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Preston sisters killed in Pakistan gas blast ‘inseparable’ – BBC News

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Nadia and Maria Rehman Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption The sisters were overcome by a gas leak from a boiler, police said

Two sisters who died in a gas leak Pakistan were laughing and joking on the phone hours before their death, their sister has said.

Nadia, 18, and Maria Rehman, 24, were found collapsed in a house in Daulat Nagar, Gujrat on 12 January.

Police in Gujrat said the sisters, from Preston, died as a result of a leak from a boiler in the bathroom and there were no suspicious circumstances.

Saria Rehman said Nadia “loved going out” and Maria was like a “second mum”.

‘Did everything together’

The sisters were staying with relatives to mark the anniversary of their grandfather’s death.

Saria told BBC Asian Network she initially refused to believe it when one of her other two sisters broke the news of the tragedy.

“I’d spoken to them on the same night and we were all joking over the phone.”

Saria said the sisters were inseparable and “did everything together” when they were growing up.

Image copyright Instagram
Image caption Maria (left) was like a “second mum” and Nadia “loved going out”

The 23-year-old said her older sister Maria “always protected us”.

She said she worked for TV Licensing and had recently started modelling and loved it “because she liked getting dressed up”.

Her younger sister Nadia was studying at college and wanted a career in teaching and to travel the world, she said.

Saria rejected rumours circulating on social media that the deaths were “honour killings”, saying that “doesn’t make sense”.

She said that while both married men in Pakistan, when the relationships did not work it was her father who arranged their divorces.

“When I met my current husband it was a love marriage… my parents were really happy with us guys getting married [and] they always gave us that freedom.”

The Foreign Office confirmed officers had been in touch with the family to offer assistance.

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Ominous ring-shaped black ‘cloud’ looms over Pakistan in terrifying video that left residents bewildered – The Sun

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A CREEPY black O-shaped cloud has been spotted over a city in Pakistan.

Resident across the Punjab capital of Lahore were stunned by the sinister looking spectacle.

 The smoke ring appeared suddenly and drifted over the Pakistani city of Lahore

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The smoke ring appeared suddenly and drifted over the Pakistani city of LahoreCredit: Twitter
 The smoke rings have been spotted all over the world in recent years

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The smoke rings have been spotted all over the world in recent years

Several different theories were put forward as to what the ring could be. 

Some have suggested it was a portal to hell while others have dubbed it the “evil cloud”.

Another theory is that it was caused by an alien spacecraft. 

But the cause of the O-shaped cloud remains a mystery.

Yet, there maybe a plausible explanation. 

One is that it was caused by an industrial fault on the ground.

For an example an electrical transformer blowing up as in Chicago in 2012 created the effect.

 

In 2013 a pyrotechnic test accidental created the same sort of black ring over Florida when technicians were preparing a fireworks display. 

The same happened in 2014 Leamington Spa. 

Generally smoke vortices require a blast through a circular structure — perhaps from a factory smokestack or even a homemade rubbish bin.

Bizarre cluster of 14 UFOs filmed hovering above the ocean off US coast before vanishing in a blink of an eye

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Dave Callaghan named SA skipper for Over-50s Cricket World Cup – The South African

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Former Proteas all-rounder Dave Callaghan has been named as South Africa’s captain for the Over-50 Cricket World Cup.

The tournament takes place in Cape Town in March 2020, and the host nation has picked a 16-man squad which consists of a mixture of former internationals and a few lesser-known names.

Rolling back the years

The team will be led by the former Eastern Province skipper who played 29 One-Day International for South Africa between 1992 and 2000.

“It’s a fantastic honour to be playing for an official South African team again, none of us imagined we would get this chance, especially a World Cup,” Callaghan said.

“We have a strong team on paper and, I can assure you, the boys are already putting in extra work and loading up on their game time to make sure we’re in the best shape possible in March – and good on grass as well as paper.”

Dave Callaghan

Callaghan played his most-famous innings in the green and gold in the 1994/1995 summer, when he carved a hapless New Zealand attack to all corners in Centurion for an unbeaten 169, which remained his only international hundred.

The 54-year-old, who still plays club cricket in Port Elizabeth, also took a handful of wickets with his dibbly-dobblers, which he has now ditched for off-spinners.

