|W O R L D||
Wednesday, January 6, 1999
|Massacre: alert in Pak, 46 Sunnis
ISLAMABAD, Jan 5 Security was beefed up across Pakistan today to foil any breakout of sectarian violence following yesterdays massacre of 16 Shias.
Bid on Sharifs life: anti-terrorist unit to probe blast
ISLAMABAD, Jan 5 The probe into a possible attempt on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs life in a bomb blast near Lahore on Sunday has been handed over to a special anti-terrorist unit.
QUERESHI MORE, PAKISTAN: Two relatives sit in the mosque where 16 Shiite Muslims were killed by unknown gunmen in Quereshi More, 180 miles south of Lahore, on Monday. Gunmen opened fire on Shiite Muslim worshippers as they knelt in prayer on Monday, killing 16 persons. AP/PTI
|Indo-Nepal treaty renewed for 7yrs
KATHMANDU, Jan 5 India and Nepal today further renewed for another seven years a landmark agreement affording overland transit facilities to the landlocked Himalayan kingdom through Indian ports for its third country foreign trade.
Clinton trial begins tomorrow
case: Semen stains planted by police?
eases embargo on Cuba
Massacre: alert in Pak, 46 Sunnis held
ISLAMABAD, Jan 5 (PTI, AP) Security was beefed up across Pakistan today to foil any breakout of sectarian violence following yesterdays massacre of 16 Shias, which the Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif said was a bid by 'anti-state' elements to create 'instability' in the country.
A high alert was sounded on cities and towns all over the country with armed police personnel deployed outside mosques of majority Sunnis and minority Shias during prayers in the holy month of Ramzan to pre-empt any retaliatory violence, officials said.
Condemning the attack as an attempt to sabotage the success of his government, Mr Sharif said, 'Now when the government intends to use all its energies to solve the fundamental problems of the people, the countrys enemies are fanning sectarianism'.
It was a desperate bid to fracture peace of Punjab after the authorities had successfully bridled acts of terrorism in strife-torn Karachi, he said.
A DSP and SHO have been suspended for their failure to provide proper security arrangements to the worshippers when they were sprayed with bullets by four gunmen while offering prayers at a mosque in a village near Multan.
MULTAN: Thousands of mourners burying the victims of a massacre at a Shia Muslim mosque beat their chests, wailed and cried out today for Mr Sharif's removal from power and an army takeover.
'Murderer... murderer Nawaz Sharif, murderer,' they cried during the funeral services for 11 of the 16 Shia worshippers who were slain yesterday. The dead were buried in the same Quereshi More mosque where the vicious attack had occurred, some 30 km from here.
The other five victims were buried separately in their home villages located nearby.
The police is blaming the attack at the mosque on Sunni Muslim militants belonging to the radical Sipah-e-Sahbah Pakistan (SSP) of 'guardians of the friends of the Prophet.
The police conducted overnight raids on their offices and arrested 46 Sunni Muslim activists.
Attempt on Sharifs life
ISLAMABAD, Jan 5 (PTI) The probe into a possible attempt on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs life in a bomb blast near Lahore on Sunday has been handed over to a special anti-terrorist unit as the authorities have failed to come up with any definite clue so far.
Army officials have also joined the police investigation teams to unearth any clue from the site of the blast but till now they have been unable to ascertain even the nature of the time-device used to blow a small road bridge that the Prime Minister was scheduled to cross, media reports said.
This has led to the Interior Minister Choudhury Shujaat Hussain issuing a stern warning to those officers who are merely filing reports without any substance on the incident.
We will censure and reprimand those officers who are filing reports and doing nothing substantive to check acts of terrorism, the minister told newsmen. He stated that Interior Secretary Hafizullah Ishaq had been rushed to Lahore for conducting a full-fledged probe into the incident.
Three persons were killed when a powerful bomb blew up a road bridge on the Prime Ministers route near his home estate at Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore on Sunday.
The authorities till now have come up with different theories on the blast that vary from pointing towards the involvement of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to an alleged conspiracy by the Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW.
Another possible theory being examined by investigators suggests that the two Christian brothers killed in the blast may have been involved in the planting of the bomb. They have linked it with the telephonic address by the self-exiled MQM leader Altaf Hussain to the Christians about a month ago.
The possible involvement of the MQM behind the blast have been suggested in view of the Sharif Governments operation against the MQM in Karachi and newly established military tribunals verdicts against a couple of party workers.
One senior Punjab police officer, however, in a casual remark, had earlier alleged: In 99 per cent of such terrorist attacks RAWs involvement cannot be ruled out.
