By Arun Kumar
New York: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been honoured with the 2010 World Statesman Award by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition which promotes mutual understanding, tolerance and peace.
India’s Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, accepted the award on behalf of the prime minister an a glittering ceremony here Tuesday from the Foundation espousing fundamental values of freedom, democracy and human rights for peace, security and shared prosperity. In his recorded acceptance speech, Manmohan Singh said: “India has been guided since ancient times by the fundamental belief that while spiritual expression takes many forms and the journey for universal truth takes many paths, we are all united by our highest values, ideals and our inherent humanism.” Delivering the commendation address, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger described Manmohan Singh as a statesman with vision, persistence and integrity, and praised him for his leadership, which has been instrumental in the economic transformation underway in India. Stressing the close convergence of India and US interest in Asia including Afghanistan, he called for regional countries, particularly India to play a greater role in pursuing ways to bring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan. Conveying the greetings of the US Government, Under Secretary of State William Burns said: “There could truly be no better choice, and no better model of what integrity and statesmanship are all about on the world stage. ”A man of even temperament, and remarkable modesty and humility, Prime Minister Singh has demonstrated clear vision and steely determination as a leader, bringing great benefit to India and to the rest of the world.” Accepting the award on behalf of the Prime Minister Shankar thanked Rabbi Schneier, President of the Appeal of Conscience and said that his extraordinary mission addresses one of the most important challenges for humanity.” It was a challenge “that more than at any other time in human history is critical for the future peace and prosperity of our world, which has become far more integrated and interdependent,” she added. ”In honouring Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation has honoured a leader of extraordinary statesmanship, vision and intellect who is guiding the destiny of the world’s largest democracy,” she said. -IANS
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.