|Friday, January 28, 2000,
Press slams regime
chief to press for ceasefire in Chechnya
abroad celebrate R-Day
for Indian in immigration-sex case
Pak Press slams regime
ISLAMABAD, Jan 27 (AFP) Pakistans Chief Justice, five Supreme Court judges and several senior judges were replaced yesterday after refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the countrys military regime.
Now that Pakistans military rulers have clamped tight their control over the justice system, the Press and human rights may be the next targets, the countrys papers warned today.
The fact remains there are many who may not put any faith in the governments promises from now on, The Nation daily said in a strongly critical editorial.
Although Pakistans military leader Gen Pervez Musharraf guaranteed the freedom of the courts after his October coup, judges have been forced out, the paper said.
Taking that as a precedent they may feel cause to fear that the Press, which too was similarly promised freedom, could become the regimes next target. And next to that could be fundamental rights.
In the event of that transpiring the regime will be branded by its critics as a total dictatorship.
Gen Musharrafs move against the judiciary would likely spark a negative fallout abroad and may challenge the regimes claim to legitimacy, The Nation said.
The situation here already seems to be turning into a quagmire in which the more one flails around the deeper one sinks.
Another major newspaper, The Frontier Post, also warned the Press, which has run free since the coup, could be the next target.
We believe that the military government has committed its first faux pas; it should have sought another path for obtaining whatever objectives it set for itself to achieve, the paper said.
Forcing the Chief Justice and some of his colleagues against their will, will have consequences.
Because the previous government was so unpopular Gen Musharraf enjoyed a honeymoon of support in the weeks after the coup. Now that is ending, the paper warned.
We fear that the military government has lost its raison detre. The move to stifle the independent working of the judiciary will therefore be looked upon with disdain and disgust by the enlightened people, it said.
Another leading newspaper, The News, which has been more loyal to the military regime, criticised the role of the judiciary in Pakistans history.
The roots of Pakistans constitutional misfortunes, as is often remembered, lie in its weak-kneed judiciary, the paper said.
The people are unlikely to cry over what has happened.
(UNI): Pakistan Attorney-General Aziz Munshi has indicated that Gen Pervez Musharraf hopes to extract from the Supreme Court a similar judgement that was given in favour of Gen Zia-ul-Haqs military take-over by the apex court in September 1977.
In an interview to the BBC (Urdu) last night, Mr Munshi justified dropping of non-conformist judges and recalled the 1977 petition of Begum Nusrat Bhutto against the military take-over and for the release of her detained husband Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had been deposed in July that year as the Prime Minister.
Then Chief Justice Yaqub Ali Khan, who admitted Begum Nusrats petition, was eased out in favour of Mr Justice Anwar-ul-Haq through an amendment in the martial law order.
Justice Haq quickly produced a verdict in favour of the military take-over, justifying it under, what he called, the law of necessity. The military government claimed this judgement gave it the right to rule for an indefinite period.
It was Justice Haq, who later upheld the death sentence on Mr Bhutto in 1979. Later it was learnt that Justice Haq was ready to oblige General Zia to any extent because he wanted him to sponsor his candidature as a judge of the World Court. But Justice Haq lost the race for this post because of the way Mr Bhuttos trial was conducted.
Now after more than 20 years, a similar scenario has emerged: deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and six of his colleagues are facing charges in an anti-terrorist court which can take them to the gallows. In the Supreme Court, a bunch of petitions are to come up for hearing on January 31. Now-retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Said-uz-Zaman Sidiqqui had made it clear that he would go according to the Constitution.
VANCOUVER, Jan 27 (Reuters) Canadas spy agency has asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate charges that an agent destroyed key evidence in the unresolved bombing of an Air-India passenger jet over the Atlantic ocean in 1985.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) denied a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper yesterday quoting an unidentified counterintelligence officer saying that hours of taped interviews with confidential sources about the bombing were destroyed because of a turf war with the mounties.
The officer said he destroyed the tapes so as not to identify the sources to the mounties.
We have contacted the RCMP and we have asked them to conduct a thorough criminal investigation of the allegation, because it is a criminal act if (destroying evidence) did occur, CSIS spokesman Dan Lambert said.
The police has never made an arrest for the bombing of the KanishkaBoeing 747 over the Atlantic ocean off Ireland, in which 329 persons were killed.
Canada is in charge of the investigation because the bomb was believed to have been the work of Canada-based Sikh extremists.
The probe has long been marked by controversy and accusations of bungling, with authorities acknowledging they likely know who was responsible for the bombing, but do not have enough evidence to file charges.
The CSIS told The Globe and Mail that he did not want to lose the two sources in the Sikh community by having them identified and so defied an order to give the evidence to the mounties.
Mr Lambert said an independent review in 1992 of the agencys role in the Air-India probe found that it had cooperated fully with the mounties.
The mounties spokesperson on the Air-India investigation, Corporal Grant Learned, said the two agencies had a good working relationship. He questioned the motives of the agent quoted by the newspaper.
