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West Bengal: Congress To Be Part Of Mamata-led Trinamool?

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West Bengal: Congress To Be Part Of Mamata-led Trinamool?Mamata Banerjee was on Sunday formally elected Trinamool Congress Legislature Party leader and said pre-poll ally Congress would be part of her “small” ministry. Two days after her party stormed to power with three-fourths majority, ending 34 years of Left Front rule in West Bengal, the name of 56-year-old Banerjee as TCLP leader was proposed by Subrata Bakshi.

The formality of her election was completed at Maharashtra Niwas hall in south Kolkata where all the 184 newly-elected Trinamool Congress MLAs were present. Addressing the meeting, Banerjee said she was happy that the Congress had submitted a letter of support to a Trinamool Congress-led ministry to Governor MK Narayanan. “We will also submit a letter to the Governor (with the list of supporters),” she said. She said that her ministry would be small in size and Congress and SUCI would take part in it. SUCI, which won one seat, has been requested to join the ministry, she said. “SUCI has said it will let us know,” she said.

Partha Chatterjee was elected deputy leader and Sobhandev Chattopadhyay Chief Whip. Jyotipriya Mullick was elected Treasurer.

Railway Minister Banerjee, who is a member of Lok Sabha from a Kolkata constituency, will have to get herself elected to the state Assembly within six months. She is likely to contest from a constituency in south Kolkata, TC sources said. “People have voted us to power to end Left Front misrule of 34 years and it is our foremost responsibility to respect the verdict, honour the mandate and keep our promises,” Banerjee said, dedicating the success of the Trinamool Congress to the victory of ‘Ma, Mati and Manush (Mother, Land and People).’ “This massive electoral success, the second victory of independence has been possible because of those who love us, support us and assist us,” she said, adding that the party’s victory rally would be held at Brigade Parade Ground on July 21. Stating that she remembered the martyrs of the party with tears in her eyes, she said, “I am grateful to the struggling people of Singur, Nandigram, Netai, Mongalkot, Chamkaitola….. who fought to uphold their democratic rights which were trampled by the Front government.

Small martyrs columns should be set up in the state in memory of those who sacrificed their lives at the hands of CPI(M) all these years, Banerjee said. Banerjee said she totally disapproved of violence and revenge and told her MLAs, “Don’t fall into the trap they (CPI-M) may set and I ask you not to encourage unrest. I instruct you to ensure that none is assaulted or beaten up and no party office set on fire. They (CPI-M) beat us, injured us, killed us, torched our houses, and committed many crimes on our people. But people voted them out and it is the right punishment given to them,” Banerjee said. She said life was more precious than gold or diamond and added, “If the CPI(M) beats us, we will not retaliate.”

-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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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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