New Age Islam
Tue Nov 24 2020, 09:33 PM

Islamic World News ( 23 Feb 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Qaddafi Massing Forces in Tripoli as Rebellion Spreads

36 killed in a stampede in Miladun Nabi assembly in Mali

Troops kill 10 terrorists in Kurram Agency

7 Yemeni MPs resign in major blow to Saleh

Yemen rallies after demonstrator killed

Bahrain protesters call for strike to oust government

Fakieh vows more jobs for Saudis in retail sector

Ahmadinejad condemns civilian killings in Libya

Afghan suicide car bombing injures dozens

Vastanvi wins the battle, but with a caveat

Arab Unrest Propels Iran as Saudi Influence Declines

Saudi king announces $35 billion aid for citizens

Davis Case: Shumaila’s uncle poisoned in Lahore

'Davis case mishandled by interior ministry'

Davis ends hunger strike over 'substandard food'

Davis case may end up in ICJ

China, Pak to enhance military ties

Five security officials killed in attack on Khyber check post

India, Pak talks on March 28-29

Two wanted CIA men spirited out of Pak

Jamiat Ulema Hind not happy with Godhra verdict

Gaddafi ordered Lockerbie bombing, says ex-minister

One dead, seven hurt in tribal clashes

Grand welcome for King Abdullah

Kasab to challenge death penalty in Apex Court

Madrasa teachers on dharna at Jantar Mantar for with their demands

Former minister Mahboob Ali passes away

Faith in judiciary further strengthened: Umarji's son

Indo-Arab ties strengthened: Jaipal Reddy

Warships being sent to evacuate Indians from Libya

S Koreans to leave Libya on special flight: Ministry

China plays down “Jasmine” threat; tightens security

Turkey leads the way in evacuations from Libya

World grapples for response as battles divide Libya

Al Qaeda in N. Africa backs Libya uprising: SITE

Minority status will not change Jamia's secular character'

Dar-ul stopgap cleric returns

Didn't arm protesters, Berlusconi tells Gaddafi

'Qadri killed Guv in his own capacity'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to find out extradition fate

Israel jets hit Gaza after rocket attack

World grapples for response as battles divide Libya

Pakistan’s anti-terror efforts lauded

Zardari quietly visited UAE to explore options

Pak Railways needs Rs 11.5bn to overcome financial crunch

Hussain Haqqani, Marc Grossman meet in US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/qaddafi-massing-forces-in-tripoli-as-rebellion-spreads/d/4182

 

------

Qaddafi Massing Forces in Tripoli as Rebellion Spreads

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

BAIDA, Libya — Forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi were reported to be striking back in several cites surrounding Tripoli on Thursday, as rebellion crept closer to the capital and defections of military officers multiplied.

The minaret of a mosque in Zawiya, a city 30 miles west of Tripoli where protesters had claimed victory, was blasted by heavy weapons in a morning attack, killing or wounding protesters who had been using the building as a refuge, a witness told The Associated Press by telephone. And in Sabratha, about 50 miles west of the capital where a government crackdown has been under way for several days, gunshots rang out as military troops filled the town, a witness said. With journalists banned from the area, it was impossible to independently verify these reports.

“We are not afraid, we are watching,” said the witness in Sabratha, a doctor reached by telephone. The city was under lockdown, he said, with no stores open, and the buildings of the police and Col. Qaddadi’s revolutionary committees were in ruins, he said, burned by protesters. “What I am sure about,” he said, “is that change is coming.”

Tripoli also remained in a state of lockdown, even as Colonel Qaddafi called on thousands of mercenaries and irregular security forces to defend his bastion, in what residents said was a desperate and dangerous turn in the week-old uprising.

Distrustful of even his own generals, Colonel Qaddafi has for years quietly built up this ruthless and loyal force. It is made up of special brigades headed by his sons, segments of the military loyal to his native tribe and its allies, and legions of African mercenaries he has helped train and equip. Many are believed to have fought elsewhere, in places like Sudan, but he has now called them back.

Witnesses said on Wednesday that thousands of members of this irregular army were massing on roads to the capital, Tripoli, where one resident described scenes evocative of anarchic Somalia: clusters of heavily armed men in mismatched uniforms clutching machine guns and willing to carry out orders to kill Libyans that other police and military units, and even fighter pilots, have refused.

Some residents of Tripoli said they took the gathering army as a sign that the uprising might be entering a decisive stage, with Colonel Qaddafi fortifying his main stronghold in the capital and protesters there gearing up for their first organized demonstration after days of spontaneous rioting and bloody crackdowns.

The fall of other cities to rebels on Wednesday, including Misurata, 130 miles east of the capital, left Colonel Qaddafi more embattled — and his opponents emboldened. By Thursday, there were also reports that Zuara, 75 miles west of the capital, was under the control of antigovernment militias. To the east, at least half of the nation’s coast, up to the port of Ra’s Lanuf, appeared to have fallen to opposition forces, a Guardian correspondent in the area reported. Colonel Qaddafi’s hometown of Surt, believed to still be under government control, lay between there and the capital.

“A message comes to every mobile phone about a general protest on Friday in Tripoli,” one resident of Tripoli said. Colonel Qaddafi’s menacing speech to the country on Tuesday — when he vowed to hunt down opponents “house by house” — increased their determination “100 percent,” the resident said.

Dozens of checkpoints operated by a combination of foreign mercenaries and plainclothes militiamen lined the road west of Tripoli for the first time, witnesses said, requiring not only the presentation of official papers but also displays of flag-waving, fist-pumping enthusiasm for Colonel Qaddafi, who has long fashioned himself as a pan-African icon.

“You are trying to convince them you are a loyalist,” one resident said, “and the second they realize that you are not, you are done for.”

The overall death toll so far has been impossible to determine. Human rights groups say they have confirmed about 300 deaths, though witnesses suggested the number was far larger. On Wednesday, Franco Frattini, the foreign minister of Italy — the former colonial power with longstanding ties — said that nationwide more than 1,000 people were probably dead in the strife.

Egyptian officials said Wednesday that nearly 30,000 people — mostly Egyptians working in Libya — had fled across their border. People fleeing west into Tunisia said the rebellion was now taking off far from its origins just a week ago in the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, which fell over the weekend.

There were reports for the first time of protests in the southern city of Sabha, considered a Qaddafi stronghold.

On Wednesday, protesters had claimed victory in Zawiya, where local army units are said to have joined them. In Sabratha, home of an important Roman archaeological site, witnesses had reported a heavy deployment of machine-gun toting foreign mercenaries and Qaddafi loyalists known as revolutionary committees.

“The revolutionary committees are trying to kill everyone who is against Qaddafi,” said a doctor fleeing Sabratha at the Tunisian border, declining to give his name for fear of reprisals if he returned.

