Pakistan denies war crimes in Bangladesh

Updated 01 December 2015
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Pakistan denies war crimes in Bangladesh

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has denied committing war crimes during Bangladesh’s independence conflict in 1971, in what analysts said Tuesday was an unusually strong statement signalling worsening ties.
The move follows the executions in Bangladesh last week of senior opposition leaders convicted of war crimes during the conflict.
Pakistan has engaged in a war of words with its former eastern wing, which broke away in 1971 following the rise of a separatist movement and genocide as well as rape by Pakistani forces of Bangladeshi civilians.
In a statement by the foreign office on Monday, Islamabad “rejected insinuation of ‘complicity in committing crimes or war atrocities’.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the statement added.
Badar Alam, editor of Pakistan’s Herald magazine, said the statement was a “stiffening of Islamabad’s stance” that marked a retreat from former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s 2002 statement of regret for “excesses committed during the unfortunate period.”
Bangladesh has been roiled by violence for much of the last three years since a domestic tribunal began delivering its verdicts on opposition figures accused of orchestrating massacres during the 1971 war.
Four people have so far been sent to the gallows in trials criticized by some groups for failing to reach international standards.
“Both countries have to cater to their internal gallery. If you look at the war crimes trials that are happening in Bangladesh, most observers are seeing them in the context of current domestic politics in that country,” Alam added.
“Pakistan is also playing to its own gallery. At this time Pakistan appears to be in conflict with every country in South Asia,” he told AFP Tuesday, noting worsening ties with Afghanistan and India.
Dhaka says the 1971 war left three million people dead, though independent researchers put the toll much lower.
Pakistan formally recognized Bangladesh’s independence in 1974, but has never issued an official apology for its actions during the war.
A 1972 Pakistani judicial inquiry said genocide had been committed, but its recommendations to try the generals responsible were never followed.


Rescuers find 14 bodies after building collapse in India

Updated 9 min 43 sec ago
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Rescuers find 14 bodies after building collapse in India

  • Dozens of rescuers worked overnight at the site where the four-story building collapsed
  • Building was nearly 100 years old and 15 families were living there

MUMBAI, India: Rescuers found 14 bodies and pulled out 11 survivors as they began winding down operations at the site of a dilapidated building that collapsed in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, an official said Wednesday.
Bijendra Dahiya, a National Disaster Response Force official, said workers were still looking for two to three people feared trapped in the rubble.
Dozens of rescuers worked overnight at the site where the four-story building collapsed on Tuesday, fire official Ashok Talpade said. The survivors included a child who was treated at a hospital and allowed to go home. Others remain hospitalized, Talpade said.
A 16-year-old girl trapped under a heavy door was taken out by rescuers who cut through iron beams and cleared debris using hydraulic cutters.
Dahiya said it had taken more than 24 hours to clear most of debris as the lane where the collapse occurred was too narrow for rescue vehicles. Most of the equipment was carried by hand and people also formed a human chain to remove debris.
Heavy monsoon rains fall in India from June to September, causing severe flooding and collapsing poorly built and dilapidated structures.
At least four other collapses have occurred this month in Mumbai and another western city, Pune, killing at least 31 people. On Sunday, a building collapse in the northern town of Solan killed 14 people.
Maharashtra state’s top elected official, Devendra Fadanavis, said the building that collapsed Tuesday was nearly 100 years old and 15 families were living there.
Talpade said the families had stayed after being asked to leave. Waris Pathan, an opposition lawmaker, said the building was a death trap, with authorities saying they had no money to rebuild the structure.