|Sunday, June 4, 2000,
Sharifs family for talks
More troops, weapons rushed to
Pak to bring judiciary under SJC
Narayanans China visit
Screening of Bombay
Indians retake junction
Film on Jinnah sparks off debate
Thailand hub of LTTE
Dont be partisan, Hizbollah
Sharifs family for talks with army
ISLAMABAD, June 3 (PTI) Deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs family favours that his Pakistan Muslim League (PML) party hold talks with the military regime to restore democracy, but maintains the initiative must come from the government, a local daily reported.
In case of talks between the army and the PML to work out modalities for restoring democracy in the country, the party will not seek Sharifs release nor demand any concessions, according to English daily The Dawn.
Talks should be held in the interest of the country and not for personal benefits. There are differences in the Sharif family and the rest of the party leaders on a number of issues concerning the government, it said.
The family, for example, wants the party to launch a peaceful campaign to mount pressure on the rulers to restore democracy. "We dont want an agitation or believe in causing damage to the state property. We want that the party should hold big peaceful rallies to let the rulers know that people want a representative set up in the country.
"However, PML leaders were unwilling to endorse the idea fearing victimisation at the hands of the military regime," the daily quoted a Sharif family member as saying.
Cases have already been prepared against many PML leaders and once they launch a campaign for democracy, they may be arrested, a party leader said.
Prominent PML leaders said it was not advisable to launch any campaign against the government at present as the situation might change after the new budget when people would be forced to come out on the streets. "That will be the right moment to provide people leadership".
The Sharif family has reportedly lost enthusiasm for cooperation with the Grand Democratic Alliance as well as former Premier Benazir Bhuttos Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the daily said, adding that many PML leaders felt that since the PPP and PML were rivals, there would be no justification for the former to approach the latter.
Some leaders argued that till recently, the PML had been branding the PPP leaders corrupt and there was little logic in joining hands with the same people.
Meanwhile, PML leaders opposed to the Sharifs were against electing ousted Premiers wife begum Kulsoom as acting party chief as it will mean continuation of a deadlock between the party and the military rulers.
But the Sharifs want to
forestall the nomination of any other successor to Nawaz
Sharif because "they are gaining public support and
sympathy with the passage of time and a day will soon
come when people will forget any complaints against them
and will like Sharif to continue to lead the party.
More troops, weapons rushed to Jaffna
COLOMBO, June 3 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Government has rushed over 4,000 more troops to counter the rebel offensive in Jaffna peninsula where an estimated 30,000 troops are resisting the LTTE, even as seven more rebels were killed in fresh fighting.
Deputy Defence Minister Anurudha Ratwatte told a radio phone-in programme today that some 4000 troops were already on their way to Jaffna via the northeastern port of Trincomalee.
He said though the situation in the peninsula continued to be "critical", the army had begun gaining an upper hand over the rebels with the improvement in troop morale, reinforcements and new weapons.
Reports from Trincomalee said the roads leading to the towns harbour were filled with soldiers and heavy military equipment awaiting shipment to Jaffna.
According to an official release here today, troops blasted an explosive-laden LTTE vehicle at Chiviyathurai and eliminated at least seven guerrillas in separate encounters.
Mr Ratwatte had earlier said a shake-up of Sri Lankas field commanders and new weapons boosted the morale of troops and reversed their "withdrawal syndrome".
Meanwhile, civilians in Jaffna town, who managed to establish contact with relatives here, said there were no food shortages and the town continued to be peaceful.
A reporter from Jaffna
told his Colombo-based Tamil newspaper office that the
towns two lakh odd civilian population, which had
left to safer areas, had begun returning as the peninsula
had not witnessed any heavy fighting.
Pak to bring judiciary under SJC purview
ISLAMABAD, June 3 (PTI) The Pakistani military regime has decided to bring the members of its top judiciary under the purview of the Supreme Judicial Council, established to look into the accountability of judges.
The SJC would hand over evidence of corruption by judges to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, English daily the Dawn reported. It said after scrutinising the evidence, the CJ would call the judge concerned and confront him with the charge.
If the judge agreed to resign, then no action would be initiated. But, in case he disputed the evidence and showed eagerness to clear his name, the case would be referred to the SJC by the President, the daily said yesterday.