Another senior officer had alleged that RAW generally targets crowded places like trains, buses and markets.
But Information Minister Mushahid Hussain, hinting at possible involvement of former Premier Benazir Bhuttos Pakistan Peoples Party, has alleged that the hands of politically frustrated people could have been behind the attack.
KARACHI: The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has categorically denied any hand in the Lahore bomb blast near Raiwind that killed three persons. The bomb was detonated minutes before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was to pass the spot.
Apprehensive that the MQM
might be dragged into the incident, Deputy Convener of
its Coordination Committee Aftab Ahmed Sheikh said the
Punjab Government may use it as justification to
launch an operation against MQM workers in the
Indo-Nepal treaty renewed for 7yrs
KATHMANDU, Jan 5 (UNI) India and Nepal today further renewed for another seven years a landmark agreement affording overland transit facilities to the landlocked Himalayan kingdom through Indian ports for its third country foreign trade.
Signed here by the Indian Commerce Minister, Mr Ramakrishna Hegde, who flew in earlier today especially for the occasion, and his Nepali counterpart, Mr Purna Bahadur Khadka, the agreement envisages automatic renewal at the end of seven years on January 5, 2006.
This significant feature had been insistently sought by Nepal and the renewal of the previous treaty, which expired on December 5 last, was delayed for a month only because of the Indian hesitation initially in conceding this demand.
In line with the traditional Indian practice of giving a very sympathetic consideration to Nepali needs, the agreement continues to provide as many 15 transit routes to Calcutta port for Nepali third country foreign trade as against the international obligation for a single point only.
Besides, finding continuing place in the new agreement are the Indian offer of port facilities at Mumbai and Kandla afforded to Nepal in 1995 but yet unutilised and additional land links to Bangladesh by road through Phulbari and rail-linked through Radhikapur. Significantly, the additional transit facilities afforded by India to Nepal for Bangladesh also remain, at best, underutilised.
The new agreement further accords Nepal significantly simplified and liberalised procedure for transit cargo through Calcutta port, where it also allots increased storage area for Nepali cargo besides raising the free time thereon to seven days. Non-Nepali cargo receives only three days free time at the eastern Indian port.
The new treaty also envisages doing away with physical examination by Indian customs officers at Calcutta port and the Indo-Nepal border checkposts of Nepali containerised cargo if the one-time lock put on the container is found intact.
And while endeavouring to address New Delhis increasing concerns regarding diversion into India of Nepals transit cargo during course of transit, the new agreement does make a passing reference to arrangements having been agreed to for controlling such practice.
Besides, India has
reiterated its commitment to soon complete through its
own financing the work on the extension of the
broad-guage railtrack between Raxaul (India) and Sirsiya
(Nepal), where an inland container depot (ICD) is being
built with World Bank funding.
Overthrow US allies, Saddam tells Arabs
BAGHDAD, Jan 5 (Reuters) Iraqi President Saddam Hussein called on the Arabs today to overthrow their leaders if they were allied to the USA.
"Revolt against foreign powers, their aggression and their armies and chase them, kick out injustice and its perpetrators," Saddam in a speech to mark the anniversary of the Foundation of the Iraqi Army. An English translation of the speech was distributed to reporters in Baghdad.
"Revolt against those who boast of friendship with the United States, those who are guided by (US Defence Secretary) William Cohen," Saddam said in the speech.
"The dwarves on their thrones will be forced to hear you, or else they will step down to give way for the people to say their opinion and take their action."
Saddams hard hitting speech came just two weeks after a four-day US British air campaign against his country and as Iraq was mounting a sustained challenge to West imposed no-fly zones in its northern and southern airspace.
Saddam said the city of
Jerusalem was a "humiliated hostage and the holy
Muslim city of Madina, in Saudi Arabia, was" wounded
by the presence of foreign soldiers and their
spears...look around to see how mischievous persons have
humiliated your sacred places which are now trodden by
foreign powers after conniving with them so as to hit the
great Iraq of Jihad," Saddam said.
Replace US, UK relief staff: Iraq
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 5 (AP) Iraq has requested that the United Nations replace its US and British humanitarian personnel in the country because it can no longer protect them from the deep popular anger after four days of US-British missile strikes.
In a note to the United Nations yesterday, Iraq clarified in writing what Iraqi officials told their UN counterparts in Baghdad last week, marking another dispute in the already fragile UN relationship with Iraq.
The sense of anger that besets 22 million Iraqis may find expression in unfriendliness on the part of some of them vis-a-vis programme personnel of the United States or British nationality, particularly in the case where those dear to them were killed in the barbarous United States and British bombardment, the note warned.
