Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Zardari: Afghanistan, Pakistan Need Support, Not Troops

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, shakes hand with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, 6 Jan. 2009
Pakistani President Asif Ail Zardari says Afghanistan and Pakistan need more support, not troops, from foreign allies to battle insurgents along their shared border.Mr. Zardari said in the Afghan capital, Kabul, Tuesday that the countries have the strength and desire to fight extremist militants on their own. He said that, given the proper support, they could "do the job better and cheaper and easier" than their foreign allies.Mr. Zardari discussed security concerns, trade and other issues with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on his first official visit to Afghanistan. Following their talks, Mr. Karzai said their governments have a new understanding and are committed to working together to fight terrorism.The countries' relations have not always been so friendly. Kabul in the past has accused Islamabad of not doing enough to handle militants using Pakistan to launch attacks on Afghanistan.Many al-Qaida and Taliban militants fled to northwestern Pakistan's tribal regions after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.Islamabad says it is taking measures to secure those border areas.

4,000 cops deputed to seal Peshawar on Ashura

PESHAWAR: Urban Peshawar would be sealed for ninth and 10th Muharram, as over 4,000 cops have been deputed to block the routes leading to the interior parts of the city.
The city would be guarded from the air by four aircraft for the two days, which are likely to remain tense. Four armoured personnel carriers (APCs) would also be positioned at sensitive areas to respond immediately in case of any untoward situation.Curfew would not be imposed in any part of the city as was feared by the public. However, movement of irrelevant people to the areas housing Imambargahs would be strictly banned. Apart from the Shia community members, only dwellers of the localities would be allowed entry to the downtown areas.“On the 9th of Muharram (today), the cantonment will be sealed from the Stadium Chowk up to Deans Centre. On 10th of Muharram (tomorrow), the city area will be sealed right from the Gulbahar Chowk up to Dabgari,” a police official told this scribe.The police official said that traffic would be diverted to other routes from all the areas that would be sealed. The main trade centres, Qissakhwani Bazaar, Khyber Bazaar, Kohati, Koochi Bazaar, Shaheen Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Bazaar Dalgaran, Jhangi Mohallah, Kabuli, Namakmandi, Hashtnagri, Chowk Yadgar, Saddar Road and many other parts of the interior city and cantonment would remain closed for security reasons on the occasion.A command post has been established at Kohati where four platoons of police force have been deputed. Cops have been positioned on rooftops from Tuesday evening while heavy contingents have also been deployed around Imambargahs and mosques.
The entry of Afghan refugees to the urban areas has already been banned. Besides, policemen deputed on main roads are checking suspicious vehicles so the criminals could not enter the city limits.Peshawar has already been declared the most sensitive district for Muharram. Hangu and Dera Ismail Khan are the other districts, which have been declared the most sensitive. “We are more alert after the DI Khan blast, but there will be no curfew,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Coordination Qazi Jamilur Rahman told The News. He added that certain areas of the city, however, would be sealed off.Qazi said that the force had been reinforced and traffic rerouted for the 9th and 10th of Muharram, while security situation would also be observed from air through helicopters. Movies of every procession would also be made to identify the miscreants in case of any unpleasant incident.