But amid spreading rebellion and growing defections by top officials, diplomats and segments of the regular army, Colonel Qaddafi’s preparations for a defense of Tripoli also reframed the question of who might still be enforcing his rule. It is a puzzle that military analysts say reflects the singular character of the society he has shaped — half tribal, half police state — for the past 41 years.

“It is all shadow and mirrors and probably a great deal of corruption as well,” said Paul Sullivan, a professor at Georgetown who has studied the Libyan military.

Colonel Qaddafi, who took power in a military coup, has always kept the Libyan military too weak and divided to do the same thing to him. About half its relatively small 50,000-member army is made up of poorly trained and unreliable conscripts, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Many of its battalions are organized along tribal lines, ensuring their loyalty to their own clan rather than to top military commanders — a pattern evident in the defection of portions of the army to help protesters take the eastern city of Benghazi.

Colonel Qaddafi’s own clan dominates the air force and the upper level of army officers, and they are believed to have remained loyal to him, in part because his clan has the most to lose from his ouster.

Other clans, like the large Warfalla tribe, have complained that they have been shut out of the top ranks, Professor Sullivan noted, which may help explain why they were among the first to turn on Colonel Qaddafi.

Untrusting of his officers, Colonel Qaddafi built up an elaborate paramilitary force — accompanied by special segments of the regular army that report primarily to his family. It is designed to check the army and in part to subdue his own population. At the top of that structure is his roughly 3,000-member revolutionary guard corps, which mainly guards him personally.

Then there are the militia units controlled by Colonel Qaddafi’s seven sons. A cable from the United States Embassy in Libya released by WikiLeaks described his son Khamis’s private battalion as the best equipped in the Libyan Army.

His brother Sa’ad has reportedly used his private battalion to help him secure business deals. And a third brother, Muatassim, is Colonel Qaddafi’s national security adviser. In 2008 he asked for $2.8 billion to pay for a battalion of his own, to keep up with his brothers.

But perhaps the most significant force that Colonel Qaddafi has deployed against the current insurrection is one believed to consist of about 2,500 mercenaries from countries like Chad, Sudan and Niger that he calls his Islamic Pan African Brigade.

Colonel Qaddafi began recruiting for his force years ago as part of a scheme to bring the African nations around Libya into a common union, and the mercenaries he trained are believed to have returned to Sudan and other bloody conflicts around Africa. But from the accounts of many witnesses Colonel Qaddafi is believed to have recalled them — and perhaps others — to help suppress the uprising.

Since the Libyan military withdrew from the eastern border, Egyptian officials said, tens of thousands of Egyptians — many of whom had worked in Libya’s oil-propelled economy — have fled back to Egypt. About 4,200 crossed over on Sunday, a similar number on Monday, and about 20,000 on Tuesday, when border security collapsed.

The Egyptian authorities said the migrants brought the bodies of three people killed in the crackdown on Benghazi, five people wounded by bullets and 14 others who were taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Many complained that they had been attacked and robbed by the mercenaries, officials said.

Mustafa Said Ahmed, 26-year-old accountant who had worked in Benghazi, said in an interview that he saw 11 people killed by the mercenaries in “a massacre” after the noon prayer last Friday.

The country’s long-serving interior minister, Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes al-Abidi, said Wednesday that he had decided to resign after the people of Benghazi were shot down with machine guns.

In an interview with CNN, he said he had argued against Colonel Qaddafi’s intention to use airplanes to bomb that city, the nation’s second largest, warning that it would kill thousands. State media, however, claimed he had been kidnapped by “gangs.”

The justice minister has already resigned for similar reasons. Two Libyan bombers diverted to Malta rather than bomb civilians, and on Wednesday a Libyan newspaper reported that a third Libyan military pilot had downed his bomber in the eastern province rather than carry out a mission to bomb Benghazi.

After nightfall on Wednesday, witnesses reported sporadic bursts of gunfire around Tripoli neighborhoods. But they said the streets seemed eerily deserted. Green Square, which had been a rallying point for pro-Qaddafi forces, had only a few hundred left in it. And the state television headquarters, which had been heavily guarded, was left almost unattended.

Elsewhere, there were signs that Colonel Qaddafi’s forces were refortifying. For the first time, witnesses said, at least four army tanks had rolled into the streets of the capital.

Kareem Fahim reported from Baida, Libya, and David D. Kirkpatrick from the Tunisian border with Libya. Reporting was contributed by Sharon Otterman, Mona El-Naggar, and Neil MacFarquhar - from Cairo.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/world/africa/25libya.html?ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

------

36 killed in a stampede in Miladun Nabi assembly in Mali

Stampede in Miladun Nabi assembly, 36 killed

New Age Islam News Bureau

Bamako: At least 36 people have died and 112 were injured in a stampede in a Miladun Nabi programme in the capital of Mali yesterday. Thousands had gathered in a stadium to listen to the sermon of a renowned scholar on the occasion of Miladun Nabi. The stampede happened when at the end of the ceremony, people jostled with each other to shake hands with the speaker seated at the dais. People fell on each other causing the stampede. Most of the victims are said to be women. Witnesses said the toll could go up to 44. People have complained of poor security arrangements at the stadium. Last year also, at least 26 people had died in the stampede in a gathering in a mosque on the occasion of Miladun Nabi in Timbuktu.

------

Troops kill 10 terrorists in Kurram Agency

Feb 24, 2011

PESHAWAR: At least ten terrorists were killed and several others were wounded on Wednesday as security forces targeted terrorists’ hideouts in parts of the Kurram Agency, a security official said. The security forces backed by gunship helicopters launched operation in two areas of Kurram Agency. Security sources pounded suspected terrorist hideouts. At least ten terrorists were killed and several were reportedly wounded and two terrorist hideouts and a vehicle were destroyed in the operation. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\24\story_24-2-2011_pg7_7

------

7 Yemeni MPs resign in major blow to Saleh

Feb 24, 2011

SANAA: Seven members of Parliament have resigned from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party to protest what they described as government violence against demonstrators, parliamentarians said on Wednesday.

The resignations, including some major allies of Saleh, are a political blow to a president facing popular opposition to end his 32-year rule, although he still retains the support of around 80 percent of Parliament.

“The people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully,” Abdulaziz Jubari, a leading parliamentarian who has resigned, told Reuters.

Jubari said the parliamentarians had sent a 10-point letter to Saleh with demands for immediate reform, including restructuring the army to make it more representative of Yemen’s complex society and to aid a transition to democracy. Among those who resigned is tribal leader Abdo Bisher from the Sanaa region and two figures from southern Yemen.

Saleh’s General Ruling Congress Party still has around 240 members out of the 301-strong parliament, which the opposition says was a result of unfair elections and the use of state machinery to elect Saleh’s allies.

Saleh said he will not succumb to what he described as opponents advocating anarchy. Fifteen people have died in the unrest since last week.

A Yemeni man around 20 years old died in hospital from gunshot wounds suffered in clashes on Friday between security forces and protesters in Aden’s Mansoura district, a medical source told Reuters on Wednesday.

