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We should reach a decision on Kashmir: Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf Islamabad, July 6
Asserting that India and Pakistan have to step back from their “maximalist” approach on Kashmir, President Pervez Musharraf has said the leaders of the two countries should be “bold enough” to strike a decision on the issue as extremists are on both sides.

US, UK embassies in Pak close after threat attack
Islamabad, July 6
The US and British embassies in Pakistan were closed today after a threatened attack, spokesmen at the missions said. “We were pretty much closed,’’ said a spokesman for the US Embassy, describing staffing on Tuesday as “skeletal’’.


Pakistan Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz arrives to file his nomination papers for the upcoming byelections in Attock
Pakistan Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz ( right) arrives to file his nomination papers for the upcoming byelections in Attock on Tuesday. On his left is district Mayor of Attock Tahir Sadiq.
— Reuters

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

15 die in US strike in Fallujah
Baghdad, July 6
US forces dropped two tonnes of bombs on a purported militant safehouse in Fallujah, killing 15 members of a family, according to witnesses, and turning the building into a 9-meter-deep pit of sand and rubble.

4 killed in Nablus refugee camp unrest
Nablus (West Bank), July 6
An Israeli Army officer and four Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire early today around the Ain Beit Ilma refugee camp in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, Israeli and Palestinian security sources said. The shooting occurred during an operation aimed at arresting wanted Palestinian activists in the camp, the Israeli Army said in a brief communique.

A combination picture shows Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair answering questions before a Parliamentary liaison committee in London on Tuesday A combination picture shows Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair answering questions before a Parliamentary liaison committee in London on Tuesday. Blair admitted on Tuesday that biological and chemical weapons, which he once insisted Saddam Hussein had primed for use, may never be found. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

150 held for illegal stay in Pakistan
Lahore, July 6
The Pakistani police has arrested over 150 foreigners, mostly Afghans and Arabs and some African religious students, for living in Pakistan illegally, the police and security officials said today.

Graphic: U.N estimates for Adults and Children with HIV/AIDS
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We should reach a decision on Kashmir: Musharraf
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, July 6
Asserting that India and Pakistan have to step back from their “maximalist” approach on Kashmir, President Pervez Musharraf has said the leaders of the two countries should be “bold enough” to strike a decision on the issue as extremists are on both sides.

“On the Kashmir dispute, we are all on the maximalist approach...If we stick to that maximalist approach there will be no solution. So, therefore, each one of us has to step back on the maximalist approach,” President Musharraf, who is on an official visit to Sweden, said at the Stockholm Institute of Economics yesterday.

“If we want to resolve disputes and the Kashmir dispute, first of all we need to be sincere about it and not be having any strategy other than pure sincerity with the resolution of the disputes.

Expressing his happiness over the Indian Government’s decision to continue with the peace process, President Musharraf said he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “So let us hope for the best,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run PTV.

Maintaining that the Kashmir issue can’t be ignored as it is a “fundamental issue” between the two countries, he said the two countries currently follow a “two track” approach to resolve the disputes and bring down tensions by initiating confidence building measures (CBMs) and continuing with the dialogue process.

Dwelling on the four point approach proposed by him during the 2001 Agra summit, he said “I do not think there could be any fairer or sensible approach than this. That is what Pakistan desires and we will try our best to achieve success”.

The four point approach included the two countries beginning talks to resolve the disputes, accept “reality” of Kashmir which needs to be resolve, and thirdly, eliminate the solutions that that are not acceptable to India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir and fourthly clinch a solution that is acceptable to all.

Meanwhile, dropping a strong hint that he may continue as both the President and the Army Chief despite his commitment to shed the uniform by the year-end. Gen Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan could not be put to “risk” for the sake of “some perceptions of a democracy which might be variant to our environment.”

Referring to “concerns” of the western countries over restoration of democracy in Pakistan, he said “When two thirds majority of our Assembly have voted for me, why am I not an elected person allowed to be in uniform by the people of Pakistan.”

He, however, said he would take a decision on quitting the post of Army Chief by the end of this year in the national interest.

General Musharraf gave the commitment to quit as the Army chief as part of a quid pro quo deal to obtain the support of Islamic alliance Muttahida Majlis-e Amal (MMA) to get his controversial constitutional amendments ratified by parliament. — PTI

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US, UK embassies in Pak close after threat attack

Islamabad, July 6
The US and British embassies in Pakistan were closed today after a threatened attack, spokesmen at the missions said. “We were pretty much closed,’’ said a spokesman for the US Embassy, describing staffing on Tuesday as “skeletal’’.

