Islamabad, A Pakistani court on Thursday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Pakistan Peoples Party prime ministerial candidate Makhdoom Shahabuddin in connection with alleged irregularities in the import of a large amount of the controlled drug Ephedrine during his tenure as health minister.
Acting on a request from the Anti-Narcotics Force, Judge Shafqatullah Khan of a special ANF court in Rawalpindi issued arrest warrants for Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani The judge directed officials to arrest and present them in his court within a week.During the hearing, ANF officials submitted a report that said they had evidence proving the alleged involvement of Shahabuddin and Ali Musa Gilani in the scam.
The arrest warrants were issued at about the same time that Shahabuddin was filing his nomination papers for the election of the new premier by the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.
Emerging from parliament, Shahabuddin thanked the ruling PPP and its leaders and workers for backing his candidature but averted questions from the media about the arrest warrant.
Asked by a reporter if he would accept the arrest warrant, Shahabuddin only responded by quoting an Urdu couplet: "Yeh to chalti hai tujhe ooncha udane ke liye."
The Supreme Court is examining allegations about out-of-turn quotas for importing Ephedrine that were granted to two pharmaceutical companies by the Health Ministry, allegedly under the influence of Ali Musa Gilani.
Ali Musa recently cut short his honeymoon ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma on Thursday expressed his heartiest gratitude to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for extending their support to him in the upcoming presidential election.
"Today, I am very happy that the BJP has taken a stand to back my candidature in the coming presidential election. It is not only BJP, but other allies like Akali Dal, JMM and smaller parties have spoken to me and they have told me that they are with the decision of the BJP and the NDA," said Sangma.
"The JD-U and Shiv Sena had taken a different stand. I once again appeal to all the allies of the NDA to extend their support to my candidature. I will be making my tour programme and I will be going out all over to personally request all political parties, both in UPA and in NDA," he added.
The BJP earlier today announced its support to Sangma to pit him against UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee for the presidential poll.
Sangma further said that he has resigned from the NCP to contest the presidential poll.
"Yesterday I have resigned from the primary membership of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and simultaneously I have also send my resignation from the membership of Meghalaya legislative assembly, which indicates that I am very much in the race. I am not a candidate of any single political party," said Sangma.
"My name has been sponsored by two powerful chief ministers of the country, Naveen Patnaik of Orissa and Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu. I am grateful to both these tall ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday announced its support to P.A. Sangma for the presidential poll, the former Lok Sabha speaker said he is very much in the race.
"I'm very much in the race. I'm not a candidate of any single political party. My name was recommended by two powerful chief ministers of the country, Naveen Patnaikji and Madam Jayalaithaa of Tamil Nadu. I am grateful to both these tall leaders," Sangma told reporters here.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu's Jayalalithaa were the first to back Sangma for the top post, saying no tribal candidate had so far been named for the post.
"I once again appeal to all the allies of NDA (National Democratic Alliance) to support me. I'll make my tour programme and I'll be asking support from all the NDA and UPA (United Progressive Alliance) allies," he said.
Asked about the fate of his daughter Agatha Sangma, a minister of state in the UPA-led government, he said: "My daughter is a part of UPA...She is the minister and a very mature person. She has the capacity of taking a decision on her own. I do not have to tell ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Expressing gratitude to BJP for supporting his presidential bid, P A Sangma today appealed to NDA allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena, which are opposed to his candidature, as well as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to back him in the July 19 poll.
Soon after BJP announced its support for him, the 64-year-old former Lok Sabha Speaker said his candidature was sponsored by two powerful chief ministers Jayalalithaa ( Tamil Nadu) and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha).
He said he had resigned from NCP as well as a member of the Meghalaya assembly and asserted that that he was very much in the race.
"I am not a candidate of any single party. My name has been sponsored by two powerful chief ministers of the country. I am grateful to both these leaders. I am very happy that BJP has also taken a stand to support my candidature.
"Not only BJP but other allies like Akali Dal, JMM and other smaller parties have assured their support. They have told me that they will stand by the decision of NDA," he told reporters here.
With JD(U) and Shiv Sena having taken a different stand from that of NDA, he appealed to both the parties to extend support to him.
