Friday, September 21, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak groups step up anti-US protests
PPP, PML not to support protesters

Peshawar, (Pakistan), September 20
Protesters stepped up their opposition today to the USA and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to support possible US attacks on Afghanistan.

Qazi Hussein Ahmed, head of Pakistan's largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, gestures during a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
Qazi Hussein Ahmed, head of Pakistan's largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, gestures during a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday. Qazi said the Afghan clerics' decision to ask Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan was "a ray of hope" that could avert a crisis. — Reuters photo

Protesters took to the streets again in the north-western city of Peshawar, chanting anti-US slogans and demanding that expected US attacks on Afghanistan not go ahead.

It was the fourth successive day of protests in Peshawar, a key exit point for people and goods into Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban have refused all pressure to hand over Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.

The demonstrations have also spread to other cities in North-west Frontier Province on the border with Afghanistan and to the main port city of Karachi.

“Death to America” and “Terrorist America”, about 1,000 protesters chanted as they marched through the old part of the city.

The protesters were also upset at Gen Musharraf’s nationwide televised speech last night in which he defended his decision to extend support to Washington, saying Pakistan’s saying Pakistan’s existence, economic revival and nuclear installations depended on it.

Islamabad: However, Pakistan’s two biggest political parties today signalled they would back Gen Musharraf’s call for national unity amid the looming crisis over threatened US military action against Afghanistan.

Despite concerns that a conflict could consolidate the military’s grip on power, both the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League ( PML) indicated they would not support protests by Islamic parties.

PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar acknowledged Pakistan had little option but to go along with the international community or face diplomatic isolation and a worsening of a severe economic crisis.

Raja Zafarul Haq, the Chairman of the PML, said US attacks would carry enormous risks for the security of Pakistan but also recognised that Gen Musharraf had little choice but to side with Washington. Reuters, AFP


China’s support ‘not conditional’

Beijing, September 20
China today said its support for international action against terrorism was not conditional but expressed its principled stand that any such effort should have the backing of the UN charter and international laws.

“We are not putting any conditions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao told reporters clarifying certain media reports that China’s support hinged on Washington supporting Beijing’s own fight against “splitism” in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

Zhu said China supports attacks on terrorism if they are based on “conclusive evidence” and with clear targets and a guarantee of the safety of innocent civilians.

Meanwhile, China declined to directly comment on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to concede the US demands in the wake of last week’s terror strikes in the USA.

Referring to Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Islamabad on September 18, Zhu said it was meant for “consultations.”

“According to the agreement between China and Pakistan, Wang Yi visited Pakistan on September 18 and exchanged views with each other on the current situation,” he said. PTI


"Kill 1 American, get $ 6,231"

Lahore, September 20
A Lahore newspaper has been closed and its entire editorial staff arrested for publishing head money for American citizens, according to official sources.

A story under the headline “Kill one American, get rupees 400,000” prompted the action against the little known newspaper Punjab Post, the sources in the Information Department of the Punjab province said yesterday. At the current exchange rate that would make the reward about $6,231 for each American.

Editor Khalid Mahmood and 15 of his staff were arrested under public safety laws. DPA

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