BOOSTING TIES: TURKEY’S ERDOGAN IN PAKISTAN Feb 14, 2020 0 1846 12345 Islamabad (dpa) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Islamabad on Thursday, months after Pakistan''s rebuke to a plan some saw as a challenge to Saudi Arabia''s hegemony in the Muslim world. Erdogan is accompanied by ministers, government officials and heads of private companies, for a visit aimed at bolstering strategic and economic ties, Pakistan''s Foreign Ministry said. The Turkish leader plans to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, deliver a speech at a business forum, address the country''s parliament, and speak to reporters, the ministry added. The visit comes nearly two months after Turkish, Malaysian and Pakistani leaders discussed establishing a forum of Muslim countries and an English-language television channel to counter Islamophobia in the West. Erdogan, Khan and Malaysia''s Mahathir Mohamed met and discussed the plan in the United States and pledged to finalize it at a summit in Kuala Lumpur in December. They said the proposed forum did not seek to exclude any country, but some viewed it as a counterweight to the Saudi-dominated Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The presence of Muslim leaders critical of Saudi Arabia, including Erdogan, Mahathir Mohamad, Iran''s Hassan Rowhani and Tamim bin Hamad of Qatar, reinforced doubts about the group''s objectives. The plan ultimately failed as Khan cancelled his attendance at the summit at short notice, allegedly due to pressure by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Last month, Khan visited Kuala Lumpur and said he regretted not attending the summit, saying he was "misguided" by some friends, seen as a veiled reference to bin Salman. Pakistan''s Foreign Ministry did not say whether the leaders would discuss the plan during the visit, but said the two shared views on "ways to promote Islamic solidarity and counter Islamophobia," without elaborating. RELATED ARTICLES Top US commander warns Philippines rift could hurt counter-terrorism fight Feb 14, 2020 0 536 Indonesian volcano spews ash, lava Feb 14, 2020 0 1456 Business booms for ‘Parasite’ locations Feb 14, 2020 0 331 Virus death toll soars as China changes counting methods AFP Beijing China’s official death toll from the new coronavirus spiked dramatically on Thursday after authorities changed their counting methods, fuelling concern the epidemic is far worse than being reported. .. US announces week-long partial truce with Taliban AFP Brussels The United States has secured a seven-day reduction in violence in talks to help seek a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan, Pentagon chief Mark Esper said on Thursday. The announcement came as NATO .. Mall reopens in Thailand, days after mass shooting Bangkok: A shopping centre in north-eastern Thailand that last weekend was the scene of the country’s deadliest mass shooting reopened its doors to the public on Thursday. Large crowds turned out at Terminal 21 mall in .. Blast kills another Pakistani Taliban leader in Afghanistan Peshawar: A senior Pakistani Taliban commander was killed by a bomb in eastern Afghanistan, militant and intelligence sources told AFP on Thursday, the latest such incident to target the group in recent days. Sheharyar .. At least 14 killed, 31 hurt in bus-truck collision in India New Delhi: At least 14 people were killed and dozens injured when a speeding bus rammed into a parked truck in northern India, police said on Thursday. Police officer Iraj Raja said the crash occurred on an expressway in .. Russia fines Twitter, Facebook for keeping data abroad AFP Moscow A Moscow court on Thursday fined social networking giants Twitter and Facebook for ignoring a Russian law requiring them to store Russian citizens’ user data inside the country. A court slapped the US-based ..