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Saturday, 30 March 2013

From Today's Papers - 30 Mar 2013
Pak court extends Musharraf’s bail as lawyer hurls shoe at him
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

A Pakistani court on Friday extended by 15 days the pre-arrest bail period of Pervez Musharraf in a series of cases in some of which he was a proclaimed offender, but barred the former military ruler from leaving the country.
A single-member Bench of the Sindh High Court accepted 69-year-old Musharraf's request for extension of bail, which was granted before he arrived back in the country.

The court, however, ordered the former President not to leave the country without taking its permission. The pre-arrest bail serves to prevent his arrest for past charges.

While coming out of the court complex, Musharraf was shoed by a lawyer. Angry scenes were witnessed and people, including groups of lawyers, shouted slogans against him.

Footage on TV showed the shoe flying through the air and landing in a group of people in front of Musharraf.

The shoe hurled allegedly by advocate Tajammul Lodhi in the corridor did not hit Musharraf and he was escorted safely out of the court by security personnel. Lodhi was detained and taken to an undisclosed location, the Geo TV reported.

This was not the first time that a shoe was hurled at Musharraf. In 2011, a man tried to hurl his shoe at him when the Pakistani leader was addressing a gathering in Britain.

Musharraf had arrived in the court through VIP entrance but as soon as news spread of his presence, the lawyers started protesting and tried to enter the chamber of the Chief Justice. There were scuffles between lawyers and policemen.

Musharraf was required to appear in person in the court to extend the bail allowance. On March 22, a single-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, had granted a 10-day bail period to the former President who returned home on Sunday after being in self-imposed exile since 2009.

The high court had also granted Musharraf a pre-arrest bail in the Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto murder cases.

Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 and left Pakistan after stepping down in 2008, is also wanted in the country for conspiracy to murder and illegally arresting judges.

The anti-terrorism court had declared him a fugitive and issued arrest warrants for him after he refused to cooperate with investigators probing Bhutto's killing.

Musharraf, who formed political party All Pakistan Muslim League, intends lead his party in the May 11 polls.
footwear saga

The shoe hurled by an advocate in the corridor did not hit Musharraf and he was escorted safely out of the court by security personnel

This was not the first time that a shoe was hurled at Musharraf. In 2011, a man tried to hurl his shoe at him when the Pakistani leader was addressing a gathering in Britain

A single-member Bench of the Sindh High Court accepted 69-year-old Musharraf's request for extension of bail, which was granted before he arrived back in the country.

The court, however, ordered the former President not to leave the country without taking its permission. The pre-arrest bail serves to prevent his arrest for past charges.
Brig Surinder Singh’s appeal for change of AFT Bench dismissed
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, March 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that it does not have powers of superintendence over the administrative functioning of the AFT. The court gave the judgment while dismissing former Kargil Brigade Commander Brig Surinder Singh’s plea seeking change of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Bench hearing his case.

“This court has power of judicial review in respect of the judicial decisions of the Tribunal. However, it would have no power of superintendence in respect of its administrative functioning in view of Article 227 of the Constitution,” a Division Bench comprising Justice SS Saron and Justice SP Bangarh ruled. “This court has limited jurisdiction of judicial review in respect of the decisions passed by the Tribunal under Article 226 of the Constitution,” the Bench added.

Brig Surinder Singh had moved the High Court after the AFT, which is hearing his case pertaining to the termination of his services for allegedly mishandling classified documents during the 1999 conflict, rejected his plea for a change of the Tribunal’s Bench. He had contended that the Bench’s administrative member, Lt Gen NS Brar, could be biased against him as he was a close associate of another war time commander, Brig Devinder Singh, with whom he had a clash of interest over the scope of intrusions by Pakistan troops and issues pertaining to handling classified information.

Stating that ordinarily it is open for the High Court, in exercise of its power of superintendence, only to consider whether there is an error of jurisdiction in the decision of the Tribunal, the Bench observed that the High Court in exercise of its power of superintendence under Article 227 can rectify an error but it cannot withdraw a case from a Tribunal and dispose of the same.

Brig Surinder Singh’s counsel MP Goswami had contended that it could not be treated as unreasonable for a litigant to expect that his matter should not be heard by a particular judge and that there was a reasonable fear and apprehension in the petitioner’s mind that he would not get fair treatment.

Senior panel counsel for the Union of India Gurpreet Singh on the other hand contended that the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to transfer cases pending before the petition as it is barred by Article 227 of the Constitution.

The Bench also held that not every suspicion felt by a party must lead to the conclusion that the authority hearing the proceedings was biased.