UN chief to press for ceasefire in Chechnya
MOSCOW, Jan 27 (AFP, AP, Reuters) UN secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived here today for a three-day visit during which he will familiarise himself with Russias new Parliament and press for peace in Chechnya.
Mr Annan was to meet chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, Yegor Stroyev and Duma (Lower House) Speaker Gennady Seleznyov today.
Mr Annan has repeatedly urged Russia to call a ceasefire in its four-month Chechen ground offensive and open political dialogue with the Chechens, a call he repeated before departing from New York.
Moscow refuses to hold negotiations with Chechens, whom it brands as terrorists, and has further refused to recognise the legitimacy of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was due to travel to Strasbourg (France), where the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, a human rights body, was to discuss whether to kick out Russian delegates over Chechnya.
I have always pressed for a peaceful and political solution, and Ive been very concerned about the situation of the civilians, Mr Annan said at UN headquarters in New York.
Meanwhile, Mr Putin in a bid intended to support ailing defence industries and restore Russias military might, said today that the government would buy 50 per cent more weapons this year.
The army has been under-financed for several years which has entailed negative consequences for the nations defence potential, he said. It has raised doubts about the very possibility for Russia to have a modern army equipped with state-of-the-art weapons.
UNI adds: More than 1,000 Russian soldiers have perished and over 3,000 injured in the current operations, the Russian Defence Ministry has said.
Gen Valery Manilov, Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces, said acting President Vladimir Putin had ordered that the casualty figures should be revealed. Terming the move unprecedented, he said, No where in the world does a government put out the exact number of fatalities.
Indians abroad celebrate R-Day
UNDATED (UNI): The golden jubilee Republic Day was celebrated on Wednesday by Indians living abroad with the unfurling of national flags at high commissions and consuls.
Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Shivshankar Menon hoisted the national flag at India House in Colombo at a function attended by a large gathering. After inspecting a guard of honour, he read out President K.R. Narayanans Address to the nation.
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Sirimao Bandaranaike and Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar sent messages of felicitations to Mr Narayanan on the occasion.
In Teheran, Indian Ambassador to Iran R.S. Rathore hoisted the national flag at the embassy premises and read out President Narayanans Republic Day-eve message.
In Dubai, Consul-General of India Asoke Mukerji unfurled the Tricolour at a function attended by more than 2,500 Indian expatriates at the consulate premises. The Presidents message to the nation was beamed on the screen to the assembled people. This was followed by a two-hour impressive cultural programme, based on patriotic themes.
Indian Ambassador to Qatar R.L. Narayan hoisted the national flag at the chancery premises in Doha while in Manama, the ceremony was performed by Indian Ambassador to Bahrain S.S. Gill.
In Tokyo, Indian Ambassador Siddhartha Singh unfurled the flag at a well-attended function at the embassy premises, followed by singing of national anthem, reading out of Presidents Address and a reception for the Indian community.
Consul-General of India Vijay Kumar unfurled the Tricolour at Indian House, his residence, in Sydney in Australia. The Presidents Address was read out to the Indian community which had turned out in large numbers despite inclement weather. Reports of the celebrations from different parts of Australia like Newcastle, Brisbane and Melbourne by various associations of Australians of Indian origin were also received.
In Beijing, Indias Ambassador to China V.K. Nambiar led the main celebration function in the embassy compound. He also read out the Presidents message which noted that the year marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China.
Grandmas meet Elian
MIAMI, Jan 27 (Reuters) Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez was reunited with his grandmothers at a meeting in Miami the first time they have seen each other since his world was turned upside down two months ago by a doomed sea voyage to the United States of America.
In a politically and emotionally fraught event, the 6-year-old boy was brought to a private house in Miami Beach yesterday by relatives who want to keep him in the USA.
His grandmothers, who helped raise him in rural Cuba and are on a mission to bring him back to his father there, flew in from Washington on a Lear jet for the second time this week.
After a tense delay over last-minute problems, they helicoptered over to Miami Beach.
They then entered the home of sister Jeanne OLaughlin, a respected civic leader, nun and president of Miamis Barry University, which US officials had chosen as a neutral venue for the latest stage of a saga that has captivated the world.
In nearby streets, a crowd of Cuban exiles backing the Miami relatives demand that Elian should be not returned to a Communist country gathered, shouting anti-Castro slogans and waving Cuban flags. The police blocked off nearby streets for security reasons and marine units patrolled a creek behind the palatial house.
Bail for Indian in immigration-sex case
OAKLAND (California), Jan 27 (AFP) A wealthy Indian businessman suspected of bringing young girls here from his homeland to be sex slaves has been released from jail on $10 million bail, officials said.
Lakireddy Bali Reddy, (62), faces charges of importing aliens for the purpose of prostitution and for other immoral purposes and of inducing immigrants to illegally enter and live in the USA.
But as court officials
worked out the conditions of his release on Tuesday, the
police arrested his son on suspicion of falsifying
documents and taking part in a scheme to bring illegal
immigrants from India.
causes panic in Commons
over free bananas
mother beats son to death
guerrilla army changes leader
3 Indians jailed
for drug trafficking
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