His death brings to 14 the number of people reported killed in clashes around Aden since Thursday. One other man was killed in the city of Taiz last week.

Gunmen in the southern province of Lahej kidnapped three soldiers, one with the rank of captain, after storming a military base, a local source said. Three soldiers and two of the gunmen were wounded in the clash.

http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article281583.ece

------

Yemen rallies after demonstrator killed

February 24, 2011

Thousands streamed into a square in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Wednesday, trying to strengthen the hold of anti-Government protesters after club-wielding backers of President Ali Abdullah Saleh tried to drive them out.

One person was killed and at least 12 were injured in the clashes on Tuesday near Sanaa University, medics said. A local human rights group gave a higher toll, saying two people were killed and 18 hurt.

Also on Wednesday, seven legislators who belong to Saleh’s ruling party resigned from the group because of the situation in the country and said they will form their own independent bloc, Member of Parliament Abdul-Aziz Jabbari said. The resignations raise to nine the number of legislators who left Saleh’s Congress Party since protests began earlier this month.

The US-backed Saleh, in power for 32 years, has said he will step down after national elections are held in 2013. But a widening protest movement, inspired by successful uprising in Egypt and Tunisia, demands that he leave office now.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/319935/Yemen-rallies-after-demonstrator-killed.html

------

Bahrain protesters call for strike to oust government

February 24, 2011

Protesters in Bahrain will stage more demonstrations and a nationwide strike if the government refuses to resign on Thursday.

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has agreed to withdraw troops from the streets of Manama and pardon political prisoners in a move to appease protesters.

Most of the protesters are Shia Muslims who are demanding more rights from the country's ruling Sunni Muslims.

But the king refused to dismiss the government and amend the constitution, the demands which many opposition activists see as a vital pre-condition for a dialogue between the government and the opposition groups.

Full report at:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/320080/Bahrain-protesters-call-for-strike-to-oust-government.html

------

Fakieh vows more jobs for Saudis in retail sector

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

Feb 23, 2011

JEDDAH: Labor Minister Adel Fakieh on Wednesday announced the government’s plan to create more jobs for Saudis in the retail trade sector.

“The retail sector is one of the major sectors that can absorb a large number of Saudi jobseekers,” he said.

Opening a workshop on “Opportunities and Challenges in the Retail Sector,” the minister said a number of decisions would be issued shortly to employ a substantial number of young Saudis in the sector. However, he added that new decisions would be taken only after meetings with representatives of the private sector.

He said the number of Saudi dropouts from jobs in the retail sector is comparatively low because of the good salaries and benefits they receive.

“We have a plan to link issuance of recruitment visas to a company with its Saudization performance,” he added.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article281694.ece

------

Ahmadinejad condemns civilian killings in Libya

February 24, 2011

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has condemned the killing of protesters in Libya and called on the Libyan government to respect the people's will. Demands for change shaking the Middle East would end the oppression of "arrogant" powers and would reach other continents like Europe or America,

unless discrimination and military occupation ended, he predicted.

"Instead of killing people, listen to them," Ahmadinejad said in comments aired on state television. He did not mention Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi by name.

"How is it possible that a state leader uses bombers, tanks and cannons to kill his own people and afterwards warns that whoever says something will be killed. That is really ugly," Ahmadinejad added.

Full report at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/restofasia/Ahmadinejad-condemns-civilian-killings-in-Libya/Article1-666124.aspx

------

Afghan suicide car bombing injures dozens

24 February 2011

At least 24 people have been wounded in a suicide car bomb explosion in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, police said.

The attack occurred in Spin Boldak town on the Pakistan border. The injured included 16 civilians.

The town is situated 70 miles (110km) from the provincial capital, Kandahar, which is a Taliban stronghold.

In the past few weeks, there have been a wave of suicide attacks in Afghan cities, including the capital, Kabul.

''Our forces and personnel from the intelligence department were following the suicide attacker's car," commander of the Afghan border police forces in Spin Boldak told the BBC.

"When he realised that he had no way of fleeing the area, he blew himself up," he said.

One officer told the BBC that the attacker "wanted to get into the district governor's office".

Militants have attacked the Spin Boldak area many times in the past.

At least 17 people were killed and 23 others were wounded last month in a suicide attack in a crowded public bath house in the town.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12563580

------

Vastanvi wins the battle, but with a caveat

Vidya Subrahmaniam

Deoband: Defying escalating rumours of his imminent exit, the embattled Vice-Chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, on Wednesday managed to stay on in his post.

However, Mr. Vastanvi's long-term future continues to be in suspense, with the Majlis-e-Shura (governing council of the Islamic seminary) directing a three-member committee to look into the disturbances following his appointment — on the campus as well as outside it. The Shura also nominated Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani (Banarasi) to the vacant post of karguzar mohtamim (working Vice-Chancellor), with the caveat that Mr. Nomani will take over from Mr. Vastanvi in the event the committee ruled against the latter.

Mr. Vastvani himself read out a press statement issued on behalf of the Shura. The import of the statement was that though Mr. Vastanvi offered his resignation to the Shura, the governing council had rejected the offer, and instructed him to continue in his post. Asked how this squared with Shura's subsequent condition that his future depended on the verdict of the committee, Mr. Vastanvi said: “All I will say is that I am the VC and all the rumours and machinations against me could not remove me.” He pointed out that the Shura had rejected his offer of resignation.

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/24/stories/2011022463681500.htm

------

Arab Unrest Propels Iran as Saudi Influence Declines

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN

MANAMA, Bahrain — The popular revolts shaking the Arab world have begun to shift the balance of power in the region, bolstering Iran’s position while weakening and unnerving its rival, Saudi Arabia, regional experts said.

While it is far too soon to write the final chapter on the uprisings’ impact, Iran has already benefited from the ouster or undermining of Arab leaders who were its strong adversaries and has begun to project its growing influence, the analysts said. This week Iran sent two warships through the Suez Canal for the first time since its revolution in 1979, and Egypt’s new military leaders allowed them to pass.

Saudi Arabia, an American ally and a Sunni nation that jousts with Shiite Iran for regional influence, has been shaken. King Abdullah on Wednesday signaled his concern by announcing a $10 billion increase in welfare spending to help young people marry, buy homes and open businesses, a gesture seen as trying to head off the kind of unrest that fueled protests around the region.

King Abdullah then met with the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, to discuss ways to contain the political uprising by the Shiite majority there. The Sunni leaders in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain accuse their Shiite populations of loyalty to Iran, a charge rejected by Shiites who say it is intended to stoke sectarian tensions and justify opposition to democracy.