US and British forces bombed Iraqi military and communications buildings on December 16-19 after UN arms inspectors accused Baghdad of obstructing their efforts to search out and destroy Iraqs weapons of mass destruction.
John Mills, spokesman for the UN programme in Iraq, yesterday said Baghdad would allow four Britons and three Americans to remain in Iraq but would not renew visas for nine Britons and an American working with the humanitarian programmes.
Of the seven allowed to remain in Iraq, four are British citizens working for contractors who would be allowed to complete their current assignment, UN officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The three US citizens allowed to stay include two senior UN officials and the secretary for Prakash Shah, the UN envoy to Iraq.
For the rest, Iraq asked for replacements because it cannot ensure their security.
American and British journalists in Iraq have not complained of public hostility following the airstrikes.
UN officials stressed that Iraq wasnt expelling the humanitarian workers, as it has done to American weapons inspectors Baghdad accused of being spies.
But the Iraqi decision, if
carried out, would only increase tensions at a time when
the entire UN-Iraq relationship, weapons inspections,
sanctions and the humanitarian programme, is being
reassessed following months of crisis over arms searches
that culminated with the missile campaign.
Clinton trial begins tomorrow
WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (AP) Impeachment trial proceedings against President Bill Clinton will begin on Thursday in the Senate, majority leader Trent Lott announced today.
Mr Lott said he had met earlier in the day with Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who will preside over the first presidential impeachment trial in 130 years.
Mr Lott offered no other details of the trial, in which the Senate will rule on two articles of impeachment the House approved on December 19.
The articles allege that Mr Clinton committed perjury and obstructed justice in an attempt to cover up his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
"We have a constitutional duty here. It is a very serious one. It is one we must carry forward," said Mr Lott. "We will do our very best to do this in a proper way."
Mr Lott spoke for only a few moments, and took no questions from reporters, leaving unclear precisely what events will occur on Thursday, and what the timetable will be for Mr Clintons trial.
A proposal authored by one Republican and one Democratic Senator for a truncated procedure drew criticism from several Republican lawmakers, many of them conservatives.
Several sources said Senate leaders are discussing a plan under which Justice Rehnquist on Thursday will administer a constitutionally prescribed oath to the Senators, who will sit as jurors. Members of the House who are designated to present the evidence would formally outline the articles of impeachment later that day, assuming they are authorised to do so in a House vote scheduled for tomorrow.
Clinton wont put off address
WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (AFP) The White House has rejected any suggestion that President Bill Clinton will postpone his annual State of the Union Address scheduled for January 19.
The President is hard at work putting together the State of the Union Address... I am not aware of any discussion or request from the Congress leadership to adjust that date, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said yesterday.
Mr Lockhart also dismissed the idea that Mr Clinton would present his address to the Congress in written form rather than personally.
The President enjoys the time of the year he gets to spend with every member of the Congress and he would seriously miss that time, Mr Lockhart added.
A Senate trial against Mr Clinton on two articles of impeachment is due to open shortly and could still be going on when the President delivers his address.
The State of the Union Address is traditionally held on the last Tuesday in January. It was brought forward one week this year so Mr Clinton could receive Pope John Paul II, expected to visit the USA on January 26 and 27.
Mr Lockhart also said he doubted President Clinton would attend the Senate trial.
The Presidents lawyers are preparing to present their defence, and we are now waiting to hear what the process will be, he said.
Within hours after the ceremonial convening of the 106th Congress tomorrow, newly sworn-in members of the House will vote on authorising key lawmakers to present evidence against US President Bill Clinton in a Senate impeachment trial, officials said.
Mr Dennis Hastert, the Illinois Republican on the brink of election as House Speaker, said he hoped the proposal identical to the one that cleared the House in December would pass, and Republican vote counters expressed confidence.
I would certainly like to see Mr Henry Hyde be able to present the testimony and what he needs to do to put his case forward, Mr Hastert said yesterday in a reference to the Illinois lawmaker who chaired the impeachment inquiry in the House.
Mr Hastert made his comments as Senate majority leader Trent Lott struggled to line up fellow Republicans behind a bipartisan plan for a truncated trial-like proceeding that could be wrapped up within days, without testimony from any of the key principals in the case. Key conservatives expressed unhappiness with the suggestion.
At the White House, the Presidents lawyers continued to develop an elaborate defence that could take weeks or months to present if the case goes to a full-blown trial.
