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Islamabad: 38 percent of all Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flights in the previous three months were delayed, the National Assembly was informed by the Defence Ministry.

The Defense Ministry revealed Friday that during the last three months, there were 12,184 PIA flights out of which 4,345 were delayed.

PIA has been troubled with flight delays and flight cancellations for the last several months. Flight delays are not only experienced on local but also of the international flights.

The customers have also complained about mismanagement by PIA.

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Pakistani officials accused up to 60 Afghan soldiers of crossing into Pakistani territory and sparking clashes that killed two tribesman.

PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials accused up to 60 Afghan soldiers on Monday of crossing into Pakistani territory and sparking clashes that killed two tribesman.

It was the latest in a series of escalating cross-border attacks reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are inflaming tensions along the porous border as NATO prepares to end its combat mission against the Taliban in 2014.

In Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt, security officials said two tribesmen were killed in Upper Kurram district in clashes with 60 Afghan army soldiers.

Another tribesman was also wounded “after they traded fire with Afghan army soldiers on seeing them inside Pakistani territory,” a senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The clashes lasted for more than 90 minutes after which security forces were sent to the area on the Afghan border, he said.

Local residents said the Afghans were pursuing attackers fleeing Shehar-e-Nau village in Paktia province.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security intelligence agency said cross-border fire had killed four people, including a woman and a child, and wounded six others, in the last week.

Both countries blame each other for harbouring Taliban fighters active on both sides of their 2,400 kilometre border, fanning distrust between Kabul and Islamabad, and complicating a peace process in Afghanistan.

Kabul threatened to report Islamabad to the UN Security Council over what it alleges is the shelling of villages, while Islamabad said it would protest formally to Kabul against the latest incursion.

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NEW DELHI: India on Friday denied that an Indian man freed after serving three decades in a Pakistani jail on espionage charges was a spy working for New Delhi.

The denial came even though the released prisoner, Surjeet Singh, 69, had told Indian media on Thursday that he was spying for India when he was arrested by Pakistani authorities in the 1980s.

Singh, who was sentenced to death after being convicted by a Pakistani court on spying charges, returned to India on Thursday after being freed.

“We do not accept this (that Singh was a spy). It is completely wrong,” Indian Home Secretary R.K. Singh told a news conference in New Delhi.

“We deny it (because) we do not do this kind of thing,” he said in response to reporters’ questions about whether the freed man worked for government agencies.

“Neither do we do spying, nor we send spies,” the home secretary added.

The two Singhs are not related.

Surjeet Singh had told Indian reporters after returning home that he had gone to Pakistan for “spying” and named the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s espionage agency, as his paymaster.

In April 2011, Gopal Das, one of Pakistan’s longest-serving Indian prisoners, was released after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari intervened in his case.

Upon his release, Das admitted he was an Indian spy and lashed out at the Indian authorities for abandoning him during his 23 years in jail.

Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India have fought three wars since the division of the subcontinent in 1947 and came to the brink of another conflict as recently as 2002.

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Money changers count piles of Afghani at a money exchange market in Kabul June 16, 2012.

WASHINGTON: The United States named two Afghanistan-Pakistan money changers as helping the Taliban manage and move funds, setting sanctions against both that aim to hinder their business.

The US Treasury said the two hawalas, or money exchange businesses – the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar Money Exchange (HKHS) and the Roshan Money Exchange – “have been used by the Taliban to facilitate money transfers in support of the Taliban’s narcotics trade and terrorist operations.” Up through last year, HKHS services were “a preferred method for Taliban leadership to transfer money to Taliban commanders in Afghanistan,” the Treasury said.

Roshan was used for money transfers by the Taliban, particularly in Helmand province, including allegedly moving hundreds of thousands of dollars last year “for the purchase of narcotics on behalf of Taliban officials.” The Treasury listed Haji Abdul Sattar Barakzai and Haji Khairullah Barakzai, HKHS co-owners, under the sanctions for donating funds to the Taliban.

HKHS has 16 branches in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Dubai, according to the Treasury.

Roshan operates 11 branches in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Recently released Indian spy Surjeet Singh claims that Sarabjit Singh has converted Islam and is now known as Sarfaraz,  Sarabjit is currently imprisoned at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail and has been sentenced to death for his alleged role in bomb blasts.

Surjeet was recently released from Kot Lakhpat after 30 years. The Indian national had been arrested by Pakistani police on charges of spying during the regime of Ziaul Haq.

In addition to the claim of Sarabjit’s conversion, Surjeet has also claimed that another Indian prisoner in Pakistan, Kirpal Singh, had also converted to Islam and is now known as Mohammed Din. He was speaking to the media at the information centre of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee during his visit to the Golden Temple.

Sarabjit’s sister, while confirming that she heard Kirpal be called by a Muslim name, has denied that her brother has converted. Dalbir Kaur said:

This is not true at all. Sarabjit was a Gursikh, is a Gursikh and will remain a Gursikh. He has kept photos of Sikh gurus in jail and a Sikh religious book. He regularly recites from that book.

Kaur said her brother had been addressed as Sarabjit or Manjit when she had last visited him in jail.

The dramatic events on Tuesday night had drained Sarabjit’s family after Pakistan announced that the Indian prisoner in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail — sentenced to death for his alleged role in bomb blasts – would be released after his sentence was commuted to life. Hours later, though, it was clarified that it was not Sarabjit but another Indian prisoner, Surjeet Singh, who was being released.

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LAHORE: Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh was released Thursday from Kot Lakhpat jail after serving his lifeterm for 27 years, Geo News reported. He, along with 311 fishermen were handed over to Indian authorities at Wagha border.

In his brief talk after being released, Surjeet Singh said that he had a pleasant time while being jailed in Pakistan but he kept on missing his home and family.

Surjeet said that he will go to Golden Temple as soon as he will reach India to express his gratitude.

Upon his arrival in India, Surjeet admitted to being sent for spying in Pakistan.

He said Indian prisoners in Pakistan are treated well, adding that he met Sarbjit as well.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna on Thursday said it was time for Sarabjit to be set free.

“I welcome this decision (on Surjeet) and further renew our request to the president of Pakistan to release Sarabjit who has been in custody for well over two decades and is serving a death sentence,” Krishna said.

Surjeet Singh, son of Sucha Singh, was originally given death sentence that was commuted in 1989 by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the advice of then premier Benazir Bhutto.

Surjeet Singh was held at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. He was captured near the border with India on charges of spying during the era of military ruler Zia-ul-Haq.

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Islamabad: Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has hinted at putting in place new judiciary, saying that the parliament is the supreme body and could do that.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, the minister said that the Pakistan People’s Party was ready to create new judiciary as it was enshrined in the charter of democracy (CoD) between Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif.

He said Mr Shairf was backing off from his commitment which he made in CoD. Kaira said that the parliament had created the Constitution and it had the power to create new one.

He alleged that the courts in Islamabad and Lahore always took up cases against the Pakistan People’s Party while they didn’t take up cases against Sharifs.

He said that President Asif Ali Zardari was  not chairman of the PPP instead he was made co-chairperson in the given certain circumstances.

The minister said that Raja Pervez Ashraf was a choice of Benazir Bhutto, adding that the prime minister was not responsible for power crisis in the country. He claimed that it was bureaucracy, which provided Ahsraf with wrong facts and figures while he was at the helm of affairs in the ministry of water and power.

He said the PPP put in place a common worker as prime minister while Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif could not dare to appoint their workers as prime minister.

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