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MMA all set to pull out of Baluch Assembly
Quetta, September 5
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which is the largest party in the ruling alliance of Baluchistan, is now in the final stages of a decision to put in their resignations from the provincial Assembly.

Musharraf talks of RAW hand in Baluch trouble
Islamabad, September 5
President Pervez Musharraf on Monday told Baluch politicians and other leaders that the possibility of a foreign hand creating law and order problems in certain parts of Baluchistan could not be ruled out.

Pak should shut down terror camps: paper
Washington, September 5
Saying there were ‘‘dangerous international terrorists’’ hiding in Pakistan, the New York Times has suggested that among the ‘‘crucial things’’ that Islamabad could do was to ‘‘permanently shut down’’ Kashmiri terrorist groups based on its soil.

Militant gets 8-year jail for Bali bombings
Bali (Indonesia), September 5
Judges sentenced an Islamic militant to eight years in prison today for harbouring the alleged mastermind of last year’s suicide bombings on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali — the first verdict in the terrorist attack.

Tributes pour in for Irwin
Sydney, September 5
Tributes flooded in today for legendary Australian “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, a day after he was killed in a freak stingray attack that was captured on a shocking piece of film.

Indian Embassy blacklists 49 firms
Dubai, September 5
The Indian Embassy in Bahrain has blacklisted 49 companies of the gulf country for allegedly cheating and exploiting its nationals.

Aishwarya causes snarl-up
Dubai, September 5
A surge of admirers who came to watch Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai shoot a commercial in Dubai caused massive jams on city roads, local media reported.


An undated photo released on Tuesday shows Cuba's leader Fidel Castro as he recovers from surgery in a hospital in Havana.
An undated photo released on Tuesday shows Cuba's leader Fidel Castro as he recovers from surgery in a hospital in Havana. — Reuters

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MMA all set to pull out of Baluch Assembly
Muhammad Anwer for ANI

Quetta, September 5
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which is the largest party in the ruling alliance of Baluchistan, is now in the final stages of a decision to put in their resignations from the provincial Assembly.

The Baluchistan Assembly has 65 members, out which 28 are MMA legislators. The MMA and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid) run the government in Baluchistan.

According to Shahid Ahmed Shamsi, the Central Information Secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the MMA leadership arrived at a unanimous decision to resign from the Baluchistan Assembly after securing the mutual consent of its component parties.

The resignations would be submitted today after a Supreme Council Meeting in Quetta, Shamsi said, adding that the leadership of all the six parties of the religious alliance, including Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed and Qazi Hussain Ahmed, had met in both Lahore and Islamabad to deliberate over the resignation issue before reaching a consensus to go ahead with the protest over the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in an active manner.

The MMA, Shamsi said, is also keen to put the lid on the notion that it had backed Islamabad's Kohlu operation.

Shamsi said the targeted killing of a popular Baluch leader and politician had compelled the MMA leaders to act in accordance with their consciences. He said the alliance held talks with other opposition parties, including the Pakhtoon Khawa Milli Awami Party, on the issue of quitting the Baluchistan Assembly.

The MMA's decision to put in its papers comes a day after the four-member Baluchistan National Party (BNP), led by Akbar Baloch, resigned from the Baluchistan Assembly citing its lack of credibility as an institution of governance after the August 26 killing of Baluch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. The BNP also decided to ask its National Assembly and Senate representatives Rauf Mengal and Senator Sanaullah Baloch to resign.

The six-member National Party, which is headed by Kachkol Ali, is also in the process of resigning from the provincial Assembly, suggesting that federal rule in Pakistan's largest, yet poorest province is almost certain.

On Sunday, the four-party Baluch Alliance had announced its resignation from the National and Baluchistan Assemblies. The party has one Senator, one member in the National Assembly and two in the Baluchistan Assembly.

That the Baluchistan imbroglio is likely to be on the boil in the days and months to come; can be gleaned from the fact that President Pervez Musharraf believes that a foreign hand is playing an active role in ensuring instability in the province.

Presiding over a meeting of top provincial officials at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Monday, Musharraf is believed to have indirectly suggested that India's external intelligence outfit was pumping huge funds into the province from Afghanistan and Iran to enable rebel elements to continue with their offensive against the ruling establishment.

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Musharraf talks of RAW hand in Baluch trouble
Ihtasham ul Haque
By arrangement with The Dawn

Islamabad, September 5
President Pervez Musharraf on Monday told Baluch politicians and other leaders that the possibility of a foreign hand creating law and order problems in certain parts of Baluchistan could not be ruled out.

Sources said the President informed the leaders that the government had sealed six points through which arms and money were being sent into the restive province.

According to the sources, the President said sophisticated weapons were being funnelled to Bugti areas from abroad through Rahimyar Khan, Sanghar, Jacobabad, Waziristan, Zhob and Chagai and the sealing of the points had stopped arms supplies.

The meeting was attended by the Governor and Chief Minister of Baluchistan, federal and provincial ministers, PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and 35 members of the national and provincial assemblies.

“The meeting was told that the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, was operating through Indian consulates in Khandahar and Zahidan for sending arms and money into Baluchistan,” a participant said.

He said the President had asked the authorities concerned to look into the possibility of initiating cases against those Baluch leaders who were fanning hatred and talking about secession of Baluchistan. “We were told during the meeting that FIRs’ will be registered soon against those who are involved in instigating violence in the province,” he added.

