PAKISTANI PM NAWAZ SHARIF CLAIMED THAT FORMER MILITARY RULER MUSHARRAF OFFERED HIM AN ‘UNDERHANDED’ DEAL TO FORM JOINT GOVT. IN 2008:

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed that former military ruler General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf had offered him an “underhanded” deal to form a joint government in 2008.  Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentary committee on Tuesday, Sharif said: “Musharraf wanted a secret deal with me in 2007,” reports the Dawn.  Sharif’s government was toppled by General Musharraf, then the Army Chief, through a coup in 1999 following which many members of the Sharif family including the Prime Minister were forced into exile in Saudi Arabia, where they remained until their return to Pakistan in November 2007.  Sharif said that Musharraf was willing to meet him and made several attempts to do so in the past.”But I declined,” he added.  He said that his family did not want to leave their motherland, but were forced into exile by the military dictator.  The Prime Minister noted that the former president was now facing a similar fate and had left the country in disgrace.  “Now, Musharraf is willing to return to the country, but he cannot,” he said.  However, Sharif’s assertions were disputed by former Musharraf aide and All-Pakistan Muslim League member Ahmed Raza Kasuri. “I have been working with Gen Musharraf for a long time and I have never heard any such thing,” he said. Rediff.com : 22nd. Mar,17

FORMER SWEETHEARTS SALMAN KHAN & KATRINA KAIF ARE BACK TOGETHER IN FILM ‘TIGER ZINDA HAI’ :

The former sweethearts Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif are back together, in a manner of speaking, with their film, Tiger Zinda Hai.   Salman’s impishly tweeted this image, saying, @BeingSalmanKhan  BACK TOGETHER , IN TIGER ZINDA HAI.  Director Ali Abbas Zafar has been shooting Tiger Zinda Hai in the picturesque locales of Tyrol in Austria.   The film is a sequel to their 2012 hit film Ek Tha Tiger, which centered on the life of an Indian spy of RAW (Salman), code-named Tiger, who falls in love with a Pakistani spy from ISI (Katrina) during an investigation and how Tigers ideology and principles change over time. Rediff.com : 22nd. Mar,17

HAS SUNIL GROVER QUIT THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW ?

The jury is still out on whether comedian Sunil Grover has quit the Kapil Sharma show.  But Grover did not shoot show on Monday after allegedly being assaulted by the TV personality on board a flight, reported India Forum.  India Forum cited sources close to the production in the report, stating that Grover is no longer part of Sharma’s show.   Kapil Sharma tweeted an apology on Monday night that Sunil Grover appears to have acknowledged. The Kapil Sharma Show is headlined by comedian and actor Kapil Sharma while Sunil Grover played the role of characters like Dr Mashoor Gulati and Rinku Bhabhi. Earlier, he featured as Gutthi in Kapil Sharma’s previous show Comedy Nights With Kapil. The actors are believed to have been involved in a showdown onboard a flight recently.  Mr Sharma allegedly attacked Grover, say eyewitnesses.  On 20th. March, it was reported that Grover was on the brink of exiting the show. A source told Mid Day that Grover is “numbed” by his co-star’s allegedly abusive behaviour.   “Sunil is numbed by the way Kapil assaulted him during a flight from Melbourne, where they did a stage show. He was merely trying to calm down Kapil, who was drunk and hurling abuses at another team member, Chandan (Prabhakar),” mid-day quoted. Rediff.com : 22nd. Mar,17

VETERAN JOURNALIST, AUTHOR OF 25 BOOKS & FORMER EDITOR OF MAHARASHTRA TIMES, GOVIND SHRIPAD TALWALKAR PASSED AWAY :

The veteran journalist and former editor of Maharashtra Times, Govind Shripad Talwalkar passed away in the US yesterday. He was 92.  The author of 25 books, Talwalkar received the Lokmanya Tilak Award from the Government of Maharashtra, India and also the B. D. Goenka Award and Durga Ratan Award for excellence in journalism, and Ramshastri award for social justice.  Condolences come in from Union minister Suresh Prabhu: Saddened by passing away  of #Govind Talwalkar ex editor Maharashtra Times & prolific writer, thinker, in USA at the age of 90. Condolences RIP.  Author, historian Ramachandra Guha tweets: Sorry to hear that Govind Talwalkar has died. He was a distinguished scholar-editor who contributed immensely to our intellectual life. Rediff.com : 22nd. Mar,17

 

 

