First it was violence and now a non-cooperation movement. The next in the line will be Rail Rokho starting March 1 to intensify the demand for a separate Telangana state. While all this is for the consumption of the public, the fact of the matters remains that the Congress at the centre will have no option but to give into the demands since if they do not do so, then the situation is going to be extremely difficult in the days to come.
If you notice, the union government has not really done much to stop any of these agitations. All they have been doing is buying some time and reliable sources say that this is nothing but a ploy to ensure that the agitation intensifies to such an extent that they would be left with no option but to hand over the state.
The more interesting question is why does the Congress want to give Telangana so badly when it has been doing so many flip flops on the issue. In fact Home Minister, P Chidambaram had announced a year back that a separate state would be given and then he seemed to back track on this.
Congress insiders from Andhra Pradesh told rediff.com that their party will have no option but to decide on Telangana. If they do not do so then it curtains for the party in the state. All this is due to the Jagan Mohan Reddy factor. No matter how much the Congress denies in public that he is no threat to them, the fact remains that with each passing day he is eating into the vote share of the Congress in the Seema Andhra region. Jagan has been riding on a major sympathy wave- both due to the demise of his father and also the fact that he has made it look that he was made to leave the party.
The Congress now realizes that while they will try and salvage as much as possible in the Seema Andhra region, they will need to consolidate in the Telangana region. Jagan till date has been waving the banner for a united Andhra Pradesh. This effectively means that his chances are very meek in the Telangana belt. Jagan is playing his cards carefully and he is well aware that any public support for a Telangana would mean that he would be compromising on his vote share in the Rayalseema belt. The Congress in turn has realised that they would need to grab this opportunity and declare a separate state for Telangana which has almost half the number of seats in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly. They are focusing on those 119 seats in this belt which they feel would compensate for the loss they incur in the Seema Andhra region due to the Jagan factor.
In various circles in Andhra Pradesh, there is talk that the Congress high command is permitting its Telangana MLAs to stage such a protest. They would want it to intensify further to such an extent so that they would want to make a grand declaration and walk away with all the pats from the people of Telangana.
Political observers say that if the Congress does declare a separate state then they become the heroes in Telangana. This would also effectively mean that they eat into the vote share of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi. In the long run the Congress would take into its fold the TRS. It could be a merger or even a tie up, political observers point out. In addition to this they also have a tie up with the Praja Rajyam Party floated by cine star Chiranjeevi who will help them pick up a couple of seats in the other belts especially the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh.
However the Congress would buy more time to actually declare a separate state. They would first introduce the bill in the budget session and then commence the process. If one notices the tone of their MLAs or even the others who are seeking a separate state it becomes clear that all they are asking for is the process to start. They feel that this would make the voter in the Telangana region happy and they would remain quiet for some time at least till the next election is over.
The non-cooperation movement for a separate Telangana has caused a loss of over Rs 2500 crore to the Andhra Pradesh state exchequer. State officials have estimated the loss at around Rs 800 crore per day due to this non cooperation movement.
The scenario is however not going to get any better in Andhra Pradesh until the Parliament introduces the bill for the formation of a separate state. The chief of the political Joint Action Committee, Professor Kodanda Ram says that there is no way in which this agitation is going to stop. This is an exercise to build up pressure and it will not stop at any cost until there is a solution. There will be no violence and we had said the moment the Shri Krishna Commission report came out that non cooperation would be the only way out in order for our demand to be met.
At present there are around 2.8 lakh employees from the Telangana region working in government offices. These employees are spread over 12 districts including the city of Hyderabad. All these employees barring the ones from the police department are on strike.
The biggest problem that the government faces is the non collection of taxes. Hyderabad being the capital of Andhra Pradesh which is also part of the Telangana region has most number of employees from this region. Taxes have not been collected at all levels and this is causing a nightmare to the government which continues to incur losses.
The students on the other hand are also stepping up the pressure and none of the educational institutions are functional as the teachers have refused to report to work. The situation is the same in the hospitals where doctors and nurses in government hospitals too taking part in this non cooperation movement.
On the other hand the people of the Telangana region have been told not to pay bus fares during travel. This trend was started off by Telangana Rastriya Samithi supreme K Chandrasekhar Rao who was arrested briefly for doing so. This trend has caught on among the people of Telangana and they have been defying the system. Initially some of these persons were arrested, but now the authorities have stopped acting on this.
