|W O R L D||
Tuesday, November 16, 1999
|Court moved on Pak take-over
Sharifs ex-allies plead not guilty
ISLAMABAD, Nov 15 A parliamentary member of Pakistans former ruling party filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Monday challenging last months military coup that toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, court sources said.
KARACHI : Ghaus Ali Shah, right, former adviser to deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Sind provincial affairs, and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, right on top, former chairman of Pakistan International Airlines, leave the Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Karachi Monday, after Shah, Abbasi and two other former allies of Sharif appeared in court to hear charges of treason and hijacking. They plead not guilty. AP/PTI
for talks with USA
of more West Bank land held up
tests new missile, laser weapon
confirmed Yeltsin successor
re-elected Ukraine President
seeks Greece, Turkey patch-up
in scandal from Christopher Zinn
extra-solar planet sighted
Court moved on Pak takeover
ISLAMABAD, Nov 15 (Reuters, AP) A parliamentary member of Pakistans former ruling party filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Monday challenging last months military coup that toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, court sources said.
They said the countrys top court was yet to fix a date to consider admissibility of the petition by Zafar Ali Shah, a member of the suspended National Assembly. It is the first legal challenge to the bloodless October 12 coup that installed Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf as Chief Executive.
Mr Shah told reporters that he had requested the court to declare the military takeover "illegal and unconstitutional", and order the restoration of Mr Sharifs government that was dismissed by General Musharraf and of the two-chamber National Parliament and four provincial assemblies that were suspended.
He said another petition against the coup would be filed later by Mr Sharifs Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Party.
Todays petition coincided with a court hearing in the port city of Karachi, where the police told a judge that Mr Sharif was not in their custody.
Mr Sharif has been under detention at a secret location, thought to be near Islamabad, since the military coup that overthrew his government on October 12. The police said last week they expected he would be moved to Karachi today.
KARACHI: Four former allies of deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of treason and hijacking.
Mr Sharif, who was reportedly transferred to the southern port city of Karachi yesterday, did not appear in court. His whereabouts is not known.
Mr Sharif has been in army custody since the military overthrew his government in a coup on October 12.
Last week, the army filed charges against Mr Sharif and seven other men in connection with an incident in which the passenger aircraft returning Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf to Pakistan was refused landing permission in Karachi.
The aircraft was allowed to land after the army took control of the airport control tower, but fuel aboard the aircraft had run perilously low. According to the charge sheet against Mr Sharif, there were only seven minutes of fuel remaining.
General Musharraf said the refusal to allow the aircraft to land endangered his life as well as those of 200 passengers and crew on board.
Appearing in court today were Ghaus Ali Shah, a former advisor to Mr Sharif on southern Sindh provincial affairs, Aminuddin Chaudhry, former chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former head of the National Pakistan International Airlines, and Rana Maqbool, former Sindh provincial police chief.
"There is no truth to the charges," said Mr Shah, who was represented by a lawyer.
Its not known when Mr Sharif will be taken to court or why he was not among those in court today.
Another report said the police told the judge that the ousted Pakistani Prime Minister was not in its custody.
"When the issue was raised by Mr Nawaz Sharifs lawyer, the police simply said that he had not been arrested by them," said an official of the anti-terrorist court.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said the police did not say when Mr Sharif would be brought to the court or formally arrested.
Mr Sharifs lawyer Iqbal Raad told reporters that the police gave the court no evidence and did not say where Mr Sharif was.
"They (police) have nothing against Mr Sharif. They have nothing against him to link him to this case," Mr Raad said.
Public Prosecutor Feroz Mehmood Bhatti said Mr Sharif would be brought to the court only after he was formally arrested by the police in Karachi.
"He has not been arrested yet so there is no question of telling the court about evidence against him," Mr Bhatti said.
Pak not in arms race with India
ISLAMABAD, Nov 15 (PTI) Pakistan has said it is not in nuclear arms race with India and will not take any "provocative action" and urged New Delhi to move in the same direction for maintaining peace in South Asia.
"Without compromising our security, we unilaterally pledge to the world that we will not take a provocative action and we want India to move in the same direction for a nuclear free South Asia," Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar has said.
Stating that Pakistan want to "reassure the world community that our policy will be based on restraint and sense of responsibility on the nuclear issue", Mr Sattar said.