The British High Commission, located in the same diplomatic compound in the capital, was also shut, and a spokesman said the security situation was under close review.

Pakistani security officials on anonymity, said the British Council, dealing with education and culture, received a telephone call in Islamabad yesterday threatening an attack, prompting the immediate evacuation of the High Commission.

Yesterday, the US Embassy postponed a reception marking Independence Day due to an alert. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry called the alert a “specific credible threat’’ yesterday, and said security at the diplomatic enclave had been bolstered as a result.

The enclave, where most missions are located, is already heavily guarded in a country where Islamic militant groups including Al Qaida are angered by President Pervez Musharraf’s support for the US-led war on terror.

The US consulate in the southern port city of Karachi had been targeted in attacks by militant groups in recent years.

In June 2002, 12 Pakistanis were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on the mission. In March this year, the police discovered a van packed with explosives outside the consulate two days before a visit to Pakistan by the US Secretary of State Mr Colin Powell. — Reuters

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15 die in US strike in Fallujah

Iraqi men examine a car destroyed by a US air strike in the restive town of Falluja, 55 km west of Baghdad
Iraqi men examine a car destroyed by a US air strike in the restive town of Falluja, 55 km west of Baghdad, on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Baghdad, July 6
US forces dropped two tonnes of bombs on a purported militant safehouse in Fallujah, killing 15 members of a family, according to witnesses, and turning the building into a 9-meter-deep pit of sand and rubble.

Elsewhere, the military announced today that three US Marines assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were killed while on duty in western Iraq. Two died in action yesterday in the Anbar province, while a third died of his wounds late yesterday. Their names were withheld pending notification of families.

The Fallujah attack was the fifth airstrike in the past two weeks in the area where the US military says Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi’s network has safehouses.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi issued an unprecedented statement saying that his government provided intelligence to the US military for the strike. The interim government has been trying to figure out how to deal with the insurgents, and the air strike came just hours after it postponed an announcement of new security laws to deal with them. — AP

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4 killed in Nablus refugee camp unrest

Nablus (West Bank), July 6
An Israeli Army officer and four Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire early today around the Ain Beit Ilma refugee camp in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, Israeli and Palestinian security sources said.

The shooting occurred during an operation aimed at arresting wanted Palestinian activists in the camp, the Israeli Army said in a brief communique.

Three soldiers were wounded, one seriously, during the operation.

Military radio said the raid was carried out by Marines, an elite unit in the Israeli Army.

Two of the four Palestinians were armed while the others were civilians, Palestinian security and hospital sources said.

The armed men holed up in a building that was encircled by soldiers who opened fire, while a helicopter gunship fired two rockets at it, Palestinian security sources said.

One of the armed Palestinians was Yamen Faraj, 27, the local head of the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was killed along with Amjad Aram, one of his lieutenants. — AFP

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150 held for illegal stay in Pakistan

Lahore, July 6
The Pakistani police has arrested over 150 foreigners, mostly Afghans and Arabs and some African religious students, for living in Pakistan illegally, the police and security officials said today.

The arrests were made during a week-long operation in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province and the arrested men were being interrogated at different detention facilities, said Mr Tariq Saleem, Deputy Police Inspector General.

He did not say whether the suspects had any links with terror groups. “I am not in a position to say anything about it at this stage,” he said.

Mr Saleem said the raids were carried out by the police in major cities in the province, including Lahore, the provincial capital, after authorities received reports that some foreigners were involved in “criminal activities.” — AP

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BRIEFLY


A boy cools off in Xian, Shanxi Province, on Tuesday
A boy cools off in Xian, Shanxi Province, on Tuesday. Hot weather in China killed at least 39 persons last week, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. — Reuters

Blast ruptures gas pipeline
MULTAN:
A powerful explosion ripped open a state-owned gas pipeline in eastern Pakistan on Tuesday, disrupting the gas supplies for commercial and domestic consumers, a spokesman said. It was not clear what caused the blast at Uch gas pipeline, 250 km west of Multan, said Ali Hussain Quereshi, spokesman for the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd company. — AP

Therapy for cancer
BEIJING:
China has developed the world’s first officially licensed “gene therapy” which is considered revolutionary in treating cancer a report claimed on Tuesday. Terminally ill cancer patients from Europe and America are travelling to China for treatment with a revolutionary anti-tumour drug, which is the world’s first officially licensed “gene therapy”, the state-run China radio international reported. — PTI

Typhoon leaves 23 dead
TAIPEI: Typhoon Mindulle-caused downpour has left at least 23 dead, 16 injured and 13 missing in Taiwan, with weather officials warning of more heavy rain until Friday. — DPA

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