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Bin Laden sought votes for Sharif to oust Bhutto, reveals Pakistani politician

LAHORE, October 17 (Internews): The chief of the largest religious party
in Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami, has confirmed the involvement of Osama bin
Laden, the most sought after man on Earth, in Pakistani politics in late
1980s and early 1990s.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has often been alleging that bin
Laden had spent money to topple her government during 1988-90, and the
disclosure made by Qazi Hussain Ahmed seemingly lends weight to this

"Bin Laden was a long-time resident of Peshawar. In 1988, when
Jamaat-e-Islami was part of the IJI [Islamic Democratic Alliance] and
Bhutto had majority in the National Assembly, bin Laden visited my house
in Lahore," Qazi said in an exclusive interview to Urdu daily Khabrain,
published Wednesday.

"He had come to me seeking votes for Nawaz Sharif because by spending
some money he wanted to get Sharif elected," he added.

"And it was the same Nawaz Sharif who later after becoming prime
minister trained commandos to capture bin Laden from Afghanistan," Qazi

When the Jamaat chief was asked how much money bin Laden had spent to
get Sharif elected, he said, only bin Laden or Sharif could answer this

About the ongoing American military strikes on Afghanistan and its
impact on Pakistan, the Jamaat leader felt that the Pakistani military
was unanimous on a quick end to the crisis because it fears an adverse
impact it the military campaign lingers.

"We think the army can't handle the political crisis and want it to
introduce an interim set up, like the one which had been brought in by
the army itself [in 1993] when Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar was the army

Qazi said that an interim government thus installed should then tell the
United States that Pakistan could not help it because Pakistani people
are against it.

"Provision of logistical support to the United States means that we will
be serving as butlers and porters of the Americans, while intelligence
sharing is tantamount to playing the role of a spy," the Jamaat-e-Islami
chief added.

He was of the opinion that by offering such facilities to the US
Pakistan might lose the confidence of China and Iran.

"The US is arrogant and has attacked Afghanistan without any good
justification. It can similarly attack Pakistan. Why would we allow that
to happen? If America turns towards Pakistan after achieving its
objectives in Afghanistan, what will we do then? We must anticipate the
future scenario," Qazi said. -Internews

Pakistan's city of highrises has over 38,000 illegal buildings!

KARACHI, October 17 (Internews): Pakistan's largest city - Karachi - has
over 38,000 irregular buildings, including 259 highrises, built in
violation of town planning and building by-laws.

These illegal buildings have emerged in the city, known as the city of
highrises, during the last decade, according to a building census report
prepared by the Karachi Development Authority, made available here

The buildings include about 33,000 residential houses, 1,100 flat sites,
1,557 residential-cum-commercial buildings and 2,556 commercial
buildings, the census shows.

The census report recommends that a regularisation process of these
buildings be initiated along similar lines to that of the army-run
cantonment areas where such violations were taken care of.

It also suggests that a commercialisation fee of over 300 per cent be
charged, which would also serve to generate an income of over $100

The buildings have not been regularised since no law allowing it exists.
A committee constituted by the Sindh government has suggested
re-promulgation of a two-decade old lapsed law temporarily as it
contains certain favourable clauses.

As for the 259 highrises, frozen five years ago in various stages of
completion, the committee recommends that no regularisation be made
until engineers and experts issue certificates of stability, as a
safeguard against harm to human lives.

Besides, the committee recommended, such lands should not be regularised
that have been brought into use in violation of environmental laws of
the country. -Internews

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