“There is generally a bit more spin bowled in Over-50 cricket, but most of us can still hit the ball as well as we did a few years ago.

“We were all very competitive sportsmen in our prime and that doesn’t change, but the spirit and camaraderie will be even better. Being over 50 doesn’t make you ‘old’.” 

Dave Callaghan

Over-50s Cricket World Cup: Who is in the SA squad?

Also in the squad is former Proteas batsman Jonty Rhodes, who is perhaps the player with the highest profile in the 16, following a career that yielded more than 200 international matches.

Other internationals are former fast bowler Henry Williams, ex-Border captain Pieter Strydom, Western Province legend Allan Dawson, as well as former South Africa opening batsman Louis Koen.

Williams and Koen represented South Africa during the late 1990s, making seven and five appearances in ODIs respectively, while Strydom made his international debut in January 2000 and went on to play ten matches in the short format, also managing two Tests.

Dawson, on the other hand, made 21 appearances for the Proteas across formats.

South Africa will be one of the 12 teams competing for the big prize, currently held by Australia.

SA Over-50s World Cup Squad:

Jonty Rhodes, Dave Callaghan, Louis Koen, Alan Dawson, Pieter Strydom, Kenny Jackson, Dave Holgate, Anwell Newman, Neil Fusedale, Rodney Malamba, Mlungisi “Lefty” Ngece, Dave Duncan, Warne Rippon, Brad Player, Nazeem White, Henry Williams.

Coach: Allan Donald

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India must take note of the China-Pakistan nexus | Opinion – Hindustan Times

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Within days of the beginning of the new year, China made clear that its attitude towards India will not change. The all-spectrum China-Pakistan compact will stay intact and get further consolidated through closer diplomatic and military coordination. At the same time, China will retain, as cosmetic window dressing, the semblance of cordiality in bilateral relations with India through summits and official-level meetings, which have yielded negligible results. Additionally, there will be the dissimulation that it is under compulsion to support Pakistan. Beijing will simultaneously strive to advance its commercial interests by blending economic incentives with threats, as it has in the case of Huawei and the bid for 5G. Beijing would have interpreted India’s recent decision to allow Huawei to participate in the 5G trials, at the risk of introducing vulnerabilities in national security, as succumbing to China’s pressure.

Just look at three of China’s recent actions. One, Beijing attempted, for the third time in barely five months, to convene a session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the Kashmir issue. This was blocked by the United States (US), France and Russia and, for the first time in a seeming change of policy, by the United Kingdom. This will not be the last such attempt.

Two, it publicised the first large-scale military exercises in 2020 by Chinese troops in Tibet. Official Chinese media reports — helpfully in English — pointed out that new high-powered weapons suitable for use in high altitudes were used by forces of the Tibet Military Region. The Tibet Military Region is under the direct operational control of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in Beijing headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Three, it held the first nine-day joint “Sea Guardian” exercises with Pakistan in the Arabian Sea, starting on January 6. For the first time, these included warlike air defence systems, anti-missile technology, anti-submarine warfare capabilities, and live-fire and joint marine training drills, as well as submarine rescue and amphibious landing operations by 60 Chinese Marines from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s Southern Theatre Command. The PLA Navy did add the ritual anodyne comment that the exercise “wasn’t targeted at any third party”.

Together, the two sets of exercises reflect the land and sea-based threats to India.

These have been preceded by other statements in China’s official military media that underscore the extent of China-Pakistan cooperation in military matters. Late last year, reports proposed the sale a few years later of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to Pakistan. The discussions suggested that the sale would help rectify the existing imbalance in maritime power between Pakistan and India, be more affordable for Islamabad, and financially benefit China.