Sources in the government say that it is a difficult situation. The issue is before the union government and is up to them to decide. We cannot be too aggressive with these protestors since it will only worsen the situation. We will not even go ahead and suspend the protesting employees but action could be contemplated against the doctors and nurses since they cannot deny the people of a very essential service.
The All India Congress Committee Secretary P Sudhakar Reddy says that the government has to take a quick decision on this issue since the losses are building as each day passes. If the government does not react soon then the state will witness a financial emergency.
The political Joint Action Committee will meet today and tomorrow to decide on the further course of action. The JAC says that it wants to replicate the BJP’s 2g scam protest as it has found that to have succeeded. The non cooperation will continue. There would be pressure built up on the Congress and the TDP MLAs from the Telangana region to step down and also both proceedings in the assembly and the parliament are likely to be disrupted as part of this protest.
The JAC feels that the pressure on these MLAs especially from the Congress has to be stepped up since there have been some changes. The Congress at New Delhi has expressed to its MLAs that they cannot face any more embrassment as the government is already scam ridden. The MLAs have assured that they will lie low for sometime until the Union Budget failing which they have to resort to drastic measures and tender resignations. These Congress leaders had said that if there is no action on Telangana, they cannot even return to their constituencies leave alone win another election from the Telangana region.
The killing of Benazir Bhutto was something that shocked the entire world and also showed all of us that Pakistan is in such disarray and refuses change. Benazir Bhutto, a few weeks before her murder had sent an email to Wolf Blotzer of the CNN in which she had named Pervez Musharaff as her possible assassin. Amir Mir, the former editor of the Weekly Independent in his book, ” The Bhutto murder Trail- From Wazirstan to GHQ has got an outstanding reaction from the world, but has also created a lot of bitterness within the establishment in Pakistan. Mir who is one of Pakistan’s foremost investigative journalists draws from personal anecdotes, meetings and off the record conversations with Benazir Bhutto and reconstructs the assassination of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister.
In this interview with rediff.com, Mir discusses his book, the scenario in Pakistan post Bhutto. He also goes on to say that as per the investigation it becomes clear that General Pervez Musharaff was in the know of the plot and the establishment had tried to stop her from returning to Pakistan before getting her killed when she staged a come back.
How has the reaction to your book been?
The response is very encouraging and beyond my expectations. However, the establishment’s circles have reacted bitterly, especially to the inclusion of word GHQ in the title of the book.
During your last meeting with Benazir Bhutto, she had said that you could name Musharaff, if she is assassinated? Do you believe he is responsible for this?
Yes, I strongly believe that Pervez Musharraf and his cronies in the military establishment were responsible for the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto. They first tried their best to stop her from returning home before the 2008 general elections and eventually got her killed soon after she staged a comeback to take part in the elections. You must be aware of the email Bhutto had sent to Wolf Blitzer of the CNN on October 26 2007, a few weeks before her murder, wherein she had named Musharraf as her possible assassin. Although UN Inquiry Commission’s report into her assassination, released in April 2010, stopped short of naming Musharraf as the Bhutto killer, it did
go much further than anyone could have imagined in blaming him and giving broad hints about his role in the security lapses that paved the way for her assassination. There were pages after pages in the United Nation’s report of evidence implicating khakis belonging to the Military Intelligence and the Inter Services Intelligence, for their involvement in the murder. A long-established nexus between Pakistani military and the militants too reinforced public suspicions of the military and intelligence establishment’s possible involvement in the tragedy.
Then Benazir had herself told me during a one-on-one conversation on November 13, 2007, hardly a few weeks before her assassination: ‘You can name Musharraf my assassin if I am killed.’ Those were the very words she had uttered twice during that meeting. Talking about the attempt on her life in Karachi on 18 October 2007 after her return from exile, Benazir Bhutto said that she knew quite well even before returning home that such a cowardly attempt would be made on her life. ‘And let me tell you that the Karachi suicide bombings could not have been possible without General Musharraf’s blessing.’ As I asked Bhutto why would Musharraf hurt you when you are already trying to negotiate with him a deal?, she smiled and said: “I have almost made him (Musharraf) shed his military uniform, which was like a second skin to him,’ she said. (Musharraf had to quit as the Chief of Army Staff on 28 November 2007, almost two weeks after my Lahore meeting with Bhutto.) ‘Now that I have staged a comeback, the general is between a rock and a hard place. He is under tremendous pressure to quit the presidency, shed his military uniform, and go home. Therefore, please mind one thing, all those in the Establishment who stand to lose power and influence in the post-election  set up are after me, including the general. I cannot give you any more details at the moment. You can, however, name Musharraf as my assassin if I am killed”, she had added.
There is a charge sheet filed against Musharaff in this case. Do you think the case will be taken to a logical end?
Yes, the Pakistani authorities investigating the assassination finally charged Pervez Musharraf with abetment and conspiracy, after concluding that he had prior knowledge of the murder plot. The challan submitted in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court contained 12 charges against Musharraf, stating: “Based on motive, circumstantial evidence and statements, it is prima facie established that Musharraf is equally responsible with criminal mens rea for facilitation and abetment of assassinating Benazir Bhutto.”The trial court issued Musharraf’s non-bailable arrest warrants after his blunt refusal to appear before the court and cooperate with the investigating agencies. The Pakistan government now intends to seek his extradition from Britain through Interpol. But the issue is complicated because there is no extradition treaty between the United Kingdom and Pakistan. As far as the second part of your question is concerned, I doubt that the case will ever be taken to a logical end. In fact, there are many angles to the murder that have not yet been explored by Pakistani authorities. The UN inquiry Commission pointed out, albeit delicately, some of these, and there is clearly a great deal still hidden from the
public eye despite the installation of her own party’s government in Islamabad. First of all, neither Musharraf nor any of his three khaki aides have so far been interrogated by the investigating agencies despite the fact that Bhutto wanted Musharraf and his aides to be named as her assassin in case of her murder. Besides Musharraf, those Bhutto had named in a letter as her possible assassins included Brig (retd) Ejaz Hussain Shah (who was the director general of Intelligence Bureau (IB) the day Bhutto was assassinated, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi (the then chief minister of the Punjab Province) and Lt Gen (retd) Gul Hameed (a former director general of the Inter Services Intelligence). To tell the truth, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani did not allow the investigating agencies interrogate the former Military Intelligence chief, Ma Gen Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad, who had allegedly asked the senior most police official of Rawalpindi soon after the murder to hose down the crime scene to hinder any future probe. In a latest development, a section of the Pakistani media has already reported that a fresh probe by the country’s interior ministry uncovered the role of nine men, including an army brigadier, in the murder, and that the plot was hatched at the official residence of the army brigadier. But the government was quick to refute these reports as baseless, primarily under pressure from the military establishment which is ruling the roost decades now. The three year extension granted to General Ashfaq Kayani as Army chief is a reminder of the limits of the civilian government’s authority. Kayani who commands the all-powerful military establishment, continues to call the shots since Musharraf’s exit, and will continue to do so for the next three years. Therefore, in his presence, the PPP government won’t be able to proceed against either Musharraf of any of his former aides who are suspected of involvement in the Bhutto murder, especially after General Kayani’s extension. Currently living in self-imposed exile in London, Musharraf is already well beyond the reach of Pakistani authorities. And since the political clout of the Army, Musharraf had left behind refuses to diminish, many in government circles believe the country’s khaki top brass will not allow a potentially humiliating probe against their former army chief for his role in the Bhutto murder. Despite Musharraf’s ouster, the reality of present-day Pakistan is that the civilian government is weak and the all-powerful military is firmly in control.
Will Musharaff be able to make a comeback into Pakistan politics?
Not at all! I don’t think Musharraf will ever be able to make a comeback into national politics. He is a wasted bullet and I even doubt his repeated resolves to return home to take part in the 2012 elections. Even otherwise, after having been formally charged with
abetment in the Bhutto murder, I don’t think Musharraf will dare return home in the presence of the PPP government at least.
What role exactly has Musharaff played in the assassination of Mrs Bhutto?
