Wednesday, November 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Alliance mending fences with Pakistan
Rabbani to hold talks with Musharraf

Dubai, November 27
Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani, striking a conciliatory note with the Taliban’s former backers, today said he planned to hold talks with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf “in the very near future.”

Pakistani ruler General Pervez Musharraf says he has no problem with the Northern Alliance if it forms the next government in Afghanistan.
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Musharraf offers to meet PM in Nepal
Islamabad, November 27
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Monday said he would meet with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the sidelines of the upcoming South Asian nations’ summit in Kathmandu if New Delhi sought the meeting, SADA reports.

Nepal army strikes against Maoists
Crackdown on scribes
Kathmandu, November 27
A day after a state of emergency was declared in Nepal, the army today launched land and air strikes against Maoist rebels in several parts and the government issued an ordinance providing for life imprisonment and confiscation of property of those who support terrorist activities.

Nepalese soldiers guard a road leading to the army headquarters in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Nepal's army launched an offensive for the first time against Maoist guerrillas as a fresh rebel attack was reported on Tuesday in the Himalayan kingdom. — Reuters



EARLIER STORIES

  Quattrocchi’s plea rejected
Kuala Lumpur, November 27
Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, fighting extradition to India to stand trial in the Bofors pay-off case, lost the first round in a Malaysian court today.

27 die in Philippines clash
Manila, November 27
At least 27 persons were killed and 15 others wounded today when armed followers of detained Muslim leader Nur Misuari clashed with government forces in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga, the military said.

Government troopers watch as a woman resident runs to safety after she was released by Moro National Liberation Front rebels loyal to arrested leader Nur Misuari at the latter's camp in Zamboanga city in southern Philippines on Tuesday. — AP/PTI photo

Two Israelis shot
Afula, Israel, November 27
Two Palestinians sprayed gunfire at a bus station and a market in northern Israel today, killing two Israelis and wounding 36 before the police shot dead the gunmen dead, the police and hospital officials said.


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of releasing of the book "Mille Fleurs" by Kamlesh Sharma, Indian Ambassador to the UN (second left), at the Indian Permanent Mission in New York on Monday. — PTI 

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama (R) is presented with the keys to the city by Lisbon's Mayor Joao Soares (L) upon his visit to the City Hall in Lisbon on Tuesday. The Dalai Lama is on a five-day private visit to Portugal. — Reuters

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Alliance mending fences with Pakistan
Rabbani to hold talks with Musharraf

Dubai, November 27
Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani, striking a conciliatory note with the Taliban’s former backers, today said he planned to hold talks with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf “in the very near future.”

“Moves are under way to pave the way for talks with Musharraf. When this will happen I don’t know,” he told reporters in Dubai, where he is heading a delegation that met with Pakistani officials.

But the moves “could be very fruitful in the very near future,” he added, speaking in Arabic.

“We are ready to open a new page with all our neighbours, especially Pakistan. We will never forget the help of Pakistan in the past ... We are ready to cooperate and we are eager to strengthen our relationship with them.

“During the Taliban rule, there were some errors committed by (Pakistani) persons, not populations. People come and go (while) populations stay,” said Rabbani.

“Negotiations are taking place now which I want (held) in Afghanistan. People outside Afghanistan should not be afraid to come to Afghanistan to try to solve problems.

“As of today, all our meetings should be held in Afghanistan,” he said, calling the Bonn gathering a “preliminary meeting (to lay down) the basis of future meetings”.

Meanwhile, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pakistan was in contact with “all Afghan groups” and did not recognise the Northern Alliance, in power in Kabul, as the legitimate government.

Spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan said at a press briefing that Islamabad would consider the recognition issue after Afghan groups establish a transitional administration to replace the ousted Taliban.

Mr Khan rejected reports that Pakistan was sending a delegation to the Northern Alliance leader Rabbani in the United Arab Emirates.

The multi-ethnic Alliance hates Pakistan for its support for the Taliban which dissipated after the USA declared war against it for protecting suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaida network.

Pakistan had “no idea” where Bin Laden was, Khan’s military colleague, Major-Gen Rashid Qureshi, said at the press briefing.

But Bin Laden and members of the Al-Qaida would be arrested if they crossed into Pakistan to escape the US marines hunt for them, he said.

Whether they would be tried under Pakistan law or handed over to the USA would be decided when the United Nations and the US-led coalition against terrorism determined how to proceed against the alleged terrorists, he said. AFP, DPA

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Swedish scribe killed

Stockholm, November 27
A Swedish television news cameraman working for semi-public channel TV4 was killed in Taloqan in northern Afghanistan late yesterday, TV4 said.

Ulf Stroemberg (42) was shot during a robbery on the house where he was staying. He died of his wounds shortly after the attack, TV4 spokeswoman Eva Franchell said. AFP
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Musharraf offers to meet PM in Nepal

Islamabad, November 27
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Monday said he would meet with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the sidelines of the upcoming South Asian nations’ summit in Kathmandu if New Delhi sought the meeting, SADA reports.

“There is international pressure on India to talk to Pakistan,” Musharraf said in an interview on Pakistan Television telecast last night, adding that he was sure Vajpayee would seek a meeting. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meets in January in the Nepalese capital after a gap of more than three years, mainly because of continuing friction between its two largest members — Pakistan and India.

Musharraf said he had renewed his invitation to Vajpayee, first extended at Agra, to visit Pakistan.

He described SAARC — that groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — as an “impotent organization in its current format.” As the region’s only organization, it depended on Pakistan and India to make it “potent,” he said.

President Musharraf said Pakistan was ready to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue but warned India that if it takes any aggressive step, Islamabad would not tolerate it.

In an interview Gen Musharraf said, “India should not remain in any fallacy. We know our security is very well-guarded. We will teach it a lesson if it dares to take any action against Pakistan.”