Full report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/world/middleeast/24saudis.html?_r=1&ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

------

Saudi king announces $35 billion aid for citizens

Feb 24, 2011

RIYADH: Saudi King Abdullah returned home to the world’s biggest oil exporter after three months abroad for medical treatment on Wednesday and unveiled a series of benefits for citizens estimated to be worth $35 billion. The benefits include funding to offset high inflation, to help young unemployed people and to support families to get affordable housing and were offered as popular protests over poverty, corruption and repression hit many Arab countries. Hundreds of men in white robes performed a traditional Bedouin sword dance on carpets laid out at Riyadh airport as they prepared to greet the monarch, thought to be 87. Before his arrival, state media announced the action plan to help lower and middle income Saudis among the 18 million native population. The package included pay rises to offset inflation, unemployment benefits and affordable housing for families. The measures did not include political reforms in the absolute monarchy such as elections to municipal councils demanded by liberals and opposition groups. Like other Arabs, Saudis watching the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ben Ali Zine al-Abidine have started calling in social media for reforms in the kingdom. Hundreds of people have backed a Facebook campaign calling for a “day of rage” on March 11 to demand an elected ruler, greater freedom for women and release of political prisoners. Under the king’s measures announced on Saudi TV, the state will pay aid for unemployed young people and tuition fees to study abroad, while waiving loans. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\24\story_24-2-2011_pg1_3

------

Davis Case: Shumaila’s uncle poisoned in Lahore

February 24, 2011

LAHORE: Some unidentified outlaws have fed poisonous bills to the paternal uncle of Shumaila, the widow of Faheem, who was crushed to death in Lahore in Raymond Davis double murder case, Geo News reported early Thursday.

The discussed family also claimed to have received life-threats a week ago for following lawsuit against Raymond Davis, sources said.

According to details, some unknown gunmen broke into house of Shumaila’s uncle Mohammed Sarwar and forcefully fed him poisonous pills besides brutally torturing the victim.

Later, the intruders succeeded to flee the crime scene while the victim, Mohammed Sarwar, was rushed to hospital in critical condition, sources said quoting hospital sources.

Meanwhile, the area SSP Sadiq Fogar claimed that their home is under police’s constant observation.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Faheem’s widow committed suicide at hospital in protest against unlawful act happened to her family and laziness of government in handing US suspect punishment. She also demanded justice of Pakistan government before suicide via television footages.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11653

------

'Davis case mishandled by interior ministry'

Feb 24, 2011

Islamabad: Pakistan's former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has accused the interior ministry of 'mishandling' the case of US official Raymond Davis, who faces trial for killing two Pakistanis, by not letting the matter be confined to his ministry.

"The Raymond Davis case was mishandled because interior ministry was made the focal point instead of keeping it confined to the foreign ministry," said Qureshi, removed as foreign minister in the recent cabinet reshuffle by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led ruling coalition government.

The Pakistani government has been facing a stand-off with the US administration for not granting diplomatic immunity to Davis despite repeated pleas from America.

Davis, an official with a US diplomatic mission in Lahore, was arrested on January 27 after he shot dead two youths. He claimed to have acted in self-defence as the armed youngsters were trying to rob him at an ATM machine.

In a sign of displeasure, Washington has postponed the dialogue between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan scheduled later this month. The US is also threatening to withdraw the $1.5 billion aid package promised to Islamabad for the war on terror.

In an interview with Express TV Wednesday night, Qureshi admitted that he 'failed to understand' the interior ministry's decision on the issue and said the subsequent turn of events also suggested that 'this mess could have been avoided'.

Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/international/davis-case-mishandled-interior-ministry-399

------

Davis ends hunger strike over 'substandard food'

Feb 24, 2011

 Lahore: Double-murder accused US official Raymond Davis, who had gone on a hunger strike in a Lahore prison to protest against 'substandard food' being given to him and to press for removing security cameras, has reportedly ended his strike.

Davis, whose menu includes boiled rice and chicken four days a week, had gone on a hunger strike on Tuesday to protest against the prison conditions, sources informed the media.

An official said that Davis refused to eat in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, adding that the detained American also wanted the security cameras around his barrack removed, a demand rejected by the jail authorities.

However, a US embassy spokesperson denied reports of the hunger strike, terming them as baseless. Also, members of banned organisations, who were earlier kept with Davis in the high security zone, have reportedly been shifted out from there, leaving the US official alone in the compound.

Only police officers having special permission from authorities are allowed to enter the high security compound.

It has also been learned that US Consulate staff visits Davis on a daily basis, and the consulate has requested transferring him from the Kot Lakhpat Jail to Rawalpindi’s Adiyala jail.

http://www.asianage.com/international/davis-ends-hunger-strike-over-substandard-food-396

------

Davis case may end up in ICJ

Feb 24, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The lingering dispute over immunity for jailed US official Raymond Davis, accused of double murder, may end up at the International Court of Justice if efforts to resolve the matter diplomatically and bilaterally fail.

Although the US has been insisting that it is focused on bilaterally settling the row, sources suggest that the dispute could be referred to the ICJ.

“There is a dispute resolution mechanism. There is an optional protocol to Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR)… under which there is a provision for the dispute to be notified to the International Court of Justice,” a diplomatic source said on Tuesday.

Both Pakistan and the US are signatories to the ‘optional protocol’ to the VCDR.

Another route for ending the controversy could be arbitration.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the National Assembly on Monday that the two countries continued to differ on the interpretation and applicability of international and national laws in the case.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/davis-case-may-end-up-in-icj.html

------

China, Pak to enhance military ties

Saibal Dasgupta

Feb 24, 2011

BEIJING: China and Pakistan have announced a packed military exchanges' schedule in 2011. This would include two joint military exercises, Chinese media quoted visiting Pakistan Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne as saying on Wednesday.

The two countries would participate in a multinational naval drill in March besides two bilateral army and air force exercises.

Chinese People's Liberation Army chief Gen Chen Bingde told the Pakistani general that China is willing to work with his country to develop the mechanism of defence and security talks, deepen strategic cooperation and contribute to the peace, stability and common development in the region and the world, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Gen Wynne said ties between the two countries are based on the principle that the China has a role in maintaining regional peace and stability. ``That's why we can move forward on joint efforts on the development of sophisticated weapon systems, including aircraft and tanks, and in the area of anti-terrorism,'' he said.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/China-Pak-to-enhance-military-ties/articleshow/7559420.cms#ixzz1Er3YGt3p

------

Five security officials killed in attack on Khyber check post

Feb 24, 2011

LANDI KOTAL: Five security officials were killed in a militant attack on a check post in Khyber tribal region’s Landi Kotal area on Thursday, DawnNews reported.

Militants attacked the check post with heavy weapons as a result of which two security officials were also wounded, security sources told DawnNews.

The wounded officials were shifted to a hospital for treatment.

Security forces subsequently started a search operation in areas surrounding the check post.

Separately, in Khyber’s Bara area, three people were killed in clashes between armed militants from two banned organisations.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/five-security-officials-killed-in-attack-on-khyber-check-post.html

------

India, Pak talks on March 28-29

February 24, 2011

India and Pakistan will sit across the table on March 28 and 29 when Home Secretaries of two the countries will resume the dialogue process, stalled in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. The talks will cover issues like terrorism and progress in the Mumbai terror attacks trial.