No power over AFT functioning: HC

This court has power of judicial review in respect of the judicial decisions of the Tribunal (AFT). However, it will have no power of superintendence in respect of its administrative functioning in view of Article 227 of the Constitution
— Division Bench of Punjab & Haryana HC
N Korea readies rockets after US flies bombers

Seoul/Washington, March 29
North Korea put its missile units on standby on Friday to attack US military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.

Its leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation", the official KCNA news agency said. It said North Korea and the United States could only settle their differences by “physical means”.

The threats, while not an indication of imminent war, are most likely aimed at coercing South Korea into softening its policies, to win direct talks and aid from Washington, and to strengthen young leader Kim's credentials at home.

The North has an arsenal of Soviet-era short-range Scud missiles that can hit South Korea, but its longer-range Nodong and Musudan missiles, which could in theory hit US Pacific bases, are untested. China, the North’s sole major ally, repeated its calls for restraint on the Korean peninsula at a regular Foreign Ministry briefing and made no criticism of the US flights. “We hope that relevant parties will work together in pushing for a turnaround of the tense situation,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

Tension has been high since North Korea conducted a third nuclear weapons test in February in breach of UN sanctions and despite warnings from China for it not to do so. — Agencies
RTI arms mother to fight Indian Army
Chennai: An aged mother in Chennai is waging an unending battle against the Indian Army. The only weapon in her frail hands now is a directive from the Central Inform­ation Commission (CIC) to the Indian Army to bring before the grieving mom all the documentary evidence of her son’s work as clerk at the military hospital in Roorkee and the basis for the Army declaring him a ‘deserter’ in 1991.

The most intriguing aspect in this sad story is that the Army did nothing to either trace the young man, suddenly gone missing, or help his mother with proper answers to the many letters of anguish. “My husband passed away in 2001 following severe mental depression after several attempts made to trace our son Sankara Subram­anian failed. The RTI Act has empowered me to question the negligent Army officials who simply washed their hands off  without informing us about his whereabouts. I am hope­ful my son would have left some note for me,” the 68-year-old mother R. Anus­uya told DC. She said the officials did not answer many RTI questions and she appealed to the CIC to get answers.
Now the CIC has ordered the authorities to produce the belongings of Sankara Subramanaian and give answers to all the queries raised by Anusuya. “I came to know about the RTI Act through Ms Booma, an RTI activist in Ambattur. For all these years, I had been sending petitions and filing complaints.
However, I beca­me enlightened after learning that I could question and ask for my rights through the RTI,” she said.
Bangla army chief to visit India next week
NEW DELHI: India will roll out the red carpet for Bangladeshi Army chief General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan when he comes visiting next week, as part of the stepped up defence ties between the two countries.

Gen Bhuiyan, who will lead a delegation to India from April 1 to 4, is slated to hold talks with defence minister A K Antony, national security advisor Shivshankar Menon, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, Army chief General Bikram Singh and Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi.

Both ACM Browne, who is also the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, and Gen Singh had visited Dhaka last year as part of the overall policy to boost military ties with Bangladesh, a country where China has been making strategic inroads like many others in India's neighbourhood. India, of course, is also keen to work together with Bangladesh on the terrorism front.

The Indian armed forces are working towards "building capacity" of the Bangladeshi military, ranging from training and exercises to military supplies and technology. The Army has also been holding direct staff-to-staff talks with its Bangladeshi counterpart since 2009.
China proposes border defence pact, India to go slow
New Delhi, Mar 22: 

China today proposed a border defence cooperation agreement to avoid any misunderstanding or flare up along the boundary but India is not rushing into it as wants to study the proposal thoroughly.

During a Secretary-level meeting here, the two sides decided to hold Army-to-Army counter-terrorism exercise in China this year. The dates would be finalised during the visit of an Indian Army delegation to China next month.

The Indian delegation was led by the Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

At the meeting, the Chinese delegation led by its Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Qi Jianguo proposed an agreement under which troops of the two countries will not tail each other if noticed during patrolling along the disputed Line of Actual Control, sources said.

The proposal also has a clause which suggests that troops of either side will not fire at each other under each other under any condition, they said.

However, the Indian side gave no commitment, the sources said. India wants to study the proposal thoroughly and do due diligence before taking any decision.

This was the second meeting between Qi, who is in-charge for Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence in the People’s Liberation Army, and Sharma in the last three months after they met at the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) in January.

The Chinese side had discussed these proposals informally during the ADD also but India had then asked it to submit these points in a formal manner at a later stage.
Guwahati hosts Army mela to motivate youth join Army mela
Guwahati, Mar 29 (ANI): With an aim to motivate the young to join the armed forces, the Indian Army recently organized a fair at the Khanapara Veterinary Ground in Guwahati.

