|Thursday, March 2, 2000,
lawyers to plead case
fears heightened military tension
in chopper deal fraud
told to limit use of US forces
killer seeks right to die
|Nigerian clashes claim 300 lives
LAGOS, March 1 Four Nigerian reporters, who visited the southeastern town of Aba, have together counted almost 300 bodies of victims of bloody clashes since the past two days, one told AFP by telephone.
for global aid
Sharifs lawyers to plead case
ISLAMABAD, March 1 (PTI) Lawyers defending Pakistans deposed premier Nawaz Sharif in the plane hijack case, who had quit protesting restrictions on making public his testimony, today agreed to resume duties as Mr Sharif said he had full faith in the court.
The defence lawyers Ghous Ali Shah, Saeed Mehdi and Rana Maqbool on Wednesday reappeared in the anti-terrorism court in Karachi trying Mr Sharif and six others in the case, and said thay wanted to continue representing their clients.
The other accused Sharifs brother Shahbaz, Shahid Khaqan Abassi and Saifur Rehman, whose lawyers had also quit, also expressed confidence in the court.
Mr Sharif told Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffrey: I have full faith, but complained we are not allowed to sit with our lawyers. My cell is bugged. We are searched everyday. The APC (armoured personnel carrier) in which I am brought to the court is bugged. We are searched every day.
Mr Sharif sought time to consult his lawyers and it was allowed by the Judge and the trial was adjourned till Monday.
Judge Jaffrey also allowed a joint meeting of all accused with their defence counsels, including those who had withdrawn.
I have full faith in you, but I need to talk to our lawyers, Mr Sharif informed the court when he was asked for the first time to go the rostrum and speak.
The court adjourned the trial and saying the proceedings could not carry on without counsels.This case involves capital punishment and without advocates the case cannot proceed, the Judge said.
The court had earlier adjourned the trial and asked Mr Sharif to find new lawyers to defend him as proceedings could not carry on without counsels.
Senior defence counsel Ijaz Hussain Batalvi and Khawaj A Sultan Ahmad stepped down on Sunday and the rest of the defence team the following day in protest over the Judges order restricting Nawaz Sharifs testimony from being made public through the media.
Mr Sharif complained that despite repeated requests we are not allowed to sit with lawyers. My cell is bugged.
Mr Sharif and the co-defendants are without legal counsel after the entire defence team quit.
One of his former lawyers, Iqbal Raad, who met Mr Sharif in prison at Karachi yesterday was quoted by English daily The News Nawaz Sharif is feeling much better than yesterday (Monday). He has recovered from the shock which he received with the decision of the (defence) counsel to withdraw from the case.
The reasons given by defence lawyers Ijaz Hussain Batalvi and Khawaja Sultan Ahmad in their press statements sounds unconvincing as they still had legal remedies against the impugned ruling, which in any case does not warrant a boycott, The Dawn reported yesterday.
The no gag order had been passed by the court, which only decided to examine and censor, where necessary, statements of the accused, the lawyers quoted by the paper said adding when a lawyer wanted to withdraw he approached the court trying it rather than the Press.
Others, however, said
the defence lawyers were under great pressure.
Every attempt was being made at intimidation and
harassment.... The counsel could not meet their clients
freely. A media trial was being conducted simultaneously,
particularly on the electronic media.
Pak fears heightened
ISLAMABAD, March 1 (Reuters) Pakistan said today that it feared increased military tension with India after the New Delhi government raised defence spending by almost a third.
This (military) activity may, with this latest hike in the war Budget of India, lead to more aggressive action and posture by the Indian Government, and in fact, I am afraid we might see some military escalation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf told Reuters television in an interview.
He said India had stepped up military and diplomatic efforts against Pakistan ahead of US President Bill Clintons visit to South Asia later this month.
Mr Altaf said Indian military activity at the Line of Control (LoC) and a $ 3-billion increase in defence spending was worrying for Pakistan.
Mr Altaf said India was trying to keep Mr Clinton away so that he could not use his influence to promote peace and security in the region.
Our reading is that they have been trying to scare away the US President from any thoughts of trying his hand at promoting peace and stability in this region and trying to show to President Clinton that they have a different agenda here and therefore he should not try any facilitation role for the resolution of the core dispute (Kashmir) or any kind of role which promotes peace and stability in the region, he added.
Indias 28.2 per cent rise in defence Budget spending revealed its designs to dominate the region, the Pakistan Foreign Office said.
New Delhis largest defence spending increase in a single year provided further proof of Indias hegemonic designs, in the region and beyond, a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.
Countries neighbouring India cannot but feel seriously concerned over Indian designs of military dominance in the region, the spokesman said.
WASHINGTON: The USA has said it is studying Government of Indias Budget proposal to hike military spending in the 1999-2000 Budget.
spokesman James Rubin yesterday said Washington wanted to
inspect details of the proposed 28.2 per cent rise and
listen to New Delhis reasoning for its largest
defence spending increase in a single year before
commenting on it.
Nawaz in chopper deal fraud
ISLAMABAD, March 1 (PTI) Pakistans beleaguered former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif now faces possible trial in a new case involving alleged fraudulent purchase of a Russian-made MI-8 helicopter and hiding the deal from tax authorities.
