ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has taken a number of steps to prevent fertilisers made within its borders for agriculture from being used as explosives in roadside bombs that target American troops in Afghanistan, said a top US military officer Monday.
Brig. Gen. Robert P. Walters Jr., deputy director of the US military’s Joint IED Defeat Organization, spoke in a conference arranged by the Pakistani military in the capital of Islamabad on ways to counter the bombs, often referred to as improvised explosive devices, that account for the vast majority of casualties in Afghanistan.
Many of the homemade bombs used in Afghanistan contain materials derived from calcium ammonium nitrate fertiliser produced in Pakistan at two factories.
The fertiliser becomes a powerful explosive when mixed with fuel oil. The fertilizer issue has been a bone of contention between often wary allies, the US and Pakistan.
The US has pushed Pakistan for greater regulation of the fertiliser, whic..... Read More
By Zahid Gishkori in Express Tribune, May 21
ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Law and Justice advised the upcoming government to ratify the Council of Europe convention relating to the transfer of convicted prisoners from the United States, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“In its recommendations, the law ministry advised Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior to ratify the European convention for the transfer of prisoners,” said Caretaker Law Minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi.
The ratification of the treaty with Washington will enable Islamabad to seek repatriation of Pakistani citizens imprisoned in US as well as other countries which have ratified the agreement.
However, Soofi said the matter is tricky and may take some more time in obtaining US’ final consent.
Pakistan is negotiating over the agreement concerning the transfer of offenders with approximately two dozen countries.
The law ministry has been given the task to finalise the procedural mat..... Read More
LAHORE – The Saudi government has minimised the number of visas for Umrah during coming Ramadan to 25,000 only whereas last year this number was 125,000, said a travel agent on Monday.
He said that travel agents have issued 52000 tickets to the pilgrims across the country for the coming Ramadan and these tickets are non-refundable. Tickets are issued by 12 airlines including PIA.
A PIA officer seeking anonymity said that the PML-N upcoming government should take up the issue with the Saudi government since it would be a matter of big loss not only for the PIA and other airlines but for poor pilgrims also. He said that the PIA would be bound to operate its Jumbo and B-777LR and B-777ER for Umrah operation whether or not there was passengers load on the flight. Ultimately the PIA would have to operate under load flights causing huge losses of revenue. A travel agent on condition of anonymity said that the PIA had already minimised its Umrah fares by Rs 48,000 and it w..... Read More
Islamabad – Former secretary of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Riaz Hussain Khokhar, is leading the race among few diplomats being considered as best replacement of Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman.
Well-placed sources told The Nation on Monday that Mr Khokher the top contender among former senior diplomats for the ambassadorial slot to best serve country’s interest because of his long experience. Mr Khokhar had served as Pakistan’s ambassador to India, the United States and China before leading the top post of foreign ministry in 2002.
Sources said that there were few other names including Riaz Mohammad Khan and Tariq Fattemi being considered for the slot as both of them had also served as Pakistan’s ambassadors to the United States. “It is the prerogative of the new government to appoint an Ambassador to the US,” a senior official in the Foreign Office said, adding that Ambassador Sherry Rehman had tendered he..... Read More
Associated Press, Tuesday, May 21
WASHINGTON — Two Pakistani men have been extradited to the United States to face charges they operating Internet sites that illegally shipped drugs from Pakistan and the United Kingdom to customers in the United States.
Forty-year-old Sheikh Waseem Ul Haq and 51-year-old Tahir Saeed were arrested in London last fall.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington says Ul Haq made his first court appearance in Washington on Monday. Saeed was arraigned on April 18.
An indictment charges that beginning in 2005, the pair illegally shipped pharmaceuticals to the United States and elsewhere. U.S purchases totaled approximately $780,000. The drugs the pair are charged with shipping include Ritalin, Xanax and Valium.
