plotters alive and planning: US General
Taliban killed in clinic siege: NATO
22 Pak border guards killed in attack
Pak politicians were bribed by ISI
60 slain MQM men
buried near Islamabad: PML-Q
Jaswant to Pak
counsel to submit mercy plea
Washington, August 27
"The people behind that deadly day are still at it. They live and plan and train in safe havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border," Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
"They would like nothing better than to see either country or both fall prey to the grip of an extremist ideology. To the degree we let them succeed, we let ourselves become vulnerable," Mullen said in his address to the 91st annual American Legion Convention, Louisville, Kentucky.
"My mission, the one currently given to me by the President, is to prevent that from happening. And that's what we're going to do," Mullen said.
While Pakistanis are themselves waging their war against extremists, Mullen said, in Afghanistan, the war being waged to defeat al-Qaeda and its extremist allies is led by an international security force with Afghans.
"We have got to help them. That is why I ordered the establishment of a Pakistan-Afghanistan coordination cell, inside my own staff, to work exclusively on the issues of that region, to stay engaged," Mullen said.
The Pentagon has established a special training facility to train army officials exclusively for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Believe it or not, it's easy to lose focus in the Pentagon. And to rotate officers in and out, not only of Afghanistan in general but the specific areas within the country, so that they can become familiar faces and names, so they can build trust," he said.
"The unique challenges of irregular warfare are highly complex; a struggle for the people's confidence. So in today's fight, as leaders, we must show a sense of urgency. We must engage with resolve. And we must be patient to reap the benefits of our work together," Mullen said. — PTI
12 Taliban killed in clinic siege: NATO
Kabul, August 27 An American soldier was killed in the violence, which broke out as Afghan forces were trying to capture a suspected Taliban commander, the International Security Assistance Force under NATO said. “Twelve Taliban were killed in the fighting that raged for about six hours, and six others were captured,” said Hamidullah
Zhwak, the provincial spokesman.
Kabul, August 27
An American soldier was killed in the violence, which broke out as Afghan forces were trying to capture a suspected Taliban commander, the International Security Assistance Force under NATO said.
“Twelve Taliban were killed in the fighting that raged for about six hours, and six others were captured,” said Hamidullah Zhwak, the provincial spokesman. — AFP
Jamrud (Pakistan), August 27
It was the first big attack in Pakistan since Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US missile strike on August 5 and would raise fears that the militants, who officials said had been in disarray, were hitting back.
The bomber struck as the guards were sitting down at sunset to break their daily fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"The guards were about to break their fast when a teenaged boy carrying a bottle of Pepsi walked towards them and blew himself up," said Wakil Khan, a witness at the Torkham border crossing.
Nasir Khan, a senior government official in the Khyber region, said a total of 22 persons had been killed.
Pakistan has been hit by a series of suicide bomb attacks over the past two years, launched by Al Qaida-linked militants fighting the government because of its support for the US-led campaign against Islamist militancy.
Security forces have cleared most militants from the Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, in an offensive since late April, and have also been attacking Mehsud's men in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border.
Earlier on Thursday, two missiles believed to have been fired by a US drone struck a militant hideout killing six fighters in South Waziristan, intelligence officials said.
Security officials have been saying they were expecting reprisal attacks by Hakimullah's men and Thursday's blast in Khyber would appear to indicate he was determined to press on with the fight against the government.
Pakistani action against militants on its side of the border is vital for U.S.-led efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan. — Reuters
Islamabad, August 27
The distribution of money was not confined to former prime ministers, but transcended political affiliations to include the likes of Pir Pagaro, Abida Hussain, Lt Gen Rafaqat and tribal leaders Humayun Marri, Nadir Mengal and Hasil Bizenjo.
The revelation was made by Pakistan's former chief justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, who said this case was still pending with the country’s Supreme Court since 1999.
He said the sensational disclosures were made in an affidavit filed in the court by former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd.) Asad Durrani.
The Daily Times quoted Siddiqui telling a private TV channel that millions of rupees were distributed during former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s regime and ostensibly to convince political leaders to join the then Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).
The IJI, headed by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, was formed in September 1988 to oppose the Pakistan People's Party in elections.
The alliance comprised nine parties, the major components being Pakistan Muslim League, National Peoples Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema--e-Islam. Siddiqui told the channel that he had said at that time that ISI’s role should not be political.
He said Lt Gen (retd) Durrani had filed a written affidavit on July 24, 1994, claiming he had government's complete clearance on the money distribution and had opened a number of bank accounts in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Quetta and a sum of Rs 140 million transferred to him as special fund.