The talks will be held after the Foreign Secretaries of two countries met in Thimpu earlier this month and announced the resumption of dialogue and visit of the Pakistan Foreign Minister to New Delhi in July. This announcement was a follow-up of a declaration by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani in Thimpu last year to resolve all issues through talks.

As regards the forthcoming Home Secretary level between GK Pillai and Pakistan Interior Secretary Chaudhary Qamar Zaman, Islamabad has conveyed to New Delhi its consent to the meeting after Pillai extended the invitation to his Pakistan counterpart. India had proposed two sets of dates — March 21-22 and March 28-29

http://www.dailypioneer.com/319984/India-Pak-talks-on-March-28-29.html

------

Two wanted CIA men spirited out of Pak

February 24, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Two U.S. citizens with alleged diplomatic status were quietly withdrawn from Pakistan after being involved in a fatal car accident last month while trying to help Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor being held by Pakistani authorities on murder charges.

Two officials familiar with U.S. government activities in Pakistan said the two Americans who left the country worked for the CIA under contract as protective officers. This means they were employed as highly skilled bodyguards, like Davis, for CIA operations officers serving in Pakistan.

The two Americans who left Pakistan have not been otherwise identified by U.S. or Pakistani authorities. The CIA declined to comment.

According to a translated Pakistani police statement obtained by Reuters, the two Americans got into the car crash while trying to go to the aid of Davis, who U.S. sources say claims he shot dead two Pakistanis on a motorcycle when they tried to rob him at gunpoint as he was driving in Lahore.

Full report at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11651

------

Jamiat Ulema Hind not happy with Godhra verdict

New Age Islam News Bureau

New Delhi: The President of Jamiat Ulema Hind Qari Usman Mansurpuri and the General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani have termed the Godhra judgment as incomplete justice. They said that the accused were acquitted after spending 9 years in jail. It shows lacunae in the judicial system. The Banerjee Commission had said that the tragedy was an accident but later reports indicated to a conspiracy. The way the investigation into the case was marred by the allegations of bias from the beginning, it can be said that the situation is not clear even now and there must be biased on the part of the government.

------

Gaddafi ordered Lockerbie bombing, says ex-minister

February 24, 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi allegedly ordered the 1998 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, the North African country's ex-justice minister is quoted as saying by a Swedish newspaper. Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who resigned on Monday over Gaddafi's violent crackdown on protesters, said

that he had "proof that Gaddafi gave the order" of the bombing that claimed 270 lives, according to an extract from an interview published on Wednesday on the online site of the Expressen daily.

He added that in order to conceal his role, Gaddafi "did all in his power" to secure that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan secret agent who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in 2001 for the bombing, was brought back to Libya.

The Expressen newspaper said that its reporter met Abdel-Jalil at an unnamed location in Libya, but the excerpt did not offer details of Gaddafi's alleged involvement.

In 2009 al-Megrahi was released on health grounds from a jail in Scotland, but he is still alive despite being given three months to live from cancer at the time.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/europe/Gaddafi-ordered-Lockerbie-bombing-says-ex-minister/Article1-666111.aspx

------

One dead, seven hurt in tribal clashes

February 23, 2011

QUETTA: One person was killed while seven others sustained serious injuries in two separate tribal clashes in Quetta and Dasht on Wednesday.

According to the local police and levies authorities, two groups of Achakzai tribe exchange fire over a dispute at the Eastern Bypass of the provincial capital.

As a result, one person identified as Wali Dad died on the spot.

Area police rushed to the area and pacified the matter.

In the meantime, armed groups of Bangulzai and Pirkani tribes clashed over land dispute near Mills area of the district.

As a result, seven persons were reportedly wounded and admitted to the Civil Hospital of Quetta.

Both the incidents are being investigated.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11624

------

Grand welcome for King Abdullah

Feb 23, 2011

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah arrived here Wednesday to a grand welcome after being away from the Kingdom for three months for treatment following a slipped disc.

“I am in good health and hope all Saudi people are fine,” the king said on arrival at the airport.

He was received at King Khaled International Airport by King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain; Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation; Prince Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior; and other senior princes and officials including Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman.

Riyadh was in a festive mood to receive the king who was returning home after a three-month absence to undergo medical treatment abroad. The city was decked up with national flags and massive banners extending a warm welcome to the king. While returning from the airport, the king waved at people who were standing on the streets to welcome him with Saudi flags.

As part of the celebrations to mark the king's return to the Kingdom, the government announced Tuesday that all government departments, ministries, schools and universities will remain closed on Saturday. Bankers said that they have not got any intimation as yet from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency about a bank holiday on Saturday.

Full report at: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article280958.ece

------

Kasab to challenge death penalty in Apex Court

February 24, 2011

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist convicted for the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, will appeal to the Supreme Court against the death sentence awarded to him, his lawyer said here Wednesday.

The Bombay High Court Monday upheld the death sentence the trial court awarded to Kasab for his role in the 26/11 attack.

In my brief meeting with Kasab, I told him that he can file appeal to the Supreme Court challenging the death sentence awarded to him," Kasab's lawyer Farhana Shah said.

"'Hum appeal karenge' (I will appeal), Kasab told me," Shah added.

Shah, however, mentioned that she is yet to receive the copy of the order of the Bombay High Court.

"The process of filing an appeal in the Supreme Court can be started only after we receive an order copy," she said.

A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R.V. More dismissed Kasab's appeal challenging the death sentence given to him by Special Judge M.L. Tahaliyani in May 2010.

A total of 166 people were killed in the mayhem let loose by Kasab and nine other Pakistani gunmen during the 60-hour Mumbai terror attacks. While he was caught alive, the nine other terrorists were kileld in gun battles with the security forces.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/319837/Kasab-to-challenge-death-penalty-in-Apex-Court.html

------

Madrasa teachers on dharna at Jantar Mantar for with their demands

New Age Islam News Bureau

New Delhi: About 1500 madrasa teachers have staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar demanding their salaries and have vowed not to leave the place till their demands are met. Initially their programme was to put up a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar for only three days to convey their demands to the Centre but now they say that they will not go back until the Education Minister Kapil Sibal comes with an assurance for payments of their salaries. It should be noted that 12028 teachers of the  4445 madrasas affiliated to the Board have not received their salaries for the last two years. These teachers have been working in madrasas under the modernisation scheme of the Human Resources Ministry. They had demonstrated at Jantar Mantar last year as well but to no avail.

------

Former minister Mahboob Ali passes away

New Age Islam News Bureau

Bikaner: The former minister of Rajasthan Mehboob Ali died of heart attack on Tuesday. He was 79. He had undergone operation of both of his kidneys with financial assistance of the Gehlot government of Rajasthan two months back. He was cremated in Chaukhunti Qabrasthan on Wednesday. Born in 1931, Mr Ali was elected for the Rajasthan Assembly on Janata Party ticket in 1977 and served in various ministries in the Bhairon Singh Shekhawat government till 1980. He was the vice president of BJP and left it in 1988 to join the Congress. Later he joined Sarvoday Congress.