Asked whether Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress would support him, Sangma expressed the hope that the party will stand behind him as its first choice A P J Abdul Kalam has decided not to contest.
"I had spoken to her earlier. She had asked me to support Kalam then. But she told me that if Kalam does not contest, then she will support me. Now ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Ahead of the Left meeting tomorrow to decide on Presidential poll, Pranab Mukherjee has reached out to CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat to seek his support but did not get any commitment.
Mukherjee, the UPA candidate for the top post, telephoned Karat on Wednesday as part of the exercise to get support from non-UPA parties.
Sources said Karat was non-committal and told him that CPI-M Polit Bureau was meeting on Thursday followed by a meeting of Left parties where a decision on the issue will be taken.
Besides Karat, Sitaram Yechury and S Ramachandran Pillai (CPI-M), A B Bardhan, Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja (CPI), Debabrata Biswas and G Deverajan (Forward Bloc) and T J Chandrachoodan (RSP) will attend the Left meeting.
Left parties account for around 51,000 vote value in the electoral college of 10.98 lakh vote value.
Prior to the meeting of Left parties, the CPI-M Polit Bureau is also meeting in the capital where the issue of Presidential poll will be discussed among other subjects.
The Left parties have kept a suspense on the issue of support to the UPA nominee, saying they were not bound to back the ruling coalition's candidate.
"We are not bound, we are not part of the alliance of Congress and UPA that we have to support anybody they propose," Karat had said.
The CPI-M had earlier decided to consult secular and Left parties before finalising a stand on supporting a Presidential candidate.
Top leadership of UPA has already spoken to Karat and Bardhan seeking ... Read Full Story
Islamabad, In a rushed bid to resolve the political chaos triggered by the supreme court's disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani as PM, Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called a session of parliament to elect the country's new premier on Friday.
Media reports are speculating on several names but insiders say three outgoing members of the cabinet, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and Syed Khurshed Shah, were discussed by Zardari in meetings with PPP bosses and leaders of the ruling coalition partners.
"Makhdoom Shahabuddin emerged as the strongest candidate as none of the allied groups raised any objection against him," said a senior PPP leader. Shahabuddin, a senior MP, is from Rahim Yar Khan in southern Punjab and was federal minister for textiles until Gilani's disqualification.
However, the stalemate won't end with the appointment of a new PM as he will be pushed by the apex court to write to the Swiss government to reopen a graft case against Zardari.
Shahabuddin, though, could run into trouble. Officials of Pakistan's anti-narcotics force (ANF) have revealed that Shahabuddin could be arrested in connection with the ephedrine case involving Ali Musa Gilani, son of the outgoing PM. ANF has named Musa as one of the eight accused for alleged irregularities in the import of a large amount of the chemical ephedrine, commonly known as "poor man's cocaine".
Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, another contender who was holding the power and water ministry, was a strong ... Read Full Story
Athens, The head of Greece's conservative party, Antonis Samaras, has been sworn in as prime minister to head a three-party coalition that will uphold the country's international bailout commitments.
Samaras, 61, was sworn today, three days after his party came first in the second national elections but failed to win enough votes to form a government on its own. He is Greece's fourth prime minister in eight months.
His New Democracy party will join forces with the socialist Pasok party, which came in third place, and the smaller Democratic Left. The deal ended nearly seven weeks of political uncertainty in debtcrippled Greece that threatened to plunge Europe deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.
"Greece has a government," Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said after talks with Samaras on Wednesday. He added that Greece will be represented at the upcoming meeting of Eurozone finance ministers by outgoing finance minister Giorgos Zanias.
The meeting "will be the first big battle on the revision of the bailout agreement, the creation of a framework that will allow us to move to positive growth and to combat unemployment," he said. ... Read Full Story
Moradabad, In comments that can fuel a controversy, Congress leader Rashid Alvi has described Mulayam Singh Yadav as the "biggest agent" of BJP at a time when the SP supremo's party is coming closer to the ruling alliance at the Centre.