"We will hand over the evidence against the judges to the Chief Justice and if he is satisfied, only then the proceedings will be initiated under Article 209 of the Constitution," the paper quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Narayanans China visit concludes
KUMNING, (China), June 3 (PTI) President K R Narayanan today concluded a successful week-long state visit to China which has injected fresh vitality into Sino-Indian relations in the new millennium.
The special Air India plane left the Kumning Airport at 6 p.m. (3.30 p.m. IST). Mr Narayanan was seen off at the south-west Chinese city airport by senior Indian Embassy officials and provincial officials. Officials said Mr Narayanans talks with the senior Chinese leadership had further strengthened Sino-Indian relations.
During his stay here, Mr Narayanan held wide-ranging talks with Chinese President Jiang Zemin. He also met with Chinese Parliament Chairman Li Peng, Premier Zhu Rongji and Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Committee Chairman Li Ruihuan.
Apart from bilateral issues, the two sides discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern.
The President was accompanied by the first lady Usha Narayanan, Heavy Industries Minister Manohar Joshi, MPs Sushma Swaraj, S R Pillai, Somnath Chatterjee, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh and other senior officials.
During the first presidential visit to China in the last eight years, Mr Narayanan and Mr Jiang agreed that the two sides should work for an early and reasonable resolution to the vexed boundary issue.
Well-versed with Chinese
affairs, Mr Narayanan, a former Ambassador to Beijing,
also visited the North Chinese port city of Dalian and
the picturesque southwestern city of Kumning. In Kumning,
Mr Narayanan interacted an interaction with local
scholars specialising on South Asian affairs.
Screening of Bombay dropped
COLOMBO, June 3 (PTI) A Sri Lankan television channel put off the screening of Indian director Maniratnams film, "Bombay", following protests by some Muslim groups which said the movie had spread religious hatred.
Swarnawahini TV, which earlier announced the screening of the film with sub-tiles in the Sinhala language, withdrew it at the last minute after it received an official request from Chief Censor Officer Arya Rubasinghe.
Mr Rubasinghe told PTI that some Muslim groups had complained to the Cultural Affairs Ministry stating that the film caused religious hatred.
In view of the complaints, he requested the television channel to reconsider its decision to screen it, he said.
He denied there was any official ban on the movie.
Indians retake junction
FREETOWN, June 3 (Reuters) United Nations peacekeepers opened fire on Sierra Leone rebels to retake the key Rogberi junction from where they withdrew when a peace accord foundered one month ago, a UN spokesman has said.
UNAMSIL spokesman David Wimhurst said yesterday that Revolutionary United Front rebels fired five rocket-propelled grenades at the Indian battalion on the road to Rogberi, 87 km from here.
"They responded with heavy machinegun fire and have reoccupied Rogberi, which is a very important position for us and they have dug in defensively," Mr Wimhurst told Reuters. "Our presence there will certainly stabilise the area and if the peacekeepers are fired on they will respond very vigorously," he said.
UN troops withdrew from
Rogberi early last month after rebels led by Foday Sankoh
defied a peace accord to strike towards Freetown and take
hundreds of peacekeepers hostage. They have since been
Film on Jinnah sparks off debate
ISLAMABAD, June 3 (Reuters) "Jinnah", the film about the founder of Pakistan, has been shown at cinemas across the country, stirring a debate among viewers about the kind of society he had envisioned for the Muslims of the sub-continent.
Controversy swirled around the movie during and after its making, just as the legacy of Mohammad Ali Jinnah is debated in the country about whether he wanted a liberal or a conservative Muslim state carved out from the partition of India in August, 1947.
The film was to have been shown in 1997, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Pakistan. It was delayed, and it was yesterday that the makers were able to show to Pakistanis glimpses of their first head of the state and snapshots of the bitter and bloody Partition of 1947.
Jinnah, known as Quaid-e-Azam, which means the great leader in Urdu, became the first Governor-General at Independence on August 14, 1947. His story is told with flashbacks and a narrative provided by producer Akbar Ahmed.
Ahmed, a Muslim scholar and now Pakistans High Commissioner in Britain, said he wanted to make a film about the man who changed the political map of the world, creating Pakistan for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent and to dispel western notions of Jinnah as an arrogant leader of the Muslims League Party.
