|Thursday, February 3, 2000,
No normal ties till Pakistan
restores civilian rule: USA
Strike paralyses Bangladesh
No normal ties till Pakistan restores civilian rule: USA
WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (PTI) The USA has said it will not have normal relationship with Pakistan till the return of democracy in that country and virtually ruled out President Bill Clintons visit to Islamabad, citing concerns on democracy and terrorism as the reasons.
Though Washington viewed Islamabad as an important ally, for President Clinton to visit Pakistan during his coming South Asia visit in March, that country will have to meet Americas concerns about democracy and the need to fight terrorism, National Security Council spokesman David Leavy told a press conference here last night.
I dont think we can have normal relationship (with Pakistan) that both sides want unless there is a return to civilian rule, Mr Leavy said, adding that is one of the core issues for us and that is one of the issues we are looking for progress on.
He said the USA had made it clear to Pakistan that it expected transparent, open, judicial process in the trial of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. We want due process there, he added.
On terrorism, he said: We do have a broad agenda with Pakistan. Part of that is on the issue of terrorism. They are an important ally in that fight. We need to have cooperation. We would have to see progress on that front. We have made it very clear to Pakistan. They realise this is a core issue.
Leavy noted that the USA had said it had no evidence showing Pakistans involvement in the hijack of an Indian Airlines plane in December last year.
He, however, said Pakistan had to play an important role more broadly in the fight against terrorism, particularly in bringing Osama bin Laden, whose organisation was on the State Departments terrorism list, to justice from his refuge in Afghanistan.
Given Pakistans regional influence and given their strategic relationships (with Afghanistan), they have an important role to play against terrorism, the spokesman said.
We need to have cooperation and progress on that front if we are to have the kind of relationship both sides want. So let us see more progress, he added.
Three prominent US Congressmen on Wednesday welcomed President Bill Clintons decision to visit India, with two of them urging him to confine his visit to India and Bangladesh only and not to visit Pakistan PTI report said.
Gary Ackerman, chairman of the India Caucus, Frank Pallone, former chairman of the Caucus, and Sam Gejdenson, ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee, also stressed the importance of forging closer ties India.
Mr Ackerman in a separate statement said Mr Clinton should seriously weigh what signal the USA would be sending to the world if he decides to include Pakistan during his sojourn to the Indian subcontinent.
Ex-ISI chief under interrogation
ISLAMABAD, Feb 2 (PTI) Former chief of Pakistans ISI Lt Gen Khawaja Ziauddin is being interrogated by a high-level team of intelligence officials, the finding of which could determine whether or not he is to be court martialed, a media report here has said.
Deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had appointed General Ziauddin as army chief on October 12 last year after sacking Gen Parvez Musharraf who later led a coup the same day.
General Ziauddin was under detention of the military and is being investigated by a special team of intelligence officials.
The investigators will determine the areas where General Ziauddin may have overstepped his authority and misused his office before the military takeover, a senior General Headquarters official told an English daily The News.
The investigators will further gauge the intensity of his involvement, if ever, he was involved in conspiring against his own institutions and the army chief. The subsequent findings will determine whether his case is fit for a court martial or not, the official said.
The dailys Bureau of Investigations said the official denied reports that the army had given the general amnesty to General Ziauddin.
No question of that. Action against him will be based on the outcome of these investigations... we have got irrefutable proof that the ousted Prime Minister was busy in insidious conspiracies against the army.
We have documentary evidence that Mr Sharif planned to defame and divide the military in active collusion with certain army officials. Once investigations are completed and (if) charges are established, the General will definitely be tried, the daily reported.
The daily quoted a spokesman of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) as having confirmed that the Geneal has not been given amnesty.He is under detention and being investigated for his alleged role during the tumultuous events on or before October 12.
McCain thrashes Bush in NH primary
MANCHESTER (N.H.), Feb 2 (Reuters) Republican presidential underdog John McCain has crushed front-runner George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary while Democrat Al Gore eked out a tense victory over former Senator Bill Bradley.
Mr McCain, Senator from Arizona who often bucks the Republican Party line, was thrashing Texas Governor George Bush in the nations first primary by 19 percentage points, 49-31 per cent, with 84 per cent of the vote counted yesterday.
It was a humiliation for Mr Bush which threatened to damage his aura of invincibility and tighten the contest for the Republican presidential nomination in the weeks ahead.
