Kin of PoWs present evidence to Pak media
Indians find no trace of kin in Pak jail
J&K issue central to peace process: Pak
Mahatma’s letter to be auctioned
Melting ice speeds up global warming: UN report
‘Iran not to beg for its atomic rights’
21 die in Sierra Leone copter crash
Islamabad, June 4
The 14-member delegation of the relatives of PoWs before leaving for Karachi yesterday showed documents to the media to prove that their loved ones were captured and were present in Pakistan.
Fiftyfour men were scheduled to be released or exchanged in the third phase of prisoner exchange between India and Pakistan, but were not returned, they said.
Since then, there had been no official information about the prisoners, while the Pakistan Government had repeatedly denied having the 54 men in custody, the relatives added.
The Pakistan Government, in official letters and announcements, has denied the presence of the 54 men in its jails.
But President Pervez Musharraf allowed the delegation to visit jails in the country on humanitarian grounds. The delegation visited Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore and visited central prison in Karachi.
Evidence compiled by the relatives of the Indian soldiers consists of letters, radio announcements and reference from books proving their capture, the Daily Times reported.
They plan to present the evidence to Musharraf if and when their request for an interview with him materialises during their current visit.
Among those the relatives believe to be in Pakistani jails are Capt Giriraj Singh, Capt Kamal Bakshi, Flight Lt V V Tambay and Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi.
According to the relatives, Mukhtayar Singh, who was repatriated from Pakistan on July 5, 1988, said Capt Singh was still in Kot Lakhpat Jail.
He also reportedly saw Capt Kamal Bakshi in Mu1tan Jail in 1983. He said Bakshi could either be in Multan Jail or Bahawalpur Jail. There are numerous other such eyewitness reports, Singh's relatives believe.
Flight Lt VV Tambay's name was published in the Pakistani newspaper Sunday Pakistan Observer on December 5, 1971, as Flight Lt Tombay.
It is reported that five Indian pilots were captured.
Pakistan did not include his name in the list of PoWs and the Indian Government forgot to secure his release, they said.
Daljit Singh, repatriated on March 4, 1988, said he had seen Flight Lt Tambay at the Lahore interrogation centre in February 1978. His wife Damayanthi Tambay is part of the PoWs relatives delegation.
The name of Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi, whose plane was shot down near Peshawar on December 4, 1971, was announced over Pakistan Radio the next day. — PTI
Karachi, June 4
The 14-member Indian delegation arrived in Pakistan last week with permission to search for their loved ones in 10 jails in different parts of the country.
The Indians have a list of 54 missing servicemen they believe are in Pakistan.
Pakistan says it is holding no Indian prisoners of war but has allowed the Indians to visit on humanitarian grounds, so they can see for themselves and put their minds at rest.
The delegation visited a jail in the city of Lahore last week where they found no sign of any relative.
The result was the same today after hours of going through records and meeting inmates of Indian origin at Karachi's main prison.
''We've visited two jails and will see some more but we still have hope that we'll meet our missing loved ones,'' said Reshama Advani, who is searching for her husband, Flight-Lieutenant Ram Advani.
Another frustrated relative appealed to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to intervene.
''I'm tired of searching for my brother. It is very hard to find something from records of 36 years in a few hours,'' said Bharat Kumar Suri from New Delhi.
''President Musharraf should ask the Pakistani people that whoever knows anything about our loved ones inform the Indian High Commission,'' Suri told Reuters.
Suri's brother, Major Ashok Kumar Suri, went missing in the 1971 war.
Suri showed reporters a letter he said was from his brother, dated June 1975, in which he said he was in Karachi.
''They just want to know” A Pakistani government spokeswoman said the Indians had been allowed to visit all the jails they wanted to.
''We have repeatedly said there are no Indian prisoners of war in Pakistan and we stick by that position,'' said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam. Pakistan says the problem of civilian prisoners in each other's jails is a much more pressing issue.
An official of the Indian High Commission said the families believed they had evidence stating that Indian soldiers were in Pakistan.
''They just want to know what happened to them. If they are alive, they will take them back. If not, they can put the issue to rest,'' said the diplomat, Suresh Reddy, traveling with the delegation. — Reuters
Islamabad, June 4
''We must take into account aspirations of Kashmiris while finding solution to the dispute,'' foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told a weekly press briefing in Islamabad.
When asked to comment on Indian defence minister's remarks that no time frame for solution of Kashmir issue can be given, she said it is a question of political will and Pakistan has demonstrated it.
On increasing expression of support to President Pervez Musharraf's four-point formula on Kashmir, she emphasised that demilitarisation is the unanimous demand of Kashmiris not only those on both sides of the Line of Control but Kashmir diaspora as well.
She said a just and practical solution of Kashmir issue would have to be in line with the desires and demands of Kashmiri people.
On the ongoing visit of families of Indian prisoners of war (PoWs) to Pakistan, she made it clear that there was no Indian PoW in Pakistan. ''Indian families were allowed to visit Pakistan on humanitarian grounds just to end their miseries,'' she added.
