Archive for December, 2012

Iran says it got 2 more US drones in past missions

The naval chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claims Iranian forces had captured at least two other U.S. drones before unveiling a purportedly downed ScanEagle craft earlier this month.

Monday’s report by the official IRNA news agency does not say when the two other drones were allegedly taken.

It quotes Adm. Ali Fadavi as saying the drone shown on state TV was the third captured ScanEagle, a relatively simple surveillance craft made by a Boeing subsidiary.

Fadavi says Iranian-made copies of the ScanEagle have been put into service, but did not elaborate.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Navy said none of its drones were missing from recent missions, but some might have fallen into the sea in the past. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain.

December 23, 2012 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Strong protest lodged: Afghan security forces ‘cross the line’, prompt demarche

Islamabad summoned a senior Afghan diplomat to lodge its strong protest against the mistreatment of the Afghan National Army (ANA) meted out to 29 labourers, who were on their way back to Pakistan from Kabul, in the Pul-e-Charkhi area of Kabul.

The ministry of foreign affairs demanded a probe into the incident and is pressing for action against those found responsible.

“The Afghan charged affairs was summoned to the ministry of foreign affairs this morning (Saturday) and a strong protest was lodged, seeking an investigation into the incident and action against those responsible,” Foreign Office spokesperson Moazzam Khan said in an official statement.

He added that the Afghan government has also been asked to take appropriate measures to avoid a repeat of such incidents.

According to the Afghanistan desk at the Foreign Office, Afghan Charged Affairs Muhammad Musa Arifi met with Director General of the Afghanistan Desk Syed Ibrar Hussain and received a demarche.

Afghan embassy officials in Islamabad while talking to The Express Tribune confirmed the summoning and said that “it was a routine typical diplomatic meeting in which Pakistan lodged its protest and the demarche will be conveyed to the Afghanistan government.”

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul Muhammad Sadiq also lodged a similar protest with the Afghan government over the incident.

A source in Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul told The Express Tribune that a Pakistani official will raise the issue with Afghan authorities in upcoming trilateral events and military engagements as well.

Border closure
Following the incident, Pakistani border guards immediately closed down the Torkham border crossing – temporarily halting the passage for Nato trucks and other vehicles.

The border was reopened after six hours upon assurance from Afghan officials that action would be taken against those involved in the torture incident.

The labourers claimed they were tortured by the ANA for no apparent reason, while their travel documents, which were legal, were torn up as well.

Frontier Corps (FC) Wing Commander Colonel Mushtaq confirmed that the labourers complained of the incident late Friday night. He added that they have arranged for the labourers to be transported safely back to their hometowns. All the labourers are said to belong to Punjab.

One of them, Mansoor Ahmed, a resident of Lahore, added that they had been working at the Shuja Steel Mill in Kabul since August, where they were restricted from moving outside by its owner Malik Waleed Shuja. “We were not even allowed to go out to renew our visa during the stay,” he added.

Another victim Irfan Ali, a resident of Bahawalpur, said they were kept in pathetic conditions inside the factory and were not paid last month’s salaries. The labourers managed to rid themselves of the job and headed back home when they were apprehended by the ANA at Pul-e-Charkhi.

According to Mansoor, the ANA troops tore passports of three of the labourers – Muhammad Ilyas, Shahid Ali and Muhammad Zahid.

He added that the Afghan authorities took Rs30,000 as bribe to term their stay as legal. The labourers appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari to provide them justice.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2012.

December 23, 2012 Posted Under: News update   Read More

JI, APHC urge UN to help resolve Kashmir issue

LAHORE: Leadership of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan demanded of the United Nations not to ignore its duty of resolving Kashmir issue like it had done in cases of East Timor and South Sudan.

The leaders of visiting APHC led by Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were addressing a joint Press conference with JI leaders at Mansoora on Saturday. The leaders discussed the issues of mutual interests and particularly the prevailing scenario regarding the Kashmir issue. APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq lauded JI’s stance that Kashmir was not an issue between India and Pakistan, and the Kashmiri people and leadership were the most important party in the matter, and a permanent solution of the issue could not be found out by ignoring them. APHC delegation discussed the progress regarding the solution of the Kashmir issue with the JI leaders and the different options for the solution of the issue in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

JI’s Secretary General, Liaquat Baloch headed the JI team in the absence of the JI Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan, who is in Karachi in connection with the wedding of his son. JI deputy chief, Muhammad Aslam Saleemi, Dr Farid Ahmed Piracha and chief of the JI foreign wing, Abdul Ghaffar Aziz received the delegation at Mansoora.

Liaquat Baloch said that the people of Pakistan were sure that the sacrifices rendered by the Kashmiris won’t go waste and they would soon achieve their goal of freedom. He said the root cause of tension between India and Pakistan was the Kashmir issue and the people of both the countries were suffering because of the stubbornness of the Indian leadership on the matter. However, he said, the Indian leaders should realise that the things were rapidly changing in the world and it could continue its unlawful hold on Kashmir long.

December 23, 2012 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Tahirul Qadri tells govt to change system in three weeks

LAHORE: Religious scholar and Minhaj-ul-Quran International chief, Dr Tahirul Qadri said that the country’s system has completely failed, DawnNews reported.

Dr Qadri gave the government three weeks, till January 10, to improve the situation, otherwise he said that he would lead a protest march towards Islamabad on January 14.

He said that his struggle involves the improvement and not the finishing of politics and elections in the country.

Dr Qadri said that if the Army intervenes again in the affairs of state, then he will be the first person to protest against it. He said that to prevent Army intervention, the rule of law must be implemented.

Speaking to a large public gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, he criticised what he called the unjust and feudal system in the country and said that the people had come out to save the state.

Tahirul Qadri said the state was in danger and that he supports the constitution and democracy.

He said that 180 million people within the country support and stands by the judiciary. At the same time Dr Qadri said that in order to bring peace and stability within the nation he will not back away from making any sacrifice required.

He said that he respects the independence of the judiciary, because independence of the courts is a must in any democratic society.

Tahirul Qadri said that politics in the country has simply become one of conspiracy’s and winning elections.

December 23, 2012 Posted Under: News update   Read More