With 84 per cent of the Democratic vote counted, Mr Gore led Mr Bradley by 52-48 per cent. But the one-time basketball star sounded a defiant note, vowing to continue his campaign.
But the big story of the night was Mr McCain, a former navy pilot who spent over five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Today, the Republican Party has recovered its heritage of reform, he told supporters. It is the beginning of the end for the Truth-twisting politics of (President) Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
My friends, a wonderful New Hampshire campaign has come to an end but a great national crusade has just begun, a visibly moved and buoyed Mr McCain declared.
Mr Gore was equally exhilarated in his victory speech.
You gave me your faith. You gave me your trust. I will fight for you, the vice president declared.
A chastened Mr Bush appeared early in the evening to congratulate Mr McCain and vowed to push on the eventual victory.
We fought the good fight and Im proud of our supporters and Im proud of the kind of campaign we fought in New Hampshire, he said.
The road to the Republican nomination and the White House is a long road. Mine will go through all 50 states and I intend it to end at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he said referring to the address of the White House.
In the democratic race, the stakes were huge for Mr Bradley, who appeared to have closed the gap with a furious assault on Mr Gores honesty and trustworthiness in the past week.
to isolate Austria
JERUSALEM, Feb 2 (Reuters) Israel will withdraw its ambassador from Vienna if Mr Joerg Haiders far-Right Freedom Party joins a ruling coalition in Austria, Prime Minister Ehud Baraks office said today.
Austrias conservatives and Mr Haiders Freedom Party were due to seek President Thomas Klestils formal approval later for a coalition pact which could isolate the country internationally.
In view of the latest political developments in Austria, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister decided this morning that if President Klestil approves the proposed coalition agreement, Israels Ambassador to Vienna will be recalled to Israel for an indefinite period, Mr Baraks office said in a statement.
Israel had warned that it would withdraw its ambassador if Mr Haider, who once praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitlers employment policies and lauded former SS stormtroopers, joined the Cabinet.
The European Union has threatened to freeze political contacts with Vienna if Mr Haiders party enters the government. The USA has said it would consider similar action.
But Foreign Minister David Levy, now in Moscow on a visit, said Israel would take the step whether Mr Haider was in the government or not. This is not wordplay, not escalation, not threat, he told army radio.
This is Israels one and only moral stance... if such a coalition arises, there is no place for an Israeli Ambassador in Austria. On this matter all the people of Israel are united.
In a rare display of Israeli political consensus, the main opposition Likud Party quickly welcomed the move.
Mr Schuessel will be Chancellor in the government if Klestil approves, but Mr Haider will not join the cabinet, remaining provincial Governor in Carinthia.
Mr Haider has repeatedly sought to distance himself from past remarks appearing to play down the crimes of the Nazis, comments which have been the main cause of the international outcry.
Strike paralyses Bangladesh
DHAKA, Feb 2 (Reuters) Bangladesh was largely paralysed today by an opposition strike called to protest against a law designed to combat lawlessness. The police reported one man was killed and 13 wounded in bomb explosions.
Police said the bombs exploded in the offices of the main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), where they were being assembled for use in the strike.
BNP leaders said the bombs were tossed into their offices but gave no details.
The police said one man was killed and at least nine wounded in an explosion today in the BNPs office in the capital Dhaka. The dead man was Mohammed Ismail, a BNP activist, police Sub-Inspector Abul Kashem said.
Four people were badly wounded in the other explosion in a BNP office in Chittagong yesterday night.
Dhakas streets were mostly empty except for rickshaws after the strike, set to last 36 hours, began at 6 a.m (0530 IST).
The countrys two stock exchanges, in Dhaka and Chittagong, were closed, officials said. Many offices and schools were shut, and a few banks which were-open conducted no business.
In Chittagong, the countrys main port, the strike disrupted handling and delivery of goods, officials said. One flight to Chittagong from Dhaka was cancelled but trains operated normally, transport officials said.
Home-made bombs exploded intermittently in Chittagong but no casualties were reported in these incidents in the first few hours of the strike, Chittagong police said.
13 die as mini-bus falls into ravine
PESHAWAR, Feb 2 (AFP) Thirteen persons were killed and 30 injured when a mini-bus plunged into a ravine in Northwest Frontier Province today, officials said.
The driver of the vehicle, which was on its way from Lahore to Peshawar, lost control on a turn and skidded off the road, they said.
Osama aides held in Mauritania
leader refuses to quit
US-Cuba row over
for selling arms to Iran
from talking to media
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