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Laden May Have Been Killed By Own Guards: Report

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Laden May Have Been Killed By Own Guards: ReportAl Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden might have been killed by one of his own guards, in line with his will to prevent his capture, during a raid by US forces near the garrison city of Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan, according to a media report on Tuesday. US officials have said that the world’s most wanted man was killed with one or two shots to the head, when he resisted after American special forces stormed a compound near Abbottabad where he was hiding.

However, an unnamed official told the Dawn newspaper that the mastermind of the most devastating attack on US soil “might have been killed by one of his own guards in line with his will to avert his capture”. “From the scene of the gun battle it doesn’t look like he could have been killed at point blank range from such a close angle, while offering resistance,” said the official who visited the scene of the assault soon after the departure of the US team from the compound in Thanda Choa or Bilal Town, a stone’s throw from the Pakistan Military Academy.

One of bin Laden’s sons, two couriers and a woman being used as a human shield were also killed in the pre-dawn raid, US officials said. Details about the US raid on the large compound surrounded by unusually high walls are still emerging. US helicopters were hovering over the area at around 12.30 am on Sunday and it took the “US assault team of 25 Navy SEALs and CIA hit men” about 40 minutes to clear the area and take away bin Laden’s body, officials told the Dawn. One of the two helicopters involved in the assault “went down during action” and an official who visited the scene said there was no evidence to suggest that it might have been hit by a rocket or shot from the ground. “There was no evidence of the helicopter having been shot down. From the wreckage it appears to be more a case of a crash,” he said. A loud explosion heard during the gun battle might have been caused by the assault team destroying the helicopter, the official said.

Contrary to the US claim, the official said three of bin Laden’s guards were killed. The body of one guard, described as an Afghan or a tribesman, was lying in the compound. The bodies of two guards were found in the living quarters. The US team took away only bin Laden’s body, leaving behind a number of women and children. Bin Laden’s two wives, both in their early 50s and one of them of Yemeni origin, were among those left behind. A third woman, wounded in the attack, was taken to a military hospital.

-HT

 

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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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