Saturday, February 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

5 killed in Pak shelling
Tribune Reporters

Jammu, February 1
Three civilians and two Army personnel were killed and six others were wounded in mortar shelling by the Pakistani troops in the Poonch and Rajouri sectors during the past 20 hours.

Official sources said yesterday that the Pakistani forces fired over 500 mortar bombs on the border villages from 82 MM and 120 MM guns besides firing with heavy calibre weapons in which three civilians — Mushtaq Ahmed, Tasleema Jan and Abdul Gani — were killed and several others were wounded.

In the Pakistani shelling, several Indian bunkers and civilian houses suffered damage. The sources said there would have been a heavy loss on this side but the mortar bombs missed targets.

The Indian troops retaliated with long range guns and destroyed over 10 Pakistani bunkers across Poonch and Naushehra in which more than 12 Pakistani soldiers were killed and several of their Army men were injured.

The Defence Ministry sources claimed that two Pakistani ammunition depots were destroyed in the retaliatory fire. The exchange of heavy fire lasted for more than six hours.

Villagers in the hamlets of Khari Karma, Digwar, Haldiar, Salotri, Kerni, Shahpur fled from their houses and hid themselves in bunkers till the firing stopped.

The Pakistani troops also fired over 200 rockets in which several houses in Poonch border villages were partially damaged.

The Pakistani forces also resorted to heavy calibre weapon firing on several Indian border villages and posts in the Ramgarh, Arnia, R.S. Pora, Mendhar and Naushehra areas last night. There was no casualty “on our side”, said Defence Ministry sources.

The Indian troops have been put on a high alert and additional troops have been rushed to the Poonch and Rajouri border areas to give a “befitting reply” in case the Pakistani troops opened fire or resorted to mortar shelling, sources said.

However, according to a PTI report from New Delhi, the Army today denied that 200 rockets were fired by Pakistan in Poonch and said there had been cross-border firing in the sector yesterday but it was restricted to areas near the Line of Control.Back


CIA unfolds Pak minister’s Taliban links
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The controversy about the involvement of Pakistani nuclear scientists with the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan and the Al-Qaida network of Osama bin Laden is proving to be a can of worms for Islamabad.

The latest damning disclosure emanating from diplomatic circles here is that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA has come across leads pointing to possible links of the Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Atta-ur Rehman, with the Taliban regime’s efforts to develop chemical and biological warfare material.

Dr Rehman had earlier been associated with HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, Karachi, which is known for its involvement in the chemical and biological warfare (CBW) programme.

In another development, CIA Director George Tenet, who visited Pakistan in the first week of December, 2001. has handed over to the Pakistani authorities a list of six more nuclear scientists associated with the AQ Khan Research Laboratories (AQKRL) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) for their suspected links with Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaida network.

Sources said prominent among these six scientists are Dr Sulaiman Asad and Dr Ali Mukhtar who were clandestinely sent to Myanmar late last year by the Pakistani authorities to avoid their interrogation by the CIA.

Other scientists in the list are those with Islamic leanings and supportive of Osama bin Laden. They have been identified as Azfar Hasan Zaidi, Kishwar Ali, Taha Hussain and Jabbar Khan.

During Mr Tenet’s visit to Islamabad, the Pakistani authorities had admitted the presence of Dr Sulaiman Assad and Dr Mohammad Ali Mukhtar in Myanmar, but insisted that they had gone there to assist the local scientists in some kind of research work. The PAEC had also confirmed their presence in Myanmar and said that these two scientists were directly related to the country’s nuclear programme and had been working in the Kahuta Research Laboratories for the last few years. The Pakistani authorities did not want them to be probed by the US secret agencies fearing that in this process some information and their links with Al-Qaida network might come out.

In another development, the CIA investigators have directly interrogated three top Pakistani nuclear scientists: Dr A Q Khan, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmud and Chaudhary Abdul Majeed. The interrogation followed when the CIA found some evidence against them from bin Laden’s hideouts regarding development of nuclear weapons.

During his December 2001 trip to Islamabad, the CIA Director provided some evidence relating to grossly inflated bank balances of Dr Mahmud and Dr Majeed after their retirement which led to their re-arrest.

Sources disclosed that after sustained interrogation, Dr Mahmud and Dr Majeed admitted to having met Osama bin Laden and discussed nuclear and chemical weapons’ designs.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |