Tuesday, 23 August 2011

MQM and ANP refuse to meet Gilani


Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called for stern action to end the orgy of killings in Karachi, but he was put in an awkward position on Monday when a coalition partner stayed away from the Sindh cabinet meeting he presided over and a group of businessmen who had sought a meeting with him to share their security concerns left due to an administrative faux pas.
MQM’s strong criticism of the government for allegedly patronising criminals and target killers was yet another shock for Mr Gilani because according to earlier reports the estranged coalition partner was expected to rejoin the government following conciliatory efforts by President Asif Ali Zardari.
The party’s stance and the security situation came under scrutiny in two sessions of the meeting held at the Chief Minister’s House.
Heated and frank discussions reportedly took place in a closed-door meeting held after Iftar where various options were discussed.
The prime minister called for a focussed operation against criminals and terrorist, the sources said.
Officials said a committee comprising the chief minister and interior minister had been constituted by the prime minister to monitor developments and report to him.
The prime minister said the killing spree in the city must be stopped and offered the federal government’s help to the province for achieving the objective.
He asked the provincial government and heads of law-enforcement agencies to take severe action against the culprits without any discrimination.
“They must be awarded exemplary punishment,” he said.
According to sources, the prime minister said if the government did not take action someone else would do so.
He urged the coalition partners and other stakeholders to extend complete support to law-enforcement agencies which were fully committed to protecting the life and property of people.
The prime minister said law-enforcement agencies were capable of doing the job if they had the backing of all stakeholders.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah also attended the meeting.
According to sources, an altercation took place during the meeting between Interior Minister Malik and Sindh Minister for Works and Services Dr Zulfikar Mirza over the handling of the Karachi situation.
The Awami National Party stayed away from the special cabinet meeting because it has serious reservations over the government’s decision to roll back the commissioner system in the province without consulting it and under pressure from other quarters.
Meanwhile, businessmen who had a meeting scheduled with the prime minister at the Governor’s House left after waiting for over two hours.

‘under control’ of Qadhafi forces, says son


Tripoli is “under control” of the regime, a son of Libyan strongman Moamer Qadhafi claimed early Tuesday, after rebels said they had taken most of the capital and gunfire rattled the port city.
Seif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, met with an AFP correspondent and two other journalists, after ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said rebel forces had arrested him.
“Tripoli is under our control. Everyone should rest assured. All is well in Tripoli,” the defiant son of the Libyan strongman told the three journalists at a vacant lot outside his father’s Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli in the very early hours of Tuesday.
“You have seen how the Libyan people rose up” to fight the rebels who arrived in Tripoli, he said, referring to battles in the capital between Kadhafi loyalists and rebel forces.
“The West has high-tech technology which disrupted telecommunications systems and sent messages to the people,” declaring the fall of the regime, he said about text phone messages sent Sunday to the residents of Tripoli.
“This is a technological and media war to cause chaos and terror in Libya,”he added, dressed in a Khaki shirt.
Seif al-Islam, who arrived for the meeting in an armoured 4×4, claimed the rebels had suffered “heavy casualties” Monday when they stormed Kadhafi’s compound. “I am here to refute the lies,” he said about reports of his arrest.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Qadhafi, the strongman’s eldest son who also had been reported arrested, had escaped, the Libyan ambassador to Washington told CNN.
Ali Suleiman Aujali with the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) told CNN that Mohammed was apparently taken by “maybe
Qadhafi’s forces.”
A senior rebel source confirmed the escape to AFP, saying “Yes, it’s true, he has escaped.” The source in the rebel capital of Benghazi, eastern Libya, spoke on condition of anonymity.
But the Libyan leader’s whereabouts remained unknown, as the capital plunged into darkness after electricity supplies were turned off everywhere but his compound, and gunfire crackled around the Mediterranean port city.
He broadcast three defiant audio messages on Sunday, vowing he would not surrender and urging the people of Tripoli to “purge the capital,” even as rebel forces swept through the capital and took over waterfront Green Square.
“The Qadhafi era is over,” rebel chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil told a news conference in the eastern rebel capital of Benghazi after his forces stormed the capital, more than six months after the fighting began.
He said he hoped the dictator would be “captured alive so that he will be given a fair trial.”He had also declared that Seif al-Islam had been arrested.
Despite those reports, Seif al-Islam arrived for the meeting with journalists in a vehicle in front of his father’s building complex, which was bombed by the Americans in 1986.
As the journalists arrived for the meeting several dozen regime supporters, thinking Kadhafi’s son had come, began chanting slogans and waving the Libyan flag.

Moreno-Ocampo had said Seif al-Islam was arrested and in detention, calling for his swift transfer.
“We hope he can soon be in The Hague” to face judgement, Moreno-Ocampo said as he indicated he was planning to contact the “Libyan transitional government” later in the day.
An ICC spokesman said Monday that the court is seeking Seif al-Islam’s transfer to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity.
Seif al-Islam is accused together with his father with orchestrating a plan to put down the Libyan revolt by “any means necessary” since it was sparked in mid-February.

Karachi life cripples on ..............


Karachi faced a complete shutdown on Tuesday as traders, transporters and fuel station owners decided to keep their regular operations closed after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced that a ‘day of mourning’ would be observed against the ongoing wave of violence that has claimed nearly 100 lives in less than a week.
Moreover, four people were killed and two others injured in incidents of violence in the city on Tuesday morning, DawnNews reported.
Two bodies trussed up in gunny bags, bearing torture marks and gun shots, were found dumped in Pak Colony and at Orangi Town’s Qasba Mor.
Separately, a resident of the Marwari Lane was kidnapped, shot at, and thrown in the Lyari river. He was shifted to the Civil Hospital subsequently.
In another incident, two people were injured when their car came under attack by unknown gunmen in the city’s Gulastan-i-Johar area.
Only two weeks back life in the city had come to a halt due to the shutter-down strike mainly called by the nationalist parties against the restoration of the 2001 local body system that also witnessed armed and arson attacks.

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