Reiterating his stand on Kashmir issue, he maintained that Kashmir was the focal issue, and said the Indian rhetorics were “unfortunate”.

He termed as illogical the India's stand that Kashmir is at the core of nationhood. “The Indians have to modify their stand on the issue of Kashmir according to the United Nations resolution. We don’t get bogged down by these offensives.”

Asked if there was any possibility that after Afghanistan, the anti-terrorism coalition would focus on Kashmir, the President said, “I don’t think so. US President George W. Bush, in a joint statement during his recent visit to Pakistan, had said the issue of Kashmir should be resolved in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people.” IANS, UNI
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Nepal army strikes against Maoists
Crackdown on scribes

Kathmandu, November 27
A day after a state of emergency was declared in Nepal, the army today launched land and air strikes against Maoist rebels in several parts and the government issued an ordinance providing for life imprisonment and confiscation of property of those who support terrorist activities.

The government also detained at least eight journalists working for Maoist mouthpieces, and sealed the offices of Janadesh weekly, Janadisha daily and Dishabodh monthly, The Kathmandu Post reported, but the Home Ministry sources refused to confirm it. The Defence Ministry said the army had launched land and air strikes against rebels in Dang, Rolpa and Pyuthan districts which were the targets of Maoist attacks since Friday.

Hours after the imposition of emergency, Maoist rebels attacked a police post in Gokuleshwar in the western district of Darchula bordering India, killing four policemen and injuring six others.

“Under the ordinance issued, those involved in acts of terrorism or those helping these people will be punished with life imprisonment and confiscation of their properties,” Home Ministry sources said.

After the ordinance was issued, the police detained about 12 journalists working for newspapers sympathetic to the Maoist rebels. The police locked the offices of Jandishan Daily and Deshaboth monthly, described as the rebels’ mouthpieces.

Meanwhile, a day after the king declared a state of emergency to fight Maoist insurgency, the Nepalese Government issued notice threatening life imprisonment to anyone involved in terrorism.

Yesterday, King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency suspending civil rights and allowing the use of the military against Maoists rebels who killed at least 76 soldiers, policemen and government officials over the weekend.

The emergency measures also restricted press freedom and suspended the right to information and property and the right to privacy.

Under today’s notice, any suspect can be arrested without a warrant and detained for 90 days without framing charges and no court order would be needed to search anyone’s home or property.

People found involved in extortion or threatening life and property would be considered terrorists and would be punished under the new law, the notice warned.

However, all airports remained open, flights are taking off as per schedule and government offices are functioning as normal. Businesses and schools were also open. PTI, AFP, Reuters

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Quattrocchi’s plea rejected

Kuala Lumpur, November 27
Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, fighting extradition to India to stand trial in the Bofors pay-off case, lost the first round in a Malaysian court today.

Judge Abdul Aziz Mohamad refused to accept as evidence an affidavit filed by defence lawyers for Quattrocchi, who alleges the extradition attempt is politically motivated.

The affidavit was by journalist Prem Shankar Jha, formerly information adviser to then Prime Minister V.P. Singh in 1990.

Quattrocchi, who was arrested and bailed in Malaysia last December, says he fell foul of an Indian political vendetta and his only crime was to have been a close friend of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia.

The counsel for the Indian Government, Mr Cyrus Das, who had urged the Judge to exclude the affidavit as it was based on hearsay, hailed the ruling.

Earlier, defence lawyer Cecil Abraham told the court that Malaysia’s Home (Interior) Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was wrong in ordering the extradition.

Mr Abraham said no charges had been framed against Quattrocchi in Indian courts but the Indian Government considered him a fugitive criminal wanted for trial. He said Quattrocchi resided in India up to 1993, while the first police report was made against him in 1990.

“They had three years to interview him, arrest him. They did nothing of that. How can you say he is a fugitive and that he fled the country,” he said. The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow. AFP
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27 die in Philippines clash

Manila, November 27
At least 27 persons were killed and 15 others wounded today when armed followers of detained Muslim leader Nur Misuari clashed with government forces in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga, the military said.

Twentyfive Misuari followers, a soldier and a civilian were killed, while the rest of the gunmen fled with civilian hostages, Brig-Gen Edilberto Adan said.

The gunmen fired mortars and machine guns from a government hilltop complex where they had been holed up since last week, after a failed revolt by Misuari in the nearby Jolo Island that left more than 100 persons dead last week.

Military gunships and airplanes bombarded the complex and ground troops surrounded the area by noon to besiege the renegade members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

But the gunmen broke out with their mainly Christian hostages and marched on the road towards a park some 6 km away to rejoin another MNLF group that had taken position there.

Two women and nine children were freed, but the gunmen were still holding “40 hostages, including children,” southern Philippines military chief Lieut-General Roy Cimatu said.

Meanwhile, Philippine Government today launched talks with armed followers of Nur Misuari.

Abraham Iribani, an official in a Muslim self-rule area in the country’s south, said over local television that he had met with the leader of the gunmen, Julhambri Misuari, and asked him to free the captives. Julhambri Misuari is the nephew of Nur Misuari. AFP
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Two Israelis shot

Afula, Israel, November 27
Two Palestinians sprayed gunfire at a bus station and a market in northern Israel today, killing two Israelis and wounding 36 before the police shot dead the gunmen dead, the police and hospital officials said.

The attack in the city of Afula took place shortly after two US envoys held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the start of a mission to end 14 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

“The terrorists arrived in the area of the bus station and began shooting in all directions. Our police in the area fired back and killed them,” Avi Tyler, a police commander, told Israeli television.

Police officers and witnesses said two gunmen opened fire before fleeing to an adjoining market where they were shot dead by the police in a parking lot. Reuters

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