Ban Ki-moon To Visit India Thursday
United Nations/New Delhi: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will undertake a four-day visit to India, his third since 2008, from Thursday when he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other government leaders to discuss the geopolitical situation, troubled zones and other development issues.
Ban, accompanied by his wife and a large delegation, will be here till April 29, during which he will also visit Mumbai, where he will meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, apart from inspecting development projects and attending millennium development goals events.
The UN secretary general will depart for India April 25, UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey said at the United Nations headquarters Monday. “This is his third visit and the second official visit since he took over as the UN secretary general,” Indian ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here Tuesday.
During his stay in Delhi, Ban will also meet India’s Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, he said. “His first stop will be Delhi, where he will have meetings with the senior political leadership to discuss current regional and international issues and matters of global concern,” del Buey said at a daily news briefing.
According to del Buey, Ban will also receive an honorary degree from Jamia Islamia University, Xinhua reported. “He will then visit Mumbai, where he will meet with Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra state, and meet with a small group of key business leaders committed to utilizing their expertise to promote the health of women and children,” said del Buey, adding, “He will also visit health facilities where he will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the progress being made in communities through his discussions with women, children and health workers.”
Del Buey added that Ban will attend an event hosted by members of a group of advocates for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight international development targets due to be met worldwide by 2015. Ban created the MDG Advocacy Group in 2010 to help spur political will and action to meet the goals.
Ban had first visited India in 2008, after assuming office in 2007. He again visited India in 2009 to receive an award from a NGO in Uttarakhand. “The present visit of Ban Ki-moon comes in the context of India’s strong commitment to multi-lateralism and its wide-ranging contribution to the UN including its specialised programmes and agencies,” Akbaruddin said, adding, “It is expected that the visit will provide an opportunity for us to share India’s perspectives major regional and global issues.”
India is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and is one of the largest contributors to the UN peacekeeping efforts in various trouble zones of the world, including in Congo, South Sudan, Lebanon and others.
India is a candidate for permanent membership of a reformed UNSC for which inter-governmental consultations are currently in progress.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.