Perhaps, this is asking for too much from a journalist, especially when Bhutto’s own party’s government is in power in Islamabad and dealing with the case. However, the investigators have already concluded that Musharraf was well aware of the murder plot but his regime did nothing to preempt it, probably because of its own involvement. UN commission, which was released twenty-eight months after her assassination, had cited a major lapse in her security plan and squarely blamed Musharraf for that. The report made it abundantly clear that Benazir had been left completely at the mercy of her killers, who took advantage of the pitiable security arrangements and assassinated her. Preliminary investigations by the FIA have established that around 125 commandos of the Punjab Police’s Elite Force, who were supposed to provide a security box to Bhutto and escort her cavalcade to her Islamabad residence after the Liaqat Bagh rally, were moved from the rally site on the orders of the then Capital City Police Officer (CPO) of Rawalpindi Saud Aziz, who was apparently directed by then director general of the Military Intelligence to do so under directions from Musharraf, thus paving the way for Bhutto’s easy murder from a close range.
Are any of the members who planned the assassination still in the establishment?
No. All the murder suspects from the police department and the civil bureaucracy have already been suspended and facing inquiry.
If Pakistani intelligence establishment has had a role in the assassination then will President Zardari be able to do much to bring the killers of his wife to look?
I believe Zardari is the best person to answer this query. But I have raised this question in my book and have also attempted to answer it. I doubt if her killers will ever be brought to book. According to official circles in Islamabad, the main problem is that the main
murder suspect, Musharraf, was allowed to leave the country under an unannounced deal sponsored by the Americans and brokered by Army Chief General Kiyani, under which the former dictator was given a safe passage and immunity from any type of prosecution by none other than Zardari, who succeeded Musharraf as the President, and who has been
struggling since then to stay in power against all odds. I strongly believe that Pakistan’s ruling PPP should try to unmask the killers while the party is in power or else the masterminds of Benazir’s gruesome assassination are unlikely to be brought to justice. In my personal opinion, the Pakistan government should immediately proceed against all the murder suspects at every cost, no matter how powerful they are. President Zardari needs to understand one thing: It was the personal sacrifice of Benazir that ostensibly brought the PPP into power. Therefore, the masterminds of her assassination should be taken to task before the next general elections. If her killers cannot be unmasked now, while Benazir Bhutto’s PPP is in power in Islamabad, it is less likely that they will ever be unmasked.
Saeed alias Bilal is said to be the man who fired at Mrs Bhutto. Who exactly is this person and which outfit does it belong to?
According to the UN Investigation report, the name of the suicide bomber who was hired to kill Bhutto was Saeed alias Bilal, a resident of South Waziristan, who exploded himself after failing to shoot down Bhutto.
How different do you think Pakistan would have been today had Mrs Bhutto been alive? Do you think she would have become the Prime Minister?
I believe Pakistan would have been a liberal and progressive nation had Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto not been sent to the gallows by the country’s all-powerful military establishment. And I also believe had Bhutto’s daughter not been killed in December 2007 and allowed to contest the elections, she would have become the prime minister for the third time. Hardly a month before her return to Pakistan in October 2007, Benazir Bhutto wrote that she prays for the best and prepares for the worst. But in any case, she added, ‘I am going home to accelerate the fight for the restoration of Pakistan’s place in the community of
democratic nations.’ In a September 20, 2007 article that had appeared in The Washington Post, Bhutto stated: I am returning home to bring change to my country. Pakistan’s future viability, stability and security lie in empowering its people and building political institutions. My goal is to prove that the fundamental battle for the hearts and minds of a generation can be accomplished only under democracy. The central issue facing Pakistan is moderation vs. extremism. The fight against extremism requires a national effort that can flow only from legitimate elections. But within our intelligence and military establishment are elements who sympathize with religious extremists.
If these elements are not answerable to Parliament and the elected government, the battle against religious militancy, a battle for the survival and future of Pakistan, could be lost”. But unfortunately, she was eliminated by these elements before she could make them answerable.
You refused to accept an award from Musharaff when he was the President. Why was this?
How could I have agreed to accept the award for the best investigative journalist from a dictator who had trampled upon the constitution of my country and muzzled the media?
Ajmal Kasab may have been ordered to hang today, but when one looks at the 26/11 case as a whole this is just the beginning. Ajmal Kasab in this case was a puppet in the hands of a large syndicate of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the fact of the matter remains that the men who controlled the likes of Kasab are yet to be brought to justice.