Defending Pakistans quest for minimum nuclear capability, Mr Sattar said, "we will take unilateral measures for restraint and at the same time we will be ready to enter into global and regional arrangements. We will extend greater cooperation to the world community on the nuclear issue."
Pakistan, he said, has supported all resolutions of the United Nations and all agreements aimed at nuclear restraint.
Referring to the comprehensive test ban treaty, Mr Sattar said the issue need to be explained to the people in Pakistan.
"The people of
Pakistan has always been supportive of restraint provided
India observe the same. "We want to encourage
discussions on the treaty to promote consensus in
Pakistan for signing the treaty," he said.
Pak plans crackdown for loan recovery
ISLAMABAD, Nov 15 (PTI) The military rulers in Pakistan are planning to unleash a nationwide crackdown against economic offenders after the much-publicised loan recovery deadline of chief executive Gen Pervez Musharraf met with almost total failure.
Barely 2 per cent of the Rs 211 billion stuck-up loans have been returned by the public with only a day left for the loan amnesty deadline and the military ruler has taken "serious notice" of the poor response, the daily Jung reported today.
The paper said General Musharraf would convene an emergency meeting of his close advisers including Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and other National Security Council members, to prepore a "stringent action".
The military authorities are expected to promulgate an ordinance within a day or two to pave the way for a speedy trial of all loan defaulters, who failed to meet the deadline, another popular daily Frontier Post said.
General Musharraf who
had set out the loan repayment deadline in his first
press conference earlier this month had said he had
discussed the issue with Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court Justice Saiduzamman Siddiqui for setting up speedy
trial courts to punish the loan defaulters.
Vajpayee garlands Gandhis statue
PIETERMARITZBURG, Nov 15 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee took time off from his heavy CHOGM commitments to visit this historic South African town which virtually launched Mahatma Gandhi on his political career following the incident on June 7, 1883, when as a young lawyer he was thrown out of a first class compartment of a Natal government railway train. Those were the colonial days of apartheid. Instead of succumbing to insults and repression, Gandhi then vowed to fight the disease of racial prejudice. In later years, he confessed that the train incident changed the course of his life. "My active non-violence began from that day", he stated.
Mr Vajpayees visit to garland the statue of Gandhi in the main marketplace of the town was not part of the printed official programme. But he took the earliest opportunity after hectic informal consultations with other CHOGM leaders at The Retreat at Geogre to pay his homage to the Father of the Nation.
A day earlier, he visited Pietermaritzburg and the Phoenix Settlement at Bombhai (26 km from Durban), the places closely associated with Gandhi.
The 100-acre Phoenix Settlement is in ruins following largescale violence in the area several years ago. A large number of local people live around the place. It was a pathetic sight to see men, women and children living in abject poverty and deprivation.
No serious efforts have been made to make the place worthy of Gandhis ideals. When Mr I.K. Gujral visited Bombhai as Prime Minister he announced a grant. However, nothing is known about it. The only silver lining is that the local people have left the destroyed building structures as they are. A local priest passing by said, "Nelson Mandela had told us that Gandhi fought for the freedom of his country and also for the freedom of South Africa". He wanted the place to be turned into a shopping complex and for community needs.
Perhaps, a suitable memorial centre apart, a primary health centre and a primary school for the benefit of the poor can be a fitting tribute to Gandhi.
It will be worth reproducing a letter Gandhi wrote on November 24, 1909, explaining the significance of the word "Phoenix".
He said: "Phoenix is a very good word which has come to us without any effort on our part. Being an English word, it serves to pay homage to the land in which we live. Moreover, it is neutral. Its significance, as the legend goes, is that the bird phoenix comes back to life again and again from its own ashes, i.e. it never dies. The name Phoenix, for the present, serves the purpose quite well, for we believe the aims of Phoenix will not vanish even when we are turned to dust".
The question agitating the visitors is: Will Gandhis Phoenix come back to life again? A lot depends on how the South African and Indian authorities as well as the local population rise to the occasion.
Taliban for talks with USA
ISLAMABAD, Nov 15 (UNI, AFP) With the UN sanctions against the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan now in place, the organisation said it was ready to assure the USA that it would not allow anybody, including Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, to use Afghani soil to wage war against any country.
