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A man armed with an assault rifle and pledging loyalty to the militant Islamic State (IS) killed 50 people during a gay pride celebration at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early on Sunday in the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, a rampage President Barack Obama denounced as an act of terror and hate. Police killed the gunman, who was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a New York-born Florida resident and US citizen who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan and had twice been questioned by FBI agents in recent years Fifty-three people were wounded in the rampage. It is ranked as the deadliest single US mass shooting incident, eclipsing the massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech University in 2007. US officials cautioned, however, they had no conclusive evidence of any direct connection with any foreign extremist group.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his sadness over the gruesome act of terrorism in Florida State USA in which fifty people killed. In a statement, the Prime Minister says this was against every principle of pluralism, tolerance and humanity that we have been striving for. This does not represent the will of a vast majority of Muslims. Says, it is just another representation of a cancer of radicalization – one that we promise to fight every day of our lives.

Pakistan's credentials stronger than India for NSG membership: Sartaj Aziz

Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz says Pakistan's credentials for the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are stronger than India's if the 48-nation cartel agrees to form a uniform criterion for non-NPT states. Pakistan has diplomatically engaged numerous countries over the criteria-based approach for non-NPT countries.

Pakistan has gradually gathered support for the criteria based approach. "Last week, I telephoned the foreign ministers of Russia, New Zealand and South Korea, who will in future head the NSG, and our viewpoint was that they should support the criteria-based approach, and we have gathered support for it, China was already supporting it" said the adviser to PM.

Due to Pakistan's efforts and its strong credentials, if India gains entry into the club, Pakistan will not be left behind. US has formed a policy to 'build up India' as "their entire attention is towards containing the Islamic world and China".

"We cannot question them but we repeatedly tell them that you (US) are a sovereign country and can maintain any level of relations with any country, but if you increase the strategic and conventional imbalance in South Asia, our problems will increase," said the foreign affairs adviser while referring to US support for India's inclusion in NSG

Pak-India relations

Regarding Pakistan's relations with India, he says things have changed as the Modi administration wants to normalise ties, but according to their 'preferences' and India does not wish to discuss the Kashmir issue. "The whole world agrees that the two countries should start dialogue for lasting peace in South Asia."

India's NSG bid

India's membership of the NSG is "not merited until the country meets the group's standards". The group's membership has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty but India has refused to do so, which means "it has not accepted legally binding commitments to pursue disarmament negotiations, halt the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and not test nuclear weapons".

A key US Senator, Ed Markey, had also warned that enabling India to join the NSG would cause a “never-ending” nuclear race in South Asia. Pakistan's application is likely to lead to a showdown in the group which has also been facing calls to induct India as a member. US President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that his country is backing India’s bid to join the club. China could also insist, as a condition of India's membership, that Pakistan also be allowed to join.

Reforms Proposed for Fata's Merger into KP

The Fata Reforms Committee has proposed a set of “parallel and concurrent” political, administrative, judicial and security reforms, as well as a massive reconstruction and rehabilitation programme, to prepare the Federally Administered Tribal Areas for a ‘five-year transition period’ for merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it has been revealed.

“People of Fata have seen nothing but war and turmoil in the past 30 years. They now deserve peace, development and citizens’ rights,” the document containing the final draft of recommendations said.

Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, who heads the committee, will submit his report to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his return from Britain later this month.

Rehabilitation and reconstruction

The committee set the end of 2016 as the target date for the return of temporarily displaced persons and the completion of reconstruction before the end of 2017. “This gigantic task will require much larger financial resources and coordination,” the committee pointed out.

Socio-economic development

Proposing major infrastructure, irrigation, mineral development and integrated health, education, vocational training and industrial zones with special incentives, the committee said that the major aim of the development plan would be to bring Fata at par with the rest of Pakistan on the basis of all major economic and social indicators.

Local bodies

It has proposed holding of party-based local bodies’ elections in Fata after the completion of rehabilitation phase and promulgation of the Fata Local Government Regulations within three months and completion of all formalities, including finalisation of electoral rolls, constituencies, rules and regulations, before the end of the year.

Legal reforms

The committee has proposed renaming of the Frontier Crimes Regulation as Fata Regulation Act, 2016, omitting all sections relating to collective responsibility, retaining the Jirga system for both civil and criminal matters, whereby the court will appoint a council of elders to adjudicate matters in accordance with the ‘riwaj’ and prevailing law in force.

Land settlement

While noting that property settlement is partly available in Kurram and North Waziristan, the committee has proposed introduction of proper land settlement property record in Fata on a priority basis for administration of civil laws and as a prerequisite for banking operation and investment.

In order to oversee the implementation of the reforms, the committee has proposed setting up of a reforms implementation committee comprising the KP governor, ministers of Safron, law and justice, the National Security Adviser, and a military representative with the prime minister holding a quarterly review.

Punjab budget for next fiscal year to be presented today

Punjab Budget for next fiscal year will be presented in Provincial Assembly today at 1600 hours. Provincial Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha will present the budget.

PM takes a walk in Hyde Park

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is recovering speedily after undergoing an open-heart surgery. On Sunday, he took a walk in London’s Hyde Park with his wife Kalsoom Nawaz. The PM underwent successful open-heart surgery in London’s Harley Street Clinic a few weeks back. He is staying at his residency in London nowadays.

Weather

Mainly hot and humid weather is expected in most parts of the country during the next twelve hours. However, rain-thundershower with dust-storm/strong gusty winds is expected at isolated places of Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Malakand, Hazara divisions and Kashmir. Dust raising winds with light rain/drizzle are also expected at isolated places of Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.

Sports

Euro cup football 2016: germany beat ukraine by 2-0 at paris

In the EURO Cup Football 2016, World champions Germany beat Ukraine by 2-0 at Paris. In another match, Croatia defeated Turkey by one nil while Poland beat Northern Ireland by 1-0. Spain will face Czech Republic and Ireland will take on Sweden tonight.

Daniyal wins u-17 international badminton tournament

Pakistan's Daniyal Ali has won under-17 international badminton tournament 2016 in Croatia. He beat Thomas Abraham of Czech Republic by 21-13 and 21-10.


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