|W O R L D||
Thursday, October 14, 1999
|Global consternation over coup
WASHINGTON, Oct 13 The five permanent members of the UN Security Council today led the international community in expressing deep concern over the military coup in Pakistan and asked the army to restore the democratic and constitutional process in the country at the earliest.
Pakistanis welcome take-over
ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 Jaded by politicians who have failed to solve their countrys complex problems, many Pakistanis today said they were optimistic their new military rulers would bring about a positive change.
LAHORE: Anti-Sharif people of Lahore city celebrate the dismissal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday with fireworks. Sharif's government was dismissed by Pakistan's armed forces chief Gen Pervaiz Musharraf in retaliation for his dismissal by Sharif. AP/PTI
to Sharif before action
could have been bloody
fighting near Grozny
in Anwar case on Oct 18
Global consternation over coup
WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (PTI) The five permanent members of the UN Security Council today led the international community in expressing deep concern over the military coup in Pakistan and asked the army to restore the democratic and constitutional process in the country at the earliest.
Taking a cautious stance on the development in Islamabad following the toppling of the Nawaz Sharif government by the army, US State Department spokesman James Rubin said, we regret that once again a chain of political events has led to a setback for democracy and the Constitution in Pakistan.
The USA hopes that Pakistans military chief Gen Pervez Musharraf in his upcoming policy statements will set forth clear plans for the restoration of civilian government in the country, Mr Rubin said.
Pakistans neighbour and close ally China said, We are very concerned with the changing situation in Pakistan and are presently furthering our understanding of the situation, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue told PTI.
Britain, expressing deep concern over the developments, said it would strongly condemn any unconstitutional action taken by Pakistani army.
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in a statement said Britain is deeply worried by the situation and called upon all parties to respect the Constitution, the rule of law and the democratic process.
Expressing serious concern at the military take-over, Russia said it was not indifferent to the fate of Pakistan and expressed the hope that excesses would be averted and constitutional and democratic norms will be restored.
France said it was concerned at the events and we are following the situation very closely, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
In Berlin, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said Germany was following the developments with great concern.
The German Government calls on all officials to respect the Constitution and not to use violence against the existing constitutional bodies, the spokesman, Andreas Michaelis, said.
Japan, demanding quick release of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is under protective custody after army surrounded his residence, called for a democratic and constitutional settlement.
Pakistans premier is now being held in his official residence ... We certainly hope he will be freed at the earliest possible opportunity, a senior aide to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said.
We are greatly concerned about the situation ... certainly we are not happy at all about the way the Pakistan military forces have taken control of the power, he added.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was negotiating a deal with the Pakistan Government to help overcome the latters economic crisis, said it was not certain it could sent aid to Islamabad after yesterdays military action.
IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said he was worried about the development as it is a real threat.
A coup detat means democracy in retreat and a setback for democracy often endangers peace, he said.
Taking a strong posture, the Commonwealth warned it would consider excluding Pakistan from its membership, Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who received a communiqué from the Secretary-General of the organisation Emeka Anyaoku yesterday, said.
I have received a communiqué from the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. He said well have to consider Pakistans position in the Commonwealth as a result of this (coup), Mr Axworthy said terming the coup as a serious crisis.
I dont think we should be lending (money) to people that have military take-overs or military dictatorships. We have a lot of development aid programmes that are active ... any action on the aid programme could have real bearing on whether you restore democracy or not, he warned.
The 15-nation European Union said it was very closely watching the situation.
Pakistanis welcome take-over
ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (Reuters) Jaded by politicians who have failed to solve their countrys complex problems, many Pakistanis today said they were optimistic their new military rulers would bring about a positive change.
"I think the martial law is good for our country, said Mohammad Raheel, an engineer, less than a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in a coup by military chief General Pervez Musharraf.
The Pakistan army seized power in a bloodless coup overnight but has not formally declared martial law.
"I think the martial law is better because, we cannot believe in our government, we cannot believe in our politicians...They are corrupt, he told Reuters Television in a downtown market in the capital of Islamabad.
Former Law Minister, Iqbal Haider, said Mr Sharif was responsible for the military action.