IRAQI GOVERNMENT FORCES EVACUATED MANY CIVILIANS FROM MOSUL’s WESTERN SIDE :

Iraqi government forces battling the Islamic State in Mosul’s western side evacuated hundreds of civilians from the city centre, as troop progress slowed down faced with strong resistance from the militants, Iraqi officials said.  “Our forces evacuated hundreds of civilians to prevent terrorists from using them as human shields, while our troops are pushing inside the old city centre to recapture the al-Nuri Mosque,” Lt. Gen. Raid Shakir Jawdat, commander of the federal police forces, said in a statement, Xinhua reported.  “Dozens of federal police snipers positioned themselves atop building tops in the neighbourhoods of the old city centre around the al-Nuri Mosque,” Jawdat said.  The troops have been fighting street by street and house by house to recapture the historical al-Nuri Mosque in the middle of Mosul’s old city centre, but were slowed by heavy resistance from the IS militants and the presence of some 500,000 people living in old homes with narrow alleys.   The mosque with its famous leaning minaret, which gave the city its nickname “al-Hadbaa” or “the hunchback”, has a symbolic value as it was the place where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the cross-border “caliphate” in large areas in Iraq and Syria in his sole public appearance in July 2014.  “The battles to liberate Mosul’s western side is progressing slowly caused by fear of harming civilian lives, in addition to the presence of increasing number of Daesh (the IS) snipers in Mosul’s city centre, with its narrow alleys,” Defence Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool told a news conference in eastern Mosul.   Meanwhile, commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service forces freed the neighborhood of Risala and residential buildings of the adjacent Nablus neighbourhood west of the old city centre after days of heavy clashes with the IS militants, Abdul-Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.  Elite troops continued their heavy clashes against the IS militants in several nearby neighbourhoods, as they advanced closer to Mosul’s western edge and densely populated old city centre, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to be still trapped under the IS rule.  The fierce battles brought the total number of civilians who left their homes in Mosul’s both eastern and western sides to 415,000 since the beginning of the military offensive in October to reclaim the IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq, according to Jasim al-Attiyah, deputy minister of the Iraqi Migration and Displaced Ministry.   Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive on February 19 to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul.  Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of Mosul’s eastern side, or the left bank of Tigris, after over 100 days of fighting IS militants.  However, Mosul’s western part, with its narrow streets and a population between 750,000 and 800,000, appears to be a bigger challenge to Iraqi forces.  Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their posts and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq’s northern and western regions. IANS : 22nd. Mar,17

“SALMAN KHAN HAS ALWAYS STOOD BY ME AS FRIEND” : SAYS ACTRESS RAVEENA TANDON

Actress Raveena Tandon says superstar Salman Khan — opposite whom she made her film debut with the 1991 entertainer “Patthar Ke Phool” — has always stood by her in times of need when others turned their back.  During an appearance on Zee Classic’s “My Life My Story”, Raveena spoke about her equation with Salman, read a statement.  She said: “Salman and I used to fight a lot on trivial issues… We have fought over a bubble gum! But honestly, Salman is a fantastic person at heart. If I have to name one person who has stood by my side as a friend, it would be him.   “All others turn their back in times of need, but Salman has always fulfilled his promise as a friend. He was always there for me when I needed him.”  The actress, who will next be seen on screen in “Maatr – The Mother”, was born to director Ravi Tandon, but she never wanted to get launched by him.  On “My Life My Story”, Raveena revealed that while Salman was looking for his leading lady in “Patthar Ke Phool”, he had visited the sets of her ad film to evaluate her work. What followed was a series of calls from Salim Khan and G.P. Sippy to her father, asking him to convince Raveena for the film. Raveena then agreed to do the film.  IANS : 22nd. Mar,17

ACTRESS ANUSHKA SHARMA SAYS SHE BELIEVES IN SPIRIT, UNICORNS, FAIRIES AND ALIENS :

As Anushka Sharma’s second home production, ‘Phillauri’, inches closer to its release date, the cast and crew are leaving no stone unturned in the promotions of the film. The actress plays the character of Shashi, a friendly ghost in the film. In an interaction with TOI Entertainment, the ‘NH10’ actress spilled the beans on how she believes in a world that has spirits, unicorns, fairies and aliens living in harmony. Her ‘Phillauri’ co-stars Suraj Sharma and Mehreen Pirzada too spoke about their excitement regarding the film and gave an insider’s view on their journey. The Times of  India : 22nd. Mar,17