In an interview to the Urdu service of BBC from Kandhar yesterday, Taliban spokesman Syed Aqa stuck to his governments stand that Bin Laden would not be asked to leave Afghanistan or handed over to any country to be tried for his alleged role in the bombing of American Embassies in East Africa in August last year killing more than 200 people.
But, he said, the Taliban was willing to hold talks with the USA.
After the sanctions, no foreign flights can go to Afghanistan and all assets of the country would be frozen worldwide. The Taliban spokesman said these sanctions would add to the suffering of the Afghan people.
According to a BBC correspondent in Peshawar, yesterdays agitation in Kabul against the UN and the USA could have been supported by the Taliban regime because they took place despite a ban on protests and processions.
In Pakistan too, despite such a ban, the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Islam held separate public meetings yesterday in the North-West frontier Province to condemn the sanctions.
Meanwhile invetstigators probing the six bomb blasts in Islamabad have questioned several Afghan nationals over the case, the police said today.
The police still did not know who was responsible for the rocket blasts, aimed at US and UN buildings in the capital on Friday, officials said. No one had been arrested in the case.
Rockets were fired from crude, double-barrelled launchers inside cars in the capital. But the car owners had not been traced, the police said.
Several Afghans were held in Islamabad for questioning on Saturday but released yesterday.
Afghanistans ruling Taliban have condemned the attacks as a plot to damage relations with Pakistan and fuel tension between the Islamic militia and the international community.
Kabul, (Reuters): Afghanistans ruling Taliban movement tightened security in Kabul today as more protests were expected against the UN sanction imposed for not handing over Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban also renewed a security guarantee for the UN staff, UN officials said.
Armed Taliban fighters could be seen guarding all UN compounds and roadblocks were placed around the guesthouse where the majority of the world bodys expatriates stay.
The head of the Taliban guard unit, Mullah Homayon, said two armed Taleban guards had been stationed at each foreign diplomatic mission.
"We will make sure that no harm is incurred to any UN personnel or its offices, Mr Homayon said.
The UN also restricted the movements of its staff, Joloyn Leslei, head of the UN coordinating body for Kabul, told reporters.
"The Foreign Ministry people reassured us that everything is fine for our operations, Mr Leslei said.
Witnesses said thousands of people took to the streets today in the eastern city of Jalalabad to demonstrate against the sanctions.
There was no reports of violence there. Several guards were injured in yesterdays protest in Kabul.
The Taliban have repeatedly said they would not force Bin Laden, described as a "guest, to leave against his will.
All countries must also freeze funds and other financial resources owned or controlled by the Taliban, except for that the sanctions committee exempts on humanitarian grounds.
The UN staff has stepped up security in Kabul and told its members to stay indoors after violent protests in the Afghan capital against UN sanctions.
"The local authorities have taken additional measures and have increased the number of guards in order to prevent what happened yesterday," a UN worker said, requesting not to be named. Other UN sources said they expected more demonstrations in other parts of Kabul city today.
"We are alert and the Taliban have taken every necessary measure," he said adding that the UN staff had been told to stay indoors and not to take unnecessary risks.
Transfer of more West Bank land held up
JERUSALEM, Nov 15 (Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat failed at a surprise meeting to resolve a dispute threatening to delay Israels planned handover of more West Bank land today.
The Israeli army is prepared to carry it out as planned, but it will become clear only after additional contacts if the implementation will be (today) or if it will be delayed for several days, a spokesman for Mr Barak said after the meeting.
Under an interim peace deal signed in September, Israel had agreed to transfer another 2 per cent of West Bank land to full Palestinian control and 3 per cent to the Palestinian civil administration by November 15.
But both sides have been locked in a dispute over details of the land involved with the Palestinians demanding to take control of areas more densely populated than the zones Israel has proposed.
Earlier yesterday, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed confidence the Israeli army would not redeploy unilaterally.
An Israeli army source said the handover would include six military bases which had already been largely vacated.
Rejecting an Israeli redeployment map, Palestinians said they wanted more densely populated areas near the town of Ramallah, north of Jerusalem.
The troop pullout that had been set for today is the second of three mandated by the September interim accord.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are also working to reach a framework accord by February 2000 for a permanent peace to be concluded seven months later.
Yesterday they started their second week of negotiations and approved an agenda for final-status talks.
The deals provisions, if implemented in full, would put the Palestinians in full or partial control of almost 40 per cent of the West Bank.