Later, following the Indian airstrikes at the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist training camp at Balakot inside Pakistan, the Chinese military media reported extensively on the performance of Pakistan Air Force pilots and aircraft. They lauded the performance of the Chinese-made JH-7 jet aircraft, saying its performance would be good for the sales of Chinese military products. At the time, China’s media also discussed further assistance to Pakistan. One suggestion was that China’s air force should position its “electronic” JH-7 jet aircraft on the Sino-Pakistan border to “loan” it quickly to Pakistan when conflict breaks out. The report was recommending deployment of these aircraft in the South Xinjiang Military District, subordinate to the PLA Western Theatre Command, which exercises operational jurisdiction over the areas opposite Ladakh and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, and which is tasked to protect the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China has, since April 2015, when it announced the CPEC, been exerting pressure on India to improve its ties with Pakistan. Beijing has been insisting in official and Track 1.5 and Track-2 discussions that India commence talks and ease tensions with Pakistan, resolve the Kashmir issue, and only then look to improving ties with China. At that time, the CPEC projects were valued at around $49 billion and now they are officially estimated by Pakistan at almost $64 billion. For China, the stakes are undoubtedly high. To increase pressure, China has revived reference to the UNSC resolutions while referring to the Kashmir issue. Beijing has, in the past, referred to UNSC resolutions when its relations with India were under strain.

At this juncture, for India to host a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which is a China-sponsored and controlled organisation, will afford Beijing another opportunity to exert pressure on India. This time, China could try and muster support from sections of the Indian media, civil society and others to persuade India to soften its stance on Pakistan and Kashmir.

Jayadeva Ranade is a former Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat and is President of the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy

The views expressed are personal

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People coming from China to be screened at Pakistani airports, border: sources – ARY NEWS

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A new virus that has killed nine people infected hundreds and already reached the United States, could mutate and spread, China warns, as authorities scramble to contain the disease.

Sources privy to the healthcare authorities in Pakistan have revealed that there has been serious deliberation over a proper medical screening of Chinese visitors meaning to enter Pakistan.

Read More: China’s mysterious coronavirus: Govt issues health advisory

Visitors and citizens of China will be screened at the airport premises by a team of healthcare professionals after a health scare of a SARS-like virus known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus has taken the world by storm.

Sources further revealed that the Ministry of healthcare has dispatched orders to relevant authorities to take all precautionary measures to halt the possible spread of the contagion to those in Pakistan.

Read More: WHO says new China coronavirus could spread, warns hospitals worldwide

All those coming from China will also be screened at the bordering area between China and Pakistan who are meaning to crossover for a visit.

Sources further revealed that the government of Pakistan is currently mulling the initiation of an awareness campaign regarding the deadly virus and its possible symptoms and treatment procedures.

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Over 100 makeshift homes destroyed in Pakistan fire – San Francisco Chronicle

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A massive fire burned over 100 burlap-and-plastic shelters in the southern port city of Karachi, forcing hundreds of poor nomads to spend the night in the open amid winter temperatures, but there were no casualties, police said Wednesday.

It was unclear what caused Tuesday night’s fire in the city’s Teenhatti neighborhood, where hundreds of nomad families live in makeshift homes, area police chief Liaquat Hayyat said.

He said firefighters quickly doused the flames but they could not save the 100 or so makeshift homes.

TV footage showed a massive fire sweeping through the shelters as dwellers cried for help.

One tearful woman whose makeshift home was burned told reporters in a televised comment that the dowry for her daughter’s marriage she worked for years to build was gutted by the blaze in minutes.

Another woman sat next to her burned up makeshift home and said she was still waiting for help from the government.

Hours after the fire, inhabitants were seen retrieving utensils and other items from the ashes. Authorities say the government will provide tents to those who lost homes in the fire.

Karachi is the capital of southern Sindh province, where thousands of nomads live in open areas along the Lyari canal. Some have tin roofs but the majority of the houses are made up of cane, burlap and plastic. Male members of the families work as laborers while nomad women and children either beg on the streets or work as maids in nearby homes.

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Balochistan Snowfall: Situation updates No. 2 (21 January 2020) – Pakistan – ReliefWeb

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This situation report is prepared to highlight the current situation of the affected areas of the province of Balochistan due to the recent snowfall and heavy rains. Muslim Aid (MA) Pakistan emergency response team in close collaboration with the sector partners and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) – Balochistan is carrying out relief activities to save lives.
The information presented in this document is collected to the date of release and might change in the coming days. The first situation report is published on Relief Web click here for review.

Summary Highlights

The number of people who died in the recent snow spell has increased to 105, with the highest reported in AJ& K (78) and Balochistan (20). National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has reported that the damage to houses has significantly increased mostly located in Balochistan (1,057) during the reporting period. The total number of affected people in Pakistan due to this ongoing disaster isn’t officially communicated by the government authorities.

