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Hina-Bilawal In Love?

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Hina-Bilawal In Love?   Islamabad: It’s the juiciest bit of news to have come out of Pakistan in several years, and this one, mercifully, is not about terror, but love. First broke by a Bangladesh tabloid, the Weekly Blitz, the story connects the very young, and eligible bachelor son of President Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto, with Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affaris, the married, and a decade older, but still young and attractive, Hina Rabbani. Since the story broke earlier this week, there has been total official silence, but the internet world is abuzz with the exciting love story. Giving credence to the story is report that Hina Khar’s millionaire husband Firoze Gulzar on Tuesday submitted an application to Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency for subscriber details and call data record of two “suspected” numbers.

According to the original story, the 24-year-old chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Bilawal and the minister, 11 years older, are in love and plan to settle in Switzerland.

President Asif Ali Zardari, it says, is vehemently opposed to his son’s eagerness to marry the mother-of-two. He fears such a move would jeopardize Bilawal’s political career and spell doom for the party.

The report claims Zardari caught the two in a compromising position at his residence and in an effort to break them up, unsuccessfully used government machinery against Gulzar’s business interests.
It also says Khar, who reportedly wants to end her marriage, sent Bilawal a birthday card with a hand-written message: “The foundation of our relation is eternal and soon we shall be just ourselves.”

Hina Rabbani Khar, the foreign minister of Pakistan, was in New York, to deliver a speech at the Asia Society on Wednesday, but acted as if she was unaware of the scandal breaking back home. Khar’s speech centred on how the world has now entered the “Asian century” and that the establishment of democracy in Pakistan will allow her country to share in the economic transformation of Asia.

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Pakistani media preferred not to go to town over the story, but their counterparts in India are having a field day. Hina’s husband, Gulzar, was,  quoted by Pakistan’s Geo News network saying that he thinks the tabloid’s story of his wife having an affair is ”rubbish.”

A few reports say that the Islamists in Opposition may use this to beat the PPP government as illicit romantic affairs are punishable under the existing law of Pakistan.
Born November 19, 1977, Hina Rabbani Khar hails from an influential feudal and landowner family and is the daughter of politician and landowner Nur Rabbani Khar and the niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, a former Governor of Punjab.

Despite the incendiary nature of the allegations, Hina-Bilawal duo seem to be getting some level of sympathy from the average reader. One writes, “I would never have normally commented on this affair. But the media has given it an importance, not bad because she is definitely a person to attract the attention of people across borders. She has risen to that post, that too in a country, where it is stated to have very small chances for such a rise. The point of comment is that where law, religion and society permits such alliances under proper code of conduct i.e. SHARIA, what is the problem. But if this is to malign any person, un-necessarily, the person needs to punished for it. I hope and wish good sense prevails on all to see every body living his/her life the one desires.”

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SOUTH ASIA

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

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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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SOUTH ASIA

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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