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Archive | August, 2013

Pakistani judicial panel to visit Mumbai in September

Posted on 31 August 2013 by admin

Islamabad/Lahore, Aug 31 (UNI) An eight-member Pakistani judicial commission will visit India from September 7 to cross-examine witnesses of the Mumbai terror attacks in order to take forward the prosecution of seven suspects.

Prosecutors today informed an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad conducting the trial of the seven suspects that an Indian government letter dated August 23 had stated that the Pakistani judicial commission could visit Mumbai during September 5-6.

But Riaz Akram Cheema, part of the team defending the accused, told PTI that the commission cannot travel on the dates given by Indian government as there is no flight to India during this period.

“The commission will leave on September 7 for Delhi and it will need at least four days to cross-examine the four witnesses (in Mumbai),” Cheema said.

The letter mentioned that Mumbai’s Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate P Y Ladekar will coordinate with the Pakistani panel for the cross-examination of the witnesses.

The witnesses are the magistrate who recorded LeT member Ajmal Kasab’s confessional statement, the chief investigating officer and two doctors who conducted the autopsy of the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.

This will be the commission’s second visit to India. A report submitted by the panel after its first visit in March 2012 was rejected by an anti-terrorism court as the commission’s members were not allowed to cross-examine witnesses.

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Need to end all acts of violence against women: Sonia

Posted on 31 August 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Aug 31 (UNI) Against the backdrop of rising crimes against women, Congress President Sonia Gandhi Continue Reading

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Punjab has fallen behind under SAD-BJP govt: Hooda

Posted on 31 August 2013 by admin

Chandigarh, Aug 31 (UNI) Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today launched a scathing attack on the SAD-BJP government in Punjab saying that the state had fallen behind on all fronts under the current dispensation.

“Punjab is our (Haryana’s) elder brother. We are two children of the same mother (Haryana was carved out from the larger state of Punjab in 1966).

“But I feel sad that Punjab has fallen way behind,” Hooda said during his address at the ‘Rashtriya Ekta’ rally here on the occasion of the death anniversary of former Punjab Chief Minister, Beant Singh.

Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed, Punjab Congress President Pratap Singh Bajwa and a number of state Congress leaders were present on the occasion.

Comparing his state with Punjab, Hooda said that Haryana was marching ahead in all fields. Even fuel prices were higher in Punjab (due to VAT and other local taxes) than in Haryana, he averred.

Turning to the recent issue of Akali Dal leaders allegedly trying to politicise the issue of some Sikh farmers being asked to give up their land in Haryana’s Kurukshetra and Kaithal districts, Hooda said, “I will ensure that these (Sikh) farmers get ownership (of the land)”.

“If these farmers had been alloted land (on lease) by former Punjab Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon, I will ensure they are not displaced and are given ownership rights (for the land),” he said.

There are nearly 3,500 Sikh families in the two Haryana districts who have been living there for over five decades.

These farmers cultivate about 15,000 acres of land which they received on lease.

Paying tributes to Beant Singh, who was assassinated here on August 31, 1995, Hooda said it was because of sacrifices by people like him that the country was able to stand up to forces who wanted to see its disintegration.

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Ind must be cautious against unpredictable Malaysia

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

Ipoh (Malaysia), Aug 29 (UNI) Brimming with confidence after three consecutive wins, India will have to guard against complacency when they take on hosts Malaysia, a side which is capable of springing up surprises, in the semifinal of the ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament here tomorrow.

Unlike their opponents, the Indians will be high on confidence after securing their semifinal berth with an unbeaten record. The Sardar Singh-led side spanked debutants Oman 8-0, followed by wins over defending champions South Korea (2-0) and Bangaldesh (9-1) to top Pool B.

Malaysia, on the other hand, finished second in Pool A after they won against Chinese Taipei and Japan but lost to Pakistan in their Pool A engagements.

Fully aware that two more wins here would ensure their ticket for next year’s World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands, the 11th ranked Indians cannot afford to relax in the business end of the eight-nation tournament, and especially against an unpredictable side like Malaysia.

India, who never missed out on a World Cup berth since the tournament’s introduction in 1971, will like to avoid the repeat of yet another debacle after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the Indian team had failed to qualify for the first time in the history of the game.

Having played Malaysia on numerous occasions, the Indians, who start as favourites, know very well that the hosts on their given day can upset top teams of the world.

Another factor which will work against India in the semifinal is home support. Come tomorrow the Malaysians would be backed by a vociferous home crowd, a fact which India captain Sardar Singh admitted.

“It is a very crucial match for us in the recent times.

Malaysia is tough opponent. You cannot predict them. We will have to play against the entire stadium tomorrow as they will have home support behind them,” Sardar told PTI ahead of the semifinal encounter.

“But we are completely focussed on our job. We know we have to win and we are confident of pulling it across,” he said.

On the game front, the Indians have impressed all and sundry so far in the tournament and would be hoping to carry on the momentum in the final two games.

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Country faced with difficult economic situation: PM

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Aug 29 (UNI) With falling rupee and rising oil prices casting a shadow over Indian economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Continue Reading

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Radia tapes: SC conducts two-hour-long in-camera proceedings

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Aug 29 (UNI) In a rare case, the Supreme Court today conducted two-hour-long in-camera proceedings in the former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia phone tapping case for knowing the Centre’s stand and perusing “top secret” documents which formed the basis for interception of her calls.

