SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 MARCH 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16+4 | `5 |LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR WEATHER Generally cloudy sky conditions. Light rain with possibility of hailstorm. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 20 and 13 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 2.0 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.98% Min. 68% Max: 19.3°C (-8) SUN RISES 06:44 hrs MOON RISES 05:26 hrs Min: 13°C (0) SUN SETS 18:22 hrs MOON SETS 15:33 hrs TEMPERATURE America seeks info on Pak’s potential 1 ‘misuse’ of F -16s IAF pilot release not under pressure, says Qureshi ISLAMABAD, 2 MARCH Pakistan on Wednesday claimed that no F-16 fighter jets were used AGENCIES WASHINGTON, 2 MARCH T THUMBNAILS People celebrate the return of the IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. In DILIP DUTTA Kolkata on Saturday. India beat Australia by six wickets in first ODI: MS Dhoni took a chase deep for the umpteenth time but it needed Kedar Jadhav's street smartness to get India back on winning track as they beat Australia by six wickets in the first ODI in Hyderabad on Saturday. India reached the target in 48.2 overs, riding on a 141-run unconquered stand between Jadhav (81 no, 87 balls) and Dhoni (59 no off 72 balls), to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. P16 Extradition order for bookie signed: UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has ordered the extradition of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla to India to face charges of cricket match-fixing dating back to 2000. The UK Home Office confirmed that the minister had given the go-ahead for Chawla to be sent to India after Westminster Magistrates' Court had over-ruled its previous P4 ruling earlier this year. 2 minors, mother killed in Pak shelling: Two minor children along with their mother were killed as mortars fired by Pakistan troops early on Saturday exploded in their house in Salotri village of Jammu's Poonch district. Mohammad Younis, father of the children, was seriously injured. Seven others, including 3 Army personnel, were injured in separate P5 incidents of Pakistani shelling. he US is seeking more information from Pakistan on the potential misuse of American-made F-16 fighter jets by it against India in violation of the end-user agreement, the State Department has said. The Indian Air Force on Thursday displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile as evidence to “conclusively” prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir after India's anti-terror operation in Balakot . Pakistan onWednesday categorically said that no F16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the Indian Air Force. “We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI when asked about report that Pakistan has violated end-user agreement with the United States in this week's border clash with India. “Due to non-disclosure agreements in Foreign Military Sales contracts, we Resolution in Pak parliament to endorse Imran for Peace Nobel AGENCIES A resolution was submitted in Pakistan Parliament on Saturday to endorse Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize due to his efforts to de-escalate recent tension with India. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Saturday submitted the resolution in the secretariat of National Assembly, the lower house. The resolution stated that Khan's decision of releasing Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan has de-escalated the hostility between Pakistan and India. According to the resolution, Khan acted responsibly in the current tension and “deserves the Nobel Peace Prize”. The resolution is expected to be taken up on Monday when it is scheduled to convene its session. It is also expected to be passed as the government has majority in the House but it will be interesting to see if main opposition parties support the move. cannot discuss the specifics of end user-agreements contained within,” Lt Col Kone Faulkner, a Defense Department spokesperson told PTI. The United States, which is the largest seller of high-tech defence equipment globally, has a strong end-user monitoring agreement, and as a matter of practice takes all allegations of misuse of defense articles very seriously. But before making any judgement or arriving at any conclusion, it needs to establish some facts on the ground, if there has been any violation by Pakistan to the F-16 end-user agreement it signed with the United States. Publicly available documents reveal that US has imposed nearly a dozen restrictions on Pakistan related to its use of F-16. ISLAMABAD, 2 MARCH ‘Azhar is undergoing dialysis for renal failure’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Pakistan was not under “pressure” or “any compulsion” to release Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday, a day after the IAF Wing Commander returned home. India has been maintaining that the Pakistani decision is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions. Pakistan was under intense pressure from the US, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to de-escalate the tensions with India in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and release the Indian pilot. In an interview with BBC Urdu, Qureshi said: “We wanted to convey to them (India) that we do not want to increase your sorrow, we do not want your citizens to be miserable, we want peace” . Varthaman returned to India from Pakistan on Friday to a hero's welcome, nearly 60 hours after he was captured following a dogfight when his MiG 21 was shot down. Qureshi dismissed the notion that the captured IAF pilot was released owing to pressure or as a compulsion.“Pakistan will not allow anti-state elements to risk the peace of the country or the region. We plan on taking action against extremist groups,” Geo news quoted him as saying. India has repeatedly told Pakistan to act against terror groups operating from its soil and recently handed over dossier containing “specific details” of the involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack and the presence of camps of the UN-proscribed terror outfit in Pakistan.