Ul Haq’s attorney declined comment on Monday. A e-mail message sent late Monday to Saeed’s attorney was not immediately returned.http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/2-pakistani-men-indicted-in-dc-on-charges-of-..... Read More
KARACHI: Police claimed to have detained four alleged members of outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) during a targeted raid in Ganna Mandi area of Sohrab Goth on Sunday.
According to details, SHO Naeem Khan said that police personnel raided the area on a tip-off regarding the presence of the TTP men, and managed to apprehend the four suspects. The suspects have been identified as Anar Khan, Ameer Khan, Sal Mohammad and Naimatullah.
SHO Khan said that one kettle containing 700 grams of explosive material ready to go-off, two pistols and a repeater were also recovered from their possession.
He further said that the accused were involved in a number of terror, extortion and criminal cases.http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\05\20\story_20-5-2013_pg7_19..... Read More
By Kevin Sieff in the Washington Post, May 20
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — As soon as the Taliban bullet struck 24-year-old Afghan Sgt. Nazir Moradi’s leg, the men in his unit began brainstorming a way to get him off the battlefield.
The roads were too dangerous for an army ambulance. The Afghan soldiers, in several calls to their commanders, repeated one plea: They needed a helicopter.
The Afghan air force didn’t have any working aircraft available. The U.S. military, in the midst of drawing down its air support, denied a request for help. Instead, Moradi was carried for miles and eventually put in an unarmored ambulance impeded by rough terrain and the threat of roadside bombs.
By the time Moradi arrived at the Kandahar Regional Military Hospital, more than three hours away, he had bled to death from a minor wound. Hospital workers carried him to the morgue in a flag-draped coffin, the ritual they perform each time a soldier arrives too late.
“We..... Read More
INDIANAPOLIS, May 19: Indiana has cancelled subsidies for a planned $1.8 billion fertiliser plant in the state because of concerns that a Pakistani company involved in the project makes products used in improvised explosives that kill and injure US troops in Afghanistan.
Midwest Fertiliser Corp, which has sought to build the plant in southern Indiana, is 48 per cent owned by Fatima Group, which produces a calcium ammonium nitrate fertiliser in Pakistan known to have been used in improvised explosives in Afghanistan.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a Republican, had put a $1.3bn incentive package for the fertiliser manufacturing plant on hold in January pending a review. He said on Friday that the incentives would be withdrawn.
“Without assurances from our Defence Department that the materials which have been misused by the enemy in Afghanistan will be permanently removed from production by Fatima Group in Pakistan, I cannot in good conscience tell our soldiers and t..... Read More
by Murtaza Ali Shah in the News, May 19
LONDON: Nawaz Sharif has yet to take oath to become the next prime minister of Pakistan but the jostling for several key postings abroad – especially, high commissioner to London and ambassador in Washington DC – has started with ferocity and several people around Nawaz Sharif are pitching themselves for these positions and trying to outbid each other.
At least five people trying to get London or Washington postings have started lobbying within the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PM-N) and have asked their influential friends abroad to drop in a good reference about their so-called diplomatic acumen to Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, the future Punjab Chief Minister and now the most powerful figure within the PML-N.
A Muslim League spokesperson, when approached, said that the ultimate decision on these positions will lie with Nawaz Sharif but till now he had no time to look into it. He, however, admitted that the l..... Read More
ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government has suggested that the incoming government should sign the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, a European multilateral treaty, to enable it to seek repatriation of Pakistani citizens imprisoned in countries which have already ratified the agreement.
After signing the treaty, the government can ask Washington for repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui imprisoned in the US after being convicted of assaulting in Afghanistan officials interrogating her for her suspected links to Al Qaeda.
The US is a signatory to the treaty.
Caretaker Law Minister Ahmar Bilal Sufi said the law ministry had issued the advice to this effect and added that signing of the treaty would enable the country to get back its citizens like Dr Aafia who had been convicted and were serving sentences, mainly in Western countries.
The minister said the government had two options to seek repatriation of Dr Aafia: either to join the Inter-American Conv..... Read More