------

Faith in judiciary further strengthened: Umarji's son

Feb 24, 2011,

Ahmedabad: Son of Maulvi Hussain Umarji, alleged to be the key conspirator in the case, was jubilant over his father being acquitted in the Godhra case today.

"From the very beginning, due to faulty investigation of the agencies, my old father was confined to prison for eight long years. I think a big injustice was done to us," Saeed Umarji, son of Syed Hassan Umarji, said. "Ultimately, our faith in the judiciary further got strengthened today," he added. Meanwhile, Congress State President Siddharth Patel said "We do not want to comment on the Godhra train carnage judgement as it has not been the policy of Congress."

"But, definitely there are some issues revolving around this judgement," Patel said. "If the state government and police had worked vigilantly, the 63 acquitted in this case today would not have had to undergo this ordeal," he said.

"We, since the beginning have been saying that the culprits should be brought to book and no innocent should be punished," Patel said. "Some of the key witnesses in the case changed their versions. Why so? This needs to be clarified

as it remains unanswered," he said.

Courtesy: Munsif

------

Indo-Arab ties strengthened: Jaipal Reddy

New Age Islam News Bureau

Riyadh: Speaking at a reception given to him in Riyadh by the Indian Embassy, the Petroleum and Gas Minister Raipal Reddy said that the Muslim population played a significant role in India. Mr Reddy is in the kingdom to attend the informal session of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh. He said that India’s relations with the Saudi Arab improved considerably after Shah Abdullah’s visit to India in 2006 and it was furthered strengthened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the Kingdom last year. He said that two million Indians lived in the Kingdom, a number that is highest in any migrant population in the world. Indian ambassador Talmeez Ahmad and his wife greeted the minister.

------

Warships being sent to evacuate Indians from Libya

Feb 24, 2011,

NEW DELHI: Warships of Indian Navy are being despatched to evacuate Indians from Libya as the situation in the North African country continued to deteriorate because of clashes between supporters and opponents of Muammar Gaddafi.

The ministry of external affairs asked the defence ministry to ready the warships to sail for Libya.

The exact number of warships needed for the operation, which is likely to be a largescale one, and from where they will be despatched is being worked out.

As the situation in Libya continued to worsen, foreign minister S M Krishna told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that it may not be possible to spell out how much time it will take to evacuate all Indians even though, he said, the government was doing all it could to ensure their safety. Replying to queries from MPs over the issue, Krishna said all Indian nationals were safe "as of now".

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Warships-being-sent-to-evacuate-Indians-from-Libya/articleshow/7559139.cms#ixzz1Er2wEt9C

------

S Koreans to leave Libya on special flight: Ministry

February 24, 2011

South Korea will send a chartered plane to Libya today to bring home citizens stranded amid growing unrest there, the foreign ministry said. A spokesman said that Seoul has chartered an Egyptian Air Airbus A330 to fly some of the estimated 1,400 South Koreans still in Libya to Cairo. The pla

ne was due to arrive in Tripoli at 9 am local time (0700 GMT), the transport ministry said in a statement, and can accommodate 260 passengers.

A spate of attacks on South Korean-run construction sites in the North African nation has heightened fears for Koreans there. Seoul has urged all citizens without urgent business to leave.

Seoul officials say anti-government protests appear to have fuelled the construction site attacks, which are thought to have been triggered by discontent over the country's housing policy.

South Korean companies have worked on hundreds of construction projects in Libya since 1978. Of the estimated 1,400 South Koreans there now, some 1,000 of them work for companies while the rest are diplomats or aid workers.

The ministry said that 39 Koreans and 1,000 other foreigners working for a Korean construction company in the eastern coastal town of Darnah had driven to the Egyptian border in a convoy of 10 vehicles.

Some of them had finished the immigration process and entered Egypt.

The remaining workers at the Darnah site, 14 Koreans and 476 other foreigners, were intending to drive to the Egyptian border on Thursday.

Last week about 200 Libyans invaded the Darnah site and set fire to a dormitory.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/world/S-Koreans-to-leave-Libya-on-special-flight-Ministry/Article1-666109.aspx

------

China plays down “Jasmine” threat; tightens security

Ananth Krishnan

EIJING: Chinese officials have ruled out the likelihood of unrest after calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” circulated on the Internet, saying Chinese people had “a common aspiration” for stability and development.

The call for protests in 13 Chinese cities, which originated from a United States-based website, received little response. Nevertheless, the government appeared to take the threat seriously. Over the weekend, deployment of police forces was increased in some cities, restrictions placed on the Internet and dozens of lawyers and activists detained.

“I can tell you in clear terms: I am confident that a Jasmine Revolution will not happen in China,” Zhao Qizheng, spokesperson for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body, told reporters on Wednesday.

He said media reports that suggested widespread protests could take place in China were “quite absurd”, and “not consistent with the reality in China”. Mr. Zhao acknowledged that “in the course of China's rapid development” the country faced a number of challenges, including uneven development. But the Communist Party of China and the government, he said, were “not blind to these problems”.

The government says the three decades of rapid economic growth it has delivered since economic reforms in 1978 has won it the backing of the majority of Chinese.

“The great development that China has achieved over the past 30 years of reform has been widely recognised,” said Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry. “We believe it is the Chinese people's common will to focus on development. It is the Chinese people's common aspiration to safeguard social and political stability, promote social harmony and safeguard people's livelihood.”

Full report at: http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/24/stories/2011022465091700.htm

------

Turkey leads the way in evacuations from Libya

Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Turkey, which has 25,000 citizens of its own in Libya, is taking the lead in evacuating the stranded residents of 21 other countries as well.

Ankara is launching the biggest evacuation operation in its history, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a news conference.

The European Union countries are bringing to safety 10,000 EU citizens, a spokesman said on Wednesday at a European Commission news briefing.

Chartered ferry

On its part, the United States State Department said that a chartered ferry with room for about 600 passengers was shortly set to leave Tripoli for Malta.

“We're asking all U.S. citizens to head out to the ferry pier,” spokeswoman Megan Mattson told Reuters.

China has made arrangements to pull out half of its 30,000 citizens.

It has chartered from Greece four ferries that are expected to reach the Libyan coast by Wednesday night.

http://www.hindu.com/2011/02/24/stories/2011022465121700.htm

------

World grapples for response as battles divide Libya

Feb 24, 2011

BENGHAZI: US President Barack Obama made his first public comments, condemning as “outrageous” and “unacceptable” attacks on protesters that have killed hundreds in 10 days and helped drive oil prices to levels that threaten global economic recovery.

