39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq safe

NEW DELHI: India has reiterated that 39 of its nationals kidnapped in the Iraqi town of Mosul last year are safe, asserting efforts are ongoing to secure their release. “As per latest information from multiple third party sources, they are all safe. The government is making all efforts and taking all steps to secure their release,” India’s Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh told the parliament on Wednesday. “As per information received from the Indian embassy in Baghdad, 39 Indians are in the captivity of Islamic State in Mosul, “ said the minister. Singh said Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had contacted her counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as other friendly countries in the region and sought their help in securing the release of the 39 kidnapped Indians. A total of 40 Indian nationals were taken hostage on June 11 last year in Mosul, one managed to flee.

‘No poll rigging in Pak’

ISLAMABAD: A judicial commission on Thursday rejected claims by Pakistani cricketer-turned-opposition leader Imran Khan that the country’s 2013 general election was rigged, saying the poll was largely fair. Khan claimed his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party had been robbed of victory in the ballot by a shadowy conspiracy involving poll officials and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PMLN), which won by a landslide. PTI staged a large sit-in protest in front of parliament for several months last year. Sharif held on and in March agreed to set up a judicial commission to investigate claims of foul play. On Thursday the three-judge commission, headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, delivered its 237-page report. It said the election was “in large part organised and conducted fairly”.

Peace talks praised

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has expressed support for Afghanistan’s efforts to reconcile with the Taliban. Obama spoke by video conference on Wednesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The White House says Obama praised Ghani for promoting the peace process. Obama cited the Kabul government’s progress in fighting corruption and improving the economy. Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks on Afghan soldiers and police in recent months.