After a spell of heavy rain and snowfall across the province of Balochistan, the Government of Balochistan has declared a state of emergency in 11 which includes Quetta, Ziarat, Pishin, Kila Abdullah, Kachhi, Mastung, Harnai, Kila Saifullah, Loralai, Kalat and Kech. Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has provided weather forecasts which anticipates another wave of rain/snowfall to enter Balochistan in the last week of January. The current weather conditions and the forthcoming spell will further worsen the situation. PMD is monitoring the situation and will issue weather alerts to the relevant authorities for timely action.

Rescue efforts are ongoing and major highways and link roads are being cleared in the affected provinces, however, access to remote areas/villages is extremely limited.

Humanitarian agencies and national and provincial disaster management authorities have decided to carry out a rapid needs assessment to understand the needs and funding requirements across sectors in the affected areas while the response is ongoing by the authorities, NGOs and the UN.
Below is the key development of the situation during the reporting period by Muslim Aid’s Emergency Response Team.

– On 20 th January Chairmen NDMA visited PDMA office where he was briefed about the current declared emergency of the province. Further to this visit, NDMA might declare a national emergency. Subsequent to that notification, PDMA will inform and allowed the humanitarian organisation to execute relief activities in support of existing efforts of PDMA.

– On the ground humanitarian organisations have activated emergency response and asked their field teams to remain to stand by till PDMA give a green signal.

– On 21st of January, OCHA delegation has arrived in Quetta for a meeting with Director General (DG) PDMA Balochistan. After the meeting, restructuring and reactivation of working groups will be finalised.

– On 21st of January, Muslim Aid ERT attended the 1 st meeting of food security working group.

– Muslim Aid has planned to immediately distribute 250 winterised kit in district Killa Saifullah. ERT has conducted a meeting with DG PDMA to acquire NOC for the distribution of winterised.

– National level coordination group has been developed by PDMA

– PDMA Balochistan has developed relief and vaccination camps in targeted districts.

– FAO has arranged 590 metric tons of animal compounds for affected areas.

– WFP has planned to distribute food items to 30,000 families in affected districts.

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Oak Cliff family launches new Cricket Salsa brand that’s packed with protein – The Dallas Morning News

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Christian Costilla loves his mom’s salsa recipe, which he’s been eating his entire life. But as a self-professed health nut, he sometimes wished the salsa included some healthy protein. Then he had an idea while listening to an episode of his favorite podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. Joe Rogan and his guest, American rock climber Alex Honnold, were talking about insect protein.

“Eighty percent of the world eats insects,” Costilla says, with a shrug. “It’s just uncommon for us in the United States.” Cricket flour has been trending in the U.S. for a few years for both health and sustainability reasons, catching the attention of Mark Cuban and other celebrity entrepreneurs.

So Costilla decided to make protein salsa with bugs. He thought about roaches and ants, but decided on crickets. After ordering dry, whole-roasted crickets from a company in Maine that specializes in wholesale edible insects, Costilla simply ground some of the cylindrical bodies and added them to his mother’s salsa recipe. His family enjoyed the new taste, particularly the crunchiness.

“I laugh about it, but I like it a lot,” says his mother, Martha Costilla, when asked how she feels about what her son did with her salsa. “I do like the crunchiness.” Before eating a whole roasted cricket that came out of a huge plastic jar that contained a pound of them, she adds, “It has a really good taste. I was surprised.”

The Costilla family's Cricket Salsa red is mild, while the roasted verde is hot.
The Costilla family’s Cricket Salsa red is mild, while the roasted verde is hot.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

After eating the cricket salsa for about a year, Costilla decided to tone down some of the crunchiness by reducing the amount of crickets. He started Cricket Salsa with his brother, Daniel Costilla, in late 2018. Since then, Costilla says, his business had sold about 800 jars through their website and to family and friends.

But everything changed when Cricket Salsa had a booth at Dallas Market Center for the Dallas Temp Show earlier this month. Costilla says they sold about 5,000 jars to grocery stores in several states, as well as a restaurant in Little Rock called Crazee’s Cafe. He also says there is a lot of interest coming from Mexico. Costilla had been buying 10 pounds of crickets a month but will now need 70.

