Sunday, December 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

ISI armed Taliban till October: report
New York, December 8
In what could be an embarrassment to the Pakistan government, its intelligence agency ISI is reported to have continued supply of weapons and ammunition to the Taliban a month after Islamabad agreed to end its support to the Islamic militia.

Man held in Mumbai was not interested in flying
Sydney, December 8
The man arrested in Mumbai for allegedly planning September 11-style terrorist strikes in India and two other countries was “completely switched off” in the cockpit during pilot training and was focussed only on gazing outside, according to his Australian flying instructor.

Pak will have to carry out reforms: IMF
Washington, December 8
The International Monetary Fund has said that Pakistan would have to carry out major reforms under the agreements with the IMF for over $ 1.3 billion loan under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), of which $ 109 million will be available immediately.

US Senate approves $ 318b defence budget
Washington, December 8
The US Senate early today approved a $ 318 billion for its defence budget, compromising on a Democratic proposal to add more money for anti-terrorism programmes that, if approved, President George W. Bush had threatened to veto.

Pak to try citizens for aiding Taliban
Islamabad, December 8
The Pakistan Government has said it will put on trial its citizens who went to Afghanistan to fight along with the Taliban and Al-Qaida.

India helped break Bonn deadlock
Washington, December 8
India was among the countries that helped break a deadlock over the formation of the new interim government in Afghanistan, US Special Representative to the Afghan Opposition Ambassador James Dobbins has said.


Crown Prince Naruhito (L) and Crown Princess Masako smile as the royal couple leaves the Imperial hospital with their infant daughter Princess Aiko in Tokyo, December 8, 2001. One week after the birth of the princess, the royal couple gave the public its first glimpse of the royal family's newest member. —Reuters 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Benazir’s remarks on Kashmir praised
Islamabad, December 8
Commending former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto for her remarks on Kashmir during her recent visit to India, a leading columnist here has warned that the Kashmir “struggle” faced the prospect of being dubbed as a terrorist movement unless the Pakistan government checked interference of outside militant groups in the valley.

Chandrika’s order to armed forces
Colombo, December 8
In what appeared to be the beginning of a power tussle, chastened Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga issued a special directive to armed forces asserting that she continued to be their commander and would brook no undermining of her authority as opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe whose party won the elections prepared to form the government.

Israeli copters attack targets in Gaza
Gaza City, December 8
Israeli Apache helicopters slammed missiles into three Palestinian security buildings in the southern Gaza Strip early today, causing extensive damage, Palestinian security sources said.
An Israeli soldier points his M16 assault rifle at a Palestinian at Qalndia check point between Ramallah and Jerusalem on Saturday.— Reuters photo
An Israeli soldier points his M16 assault rifle at a Palestinian


Survivors mark Pearl Harbour anniversary
Pearl Harbour (Hawaii), December 8
US survivors of the 1941 raid on Pearl Harbour joined with their Japanese attackers to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the event, saying that the strike, which triggered America’s entry into World War-II, had been eclipsed by the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.The surprise raid at 1950 hrs local time.

President Bush greets sailors on board the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier in Norfolk, Va., after giving a speech to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. —AP/PTI
President Bush greets sailors on board the USS Enterprise

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ISI armed Taliban till October: report

New York, December 8
In what could be an embarrassment to the Pakistan government, its intelligence agency ISI is reported to have continued supply of weapons and ammunition to the Taliban a month after Islamabad agreed to end its support to the Islamic militia.

Quoting Western and Pakistani officials, a Western media report said Pakistani border guards at a checkpoint in the Khyber Pass on October 8 and 12 allowed passage to convoys of trucks loaded with rifles, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers hidden under their tarpaulins headed into Afghanistan.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official, said New York Times, acknowledged that the October 8 shipment did contain arms for the Taliban. But the official also said it was the last officially sanctioned delivery and that Pakistan had since been living up to its commitment to the anti-terror war.

The ISI had long provided safe passage to armadas of truckers and smugglers supplying to the Taliban war machine. But the policy was supposed to have changed in September after a Washington ultimatum to Pakistan.

The agency and Musharraf had specifically agreed to end support for the Taliban in a series of meetings and telephone conversations after September 11.

But Pakistani intelligence officers and military advisors continued helping the Taliban at least into October providing tactical advice and helping to fortify Kandahar, diplomats and officials were quoted as saying.

The ISI, the Times report said, remained what many describe as a “state within a state, with independent, and worrying, political tendencies.”