She said these families have been allowed to visit prisons they wanted to and after visiting Lahore they confirmed that there were no prisoners there.
The spokesperson said Pakistan wished that India would be as forthcoming on the issue of civilian prisoners as it is on the issue of PoWs.
''There are about five hundred Pakistani civilian prisoners languishing in Indian jails and Pakistan wants early activation of the joint committee of the judges on the matter,'' she stressed. — UNI
London, June 4
The letter was written for ‘Harijan’ on January 11, 1948. It will be a part of the most comprehensive collection of handwritten letters to be seen on the market for a generation.
The collection is titled ‘The Albin Schram Collection of Autograph Letters’, a personal and private collection assembled over a period of 30 years by the Late Albin Schram.
In the historic letter, Gandhiji expresses regret for having to discontinue the Urdu edition of his paper ‘Harijan’ owing to dwindling readership.
“The dwindle was to me a sign of resentment against its publication. My view remains unalterable especially at this critical juncture in our history. It is wrong to ruffle Muslim or any other person’s feeling when there is no question of ethics,” he wrote.
Advocating the importance of Urdu, Gandhiji asserted that the language has multiple uses, including shorthand and transcription, of Sanskrit verses.
Warning against any boycott of the language, against a backdrop of communal tensions, Gandhiji wrote:, “Any suggestion of a boycott on Urdu script is a wanton affront upon the Muslims of the Union, who in the eyes of many Hindus have become aliens in their own land. This is imitating the bad manners of Pakistan with a vengeance.” The letter ends with a ringing call to “Muslim friends” not only to support the Urdu edition but to learn the Nagari script and thus “enrich their intellectual capital”.
The collection includes 570 lots of handwritten manuscripts by many of the most notable figures of the European history from the 13th to 20th centuries, including Lord Byron, Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth I, Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Napoleon, Sir Isaac Newton, Oliver Cromwell, Claude Monet, Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Bronte.
The auction will be offered through five sections; history, literature, art, science, philosophy, music and theatre.
The sale is expected to fetch in the region of 2 million pounds with individual estimates ranging from 500 to 1,20,000 pounds. Gandhiji’s letter will be part of the history section. It is currently estimated to fetch 9,000-12,000 pounds. — UNI
Tromsoe (Norway), June 4
"Snow and ice reflect 70 to 80 per cent of the sun's energy, whereas water absorbs it. If snow and ice continue to melt, this will amplify global warming," report author Paal Prestrud told a press conference in the Norwegian Arctic town of Tromsoe.
The Global Outlook for Ice and Snow report was launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme to mark the World Environment Day on June 5.
It argued that an estimated 40 per cent of the world's population could be affected by the loss of snow and glaciers on the mountains of Asia. Many Asian rivers begin in the Himalayas and less ice and snow would mean less water for drinking and agriculture.
In addition, rising sea levels would affect low-lying coasts and islands hitting hard countries such as Bangladesh or Indonesia.
Melting ice and snow are also likely to increase hazards including avalanches and floods from the build-up of potentially unstable glacial lakes.
Rising temperatures and the thawing of permafrost, or frozen land, is triggering the expansion of existing lakes, and the emergence of new lakes and rivers in places like Siberia.
"Snow and ice are continuing to decline because of human activity. They will continue to do so if greenhouse gases continue to be emitted," Prestrud added.
‘Iran not to beg for its atomic rights’
Tehran, June 4 The remarks by the Islamic Republic's highest authority come two days ahead of a summit of the Group of Eight top industrialised nations. World powers have demanded Iran halt uranium enrichment, a process western nations say Tehran is mastering so it can build atomic bombs. Tehran insists its plans have purely civilian goals and has refused to halt the work. The UN Security Council has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Iran since December for failing to halt enrichment. G8 foreign ministers said last week Iran faced further sanction for failing to stop sensitive atomic work.
Tehran, June 4
The remarks by the Islamic Republic's highest authority come two days ahead of a summit of the Group of Eight top industrialised nations. World powers have demanded Iran halt uranium enrichment, a process western nations say Tehran is mastering so it can build atomic bombs. Tehran insists its plans have purely civilian goals and has refused to halt the work. The UN Security Council has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Iran since December for failing to halt enrichment. G8 foreign ministers said last week Iran faced further sanction for failing to stop sensitive atomic work. — Reuter
21 die in Sierra Leone copter crash
FREETOWN (Sierra Leone), June 4 Sports minister Atipe Kwako was among the 18 Togolese nationals on board the Paramount Airlines helicopter which caught fire while descending in preparation for landing at Lungi and crashed on the tarmac around 8:30 pm yesterday (0200 IST today).
FREETOWN (Sierra Leone), June 4
Sports minister Atipe Kwako was among the 18 Togolese nationals on board the Paramount Airlines helicopter which caught fire while descending in preparation for landing at Lungi and crashed on the tarmac around 8:30 pm yesterday (0200 IST today). — AFP