Afghan president emphasizes need to implement APAPPS to Pakistan FM

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday emphasized the need to fully implement the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). (AFP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Afghan president emphasizes need to implement APAPPS to Pakistan FM

KABUL: During talks with Pakistan’s visiting foreign minister, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday emphasized the need to fully implement the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), as Kabul seeks to reset ties with the new government in Islamabad.
The one-day visit by Shah Mahmood Qureshi is the first by a top Pakistani official to Kabul since Imran Khan became prime minister in July.
The talks with Qureshi will show if there is a change of heart in Pakistan with the arrival of a new government, said a senior Afghan government member.
Earlier this month, the US froze $300 million in aid to Pakistan for allegedly not doing enough to curb the Afghan Taliban’s activities.
Qureshi’s visit coincides with a sharp rise in Taliban and Daesh attacks and long-delayed parliamentary elections in October, as well as presidential polls slated for April 2019 that Ghani plans to contest. Ghani is keen for Pakistan to convince the Taliban to not disrupt the elections.
The presidential palace in Kabul said Ghani and Qureshi discussed peace and security in the region, the joint fight against terrorism and implementation of APAPPS, which the two countries signed in April this year.
“The president, referring to the importance of APAPPS, said that this plan is all-sided and its effectiveness becomes important when enforced fully,” the palace said in a statement.
Qureshi also met with his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
The closure earlier this month of Pakistan’s consulate in the eastern city of Jalalabad was discussed with Rabbani, an Afghan official said.
Current and former officials in both capitals have expressed doubt that Qureshi’s visit will lead to any drastic or immediate change in bilateral relations.
Amrullah Saleh, a former Afghan spy chief, tweeted that Qureshi “will repeat word by word everything his predecessors have said in the past 17 years that Pakistan is not harboring terrorists.”


Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

In this file photo taken on August 5, 2016, Andy Chan (R), leader of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), gives a press conference at the start of a rally near the government's headquarters in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

  • The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover

HONG KONG: Authorities in Hong Kong on Monday took an unprecedented step against separatist voices by banning a political party that advocates independence for the southern Chinese territory on national security grounds.
John Lee, the territory’s secretary for security, announced that the Hong Kong National Party will be prohibited from operation from Monday.
Lee’s announcement did not provide further details. But Hong Kong’s security bureau had previously said in a letter to the National Party’s leader, 27-year-old Andy Chan, that the party should be dissolved “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” Chan had no immediate comment.
That letter had cited a national security law that has not been invoked since 1997. The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials have warned separatist activity would not be tolerated.
Chan, the National Party leader, had previously told The Associated Press that police approached him with documents detailing his speeches and activities since the party’s formation in 2016.
The party was founded in response to frustration about Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong. Despite a promise of autonomy, activists complain mainland influence over its democratic elections is increasing.
Chan and other pro-independence candidates were disqualified from 2016 elections to the Hong Kong legislature after they refused to sign a pledge saying Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. The Hong Kong National Party has never held any seats on the council.