Former Pakistani Premier Benazir Bhutto said in the ISI, “power remains in the hands of a powerful group of jihadi generals who are outside the government apparatus, but have tentacles in the government.”

While pointing out that Ms Bhutto is not an impartial observer, the paper says. Her view is shared by many in Pakistan’s intelligence and diplomatic ranks who feel that President Pervez Musharraf must begin a broader purge if he hopes to loosen the grip of pro-Taliban elements in the ISI.

Lt-Gen Hamid Gul, who headed the agency in the late ‘80s and is known to be staunchly Islamist, told the daily that it would not be easy for officers to set aside their beliefs and change sides.

General Gul, who remains a Taliban supporter, denounced the USA for condemning the Taliban and Osama bin Laden “without providing any proof of guilt.” PTI

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Man held in Mumbai was not interested in flying

Sydney, December 8
The man arrested in Mumbai for allegedly planning September 11-style terrorist strikes in India and two other countries was “completely switched off” in the cockpit during pilot training and was focussed only on gazing outside, according to his Australian flying instructor.

Mohammed Afroz Abdul Razzak’s instructor at Melbourne’s Moorabbin airport Brad Fuller also said his student paid nearly $ 20,000 for the training in 1997 and 1998 and left without completing the course for a commercial pilot licence, according to Australian media reports.

Razzak, who is suspected to be Osama bin Laden’s man, was remanded in judicial custody by a Mumbai court till December 20 after being charged with offences relating to conspiracy and waging war against the country.

“We would be flying and I would tell how to do something, but he would just gaze out of the window looking at the view,” Mr Fuller told the ‘Weekend Australian.’ “He wasn’t interested in learning to fly. He struck me as a very dumb student, to put it bluntly he hardly said anything. He was very quiet. He didn’t strike me as unpleasant. He was courteous, but distant and a day-dreamer,” the instructor said. He flew a two-seater Cessna 152 and a four-seater Piper Warrior aircraft.

Media reports said Mr Fuller became numb after hearing the report that his flying student was a suspected suicide pilot.

Mr Fuller was told by Razzak that he was sent to Australia to learn flying by his parents so that he could get a job with an Indian Airline.

But, according to the instructor, he was more interested in “looking around” than learning for a career in flying. PTI

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Pak will have to carry out reforms: IMF

Washington, December 8
The International Monetary Fund has said that Pakistan would have to carry out major reforms under the agreements with the IMF for over $ 1.3 billion loan under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), of which $ 109 million will be available immediately.

Anticipating World Bank aid too for Pakistan, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman Eduardo Aninat said “the government, in broad consultation with local communities and other stakeholders, has prepared an Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) which provides a sound basis for concessional assistance from the Fund and the World Bank”.

Aninat said in preparing the full PRSP, the authorities will need to develop a more thorough programme of poverty alleviation and social programmes, and a fuller articulation of strategies in key sectors, particularly for human development.

“The government will implement an ambitious reforms agenda aimed at raising growth and reducing poverty, while consolidating macroeconomic stability and external viability”, Aninat said adding “the strategy centres on sustained fiscal adjustment supported by a major reform of the tax administration and a widening of the tax net, while increasing public spending for poverty alleviation”.

“A cautious monetary policy, under the floating exchange regime, will aim at keeping inflation below 5 per cent and raising official reserves to three months of imports by the end of the three-year programme,” Aninat added. PTI 

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US Senate approves $ 318b defence budget

Washington, December 8
The US Senate early today approved a $ 318 billion for its defence budget, compromising on a Democratic proposal to add more money for anti-terrorism programmes that, if approved, President George W. Bush had threatened to veto.

Mr Bush lauded the US Senate for approving “funding necessary to recover from the September 11 attacks and protect and defend our homeland,” a White House spokesman said in a statement after the vote.

The House of Representatives passed a similar Bill in November. After details between the two Bills are ironed out Mr Bush could sign the measure into law before Christmas.

“We will work with the (Senate and House) conferees to ensure that all our defence need are met so that I can sign the defence appropriation into law,” Mr Bush said in the statement.

Mr Bush resisted efforts by opposition Democrats — who control the Senate — to spend $ 15 billion more than the $ 40 billion the Congress appropriated after September 11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,500 in the USA.

Senate appropriations Committee Chairman, Democrat Robert Byrd, earlier insisted that the money was necessary to restore people’s confidence in the face of terrorist attacks at home. AFP

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Pak to try citizens for aiding Taliban

Islamabad, December 8
The Pakistan Government has said it will put on trial its citizens who went to Afghanistan to fight along with the Taliban and Al-Qaida.

