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Reviving Pak-India ties
[DAWN] THE perilous state of Pakistain-India relations ought to be a matter of urgent concern for both state and society in the two countries. Anything done to nudge open a door to dialogue or prevent a further deterioration in relations should be welcomed. Yet, a perplexing and disturbing campaign of suspicion and mistrust has been unleashed against the PML-N government following the revelation that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf...
has met with Indian industrialist Sajjan Jindal, known to be a personal friend and emissary of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Remarkably, the PPP too has added its voice to the chorus of condemnation, the party seemingly willing to cast aside all good sense in a desperate bid to damage the PML-N in any way it can. Some perspective is essential here.

The PML-N has done itself few favours with its inept handling of the backlash in some sections of the media and the public. First daughter Maryam Nawaz’s tweet about the meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and Mr Jindal was patronising and tone deaf. Political ineptness though does not invalidate the likely idea behind the meeting. Every government has come to understand and embrace the benefit of back channels in the Pakistain-India relationship. Former president and army chief Pervez Perv Musharraf
... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ...
used back-channel negotiations to open a dialogue on a possible permanent settlement of the Kashmire dispute. His foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, has publicly reiterated the value of back channels in recent days. In the current scenario, the Indian media itself has speculated that Mr Jindal’s visit to Pakistain may be a prelude to a meeting between Mr Sharif and Mr Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Kazakhstan in June. Mr Jindal as a trusted emissary of the Indian prime minister and, in Maryam Nawaz’s own telling, a friend of Mr Sharif is well placed to be an interlocutor. Ought not the elected prime minister of the country have the prerogative to arrange a meeting with the Indian prime minister?

If a meeting does take place in June, what remains to be seen is if the leaders can find a way to not only re-establish dialogue but to put it on a sustainable path. The flurry of high-level diplomacy in late 2015, with the two prime ministers meeting during the Gay Paree climate summit and Mr Sharif hosting Mr Modi in his Raiwind home during a surprise stopover by the Indian prime minister, produced a decision to restart talks, rebranded as full-spectrum dialogue. But the Pathankot attack derailed the process. The so-called terror proofing of dialogue ought to be one of the main planks of any fresh effort to restart talks; a difficult task, but one that is clearly necessary. The two prime ministers must explain to their respective nations why dialogue is the only option

Funding from ISI: Hashmi asks SC to name beneficiaries
[Dawn] Pakistain Tehrik-e-Insaaf President Javed Hashmi has described the politicians who accepted funds from ISI in 1990s as traitors and called for making their names public.

Speaking at an Iftar party here on Friday, he demanded that the Supreme Court make public the list of beneficiary politicians submitted to it by former ISI chief Asad Durrani.

Hashmi said those who accepted money from the spy agency were disloyal to the nation and the country and they should be exposed. He said he had not received even a single penny from the ISI and always relied on people's power.

Referring to the ongoing tussle between the superior judiciary and the government over implementation of the NRO case verdict, he said democracy was being put at stake just to save the money President Asif Ali Ten Percent Zardari
... husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, who has been singularly lacking in curiosity about who done her in ...
allegedly looted from the country and deposited with Swiss banks. He said both PPP and PML-N betrayed the nation and they had no future. Hashmi had been doing politics from the PML-N platform till December 2011, when he joined the PTI.

Former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri said hundreds of thousands of people from Punjab joined the PTI during the recent membership campaign, reposing their confidence in the leadership of Imran Khan
... aka Taliban Khan, who ain't the brightest knife in the national drawer...

He said the PTI would emerge as the largest party in the general election and clean sweep the polls. He said the masses were looking towards Imran Khan because other politicians did not deliver.

Lal Masjid operation: SC moved for registering cases against 22 persons
[Dawn] A former nazim
...small time big shot, the chief elected official of a local government in Pakistan, such as a district, tehsil, union council, or village council...
of Jamia Hafsa on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking direction to the police to register cases against 22 persons, including former President Pervez Perv Musharraf
... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ...
and ex-Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for their alleged role in the killing of innocent people and desecration of the holy Koran during the Lal Masjid operation in the year 2007.