Countrys National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed a reference along with an investigation report in the Ehtesab (accountability) court against him and his close associate Saifur Rehman for purchasing the helicopter worth $ 2.05 million and prayed the court to take cognisance of the matter.
If found guilty, Mr Sharif may be awarded life imprisonment and also be disqualified from holding public office, court sources told private NNI news agency.
A number of witnesses from the civil aviation authority, income tax department, customs and other persons, including former ministers Sartaj Aziz and Capt (retd) Haleem Saddique, allegedly involved in the transaction were examined and their statements recorded, they said.
The report, made available to NNI, said the purchase, ownership and maintenance was not proportionate to Sharifs known sources of income.
After negotiations, Mr Sharif allegedly paid $ 40,000 as advance to Captain Saddique on July 3, 1993.
However, when the negotiations were still underway in Moscow, the licence of Orient Air was cancelled due to an internal corporate dispute, which rendered the company incapable of operating the chopper in Pakistan.
In order to cover this
up, Mr Rehman inducted Javed Iqbal of Javed
Aviation Service Private Limited to operate the
helicopter and was paid a lumpsum of (Pakistani) Rs
7,50,000 for three months, the report said.
NATO told to limit use of US forces
WASHINGTON, March 1 (AFP) The Pentagon has told NATOs top commander that US troops in Kosovo should not be used as reinforcements outside their sector except in emergencies, spokesman Kenneth Bacon has said.
About 300 US troops were sent to Kosovoska-Mitrovica in the French sector on February 20, but were forced to beat a retreat from the Serb sector of the town after coming under a barrage of rocks hurled by angry Serbs.
Mr Bacon said on Tuesday that Gen Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concurred with the decision of NATO commanders to send the troops into the ethnically divided town.
But in a letter the same day to NATOs supreme commander, Gen Wesley Clark, General Shelton made it very clear that, one, he didnt want to draw troops out of the American sector and create vacuums there, Mr Bacon said.
And two, that he didnt think it was appropriate for troops to go into out-of-sector operations to make up for shortfalls in the receiving sector, he said.
The administrations position came as NATO discusses how many more troops it needs in Kosovo to deal with the tension in Kosovoska-Mitrovica, and where they will come from.
Child killer seeks right to die
LIVERPOOL (England), March 1 (Reuters) One of Britains most notorious child murderers began a court bid to be allowed to starve himself to death after 34 years in prison.
Ian Brady (62) began a fast last September at Ashworth Mental Hospital, in protest at being injured by warders as they moved him to a new ward.
He is being force-fed via a tube that has been passed through his nose and throat into his stomach.
Brady and his accomplice, Myra Hindley, were jailed for life in 1966 for the sadistic murders of two children, whose dying cries they recorded. Brady was also found guilty of murdering a third.
The pair, known as the Moors Murderers, buried their victims on lonely Saddleworth moor near Manchester. They later confessed to two other murders.
Bradys appearance in a private hearing before the high court in Liverpool is the first time he has gone to court since his conviction.
Brady said he had had enough and that his objective was simply to be allowed to die. He also said he had been treated with excessive force by staff at Ashworth.
My main objective is to comprehensively expose this regime to public scrutiny and bring the force of law to bear on it before I succumb to the inevitable ravages of the present hunger and thirst strike to the death, Brady said.
It is for continued exploitation of my name that I am being kept in Ashworth, he said in a letter to the BBC. Brady has said that staff in riot gear dragged him from his former ward to the hospitals personality disorder unit, and injured his wrist.
Nigerian clashes claim 300 lives
LAGOS, March 1 (AFP) Four Nigerian reporters, who visited the southeastern town of Aba, have together counted almost 300 bodies of victims of bloody clashes since the past two days, one told AFP by telephone.
I have never seen anything like it in my life. There were bodies every where. We saw, we counted, 292 bodies, the reporter, who works for a Nigerian daily newspaper, said after the visit to the town on Tuesday.
The fighting in Aba and other Nigerian town is pitting northern Hausas, who are almost all Muslim, against Ibos from the southeast, who are mostly Christian.
Mozambique for global aid
JOHANNESBURG, March 1 (PTI) Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano has appealed to the international community to respond urgently to the flood disaster in the country that has claimed over 200 lives and left millions homeless. He told reporters at Maputos airport yesterday that people stuck on rooftops and trees would have to be rescued as a matter of the utmost urgency if further loss of life was to be prevented.
The president said we are appealing to our friends to assist us to overcome this human tragedy. South African Defence Minister Mousia Lekota who visited Mozambique yesterday told reporters that the devastation in Mozambique was shattering.
I am afraid that the international community must also come in to assist the people of Mozambique, said Mr Lekota.
Meanwhile, non-government organisations (NGOs) in South Africa have condemned the international community for failing to respond urgently to the flood disaster in Mozambique.
Currently only the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and to a lesser extent, the Malawi Air Force, are working tirelessly to rescue thousands of people stuck on rooftops, trees and other places.
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take hairpiece hostage
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