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Old Monday, August 11, 2008
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Default August 11, 2008

Taliban take control of Khar suburbs

KHAR: At least seven people were killed and more than 20 injured in fighting between the militants and security forces in Bajaur Agency on Sunday, as Taliban occupied a 15-kilometre stretch of land from agency headquarters Khar to the Jaar area.

Fighter aircraft and helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts in the agency after paramilitary troops withdrew from the Taliban stronghold of Loyesam following three days of fierce clashes.

Two helicopters and two fighter jets targeted Taliban hideouts in Loyesam, Bando, Rashakai, Tang, Jaar, Haji Lawang, Yousafabad and Charmang areas until 4pm on Sunday.

About 40 houses were destroyed during the bombing. Taliban fighters attacked the bombers with anti-aircraft guns in the Carela and Tang Khata areas.

Hundreds of armed Taliban militants meanwhile dug trenches in Loyesam along an eight-kilometre stretch of the strategic road leading to Peshawar. Taliban also took control of temporary checkposts in Yousafabad, Haji Lawang, and Jaar abandoned by the security forces. They also blew up an abandoned checkpost in Jarmola Kilay. Witnesses said Taliban dug trenches just a furlong away from the Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar and occupied a bridge in Jaar.

Witnesses said most of the agency is now under Taliban control.

Local sources said 90,000 local residents had emigrated from the area, mostly to the neighbouring Dir district. NGOs have set up camps in the Munda area, between the Dir and Bajaur.

10 PML-Q MPs want safe exit for Musharraf

LAHORE: At least 10 PML-Q parliamentarians have appealed to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to give a safe exit to President Pervez Musharraf and not impeach him, Aaj TV reported on Sunday. Member of the National Assembly Nasrullah Bajrani told the channel that he had the support of 10 PML-Q lawmakers, including Prince Nawaz Khan, Sardar Talib Nakai, Israr Tareen, Tariq Hussain Nakai and Nauman Ahmad Langaryal. He said the lawmakers believed that Musharraf should resign and Zardari should postpone the impeachment motion.

‘Musharraf shouldn’t be given amnesty’

LAHORE: President Pervez Musharraf should not be given a safe exit, PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal told reporters on Sunday, adding, “If we give safe passage to Musharraf, then we should also open the gates of jails.” He said the ruling coalition had the support of about 350 members in parliament.

Coalition to decide on safe exit: Sherry

LAHORE: The leaders of the ruling coalition will decide if President Pervez Musharraf will be given a safe exit if he steps down or is impeached, Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters on Sunday. She said “almost all” PML-Q members and senior PPP leader Amin Fahim will support the president’s impeachment.

Musharraf should quit to avoid impeachment: Naik

* Law minister says Musharraf will not be able to fight charge sheet

LAHORE: President Pervez Musharraf should resign to spare Pakistan the trauma of a bitter impeachment process, Law Minister Farooq Naik told reporters on Sunday.

“A comprehensive charge sheet is being prepared,” he said, adding that the charges include “gross misconduct and violation of the constitution”.

“The charge sheet will be solid and Musharraf will not be able to fight it,” said the minister. “It is better for him to resign before impeachment.”

He declined to publicise details of the charge sheet, however.

Al Qaeda charge sheet Musharraf

LAHORE: Al Qaeda held President Pervez Musharraf responsible for endangering Pakistan’s security, reported Geo News on Sunday. In an audiotape purportedly from Ayman Al Zawahiri, Zawahiri is quoted as saying that Musharraf mistreated AQ Khan to please Washington and allowed US agencies’ operations inside Pakistan.

Move is destined to fail: Shujaat

LAHORE: The impeachment motion against President Pervez Musharraf is destined to fail, said Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Talking to reporters, he said the motion was being tabled due to “personal reasons”, adding that he had advised the president to defend the motion.

PML-Q will defend Musharraf: Elahi

LAHORE: The PML-Q will defend President Pervez Musharraf in case of an impeachment motion, said former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. Talking to Geo News, he said the PML-Q would support President Musharraf on any decision he would take regarding his future.

‘Musharraf will face impeachment’

* Qureshi says Tariq Aziz and Brig (r) Niaz advised president not to dissolve parliament

LAHORE: President Pervez Musharraf will not resign and will face the impeachment motion, said Presidential spokesman Rashid Quershi, Dawn News reported on Sunday.