"He (Sharif) has proved consistently he was incapable of running the affairs of state in line with the norms of a democratic government, said Mr Haider, a member of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhuttos party.
"He appeared to be a bull in a China shop, he said, adding the army was left with no other option.
People said they were worried about the economic crisis Pakistan faced, serious foreign affairs problems, a renewed wave of sectarian violence, worsening law and order situation and high unemployment.
Athar Moinuddin, a resident of Islamabad, said he was happy the military had taken over because the overall situation in the country was getting worse.
"Everyone is saying the same, people are happy that the military has come, he said.
Maria Muqaddar, a university student, said Pakistans economic situation was growing worse and needed immediate attention.
"All civil governments were looking after their own interests. Its good that they (army) took over the situation, she added.
"There was chaos, anarchy and selfishness, said a trader named Maqsood. "Two-and-a-half years of the Sharif government were a curse. Thank god that is over, he said.
It was the fourth military coup in Pakistans 52-year existence.
Unlike the previous military interventions in 1958, 1969 and 1977, General Musharraf did not declare martial law, which would have dissolved parliament and abrogated or suspended the countrys Constitution which does not allow for a military take-over.
Few troops seen on roads
ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (Reuters) Pakistan was calm today as the world awaited the next move by Gen Pervez Musharraf who seized power in a bloodless coup and vowed to save the country from ruin.
General Musharraf, the Army Chief of General Staff, was fired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday without warning. But within hours he had turned the tables as his troops swiftly took control of strategic points throughout the country and placed Mr Sharif in "protective custody."
Few troops were visible on the roads of the capital today, except those guarding buildings and strategic installations seized last evening.
The state media said a bank holiday had been called and the head of the Karachi stock exchange said the share market would not open.
"Everything was normal except for army troops in front of the Redco Building, said a witness who drove through the main commercial district of the spacious capital.
The Redco Building is owned by Senator Saifur Rehman, a close aide of Mr Sharif who is also in custody.
Many countries, including the USA, were quick to express concern over the situation in Pakistan which has spent some half of its 52 years under military rule.
The USA said Washington would seek a prompt return to democracy and there could be no "business as usual. But a senior official declined to call it a military coup or say it violated the Pakistani Constitution. He also criticised Mr Sharif for cracking down on the press and on opposition political parties.
Just three weeks ago, US officials had expressed concern about a possible military coup because of political turmoil and opposition demand for the ouster of Mr Sharif after he ordered withdrawal of the militants from Kashmir.
Mr Sharif and his brother Shahbaz, Chief Minister of Punjab province, were taken into "protective custody, a military spokesman said. Also in custody was intelligence chief Lieut-Gen Ziauddin who had been named by Mr Sharif to succeed General Musharraf.
"I wish to inform you that the armed forces have moved in as a last resort to prevent further destabilisation, General Musharraf said in a speech over the state television.
"For the moment I only wish to assure you that the situation in the country is perfectly calm, stable and under control, he said.
General Musharraf did not provide details on the armys plans for Pakistan, nor did he say what would be done with Mr Sharif.
"I do not wish to make a lengthy policy statement at this moment. I shall do that very soon, he said.
But a former Pakistan Chief of Staff said General Musharraf would set up an interim government that would be in a position to sort out Pakistans problems and last about two years.
Mr Aslam Baig, on a visit to Germany, said the coup was only to be expected because Mr Sharifs government had mistreated the army.
announce an interim government which will last two years
or so, he said. "It will examine the
accountability of many of the leaders who are known to be
corrupt and who must be called to account.
Options to Sharif before action
ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (PTI) Pakistans deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif was given the option of recommending the dissolution of Parliament and announcing fresh elections under an interim set-up before his government was overthrown by the army in a coup yesterday, a leading newspaper said today.
After the Prime Ministers house was surrounded by troops, the army top brass told Mr Sharif that in the changed circumstance he should resign, withdraw his notification dismissing army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf and allow a new government to be formed under a different leadership, Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt said quoting official sources.
But Mr Sharif not only refused to accept any of these offers but also refused to withdraw his constitutional decision to dismiss General Musharraf and insisted that after the issuance of his order, the sacked officer had no right to issue orders as an army chief.