The proceedings before a bench of justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda, began from 10.30 AM and went on till 12.30 PM during which two additional solicitor generals, CBI, Income Tax Department and Home Ministry officers were allowed into the court room but all advocates appearing for different parties, journalists and others were barred.

The bench concluded the in-camera proceedings and posted the matter for an open court hearing on October 1.

The bench had on August 27 decided to hold in-camera proceedings in the case.

Although in-camera proceedings are normal in trial courts in sensitive cases, in the Supreme Court this is the second time that such hearing is being conducted in recent years. The last time such a proceeding took place in the apex court was in the hawala case in 1996.

The apex court had decided on in-camera hearing after it found that many controversial and sensitive information and names of people figure in the various reports disclosure of which in public domain could harm national interest and could tarnish the image of people till they were established.

Today’s in-camera proceedings were confined to the bench perusing the government’s confidential report and the Centre’s submission on the issue.

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India, Pakistan to hold back channel talks in Dubai

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

Islamabad, Aug 29 (UNI) Former Foreign Secretary Shahryar Khan and ex-diplomat S K Lambah, the point men for India- Pakistan back-channel diplomacy, will meet in Dubai today to ease tensions and firm up a planned meeting between the premiers of the two countries, a media report said.

The decision to initiate back-channel diplomacy to address tensions caused by ceasefire violations along the Line of Control was taken at a meeting of Pakistan’s Defence Committee of the Cabinet on August 24.

The two seasoned envoys will meet away from the medias eyes in Dubai to work out details for the planned meeting of the Prime Ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York next month, The Nation daily reported.

Asked about the report, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said both countries were engaged in Track-II diplomacy.

“Indias point-person Mr Lambah and Pakistans point-person Mr Khan have been in touch with each other, he told a weekly news briefing.

“As for the meeting (between the premiers), it has been the position of the Pakistan government that should an opportunity arise, we believe such a contact between the leadership would be a welcome opportunity to discuss all issues that require urgent discussion and to improve relations between the two countries,” Chaudhry said.

According to the newspaper report, Khan was asked to come to Islamabad from London, where he was on a private visit, so that he could proceed for the Dubai meeting after being briefed by the government.

Prior to his departure for talks with Lambah, Khan met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his top foreign policy aides and a Foreign Office team.

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Spirit of inquiry should”nt morph into campaign of calumny, witch-hunt: PM

Posted on 24 August 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Aug 24 (UNI) Advising media to exercise caution, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said Continue Reading

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Sonia rules out early Lok Sabha polls

Posted on 24 August 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Aug 24 (UNI) Scotching speculation, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today ruled out the possibility of early Lok Sabha polls.

“Our aim is to go till the very end,” she told reporters after the inauguration of the National Media Centre here.

Gandhi initially tried to steer clear of the question when asked by reporters whether Congress would go for polls after passage of landmark legislations like Food Security bill and the Land Acquisition bill.

“I cannot say anything,” she remarked when another questioner put the same query.

But when journalists persisted, she gave the reply of going “till the very end”.

There has been talk of Lok Sabha polls, due next year in April-May, being combined with the Assembly polls in some states later this year in November. More so, the BJP has been asking the government to seek an immediate mandate in the wake of a looming economic crisis.

Gandhi also expressed confidence that UPA will come back to power after the next polls, noting that the rights given to the people by the ruling alliance were its USP.

“Certainly. 100 per cent……obviously so many rights we have given. It is our right to information, right to education and now right to food is our USP”, she said when asked about the possibility of UPA coming back to power and what was the USP on which the elections will be fought.

To a query, she said hopefully the Food security bill, which has been pending consideration for long, will be passed next week.

“How can I say?” she said when asked whether BJP will cooperate in its passage.

On the Telangana issue, she said that the AICC panel headed by A K Antony is hearing the concerns of those affected. She said Government will also be setting up a committee, but did not elaborate.

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Musharraf to be tried in Balochistan for murder

Posted on 24 August 2013 by admin

Islamabad, Aug 24 (UNI) The trial of former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf for alleged involvement in the killing of nationalist leader Akbar Bugti will be held in Balochistan and not the national capital, a court ruled today.

The Balochistan government has withdrawn a petition seeking the transfer of the murder case to Islamabad, TV news channels reported.

A two-judge bench of the Balochistan High Court was hearing the case in which Musharraf is named as an accused.

During the proceedings, an Assistant Advocate General told the court the provincial government will provide complete security to Musharraf, currently being held at his farmhouse in Islamabad.

Musharrafs lawyer argued that blasts had occurred in the same area in Balochistan a few days ago, due to which security concerns exist for his client.

Responding to Musharrafs counsel, Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa questioned whether the federal government had stopped functioning after the suicide attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

The court then disposed of the case after the provincial government retracted its request to transfer the case to Islamabad.

Baloch leader Akbar Bugti was killed in a military operation in Balochistan in 2006 when Musharraf was the President and army chief.

Musharraf is facing charges in several high-profile cases, including the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. His farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad has been declared a “sub-jail” for security concerns.

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