“There was no pressure on Pakistan to release him nor any compulsion,” Qureshi told BBC Urdu. He said that Pakistan does not want the peace of the region to be risked over politics. “Pakistan does not want to go in the past, but if it goes in the past, then we will have to see how the attack on Parliament, Pathankot and Uri took place and that is a long story,” the foreign minister said. Qureshi reiterated that if evidence is shared against Jaish-eMohammed (JeM), then action will be taken. On Friday he admitted that JeM's chief Masood Azhar was in Pakistan. The IAF pilot's release was seen as a major step towards defusing a tense situation triggered by India's retaliation over Pakistan's continued support for terrorism.Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group JeM killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir on February 14. Amid mounting outrage, the IAF carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting what it said was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. Kochhar, husband appear before ED: Former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and husband Deepak Kochhar appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Mumbai on Saturday in connection with a money-laundering case related to a bank loan fraud, officials said. The two reached the ED’s office in Ballard Estate area around noon, a day after the ED raided their premises. Officials said the investigating P4 officer will record their statements. Sitharaman meets Abhinandan; ‘pilot subjected to mental trauma’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH Airports' security tightened: The central government Saturday issued an “alert” for all airports and airlines in the country, asking them to “enhance the existing security measures”, as it has received intelligence inputs in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and subsequent developments. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security issued the alert and marked it to senior police officials of all states, in-charges of security in all airlines and airports, and CISF P3 officers. AAP names 6 candidates after Cong 'no' for tie-up u NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH In the wake of the Congress party's apparent rejection of its overtures for an alliance for the upcoming general elections, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today declared its candidates for six of the total seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. The AAP charged the Congress with turning down its proposal for a tieup for the Lok Sabha polls. The party, however, hinted that a window might still be open for an alliance as it believed there should be single opposition candidate against the BJP in every seat for the polls. The AAP's move in the face of the Congress's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday met Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and conveyed to him that the entire nation is proud of his courage and determination, a day after Pakistan released him to scale down heightened tensions between the two countries. Official sources said Varthaman briefly mentioned to Sitharaman about the mental trauma he was subjected to during his nearly 60-hour captivity in Pakistan after he was caught in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Wednesday. He is mentally strong and remains in high spir- "refusal" to play ball dealt a blow to the Opposition parties' bid to forge a "grand alliance" to take on the Narendra Modi-led BJP in the April-May elections. Announcing the names of party candidates in the six constituencies of the national capital, Delhi AAP convener and minister Gopal Rai said Atishi will contest from East Delhi and Guggan Singh from North- west Delhi. A member of AAP political affairs committee, Raghav Chadha, will contest from South Delhi while Pankaj Gupta has been nominated to contest from the Chandni Chowk seat. Dilip Pandey and Brijesh Goyal will contest from the Northeast Delhi and New Delhi constituencies respectively, Rai said. TURN TO PAGE 6 its despite the harassment he suffered in Pakistan, they said. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa and several top officials of the IAF also met Varthaman, who shot down an F-16 fighter of the Pakistan Air Force shortly before his jet was hit during a fierce dogfight. The sources said he told senior IAF brass that he was subjected to severe mental trauma though he was not tortured physically in captivity. Sitharaman met the pilot at the Army's Research and Referral hospital here where he is undergoing a series of medical tests as part of a “cooling down” process. His wife Sqn Ldr Tanvi Marwah (retd), seven-year-old son and sister Aditi were also present, the sources said. Prime Minister Modi said: “Abhinandan” used to mean congratulations, but its meaning will change now, referring to the IAF pilot released by Pakistan and the air strike carried out by India in Pakistan. The world takes note of what India does and the nation has the power to “change dictionary meanings”, Modi said at a housing ministry event in Delhi. PM has again failed in this quarter's numbers: Rahul PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over declining growth in the third quarter of this fiscal, saying the “chowkidaar” has once again failed in the numbers of the quarter. Gandhi's comment came a day after his party alleged that despite “fudging” of data by the Modi government, India's economy continues to slide. Gandhi also said the Indian Air Force defends the country, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi “snatched” Rs 30,000 crore from the force. “False promises, false games. The chowkidaar has failed again in this quarter's numbers,” the Congress chief said on Twitter, citing a news report that India's growth declined to 6.6 per cent in the quarter ending December 2018. On Friday the Congress had tweeted that “as PM Modi's disastrous tenure comes to an end, despite all the fudging, the economy continues to slow.” “Less than two months to go before India sees a new dawn,” the party said on its official Twitter handle. Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram has said the latest quarterly growth rates “puncture” the government's claims on the economy. “Quarterly growth rates of 2018-19 puncture the claims of government. Q1 was 8 %, Q2 was 7 % and Q3 was 6.6 %. This is the swan song of the BJP government. If Q4 growth rate declines further, as is expected, that will expose the government completely,” Chidambaram tweeted. In signs of the Indian economy losing steam ahead of the general elections, GDP growth slowed to a five-quarter low of 6.6 per cent in OctoberDecember on the back of lower farm and manufacturing growth and weaker consumer demand, government data showed on Thursday. PTI adds from Ranchi: Gandhi Saturday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying all 'chowkidaars' are not thieves, but only 'desh ka chowkidaar' is a thief. Addressing a Congress rally in Ranchi, Gandhi said 'chowkidaars' (watchmen) come to him and complain about the slogan 'chowkidaar chor hain' (watchmen are thieves). They say they are not thieves but honest people, and ask me to change the slogan, the Congress chief said. “I tell them not to get wor- ried, the entire country knows that when we say 'chowkidaar chor hain' its meant that we are talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Gandhi said, He said, “One chowkidaar has defamed all the chowkidaars.” The Congress chief also attacked the prime minister on the Rafale issue, alleging corruption in the fighter jet deal. The government has repeatedly denied the allegations of graft levelled by the opposition party. Speaking at the party's Parivartan Ulgulan Maha Rally at the Morabadi Ground here, Gandhi alleged there was “corruption” in the Rafale deal and Rs 30,000 crore had been wrongfully given to Anil Ambani. “Vaayu Sena desh ki raksha karti hain aur hamare PM us se chori karti hain (The IAF defends our country but the PM has snatched money from the force),” he said. Gandhi alleged the prime minister had waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of industrialists but not for farmers, students and shopkeepers. The Congress president said if his party is voted to power, it will give minimum guarantee income. The money will be transferred directly to the accounts of the poor, he said. Shah castigates Rahul and Mamata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah castigated Congress President Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today for their questioning the authenticity about the recent air strikes carried out by India on terrorist camps situated across the border in Pakistan. Addressing a public rally in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, Shah said that it is only Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has the courage to give a befitting reply to Pakistan and its sponsored terrorists who killed Indian soldiers at Pulwama recently. “The Pakistani media has accepted the air strikes, the Pakistan Parliament has accepted it and even the terrorist organization whose terrorists were killed has accepted Indian air strikes,” Shah claimed. “But only Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi are raising questions on them (air strikes),” Shah averred. “Mamata Banerjee is asking whether air strikes were carried out or not,” Shah said. NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH Masood Azhar, the founder of the dreaded terrorist group Jaish-eMohammad (JeM), is suspected to be afflicted with renal failure and is under regular dialysis at an army hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan, officials said here on Saturday. This suggestion of security officials came after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the JeM chief is “unwell”. “Recent reports indicate that Masood Azhar is now afflicted with renal failure and is under treatment and regular dialysis at the army hospital in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan Army,” a senior security official said. Qureshi said Thursday: “He is in Pakistan, according to my information. He is unwell to the extent that he can't leave his house, because he's really unwell”. The Jaish-e-Mohammad chief was a close associate of Osama bin Laden, terror motivator in several African countries and also known by many as the Pakistani cleric who brought jihad into the religious discourse at PTI mosques. SEE P 4 Samjhauta Express back on track NEW DELHI, 2 MARCH The Samjhauta Express will leave for Pakistan from Delhi on Sunday after the two neighbours agreed to operationalise services at their ends, a senior railway official told PTI. The announcement came a day after Pakistan releasedWing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The official said the first train from India will leave on March 3. While Pakistan had cancelled its services right after an air strike by the Indian Air Force, India cancelled the operations of the Samjhauta Express on February 28. The Railway Board in an order had said all operations of the Attari Special Express, Delhi-Attari-Delhi, which together with the Pakistani line from WagahLahore is known as the Samjhauta or Friendship Express, will remain cancelled. It had also said that the cancellation was due to “purely operational reasons”. Sources said after the missive about Pakistan's resumption of services was conveyed to the board, it was decidedthatservicesontheIndian end will resume too. The train will start running from the Indian side on Sunday, while on the Pakistan side it will leave Lahore on Monday for its return journey, the PTI official said.
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