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Musharraf Charged In Bhutto Assassination Case

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Musharraf Charged In Bhutto Assassination Case

Musharraf Charged In Bhutto Assassination Case

Islamabad: Compounding his legal woes, Pakistani investigators  included ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf in the list of main accused who conspired to assassinate former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

 The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) submitted a chargesheet against 69-year-old Musharraf including him in the list of main accused in the case in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi.

 The FIA presented a four-point chargesheet against Musharraf in the ATC, accusing him of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Bhutto.

 54-year-old Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack outside Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, after she addressed an election campaign rally.

 The chargesheet submitted contained the statements of four witnesses, including an American journalist Marc Siegel, as well as Bhutto’s own statement.

FIA officials said that the chargesheet has been prepared on the basis of Marc Siegel’s statement, who had claimed that Musharraf called and threatened her when he was sitting with Benazir Bhutto.

Siegel, who served as lobbyist for Bhutto in the US, had also stated that she had told him that Musharraf would be responsible for any harm to her.

He had earlier stated that he was with Bhutto in London when Musharraf had denied the allegations.

The chargesheet stated that the statement of the American established Musharraf as the prime accused in Benazir’s murder.

The chargesheet also levelled terrorism accusations against the former president.

The document stated that Musharraf had failed to prove his innocence in the case.

The ATC last year summoned Siegel to personally appear in the court and record his statement. However, he has not yet appeared before the court.

The ATC judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman ordered that Musharraf must be produced in the court on July 2, when the court will resume hearing of the case.

In the meanwhile, Pakistan has formed a high-level committee to investigate the Emergency rule former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had imposed, Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said Thursday.

Musharraf, who faces high treason charges for abrogating the constitution during his 1999-2008 rule, imposed Emergency rule in November 2007 and suspended the constitution, reports Xinhua.

He had also placed dozens of top judges under house arrest after they refused to take oath under his Provisional Constitutional Order.

The interior minister told the National Assembly that a four-member panel was made up of senior officials of the Federal Investigation Agency.

Nisar said the committee will keep the ministry informed about its investigation and submit its report within the shortest possible time.

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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SOUTH ASIA

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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