On May 4, separate complaints were lodged by 11 people against the 22 persons with the Aabpara police. The police registered the complaints in its daily diary and issued separate numbers to the complainants.

The police also sent the complaints to its prosecution department for legal opinion.

When contacted, Advocate Tarqi Asad, the counsel for petitioner Maulana Abdul Qayyum, the former nazim and teacher of the seminary, said a request was also made to the apex court to take up the matter on Tuesday (today) when another identical petition would be heard.

The petition named as respondents the secretary interior, inspector general of Islamabad police and the station house officer (SHO) of Aabpara. The court was requested to order the SHO to register criminal cases against those responsible for the deaths of the innocent persons and desecration of the holy Koran.

"Deaths caused during the operation were in violation of Articles 9, 10, 10-A and 14 of the constitution. Besides, desecration of the holy Koran is against the sentiments of Mohammedans and a violation of Article 20," the petition said.

It stated that as per finding of the apex court on October 2, 2007, 103 bodies had been recovered from the premises out of which only 16 could be identified. The remaining were handed over to their families, but 12 of them were not accepted due to lack of identification.

The petitioner added that as per statements of principal Majida Younus alias Umme Hassan and a former student of Jamia Hafsa, Ayesha, recorded in the same court order, about 1,300 orphan students were on the premises who remained untraceable. "The number of those killed was very high but only 103 deaths were admitted by the respondents."

The petitioner stated that in the court's order it was also admitted that 662 persons were tossed in the clink
Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please!
and later released. "But the fact is that most of them were never released and they were either killed or are still in detention."

The claim can be verified from the statement of one of the legal heirs of the victims, Ghulam Mohammad that he had seen his son when he was tossed in the clink
Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please!
but his whereabouts was never known afterwards.

The petitioner claimed that another man -- Muzammil Shah -- had informed the court during the last hearing that his son Mohammad Ali was alive till July 6, 2007, but after that nothing was known about him.

In view of the order, legal heirs of the victims had been filing applications with the police and civil authorities from time to time requesting them to register criminal cases against the responsible persons. However,
if you can't say something nice about a person some juicy gossip will go well...
they were told that only the Ministry of Law and Justice could allow registration of such cases.

The petitioner pleaded that FIR be registered on charges of murder and desecration of the holy Koran against the former president and prime minister as well as Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former federal and state ministers Mohammad Ali Durrani and Tariq Azeem, former religious affairs minister Ijazul Haq, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, former Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former environment minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, director crisis management cell Javaid Iqbal Cheema, General (retired) Javed Majeed, then director general (operation) Rangers General Hussain Mehdi, former secretary interior Syed Kamal Shah, former IGP Islamabad Iftikhar Ahmad, former deputy commissioner Islamabad Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, former SSP Islamabad Capt (retired) Zafar Iqbal, former chief commissioner Islamabad Khalid Pervaiz, former DIG Islamabad Shahid Nadeem Baloch, former DG ISPR Waheed Arshad, former chairman CDA Kamran Lashari and those who participated in the operation.

Besides, the petitioner also prayed the court to set aside the December 27, 2011, agreement signed between Umme Hassan and the government under which the victims' families would not make any claim or get any case registered against anyone in future.

Pakistan reinforces troops on Indian border
Pakistan has sent extra troops to its border with India, saying rising tensions with its neighbour prevent it from expanding its military campaign against Taliban militants on its western border.

The move came as Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, held talks with Pakistan's military leadership in Washington about how to exert more pressure on Taliban forces fighting US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Islamabad's envoy to London told the Financial Times that assertiveness by New Delhi was sapping his country's ability to fight Pakistani Taliban militants. He said Islamabad had been unsettled by pressure on its eastern border created by the building of military cantonments close to the sensitive frontier over the past year.
“This is taking away from our defence capabilities on the Afghan border,' Mr Hasan said. “We really wish the international community would intervene, but nobody has said anything to the Indians."

Pakistani officials said the number of troops the army had deployed was modest and declined to give details, though the reinforcements are estimated to be in the hundreds.

