(Asian News Hub) – Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has renewed his open offer for dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues with India. Khan gave his statement welcoming the ceasefire recently announced between Indian and Pakistani border security forces along the Line of Control (LoC).
The Pakistani Premier said the country has ‘always stood for peace and remains ready to move forward to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue’.
‘The onus of creating an enabling environment for further progress rests with India,’ he said.
Khan’s renewed offer for dialogue to India comes after the Director Generals for Military Operations (DGMO) of both countries mutually agreed to enforce the ceasefire from February 25, 2021 along the disputed LoC, which has remained extremely tense with escalated engagements of shelling from both sides, leaving casualties of officials and civilians.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan marked February 27 2021 as ‘Surprise Day’, congratulating the armed forces of the country for successfully conducting Operation Swift Retort, which led to the downing of at least two Indian aircrafts (MiG21 & SU-30) jets and the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan.
‘The country demonstrated responsible behaviour in the face of India’s irresponsible military brinkmanship by returning the captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot’, he said.
‘I congratulate the entire nation and salute our Armed Forces on the 2nd Anniversary of our response to India’s illegal, reckless military adventure of airstrikes against Pakistan’, he added.
Khan said Pakistan is a proud and confident nation as it responded with determined resolve at a time and place of its own choosing.
Tensions have been intensifying between the two arch-rivals since February 2019, after India accused Pakistan’s hand in the Pulwama terror attack and launched an air-strike at an alleged militant training camp in Jabba near Balakot, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province.
India claimed it had killed at least 350 terrorists belonging to Masood Azhar, being trained and fed there to launch terror attacks inside India.
However, Pakistan rejected New Delhi’s claims and stated that the only casualty caused by the Indian ‘botched’ air-strikes was two house buildings and a crow.
In that backdrop, the latest and rare joint statement by both countries is being seen as a major development.
Analysts, however believe that New Delhi’s agreement to enforcing a ceasefire at the LoC may be due to its tense standoff with China, which has been going on for months.
Erica Robin becomes first ever Miss Universe Pakistan
Erica Robin, a model from Karachi has been crowned “Miss Universe Pakistan 2023”, becoming the first-ever woman from the country to win the title.
Four other models from different parts of the country participated in the beauty pageant, including Hira Inam from Lahore, Jessical Wilson from Rawalpindi, Pakistani-American Malika Alvi from Pennsylvania, and Sabrina Wasim. Jessica Wilson, a 28-year-old cyber security engineer was named first runner-up while Hira Inam (24), Malyka Alvi (19), and Sabrina Wasim (26) were the rest of the finalists.
Award-winning actress, mental health advocate, and former Miss International Kylie Verzosa from the Philippines was one of the distinguished panel of judges who picked the winner.
Robin will be the official representative of Pakistan at the Miss Universe pageant, scheduled to be held in El Salvador later this year. Pakistan will be sending five models to compete in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant. This landmark moment marks the first time Pakistan has ever been represented in the world’s most esteemed beauty competition.
Morocco earthquake: Death toll surpasses 2000
According to state TV, the number of fatalities following a strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Morocco on Friday night has surpassed 2,000. The death toll makes it the deadliest earthquake to strike the nation of North Africa in decades.
Rescue teams are reportedly struggling to reach the most affected areas, with roads blocked by debris. One witness said “we are hoping for miracles from the rubble,” CNN reported.
The epicenter was in the High Atlas mountains, about 72 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of Marrakech, a popular tourist city of about 840,000 people. The city’s historic walls, first laid out in the early 12th century, have been damaged.
The quake was the most powerful to shake the area surrounding Marrakech in more than 120 years, according to the US Geological Survey.
Powerful earthquake in Morocco kills more than 800 people
More than 800 people were killed and hundreds were injured in a massive earthquake that struck Morocco. It was the deadliest tremor to hit the country in more than 60 years, and it destroyed homes in isolated mountain towns while rescue workers searched through the debris for survivors, reuters reported.
As per reuters, a magnitude 7.2 quake struck in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains late on Friday night. The Interior Ministry said 820 people had been killed and another 672 injured.
Most of the fatalities are in mountainous areas outside Marrakech, the nearest city to the epicentre, its updated toll showed.
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