Inaugurated by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, the fair exhibits included various weapon systems and equipment, anti-aircraft guns and other weapons that were used during the 1999 Kargil War against Pakistan.

Students and other visitors described exploring the country's defence capabilities as a great experience.

"I feel very good after learning many things about the Indian Army, and, I think we should join the army because they are doing a great job for all of us and for the country," said Sanjay Singh, a student.

The bomb disposal squad of the army demonstrated the technique of defusing a bomb, whereas paratroopers performed daredevil acts in the air.

"They have demonstrated various skills like parachute landing, sniffer dogs locating bombs and how to defuse a bomb. So, it is very good to know all of these things. I will join the Indian Army and will do something for my country," added Barinada, another student.

The jawans also performed acrobatic manouvres and danced to folk tunes.

Such events not only attract youth to join the defence forces, but also spread knowledge about the capabilities of the army. (ANI)
Army trying to prevent terror attacks: Antony
NEW DELHI, Mar 18 (Agencies): Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday said the Indian Army has taken steps to prevent terror attacks on its camps in Jammu and Kashmir and also asked China to stop its infrastructure projects in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PAK).
"There have been two incidents of firing by terrorists on Army Camps in J&K during the last one year. One Army person was killed in one of the incidents," said Antony in Lok Sabha.
On steps taken to check such incidents, he said, "The Army has taken adequate steps to prevent attacks on Army Camps including deployment of troops and surveillance equipment."
The minister said troops are adequately trained and equipped to prevent such incidents.
"Intelligence inputs regarding possibility of such actions are disseminated to all concerned. Security drills are constantly reviewed and refined to prevent occurrence of such incidents," said Antony.
Antony added that the Indian government has asked China to stop its infrastructure projects in PAK.
"Government is aware of China undertaking infrastructure projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) which are being executed by Chinese civil companies," said Antony.
"Government has conveyed its concerns to China about their activities in PoK and asked them to cease such activities," he said.
He said government is not considering to withdraw troops from the Siachen glacier.
In reply to a question on death of soldiers in Siachen, Antony said since 2010, a total of 18 Indian soldiers have lost their lives in Siachen glaciers due to avalanches. While six soldiers were killed in 2010, five such incidents were reported in 2011. 2012 saw seven deaths and no such incident has been reported during the present year yet.
On whether the government proposes to negotiate with Pakistan to demilitarise the area, Antony said, "Any development and redeployment of troops in the area is contingent upon the threat perception, ground situation, operational and strategic consideration."
AK Antony said there has been no misuse of defence aircraft by VIPs, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As per the existing instructions, only Prime Minister is entitled to use Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft for non-official visits for reasons of security as well as for due performance as the Head of the Government," Antony claimed.
"No bill is pending for payment in connection with Prime Minister`s non-official visits from December 2006 to December 2012. Bills for airlift for use of IAF aircraft are raised by IAF from time to time and necessary action is taken thereon," he said.
Government has not received any proposal to set up new commands to handle country's space assets, cyber infrastructure and for controlling commando operations, Defence Minister asserted.
In a written reply, he said that "no proposal to set up three new commands to handle threats to country's space assets, cyber infrastructure and for controlling commando operations has been received by the government.
Antony said that the government attaches very high priority to the welfare, safety and security of Indian fishermen.
"From time to time, there have been reports of attacks and apprehension on Indian fishermen near International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). As soon as reports of attacks on Indian fishermen are received, the Government, through diplomatic channels, takes up the matter with the Sri Lankan authorities," he said.
"Keeping in mind the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of the issue, Government has impressed on the Sri Lankan Navy to act with restraint, not to fire on our fishermen and treat our fishermen in a humane manner. The Government of Sri Lanka has denied involvement of their Navy in these incidents," he said.
The minister said the government continues to remain engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.
In reply to a question on the appointment of chief of defence staff (CDS), the defence minister said, "The process of consultations was initiated in 2006, with raksha mantri writing to the leaders of all major political parties to obtain their views on the creation of the post of CDS."
Subsequently the political parties have been reminded to provide their views. Views of some political parties are still awaited. A decision on the matter would be taken after completion of the ongoing consultations, he said.
On recruitment in Army in last three years, Antony told the House that in 2010, 1488 officers, including 93 women were inducted in the service.
In 2011, there were total 164 women officers out of the total induction of 1780 officers, followed by 2035 officers in 2012. In 2012, 157 women had joined the service.

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