"This is more of a political and diplomatic problem rather than a strategic one,' said a western diplomat based in Islamabad. “Every time Pakistan has to defend itself on criticism for gaps in its campaign, they bring up India. The campaigns in Waziristan cannot be expanded because of India, for example, is one issue".

“We have enough problems of our own on our eastern border,' said Mr Kasuri (Khurshid Kasuri, a former Pakistani foreign minister). “We are concerned about India. Resolve the problems with India and then [our security orientation] could change.'

Reaching out to Pakistan
By G. Parthasarathy

Buoyed by the decisive mandate the ruling coalition received in the recent general election, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set an ambitious agenda for his government. His primary focus is reviving economic growth through increased infrastructure investment and substantive financial sector reforms. But equally important, Singh is trying to set out a coherent Pakistan policy.
Addressing Parliament on 8 June, Singh indicated India was ready to "try again to make peace with Pakistan". He called on Islamabad to "bring to justice" those responsible for the terrorist attack in Mumbai last November. He added: "I expect the government of Pakistan to take strong, effective and sustained action to prevent the use of their territory for acts of terrorism on Indian territory, or against Indian interests." (The reference to "Indian interests" was a nod to the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, which was carried out in July by elements of the Taliban based in Pakistan.)

Washington, too, has an obvious interest in seeing that India Pakistan tensions do not get out of hand. It would like Pakistan to remain focused on military action against the Taliban on its western frontiers with Afghanistan. The Barack Obama administration also knows that another major terrorist attack on India from across its borders would provoke a strong Indian response. The US has told Islamabad that it has a "special responsibility" to act immediately and firmly against those responsible for the Mumbai attack and bring them to justice.

The last years of former president Pervez Musharraf's rule saw considerable improvement in the India-Pakistan relationship. A ceasefire across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir was agreed upon in November 2003. Subsequent dialogue led to wider contacts and the resumption, after half a century, of trade and travel across the LoC. "Back-channel" negotiations between India and Pakistan from 2005 to 2007 came close to producing an innovative solution to the Kashmir issue.

The settlement envisaged grant of extensive autonomy on both sides of the LoC, with this line dividing the state becoming "irrelevant" in the course of time--by free movement of people, goods, services and investment across it. With declining violence, there would be a phased reduction of forces that now face one another and representative institutions set up for promoting trade, travel, tourism and cooperation on issues such as health, environmental protection and education. Singh and former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri have acknowledged that they were close to reaching a solution in 2007.

While Pakistan calls for immediate resumption of the dialogue process, New Delhi has been cautious. The Indian public remains outraged by the brazen Mumbai terrorist attack of 26 November. Singh would face severe criticism if further terrorist attacks took place once the dialogue process resumed. New Delhi also believes that though a civilian government ostensibly rules Pakistan, the Pakistani army has a preponderant say in relations with Afghanistan and India. This is evident from the fact that foreign dignitaries visiting Pakistan invariably seek a meeting with army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, without bothering to call on his direct boss, defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar.

Whether the Pakistani army establishment can be associated with the dialogue process with India is a question to be considered. Most importantly, demonstrable action by Pakistan to bring those responsible for the Mumbai outrage to justice will facilitate early resumption of dialogue. India is also cautious because of perceived divisions within the Pakistani government. New Delhi senses there are differences between President Zardari on the one hand, and Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani and the foreign office and intelligence establishment on the other, on issues ranging from trade and economic relations with India to the resumption of the stalled dialogue process on Jammu and Kashmir. The indications are that Islamabad, led by the army establishment, would like to repudiate what was agreed upon in earlier "back-channel" negotiations.

To resume the formal dialogue process, careful behind-the-scenes preparatory work would be necessary. This week, there has been occasion for President Zardari and Prime Minister Singh to exchange views at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and they could also meet during the forthcoming summit of the Nonaligned Movement in Egypt in July. These meetings could help address existing doubts and differences.

In the meantime, India could make some unilateral gestures to promote people-to-people contacts and ties between civil society organizations. The people of India and Pakistan both stand to benefit if this process goes well.

G.Parthasarathy is a visiting professor at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, and was India's high commissioner to Pakistan from 1998 to 2000.

