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EC Rejects Plea To Freeze BSP Symbol



The Election Commission has rejected the petitions demanding to freeze the election symbol of BSP, Elephant, and disqualification of the chief Minister Mayawati from contesting election in future.

EC Rejects Plea To Freeze BSP SymbolWhile dismissing six petitions on October 11 the Election Commission said “at the time of elections the commission would no doubt take appropriate measures to see that statues of Mayawati and BSP symbol do not disturb the level playing field and give undue advantage to BSP vis-à-vis other political parties”.

In view of the display of elephants and statues of Chief Minister Mayawati at various memorials constructed in Lucknow and Noida, a writ petition in Supreme Court had sought to freeze the symbol and disqualification of Mayawati. The apex court had directed the EC in July 2010 to look into the matter.

In their petition Atul Kumar Singh, Kamal Kant Jaiswal, Ravi Kant and Sukumar said that state fund had been used in the installation of statutes of elephant and Mayawati in public places in Lucknow and Noida.

However the EC said that it could not interfere into the decisions taken by Vidhan Sabha through which the State Government had constructed memorials by using government money. The senior advocate and BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra appeared on behalf of the party before the commission.

In its 21-page order the commission said it “is in dark as to the places where the statutes, particularly of the party symbol “elephant” have been installed and what is the number of such statutes installed in different places in UP”.

The commission further observed, “the state government has refused to furnish even the basic information as to where and how many of these statues have been installed. In fact even the commission even doesn’t know whether all the elephant statues which have been installed with public funds have their trunks raised in welcome posture, as averred by the BSP or lowered downwards”. “Thus on the facts available to the commission and the records adduced by the parties, the commission is not in a position to gauge the impact on the statues and the extent of such impact on the minds of the electors”, the EC said.

The EC said that the elephant symbol had been allocated to BSP for the entire country (except Assam) as it was a national party. This symbol had been allotted to BSP on the basis of the vote percent needed for a party to become a national level party. The EC has also dismissed the request to disqualify Mayawati from contesting elections in future and also to remove all the statues of Chief Minister and that of elephants from the memorials.


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



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




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



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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