The four names that strike you when you say 26/11 are Hafiz Saeed, David Headley, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Sajid Mir. While three of them barring Mir are facing trial in the United States of America and Pakistan, Mir continues to be a mysterious figure. There is one reason to rejoice that the likes of Kasab and Headley are in custody, but the bigger worry is that the other three persons continue to remain free which would mean that they are very capable of creating at least another 100 Kasabs and Headleys to wreck havoc on the world.
While India would now fight the appeal by Kasab in the Supreme Court, the immediate course of action next would be to commence the trial against David Headley who is currently in the custody of the United States of America. NIA sources say that the chargesheet against Headley would be ready soon and the case would go before the same court which tried Kasab and the trial would commence there. Although his plea bargain does not permit him to be extradited to India, this verdict would still be important since it does help in conveying a message. It may look like a mere formality, but during the course of the trial, we do expect some more information would come up. This trial would be very different and there will be a lot of interaction between the court in India and the US from time to time for the trial to be held. continue reading
On Thursday the United States of America stated that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was capable of launching a 26/11 styled attack in Europe and other parts of the world. Indian Intelligence Agencies have always maintained this same position and have on several occasions warned about the growing capabilities of the Lashkar.
The fact that the Lashkar emerging into a global outfit has often been spoken about and IB officials now say that the group is ready to strike on behalf of the Al-Qaeda which has been choked a great deal due to US pressure and strikes.
Post 26/11 there has been a ban on both the Lashkar as well as its fund raising outfit the Jammat-ud-Duwa. Despite their movements being restricted a great deal and the funds drying up initially the Lashkar has managed to get back on track.
Today the Lashkar has launched a new outfit called as the Falah-e-Insaniat which acts as the front organization to raise funds for terror operations. Intelligence officials say that this was an expected reaction from the ISI and the Lashkar since they were finding it hard to raise funds in the wake of the ban on the JuD.
With the FeI being launched it has opened the doors once again for the Lashkar. Post the ban on the JuD a lot of financing that was pouring in from the Gulf and also sympathizers have completely stopped. The JuD used to raises millions of dollars through donations and following the ban the donors stopped contributing since they would have come under the radar if they had done so.
The IB says that for the donors this new organization is like a new lease of life. They have always wanted to donate for the cause of the Lashkar as they have always viewed them as freedom fighters. They were in fact upset that the JuD was banned since they could not donate legitimately towards the outfit. However with the FeI in place, they have vowed to donate more since they do want this organization to remain in circulation and they also understand that a lot of funding is needed for it to carry on.
Post 26/11 the Lashkar has always aimed at going global, but it was under immense pressure from all quarters and hence had to slow down its operations. There were issues pertaining to heightened security and also funds. The Lashkar needed some time to over come these obstacles and today it appears that the outfit is ready to strike.
The Lashkar has no dearth of global players. They will derive a lot from the experience of the likes of Sajid Mir who are known global players. Mir’s network has often been spoken about and he can arrange for many more David Headleys in the future too. In addition to this they also have the Al-Qaeda network to fall back upon which is still strong in large pockets in the West.
The IB says that the US has managed to keep the Al-Qaeda quiet and also busy in Afghanistan. This has only led to the rise of the Lashkar which is all set to become the next Al-Qaeda. The Lashkar which subscribes entirely to the view of the Al-Qaeda has started sharing the same ideology called as Global Islamic Jihad. The primary goal as per GIJ would be to focus on the West and especially the United States of America. Moreover the Lashkar operatives have also been told that it needs to rise from just being India centric and expand into the rest of the world.
The IB says that this new approach also justifies the ISI working over night to groom newer home grown outfits since terror operations in India can be taken care of by these outfits while the Lashkar-e-Tayiba grows into a full blown global jihadi outfit.
The non-cooperation movement for Telangana has commenced and according to the claims by pro-Telangana activists, nearly 4 lakh employees have put their pens down.
When the Shri Krishna Commission report was released, pro Telangana parties had rejected this report terming it a sham and had also said that the agitation would continue until the Parliament passes a bill for a seperate state. They had also said that the bill needed to be passed in parliament during the budget session and the days leading up to this would only see agitation in a bid to pressurize the union government.
The Telangana Rastriya Samithi which spear heads this protest says that they have instructed all government employees from the Telangana region to put their pens down in support of the movement. Today there are 4 lakh employees from the Telangana region and none of them have been working. They will not commence work until the Union Government acts on the issue, Subhash Reddy, general secretary of the TRS told rediff.com.