The Defence spokesman Major-Gen Rashid Qureshi said while each of its nationals who fought with the militia would be tried under the law of the land, the government would also not hesitate to discuss their role with the US-led coalition against terrorism.

He told the BBC that the government would first make an assessment of the crimes they might have committed and would try them according to local laws.

He said it was also illegal for Pakistanis to go to Afghanistan without the government’s permission. “It is against the law of the land that people should cross the country’s border without permission of the government and then start fighting in another country,” he said.

General Qureshi said if any of these persons were found involved in terrorism in any shape then in the capacity of being a partner of the coalition, Pakistan was bound to have discussion with its partners in this regard.

“Since, we made a decision after joint consultations therefore it is certain that we will make a decision about their fate after putting heads together as to what will be done with them,” he said. PTI

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India helped break Bonn deadlock

Washington, December 8
India was among the countries that helped break a deadlock over the formation of the new interim government in Afghanistan, US Special Representative to the Afghan Opposition Ambassador James Dobbins has said.

UN Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi called on international observers from India, the USA, Russia, Germany and Iran to resolve the crisis after differences arose among the Afghan factions meeting at Bonn over the number of seats to be allocated to each constituent.

Speaking on the occasion, Director of Policy Planning and US Coordinator for the future of Afghanistan Richard Haass said the first goal of the USA was continuation of the war “Until we eliminate the Al-qaida in its entirety as well as the Taliban leadership”.

Stating that the USA was not going to run Afghanistan, Mr Haass said its intention was to foster an environment conducive to the Afghans running their country peacefully. PTI

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Benazir’s remarks on Kashmir praised 

Islamabad, December 8
Commending former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto for her remarks on Kashmir during her recent visit to India, a leading columnist here has warned that the Kashmir “struggle” faced the prospect of being dubbed as a terrorist movement unless the Pakistan government checked interference of outside militant groups in the valley.

“It is an open secret that some extremist groups operating in Pakistan are directly involved in the kashmir “struggle” but nobody has the boldness to admit it. Benazir Bhutto is the first leader to acknowledge publicly the presence of non-Kashmiris in Kashmir Jehad,” Mir Jamilu Rehman wrote in the daily ‘The News’.

“The conflict has taken ominous turn after the events of September 11. There are indications that if the meddling of the outside groups in the “Kashmir Jehad” did not end, the international community may come to perceive the “freedom struggle” as a terrorist movement”, he said.

Rehman said Pakistan must respond to this ominous challenge actively and not by taking a passive stance and thus letting the events take control.

He said pakistan government needed to have a rethink on its Kashmir policy. “The strategy — right of self-determination for Kashmiris — should remain integral but tactics to reach that goal would have to be changed.”

Defending Bhutto’s criticism of Pakistan’s Kashmir policy, Rehman said “in a sense, Benazir’s statement on Indo-Pak relations amounted to self-criticism for twice she had been Prime Minister, but was either not allowed or was unable to rethink the established Kashmir policy.”

“In a way, she also distanced herself from the policy of her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had vowed to fight India for a 1000 years even with an empty stomach”.

During her recent Indian tour, Ms Bhutto had warned that the non-Kashmiri militants tried to hijack the Kashmir “struggle” which would create an Afghan-like situation with the same potential of shattering the regional peace.

“It requires great courage to swim against the popular tide, which only a leader imbued with foresight and patriotism and who has faith in his or her convictions could do it”, Rehman said. PTI 

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Chandrika’s order to armed forces

Colombo, December 8
In what appeared to be the beginning of a power tussle, chastened Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga issued a special directive to armed forces asserting that she continued to be their commander and would brook no undermining of her authority as opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe whose party won the elections prepared to form the government.

Ms Kumaratunga, who invited the United National Party leader to form the government, in the directive yesterday asked armed forces and the police to act impartially while dealing with the law and order problems, especially, of a political nature.

“As President, Defence Minister and Commander-in-Chief,” she said she was fully empowered to issue directives to them.

“I will not hesitate to take the stringent legal action against any security forces or police officer who acts extraneous to these directives or neglects them, regardless of their stature,” the President whose tenure ends in December, 2005, said.

Her order came amidst charges that supporters of the outgoing People’s Alliance government which was in power for seven years were being harassed and attacked by UNP men in various parts of the country and that the new regime might direct the police to arrest PA bigwigs allegedly behind electoral violence.

The election results have created a dispensation in which a constitutionally strong executive presidency and a legislature controlled by the incumbent’s main rival will have to share power.

