Forty years ago, February 9, 1981: Pak on Afghan talks

Two days before the UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim is slated to arrive in New Delhi to explore the possibilities of talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islamabad has spelt out its conditions. Pakistan foreign minister Agha Shahi has said that besides Islamabad and Kabul, Tehran should also be a party to the talks. Pakistan’s other condition is that the talks must be on the auspices of the UN within the framework of Resolution 20 of the General Assembly. Waldheim is slated to have separate meetings with Shahi and the Afghanistan foreign minister, Shah Mohammed Dost. The two conditions spelt out by Pakistan are likely to make the UN head’s task difficult. Observers say that Pakistan’s two conditions are basically meant at avoiding talks on Indian soil.

Coal price hike

The government has decided to raise the prices of coal by Rs 20 a tonne to cover the losses of Coal India. The proposal which was shelved by the Cabinet was resuscitated by the Committee of Economic Affairs.

Bohra stir

Police burst tear gas shells and resorted to cane charge to disperse supporters of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin from disrupting the concluding session of the reformists’ Bohra conference. The Syedna supporters turned violent and stoned the police.

US bases in Gulf

The Pentagon is asking Congress for $ 418 million for fiscal 1982 (beginning October 1) to upgrade foreign bases that could be used to assemble US forces for action in the Persian Gulf. The Reagan administration has embraced former president Jimmy Carter’s programme of gaining access to rights to naval bases without at the same time establishing a substantial American presence.

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