|Tuesday, April 11, 2000,
at PML meeting
Koreas to hold first summit in June
to annex areas around Jerusalem
father held for kidnap bid
win in Greece
Lankas monks reject invitation
Ruckus at PML meeting
ISLAMABAD, April 10 (ANI) Ousted former premier Nawaz Sharif just about managed to retain the presidentship of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) yesterday, even as several party members hooted and jeered for a change of leadership at a central executive committee and joint parliamentary party meeting on Sunday.
Several PML members were, however, persistent in their demand to end the hegemony of the Sharif family. The PML confluence expressed disappointment and concern over the award of unfair and harsh punishment to an elected Prime Minister, hoping that Nawaz Sharif would receive full justice in the higher courts.
Chaired by convener coordination committee Raja Zafar-ul Haq, the meeting was attended by more than 300 party members, including Kusloom Nawaz, wife of Nawaz Sharif. In the presence of Kulsoom Nawaz, they also reposed confidence in Raja Zafar-ul Haq and his style of leading the party at this critical juncture.
The meeting was, however, marred by hooting and jeers in an atmosphere of the old days when nobody would be allowed to speak a word against the Sharifs. Calls to replace Nawaz Sharif as party president were suppressed and it was agreed that the issue be put off till the fate of the former premier was decided at the appellate forum.
Fakhar Imam confirmed that the behaviour of some PML members was undemocratic, as everybody should be allowed to speak to establish a culture of tolerance. Four resolutions were passed by the meeting, including a resolution to express profound shock and dismay over the award of life imprisonment to Nawaz Sharif, whose leadership received applaud from the party leaders.
In another resolution, the PML rejected the new system of devolution of power terming it so-called reforms and demanded the restoration of democratic government without any delay. The PML meeting also condemned the continuing human rights violations by the military regime in the name of accountability.
Many members, who were targeted at the meeting, protested over it, though Zafar-ul Haqs speech remained uninterrupted for 45 minutes. The issue of replacing Nawaz Sharif or appointing acting president did not make much headway, as Zafar-ul Haq was unwilling to support the idea.
The meeting discussed a three-point agenda: The visit of South Asia by US President Bill Clinton and its impact; local bodies elections, and political situation prevailing in the country. A number of resolutions were also adopted on the issue.
Sharif hires new lawyer
KARACHI, April 10 (AP) Deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif has added a new lawyer, Mr Azizullah Sheikh, to his defence team who will file the ex-Prime Ministers appeal on Wednesday in the provincial Sindh High Court.
The appeal has to be
filed by Thursday, exactly one week after an
anti-terrorist court convicted Mr Sharif of hijacking and
terrorism and sentenced him to concurrent life terms. He
was acquitted of attempted murder and kidnapping. His six
confidants, including his younger brother, Mr Shahbaz
Sharif, were acquitted of all charges.
Two Koreas to hold first summit in June
SEOUL, April 10 (AP) Once bitter foes, South Korea and North Korea said today that their leaders would hold a summit in June, marking the biggest diplomatic breakthrough in half a century of conflict.
The meeting between South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and his northern counterpart, Kim Jong II, would be the first between leaders of the two states since the Korean peninsula was divided into the Communist North and the US-backed South in 1945.
However, obstacles await. The agenda for the talks has yet to be decided and the two sides are far apart on a number of weighty issues, including the permanent deployment of 37,000 US soldiers in South Korea to guard against any threat from the North.
In simultaneous announcements, Seoul and Pyongyang said the two Koreas agreed on the June 12-14 summit in Pyongyang to promote exchanges, reconciliation and peaceful unification. The two countries fought a 1950-53 war and never signed a permanent peace treaty.
The agreement is an opportunity for bringing development and prosperity to the nation and ensuring hope for peace on the Korean peninsula, Park June-Young, South Koreas chief presidential spokesman, quoted his President as saying.
The announcement was likely to boost the lagging fortunes of South Koreas ruling Millennium Democratic Party ahead of parliamentary elections on Thursday. The party has lost popularity because of corruption and other scandals.
President Kim has been under domestic pressure to show results from his US-supported effort of promoting economic, cultural and other contacts with the isolated North.
He has pursued his so-called sunshine policy despite periodic crises with Pyongyang, including a 1999 naval clash in the Yellow Sea and the Norths test-firing of a rocket over Japan in 1998.
Critics have said Pyongyang has funnelled South Korean humanitarian aid and money from joint ventures with southern companies to the military at the expense of millions of North Koreans who have suffered food shortages for years.
The announcement of the summit only three days before parliamentary elections is nothing but a show to attract public attention, said Suh Chung-Won, campaign manager of the opposition Grand National Party.
Israel to annex areas around Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, April 10 (AFP) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has told his cabinet that Israel plans to annex Jewish areas around Jerusalem and in exchange transfer Palestinian villages to the Palestinian Authority, Israels Channel Two television said.
We intend to annex Maale Adumim, Gilo, Ramot and Pisgat Zeev to Jerusalem, and in exchange to transfer Anata and Abu Dis to Palestinian rule, Mr Barak was quoted as saying to the cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday.
We will transfer Abu Dis and Anata to Palestinian rule, we dont want to annex 50,000 Palestinians to Jerusalem.
According to the television, the annexation and transfer of these areas was to take place within the framework of the final status agreement which was scheduled to be concluded by September 13.
I ask you (ministers at the cabinet meeting) seriously: Do you really think that the Palestinians will have to get permission from us every time they want to enter their villages? ITIM quoted Mr Barak as asking.
Abu Dis and Anata are two villages around Jerusalem which are inhabited by Palestinians. Mr Barak had intended to transfer Anata to full Palestinian rule during the last land transfer under the Sahrm el-Sheikh agreement signed in September, but following pressure from within his own government he changed the withdrawal map.
GAZA CITY (AFP): Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat launched a scathing attack on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday saying new hopes in the peace process had evaporated.
He was speaking after returning from talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, where he warned that relations with the Israelis were at an all-time low.
Indian father held for kidnap bid
NEW YORK, April 10 (IANS) An Indian immigrant father here has landed up in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly trying to kidnap his daughter from the home of a young man she fell in love with.
Agyapal Singh, a recent immigrant from Punjab, was apparently enraged over his daughter Gagandeeps romance with a man from India living in Houston, Texas.
Magistrate Cheryl Pollak, who denied bail for Agyapal Singh, said she was convinced that Gagandeep was in serious danger from her father.
He was arrested from his home in Queens on March 27 by FBI agents for trying to abduct his daughter and harassing her, Assistant US Prosecutor Andrew Bob from the Attorneys Office in Houston told IANS. Agyapal Singh, who was sent to Houston, is still in custody and is being held without a bail bond, he added.
Gangadeep, a high school senior who was into computers, met a young man on the Internet more than two years ago and developed a relationship with him over a period of time. The cyber romance continued for two years, much to the chagrin of the father.
The father did not like it as apparently he wanted an arranged marriage for his daughter, something the daughter did not like, an official at the prosecutors office, who did not want to be identified, said. Once the girl attained the age of 18, she left her home to join her boyfriend in Houston in August last year.
Within a few days, the father, accompanied by Gangadeeps mother and a few others, allegedly reached Houston in a rented van and knocked on the door of the house where his daughter was living in at 5 in the morning. When the boys mother opened the door, the official said, Gangadeeps parents said they wanted to talk to their daughter. Once she came out, they grabbed her and put her into the van against her will, the official claimed.
Within days of reaching her home here, Gangadeep slipped out and called the emergency police number 911. The police, put her in a shelter for women for the night and the next day she was sent to Houston.
Socialists win in Greece
ATHENS, April 10 (Reuters) Greeces Socialist Party eked out a paper-thin victory against its conservative opposition early today and pledged to continue its policies of modernising the economy and improving foreign relations.
A beaming Prime Minister Costas Simitis claimed victory in yesterdays general election and said that his Pasok Socialists had been given a substantial win.
The win gives Pasok the mandate to continue its policy... I call on all Greeks to fight together for the common targets of a strong, modern and socially just Greece, he told a press conference.
New democracy Opposition leader Costas Karamanlis, speaking later, said the governments winning margin was so thin that it would have a hard time continuing as before.
With 92 per cent of the vote counted in Greeces general election, Simitiss Pasok Party had 43.7 per cent of the vote to new democracys 43 per cent, a margin of about 38,000 votes out of an electorate of less than nine million.
We went to hell and came back, Finance Minister Yannos Papandoniou said, referring to the early belief that Pasok has lost.
Pasok is likely to have 157 seats in the 300-seat parliament, according to official projections. New democracy will get 126 with the rest going to smaller parties.
Mr Simitis, a centrist
technocrat, campaigned on his experience and successes -
an economy good enough to join EMU, rapprochement with
Turkey and improvements in relations with Greeces
partners in the European Union and NATO.
Suharto questioned again
JAKARTA, April 10 (AFP) Indonesian prosecutors today returned to the home of former President Suharto to question him for a second time this month over allegations of corruption during his 32 years in power.
Four officials from the Attorney Generals office arrived at Gen Suhartos residence in a central upmarket area of the city, accompanied by a team of five doctors, witnesses said.
The prosecutors on Friday had postponed the scheduled second questioning of Gen Suharto because of a death in the AGs family.
The first question session on April 3, was halted after 90 minutes on medical advice when doctors said Suhartos blood pressure rose and his heart began beating irregularly.
Officials from the AGs office have said that at least two or three question sessions would be needed.
Shevardnadze wins landslide
TBILISI, April 10 (AFP) President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia stormed to an overwhelming first-round victory garnering close to 80 per cent of the votes, the countrys Central Electoral Commission has announced.
Results were based on just over 80 per cent of cast ballots. Turnout was 65 per cent of the 3.1 million electorate.
Official results are expected on April 29 and the inauguration ceremony will likely be held on April 30, officials said.
While the West is likely to welcome Mr Shevardnadzes victory as guaranteeing a firm hand at the helm of this volatile state and making economic reform possible, defeated candidates cried foul.
Sri Lankas monks reject invitation
COLOMBO, April 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankas powerful Buddhist clergy declined an invitation to meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga today to discuss plans to grant greater powers to the countrys regions in an effort to end its long ethnic war.
The influential Buddhist
clergy and Sri Lankan nationalists, most of them from the
majority Sinhalese community, are opposed to efforts to
start peace talks with the LTTE which has been fighting
for a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community
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