So far, the family business from Oak Cliff has been making cricket salsa out of a rented kitchen in Richardson. But now the Costillas are planning to turn their product over to a wholesaler. Those 5,000 jars will be on shelves starting in April, including Ettiene Market in McKinney. On Feb. 1, Cricket Salsa will be sold for $8 a jar from an outside booth at Dallas Farmers Market. But you can also order it directly from the website, cricketsalsa.com, and have it delivered to your door. Costilla also hopes to have Cricket Salsa at the State Fair of Texas this year.

Assortment of donuts from Sinless Donuts in Fort Worth (Brian Elledge/The Dallas Morning News)

Roasted crickets before they are ground up for the Costilla family's Cricket Salsa.
Roasted crickets before they are ground up for the Costilla family’s Cricket Salsa.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

So how does cricket salsa taste? It’s not buggy, for the most part. You probably wouldn’t detect anything unusual in the red salsa, which is indeed a very simple and flavorful recipe. It does have some black dots in it, but you would probably dismiss those as pepper or some other seasoning. But crickets have more protein than salmon, so cricket salsa is noticeably more filling than regular salsa.

The green cricket salsa, however, separates the men from the boys. It has a nutty smell you won’t find in any other green salsa. The taste of crickets is more noticeable here with a sandy texture and a taste similar to pecans. But I found the green salsa to be just as tasty as the red, and tried both with chips and tacos.

Both flavors do have a slight crunchiness that did not offend my taste buds. There is no aftertaste, and I did not see any bugs in my teeth when I was through.

Cricket salsa is organic and non-GMO, and contains 13 g of protein per serving. For anyone wanting to buy it as a gift, it stays fresh in the jar for a year. (Note: If you have a crustacean shellfish allergy, you may be allergic to crickets.)

But how does Costilla know his crickets were grass-fed?

“I laughed at that, too,” Costilla says. “I buy my crickets from the biggest wholesaler for crickets in the United States in Maine. But I guess I need to visit the cricket farm so I can make sure.”

Cricket Salsa co-founders Daniel Costilla (left), 31, and Christian Costilla, 28, use a salsa recipe created by their mother, Martha Costilla.
Cricket Salsa co-founders Daniel Costilla (left), 31, and Christian Costilla, 28, use a salsa recipe created by their mother, Martha Costilla.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

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Revenue comes from men’s cricket, unfair if women ask for same pay, says Smriti Mandhana – Firstpost

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Star Indian woman cricketer Smriti Mandhana is not bothered by a paycheque lower than her male counterparts as she understands that the “revenue which we get is through men’s cricket”.

Mandhana, the ICC’s woman cricketer of the year, touched on the contentious issue of pay parity at the unveiling of Bata’s new range of shoes in Mumbai on Wednesday.

“We need to understand that the revenue which we get is through men’s cricket. The day women’s cricket starts getting revenue, I will be the first person to say that we need the same thing. But right now, we can’t say that,” she told reporters.

Revenue comes from mens cricket, unfair if women ask for same pay, says Smriti Mandhana

File image of Smriti Mandhana. AFP

The male cricketers in the top bracket on BCCI central contracts list are entitled to an annual remuneration of Rs 7 crore, while a female cricketer in the highest category gets Rs 50 lakh for the same period.

“I don’t think any of the teammates are thinking about this gap because the only focus right now is to win matches for India, get the crowd coming in, get the revenue. That is the thing which we are aiming for and if that happens all other things are going to fall in place,” she said.

“And for that, we need to perform. It is unfair on our part to say that we need same pay, it is not right. So I don’t think I want to comment on that gap,” she added.

India will play a tri-series before the World T20 begins in Australia and Mandhana feels that the tournament is important to finalise the team composition right for the big event next month.

“Most of them (the players) have played in Australia, so I think with India A touring Australia last month, that is also going to be a big help (as) four-five players were part of that team as well.

“But the tri-series is going to be a really important tournament, thinking about the team composition,” Mandhana said.

Mandhana said the team has been planning for the World T20 in the last one year.

“It is quite exciting. Looking forward to playing this World Cup with this team as it is a new team with a mixture of experienced and new players,” she said.

There was a phase in Mandhana’s career when she was unable to convert starts and she said she has worked on her shot-selection for better results.

