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9/11: 16 years later, the US is still finding answers in the ashes

WASHINGTON: Today, September 11, marks the 16th anniversary of the deadly attacks on World Trade Centre, a day which changed the thinking of American people for the whole Muslim world.

Almost 3,000 people died when hijacked planes crashed into the skyscrapers, the Pentagon, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania in 2001. It has been 16 years since one of the most devastating days in the US history and the world is still finding answers in the ashes.

 

The 9/11 attacks spawned Washington’s so-called war on terror, which initially focused on al Qaeda and the Taliban, before later targeting the Islamic State group which has seized territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or “KSM”, was dubbed the “architect of 9/11”. He and his four alleged co-conspirators all face the death penalty in a case that is still crawling through the pretrial stages of a military commission.

According to a senior White House official, KSM allegedly hatched the 9/11 plot, secured al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden’s support, and oversaw operations and trained hijackers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The other men – Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ammar al-Baluchi and Mustafa al-Hawsawi – allegedly trained hijackers, arranged travel and flight school courses or wired money to fund the attacks on New York and Washington, DC, he said in an interview a year after the incident.

Thousands of 9/11 victims’ relatives, survivors, rescuers, and others are gathering at the World Trade Centre today to remember what remains the deadliest attack on American soil.

US President Donald Trump is marking the anniversary for the first time as the country’s leader today. He is scheduled to observe a moment of silence at around the time the first aeroplane hit the towers.

Trump is also expected to take part in a 9/11 observance at the Pentagon. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are hosting a private observance for victims’ relatives there at 9.11am local time.

Crime

ISPR says cross-border attack killed young army officer in Khyber Agency

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan army’s media wing ISPR has informed that a 22-year-old army officer died today as a result of cross-border firing in Rajgal, Khyber Agency.

According to the statement issued, Lieutenant Arsalan Satti was deployed as the officer commanding the newly-established border post in Rajgal when he was hit by militant firing from across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He was the only brother of three sisters, the statement added.

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Rs. 18 billion corruption: Former NBP president arrested after SHC declines to extend bail

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested the former president of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in a case related to the corruption of billions of rupees. 

The development came after the Sindh High Court (SHC) declined to extend the interim bail of Ali Raza, who is allegedly involved in fraud and corruption of Rs. 18 billion during his term as the NBP chief.

A division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh declined to extend the bail petitions and ordered the NAB to arrest Ali Raza and others.

A reference filed by the watchdog had alleged that the ex-NBP chief Ali Raza, former senior executive president Zubair Ahmed and other former officials committed a fraud of more than Rs18 billion. Seven Bangladeshi nationals are also among the accused facing graft charges.

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Zardari got Benazir, Murtaza Bhutto ‘assassinated’ : Musharraf

DUBAI: Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has claimed that PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is ‘directly involved’ in the assassination of his wife Benazir Bhutto and her brother Murtaza Bhutto.

“You should see that it was Zardari who had benefitted from Benazir’s murder,” said Musharraf in a video message today.

His statement came days after he was accused of being involved in BB’s murder.

On August 31, the ATC in Rawalpindi acquitted five alleged operatives of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for want of evidence over the assassination of Benazir in a gun and suicide attack in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

“Soon after her [Benazir’s] murder, Zardari got people’s sympathy and support and he was made the president of Pakistan,” the former COAS said.

Musharraf further went on to say that the PPP leader did nothing to investigate the murder of Murtaza Bhutto as he enjoyed his stay in the presidency for five years.

“Why would Zardari investigate his [Murtaza Bhutto’s] murder when he, himself carried out the assassination,” he asked. “It should always be analysed as to who benefited from a murder.”

The former army chief further urged the authorities to investigate as to who killed Khalid Shehenshah, the person who was supposed to provide security to Benazir.

On Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa filed three separate petitions in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court, challenging the verdict of Benazir murder case.

The first petition says Musharraf masterminded the conspiracy to kill Benazir. It claims that statement of American journalist Mark Siegel and foreign ministry’s former spokesperson Javed Iqbal Cheema as well as probes by the Scotland Yard and United Nations are ‘concrete evidence’ of Musharraf’s involvement.

However, Musharraf denied any charges against him and said that it’s Zardari who was the ‘master planner’.

“The charge they are levying against me is that I did not provide Benazir adequate security — [but that is] something I was not responsible for. The only question I have is, who took the decision to create a hatch in the roof of a bullet and bomb proof car?

“The other thing is, Benazir had a heavy security detail. She had already addressed the public gathering and gotten into the car unharmed, before someone called her incessantly and got her to wave to the people out of the hatch. Her phone was not found for over two years after the assassination attempt,” he alleged.

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