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Pakistani Prime Minister to visit India on Wednesday

ISLAMABAD, March 30 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani will visit India’s Mohali for one day on the invitation of his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to watch the cricket World Cup semifinal between Pakistan and India, Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

As reported by XINHUA News Agency on Wednesday, the two prime ministers will meet at this important sports event and watch the match together, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

The Indian prime minister will host a dinner meeting in the honor of the Pakistani prime minister, it said.

Prime Minister Gilani will be accompanied by important political leaders, members of the federal cabinet and parliamentarians.

“Prime Minister Gilani’s presence in Mohali signifies the tremendous enthusiasm of the people of Pakistan for cricket. It also coincides with the resumption of the Pakistan-India dialogue process,” the statement said.

The two prime ministers are expected to have a conversation on all issues of mutual interest on the sidelines of the cricket match, it added.  (*)
 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in World News

 

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At Least 41 Civilians Killed as US Drones Attack Tribal Jirga in North Waziristan

Illustration Pic : Drones Attack

Pakistan urges US apology over strike, which has killed at least 35 civilians in the North Waziristan http://wp.me/p1cSV9-4J2

PAKISTAN, March 18, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / ANTI WAR.COM ) — The latest US drone strike against North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan is amongst the deadliest in recent memory, with at least 41 people killed and other, unconfirmed sources speculating the toll may be upwards of 80.

Making matters worse, this strike isn’t coming with the usual pretense of everyone slain being a “suspected militant.” Rather, the attack struck a tribal jirga (official meeting) for the Madda Khel tribe, in the town of Datta Khel.



The casualties from the attack included six tribal elders who were overseeing the jirga, which was apparently to discuss the ownership of mineral rights, a number of children who were brought by their families to the gathering, and several members of a pro-government militia the tribe helped organize.

The US has been striking houses and vehicles in Datta Khel and elsewhere in North Waziristan for years, and such a large gathering must have seemed an appealing target. The fact that the gathering had nothing to do with militants, however, points again to just how little information they have about their targets before launching missiles at them.   (*)
 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in World News

 

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Pakistan urges US apology over strike, which has killed at least 35 civilians in the North Waziristan

Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani has condemned the deadly raids on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

PAKISTAN, March 18, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Pakistan has strongly condemned the US over an unauthorized drone strike, which has killed at least 35 people in the North Waziristan tribal region, and demanded Washington’s apology, Iranian Television PRESS TV reported on Friday.

The Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani said that it is “highly regrettable that innocent citizens should be targeted with complete disregard for human life,” AFP quoted him as saying.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has also condemned the attack as “irrational behavior.” He stressed that such strikes will only strengthen the hands of extremist elements.

Civilians and police were among those killed in the assault that struck a peaceful meeting of tribal elders on Thursday. This was the seventh such attack within nine days and the most deadly since 2008.

Islamabad is now demanding an apology from Washington.

“Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir conveyed this strong condemnation to US ambassador Cameron Munter and has demanded an apology and explanation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said in a statement on Friday.

The non-UN-sanctioned attack targeted was the 23rd such strike in Pakistan since the beginning of the year.

Most of the victims of drone attacks have been civilians. The US military denies the claims, saying its air raids target militants.  (*)
 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in World News

 

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Death in Islamabad: Pakistani Governor Killed by Own Bodyguard

FILE : In this picture dated on August 19, 2010 Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (L) walks with Pakistani Punjab governor Salman Taseer in Jampur. On January 4, 2011 Pakistan's governor of Punjab was shot dead near his Islamabad home in a political assassination that threatens to sink the nuclear-armed country ever deeper into chaos. (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

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January 05, 2011 (KATAKAMI / ABC NEWS) ) — When he got to work this morning, police officer Mumtaz Qadri asked to be assigned to theGovernor of Punjab‘s security detail. Qadri was a member of Punjab’s elite police force, he had guarded the Governor before, and he got the assignment he was looking for.

As Governor Salman Taseer made a morning visit to the popular and upscale Khosar Market in the capital, Islamabad, Qadri was the lead security guard. The governor had a meal at one of the market’s restaurants, and was getting into his car when Mumtaz Qadri turned and opened fire, at close range, on the man he was supposed to have been protecting.

Salman Taseer died almost instantly. Hospital officials say they found nine bullets in the Governor’s corpse.

The attack would have been a tragic and compelling story anywhere — but the dateline and motive for the killing could mean grave trouble for Pakistan, for moderation, and for the United States.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton today called his death “a great loss.” In a statement she said, “I had the opportunity to meet Governor Taseer in Pakistan and I admired his work to promote tolerance and the education of Pakistan’s future generations.”

The United States remains committed to helping the government and people of Pakistan as they persevere in their campaign to bring peace and stability to their country.

Salman Taseer was Governor of Pakistan’s most important province, a bold and controversial politician, and a voice for moderation in an increasingly militant and anti-American nation. Taseer was a senior leader of the late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, and it appears he met the same fate as Ms. Bhutto for some of the same reasons.

Today’s killing, as ABC’s Nick Schifrin put it, “isn’t just a terrorist act or a political assassination. It is a violent proclamation by Pakistani radicals that they will kill anyone who argues Pakistan should become a more secular, progressive state.”

Gov. Taseer and his family lived a Western lifestyle, and he recently advocated changing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which call for a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

Today Qadri, Taseer’s killer, told police he had decided on the assassination three days ago, and was proud to have killed “a blasphemer,” according to investigators.

Some reports suggest that his fellow bodyguards congratulated the killer; others say none of the others raised a finger while the bullets flew. The other guards have all been taken into custody for questioning.