“Knowing that you can play your cover drive, on-drive, play over covers those things used to always be like, should I hit it here or there…I had to limit my shots in the ODI format and understand what the team needs,” she said.

“One thing he (coach WV Raman) told was first try and play 30 overs in ODIs and 12 overs in T20 and you will end up getting a big score. But to get a big score, you need to be there (at the crease)…it is helpful to work with Raman Sir,” she elaborated.

Mandhana also said that she idolises Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara and men’s team skipper Virat Kohli.

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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2020 17:50:51 IST

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Pakistan Has “Limited Options” To Respond To India’s J&K Decision: US Report – NDTV News

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Pakistan Has 'Limited Options' To Respond To India's J&K Decision: US Report

Pakistan has been trying to rally international support against India over Kashmir. (AFP)

Washington:

Pakistan’s leadership has “limited options” to respond to India’s decision on Jammu and Kashmir as many analysts view that Islamabad has “little credibility” on the issue given its long history of covertly supporting terrorist groups there, according to a US Congressional report.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its second report on Kashmir in less than six months also said that Pakistan’s ability to alter the status quo through military action has been reduced in recent years, meaning that Islamabad likely must rely primarily on diplomacy.

CRS is the independent research wing of the US Congress which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for US lawmakers so that they can take informed decisions inside the Congress. Currently, two resolutions are pending in the House of Representatives, one of which is being sponsored by Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

In its report dated January 13, CRS said that post August 5, Pakistan “appeared diplomatically isolated”, with Turkey being the only country to offer solid and explicit support for Islamabad’s position.

Ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories on August 5, evoking strong reactions from Islamabad.

Pakistan has been trying to rally international support against India on the issue. However, India has maintained that the move was “entirely an internal matter”.

The 25-page report said that Pakistan called for a UNSC session and, with China’s support, the Council met on August 16 to discuss Kashmir for the first time in more than five decades, albeit in a closed-door session that produced no formal statement.

“Many analysts view Islamabad as having little credibility on Kashmir, given its long history of covertly supporting militant groups there. Pakistan’s leadership has limited options to respond to India’s actions, and renewed Pakistani support for Kashmiri militancy likely would be costly internationally,” it said.

“Pakistan’s ability to alter the status quo through military action has been reduced in recent years, meaning that Islamabad likely must rely primarily on diplomacy,” the CRS said.

According to CRS, the long-standing US position on Kashmir is that the issue should be settled through negotiations between India and Pakistan while taking into consideration the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

“The Trump Administration has called for peace and respect for human rights in the region, but its criticisms have been relatively muted,” it noted.

With key US diplomatic posts vacant, some observers worry that the US government’s capacity to address South Asian instability is thin, and the US President’s July offer to “mediate” on Kashmir may have contributed to the timing of New Delhi’s moves, it said.

The United States seeks to balance pursuit of a broad US-India partnership while upholding human rights protections, as well as maintaining cooperative relations with Pakistan, the report said.

CRS said that following India’s August 2019 actions, numerous Members of the US Congress went on record in support of Kashmiri human rights. H.Res. 745, introduced in December and currently with 40 co-sponsors, urges the Indian government to end the restrictions on communications in Jammu and Kashmir, it said.

An October hearing on human rights in South Asia held by the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation included extensive discussion of developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In November, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held an event titled “Jammu and Kashmir in Context.”

US policy, it said, seeks to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan from escalating, and the US Congress supports a US-India strategic partnership that has been underway since 2005, while also maintaining attention on issues of human rights and religious freedom.

CRS in its report told lawmakers that over the past decade, Washington appears to have grown closer to India while relations with Pakistan appear to continue to be viewed as clouded by mistrust.

The Trump Administration “suspended” security assistance to Pakistan in 2018 and has significantly reduced non-military aid while simultaneously deepening ties with New Delhi. It views India as a key “anchor” of its “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy, which some argue is aimed at China, it said.

“Yet any US impulse to “tilt” toward India is to some extent offset by Islamabad’s current, and by most accounts vital, role in facilitating Afghan reconciliation negotiations. President Trump’s apparent bonhomie with Pakistan’s prime minister and offer to mediate on Kashmir in July was taken by some as a new and potentially unwise strategic shift,” it said.

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