The meeting was informed that some people in Baluchistan were in an ‘aggressive mood’, but the government would fight back politically and administratively.

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Pak should shut down terror camps: paper
Arun Kumar

Washington, September 5
Saying there were ‘‘dangerous international terrorists’’ hiding in Pakistan, the New York Times has suggested that among the ‘‘crucial things’’ that Islamabad could do was to ‘‘permanently shut down’’ Kashmiri terrorist groups based on its soil.

Islamabad for one ‘‘could permanently shut down the Pakistan-based Kashmiri terrorist groups that have survived past crackdowns by reopening under new names, with little interference from tje Pakistani authorities’’, the daily suggested Sunday in an editorial titled ‘‘The Wrong Battle in Pakistan’’.

But any of these efforts would stir up opposition in one part or another of the Pakistani military, the only constituency that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf ever really cares about, the influential paper said.

So long as elections are brazenly rigged, opposition parties are banned and Washington’s uncritical support remains guaranteed, Musharraf has little incentive to take up any of these vital challenges, it said.

When General Musharraf comes to the United States, he loves to be lauded as a leader in the war on terrorism. Back home, his government too often acts like a garden-variety military dictatorship, the American daily said.

‘‘There are dangerous international terrorists hiding out in the mountain caves of Pakistan. But 79-year-old Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the Baluch tribal leader, politician and rebel, was not one of them,’’ it said.

Now that Bugti is dead and the impoverished but energy-rich province of Baluchistan is in an uproar after an ill-explained military operation in the past month, the last thing Pakistan needs is an upsurge in violence and repression in Balochistan.

‘‘That would only be a distraction from far more important challenges, like developing a chronically underachieving economy; restoring a ravished democracy; and placing a dangerous nuclear weapons establishment, including exports of bomb-related technology, under firm and reliable civilian control.

‘‘And there are far more crucial things that Pakistan’s military could be doing than hunting down Bugti and his followers. For example, it could finally seal its scandalously porous border with Afghanistan, making it much harder for the Taliban to infiltrate into that country, the fighters killing American, NATO and Afghan soldiers. — IANS 

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Militant gets 8-year jail for Bali bombings

Bali (Indonesia), September 5
Judges sentenced an Islamic militant to eight years in prison today for harbouring the alleged mastermind of last year’s suicide bombings on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali — the first verdict in the terrorist attack.

Twenty persons were killed in near-simultaneous strikes on three crowded restaurants, and nearly 200 others wounded.

Abdul Aziz, 30, met with Southeast Asia’s most wanted terror suspect Noordin Top at least 10 times before the bombings, once allowing him to stay overnight at his school in Central Java province, said presiding judge Gede Wirya.

He said the former computer teacher — who also set up a website calling on Muslims to wage war against infidels — “committed a gross crime against humanity” through his terrorist actions.

Aziz also sewed fear in the community and further damaged Bali’s tourism industry, Wirya said. The defendant, wearing a green Islamic tunic, shouted “God is great!” after the ruling was read.

His lawyers said he may appeal. — AP

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Tributes pour in for Irwin

Sydney, September 5
Tributes flooded in today for legendary Australian “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, a day after he was killed in a freak stingray attack that was captured on a shocking piece of film.

Newspapers in Australia and around the world carried front-page reports on Irwin’s grisly death at age 44 and on his life as a passionate environmental crusader and global media star.

Australian movie star Russell Crowe, Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and thousands of stunned fans paid homage to the energetic naturalist who died after his heart was pierced by a stingray’s barb as he was filming an underwater documentary yesterday.

“He was the Australian we all aspire to be,” Irwin’s friend Russell Crowe said from New York in comments widely reported by the Australian media. “He was and remains the ultimate wildlife warrior.

“I believed in him. I’ll miss him,” the Oscar-winning star of films like “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind” said.

Coroners in Cairns in the northeastern state of Queensland carried out an autopsy on Irwin’s body late yesterday and initial results confirmed that he died after being speared in the chest by the stingray’s venomous tail barbs while he was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’re not going into the detail but there’s definitely no surprises. Everyone knows how he died,” a police spokeswoman said of the post-mortem examination details of which will be released at a coroner’s inquest. — AFP

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Indian Embassy blacklists 49 firms

Dubai, September 5
The Indian Embassy in Bahrain has blacklisted 49 companies of the gulf country for allegedly cheating and exploiting its nationals.

Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty said the list included firms who kept workers in cramped living quarters or unhygienic conditions, failed to pay their salaries on time, physically abused them or had not provided safety measures at worksites.

The embassy will pass the names of the blacklisted companies to labour authorities in India so that potential recruits can be forewarned before they travel to Bahrain.

Shetty said the number of firms caught violating laws had gone up sharply in recent times, but the embassy was working with Bahraini authorities to ensure everything was being done to prevent abuse. — PTI

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Aishwarya causes snarl-up

Dubai, September 5
A surge of admirers who came to watch Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai shoot a commercial in Dubai caused massive jams on city roads, local media reported.

The news of Rai spotted on a street spread like wild fire and hundreds of fans thronged the scene.

Motorists were forced to wait for a long time as the roads were closed at regular intervals resulting in chaos and traffic congestion.

The traffic jam was also felt on the Shaikh Zayed Road from Dubai to Jebel Ali owing to motorists slowing down to catch a glimpse of the former Miss World, the Khaleej Times reported. — PTI

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