The focus of that questioning, no doubt, will be the possibility that radicals have infiltrated Pakistan’s security services. The killer was a trained commando — an elite officer. If he was able to get himself inside the commandos, there’s a fear that radicals can infect all levels of the police and, to a lesser extent, the Pakistani army.

The supposedly liberal and secularPakistan People’s Party — which President Zardari leads and Taseerbelonged to — had already cowed to religious parties’ requests and promised not to touch the blasphemy laws. Taseer’s death can therefore be seen as an even more brazen and appalling statement by the radicals that they will go to any extremes against a more secular, liberal, society.

The site of the assassination underscores the point: Khosar Market is associated strongly with Westerners and elite Pakistanis who enjoy Starbucks-style coffee shops. It’s as Western as it gets in Islamabad.

Finally, and perhaps most worrisome of all for the U.S., Governor Taseer’s killing comes as the government is fighting for its survival after two parties withdrew from the coalition.

Just today the main opposition party gave the government three days to present policy fixes for the nation — or face a no-confidence move in the parliament. Ironically, the assassination has provided the government a little breathing room; that three-day ultimatum has been postponed, until the 40-day mourning period for Governor Taseer is over.

For now, one of the United States’ most crucial allies — already plagued by corruption, grave economic problems and a powerful insurgency — must face the prospect of serious and long-term instability. And the possibility that moderation in Pakistan — in short supply already — may have been among the assassin’s victims.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in World News

 

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Key witness in Benazir Bhutto assassination probe leaves Pak without prior permission

A man holds a picture of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto with a candle and a flower as he participates in a vigil to commemorate her death anniversary in Islamabad December 27, 2010. Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack after an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, weeks after she returned to Pakistan after years in self-imposed exile. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

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December 28, 2010 (KATAKAMI / AlbuquerquEexpress.Com) — A key witness of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination probe left for the United States without taking permission from the Pakistan government.

Dr Musadiq Khan was the principal of Rawalpindi Medical College, and examined the wounds of Benazir when brought to the general hospital on Decemeber 27, 2007, the Dawn reported.

Secretary of the Punjab Health Department, Fawad Hassan said that the department received Musadiq’s leave application after his departure from the country, which was unacceptable.

The case had been forwarded to the Punjab chief minister, the paper said.

Dr Musadiq had claimed that the cause of Benazir’s death was the wound from the lever of vehicle’s sunroof rather than the bullet wound.

He was facing investigation from the Punjab Health Department for allegedly misusing authorities and indiscipline.  (*)

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in World News

 

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Photostream : Benazir Bhutto 3rd Death Anniversary

Pakistani people gather at the tomb of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on December 26, 2010, to commemorate the third anniversary of her death. Bhutto was assassinated almost exactly three years ago in a gun and suicide attack after addressing an election campaign rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, on December 27, 2007. Pakistani police on December 22 arrested two senior police officers for alleged dereliction of duty over the Bhutto's assassination. In April, a UN panel accused the government of failing to provide Bhutto with adequate protection and said investigations were hampered by intelligence agencies and other officials who impeded "an unfettered search for the truth". (Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto gather around her grave to commemorate her death anniversary at the Bhutto family mausoleum in larkana, located in Sindh province, December 27, 2010. REUTERS/Nadeem Soomro

A man holds a picture of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto with a candle and a flower as he participates in a vigil to commemorate her death anniversary in Islamabad December 27, 2010. Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack after an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, weeks after she returned to Pakistan after years in self-imposed exile. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

A Pakistani human rights activist lights candles in front of the pictures of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on her third death anniversary in Islamabad on December 27, 2010. Bhutto was assassinated almost exactly three years ago in a gun and suicide attack after addressing an election campaign rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, on December 27, 2007. In April, a UN panel accused the government of failing to provide Bhutto with adequate protection and said investigations were hampered by intelligence agencies and other officials who impeded "an unfettered search for the truth". (Photo by BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A Pakistani woman cries at the mausoleum of martyrs of the Bhutto family in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on December 27, 2010, on the third anniversary of the death of the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was assassinated three years ago during a gun and suicide attack after addressing an election campaign rally in the city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, on December 27, 2007. A UN panel accused the government of failing to provide Bhutto with adequate protection and said investigations were hampered by intelligence agencies and other officials who impeded "an unfettered search for the truth". (Photo by RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters of Pakistan's slain political leader Benazir Bhutto pray at the site of her assassination on her third anniversary in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. The investigation about the killing of Bhutto who was killed in 2007 is still a mystery. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in World News

 

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Bombing of Anti-Taliban Tribe Kills 45 in Pakistan

U.S. President Barack Obama

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December 26, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned a suicide attack against members of an anti-Taliban tribe in northwestern Pakistan.

The Saturday attack in Pakistan’s Bajur district killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 100 others. Children were among the victims.

A woman dressed in a burqa lobbed a grenade at a World Food Program distribution center, charged into the crowd and blew herself up.

Mr. Obama said the deadly attack at the food distribution center is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have also condemned the attack.

Officials said most of the victims at the center in the town of Khar were members of the Salarzai tribe. The tribe has backed military action against the Taliban and even formed its own militia to help force them from the area.

Officials say many of the victims had been displaced by the second of two military campaigns against the Taliban.

There had been conflicting reports about the sex of the bomber. Male suicide bombers have used burqas in the past to hide their explosives, but local officials said they had confirmed this attacker was a woman.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The World Food Program said none of its staff was wounded.

Bajur district is close to the Afghan border in a region U.S. officials say is a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

Meanwhile, government officials said Saturday 40 militants were killed during a Pakistani military air raid in the Mohmand tribal region. (*)

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2010 in World News

 

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