Archive for August, 2013

Syria crisis: Russia sends warships to Mediterranean

Moscow: Russia is sending two warships to the east Mediterranean, Inter fax news agency said today, but Moscow denied this meant it was beefing up its naval force there as Western powers prepare for military action against Syria.

warships-Russia

Interfax quoted a source in the armed forces’ general staff as saying Russia, Syria’s most powerful ally, was deploying a missile cruiser from the Black Sea Fleet and a large anti-submarine ship from the Northern Fleet in the “coming days”.

Any strengthening of the navy’s presence could fuel tension, especially as the United States has said it is re positioning naval forces in the Mediterranean following an alleged chemical weapons attack which is blames on Syrian government forces.

“The well-known situation now in the eastern Mediterranean required us to make some adjustments to the naval force,” the source said in a reference to the events in Syria.

It was not clear when the vessels would arrive but Interfax said the Moskva missile cruiser was currently in the North Atlantic and would set sail in the next few days.

President Vladimir Putin has said the naval presence is needed to protect national security interests and is not a threat to any nation. Russia cooperates with NATO navies against piracy and its ships call at Western ports.

The navy later indicated a deployment was imminent in the Mediterranean but gave no details except to say it would be part of a long-planned rotation and suggested it would not increase the size of Russian forces there.

“This is not a new group … but a planned rotation,” a highly-placed navy official who was not identified told state-run RIA news agency.

The reason for the discrepancy in the reports by Interfax and RIA was not clear but confusion has at times surrounded previous Russian deployments in the Mediterranean because of the secrecy involved. The Defence Ministry declined comment.

Washington accuses Syrian government forces of carrying out last week’s chemical weapons attack and has made clear it could soon launch a military strike.

Russia is one of Asssad’s biggest arms suppliers. It opposes any military intervention in Syria and has shielded Damascus against further sanctions at the UN Security Council.

Defence experts said the deployment of the two warships identified by Interfax could give Assad early warning of cruise missile launches, particularly by submarine, or jam radars or navigation systems although they might never be used for this.

“What we may be seeing here is an example of gunboat diplomacy rather than a deliberate attempt to interfere directly in any coalition strike militarily,” said Lee Willett, editor of IHS Jane’s Navy International.

“The simple presence of any ships will have an impact politically, and that is the primary intent.”
Russia’s chief of staff said in June the navy had stationed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters in the Mediterranean, its first permanent naval deployment there since Soviet times.

August 29, 2013 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Mosque khateeb shot dead in Karachi

KARACHI: A khateeb of a Karachi mosque was shot dead inside his office on Thursday.

Two unidentified armed men entered Maulana Nadeem Ahmed Farooqi’s office – located inside the Rehmani Mosque in the Jamshed Quarters area – and shot him thrice.

Farooqi was immediately taken to a hospital, however he succumbed to his wounds on the way.

The attackers managed to flee the scene after the incident.

The khateeb has left behind a wife and seven children.

Farooqi had been living in the area for around 40 years.

August 29, 2013 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Benazir Murder Case: PPP joins trial

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to get involved in the Benazir murder case.

BenazirBhutto

PPP has appointed former Punjab governor and PPP Secretary General Sardar Latif Khan Khosa as the advocate for the party.

He submitted his advocacy license and has contacted the Anti-Terrorism Court for copies of the case’s previous proceedings.

Background

Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack after an election rally, weeks after she returned to Pakistan from years in self-imposed exile.

The government at the time blamed Tehreek-e-Taliban militants and Musharraf has said he warned her of the danger she faced.

In August, ex-military strongman Pervez Musharraf was charged with the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and was indicted by a Rawalpindi court.

August 29, 2013 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Bomb targeting Army truck kills one, wounds 16 in Karachi

KARACHI: A roadside bomb targeting troops killed a civilian and left 16 more people including 11 soldiers wounded on Thursday night in Pakistan’s violence-plagued port city of Karachi, police and military officials said.

Bomb targeting Army truck

Television footage showed several cars and motorcycles were damaged in the blast aimed at a truck carrying soldiers back to camp after they carried out security duties for by-elections in the city.

The army truck was targeted near headquarters of paramilitary Rangers force in Korangi number 5 neighbourhood.

“At least 11 soldiers were wounded in the bomb blast on their truck,” a military official told AFP. “A civilian was killed and five others were also wounded,” he added.

Police officials confirmed the bombing and toll.

Senior police official Irfan Bhutto said another bomb was found near the blast site attached to a pylon and a bomb disposal unit was attempting to defuse it.

Security was put on high alert in the wake of Thursday’s by-elections in the metropolis.

Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan has condemned the apparent terrorist attack and telephoned the DG Rangers to get details of the incident.

An unprecedented wave of killings and kidnappings has hit Karachi, a sprawling metropolis of 18 million people on the Arabian Sea and Pakistan’s economic heart.

Bloody gang wars fed by ethnic and political bitterness, drugs and the Taliban, have created a culture of impunity, and the past two years have seen record death tolls.

In the first six months of 2013, 1,726 people were killed in Karachi compared with a previous high of 1,215 in the same period last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

August 22, 2013 Posted Under: News update   Read More