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  #31  
Old Saturday, December 01, 2007
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Musharraf to quit if ‘situation worsens’


WASHINGTON, Nov 30 President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday that if the coming elections created a situation that was ‘unacceptable’ to him, he would step down. In an interview with ABC television, Mr Musharraf also said that the United States and other western powers were partly responsible for the current political crisis in Pakistan.

Asked if he would enter into a power-sharing arrangement with Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto, Mr Musharraf replied: “I’m not into any deal with anyone.… We are in a stage where we have to have free, fair and transparent elections. We have to see, after the election, how things develop.”

He paused, and then said: “If the situation develops in a manner which is absolutely unacceptable to me, I have a choice of leaving.”

Mr Musharraf insisted that measures like the imposition of emergency were taken in response to the ‘opposition’s tactics’.

“The opposition, they have all along these five years tried to destabilise me and the government. You have to understand, we don’t want agitation here... Agitation means breaking down everything, burning things. That cannot be allowed.”

The president he would not allow political protests even after withdrawing some of the restrictions imposed on Nov 3. “So, therefore, if anyone is trying to do that, we will stop it. That is the way it is in Pakistan.”

Mr Musharraf said that Washington should blame its own ‘inconsistent’ policies for failing to achieve the desired results in this war.

“If there’s a failure, it’s not Pakistan’s failure,” the president replied when asked why his government failed to root out Al Qaeda and Taliban militants from the tribal region.

Pakistan, he said, had been struggling against radicalism and terror for 30 years. “We are fighting terrorism everywhere,” he told ABC television. “We have gone through 30 years of turmoil. We cooperate very well. So if there’s a failure, it’s not Pakistan’s failure. Please don’t accuse us.”

The United States, he said, turned a blind eye to terrorism until Sept 11, 2001. “We handled the situation alone for 12 years,” he added.

Mr Musharraf refused to say what he would do with if Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan.


http://www.dawn.com/2007/12/01/top1.htm
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  #32  
Old Monday, December 03, 2007
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Sharif facing Pakistan poll ban


Mr Sharif is expected to appeal against the ban
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been barred from standing in 8 January parliamentary elections.

A rival candidate had complained to the Election Commission, citing criminal convictions against Mr Sharif. The commission upheld the complaint. (maine kya kia hai)

Mr Sharif returned from exile last month. He was overthrown in a 1999 military coup led by the then head of the army, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

President Musharraf resigned from his army post last week.

He was sworn in for a second term as president, this time as a civilian, on Thursday.

Selective amnesty

Mr Sharif has until Friday to appeal against the ban.

Benazir Bhutto - 1/12/07
Ms Bhutto is already on the campaign trail

"His nomination papers are rejected because of his convictions," election officer Raja Qamaruzaman told the Reuters news agency in the eastern city of Lahore.

Mr Sharif said he found the decision "very surprising" and would tell other opposition parties they should join him in opposing the vote.

"We should now be fighting the dictatorship with more vigour and more determination."

Mr Sharif has said his party plans to boycott the vote, although he filed his nomination papers before making a final decision.

President Musharraf signed into law an amnesty earlier this year that cleared former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from corruption charges facing her.

At the time he and Ms Bhutto were engaged in power-sharing talks. The amnesty was a major factor in her decision to return from self-imposed exile.

However the terms of the amnesty did not clear Mr Sharif.

He was found guilty of hijacking and terrorism after ordering in 1999 that the plane carrying Gen Musharraf back to Pakistan be stopped from landing.

The move led to Gen Musharraf staging the coup.

Mr Sharif went into exile the next year.

Boycott differences


Mr Sharif and Ms Bhutto are meeting to discuss a possible joint boycott of January's elections.

Mr Musharraf says he will lift emergency rule, imposed one month ago, on 16 December.


Mr Sharif has called for a boycott, but Ms Bhutto has indicated that a boycott would play into Mr Musharraf's hands.


Mr Sharif's brother, Shahbaz, has already been banned from the January elections. He had also applied to stand for a Lahore constituency. (kya hoga yaar)
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  #33  
Old Tuesday, December 04, 2007
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Fatal blast at Pakistan madrassa


A bomb at an Islamic religious school in south-west Pakistan has killed at least six people, officials say.

Several others were injured in the blast in Qila Saifullah in Balochistan province near the Afghan border.

All casualties were students attending the madrassa, officials said. No one has admitted carrying out the attack.

Balochistan has a long border with troubled Afghanistan. Nationalist rebels in the gas-rich province are also fighting for greater autonomy.

