Kabul: A security deal to allow some US troops to stay in Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda was at risk of collapse yesterday after President Hamid Karzai said he was prepared to walk away from negotiations.
The US has pushed for the security pact to be signed by the end of this month so that the US-led Nato military coalition can schedule its withdrawal of 87,000 combat troops by the end of next year.
But Karzai said he refused to be rushed into signing the deal, and would first seek approval from a traditional grand assembly to be convened in a month’s time.
“The agreement has to suit Afghanistan’s interests and purposes. If it doesn’t suit us and if it doesn’t suit them, then naturally we will go separate ways,” Karzai said in a BBC interview in Kabul.
President Barack Obama this week said he would consider a limited US mission after 2014 only if the Afghan government “was willing to work with us in a cooperative way that would protect our troops”.
One key bone of contention is how the security pact should define an attack on Afghanistan that would trigger US protection.
Police station attacked, 8 hurt
Islamabad: A hand grenade attack on a police station yesterday in southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, wounded eight people including policemen, said officials.
According to police, unknown motorcyclists hurled a hand grenade at New Sariab police station situated in the outskirts of Quetta city of Balochistan causing injuries to eight people. Security forces reached the site immediately and cordoned off the area to carry a probe into the incident. However, the attackers managed to flee the scene after throwing the hand grenade.
The victims of the explosion were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta for treatment where the condition of three wounded people were reported as critical.
Enterprises to be privatised
ISLAMABAD: As part of its privatisation plan, the government of Pakistan will sell half a dozen enterprises including two hotels in New York and Paris, offload shares in 10 companies in international and domestic capital markets and hand over management control of a dozen enterprises to the private sector.
The shares in state-owned units that the previous government gave away to the employees under the Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme will also be offered to private investors, according to documents.
Crackdown on tax evaders
ISLAMABAD: In a bid to unearth sources of incomes, Pakistan’s top tax machinery said yesterday that it would launch a targeted survey soon to unearth tax-evaders who are multi-millionaires, but pay no taxes. The announcement came at a time when only around 711,940 people in a population of 180 million filed e-returns with the Federal Board of Revenue last year, which is less than 0.4pc share of the total population.
“The targeted survey is the way forward. We are collecting data from various sources,” Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance here yesterday.