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  #81  
Old Sunday, January 06, 2008
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NWFP CM says peace is foundation stone for prosperity

PESHAWAR: Caretaker Chief Minister Shamsul Mulk has said that since peace is indispensable for the progress and development, therefore, peace should be taken as the foundation for a huge structure of development activities, prosperity and improved services in the social sector for any region.

He was presiding over a presentation to involve the people as stakeholders in getting peace in the province on Saturday. Provincial ministers Muhammad Azam Khan and Imtiaz Hussain Gillani and the information secretary attended the presentation.

The meeting thoroughly debated various issues concerning people at the grassroots level and suggested a number of steps to plan the future course of strategy for resolving the people’s problems.

The chief minister said that peace was so essential that without it, no society can survive adding that everybody has a visible stake in peace. He said that the Pushtoon people loved their traditions and therefore, the institutions that had inbuilt solutions to most of our problems should be strengthened. He said that we should understand that in the present age all institutions and all affairs should be de-politicised.

We need to put a brave face to the prevailing critical situation, he said, adding that the country was passing through a difficult phase of its history that demanded a collective and individual responsibility to respond to issues honestly.

He assured that collectively a reasonable solution to the present mess would be ensured. We have to calculate all our options and should put our heads together to generate a collective response and win back peace for our people and province, Shams said. Shams said that the awareness of people should be raised, making them able to decide what is good and what is bad for them.

The people wanted peace and the government will make all out efforts to bring peace. However, the people must supplement the government’s efforts in this regard, he pointed out. He said that there was a need to build a defence against collective enemies, as there were elements creating problems. online
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  #82  
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Awais takes oath tomorrow

* BHC CJ Yasinzai to take oath as acting Balochistan governor

ISLAMABAD: Former Balochistan governor Owais Ahmed Ghani will take oath as governor of the NWFP on Monday (tomorrow), sources told Daily Times on Saturday.

President Pervez Musharraf accepted the resignation of NWFP Governor Lt Gen (r) Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai. Orakzai cited personal reasons in his resignation, the sources said.

Yasinzai: Balochistan High Court (BHC) Chief Justice Amanullah Yasinzai will become the acting governor of Balochistan till the appointment of a new governor. The most senior judge in the BHC will administer oath of acting governor to Yasinzai in Quetta on Sunday (today), they said.

Orakzai was appointed as NWFP governor to improve the deteriorating security situation in the Tribal Areas. He structured a peace deal with the local Taliban in September 2006. The deal, under which militants agreed not to launch cross-border attacks in Afghanistan and promised to hunt down foreign extremists in return for a slowed down military crackdown, was criticised by Afghanistan and Western allies.

“The peace agreement was a risk he took,” security analyst General (r) Talat Masood told AFP. “It was good conceptually but it was very weak on the implementation side and it ended up in consolidating and expanding the influence of the militants in the sensitive region,” Masood said.
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  #83  
Old Wednesday, January 09, 2008
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BB’s shooter identified

LAHORE: Investigation agencies have identified the man who fired at former premier Benazir Bhutto on December 27 when she was leaving Liaquat Bagh and according to them the suspect is from Swabi district, ARY channel reported. The channel said the National Database and Registration Authority confirmed that the suspect hailed from Swabi. The channel quoted sources as saying that police had arrested several people after a raid at the home of the suspect. It said that authorities were reluctant to give details about the raid and names of those arrested. According to sources, it is feared that the suspect died in the explosion that took place after he fired shots at Benazir. Police sources said that this development could lead to key achievements in this case. daily times monitor
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  #84  
Old Wednesday, January 09, 2008
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Govt fails to take action against wheat hoarders

* Food minister says flour crisis will be over in 3 days
* ‘Villagers responsible for the crisis’

ISLAMABAD: A list of 50 influential wheat-hoarders was presented to caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Mohammadmian Soomro here on Monday, yet no decision for action against these people was taken since a majority of the hoarders on the list are contesting the general elections, Online reported.

The list was first forwarded to the cabinet’s economic coordination committee. Finance Minister Salman Shah, however, opposed any action against the wheat-hoarders, sources said. The sources said that Ministry of Food and Agriculture Secretary Ziaur Rehman presented the list to the caretaker prime minister.

