|W O R L D||
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
yes to Kosovo deal
UN not doing
rebels kill 80 soldiers
ISLAMABAD, March 16 (PTI) Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has accused the Nawaz Sharif government of militarising the country and Talibanising the judiciary and attacked President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar for not doing anything to change the present regime.
Opening the debate on Presidents address in the national assembly last evening, the Leader of the Opposition criticised every policy of the two-year-old government, including the May 28 nuclear blasts, saying that had her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) been in power. It would have neither allowed India nor itself to cross the threshold.
But Ms Bhuttos main target was governments policies regarding the armed forces and the judiciary, in an apparent bid to put these two institutions against the government, which at the moment looks invincible inside Parliament.
She attacked the government for bringing in the armed forces to solve civilian issues and said, This is a creeping militarisation of the country. We do not want confrontation of the armed forces with the people.
Why is the military not used to recover loans, she asked in an obvious reference to her oft-repeated demand for recovery of millions of bank loans taken by the Sharif family.
Ms Bhutto alleged that the government was trying to control the judiciary and using only eight to 10 judges out a total of nearly 100 available.
She referred to the hearing of a corruption case against her husband, Asif Zardari, and herself earlier in the day where the Judge refused to allow the production of a defence witness.
This is Taliban style of justice. Which court can say no to the summoning of defence witnesses? I was told to remain silent, but I am not a lamb for butchery. The fight is on, she declared.
In a direct attack on the government, the PPP chief said, The regime is un-elected, uneducated and clueless about good governance and remains indecisive on all major issues.
She charged Mr Tarar with remaining silent despite all this, and said, It is a shameful fact that the President remains silent. We do not expect him to dismiss this government but want a change according to the parliamentary tradition.
Later when Ms Bhutto was
confronted by the mediapersons pointing out to her that
her own government had earlier picked up a fight with the
judiciary by ignoring the principle of seniority while
appointng the Chief Justice and present Chief Justice
Ajmal Mian was one of the victims of that, she said,
We made a mistake by not appointing the senior-most
judge as the chief justice. We are not scared to
ISLAMABAD, March 16 (ANI) The Pakistan army owes Rs 3.4 billion to the Water And Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and tops the list of electricity defaulters in the country. Informed sources here said that overall various federal and government departments owed Rs. 29 billion to WAPDA.
On Monday, The National Assembly was told during question hour that the provincial government default against WAPDA was to the tune of Rs 19 billion till the end of 1998.
The list of defaulters provided by Minister for Water and Power Gohar Ayub shows the names of at least 31 federal government departments, autonomous bodies and local bodies under federal government which owe Rs 10 billion to WAPDA.
The major defaulters under
the federal government who owe more than Rs 100 million
include the army (Rs. 3415m), the Pakistan Air Force (Rs
636m); the Government of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (Rs
3054m); the Frontier Corps (Rs 151m); Pakistan Railways
(Rs 159); the Capital Development Authority, Islamabad,
(Rs 744m); Pakistan Telecommunications (Rs 158m); and the
Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (Rs 111 m).
NUWARA ELIYA (Sri Lanka), March 16 (PTI) India and Pakistan were unable to finalise agenda for talks between their Foreign Ministers on the fringes of SAARC ministerial meet here due to the non-arrival of Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed.
Mr Ahmed, who was due to reach here yesterday to attend the SAARC Standing Committee meeting, could not arrive due to flight disruptions, Pakistani officials said. He is expected late tonight along with Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz.
Mr Ahmeds absence has also delayed the finalisation of the agenda for the SAARC Foreign Ministers meet beginning on March 18.
Official sources said Mr Ahmeds absence affected the proceedings of SAARC Standing Committee meeting as other delegates expressed inability to pursue serious discussions in his absence on important pending matters of the regional grouping.
The committee commenced its proceedings yesterday to clear some serious agenda on finalising new treaty regime for the implementation of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), reviewing various joint projects under the integrates programme of action and a comprehensive discussion on the report submitted by eminent persons group on the future of SARRC.
Much of the issues slated for discussions were put off in view of Mr Shamshads absence, official sources said.
SAARC groups India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Myanmar.
Mr Ahmeds absence disrupted plans by both countries to have Foreign Secretary-level talks before the bilateral meeting between Aziz and Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, who is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow evening, official sources said.
Uncertainty over Mr Ahmeds programme also affected finalisation of the agenda for talks between the two Foreign Ministers, the first after their lahore meeting last month.
Both ministers are expected to be here till March 19.
Pakistan has nominated Additional Secretary Tariq Altaf, who is also Foreign Ministry spokesman, to represent Shamshad Ahmed at talks.
Apparently discouraged by Shamshads absence, Foreign Secretaries of other six countries cancelled their scheduled meeting today and only SAARC programming committee held its meet.
