Bomb in market in Thailand’s south kills 3, wounds 18-security official

Thai security personnel inspect the site of a bomb attack in Narathiwat province, south of Bangkok, on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Bomb in market in Thailand’s south kills 3, wounds 18-security official

BANGKOK: A motorcycle bomb exploded in a market in Thailand’s southern Yala province on Monday, killing three people and wounding 18, a spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) said.
The mostly Muslim provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala in Thailand’s far south are home to a long-running insurgency by ethnic Malay Muslims fighting for autonomy in which more than 6,000 people have been killed since 2004.
“The criminals put a bomb in a motorcycle and placed it next to a market cart. The force of the explosion caused three people to lose their lives,” said ISOC spokesman Pramote Prom-in. The ISOC is a government security force that operates in the region.
No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack on Monday, which took place at a roadside morning market.
The region has seen hundreds of attacks since 2004, many of them deadly, but there had been fewer violent incidents of late.
Analysts who monitor the conflict say violence from the insurgency fell to a historic low in 2017 despite the fact that talks aimed at bringing peace gained little traction.
Thailand’s military government has tried to revive talks with rebel groups initiated by the previous civilian government, but they have gone almost nowhere.
Resistance to Buddhist rule from Bangkok has existed for decades in the predominantly Muslim southern provinces, waning briefly in the 1990s before resurfacing violently in 2004. 


Pakistan's new FM vows constructive engagement with neighbors

Updated 43 sec ago
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Pakistan's new FM vows constructive engagement with neighbors

  • There is a need for continued and uninterrupted dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi, says Shah Mahmood Qureshi
  • Pakistan to improve relations with the US but on the basis of mutual respect, he says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday promised to improve his country’s relations with India, Afghanistan and the US through diplomatic engagement and negotiations.
Addressing a news conference at the Foreign Office in Islamabad hours after being sworn in as Pakistan’s foreign minister, Qureshi said that peace and stability in the region would be a cornerstone of his government’s foreign policy.
“We will review Pakistan’s foreign policy and set a new direction where necessary in order to achieve peace and stability in the region,” he said.
Speaking about war-ravaged Afghanistan, the foreign minister said he wanted to visit Kabul with a message of peace and love from Pakistan because stability in both countries is interlinked.
“We need to help each other ... I ask the people of Afghanistan to resolve our issues through bilateral talks and negotiations,” he said.
“I have heard that we have a bilateral agreement in place which has five tracks and we want to move forward with those.”
The foreign minister who is also the vice chairman of the ruling party — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — said that his government also wanted to resolve all outstanding issues, including that of Kashmir, through dialogue with India.
“We both — Pakistan and India — are nuclear powers and cannot afford any adventurism,” he said. “We have to engage; we have to accept the realities and resolve all issues amicably.”
“We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage,” he said.
The foreign minister said that there was a need for continued and uninterrupted dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi as this was the only wise approach for moving ahead.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan and expressed his desire for dialogue, Qureshi said.
As an answer to one question, the foreign minister said that he was aware of concerns and priorities of the US administration and would try to bridge the trust deficit on both sides.
“We want to improve bilateral relations with America, but on the basis of respect,” he said.
About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that it was a game-changer and a long-term project and that the PTI government would continue working with the Chinese leadership on it.
“We would like to see how to enter the phase of socio-economic development as there has been a lot of emphasis only on infrastructure development in the past,” he added.
Qureshi emphasized that the government would try its best to improve the quality of life for the common man through economic diplomacy and international engagement.
“Socio-economic development will remain one of the top priorities of our government,” he said.
The foreign minister said that he would try to build a national consensus through a bipartisan approach regarding the country’s foreign policy. “We will take the opposition parties on board too … I will be representing Pakistan in an upcoming important meeting at the UN,” he added.
The foreign minister also urged Pakistani missions abroad to remember that they are “not rulers. You are meant to serve. The intent with which Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation and our attitudes will have to change towards our people.”
“A good nature and courtesy never make you lose anything. You gain friends. Treat our overseas Pakistanis with respect. This is now the duty of all our embassies abroad,” he added.