Israel ready to provide security to Musharraf?
By Hamid Mir
Hamid's ISI handlers have ordered a hatchet job?

ISLAMABAD: Israeli President Shimon Peres is desperately trying to help his friend President Pervez Musharraf and is putting indirect pressure on the coalition government through different diplomatic channels not to impeach him, Foreign Office sources reveal.

The sources claim that Peres wants a safe exit for Musharraf and he is also ready to provide security to his friend outside Pakistan. These sources also claim that Peres and Musharraf are in regular contact with each other for the last three years. Both met first in Davos in January 2005 and since then they have been writing letters to each other and exchanging pleasantries on telephone regularly.

According to the sources, Peres wrote his first-ever official letter to Musharraf in October 2007, appreciating his efforts in the fight against terrorism. Musharraf, in his response, thanked the Israeli president for his support and good wishes. These letters were exchanged through diplomatic channels of Turkey.

Peres called his Pakistani friend again a few days ago. Though the details of their conversation were not available with the Foreign Office yet it is believed that Peres offered his friend some help.

Informed sources are of the view that Israel has strong friendly relations with Turkey and is in a position to provide security to Musharraf in Turkey. One close friend of Musharraf is also busy in lobbying for him in the Jewish lobby in the US these days. This friend of Musharraf has met many leaders of the World Jewish Congress recently. Musharraf even praised this friend publicly in recognition of his services for facilitating him to address the Jewish lobby in New York. This special friend still enjoys ministerial status in Pakistan without being elected and despite the fact that he is an American citizen. It has been learnt that the same friend is requesting his American Jewish contacts to do something for the safe exit of Musharraf through Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Peres had openly said in October 2001 that he prayed for the life of Musharraf every morning as he (Musharraf) had signed his death warrant by changing the Afghan policy of Pakistan. After that, Musharraf also came into contact with the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. He also met Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in January this year in Paris.

Diplomatic sources claim that Musharraf is the most popular Pakistani leader in Israel. He was the first Pakistani leader who was invited to address the World Jewish Congress in the US in 2005. After that historic event, the then foreign minister of Pakistan Khurshid Kasuri met his Israeli counterpart Silvon Shalom in Turkey in 2005.

Musharraf had asked the Foreign Office in early 2007 to prepare a plan for the recognition of Israel but it did not materialise due to the political turmoil started in March 2007. It is also pertinent to mention here that Indian National Security Adviser MK Narayanan was the first foreign leader to come out openly in support of Musharraf on Wednesday, saying his impeachment would only help extremist elements in the country. The same Indian leader had declared on December 19, 2007 that India could trust Musharraf but not Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf knows that he is still popular among the Indian and Israeli establishments and has a lot of friends in Western capitals as well. If provided a safe exit, he can find a new role for himself in international diplomacy.

Highly placed sources in the coalition government claim that Musharraf is now completely isolated and he has informed Asif Ali Zardari, through the governor Punjab, that he would resign if provided special indemnity. However, the coalition government is not ready to provide him indemnity and in that case he would face the first-ever humiliating impeachment process, which would definitely make history in Pakistan.

Hamid Mir is the Executive Editor of Geo TV in Islamabad and he has also interviewed Osama bin Laden, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, General Pervaiz Musharraf, Hamid Karzai, L K Advani and other international leaders.

FM discusses blasphemous cartoons with OIC chief
Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri on Wednesday said that the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) should work for the adoption of an additional protocol to an appropriate convention by the United Nations or a separate convention focusing on respect of all religions and faiths. “Only a protocol at the UN level can establish governments’ responsibility to control and penalise such cases of incitement which are sometimes justified in the name of freedom of expression,” Kasuri told OIC Secretary General Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in a phone call.

According to a statement by the foreign minister’s office, Kasuri, the current chairman of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), telephoned the OIC secretary general to discuss the recent incidents of inflammatory cartoons, defamation and blasphemous utterances in some Western countries against Islam and its holy personalities. Defamation of any religion negates the fundamental rights of its followers, Kasuri said, adding that the issue could increase tension among civilisations.