Yet there seemed little cohesion and urgency in a global response, even as Washington and Brussels spoke of possible sanctions against a man whose 41 years in power have been marked by idiosyncratic defiance of the West.

“It is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice,” Obama said. “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous.”

The oil exports which Qadhafi used to help end his isolation in the past decade have given him means to resist the fate of his immediate neighbours, the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, who were brought down by popular unrest in the past few weeks.

As many as 1,000 people may have been killed in Libya, the Italian foreign minister said.

Unconfirmed reports spoke of troops and African mercenaries firing on demonstrators in the desert nation pumping nearly two percent of the world’s oil output.

Qadhafi’s defiance has been backed by the deployment of aircraft on bombing runs and his forces appeared to be in control of the west of the sprawling desert nation.

Eastern areas where much of the oil is concentrated have slipped from his control and with security forces defecting to join the protesters, it was unclear just how long Qadhafi could hang on to power.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/world-grapples-for-response-as-battles-divide-libya.html

------

Al Qaeda in N. Africa backs Libya uprising: SITE

Feb 24, 2011

NICOSIA: Al-Qaeda’s branch in North Africa has vowed to do everything in its power to help an uprising against Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, according to a statement posted Thursday by the SITE monitoring group.

“(We) will do whatever we can to help you, with power from Allah, because your fight is the fight of every Muslim who loves Allah and His Messenger,” the statement from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said, according to SITE.

In the US monitoring group’s English translation, the statement made no mention of a claim by Libya’s deputy foreign minister that Al-Qaeda had set up an Islamic “emirate” in Derna, eastern Libya.

Residents in the city have told reporters there is no substance to the claim, arguing that the Libyan government is trying to “scare Europe”.

AQIM, acclaiming the successful anti-regime uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, said it was time for the “impostor, sinful, hard-hearted bastard” Kadhafi to meet the same end.

“We declare our support and aid to the Libyan revolution in its legitimate demands, and we assure our people in Libya that we are with you and we will not let you down,” said its statement, which SITE reported was posted on jihadist forums Wednesday.

The attempts of North African regimes to cling onto power had exposed their “lies” that Al-Qaeda was the one guilty of killing innocents, it said.

“We only came out to defend you against these despots who usurped your rights, plundered your wealth, and prevented you from having the minimum requirements of a dignified life and the simplest meanings of freedom and human dignity,” AQIM said.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/al-qaeda-in-n-africa-backs-libya-uprising-site.html

------

Minority status will not change Jamia's secular character'

February 24, 2011

Dispelling all apprehensions relating to the new minority status conferred upon Jamia Millia Islamia, teachers of Jamia on Wednesday said that there would not be any radical effect on the 'secular' character of the institution as a result of the new status and welcomed the approval of what they called a long-pending demand of minority status for Jamia.

The first Central University to be accorded minority status, Jamia would now be able to reserve 50 per cent of its seats for Muslim candidates, in line with the ruling of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).

Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Najeeb Jung has called an emergency meeting of the Academic Council and the Executive Council on Thursday to discuss the issue in detail and decide the future plans. The two bodies of Jamia are likely to adopt the NCMEI ruling in Thursday's meeting and discuss the procedures to be followed by the institution to implement it. President of Jamia Teachers Association (JTA) Professor M Rais Khan said, "A legal process would to be followed now. The Academic and Executive Councils will support the ruling and forward it to the Ministry of Human Resource Development to be included in an ordinance."

Full report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/320075/%E2%80%98Minority-status-will-not-change-Jamias-secular-character.html

------

Dar-ul stopgap cleric returns

February 24, 2011

MAULANA Mufti Abul Qasim Noomani has emerged as the troubleshooter for his alma mater — Deoband’s Dar- ul Uloom — once again.

The widely respected Noomani, an authority on Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence, has led the world’s second largest Islamic seminary immediately after the death of Maulana Marghoob- ur Rahman. Rahman had been the chief rector of the Dar- ul Uloom for the longest period in its history and was appointed by the late Maulana Asad Madani, one of the most prominent presidents of the Jamiat.

In fact, the post of the vice- chancellor for Dar- ul Uloom was constituted during Rahman’s tenure.

As the seminary succession battles, Noomani has taken over its reins amid the cloud over incumbent vice- chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi.

Like Vastanvi, Noomani also runs a madarsa in Varanasi and is known for his allegiance to the traditional school of Islamic theology.

Noomani, 64, did his primary education from Mau, Uttar Pradesh, before joining the Dar- ul Uloom. He is also a member of the Majlise- Shoora or the governing council of the seminary.

He is considered a close confidante of Rajya Sabha MP Maulana Mahmood Madani.

Madani’s rivalry with his paternal uncle Maulana Arshad Madani over wresting the control of the Dar- ul Uloom is considered the reason behind the escalation over Vastanvi’s reported comment hailing Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.aspx?issue=2422011

------

Didn't arm protesters, Berlusconi tells Gaddafi

Feb 24, 2011

Rome: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has telephoned Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi to deny that Italy had armed anti-government demonstrators with rockets.

According to a statement issued by Berlusconi's office, the call was made following a televised afternoon address by the embattled Gaddafi, in which he said he would never resign and that protesters, whom he branded 'terrorists', would be executed.

In a 20-minute phone call with Gaddafi, Berlusconi on Tuesday urged the Libyan leader to avoid civil war and bring a peaceful end to the conflict, newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Wednesday.

Berlusconi 'flatly denied' that Italy had supplied rockets or any weapons to Gaddafi opponents, a charge Gaddafi also levelled at the US in a defiant speech aired on state TV on Tuesday.

Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/international/didnt-arm-protesters-berlusconi-tells-gaddafi-395

------

'Qadri killed Guv in his own capacity'

Feb 24, 2011

Islamabad: The investigation into the Salmaan Taseer assassination case has been completed and it has been confirmed that Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri had killed the then Punjab Governor in his own capacity, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Bani Ameen has said.

Ameen was head of the team tasked to investigate the assassination of liberal politician Taseer, who was shot dead by Qadri, one of his own elite security force protectors, the Daily Times reports.

Qadri had opened fire on him last month because of the governor’s support for the release of Pakistani-Christian woman Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.

Full report at: http://www.asianage.com/international/qadri-killed-guv-his-own-capacity-393

------

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to find out extradition fate

Feb 24, 2011

LONDON: Julian Assange was Thursday to discover if he was to be extradited to Sweden to face rape charges after his lawyer admitted that the ruling looked set to go against the WikiLeaks founder.

The ruling by Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates court was unlikely to be the final word, with the losing party expected to lodge an appeal which would postpone the ultimate decision until as late as Britain's summer.

Mark Stephens, Assange's lawyer, admitted in the Independent newspaper that he was prepared for bad news.

"Both sides, the prosecution and the defence, have told the judge that they are going to appeal if they lose, so we are already working on that principle," he said.

Assange, 39, is currently free on bail in Britain fighting against extradition for interrogation and possible trial over allegations from two Swedish women of rape and sexual molestation.