The House approved two articles of impeachment on December 19, accusing President Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with an attempt to conceal his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
The requirement for a repeat vote on appointing so-called House managers or prosecutors in the new Congress means newly elected lawmakers will vote on the momentous issue on their first day in office. It also gives fresh opportunities to Democrats who gained seats in the November elections to affect the course of an impeachment they have sought to thwart.
Democratic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, listed several options, including a new attempt to place the House on record in favour of censure, a plan to try and limit the jurisdiction of the Houses prosecutors and a plan to try to add Democrats to the team of prosecutors. While each of these suggestions is under discussion, each has pitfalls and democrats may ultimately decide against pursuing any of them, these officials added.
The certainty of a House vote tomorrow stood in marked contrast to the unsettled situation in the Senate, where Mr Lott struggled to fashion a procedure for a trial that could satisfy half his own Republican members and win Democratic support.
In a stab at
bipartisanship, two lawmakers have outlined a procedure
calling for Mr Hyde to present evidence for one day, the
White House to have a day for rebuttal, and the Senate to
take a quick vote to determine whether a full-blown trial
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 (Reuters, AFP) Malaysian prosecutors closed their case today in the first stage of the sex and corruption trial of former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
After eight weeks of scandalising testimony, which has become the focal point of political turmoil in the country, the prosecution said it had no more witnesses to call.
I intend to close my case as of now, prosecutor Abdul Gani Patail told judge Augustine Paul in the Capitals High Court after the prosecution finished questioning its 23rd witness.
Anwar was sacked from the Cabinet in September after an apparent policy rift with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. After Anwars supporters took to the streets in protest, he was arrested and charged with 10 counts of sodomy and corruption.
Anwar denies all the charges. The prosecutions last witness said today that a blood test had shown Anwar did not carry the virus that caused AIDS.
The prosecution alleges Anwar sodomised several men and committed adultery with the wife of his former private secretary Shamsida Taharin. Anwars wife has expressed fears he might be injected with the HIV virus while in custody.
Meanwhile, Semen stains on a mattress being used in the trial of sacked Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim could have been planted by the police, a police expert said at the trial on Thursday.
Criminal investigations officer Mohamad Rodwan Mohamad Yusof said the mattress was kept for nearly four months after being seized before it was sent for tests.
He could not tell if the 13 stains tested for DNA were those he saw when the mattress was taken in July.
The court heard last week that DNA tests on stains on the mattress matched those of Anwar and Shamsidar Taharin, the wife of his then private secretary with whom he is alleged to have had an affair.
Mohamad Rodwan said he did not know whether body fluid from Shamsida could have been planted, nor did he know who had access to the mattress, nor whether it was taken from police custody.
Earlier, Malaysias top legal officer confirmed what everybody already knew Anwar Ibrahim was beaten up by the police on the night of his arrest.
I am also of the opinion that the Royal Malaysian Police is fully responsible for the injuries to Anwar whilst in the legal custody of the police, Attorney-General Mohtar Abdullah said in a statement.
It was the first time that
the government has admitted that Mr Anwars bruises
and a severe black eye was caused by police beating on
September 20. Nobody knew of the beating until Mr Anwar
showed up in court for his arraignment with the ghastly
bruises the next day.
USA eases embargo on Cuba
WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (PTI)The USA has partially eased decades-old sanctions on Cuba intended to bring down the Castro regime, but decided against setting up a bipartisan commission for a comprehensive review of its policy towards its Communist neighbour.
We have decided not to establish a commission for now... for a number of reasons. Mostly that there is a broad bipartisan consensus already in support of the objectives of our policy, State Department officials said yesterday.
There is a general consensus on the idea of helping the Cuban people and promoting human rights... there is a disagreement on the embargo and I dont think any bipartisan commission could resolve that, officials said.
Instead, the Administration will recommend measures to promote greater people-to-people contacts, fewer restrictions on direct flights to Cuba and a direct mail service with the island state, officials said.
Under the relaxed rules, intended to make life easier without strengthening the Castro regime, US Individuals and NGOs can make remittances to Cubans while private Cuban entities can buy US food and agricultural inputs.
|Fatwa against birthdays
DUBAI: Copies of an Islamic decree condemning the celebration of birthdays and anniversaries as heretical were distributed in Riyadh in the past week. The fatwa was first issued three years ago by Saudi Arabias top religious leader, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Baz. Its copies were once again found stuck to walls at the entrances of buildings and mosques last week. It is not permitted to hold parties and exchange presents on the occasion of a persons birthday or the opening of shops, schools or projects because this is heresy under Islam and is an imitation of what unbelievers do, the decree said. ANI
Asylum for Yeltsin man
| Punjab | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir |
| Chandigarh | Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |