Thursday, July 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

NDA not to attend Pak reception
Tribune News Service

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Union Home Minister L. K. Advani at NDA meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union Home Minister L. K. Advani at the NDA meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. 
— PTI Photo

New Delhi, July 11
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today made it clear that the agenda of his summit talks with Pakistan President General Musharraf would not be Kashmir-centric and said that India would strongly raise the issue of Islamabad-supported cross-border terrorism.

Speaking at the NDA meeting this evening, which decided not to attend the high tea being hosted by Pakistan High Commission, Mr Vajpayee said the recent statements made by Gen Pervez Musharraf on the Kashmir issue had caused doubts about his earlier claims that he was coming to India with an open and flexible mind.

Mr Vajpayee said while Pakistan was insisting that Kashmir was the core issue at the talks, India would ensure that there was a composite dialogue on all bilateral issues. Other issues to figure at the Agra summit will include trade and commerce and cultural ties.

The NDA at its meeting at the Prime Ministers’ residence took strong exception to Pakistan High Commission treating the Hurriyat Conference as the only party in Jammu and Kashmir ignoring others, George Fernandes, NDA convener said after the meeting.

“It has been decided that NDA constituents would not be present at the tea party,” he said.

Mr Fernandes said that the Home Minister, the Finance Minister and the Commerce Minister would be part of the Indian delegation for the Summit talks.

Asked as to whom they would talk to as Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has not included their counterparts in his delegation, he said the ministers would advise Prime Minister whenever necessary during the talks.

Mr Musharraf will be leading a 24-member delegation to India which includes, only one minister, Abdul Sattar, heading the Foreign Ministry. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer will not be attending the reception at the Pakistan High Commissioner’s residence here.

Mr Jaswant Singh told the NDA meeting that a protocol officer would represent the ministry at the tea party in the honour of Pakistan’s President.

The NDA constituent parties said at the meeting that inviting the APHC to the tea-party while ignoring the elected representatives and the Jammu and Kasmir Government was unacceptable.

The NDA’s stand today may force the Congress to review its decision to attend the tea-party. Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee said today that though the party would attend the tea party, it had not been decided how many and who among the invited party leaders would attend it.

To a question, Mr Fernandes said, the decision of the NDA not to attend the tea party could not be called a boycott.

Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference leaders said today that they would have one-to-one meeting with President Prevez Musharraf during the reception hosted by Pakistan High Commissioner on July 14. There will be one-to-one meeting with Pakistan President during his visit to Delhi, former chairman of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaz Umer Farooq said here.


Premature to expect solution, says Musharraf

Islamabad, July 11
Barely two days ahead of his India visit, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said tonight that it was “premature” to expect a solution to the Kashmir issue in his first meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

At the same time, he said in an interview to state-run Pakistan television that the two countries would have to make progress on the issue without which the confidence building measures (CBMs) announced by New Delhi would not help improve bilateral relations.

“Expecting a solution to the Kashmir issue... Would be premature. But as the process of dialogue proceeds, the talks could progress on the solution to Kashmir,” President Musharraf said.

Alleging that India had been endeavouring to sideline the Kashmir issue, he said: “But I will..... Talk to Prime Minister Vajpayee with frankness and sincerity, and will highlight the centrality of the Kashmir issue.”

Stating that the entire world’s attention was focused on his meeting with Mr Vajpayee, he said: “I only hope that we achieve progress in the dialogue towards the resolution of the core dispute of Kashmir.”

He welcomed Mr Vajpayee’s remarks at the all-party meeting on July 9 that India would discuss the Kashmir issue in its entirety but said he was keen to involve Kashmir leadership in the talks.

“As the talks will move ahead, the representation of Hurriyat leaders is a must because a dialogue on Kashmir can not progress unless its representation is there. I am very clear on this,” he added. PTIBack


No Indian PoW’ in Pak jails

Islamabad, July 11
Pakistan today said no Indian prisoners of war of the 1971 conflict languished in its jails, but said that 135 civilians were currently imprisoned in Pakistan for various offences.

Pakistan Defence spokesman Maj-Gen Rashid Quereshi said reports in the Indian media stating that some Indian PoWs held in Pakistan jails was “wrong.”

“After verification, it was found that the reports were not true. Nor there were any reports of Pakistani PoWs held in Indian prisons,” he said.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider told Pakistani media in New York that he heard some Indians had sought the release of their kin who were believed to have been taken prisoner by the Pakistan Army and imprisoned as PoWs.

“But a verification check by my department found there were no Indian PoWs in Pakistani prisons”, he said.

New Delhi: India, however, refuted Pakistan’s claim, stating that there were 54 PoWs still in the country’s jails. “We have taken up the issue of 54 PoWs with the Pakistani authorities in the past also. This continues to be our concern,’’ External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Nirupama Rao said. PTI, UNIBack


Tension grips Naherwali
Room demolished ahead of Pervez visit
Our Correspondent

Orphan children Ripu Daman and her brother Zenny Pal standing in front of the portion of their demolished house near Naherwali Haveli in old Delhi area on Wednesday.
Orphan children Ripu Daman and her brother Zenny Pal standing in front of the portion of their demolished house, near Naherwali Haveli, in Old Delhi area on Wednesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, July 11
Tension has gripped Naherwali Haveli in the walled city, to be visited by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on July 14, after demolition of a room of the haveli occupied by Ripu Daman (20).

The room was razed to the ground by a demolition team of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the local police today without prior notice to the occupier.

The demolition was resisted by Ripu Daman, her uncle and a few residents of the haveli. “It was not on encroached land,” said Ripu Daman.

She said her grandfather took two rooms on rent in 1947 when he came from across the border after Partition and since the family had been living in the haveli. Her parents died six years ago. She lived in her two-room house along with her younger brother who studied in class VI in a public school, she said.

Ripu Daman, who works with an advertising agency, said she was not issued any notice by the MCD before the demolition. “The demolition squad came along with a police team, threw out my belongings and demolished the room”.

“When my uncle and I resisted, policemen and MCD people manhandled us. I was thrown inside another room and not allowed to come out while my uncle was arrested. I cried that the room was not on encroached land but they did not bother and demolished it,” she said.

“My grandfather’s house was ruined when the country was divided in 1947 and my house has been demolished ahead of General Musharraf’s visit to the country for a summit”, she said.

The room was demolished after a complaint was lodged with the MCD reportedly by one of her neighbours that the room was on encroached land. Officials of the MCD did not verify the complaint, she said.

The Deputy Commissioner of the MCD, Mr Raj Mohan Singh, said “the room was demolished due to security reasons. There is an 18-foot passage to the haveli. The room was constructed on encroached land”.

The entry of the public into the haveli has been stopped following the demolition of the room. A wooden gate has been constructed at the entry point and visitors are stopped there. Even mediapersons are not allowed without showing there identity cards.

Criticising the demolition act of the MCD and the Delhi police, area MLA Shoaib Iqbal said if the room was on encroached land, a notice should have been issued before the demolition.

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