"I don't know if you would like it or not but I have been saying it for the last 10 years that if there is anybody who is the biggest agent of BJP, it is Mulayam Singh Yadav. If anybody dances to the tunes of BJP, it is Mulayam Singh Yadav," Alvi, the Congress spokesperson, said addressing a public meeting last night in Moradabad.
The remarks may fuel a controversy as they come at a time when Mulayam Singh Yadav has extended support to the UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
The Congress was quick to distance itself from Alvi's comments.
"Party does not approve of this....the Congress has always been in favour of uniting all secular forces," AICC general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.
When contacted, Alvi, however, downplayed his remarks, saying the comments were made at a public meeting at a time when municipal elections are on in the state and all political parties are attacking each other.
"It is election time in the state in which parties are making allegations against each other, SP is also making allegations against us. Elections are going on. The remarks were made at a public meeting. There is not much between the lines to be read," he said. ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Congress on Wednesday was reluctant to name its prime minister if UPA is voted back to power in 2014, saying it would be decided by the elected MPs.
The Congress tied itself in knots when it faced queries about the party reaction to the tussle in NDA over who should be its PM candidate. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has demanded that NDA declare its candidate before the elections and that the person should have "secular" credentials.
The twin conditions were a thinly veiled attack on Gujarat chief minister Narenrda Modi, and the statement has triggered a full blown war between the allies.
Congress refused to be drawn into the debate, calling it the opposition combine's internal matter. But AICC spokesman Rashid Alvi went on to say that the debate in NDA was futile since UPA was set to be voted back to power as UPA-3.
Asked if Manmohan Singh would be the PM in that case, Alvi pulled back. "This is a hypothetical question. In our system, elected MPs decide their leader who becomes the PM." It led to persistent questioning but Alvi refused to ... Read Full Story
New Delhi, Differences within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) reached a flashpoint with Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar attacking his Gujarat counterpart and BJP strongman Narendra Modi on the riots of 2002 in the western state even as the alliance postponed a meeting on arriving at a consensus on the Presidential election candidate.
A war of words and political muscle-flexing is on between Nitish Kumar (who belongs to Janata Dal-United) and Narendra Modi with the Presidential polls and the question of supporting rival United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate Pranab Mukherjee thrown in for good measure.
Nitish Kumar, who earlier took on BJP by backing Pranab Mukherjee, said Modi 'mishandled' the Gujarat riots and that resulted in the loss of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Lok Sabha polls in 2004.
"Modi's mishandling of Gujarat riots made NDA lose its power in 2004," said Kumar.
He said former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not happy with Modi and the manner in which he handled the Gujarat riots.
He said Vajpayee wanted to remove Modi from the Chief Minister's post after the riots.
Apparently countering the growing ambitions of Modi in national politics amid the latter's name cropping up time and again as a future PM of India, Kumar earlier said the NDA must name its prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections in 2014.
BJP's ideological patron RSS, however, came in the defence of Modi during the day.
Its chief Mohan ... Read Full Story
Rio de Janeiro, India may soon be allowed to export rice to China. The assurance from Beijing came when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met here with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao Wednesday on the margins of the Rio+20 Summit.
"There were some regulatory issues earlier. Our commerce ministry had been working on it. Now these have been resolved as per the Chinese premier," a top Indian official, privy to the deliberations between the two leaders, told reporters.
The decision, he added, was conveyed when the two leaders dwelt on the target of boosting bilateral trade between the two leading Asian economies to $100 billion by 2015, during which Manmohan Singh mentioned the large trade surplus in China's favour.
This was the 13th time the two leaders met, since Manmohan Singh, now in his second term, took over as prime minister for the first time in 2004.
"The Chinese premier agreed India has a large trade deficit with China and in that context he said rice exports from India would be allowed. He also assured Chinese investments in India's infrastructure," the official said, requesting anonymity.
India and China enjoyed a bilateral trade of a record $73.9 billion last year. But the trade deficit for India ballooned to $27.07 billion, even as Indian exports grew nearly 13 percent to $23.4 billion, as per official data.
The two sides, according to Indian officials, also agreed to form an inter-ministerial group within their respective countries on maritime matters, and deploy officials ... Read Full Story