Thursday, November 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

N-weapons in safe hands: Pak

Islamabad, October 31
Pakistan has rejected reports that its nuclear weapons are in danger of falling into the hands of renegades as claimed by a US newspaper, the ‘News’ reported today.

The newspaper quoted military spokesman Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi as saying, “This report is totally baseless and ridiculous. The statement by the ‘New Yorker’ just shows how ignorant they are of the procedure and have little idea of the system involved to safeguard (these nuclear weapons). There is no question of anyone attacking or coming close to them.”

Regarding Pakistan’s efforts for reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan when at the moment it was part of the international coalition, which was bombing and destroying the country, the military spokesman said, “It is unfair to say that Pakistan is bombing the Afghan nation or the Afghan people. We are against terrorism. But I do agree that there is collateral damage and civilian casualties are increasing. Pakistan is committed to the welfare of the Afghans”.

Earlier, a Foreign Office spokesman said since Afghanistan had suffered over 20 years, its infrastructure was completely destroyed and unless there was any reconstruction, the refugees in Pakistan would find no incentive to return.

The spokesman said for the political process in Afghanistan there should be representation of all Afghans.

He said special envoy of UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi in his meeting with President Pervez Musharraf did not indicate any timeframe for a broad-based Afghan Government.

Asked whether the UNHCR was pressurising Pakistan to open its borders to Afghan refugees, the spokesman said, “There was greater understanding by UNHCR High Commissioner Rudd Lubbers that help could be provided to the Afghans within their own borders”.

“There is no other example in the world of refugees like those inside Pakistan. According to the UN, there are at least five to six million people who are vulnerable. Such a large group cannot go to another country. The more prudent and economic way would be to assist them in their homes. Camps can be put up inside Afghanistan away from the conflict,” he added. UNI


Security around US nuke plants tightened

Islamabad, October 31
Security around major nuclear facilities in the USA was tightened following fresh threats as US jets today carried out one of the heaviest raids on the Taliban bastion Kandahar and the militia claimed that three weeks of bombings had killed 1,500 civilians in Afghanistan.

Heavy raids have also been reported against the frontlines north of Kabul, including a Taliban headquarters and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

Reports reaching here said 13 civilians, including five women and children, were killed when a bomb hit the Afghan Red Crescent Society clinic in Kandahar, where the airport and military installations were targeted.

Taliban frontlines defending Mazar-e-Sharif in the provinces of Samangan and Balkh came under attack.

The USA, currently reeling under anthrax threat, has placed a week-long ban on aircraft movements within 20 km of more than 80 of its nuclear plants, fearing new terror attacks from Osama bin Laden’s men.

Tough flight restrictions have also been imposed over New York during this week’s world series baseball matches at which President George W. Bush symbolically pitched the first ball yesterday. PTIBack


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