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India, Pakistan Agree For Mutual Inspection of Indus Basin

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India, Pakistan Agree For Mutual Inspection of Indus Basin

India has agreed to allow Pakistan to inspect the projects in the Jhelum basin, including Kishanganga hydroelectric project, in the near future and Islamabad will allow New Delhi to carry out inspection of the Kotri barrage over the Indus, reports Dawn on Tuesday.

The leading Pakistani daily referred to the minutes of the 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission held between the two countries from Aug 29 to 30 in Lahore.

The minutes of the meeting accessed by Dawn says, “Pakistan also urged India to arrange for the Special Tour of Inspection of the projects in Jhelum basin including Kishanganga HEP which is pending since 2014, on which ICIW (India’s Commissioner for Indus Waters) gave his assurance to arrange the same promptly.”

Earlier on Sunday, Shamil Ahmad Khwaja, Pakistan’s Water Resource Secretary reportedly said, “The major breakthrough of the two-day talks held in Lahore is that India has agreed to get the projects’ sites visited by our experts. Therefore, our team comprising experts will visit the sites in India by the end of next month.”

Read More: India, Pakistan enter in controversy over Lahore meet outcome

The minutes the meeting also revealed that the authorities of the two countries were unanimous about strengthening the role of the Permanent Indus Commission. Islamabad also highlighted the need and asked New Delhi to share the information about potential projects at the planning stage for examination, it said.

India, Pakistan Agree For Mutual Inspection of Indus Basin

The document said, “In this way any objections (if raised by Pakistan) can be addressed in the design at the early stage of planning instead of debating with India at belated stage when practically incorporating the requisite changes becomes a challenge.”

Both sides have also agreed to exchange the detailed basis of adopting various design parameters for both 48MW Lower Kalnai and 1000MW Pakal Dul HEPs at the Chenab River.

Read More: India, Pakistan to discuss water dispute in Lahore

“During the meeting both the sides agreed to conduct the General Tours of Inspection which could not be conducted since 2014. In this regard first PCIW (Pakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters) will visit the Chenab basin in the last week of September 2018 followed by the tour of ICIW to the Kotri barrage in the Lower Indus, according to Article VIII (4) (c),” the document revealed.

The two countries also agreed to arrange the next meeting of the commission soon after the tour of inspection on both sides to discuss and endeavour to address Pakistan’s objections on Lower Kalnai and Pakal Dul.

Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement in New Delhi on Friday saying, “Both the countries agreed to undertake the Treaty mandated tours of both the Indus Commissioners in Indus basin on both sides. Deliberations were also held on further strengthening the role of the Permanent Indus Commission for matters under the Treaty.”

Read More: India wins Kishangana battle against Pakistan at International Court

A senior Pakistani official told Dawn on Monday, “Since the talks between the two countries have been restored, Pakistani team may inspect the Kishanganga project on the eve of the next meeting of the permanent commission for the Indus waters in India or before this.”

India, Pakistan Agree For Mutual Inspection of Indus Basin

Responding to a question, the official said that India had no objection on the Kotri barrage in the lower Indus. “Their (Indian experts) visit to Pakistan will be after ending our experts’ inspection of the Lower Kalnai and Pakal Dul projects scheduled by end of this month,” the official said.

“The Indian experts’ visit / inspection of the Kotri barrage is sort of routine one, as they have no objection or concerns in this regard. It is a part of the compilation and exchange of the data by the two countries related to rivers’ flow, water storage, releases, etc,” he added.

Read more: World Bank fails to reach agreement with Pakistan on Indus Waters dispute

In March this year, the officials of the two countries met in New Delhi when both the sides shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

In May, India could not reach an agreement with Pakistan to address its concerns regarding the Indus Waters Treaty with India after two-days of talks in Washington which were held days after India inaugurated the Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir.

The 1960 treaty recognizes the World Bank as an arbitrator in water disputes between the two countries as it played a key role in concluding this agreement. It allows India to have control over the water flowing into three eastern rivers- Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, also permitting India to use the water of western rivers-Chenab, Jhelum and Indus. However, it does not allow India to divert the flow of the water.

Read More: Pakistan reaches to World Bank against India on Kishanganga dam

India considers this as a permission to build “run-of-the-river” hydel projects that neither change the course of the river nor deplete the water level downstream.

According to Wikipedia, the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is part of a run-of- the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum river basin. It is located 5-km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir.

The construction of the dam was temporarily halted by International Court of Arbitration (ICA) in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River, which is known as Neelam River in Pakistan.

Read More:  Dawn: Pakistan lost diplomatic battle on Kishanganga dam

However, in February 2013, the ICA ruled that India could divert all the water leaving a minimum amount to the downstream of the dam for the purpose of environmental flows.

First unit of 110 MW capacity was tested in March this year, while all three units of equal capacity were commissioned and synchronized with the electricity grid by 30 March. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the project in May this year.

Read More: Pakistan asks World Bank to vouch India abiding IWT

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FBI searches US President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, no classified documents found

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find any classified documents at US Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, his attorney Bob Bauer said on Wednesday.

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US President Joe Biden

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find any classified documents at US Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house, his attorney Bob Bauer said on Wednesday. However, the agents did take some materials and handwritten notes relating to his time as vice president during the Obama administration for “further review.”

The US law enforcement conducted a search of Biden’s Rehoboth beach house in Delaware to hunt for improperly stored classified documents. The president’s lawyer said that search was done with Biden’s “full support and cooperation”.

