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South Asia must not remain ‘prisoner of past’, says Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq

The two-day conference is aimed at offering young parliamentarians' a narrative in the run-up to the Saarc Summit Pakistan is to host in November, 2016

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August 16, 2016: In the wake of violence in the Kashmir Valley and amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan; Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker said on Tuesday that South Asia should not remain a “prisoner of the past”.

“South Asia must not remain a ‘prisoner of the past’ but it should radiate fresh ideas and aspirations of our combined future,” Radio Pakistan quoted Sadiq as saying.

He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the First South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Young Parliamentarians’ Conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.

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Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo of Biju Janata Dal of Odisha, Devji Patel of Bharatiya Janata Party and Alok Tiwari of Samajwadi Party are attending the first such meeting.

Deo and Patel are members of the Lok Sabha while Tiwari is from the Rajya Sabha.

The two-day conference is aimed at offering young parliamentarians’ a narrative in the run-up to the Saarc Summit Pakistan is to host in November.

Sadiq’s comments come in the wake of violence in Jammu and Kashmir that has left at least 65 people dead in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.

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In his Independence Day speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi came out openly in support of “freedom” of Balochistan and the Kashmir under Pakistani control.

PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons
PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons

Sadiq said that South Asia must not remain a “prisoner of the past” but it should radiate fresh ideas and aspirations of our combined future.

He said that statesmanship demanded that we confront our issues judiciously and address them honestly with an aim to solve them sincerely.

“He outlined that shared cultures and histories of the region, and developing economies could provide ample opportunities to work together to address common challenges,” Radio Pakistan reported.

He highlighted that the goal of holding this conference was to build bridges between the future leaders of South Asia on a platform that supports continued engagement and cooperation. (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)