PARIS, March 16 (PTI) Western powers heaved a sigh of relief as Kosovo Albanians agreed to a peace deal aiming to end the violence in the province but the Serbs showed no sign of accepting the presence of NATO troops in the trouble-torn region.
This is very good news and we welcome the decision. We hope that it would allow us to increase pressure on the Serbian side to accept the agreement, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vdrine and British Foreign Minister Robert Cook said in a joint statement here last evening.
The second round of Kosovo peace talks started here yesterday at the initiative of the six-nation contact group comprising the USA, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Russia. The 17-day first round, held in Rambouillet town last month, virtually collapsed embarrassing the western powers.
Albanians have taken a big step and we expect Serbians also to accept the deal, the statement added.
Kosovo Albanians and Serbs refused to sign the deal last month despite the three-day presence of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright whose attempts proved futile in convincing even the Albanians.
Ethnic Albanians, who constitute 90 per cent of the two million population in Kosovo, southern province of the Serbian republic, are fighting for independence from Serbia, one of the two republics of federal Yogoslavia. About 2000 persons have been killed in the violence in the past two years.
Serbs said they were willing to discuss giving more autonomy to the region but were stoutly opposed to stationing 28,000 NATO troops in Kosovo for a three-year period, as part of the present deal, to oversee the peace accord.
The present deal gives Kosovo extensive autonomy for a three-year period but not independence. It also requires the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to lay down arms. Officials said now they would give a few days to Belgrade to accept the peace plan or face the NATO air strikes.
Serbia will never give up Kosovo voluntarily. Its only by force that can be taken. If NATO entered Serbia without invitation, it will be met as an aggressor, as an enemy, Mr Ratko Markovic, leader of the Serbian delegation, said while accepting the proposal of giving more autonomy to Kosovo.
NATO officials said around 430 military aircraft, including F-117 stealth jets and B-52 bombers are ready to launch a series of bombing raids, including Tomahawk missiles from US ships based in the Adriatic Sea.
But the presence of
NATOs armoury has not deterred Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic whose government is against the
presence of foreign troops in their Kosovo province.
Americas diplomatic efforts in the past 10 days,
NAIROBI, March 16 (Reuters) Rebels fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have destroyed a Zimbabwean battalion, killing 80 soldiers, a regional military source said today.
The source who closely monitors fighting in Congo said rebel forces also killed the battalion commander in yesterdays fighting north of the southern Congolese town of Kabinda.
Zimbabwean soldiers had attacked rebel forces around 60 km north of Kabinda, a key staging post on the route to the diamond city of Mbuji-Mayi, which rebels are targeting.
The whole battalion was put out of action, the source told Reuters. The rest who are remaining are scattered in the bush and they will be picked, he said. Now they are running. They said they came to fight and flush us out.
Congo rebels started last
August a campaign to overthrow President Laurent Kabila.
The rebels are supported militarily by Uganda and Rwanda
while Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Chad have all
deployed troops in support of Kabila.
MULTAN, March 16 (AP) A special anti-terrorist court today sentenced three Sunni Muslim militants to hang after they were found guilty of killing a Shiite Muslim government worker and a policeman in the eastern Punjab province.
The three men were tried by a special anti-terrorist court, which was held in the central prison of Multan for security reasons.
Multan, located some 240 km south of the Punjab provincial capital Lahore, has been the scene of bitter sectarian feuding between rival Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups.
WASHINGTON, March 16, (ANI) The executive director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, has expressed his doubts over the credibility of the UN Security Council, saying that it was not doing enough to resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
Addressing a seminar on the United Nations achievements vis-a-vis Kashmir over the past 51 years, Dr Fai said efforts needed to be made at an international level to make Kashmir an independent nation and to stop what he called the repeated violations of UN resolutions.
Kashmir came before the Security Council on December 31, 1947, approximately one year before the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That latter revered human rights covenant exalts the right of self-determination in Article 21, and Kashmiris feel cheated of that fundamental precept of international justice because of the inaction by the United Nations to demand its fulfillment, Dr Fai said.
The February 21, 1999, meeting between the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India opens an opportunity to strengthen that moral suasion by placing Kashmir on the marquee of the immediate agenda and urgent concerns of the international community. A consensus agrees that Kashmir could trigger nuclear volleys between India and Pakistan; it has already provoked two wars between the South Asian rivals. It is equally understood that bilateral talks between the two nations will be futile without mediation by either the USA or the UN. The current bilateral formula has proven sterile for 51 years, and nothing has changed to suggest more fertile results from Pakistani-Indian negotiations, Dr Fai added in his address.
|Norways first woman Defence
OSLO: Eldbjoerg Loewer has become Norways first female Defence Minister and one of the first in a NATO nation. Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik named Loewer, born in 1943, as part of a reshuffle of his Cabinet on Monday that also covered Transport, Justice, Labour and Oil ministries. Ive run male-dominated workplaces most of my life, Loewer told newsmen in her new office. Reuters
18 die in bombing
4 rebels jailed
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