If they can prove their hypothesis, the researchers said the illness could be treated with counter-conditioning and drugs that target Interleukin-1.
Mtihil Garner, a British veteran who suffers from the syndrome and has worked with the researchers, said the theory was interesting but not the complete answer.
China tests new missile, laser weapon
BEIJING, Nov 15 (PTI) Wary of USAs plans in Asia, China is developing a range of missiles and laser-based weapons that can shoot down incoming missiles, media reports said.
While China confirmed testing a new type of anti-ship missile, a Hong Kong newspaper recently reported that China had tested a laser weapon.
Xinhua news agency, in a report yesterday said the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) tested a new anti-ship missile but did not provide details. It was tested at an offshore shooting range early this month, it added.
According to a recent report in Hong Kong Standard, China had developed state-of-the-art laser defence technology and had recently successfully conducted live tests in intercepting incoming missiles.
Unlike traditional anti-missile defences where missiles are sent to strike down attacking missiles in the air, the airborne laser system uses lasers to destroy the guidance systems of missiles, causing them to fall harmlessly to the ground.
Quotig a defence expert
associated with Taiwans Chengchi University, the
paper said the USA was also developing its airborne laser
defence capacity, but had run into problems of generating
sufficient power to keep the system in operation during a
Putin confirmed Yeltsin successor
MOSCOW, Nov 15 (PTI) President Boris Yeltsin has reaffiremed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as his successor for the top Kremlin post when he retires in mid 2000, saying it is the only solution for Russia
Day by day I get more and more confident that he is the only and most acceptable variant for Russia,Mr Yeltsin said discounting speculations that he was preparing to sack Mr Putin and suspend the military operations in Chechnya.
I am delighted that my forecast, my proposal and his consent to run for the presidency on June 4, 2000, is successfully proving right, Mr Yeltsin saidin his remarks at the start of his meeting with Mr Putin yesterday in his Gorky -9 residence near Moscow, Itar-Tass and Interfax reported.
While appointing Mr Putin his new Premier on August 9, 1999, Mr Yeltsin had also named him as his successor for the Russian presidency.
Earlier, on Friday after a meeting with top generals in the Defence Ministry and in an interview to the state TV RTR, Mr Putin confirmed his presidential ambitions.
Its only he who as the president can lead Russia.Thats why my backing for him was and is growing day by day, Mr Yeltsin underlined.
You just look at
his acts, analyse his steps. How logical, wise and strong
they are. From the point of view of wisdom, will power
and explicity he has increased authority, not only
concerning internal politics, but also on the
international scene, Mr Yeltsin noted.
Kuchma re-elected Ukraine President
KIEV, Nov 15 (Reuters) Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, staving off a Communist challenge in an election race marred by allegations of foul play, won the vote convincingly despite widespread hardship and economic decline.
The Central Election Commission said preliminary results showed that with 89 per cent of votes counted in the run-off, Mr Kuchma had won 56 per cent against 38 per cent for Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko.
Mr Symonenko complained earlier about official media being biased and stoking fears of a red menace The Election Commission noted only minor irregularities in voting which it said would not change the final outcome.
Mr Kuchmas spokesman Olexander Martynenko was jubilant as results came in. Frankly speaking, we were counting on approximately such a result, he told Reuters.
Many people, apparently influenced by television images of Soviet-era repression or worried about possible upheavals under a new leader, said they voted grudgingly for unpopular Mr Kuchma, a 61-year-old former boss of the worlds largest missile plant.
Vera Nikolayevna (70) said she had been swayed by massive election propaganda in favour of the President. Who is Symonenko? I hardly heard or read anything about him, she said.
Clinton seeks Greece, Turkey patch-up
ANKARA, Nov 15 (AP) President Bill Clinton, seeking reconciliation between Greece and Turkey, has announced the resumption of long-stalled talks aimed at reunifying the war-divided Cyprus.
But almost as soon as Mr Clinton said there was a cause for new hope, the diplomatic initiative ran into trouble.
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash backtracked and said he would not take part unless the format was changed. The USA said it expected him to keep to his commitment.
Opening a 10-day trip, the President arrived minutes before midnight in a nation stunned by an earthquake on Friday that killed more than 370 persons on the heels of an August quake that left more than 17,000 dead.