Crisis to end: Meanwhile, Food Minister Prince Essa Jan said the government would end the ongoing flour crisis in another three days, as it would begin releasing 32,000 tonnes of wheat to the provinces on a daily basis. Briefing reporters after a high level meeting on the flour situation in the country, the food minister said there was no shortage of wheat in the country, as the provinces and the federal government had enough stocks. Logistics problems and the power shortages had, however, led to the current situation.

He said wheat was being imported and 900,000 tonnes of wheat would be imported on January 15.

People to blame: The food minister said the rural masses were responsible for the wheat crisis since they had hoarded some 13.5 million tonnes of a total of 23 million tonnes of wheat produced. online/ irfan ghauri/ijaz kakakhel
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  #85  
Old Wednesday, January 09, 2008
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Ghani takes oath : Gen Ehsan likely new Balochistan governor

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR: The name of former Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman Gen (r) Ehsanul Haq has been finalised as Balochistan governor, sources told Online.

The sources said President Pervez Musharraf would issue a notification of appointment within the next two days.

Meanwhile, former Balochistan governor Owais Ahmad Ghani on Monday took oath as the 27th governor of the NWFP. Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Talat Qayyum Qureshi administered the oath at a function also attended by caretaker NWFP Chief Minister Shamsul Mulk, his cabinet ministers, and senior civil and military officials. Ghani replaces Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai. Ghani was appointed governor of Balochistan province on August 11, 2003. online/staff report
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  #86  
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US reviews fight against Qaeda in Pakistan

* Washington focusing on insurgency
* Pentagon, State Deptt at loggerheads over authority

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: The political upheaval in Pakistan and emergence there of a new military leader has revitalised the Bush administration’s long struggle to develop a coherent strategy for uprooting Al Qaeda from Pakistan’s tribal areas, an article published in the Washington Post quoted US officials as saying.

The administration is hopeful that Gen Ashfaq Kayani will support more robust efforts involving US intelligence and military operatives targeting Al Qaeda’s terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, the officials said.

Greater focus: The unrest has led to a greater focus in Washington on threats facing Pakistan, another official said. Senior US officials discussed at the White House last week a new proposal to give US Special Operations forces and the CIA greater leeway to conduct operations in the Tribal Areas. But that proposal remains hampered by bureaucratic infighting in Washington, the article said.

Point of contention: One point of contention involves who within the US government would approve operations in the Tribal Areas. The Pentagon seeks greater authority to conduct operations while coordinating with the State Department. The State Department says the US ambassador should approve every operation in Pakistan. In Pakistan, speculation has intensified for weeks that the US would act unilaterally in the country’s northwestern frontier to counter Al Qaeda’s growing presence there.
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  #87  
Old Thursday, January 10, 2008
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Scotland Yard team ‘quietly’ delivers report on BB’s killing to president

* Two more detectives, bomb expert arrive in Pakistan
* Four investigators in Lahore, likely to visit forensic laboratory
* British experts request Benazir’s autopsy

LAHORE: Anti-terrorism investigators from Scotland Yard delivered a confidential report of their preliminary findings of Benazir Bhutto’s killing to President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday, according to a report published in the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday.

Separately, Daily Times learnt that two more Scotland Yard detectives arrived in Islamabad to join the five-member team already probing Benazir’s assassination. According to AFP, the two detectives are also joined by an expert in the type of explosives used in the gun-and-bomb attack against Benazir’s rally.

Meanwhile, APP reported that the Scotland Yard team has established a camp office at a police guesthouse situated at Police Lines Rawalpindi. Some of the detectives are expected to visit Rawalpindi on Thursday (today), to be briefed on the Liaquat Bagh incident.

Daily Times, meanwhile, learnt that two government officials attached to the Rawalpindi Police Investigation team probing the murder case reached Lahore and visited the forensic laboratory on Wednesday.

