand district, Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27 2016. VOA

“The solution to the Afghan issue is not possible without intra-Afghan dialogue, and Pakistan considers it vital for the restoration of peace in the entire region,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told local media Saturday.

Also Read: Pakistan Increases Efforts To Save The U.S.-Afghanistan Peace Talks

Washington opened direct peace talks with the Taliban last summer to promote a political settlement to the war. Since then, media reports have said U.S. President Donald Trump is considering a plan to pull out nearly half of the 14,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan in the coming weeks.

The reported plans have worried critics, who say the move will encourage the Taliban to continue its military campaign rather than negotiate a political settlement to the 17-year-old war. (VOA)