All Municipal offices in Hyderabad have shut down and the Hyderabad collectorate too is not functional as of now due to this protest he says. The employees have stopped collecting taxes and no work is being done in government offices in the Telangana region.
This agitation will continue till the Union Government gives us an assurance. It should either be a bill in the budget session or a concrete assurance regarding this issue. The Congress does not realize that it is committing suicide by not giving into the demands of the people of Telangana. A survey shows that if there were to be polls in the Telangana region, the TRS will bag 50 per cent of the votes while the Congress would manage 13 per cent and Jagan 11 per cent. The rest would be shared between the TDP, MIM and the PRP.
The Congress MLAs from the Telangana region continue to camp in New Delhi and have been pressurizing the government at New Delhi to come out with a concrete statement on the issue. In a series of meetings that have been held yesterday and today they have expressed their difficulties in going back to their constituency. Only yesterday an MLA from the TDP was chased and his vehicle burnt at the Nizamabad district and they also fear a similar backlash. In addition to this they have also appraised the government that their houses in their constituencies have been locked up. Leave alone winning an election from the Telangana region, they are unable to return to their respective homes, they also have told the government at the centre.
The government in Andhra Pradesh has however decided to adopt a wait and watch policy on the issue. They appear to be confident that they will sail through and do the required mathematics even if the Congress MLAs from Telangana resign to their post. However they would also expect a concrete answer from the Centre on the issue sooner or later since they would have the next election on mind. The Congress does realize the importance of Telangana since it can be quite a game changer.
Indefinite strike: While the TRS would do everything under the sun to cause problems for the Congress on this issue, it would continue to disrupt proceedings in the assembly until there is something concrete regarding Telangana. In addition to this they would also be calling for a Telangana wide bundh from February 23rd onwards to exert further pressure. All schools, colleges and establishments would remain shut during this period and the TRS has not specified the time limit for this strike. It would be indefinite the TRS says and could go on until the Union Government has something to say on the issue. What the Congress should realize is that the more they delay this process the more it is going away from the people of Telangana, the TRS also adds.
The Congress in both the State of Andhra Pradesh as well as the Centre did manage to put off the Telangana issue for a while following the Shri Krishna Commission report. However if one witnesses what has transpired today a history of sorts has been created with Members of the Legislative Assembly man handling their colleagues from other parties which incidentally is a first in this state.
Kiran Kumar Reddy puts up a brave front and says that his government will survive a test vote even if their MLAs pull out from the party. The Congress MLAs numbering 20 who hail from the Telangana region had following the Krishna commission report threatened to pull out from the government if the bill for a separate state was not passed in the budget session.
Now with the Union Budget nearing the pressure is really immense and for the MLAs especially from the Congress it is a do or die situation. Desperation is what an insider of the Congress terms the situation as. All of them are not even taking part in the assembly proceedings are presently campaigning in New Delhi in a bid to put pressure on the union government to pass a bill regarding Telangana.
When the Krishna commission report came out the Congress MLAs from the Telangana region were under the most pressure to resign. Their houses were locked up and they were told that they should not return unless they ensure a separate state is granted failing which they would have to withdraw support to the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh.
Congress sources camping in Delhi say that their situation is a desperate one. Either they have to ensure that the bill is passed or at least to see to it that the Union Government gives another assurance regarding this issue so that they could buy more time with the voter. One of the Congress MLAs from the Telangana region told rediff.com that if they unable to achieve any of the following then they will have no option but to resign and if they don’t then it would be the end of their political career. We need to think in the long term he also said.
Now with the resignation of the Congress MLAs from Telangana imminent if the Telangana bill is not passed the next question is however regarding the survival of the Kiran Kumar Reddy led Congress government in Andhra Pradesh.
Political observers say that there are problems galore and the likes of Jagan Mohan Reddy will be looking to pounce on any such opportunity. Moreover the Telangana Rastriya Samithi is also taking a lot of advantage of this emotional issue and there is every possibility that there will be many MLAs looking to jump into that party. The TRS has decided to disrupt all further assembly proceedings until a recommendation for the formation of Telangana is sent to the government of India.
