Pakistani PM to arrive in Washington today ahead of Trump meeting

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will arrive in Washington on Saturday, July 20, ahead of a meeting with US President Donald Trump on July 22. (Photo APP)
Updated 22 July 2019
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Pakistani PM to arrive in Washington today ahead of Trump meeting

  • PM will be accompanied by Army Chief General Bajwa
  • Pakistan hopes visit will rebuild trust, persuade US to restore aid

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will arrive in Washington on Saturday ahead of a meeting with US President Donald Trump, the state APP news agency reported, in a trip that the South Asian nation hopes will help restore trust and attract much-needed investment. 
Khan will carry out “high-stake parleys with President Donald Trump on advancing Pakistan-US relations in the backdrop of improving climate of trust between the two countries,” the APP said. 
“In what would be a Pakistani leader’s first visit to Washington in more than five years, the prime minister will also interact with top American lawmakers including Speaker of the House of Representatives and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to develop understanding on some key regional and bilateral issues,” the agency said. 
Last year, Trump cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of offering “nothing but lies and deceit” while giving safe haven to terrorists, a charge rejected by Islamabad.
Pakistan now hopes this week’s arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of a four-day militant attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, will send the right signals to Trump, who welcomed the news on Twitter.
Khan will be accompanied to Washington by the powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa who is expected to play a key role in behind-the-scenes discussions, with the military looking to persuade Washington to restore aid and cooperation.


Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

Updated 16 September 2019

Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

  • The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: A crowd in Pakistan ransacked a school and Hindu temple after a Hindu principal was accused of blasphemy, police said on Monday, the latest case to raise concern about the fate of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.
The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy in comments about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The enraged crowd ransacked the school and damaged a nearby temple, a district police chief said.
The principal had been taken into protective custody and police were investigating both the alleged blasphemy and the rioters, he added.
“It seems the principal had not done anything intentionally,” the district police chief, Furrukh Ali, told Reuters.
Insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.
No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but enraged mobs sometimes kill people accused of it.
Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often exploited by religious hard-liners as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle scores.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the weekend violence, footage of which was recorded in a video and circulated on social media. It called on authorities should take prompt action.
“The video ... is chilling: mob violence against a member of a religious minority is barbaric, unacceptable,” the commission said in a post on Twitter.
Hindus make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian women who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in a case that had drawn alarm from religious and human rights advocates.
In March, Pakistan’s government sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus as tension between Pakistan and Hindu-majority neighbor India ran high after a militant attack in the Indian-controlled portion of the contested Kashmir region.