During three days of hearings held earlier in the month, Assange's legal team argued that the Swedish prosecutor had no power to issue a European arrest warrant and that the charges did not amount to extradition offences.

The campaigner's lawyers also said he would not face a fair trial as some evidence would be held behind closed doors and that it was possible he would be re-extradited to the US where he could face the death penalty.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-to-find-out-extradition-fate/articleshow/7560152.cms#ixzz1Es9jY0Nm

------

Israel jets hit Gaza after rocket attack

Feb 24, 2011

GAZA CITY: Israeli jets bombed several sites in the Gaza Strip early Thursday in response to a rocket attack on a southern Israeli city, the military said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the air force strikes or from the rocket that landed in the city of Beersheba, the first time the city has been targeted since Israel's devastating 2009 Gaza offensive.

The tit-for-tat fire comes after a day of clashes along the Gaza border in which one Islamic Jihad militant was killed and 10 other people wounded.

The military said in a statement it had "targeted a terrorist squad in the northern Gaza Strip, in the same location where rockets were fired towards the Israeli city of Beersheva."

Later, war planes bombed several other sites across the coastal strip, which the military called "hubs of terror." It gave no further details.

Israeli television broadcast footage of a crater gouged out of a street next to a badly damaged house that was hit by a military grade Grad rocket.

Beersheva is home to about 200,000 people 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Gaza Strip. Local residents ran to shelters after warning sirens went off before the impact, witnesses said, while emergency services raised the alert level in southern Israel and braced for further attacks.

Full report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Israel-jets-hit-Gaza-after-rocket-attack/articleshow/7561348.cms#ixzz1Es9rnLHY

------

Pakistan’s anti-terror efforts lauded

Feb 24, 2011

TOKYO: Japanese Emperor Akihito has praised Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by its security forces and people.

Talking to President Asif Ali Zardari here on Wednesday, he said Japan accorded great importance to its ties with Pakistan.

The emperor came out of his palace to receive President Zardari.

The president lauded Japan’s role in Pakistan’s development and its investment in various sectors and said his visit would boost bilateral ties.

This was President Zardari’s second meeting with the emperor. They had met in April 2009, when the president visited Japan to lead Pakistan’s delegation at a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan.

Emperor Akihito said he fondly remembered his visit to Pakistan in early 1960s as crown prince.

The president felicitated Crown Prince Naruhito on his birthday and invited him to visit Pakistan.

MOTORBIKE PLANT: Yamaha Motors, Pakistan, will spend $150 million on setting up a plant on 50 acres in Bin Qasim area near Karachi.

President Zardari was informed by Yamaha Motors chief Hiroyuki Yanagi at a meeting that the company would bring advanced technology to Pakistan and about 45,000 people would get jobs in the project.

The president said Pakistan welcomed Japanese investment in various sectors and would provide adequate facilities and security to foreign investors.

Talking to the chief of the Mitsubishi Corporation, Mr Kenkasa Yashi, President Zardari said investments in Pakistan had been given comprehensive legal protection with an attractive package of tax incentives.

He said Pakistan was facing shortage of energy and the sector provided an opportunity for foreign investment.

Pakistan has coal deposits of 180 billion tons in the southeastern area and the southern coast provides tremendous potential of wind energy.

Other key sectors offering profitable ventures are agriculture, infrastructure development and mining.—APP

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/pakistans-anti-terror-efforts-lauded.html

------

Zardari quietly visited UAE to explore options

By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD: As the rest of the country was watching the Raymond Davis saga unfold, President Asif Ali Zardari took an unannounced trip to Dubai to find an answer to the country’s economic woes.

He visited the Gulf state for a couple of hours a few days ago to seek the intervention of the UAE leadership for the payment of $800 million that Etisalat owed to Islamabad for the country’s largest privatisation transaction — Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited — Dawn has learnt.

Etisalat has been holding back payment of about $800 million, of the $2.8 billion PTCL’s privatisation proceeds for about four years because of a dispute with the Pakistan government over legal transfer of land and property titles.

The government had sold about 26 per cent stakes along with management control of the PTCL in July 2005.

“The entire amount is expected within a few days,” an official said, adding that the dispute between the government and Etisalat over the delay in transfer of some land titles to the PTCL in Sindh had been resolved.

Islamabad hopes this breakthrough, along with two other major steps — the government plans to raise another $1 billion (about Rs86 billion) from the sale of assets and about Rs46 billion from new tax measures within the current fiscal year — will strengthen Pakistan’s case before the International Monetary Fund.

In fact, Islamabad put on hold its talks with the IMF, which were tentatively scheduled for this week in Dubai, to finalise these three measures before seeking the revival of the Fund’s programme.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/24/zardari-quietly-visited-uae-to-explore-options.html

------

Pak Railways needs Rs 11.5bn to overcome financial crunch

By Zeeshan Javaid

ISLAMABAD: To rescue the Pakistan Railways (PR), Federal Minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, on Wednesday once again demanded the immediate release of Rs 11.5 billion to rescue the corporation from the dire situation it is in.

Responding to a notice of the National Assembly’s third sitting of the 29th session of the ongoing parliamentary year, the minister said that the Pakistan Railways required 400 locomotives on an immediate basis to transform it into a profit earning entity.

He said that a bailout package of Rs 11 billion was placed before the cabinet and it was said that the amount would be arranged from commercial loans but the ministry wanted it to be given by the State Bank of Pakistan for its low mark-up rate, which was yet to be arranged.

Bilour maintained that the PR could be transformed into a profit earning entity if it gets 400 locomotives. He said that the corporation was in a dilapidated state, however, he added that various measures were being taken to improve its performance.

The minister further added that the Pakistan Railways was promised Rs 5 billion in January 2010, but the amount had not been given to it. He added that another misfortune with the railways was that its budget had been reduced to Rs 7.3 billion from Rs 13.6 billion after a cut in the development allocations.

To a question, Bilour said that the only solution to make the railways a profitable entity and recover it from the current deficit was to provide 400 locomotives to it on an immediate basis, adding that the ministry had 5,000 wagons in a ready condition for meeting the deficit.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\02\24\story_24-2-2011_pg7_5

------

Hussain Haqqani, Marc Grossman meet in US

February 24, 2011

WASHINGTON: Pakistan envoy to US Hussain Haqqani and the US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman held meeting here on Wednesday, Geo News reported.

That meeting was the first official sitting between the two key representatives to their respective countries.

During the meeting, the matters pertaining to mutual interests of two countries including the war on terrorism and Pakistan economic situation came under discussion.

Sources said the Grossman will soon visit Pakistan.

It is pertinent to note here that Marc Grossman has been recently appointed US’s special representative on Af-Pak affairs after sudden demise of previous office bearer Richard Holbrooke.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11645

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/qaddafi-massing-forces-in-tripoli-as-rebellion-spreads/d/4182


Loading..

Loading..