With these issues the Congress in Andhra Pradesh have pulled out their calculators and are counting numbers. The strength of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly is 294 of which the Congress has 156 members. The magic number required would be 148 and under the existing circumstance the Congress appears to be peaceful. However if the 20 MLAs from the Telangana region decide to pull out then the party numbers fall to 136 which would mean they fall short of 12. MLAs. However the Congress would then bank on the Praja Rajyam Party which has 18 members. While this would be more than sufficient to carry the government forward there are still some issues within the PRP which makes the Congress uneasy. In the PRP there are 2 MLAs who support Jagan while there are two more from the Telangana region. This means that the Congress can leave out these 4 MLAs when it faces a trust vote in the state. While this would also mean that the Congress still sails through 148 members in the House it will need to be extremely cautious when it hands out of berths to the MLAs from the PRP. Some of the PRP MLAs have made it clear that they would remain in the government only if they are given ministries and the Congress will have a lot of soul searching to do on this issue.
In addition to this, Jagan would also try and swoop in and break into the Congress and that would ensure that their numbers suffer. The question whether the Congress would fall in Andhra Pradesh as a result of Telangana or would it manage to scrape through, only time would tell.
Apple chief Steve Jobs who is suffering from pancreatic cancer may have just six weeks to live, a US based online publication has said. Jobs who took medical leave in January, had said in an email to employees, “At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health”.
“I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company”. Radar Online confirmed that Jobs, 55, has been attending the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California, where Hollywood star Patrick Swayze had sought radical chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer before his death in September 2009.
In 2004, the Apple CEO had surgery for pancreatic cancer while in 2009, he had a liver transplant. Radar Online described Jobs as “skeletal-looking,” and said that the US newspaper National Enquirer would run pictures of Jobs outside the clinic in its next issue.
Physician Dr Samuel Jacobson also told the Enquirer that judging from the photos, he is “close to terminal”.
“I would say he has six weeks,” he said, as reported by NY Daily News. (News Courtesy- Ibnlive)
As the Bombay High Court gears up to give its decision pertaining to Ajmal Kasab next Monday, a key question is what happens to one of the main criminals in this case- David Headley.
During the appeal before the High Court, various pleas were made before the Bench to include Headley in the case since he himself had admitted to his role in the attack. However these pleas were turned down and the Court decided to proceed with the appeal against the order of the trial court which had sentenced Kasab to death while acquitting Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin.
Sources now tell rediff.com that there was a deliberate ploy on behalf of the Home Ministry to keep Headley out of the case for the time being. The proof of the same is the letter rogatary from the Chicago district court which was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs way back in September 2010. However this letter from the Chicago district court was not sent to the special court since it felt that it would add to the complexities to the ongoing trial. Sources say that there are two reasons why this letter rogatary had not been sent to the special court as soon as it had been received. One is that the National Investigating Agency was still probing the case and secondly this letter would mean that the Headley angle had to be included in the trial and this would have meant that the case against Kasab would have been delayed further. The Indian government at no point of time wanted to delay the proceedings against Kasab and felt the need to expedite this trial.
A letter rogatory is a formal request from a court to a foreign court for some type of judicial assistance. The most common remedies sought by Letters Rogatory are service of process and taking of evidence.
However with the High Court now readying itself to pronounce its verdict against Kasab and three others on Monday, this would mean that the trial against Headley would commence soon. The letter rogatory has now reached the trial court and sources say that this letter reached on February 6th. This would mean that the case against Headley will need to be taken into account and documents pertaining to Headley collected by India or what have come up during the course of the trial will have to be shared with the US.
In this letter the US has sought videos, voice samples of terrorists, photographs, the judgments in this case and also the ballistic reports.
Once the court takes cognizance of the letter, the NIA too will have to act fast and provide the material that is being sought for. The NIA is yet to file a chargesheet and may do it soon since now the trial can be conducted independently against Headley. Filing a chargesheet at the time the Kasab trial was on would have meant a diversion and in turn the case against Kasab would have been delayed which the Indian government did not want at any cost.
The NIA too has some problems on hand pertaining to the Headley case. They will need to file the chargesheet in the absence of Headley since his plea bargain does not permit extradition. In addition to this there is some fine tuning that is going on as they are trying to ascertain the nationality of those members of the 313 brigade who could have helped Headley during his operation in India. Once these issues are sorted out a chargesheet can be expected from the NIA against Headley.