Four in Lahore: Also, four members of the investigating team reached Lahore and it was learnt that they would likely visit the city’s Forensic Science Laboratory today. According to Dawn News, the lab is examining crucial evidence, including a missed bullet and a 30-bore pistol recovered from the bombing site. The examination is aimed at discovering whether the ammunition recovered matches the pistol. According to Aaj TV, the team is also expected to meet officials of the Punjab police.

Post-mortem request: Separately, the Scotland Yard team has requested the government to allow them to perform a post-mortem on Benazir Bhutto, reported Sama TV. The channel quoted Interior Ministry sources as saying that the investigators have requested an autopsy to ascertain the real causes of the assassination. It said the team had also expressed indignation about the non-cooperation of the Punjab police. One member of the team has left for Britain to analyse some evidence in the laboratories there, it added. daily times monitor/ agencies/ staff report
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  #88  
Old Thursday, January 10, 2008
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Pentagon rules out operation in FATA

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Pentagon, the US Department of Defence, said on Wednesday that there was no need for any operation by foreign troops in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, reported Geo news.

During a briefing on Afghanistan, Combined Task Force spokesman Brig Gen Joseph Wadel ruled out the possibility of launching an operation by foreign troops in FATA, and said the US and Pakistan had good communication links and together were controlling the insurgency, reported the channel. Wadel acknowledged that the insurgency level had reduced by 41 percent as compared to last year.
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  #89  
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Bush says Iran remains ‘a threat to world peace’

JERUSALEM: US President George W Bush warned Tehran on Wednesday of “serious consequences” if Iran attacked US ships and repeated his assertion that Iran is “a threat to world peace,” reported CNN.

“We have made it clear publicly and they know our position and that is that there will be serious consequences if they attack our ships, pure and simple. My advice to them is don’t do it,” Bush said during a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, AFP reported.

The two countries have been trading accusations since a weekend confrontation involving Iranian boats and US Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The US claims Iranian vessels deliberately sped toward its warships despite warnings to stay away.

Bush called the incident “a very dangerous gesture” by Iran and warned the Islamic republic against any escalation. cnn/afp
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  #90  
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After Benazir, Pakistan on knife-edge again

* Interior Ministry spokesman says Shia areas in NWFP face two-fold threat

PESHAWAR: Pakistani security forces, still reeling from the brazen assassination of Benazir Bhutto, are on high alert this week for an older but potentially far bloodier threat.

Troops and police have been deployed to areas of high militancy and sectarian tension ahead of the holy month of Muharram.

Pakistan’s recent history of sectarian violence, the dramatic rise last year of suicide bombings and the murder of Benazir has some security analysts predicting a bloodbath.

“Given the prevailing security situation in the country, we have directed law enforcement agencies to be on high alert to foil any nefarious designs of extremist elements,” Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Cheema told AFP. “There is a threat perception and we are not going to take any chances. Our security apparatus will be on the highest alert,” he added.

The two communities [Shia and Sunni] generally live in harmony. But violence linked to extremist groups from both sects has killed more than 4,000 people over the last decade, with some of the bloodiest attacks taking place during Muharram.

Two-fold threat: Shia areas in the NWFP face a “two-fold threat,” Cheema said, from ordinary sectarian extremists as well as Taliban-style Islamist militants.

Sunni and Shia tribes dug into hilltop villages outside the town of Parachinar used heavy weapons including rockets and mortars in clashes only last month that left more than 100 people dead.

More troops have been deployed to high ground around the nearby flashpoint town of Hangu, where 22 died in a suicide attack on a Muharram procession last year.

In Karachi, Shia leader Mirza Yusuf Hussain acknowledged that Bhutto’s assassination had raised tensions across the country. “This year we realise that the threat is more prominent after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto,” Hussain said.

He said police would receive help checking vehicles and setting up camps for participants.

Captain Muhammad Fazal, spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers in Karachi, said 10,000 troops would be deployed at “all important locations”.

“If needed, we have a 4,000-strong force in reserve to be called,” he said.

Abdul Ghafoor Hyderi, spokesman of the Sipah-e-Sahaba — a banned Sunni extremist group — said the simple solution was to ban all Shia processions. “We have suggested to the government that to maintain security and save precious lives it is necessary to observe all such religious rituals inside the premises and worship places,” he said. afp
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