It is not clear if the blast in Qila Saifullah, about 150km (90 miles) from the provincial capital, Quetta, was linked to the nationalist insurgency or to the conflict in Afghanistan, where the Taleban and other militants are fighting Western-backed government forces.


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Police official Mohammed Farooq told the Associated Press news agency that four students had been killed in the bombing, while two others died of their injuries later.

He said the bomb went off in a room used by an Afghan refugee, who had left after staying the night as a guest.

The bomb was concealed in clothing left by the Afghan, officials say.

"Six people were killed and five others injured, all of them students at the Imdadul Uloom seminary, when a bomb hidden in the bundle exploded during a search," provincial home secretary Furqan Bahadur told the AFP news agency.

Police say they have sealed roads in and out of the town as they search for the man.
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  #34  
Old Tuesday, December 04, 2007
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Post Spanish court drops graft case against Benazir

Spanish court drops graft case against Benazir
Tuesday 4th December, 2007 (IANS)

A Spanish court has dropped money-laundering investigation against Pakistan's former premier Benazir Bhutto citing lack of evidence.

Bhutto, who returned home Oct 18 after eight years of self-exile, her husband Asif Ali Zardari and several others were being investigated after suspicions were raised by foreign currency operations at a bank in the eastern Spanish town of Onteniente and the purchase of a house in Spain.

But Joaquin Banos, spokesman for the prosecutor's office at the Superior Court in the eastern region of Valencia, Monday said prosecutors were unable to find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing during more than two years of investigations, the Daily Times reported Tuesday.

Banos said the case became unsustainable after the Pakistani government of President Pervez Musharraf, which took part in the prosecution, decided not to proceed with it earlier this year.

Bhutto has also been under investigation for corruption and money laundering in Pakistan and Switzerland.

http://www.karachinews.net/story/306015
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  #35  
Old Tuesday, December 04, 2007
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Woman in Pakistan suicide bombing


Troops cordon off the area of a suicide bombing near a military post in Peshawar, 4 December
Police and soldiers sealed off the area
Police in Pakistan say a woman suicide bomber in a burka has blown herself up near an army checkpoint in Peshawar.

Islamist radicals have carried out a wave of suicide attacks in Pakistan in recent months, but this is thought to be the first by a woman since 9/11.

The attack happened in a neighbourhood which is home to senior retired and serving army officers.

Police say the bomber - thought to be an Afghan woman in her 40s - was the only casualty.

Lawless areas

Peshawar is a frontier city in north-west Pakistan adjoining the lawless tribal areas that run along the border with Afghanistan.



Many in the West have long regarded the tribal areas as a safe haven for Taleban and al-Qaeda militants.

But in recent months the militants have extended their activities to other areas of Pakistan, including Peshawar.

No group has said it was behind the latest attack.

In another incident, suspected militants kidnapped six Pakistani policemen in Bajaur, in the tribal areas.

Local officials are quoted as blaming the Taleban.


BBC
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  #36  
Old Tuesday, December 04, 2007
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US 'kills key Iraq al-Qaeda man'



Slain al-Qaeda militant Abu Maysara.
Abu Maysara was said to be a senior figure in al-Qaeda in Iraq
A man killed during fighting in Iraq last month was a key figure in the al-Qaeda in Iraq movement, the US military has said.


Abu Maysara, a Syrian, was a senior adviser to the group's leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, a statement said.

Abu Maysara died during a raid near Samarra and was identified using DNA evidence, the military said.

Separately, US military officials say they regret the killing of an Iraqi civilian during operations on Monday.

The militant Abu Maysara and five other people died during a fire fight that broke out when US forces surrounded a house used to disseminate al-Qaeda in Iraq propaganda in Samarra, 100km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

He is thought to have played a key role in the group's media network and is said to have escaped from prison in March.

Warnings 'ignored'

Monday's civilian death occurred during operations against suspected al-Qaeda militants in the town of Tarmiya, north of Baghdad.

Another three civilians were shot and wounded during the incident.

A US spokesman said the civilians had been in a vehicle that approached troops at high speed, ignoring warnings to stop.

Last week a number of other civilians were killed by mistake in at least two separate incidents in Iraq.

BBC
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  #37  
Old Saturday, December 08, 2007
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Gunmen kill Bhutto's supporters
Gunmen in Pakistan have killed three supporters of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto amid campaigning for January general elections, police say.

The attackers opened fire on an office of Mrs Bhutto's opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in a village in the south-western Baluchistan province.

The pre-dawn attack could be linked to tribal rivalries, police said.