One viewer, Ahmed Subhani, 71, was impressed. He had seen Jinnah in the flesh and heard him speak.
"This movie has realistically depicted the Pakistan movement and circumstances of his life," he said.
"Dont ask me, I remember everything," said Mr Subhani, who said he was an 18-year-old college student at the 1947 partition and remembered well the scars left by the violence.
"They have depicted those times very well," he said.
But Mr Subhani, like many other Pakistanis of his generation, wondered about what the country had become 52 years after the death of Jinnah.
For the Pakistanis the question whether Jinnah had a vision of a liberal, democratic country and not of a conservative Muslim state still has no clear answer.
Faux pas by German Chancellor
BERLIN, June 3 (DPA) German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made a diplomatic blunder by giving visiting US President Bill Clinton a box of Cuban cigars, German officials admitted today.
Schroeder, who loves cigars, gave Clinton the Cuban smokes during a private dinner on Thursday at a restaurant in Berlins trendy Prenzlauer Berg district, the officials said.
Clinton was reportedly taken aback when Schroeder said the cigars had been brought from Cuba by Germanys Development Aid Minister, who visited Havana last month.
The gift was a double
faux pas on Schroeders part. First, because the
import of Cuban products to the USA is banned. Secondly,
because of the role of a cigar in Clintons affair
with his former intern, Monica Lewinsky.
Thailand hub of LTTE activities
BANGKOK, June 3 (AFP) Sri Lankas LTTE has made Thailand a hub of its South-East Asian gun-running and fund-raising activities, sources close to Thai military intelligence said.
The sources told AFP the LTTE, had been operating a sizeable base on a Thai island 15 km from the south-west coast tourist resort of Phuket.
Following Thai newspaper reports relating to the existence of the base in mid-May, the Thai police engaged in a cover-up to prevent details of the Tigers presence being revealed, the source said.
Thai Government officials have denied the existence of the base, although the army chief Gen Surayud Chulanont, has told reporters the military has known of Tiger operations in southern Thailand for some time.
The Bangkok Post reported that an army intelligence unit had photographed Tamil rebels transferring weapons to the island on May 25.
In response to the Post report, Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai told reporters that the Phuket area "may be the smuggling route ... but there is no Tamil base in Thailand."
Dont be partisan, Hizbollah warns UN
BEIRUT, June 3 (Reuters) Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has warned the United Nations today against pressuring Lebanon into giving up some of its territory along the border with Israel.
Nasrallah reiterated that Hizbollahs armed resistance against Israel would continue if the Jewish state did not hand back Shebaa Farms, a disputed plateau at the foot of the Golan Heights.
"Lebanon is being subjected to hidden and visible pressure," Nasrallah told a rally here yesterday. "There is a smell of bias from the side concerned at the United Nations towards the Israelis on the issue of border marking," Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah was speaking as UN envoy Terje Roed Larsen was holding talks with President Emile Lahoud on the points of contention delaying the verification of Israels full troop withdrawal from South Lebanon.
Teams of UN And Lebanese cartographers continued their work along the Lebanon-Israel border for the third day yesterday after Mr Larsen said the work on the Israeli side had been finished.
Lebanon has linked deploying its security forces in volatile South Lebanon to the approval of the UN verification that Israel has withdrawn from every inch to the international borders.
UN regrets plan to confiscate farms
UNITED NATIONS, June3 (Reuters) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has voiced regret over Zimbabwes intention to confiscate some 800 white-owned farms, and postponed a UN officials visit aimed at encouraging orderly land reform.
"The Secretary-General regrets this development because it undermines the ability of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to build international support, including resources, for a legally based solution, including compensation," UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday at a briefing.
Mr Annan was responding
to the Zimbabwean Governments decision to list
about 800 white-owned commercial farms to be confiscated
and given to landless blacks before parliamentary
elections on June 24-25. Hundreds of such farms have
already been taken over by independence war veterans,
with government backing.
Roberts gets rights to net name
Leaning Tower to
reopen in 2001
was done on Evita
Cuba set to
Ancient city in
Top eye surgeon
dies in crash
Ukraine asks USA
to extradite ex-PM
nod to sell satellites
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