According to the affidavit, acquired by the TV channel, former prime ministers Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi received Rs 5 million, Nawaz Sharif received Rs 3.5 million, Zafarullah Jamali Rs 4 million, Muhammad Khan Junejo Rs 2.5 million and former Sindh chief minister Jam Sadiq Rs 5 million.
In addition, Pir Pagaro received Rs 2 million, the Jamaat-e-Islami Rs 5 million, Mir Afzal Khan Rs 10 million, Abida Hussain Rs 1 million, Lt Gen Rafaqat Rs 5.6 million for managing the media campaign, Humayun Marri Rs 1.5 million, Kakar Rs 1 million, Jam Yousaf Rs 0.7 million, Hasil Bizenjo Rs 0.5 million and Nadir Mengal Rs 1 million. — PTI
60 slain MQM men buried near Islamabad:
Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has claimed at least 60 activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were buried in the Margalla Hills located north of the federal capital, Islamabad, in 1997.
Talking to a TV channel he said the activists were apprehended in Karachi and later shifted to Islamabad where they were tortured to death and later buried in Himalayan foothills. “No investigations of any sort were held regarding the killing of the detainees,” he added.
Shujaat's revelation has provided grist to the current controversy raised after statements by two military officers absolving the MQM of promoting the concept of a separate state of 'Jinnahpur', which had triggered a military operation against the party’s activists in 1992.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has described the campaign as an attempt to malign its leader, Nawaz Sharif, in order to deflect attention from the demand for a treason trial of former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf and revival of the case in the Sindh High Court on the May 12, 2007, massacre in Karachi, in which Musharraf and the MQM have been accused of being the main players.
The court has issued notices to many people including the former Pakistani president as well as MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
Referring to a map of ‘Jinnahpur’ reportedly found by the army during raids on MQM headquarters, Shujaat said though he was federal interior minister at that time, accountability bureau chairman Saif-ur-Rahman wielded more influence.
“The law enforcement agencies’ claim to have exposed the map has no basis in reality”, he added.
The PML-Q leader expressed his anger at the fact that the 1992 military operation and ‘Jinnahpur’ issues were being raked up at this particular time to “divert the attention of the masses from the prevailing crisis in the country”.
Islamabad, August 27
PML-Q secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed telephoned Jaswant and congratulated him on his book, which he described as a “landmark and historical work which sets the record straight”.
“I spoke to Jaswant yesterday and told him his book reversed the wrongs of history and reflected his commitment to truth and his moral courage. We invited him to launch his book in Islamabad as it would be a step towards promoting intellectual and people-to-people understanding," Sayed said.
Sayed said Jaswant had told him he would visit Pakistan after the holy month of Ramzan for the launch of his book “Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence”.
PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has also written a letter to Jaswant to express his appreciation for his book.
Meanwhile, one of the persons who was to host Jaswant in Pakistan for a visit scheduled for this week today claimed the former BJP leader was unable to make the trip as he had been denied security clearance by the Indian government.
Muhammad Yusuf, who was coordinating with Jaswant on behalf of a leading book store, said he had spoken yesterday to the former External Affairs Minister, who told him that he would be unable to come to Pakistan this week.
“He was denied security clearance by the Indian government. He will visit Pakistan at a later date,” Yusuf said, adding that Jaswant had even been issued a visa by Pakistan for the proposed visit.
Other persons involved in organising Jaswant’s visit too claimed the Indian government had blocked his trip by refusing to issue a “no-objection certificate.” They insisted that all preparations had been completed for Jaswant’s visit. — PTI
Lahore, August 27
Awais Sheikh, the counsel for Sarabjit, said he had brought back the mercy petition with more than 100,000 signatures when he returned from a recent visit to India.
"The signatories include former Test cricketer Kapil Dev, Delhi's Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Syed Amin Hashmi of the Ajmer Sharif dargah, former Chief Justices R S Mongia and Rajindar Sachar, members of Indian human rights groups, Christian and Muslim bodies, doctors, engineers, lawyers, farmers and students," Sheikh told a news conference here.
Sheikh said he would submit the mercy petition to the President Zardari and also apprise him about the sentiments of the Indians in this regard.
"Since Sarabjit has been in prison for long, his sentence can be commuted to life imprisonment under the law," he said. Commuting Sarabjit's sentence will help improve relations between India and Pakistan, he added.
Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for his alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Pakistan's Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990. His family insists that he was wrongly convicted for the bombings.
Though he was set to be hanged on April 1 last year, Pakistani authorities put off his execution indefinitely after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter. — PTI