Pakistan paid 6 million dollars to Taliban for ceasefire

25 02 2009

Source: Rediff.com

February 25, 2009 03:30 IST
The Taliban [Images] in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley received US $ 6 million in compensation from the government after agreeing to a ceasefire with security forces for an indefinite period, a media report said on Tuesday.

The militants agreed to lay down arms and endorse a peace deal between the government and religious hardliner Sufi
Mohammad to impose Shariah or Islamic laws in Swat in exchange for the payment, Italian news agency Adnkronos International reported quoting security sources.

“The amount has been paid through a backchannel,” a senior security official told AKI on condition of anonymity.

“It is compensation for those who were killed during military operations and compensation for the properties destroyed by the security forces. In fact, negotiations for this package were finalised well before Maulana Sufi Mohammad signed a peace deal.”

The security official said the amount was delivered from a special fund of President Asif Ali Zardari [Images]. All of Pakistan’s tribal areas come under President’s jurisdiction and a special aid package, including a donation from the US, was designated for the region by the President’s office and distributed through the Governor’s office in North West Frontier Province, the report said.

“Some other smaller amounts are also under negotiation, which shall also be delivered soon,” the official said. The Taliban in Swat today extended for an indefinite period a 10-day ceasefire announced by them last week. An agreement for enforcing Shariah in Swat was reached between authorities and Sufi Mohammad’s group, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e- Shariah Mohammadi, last week.

The deal came after months of fierce fighting in which hundreds of civilians and militants were killed and 500,000
people displaced. The Taliban endorsed the deal after Sufi Mohammad held discussion with militant leader Maulana

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Reports: Border guards launch mutiny in Dhaka

25 02 2009
Source: Associated Press& Reuters

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Mutinous Bangladesh border guards opened fire at their headquarters in the capital Wednesday and seized a nearby shopping mall, injuring several people in an insurrection apparently sparked by pay disputes, television reports said.

Gunshots and mortar shells boomed at the well-guarded complex of the Bangladesh Rifles, surrounded by busy shopping malls, colleges and residential buildings, private TV stations Bangla Vision and ETV said.

Officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the violence.

An ETV correspondent reporting live from the scene said guards came out of their barracks and seized a conference hall where officers were meeting. The report said troops of the Bangladesh Rifles, the official name of the country’s border guards, chanted slogans for more pay and better facilities.

Several bystanders outside the complex were injured and taken to state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital, ETV said.

Some of the troops also stormed out of the complex and seized a nearby shopping mall, ETV reported.

The fighting occurred a day after newly elected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the headquarters and addressed the troops, urging them to become “more disciplined and remain ever ready to guard the country’s frontiers.”

Neighbors reported seeing smoke billowing out from the complex.

“The shooting started in the BDR headquarters in the city’s Pilkhana area around late morning and hundreds of shots were heard from areas around it,” a resident told Reuters by telephone.

BDR spokesman Sajjad Haider said “trouble has been going on but I have no details immediately”. (Reporting by Anis Ahmed; Editing by Jerry Norton)





200 witnesses listed in 26/11 chargesheet

25 02 2009

Source: NDTV

Rashmi Rajput
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 9:19 AM (Mumbai)

The 26/11 case stands on a huge body of evidence and most importantly on eyewitnesses who saw the terrorists unleash the carnage.

The list includes police officers who were part of the 26/11 operation, Indian survivors from the Taj, Trident and Nariman House, Railway employees at the CST station who were present there on that fateful day, staff at the GT and Cama Hospitals, forensic experts , press photographers who clicked images of the terrorists, Vinod Masani — the owner of MV Kuber on which the terrorists travelled to Mumbai and Harish Sharan, the owner of the Skoda car hijacked by Qasab on night of 26/11.

The chargesheet will also include statements of the US-based CallPhonix employees — the company through which the and handlers routed their calls using VOIP.

“We got information that the terrorist were at the terrace of Cama hospital. So we took one of our teams since we were familiar with the topography,” Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Deven Bharati said.

These men are among the 200 witnesses who have been listed in Mumbai police’s chargesheet and will play a key role in nailing Ajmal Amir Qasab.

“When I got information, I went with my team and asked the neighbours to vacate the premises,” said Ishaq Bhagwan, Assistant Commissioner of Police.

These were ordinary citizens — policemen, hotel employees of the Taj and Trident and hospital staff among others whose statements are vital to the case.

“I saw these remorseless young guys. And at that time our only priority was to save people’s life. So, we continued with the announcements,” said V D Zende, an announcer at Mumbai’s CST station.

The chargesheet is believed to be running into 10,000 pages and will include the detail accounts of these eyewitnesses.

“It was somewhere around 9.30 when I heard a loud explosion, loud sound of gunfire and grenade when I saw the terrorists. They were two young boys in backpack and looked like collegeans. As soon as the constables fired, they returned fire. It was then I clicked the pictures. I just kept shooting. I was trailing to get more. Everybody praised me next day but I just did my job,” said Sabistan D’souza, a press photographer.

FBI officials are also likely to be summoned as witnesses because they have helped the Mumbai police gather key forensic and technical evidence. But sources say they may depose through videoconference once the trial begins.

5,000 pages of Kasab charges in court today

By Our Correspondent

Mumbai

Feb. 24: An entire chargesheet, of over 5,000 pages, will be translated into Urdu to be given to Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist captured alive during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

While the original chargesheet, more than 5,000 pages, will be filed in court by crime branch officials on Wednesday, the translated version will be given to Kasab after a few days.

“We shall be giving him a chargesheet translated into Urdu soon,” confirmed Mr Deven Bharti, additional commissioner of police, crime.

Investigators are leaving nothing to chance and have even booked Kasab for entering the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) without a railway ticket. “Kasab has been booked under various acts, including the Arms Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act, Customs Act, waging war against the country and other various sections of the Railway Act. Entering the railway premises without a proper ticket is also one among the various offences registered against him,” said joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria.

The crime branch will file a chargesheet clubbing all the 12 cases registered against the 10 terrorists on Wednesday. This will be presented in the Esplanade court, which is expected to direct it to the sessions court. The sessions court will in turn mark it to the special court constituted to conduct the trial.

The police is, however, tight-lipped regarding whether Kasab would be present in court on Wednesday. “We shall be filing the chargesheet on Wednesday. However, we have yet not decided whether to produce Kasab. We have to take into account several security factors. We shall take a call on it by Tuesday night,” said Mr Rakesh Maria.

According to a senior crime branch officer, the chargesheet shall answer all the 30 questions raised by Pakistan after they registered an offence against Kasab. The chargesheet shall also contain the statements of several FBI officers whose statements were recorded by a three-member team that visited the US a fortnight ago. “The officers shall depose in court through video-conference when the court seeks it,” he said. A total of over 200 eyewitness accounts shall be part of the chargesheet.

The government has appointed Justice M.L. Tahiliyani as the special judge for the 26/11 terror attacks trial. While special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam shall represent the prosecution, Kasab is yet to appoint a lawyer to represent him.