It could have been bloody
ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (PTI) The army take-over in Pakistan yesterday could have turned out to be a bloody operation when a stand-off between security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army was averted at Pakistan Television (PTV) building, a media report said today.
A near-clash between a contingent of the Punjab Elite Force led by the Military Secretary of the Prime Minister and a battalion of the Punjab Regiment led by a Major was staved off when the first attempt by the army to take over the PTV headquarters was foiled, English daily The Nation said quoting eyewitnesses.
The report said a convoy of 15 soldiers led by Major Nasir stormed the PTV headquarters just before the 1800 hours (1930 IST) English news bulletin and brandishing an automatic gun entered the news control room ordering PTV officials not to telecast the news of Gen Pervez Musharrafs "dismissal".
Chairman of PTV Pervez Rashid, on being informed of the situation, rushed to the control room along with Prime Ministers Chief Security Officer Pervez Rathore and an altercation followed with the army officer.
Mr Rathore asked Major Nasir not to interfere in PTV affairs as it was "unconstitutional", but he dismissed the plea saying he was simply following orders, the report said.
At that moment, Mr Sharifs Military Secretary Javed Malik came rushing into the control room and put a pistol on Major Nasirs chest, saying "disarm yourself immediately", the report said.
Jawans accompanying both men also aimed weapons at one another and the situation looked getting out of hand but Major Nasir, sensing the gravity of the situation, handed over his gun to Mr Malik.
Other jawans with Major Nasir were also disarmed and locked in a room. As soon as the PTV Chairman took back the control of PTV headquarters, the news of Gen Musharrafs dismissal was included at the end of the bulletin.
The PTV management had hardly settled down when a bigger army contingent forced its way into the building and immediately occupied it freeing their colleagues and ordering the shutdown of transmission, the report said.
remained suspended for three hours and around 200 PTV
employees were not allowed to move out of the building.
They were released only after General Musharrafs
address was telecast at 0250 hours (0420 IST).
Fierce fighting near Grozny
GROZNY, (Russia), Oct 13 (Reuters) Officials in separatist Chechnya reported heavy fighting between Russian troops and Chechen fighters in a key district granting access to the regional capital, Grozny, today.
Artillery blasts and air fire were audible throughout the night in Grozny, capital of the breakaway region. Russian forces have set up a security zone in the North and suggested they could push their way South towards Grozny.
Chechen officials said battles were raging in Garagorsky district, 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Grozny. Some reported heavy losses inflicted on Russian forces, including armoured vehicles put out of action. Details were unavailable.
Russian officials in Moscow and in and around Chechnya also reported military activity, including fresh air strikes on Garagorsky and on Bamut, southwest of Grozny.
Chechen President Aslan
Maskhadov, his call for urgent talks with the Kremlin
apparently rejected, has begun hardening his posture. A
Russian statement issued in Mozdok, the major Russian
military base located just outside Chechnya, said federal
forces controlled 39 villages. Troops had defeated Muslim
militants in Grozny district and in major regions of
Veden and Gudermes.
Decision in Anwar case on Oct 18
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 (Reuters) The judge in Anwar Ibrahims sex trial said he would announce on October 18 whether to acquit the former Malaysian Finance Minister or order the trial to continue with defence witnesses.
I will give my
decision on Monday. I need enough time to go through the
lengthy evidence given, high court judge
Arifin Jaka told the court today. Mr Anwar has pleaded
not guilty to one count of sodomy in the trial which
started in June. The prosecution has already closed its
|Prince Andrew relishes
LONDON: Close on the heels of the tandoori chicken and curry, a favourite of cricketer Ian Botham, it is the Punjabi dish vindaloo which is making news now. After a visit to a display of photographs of the holy city of Amritsar at the East Berkshire College, near Windsor Castle, Prince Andrew, had a taste of the spicy vindaloo offered by the Indian organisers of the photographic exhibition. Despite the Princes known weakness for hamburger and chips, he is said to quite enjoy the occasional curry. PTI
2 UN men killed
Held after 12
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