The search followed after some classified documents were found Biden’s home in Wilmington and a former office space in Washington, DC.

The controversy has been played up by Republican-backed outlets as the incumbent president prepares to face a tough challenge from potential GOP- nominee and former president Donald Trump in the 2024 elections.

A Department of Justice (DoJ) appointed special counsel has been assigned to run an independent investigation, similar to another special counsel overseeing the probe of Trump’s stash of classified documents discovered at his home in Florida.

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The White House has watered down the discovery of classified documents as Biden’s “accidental mistakes” in storing the decade old documents from his time as vice president under the Obama administration.

However, unlike Trump, who allegedly resisted handing over the classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021, Biden claims he has cooperated with the authorities ever since classified documents turned up from his former office in Washington DC.

More documents were discovered by the FBI from Biden’s private home in n Wilmington, the Delaware house, less often used by the Bidens, is now the third of the President’s properties searched by the LEA.

Biden’s attorney in a statement claimed that the DoJ launched the Delaware search without “advance public notice” but Biden cooperated.

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Indian-American Republican Nikki Haley poised to launch 2024 US Presidential bid

Two-time South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley is poised to launch her Presidential bid for 2024 US elections on February 15

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Indian-American Republican Nikki Haley

Two-time South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley is poised to launch her Presidential bid for 2024 US elections on February 15. Haley, 51, will become the first Republic Party leader to challenge former US president Donald Trump who is seeking the party’s nomination for 2024 polls.

According to a report by the Post and Courier, Haley is soon sending out an invite to her backers in which she has advertised a “special announcement” on February 15 at The Shed at the Charleston Visitor Center, a downtown gathering spot that could draw hundreds of supporters into the heart of the city’s tourism district.

When she enters the race, Haley will be the first contender to join the contest against her former boss, who is currently the sole Republican seeking his party’s 2024 nomination.

According to the South Carolina-based daily, the confirmation of Haley entering the Presidential race came on January 31 from a member of her inner circle. Previously, Haley had famously said would not run against Trump if her former boss decided to run again. However, she has shifted her stance recently citing the need for the US to look toward a different path.

According to the Washington Post, Haley could release a video signalling her plan for a White House bid as soon as this week. Trump, 76, announced his run last year.

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In a recent tweet, Haley said it’s time for a new generation and a new leadership; “and its time to take our country back. America is worth the fight — and we’re just getting started.”

Haley told Fox News last month that the US needs a new leader who can take the country in a new direction.

In the Fox News interview, Haley emphasized that Democrat President Joe Biden, 80, should not be given a second term. When asked if she believes she is up for the job, Haley confidently answered that the current situation in the US demands a new leader and she can be that person who takes America in a new direction.

The next US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024.

Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, was born Nimrata Randhawa to Ajit Singh Randhawa and mother Raj Kaur Randhawa, who had emigrated from Punjab to Canada and then to the US in the 1960s. Her father was a professor at the Punjab Agricultural University, and her mother received a law degree from the Delhi University.

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Peshawar suicide bombing: Death toll rises to 93, over 220 wounded

At least 83 people are confirmed dead and more than 150 wounded as bodies are still being pulled from the wreckage of yesterday’s suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar city of northwestern Pakistan.

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Peshawar suicide bombing

At least 93 people are confirmed dead and more than 220 wounded as bodies are still being pulled from the wreckage of yesterday’s suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar city of northwestern Pakistan.

Bilal Ahmad Faizi, a spokesman for the rescue organisation 1122 said that they are going to remove the last part of the collapsed roof of the wrecked mosque so more bodies can be pulled out from underneath the rubble.

At least nine more bodies were recovered overnight from under the rubble of the mosque’s wall and roof which collapsed due to the blast.

Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesman for the main hospital in Peshawar, told news agency AFP that 83 people have been confirmed dead and the death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered from underneath the wreckage.

According to the police, the attack targeted the police officers as more than 20 Pakistani policemen, with coffins draped in the nation’s flag, were laid to rest in an official prayer ceremony with a guard of honour for the fallen soldiers.

The police headquarters in Peshawar is in one of the most tightly controlled areas of the city, housing intelligence and counter-terrorism bureaus, and is next door to the regional secretariat.

Peshawar City police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan was quoted as saying that more than 90 percent of the victims were policemen, between 300 and 400 of whom had gathered in the compound’s mosque for prayers.

Police constable Wajahat Ali,23, recounted his horror as he was trapped beneath the wreckage for seven hours with a dead body piled upon him.

Provinces around the country announced they were on high alert after the blast, with checkpoints ramped up and extra security forces deployed, while in the capital Islamabad, snipers were deployed on buildings and at city entrance points.

In a statement Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending the country.

The extreme security breach came on the day United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had been due to visit Islamabad, although the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather.

Read Also: Haryana man killed in road mishap, police say; family claims beaten to death by cow vigilantes

Pakistan is also preparing to host an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation on Tuesday as it works towards unlocking a vital bailout loan to prevent a looming default.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned the blast as “abhorrent”, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken extended his condolences for the “horrific attack”.

The attack took place on Monday when a suicide bomber walked into the mosque where over 260 people were offering afternoon prayers and detonated his explosive vest causing a massive explosion.

As per reports, the attack took place when worshippers gathered inside were offering afternoon prayers in the mosque in the northwestern city, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordered by Afghanistan.

Police said the roof of the mosque collapsed due to the blast and caved in burying many people underneath the debris.

No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack; however, officials suspect this has all the markings of being the handiwork of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

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