Surprised that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was living in an affluent suburb of Islamabad, Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has demanded an investigation into the failure of intelligence agencies to get any clue about this. “I do understand that because he being there in the town of Abbottabad is surprising. It surprises me also. However, having said that, I am very sure that there is no complicity involved in this,” Musharraf told MSNBC, adding, “I cannot imagine that ISI high command or army were abetting or harbouring Osama bin Laden there. That cannot be the case. However, it is a case of acute failure of intelligence, which I think needs to be investigated. And all responsible need to be brought to book.”
The former Pakistani President said it is very shockingly embarrassing that bin Laden was found living so close to the Pakistani military academy. “We are talking a lot about high walls and barbed wire. In the frontier province, there are a lot of houses with high walls and barbed wire. And therefore they do not arouse such suspicion as they would in the United States or anywhere else,” 67-year-old Musharraf said, adding “I’ve seen a lot of interview on the television and a lot of people who are around that house being asked whether they knew that Osama bin Laden was there. They don’t know. So, if they didn’t know who was living there. I don’t believe that. But even if he was there for whatever duration, if the people around couldn’t know, it is possible that ISI also did not know. However, I don’t want to absolve them of the responsibility of they should have known.”
Musharraf also criticised the US, saying it violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by carrying out covert operation against bin Laden without informing authorities in Islamabad. “I do know the US policy that wherever they had declared that as far as Osama bin Laden is concerned, that whenever they can’t get the actionable intelligence on him, they will act anywhere in the world. But that was your policy,” he said. “That US policy doesn’t go well with the sovereignty of any other country for that matter. Inside Pakistan, the people’s sensitivity of even drones violating our sovereignty is against — now troops coming in, helicopters and taking action is not acceptable to the people of Pakistan, and it does violate our sovereignty. In the past, whenever we acted against many, many dozens of al Qaeda operatives, senior ones, including Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, it was always intelligence cooperation. We cooperated with each other, identified, located these targets. And it was always Pakistan forces, whether it was law enforcement agencies or police rangers or army — that is what used to happen. Now, in this case, it was not done. Therefore, I would always hear that it was a violation of our sovereignty. This is unfortunate. That is a lack of trust… If we are to fight terrorism and extremism together, if we have to defeat Taliban and al Qaeda, we have to have trust in each other.”
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.
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