Tuesday, November 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Laden hijacked Taliban, says Benazir
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Ms Benazir Bhutto today said that the Taliban, though created during her tenure as Pakistan Prime Minister in 1994, would not have been allowed to be hijacked by fundamentalists and Osama bin Laden and events like terror attacks on the USA and Kargil war would not have taken place if her democratically elected government were allowed to last its full term.

Ms Bhutto strongly supported the Simla Agreement on the ground that this agreement had ensured the longest-lasting peace between India and Pakistan, but expressed her disagreement over the concept of converting the Line of Control into the international border between India and Pakistan to settle dispute between the two countries.

In another important averment, she sought to make a distinction between the local Kashmiris waging a fight for self-determination in Kashmir and extraneous non-Kashmiri outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba, adding that such outfits had no role “be it Kashmir, be it Chechnya or be it Bosnia.”

Ms Bhutto, currently visiting India, said at a press conference here that when the Taliban was created during her premiership her interior minister Nasirullah Babar had said “these (the Talibanis) are our children.” But she added that during her tenure the Taliban had not been hijacked and, in fact, the Taliban and the Northern Alliance had signed an agreement in August 1996. She disclosed that in 1989 Bin Laden had financed a move to topple her government. Later he financed Ramzi Yousef, a terrorist now in a US jail, to assassinate her. 


Benazir committed to conflict management of Kashmir dispute
Tribune News Service

Benazir Bhutto
Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Ms Benazir Bhutto, with CII Social Development Council Chairperson Chanda Singh at a function in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, November 26
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto today said that she was committed to conflict management of the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. The need for managing this conflict, according to her, was in the context of the rapid changes in the global economy, which would impact South Asia the greatest with our huge populations.

Speaking at a session on Social Development and Women’s Empowerment organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, Ms Bhutto also covered human rights and democracy, the role played by women heads of state in South Asia, the process of globalisation, and Indo-Pak political and economic relations. Expressing sadness at the price that the women of Pakistan paid for the dismissal of a democratic government led by her, Ms Bhutto said an array of special programmes for women instituted by her government were hit first.

She made it clear that the empowerment of women lay less in laws and more in economic independence. Pointing out the apparent contradictions with regard to women in the South Asian region, Ms Bhutto said while being the home to some of the deepest prejudices that existed against women, the region also was home to the largest number of women elected in any place in the world.

In today’s globalising world, more and more women were entering the workforce and were changing the social complexion of market forces. On the other hand as consumers, women were increasingly changing consumer patterns of the past. Acknowledging the emergence of the WTO as the key global trade structure which would fashion the economics of the next half century.Back


Benazir floors Sonia, scribes with wit
Rajiv Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
When former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto called on Congress President Sonia Gandhi yesterday, the host told her foreign guest that the mangoes which she had sent from Islamabad to her husband Rajiv Gandhi were “indeed very very sweet.”

It was an embarrassing compliment to Ms Bhutto as she has been living in London since her self-imposed exile in 1999 and there was no way she could send another consignment of Pakistani mangoes.

Unable to give Mrs Gandhi sweet mangoes, Ms Bhutto did even better: she gave her sweet tongue. Ms Bhutto changed the topic and told Mrs Gandhi that women could change the political scenario of entire South Asia. She said Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia were already at the helm of affairs in their respective countries and the scene of women power in the subcontinent could be complete if she (Mrs Gandhi) were to come to power in India and she herself in Pakistan.

Needless to say, Ms Bhutto’s wit and humour floored Mrs Gandhi.Back

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