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BJP Stalwart Jaswant Singh In Coma

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 BJP Stalwart Jaswant Singh In Coma


BJP Stalwart Jaswant Singh In Coma

New Delhi: Jaswant Singh, once considered one of the leading lights of the BJP, was in a “highly critical” condition and in coma Friday after suffering from a head injury following a fall at his house here, the government said.

The 76-year-old leader was brought to the Army Hospital (Research and Referral) around 1 a.m. “with injury to his head”, the defence ministry said.

The former defence minister’s family members “brought him to the hospital after finding him lying on the floor of the house in an unconscious state”, the brief statement said.

According to a hospital statement: “At present, (his) condition is very critical. He is on life support systems and under constant monitoring by a team of neurosurgeons and critical care providers.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first political leaders to speak to the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader’s family. He also offered prayers for his “speedy recovery”.

Many leaders, including party patriarch L.K. Advani, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, visited Jaswant Singh in hospital.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also visited the veteran politician.

Doctors said “examination at the hospital showed him to be in coma, with signs of ‘raised intracranial tension and a haematoma scalp’.

“Urgent CT scan of the head showed ‘an acute subdural haematoma with mass effect, a midline shift and contusion of the brain substance’,” they said.

The hospital statement said “a life-saving decompressive hemicraniectomy was done” on Jaswant Singh, who quit the BJP before the Lok Sabha election this year after he was denied a party ticket.

Doctors said they conducted a neurological procedure in which a part of the skull is removed to allow a swelling brain room to expand without being squeezed.

It is usually performed on victims of traumatic brain injury and stroke, they said.

Doctors told IANS that no one has been allowed to meet him till he “fully” recovers.

Born in Barmer in Rajasthan Jan 3, 1938, Jaswant Singh was one of the most prominent leaders of the BJP and was a close associate of its stalwarts, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani.

After serving the Indian Army for nine years, Jaswant Singh went on to play a major role in the Vajpayee-led governments. He was also widely seen as one of the BJP’s moderate faces.

He headed key ministries including defence, finance and external affairs during the three times Vajpayee was prime minister — 1996, 1998-99 and 1999-2004.

He was elected to parliament nine times — four times to the Lok Sabha and five times to the Rajya Sabha.

Once Modi took virtual charge of the party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Jaswant Singh got sidelined — and was denied party nomination to contest from Barmer. He fought as an Independent and was defeated.

At his hometown, prayers were being organised for his speedy recovery.

“People here are shocked to hear this news. He is one of the top leaders of the state,” said R.K. Singh, a resident of Barmer.

“Prayers are being organised in temples and mosques in Barmer, Balotra and Jasol for his well being. We our sure our leader will soon be hale and hearty,” said Mahendra Singh, a local entrepreneur.

In some of the places, particularly Jasol, where Jaswant Singh was born, women with tears in their eyes were seen gathered at temples to pray for his well being.

“He is a fighter and will certainly come out of this soon,” said a resident.

Singh was expected to visit Barmer to attend a function Aug 13.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

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.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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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.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

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.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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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.

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