Mr Wickremasinghe was invited yesterday by Ms Kumaratunga to form the government after his party finished with 109 seats in the 225-member Parliament in the parliamentary elections.

The People’s Alliance will now sit in the opposition with 77 seats.

The President, who will continue to head the government and the Cabinet, had earlier expressed fears that she might find it difficult to work with a UNP-majority legislature as she did not see eye to eye with its political and economic policies.

Curfew imposed throughout the island in the wake of the bloody elections was lifted today at dawn but the army and the police personnel continued to maintain vigil at provincial towns where PA workers were allegedly attacked. PTI

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Israeli copters attack targets in Gaza

Gaza City, December 8
Israeli Apache helicopters slammed missiles into three Palestinian security buildings in the southern Gaza Strip early today, causing extensive damage, Palestinian security sources said.

Two helicopters fired nine missiles into the buildings in a compound in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, but nobody was injured as the buildings had been evacuated beforehand, a security source said.

“There were at least nine missiles aimed at the Force-17 building and military intelligence office in Rafah, those two buildings were destroyed and there was damage to the police headquarters,” the source said.

He added that an electric power transformer had been destroyed and that Rafah was completely without power.

Force-17 is Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s elite bodyguard unit.

The latest of the air raids, which started this week in retaliation for suicide attacks by Islamic militants in Israel, came despite security talks between Israel and the Palestinians yesterday brokered by US peace envoy Anthony Zinni. AFP

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Survivors mark Pearl Harbour anniversary

Pearl Harbour (Hawaii), December 8
US survivors of the 1941 raid on Pearl Harbour joined with their Japanese attackers to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the event, saying that the strike, which triggered America’s entry into World War-II, had been eclipsed by the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The surprise raid at 1950 hrs local time. On December 7, 1941, killed 2,390 Americans and drew the USA into a war that ultimately claimed 405,000 American lives.

The central memorial ceremony took place at 1950 hrs local time. Yesterday at the Pearl Harbour memorial, anchored above the wreck of the USS Arizona, and was to be followed by a service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the pacific attended by 3,000 persons, including an estimated 800 Pearl Harbour survivors.

Many of those attending were in their 80s and are unlikely to witness the 70th anniversary ceremony of the attack. Reinforcing the connection with September 11, they were joined by dozens of New York emergency workers who were at the centre of recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. “We are engaged in a new conflict with a different kind of enemy, but Americans are once again showing their resolve and commitment to freedom around the world,” said actor Tom Hanks, who has been active in recognising the contribution of World War-II servicemen since starring in “Saving Private Ryan”.

In New Orleans at the National D-Day Museum, former President George Bush — himself a Naval pilot in World War-II who was shot down by the Japanese — linked the attack with this year’s terrorist strikes, which killed an estimated 4,000 persons and began a US war against terrorism. “Today, we are in a different war,” said the father of the current US President. “But I think duty, honour, country still prevails. They say today “Remember Pearl Harbour,” but I think, we as a nation, also remember September 11.’’

Survivors of Pearl Harbour said the September 11 attacks had immediately reawakened the same feelings they had experienced 60 years ago. “September 11 was 100 times worse,” said Carl Simmons, 80, who was a young Navy recruit in 1941. “There is no excuse for it. We were soldiers; it was our duty to die.”

WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush pledged victory for the USA in the ongoing war against “heirs to fascism”, which he said would not end in a truce or a treaty.

Mr Bush was speaking on Friday on the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour from the deck of aircraft carrier Enterprise.

Comparing the Pearl Harbour raid which claimed the lives over 2,400 Americans with the September 11 terror strikes, he vowed the USA will not rest “until we stop all terrorists of global reach.”

Declaring “Win we will,” Mr Bush said “not long ago Al Qaida’s leader (Osama bin Laden) dismissed America as a paper tiger. That was before the tiger roared.” DPA, PTI

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Endeavour docks with Space Station

Washington, December 8
The US space shuttle Endeavour has docked with the International Space Station, the US space agency NASA said. The shuttle, launched on Wednesday, docked with the station yesterday, NASA.

Aboard are the station’s fourth crew, Russian commander Yuri Onufrienko and Americans Carl Walz and Dan Bursch, who were expected to board the station once the docking process is complete.

Endeavour is due to return to the earth on December 16 with the station’s current crew members, who have been on the station since August. The shuttle is also carrying the Italian Raffaello module, laden with 3.5 tons of equipment, food, supplies and materials for scientific experiments. AFP

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