Monday, May 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Wanted ultras not in Pak: Qazi

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Pakistan High Commissioner (Ambassador) to India leaves the foreign ministry office in New Delhi in this October 15, 2001 file photo. India, furious about a fatal attack on an army camp it blamed on Pakistan-based Islamic militants, said on Saturday it was expelling Pakistan's Ambassador in protest. — Reuters photo

New Delhi, May 19
Calling for an impartial probe into Tuesday’s Kaluchak massacre, Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi today said none of the 20 terrorists whose extradition had been sought by New Delhi was in Pakistan.

“Not one of the 20 persons that you have mentioned on that list are in Pakistan,” Mr Qazi, who has been asked to leave India within a week, said in an interview to Star News.

Describing India’s decision asking him to return to Islamabad as ‘disappointing but not entirely surprising’, he said this was not a positive step that would contribute to alleviating tension between the two countries.

“But I understand the Indians felt that they had to do something and this was the easiest step to take. I wish they had not taken this point of view. Personally I will be sorry to leave India. I have had a wonderful time here,” Mr Qazi said.

He said the Kaluchak incident which Pakistan had condemned in no uncertain terms could not be associated realistically with his country. “In all instances of terrorism, India had accused Pakistan but provided no evidence in support of its claim.”

When pointed out that all those involved in the October 1 Assembly attack in Jammu and Kashmir, the December 13 attack on Parliament and the May 14 Kaluchak incident were Pakistanis, the High Commissioner shot back, “This is your claim.”

He said Pakistan did not condone any act of terrorism. “If an event takes place in which innocent women, children and men are killed, we condemn it and we also ask at the same time for an impartial inquiry,” he added.

Mr Qazi said India had given a list of 20 terrorists along with “general statements” that they were living in Lahore. “You haven’t framed charges which are confirmed by your own courts. These are standard procedures.”

When his attention was drawn to media reports in Pakistan that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in the Mumbai serial blasts case, was living in Karachi, the diplomat said, “No. There is no evidence that he is in Pakistan. A newspaper report does not stand up, it’s not proof.”

He said the Pakistani authorities had gone to those places where, according to a newsmagazine report Dawood Ibrahim was residing. “He (Dawood) is not in Pakistan. Not one of the 20 persons that you have mentioned on that list are in Pakistan.”

The High Commissioner had yesterday regretted India’s decision, but said it was well within New Delhi’s sovereign right. “I am sorry to leave India. I had been here for five years and made many friends.” UNI


India to apprise USA of ties with Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 19
India is likely to brief the USA on the current state of its relations with Pakistan in the wake of the Kaluchak massacre during a two-day meeting of high-level Defence officials of the two countries, beginning in Washington tomorrow.

According to sources, the main focus of a high-level Defence Ministry team, led by Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain, will be on intensifying military-to-military ties between India and the USA, but the team will apprise the latter about the current state of New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad.

The Indian side is understood to have prepared a detailed presentation of India’s perception of its neighbour, which continues to abet cross-border terrorism.

The team is also likely to brief Pentagon officials on its security concerns in the wake of the heightened firing along the Indo-Pak borders in recent days.

The visit is part of a sustained interaction between the two countries since the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. These have also established Executive Steering Groups (ESGs) between their three services, which have met on a few occasions.

Indian and US forces are currently holding joint exercises at Agra. They are also likely to hold more joint exercises in October.


NGOs ask UN to probe Pak role in J-K crimes

New Delhi, May 19
India’s claim that Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism has been endorsed by prominent NGOs from across the world, which have urged the United Nations to appoint a ‘special rapporteur’ to investigate Pakistan’s role in perpetrating heinous crimes in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a memorandum to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, the NGOs expressed grave concern over the alleged systematic and gross violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan by the terrorist groups armed, trained and financed by Pakistan.

They said the declaration of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen as “foreign terrorist organisations” and freezing of their assets by the Bush Administration provided “compelling evidence of Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism. UNI 


Pak suspended from Commonwealth

Patna, May 19
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has decided to suspend the membership of Pakistan from the world body till the restoration of democratic rule in the country. Minister of State for Railways Digvijay Singh, who led the Indian delegation in absence of Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, told UNI here today that the unanimous decision was taken at the meeting of the Action Group held in Botswana, Africa, on May 16 and 17.

The ministerial group agreed with the Indian representation that the so-called referendum won by General Pervez Musharraf was nothing but a farce, Mr Jaswant Singh said.

The Botswana conclave was attended, among other countries, by Australia, Malta, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Nigeria, besides India, he added. UNI

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