Mr Clinton said he was not worried about his own safety. I think its very important that I make this trip. The President will join more than 50 world leaders at a summit on Thursday in Istanbul.
After an intense diplomatic press by the USA, the agreement for Cyprus talks came together unexpectedly quickly and began to unravel just as swiftly.
He said he hoped the
talks could build on the thaw in relations between Greece
and Turkey after both nations suffered killer quakes a
few weeks apart and rushed to one anothers aid US
officials call it seismic diplomacy.
Broadcasters in scandal from Christopher Zinn
TWO of Australias best-known broadcasters, whose audiences gave them high ratings, huge incomes and political clout, have been exposed in an embarrassing cash-for-comment scandal.
Sydneys commercial radio station 2UE admitted it had breached the commercial radio code of practice by unwittingly allowing the two stars to present as news what was in reality paid promotional material. Their futures at the station are now uncertain.
John Laws, known as the golden tonsils, and Alan Jones have disclosed receiving large, separate payments from corporations ranging from Qantas to banks and casinos to secure favourable comment and stifle criticism.
The Australian Broadcasting Authority also heard Mr Laws, the self-styled king of radio, went further than the on-air endorsements. For a package worth $240,000 (US) a year including, VIP hospitality with Sydneys Star City casino, he agreed not to disparage gambling.
There has even been evidence that Laws, who has a personal fortune of $48m, cut off talk-back callers who wanted to discuss the controversial death of a casino patron after a brawl with security men.
Alan Jones, a former coach of the Wallabies rugby union team, was caught flogging the latest product from the telecom company Optus, which paid him about $70,000 a year, only a day after the station boss warned against airing free plugs for sponsors.
Jones, who is no stranger to controversy said himself: Money is not worth two bob [a trivial amount] if your integrity is up for grabs. And both shock jocks, as they are sometimes known, appeal to a core low-income but ambitious audience they call the battlers or struggle street who up until now have admired and not questioned their stars vast earning ability .
And there certainly has been a fuss ever since a TV show called Media Watch, which monitors media ethics, revealed Laws had accepted $320,000 from the banks in a personal deal to gag his, until then, vehement criticism of them.
The resulting fallout led to the broadcasting authority inquiry, which has been providing court watchers and students of the media with one of the best free shows in town.
New extra-solar planet sighted
LOS ANGELES, Nov 15 (Reuters) Astronomers have witnessed for the first time a distant planet passing in front of a star outside Earths solar system, a team of scientists at U.S. Institutions said over the weekend.
The just-discovered planet is so gassy that it has only 63 per cent of Jupiters mass while its radius is 60 per cent larger, the scientists said in a statement.
Planets orbiting distant stars are normally too dim to be seen from earth, even with the finest telescopes. They can be seen only when the planet comes between the star and a telescope on Earth.
In this case, astronomer Greg Henry of Tennessee State University was able to photograph the gas giant passing in front of the star, HD 209458, producing an eclipse-like image, Sundays Los Angeles Times reported.
The University of California, Berkeley, Astronomy Professor Geoffrey Marcy and his colleagues, including Paul Butler at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, first detected a wobble in the star on November 5.
By assuming that the wobble was caused by a nearby planet, they were able to estimate the planets orbit and approximate mass.
Mr Henry turned one of his automatic telescopes on the star last Sunday at the time Mr Marcy and Mr Butler predicted the planet would cross the face of the star if the planets orbital plane were lucky enough to carry it between Earth and the star.
New Macedonia President
SKOPJE, Nov 15 (AFP) Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski will become Macedonias next President after a close-fought presidential election run-off.
The victory of the 43- year-old candidate of the Right-wing ruling party was conceded by the former Communist Party of his opponent, Mr Tito Petkovski, but it alleged massive fraud by ethnic Albanian voters as Mr Trajkovskis supporters celebrated in the streets of Skopje after Mr Trajkovskis party announced his win.
|US national missile programme
WASHINGTON: Efforts to develop a limited national missile defence programme by the USA remains plagued by inadequate testing, spare parts shortages and management lapses, an independent review panel appointed by the US Defence Department said here. The panel has warned that recent delays in testing and developing have compressed the programmes schedule against politically imposed deadlines and has advised to postpone the plans by Pesident Bill Clinton to start building the system by next summer if further delays arise. PTI
US missiles for
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