Kasuri asked the people in the West and elsewhere to denounce the cartoons and raise their voices against the apparent trend of defamation of all religions and faiths. He cautioned the West against the consequences of the rising “Islamophobia”.

PML divided over Musharraf-Benazir deal
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) is faced with a serious internal crisis with a strong anti-Pakistan People's Party (PPP) group not supporting President General Pervez Musharraf's bid to strike a "deal" with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Sources in the PML told Daily times that there is a clear divide in the party and a majority of parliamentarians not only opposed the idea of a Musharraf-Benazir agreement, they had also threatened a "revolt" against such a move if all political parties were not involved in a "deal".

The sources said Khurshid Kasuri, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Manzoor Wattoo, Majeed Malik, Kabir Wasti and Ishaque Khakwani were among those who believed that a deal only with Ms Bhutto would not benefit the country and the PML. "They have called for a deal with all political parties," the sources said.

Pakistan urges Kashmir concession
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri has said that a solution to Kashmir will not be ideal for any of the concerned parties.

In an interview with the BBC's HARDtalk programme, Mr Kasuri said that "reciprocal concessions" would have to be made by all sides. Mr Kasuri was speaking to the programme to coincide with the 60th anniversary of India and Pakistan's independence. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir in the past 60 years.

"Ultimately a solution to Kashmir will be one that is not the best perceived either by a majority of Indians, a majority of Pakistanis or a majority of Kashmiris," he said. "That is the short answer. It will be the best under the circumstances. It will not be ideal for either Pakistan, India or Kashmir and if it is not that, there'll be no solution to Kashmir.

"There has to be reciprocal concessions, there has to be reciprocal movement. There will be no unilateral concessions by Pakistan." Indian-administered Kashmir has been the scene of a violent 17-year insurgency against Delhi's rule.
Separatist groups on Wednesday called a general strike to co-incide with independence day, describing the anniversary as a "black day" and calling the celebrations "meaningless" until Kashmir gets "freedom". Correspondents say ordinary life was disrupted in the run-up to the anniversary by a security crackdown, with unpopular "cordon and search" operations and frisking of civilians stepped up.

Bush adviser: Military force in Pakistan an option
By Ben Feller, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The U.S. would consider military force if necessary to stem al-Qaida's growing ability to use its hideout in Pakistan to launch terrorist attacks, a White House aide said Sunday. The Senate's top Democrat endorsed that approach.
The president's homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, said the U.S. was committed first and foremost to working with Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, in his efforts to control militants in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. But she indicated the U.S. was ready to take additional measures.

"Just because we don't speak about things publicly doesn't mean we're not doing things you talk about," Townsend said, when asked in a broadcast interview why the U.S. does not conduct special operations and other measures to cripple al-Qaida.

"Job No. 1 is to protect the American people. There are no options off the table," she said. Townsend also said, "No question that we will use any instrument at our disposal" to deal with al-Qaida and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

Responding to earlier comments by Townsend, Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, said Sunday that the country's military was in the best position to attack al-Qaida, if the U.S. provided intelligence.
The national intelligence director, Mike McConnell, said he believed that bin Laden was living in the tribal, border region of Pakistan. Bin Laden is the leader of the al-Qaida network and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

McConnell said Musharraf's attempt at a political solution to peace in the region had backfired by giving al-Qaida a place and time to regroup.

"Al-Qaida has been able to regain some of its momentum," McConnell said. "The leadership's intact. They have operational planners, and they have safe haven. The thing they're missing are operatives inside the United States."

In the volatile northwest tribal region of Pakistan, Islamic militants detonated bombs close to military convoys and attacked government positions on Sunday, leading to gunfights that left 19 insurgents dead, government officials said. The fighting was the latest since militants announced the termination of a peace agreement with the government last week following a deadly military raid on a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital.

In the National Intelligence Estimate released last week, analysts stressed the importance of al-Qaida's increasingly comfortable hideout in Pakistan that has resulted from a hands-off accord between Musharraf and tribal leaders along the Afghan border.

That 10-month-old deal, which has unraveled in recent days, gave al-Qaida new opportunities to set up compounds for terror training, improve its international communications with associates and bolster its operations.