Violence is common in the run-up to and during elections in Pakistan, especially in remote rural areas.

The shooting occurred in the village in Naseerabad district, about 240km (150 miles) east of the provincial capital of Quetta, police said.

"Unidentified men entered the PPP office and sprayed bullets on men sleeping there, killing three and injuring another," a local police officer was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Police believe the attack could be linked to a land dispute between two local tribes.

The death toll was later confirmed by PPP officials.

Mrs Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after spending eight years in exile.

Her homecoming was overshadowed by two bomb blasts in the southern city of Karachi that killed some 140 people celebrating her return.
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  #38  
Old Sunday, December 09, 2007
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The former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has confirmed that he will not stand as a candidate in the country's elections in January.

Mr Sharif's nomination papers were earlier rejected, and he now says he will not appeal against that decision.

Mr Sharif made a dramatic return to Pakistan last month after years in exile, and quickly re-established himself on the political scene.

He is now one of President Musharraf's most outspoken critics.
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  #39  
Old Sunday, December 09, 2007
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Swat cleared of militants: army

* Gen Janjua says militants may regroup for a major counter-attack
* Troops set to launch operation against militants in Matta

MINGORA: The Pakistan Army claimed on Saturday that it has cleared almost all militants from Swat after killing 290 rebels and arresting another 143 in recent weeks.

According to AFP, Major General Nasser Janjua said 20,000 troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery had driven the militants out of their strongholds in an ongoing military operation. “Fazlullah is still on the run with hardcore militants estimated to be between 200 to 400, including some foreigners,” Janjua told reporters here.

“The militants have retreated to two places in the mountains in the northwest of the valley and we will chase them there,” the commander added.

Likely counter-attack: However, Janjua was careful not to claim success, saying the militants remain dangerous and likely will try to regroup for at least one major counter-attack, reported AP. He said officials believe that some of the fighters loyal to Fazlullah have melted into the local populace, while the hardcore supporters have been pushed into the Piochar side valley.

He said Fazlullah had been involved with the “enemy”, and claimed Al Qaeda had played a role in the unrest in the conservative region.

He said five soldiers and six civilians had been killed in the operation and around 20 civilians had also been wounded. He said it would take up to four months to stabilise the region, adding that it would take at least 12 months to reopen the region to tourists.

Matta operation: Meanwhile, Daily Times has learnt that security forces are set to launch a large-scale operation against militants in the Ghat Poochar area of Matta, Swat. Residents say a large number of troops have taken positions on the Baryam Top, traditionally a precursor to a military operation.

Separately, security forces have arrested 24 suspected militants in Kanjoo and Baryam Top areas, including a confidante of cleric Fazlullah, sources said. Fazlullah’s close aide Maulana Muhammad Esa was captured in Swat and shifted to an undisclosed location, sources told Daily Times. staff report/agencies

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default...-12-2007_pg1_1
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  #40  
Old Sunday, December 09, 2007
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Government’s legal aides give final shape to PCO-2


* Legal aides suggested clauses related to judiciary be altered
* 10 seats in NA suggested for ulema, technocrats, professionals

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: The government’s legal aides gave final shape to a draft of the Provisional Constitution Amended Order-II (PCO-2), recommending several amendments in the constitution before lifting the emergency on December 15.

The draft, penned by Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, was finalised during a meeting at President’s House. Attorney General Malik Qayyum, Wasim Sajjad and several officials of the Law Ministry and presidential aides attended the meeting.

Judiciary clauses: Sources said the legal aides suggested that clauses related to the judiciary be altered. Article 209, which deals with the accountability of the superior judiciary, would authorise the president to send, in consultation with the Supreme Judicial Council, a judge on forced leave until his case had been decided. The sources said that the legal advisers are also considering amending Article 41(3). It said this amendment would allow the presidential election to be held even before the expiry of the presidential term, as the words related to the fixed period of the presidential election shall be abolished with effect from August 17, 1988.

Similarly, Article 44(2), regarding the eligibility for the presidential candidate, is also likely to be amended with the words, “subject to constitution” being replaced by “notwithstanding anything contained in the constitution”, they added.

10 seats: They said the government was also considering amending Article 51-2(A) to allow 10 seats in the National Assembly to be reserved for ulema, technocrats and professionals. According to the proposal, every provincial assembly would elect two members, Daily Times Monitor quoted Geo News as reporting. A proposal to hold the elections for the two seats of Islamabad, according to the procedure laid down in Article 59, is also under consideration, it added.
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