Pak reopens supply route to NATO forces
Nobel laureate’s wife forced to leave Beijing
Islamabad, October 9
The United States apologised to Pakistan on Wednesday for the September 30 raid that killed two Pakistani soldiers, raising hopes that Pakistan would reopen the Torkham border crossing in the northwest for transporting supplies for NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Pakistan had closed the Torkham route passing through the Khyber Pass soon after the cross-border incursion killed the soldiers. Authorities cited security reasons. “After assessing the security situation in all its aspects, the government has decided to reopen the NATO/ISAF supply from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Torkham with immediate effect,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Our relevant authorities are now in the process of coordinating with authorities on the other side of the border to ensure smooth resumption of the supply traffic.”
Richard Snelsire, the U.S. embassy spokesman, said Washington welcomed the reopening of the border crossing, and called it “a positive development.”
An embassy official, speaking on background, said trucks would likely start moving into Afghanistan on Monday.
The helicopter strike that sparked the border row was the most serious of recent cross-border incidents involving NATO-led forces fighting in Afghanistan, which have stoked tensions with Pakistan.
The US ambassador described the incursion as a terrible accident. Saturday’s attack on the tanker trucks was the sixth in recent days. A second supply route passing through southwestern Pakistan has remained open.
Trucking routes through Pakistan bring in around 40 per cent of supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to the United States Transportation Command. Of the remainder, 40 per cent come through Afghanistan’s neighbours in the north and 20 per cent by air.
Most of the NATO supplies in Pakistan come through the northwest where Pakistani security forces have been battling a growing insurgency by militants linked to al Qaeda and Taliban.
The United States has been pressing Pakistan to take a harder line against militants launching cross-border attacks from their Pakistani safe havens in the northwest on Western forces in Afghanistan. — Reuters
Gunmen torch 29 more oil tankers
Islamabad, October 9
Officials said that around 30 armed men attacked the tankers with automatic weapons and rockets in the Mithri area of Bolan district, nearly 200 km from Quetta, early this morning. Two personnel of the Levies force were injured in the firing. The tankers were parked outside a roadside hotel at the time of the attack. Fire fighters were called in from nearby towns to extinguish the blaze. Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search for the attackers.
This is the fifth attack on the NATO supply vehicles since the beginning of the month. None of the militant groups have yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred three days after militants torched 50 NATO tankers and containers in the northwestern city of Nowshera. — PTI
Beijing, October 9
“(The police) are sitting there waiting for me to get my things together,” US-based Radio Free Asia quoted Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, as saying late Friday.
Liu Xia told the broadcaster that the police said they planned to take her to Jinzhou but she was worried that she could be held under house arrest at another place outside Beijing. “They said I could see him (Liu Xiaobo) tomorrow,” Liu Xia was quoted as saying.
Dissident Wang Jinbo also quoted Liu Xiaobo’s brother as saying Liu Xia was en route to the prison in Jinzhou “in the company of the police”.
Liu Xia was expected to arrive in Jinzhou Saturday morning, accompanied by her brother, Wang reported on his Twitter feed.
Wang is a friend of Liu Xia and travelled with her in July on one of the four prison visits she made to Jinzhou since Liu Xiaobo was transferred there in May.
On her Twitter account late Thursday, Liu Xia said she had rejected police efforts to persuade her to travel to Jinzhou, which is about 500 km from Beijing, before Friday’s announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize.
After the announcement, a group of up to 100 supporters gathered outside Liu’s Beijing apartment compound while police prevented her from leaving.
Liu Xiaobo, a prominent writer and one of China’s leading dissidents, was arrested in December 2008, two days before he and 300 others released the Charter 08 for democratic reform. He was sentenced in December to 11 years in prison for subversion. — DPA
Obama asks China to free Liu
Washington: US President Barack Obama has applauded Nobel Committee’s decision to honour jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with the 2010 Peace Prize and asked Beijing to release the human rights activist as soon as possible. “By granting the prize to Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” Obama said.
Washington: US President Barack Obama has applauded Nobel Committee’s decision to honour jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with the 2010 Peace Prize and asked Beijing to release the human rights activist as soon as possible. “By granting the prize to Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” Obama said. — PTI
UK Queen asked to slash spending by 25 per cent
Statues stolen from ISKCON temple
‘Million dollar’ Al-Qaida leader killed
Indian appointed prof at Harvard