Since then, U.S. officials have said they expect Pakistan to launch more military strikes on Islamic militants while the Bush administration pumps hundreds of millions of dollars in development aid into lawless tribal regions to fight extremism.

On Sunday, Townsend reiterated the importance of Musharraf's efforts.

"We should also be clear that we believe Pakistan has been a very good ally in the war on terrorism," she said. "Musharraf has been the subject of numerous assassination attempts. Al-Qaida's trying to kill him. They get what the problem is. And we're working with them to deny al-Qaida and the Taliban the safe haven."

McConnell also sought to bolster the leader of Pakistan, a key U.S. partner in its fight against terrorism. "President Musharraf is one of our strongest allies," McConnell said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he agreed with Townsend that the U.S. should consider going after al-Qaida militarily "wherever they are."

"We have the NIE report, which just came out, that says al-Qaida during this administration is stronger than ever. I don't think we should take anything off the table. Wherever we find these evil people we should go get them," Reid said.

But Kasuri said Pakistan was ready to act on any intelligence from the U.S. "Let the United States provide us with actionable intelligence and you will find that Pakistan will never be lacking," he said. "Pakistan's army can do the job much better and the result will be that there will be far less collateral damage."

More troops to deploy in NWFP and Tribal Areas
A high level meeting chaired by President Pervez Musharraf on Monday decided to deploy additional forces in NWFP and the tribal areas to combat a surge in militancy in the region, television news channels reported. According to Aaj TV, the government decided to expedite the recruitment of 15,000 troops in the security forces to maintain law and order in NWFP.

Some 100 people, mostly security personnel, were killed in three suicide bombings in NWFP and the tribal areas over the weekend, in attacks believed to be linked to the government operation to clear Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad of militants. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri and NWFP Governor Jan Orakzai also attended the meeting at the presidential camp office in Rawalpindi where the decision was made, Geo News reported. It added that the government also decided to enhance the capacity of the forces in these areas to effectively combat terrorism and militancy.

ISI Security officials at the meeting said they had warned the government about the expected reaction in the tribal areas and NWFP after the Lal Masjid operation. The meeting was told that a strategy was drawn up and approved by the president to cope with the expected backlash, but it could not be implemented at once.

Agencies add: The NWFP governor has been directed to hold the necessary parlays with tribal elders on the new security measures approved by the government, sources told Online.

Gen Musharraf said that the North Wazirstan accord was not signed with the Taliban but with tribal elders, and directed the NWFP governor to hold talks with these elders to revive the deal. He said Pakistan wants peace and stability in Afghanistan. The prime minister pledged at the meeting that the NWFP government would be given all the resources it needs to maintain law and order and the government’s writ in the province.

NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani did not attend the meeting, and the prime minister later called him up and discussed the security situation and the recent suicide attacks with him. He directed the chief minister to tighten security in the province.

The president and prime minister also held a one-on-one meeting where they discussed the North Waziristan peace, the “political role of opposition parties, role of religious parties, and increasing unrest among the people regarding law and order”, sources told Online.

US, Pak officials to discuss Taliban
US Deputy Secretary of State John D Negroponte arrives here today (Friday) to discuss the rising threat of the Taliban movement in the border areas of Pakistan and its impact on the security situation in Afghanistan. Sources, however, denied that senior US officials Richard Boucher and Negroponte were in Pakistan to help defuse the political and judicial crisis, saying that Negroponte’s visit had nothing to do with domestic issues, “though certain developments could be discussed in passing”. “The US is more concerned about Taliban encroachment on settled areas like Tank, Bannu and DI Khan. They are concerned that more than five years after the fall of the Taliban, Western forces are still faced with the uphill task of quelling the Taliban-led insurgency,” said the sources. They also said that US was concerned about the North Waziristan agreement.

Negroponte along with Boucher is scheduled to meet President Musharraf tomorrow (Saturday) and the “do more” demand would be part of the consultations, said the sources. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri will also leave for the US on June 17. Though officially it is said that Kasuri would meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, some western diplomats said that he would also give lengthy briefings to CIA officials on the Taliban and security related issues.

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