Qureshi said close aides Tariq Aziz and Brig (r) Niaz met the president at his Camp Office and advised him not to dissolve parliament. He also rejected claims by US journalist Ron Suskind in his book ‘The Way of the World’, and denied charges levelled against president’s son, Bilal Musharraf, of taking money and handing over Dr Aafia Siddiqui to America.

President’s impeachment: I will decide in national interest, says Fahim

KARACHI: Two provinces of Pakistan - NWFP and Balochistan - are burning and I will take the decision that is in the interest of the country, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senior Vice Chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim said on Sunday

He said he had no plans to quit even though he had complaints against the party leadership’s decisions.

“I have no intention of quitting the PPP because it is my own party,” he said after a meeting with Federal Minister Khursheed Shah.

Fahim left for Dubai after the meeting and is expected to meet a close aide of President Pervez Musharraf.

Talking to Dawn News, he said that the time was not right for Musharraf’s impeachment and the coalition should first resolve other problems.

Fahim clarified that he had nothing to do with the decision made by his elder son Makhdoom Jamil uz Zaman, who resigned as the Sindh minister for Inter-provincial co-ordination.

“My son is independent in his decision about his political future. He joined the Sindh cabinet on his own and he has left by his own will. I have neither pressured him nor will I pressure him in the future,” he said.

He brushed aside the impression that Khursheed Shah had brought him any message from Zardari.

Shah said Fahim was still with the party and would not support dictatorship. He added that the Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakhtoonkhwah Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) were supporting the ruling coalition on the president’s impeachment and the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement was being contacted for its support.

Draft resolution sent to provincial assemblies

LAHORE: The PPP Draft Committee sent the draft of the resolution asking the president to seek a vote of confidence to the four provincial assemblies, Express News reported on Sunday. According to the channel, the resolution states that the Punjab Assembly deems Musharraf unfit for the president’s office because he was elected unconstitutionally.

Zardari may be next president, says Wattoo

LAHORE: PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari may be the next president of Pakistan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Production and Industries Manzoor Wattoo said on Sunday. Talking to Express News, Wattoo said Zardari could become the next president as he “had representation in all provincial assembles and the National Assembly”.

‘Musharraf siphoned millions from US war on terror fund’

* PPP co-chairman says swindling to form part of impeachment charge sheet
* Accuses Musharraf of sabotaging economy, democracy, fomenting conflict in Balochistan, Tribal Areas
* Says those who killed Benazir Bhutto want to kill him too

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Zardari has accused President Pervez Musharraf of misappropriating millions of dollars of United States aid given to Pakistan for supporting the war on terror.

Zardari made the charge in an interview published in The Sunday Times on Sunday.

“Our grand old Musharraf has not been passing on all the $1 billion a year that the Americans have been giving for the armed forces,” he claimed. “The army has been getting $250m-$300m reimbursement for what they do, but where’s the rest? They claim it’s been going in budget support but that’s not the answer. We’re talking about $700m a year missing. The rest has been taken by Musharraf for some scheme or other and we’ve got to find it,” Zardari said.

Charge sheet: The alleged misappropriation will form a part of the charge against Musharraf to be announced today (Monday) when parliament is recalled to start impeachment proceedings, the report said.

The move has sparked panic in Washington where the nuclear-armed Pakistan is increasingly seen as a greater danger than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Zardari claimed the US aid might have gone to fund rogue members of the military intelligence, the ISI, who were accused by Washington last week of assisting the Taliban.

“We’re looking for the money. I think he [Musharraf] has a slush fund being used for this and for some activity for the future,” he said.

Accusation: Zardari also accused the president of economic sabotage and fomenting conflict in Balochistan and the Tribal Areas. “They laid so many mines for us,” he said.

“They spent all the money so we would have to borrow; they didn’t pass on the increased price of oil; nor added a single extra megawatt of power in the last 10 years. All these things were deliberately thought out so at the end of day they can turn round and tell the world, ‘Look, democracy doesn’t deliver’, and step back in,” said the PPP co-chairman.

Killing: “I know I’m in danger, whoever killed her [Benazir Bhutto] wants to kill me,” Zardari added.

“To say we’re responsible for the country, yes we are, but first get your role model out of the way, remove your most allied of allies,” said Zardari, adding, “They’ve had Musharraf there 10 years, instead of bringing these issues up with him they are trying to bring them up with us today.”

Zardari warned an old magician of the president’s camp to stop playing with democracy and not force the coalition to include his name in the charge sheet.

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