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Aug 18, 2013

Guessing game as Pakistan army chief prepares to retire

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – In a nation long plagued by military coups, the question of who will replace Pakistan’s all-powerful army chief has taken on new urgency this year as the country tries to shake off the legacy of decades of military dictatorship.

General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the nuclear-armed country, is expected to step down after six years in November – presenting Pakistan’s new premier with the toughest of choices yet since coming to power in May.

Aug 17, 2013

Guessing game as Pakistan’s powerful army chief prepares to retire

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – In a nation long plagued by military coups, the question of who will replace Pakistan’s all-powerful army chief has taken on new urgency this year as the country tries to shake off the legacy of decades of military dictatorship.

General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the nuclear-armed country, is expected to step down after six years in November – presenting Pakistan’s new premier with the toughest of choices yet since coming to power in May.

Aug 14, 2013

Renewed LoC shelling as India, Pakistan trade blame

ISLAMABAD/SRINAGAR (Reuters) – India and Pakistan accused each other of provoking violence on their troubled Kashmir frontier on Wednesday as a week of cross-border shelling threatened to derail attempts to resume peace talks between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tension flared along the de-facto border on August 6 when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed in a remote Himalayan district. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan army. Pakistan denied any involvement.

Aug 14, 2013

Renewed cross-border shelling as Pakistan, India trade blame

ISLAMABAD/SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – Pakistan and India accused each other of provoking violence on their troubled Kashmir frontier on Wednesday as a week of cross-border shelling threatened to derail attempts to resume peace talks between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tension flared along the de-facto border on August 6 when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed in a remote Himalayan district. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan army. Pakistan denied any involvement.

Aug 1, 2013

Kerry says hopes Pakistan drone strikes to end soon

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that Washington planned to end drone strikes in their country soon – a message aimed at removing a major source of anti-American resentment in the strategically important country.

After meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Kerry said they had agreed to re-establish a “full partnership”, hoping to end years of acrimony over the drone strikes and other grievances including the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Aug 1, 2013

U.S., Pakistan agree to start new chapter in long-strained relations

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The United States and Pakistan agreed on Thursday to re-establish a “full partnership”, hoping to end years of acrimony over U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other grievances.

“We are here to speak honestly with each other, openly about any gaps that may exist that we want to try to bridge,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during an unannounced visit to Islamabad. “Our people deserve that we talk directly.”

Jul 31, 2013

Taliban jailbreak prompts fears of more attacks on Pakistan prisons

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani authorities moved some of their most notorious militant inmates after an intelligence warning of an imminent jailbreak but a Taliban raid this week has raised fears about the security of all Pakistani prisons.

Pakistan was taken off guard on Monday when a squad of highly trained Taliban fighters overran a century-old prison in Dera Ismail Khan, a town on the edge of a lawless ethnic Pashtun tribal area, setting free a band of senior militants together with more than 200 other inmates.

Jul 25, 2013

Undeterred by Taliban, climbers scale Pakistan’s Killer Mountain

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – When Taliban gunmen mowed down a group of foreign climbers last month, Romanian mountaineer Zsolt Torok was perched on an icy flank of Pakistan’s second-highest peak oblivious to the mayhem unfolding thousands of meters below.

“I called my wife (on a satellite phone) and she said the Taliban came and killed everyone in the base camp,” he said. “I was shocked. We survived only because we’d chosen a different route.”

Jul 23, 2013

Despite promises to talk, new Pakistan PM gets tough on insurgents

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Months after promising peace talks with Islamist insurgents, Pakistan’s new prime minister appears to be backing down and accepting that the use of military force may be unavoidable in the face of escalating violence across the South Asian country.

Almost 200 people have been killed in rebel attacks in Pakistan since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power last month, advocating peace talks with the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.

Jul 18, 2013

New Pakistan government vows to rescue ailing power sector

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s new energy minister promised on Thursday to fix the country’s ailing energy sector in three years, laying out an ambitious plan to tackle crippling power shortages that have devastated the economy and sparked violent protests.

Blackouts lasting more than half a day in some areas have infuriated many Pakistanis in this nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people, prompting the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to declare tackling the crisis one of his top priorities.