- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2008

PAKISTAN

Deposed justice claims mistreatment

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s deposed chief justice called on Western leaders yesterday to stop backing President Pervez Musharraf, accusing the “extremist general” of detaining him and his family in dire conditions.

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said in a statement that he, his wife and three children — one of whom has special needs — had been under house arrest, sometimes without running water, since Mr. Musharraf fired him in November.

An angry Mr. Musharraf described Mr. Chaudhry as corrupt during public appearances earlier this month in Europe.

DENMARK

Library to archive prophet cartoons

COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s National Library said yesterday it plans to archive the original prophet Muhammad caricatures that sparked violent protests across the Islamic world two years ago.

Despite objections from some Muslim leaders, the library in the Danish capital will preserve the 12 cartoons for research purposes but will not make them available to the public for at least 10 years.

The 12 cartoons first were published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on Sept. 30, 2005, and then reprinted by a number of Western newspapers early the following year.

ITALY

Senate chief heads government

ROME — Italian Senate speaker Franco Marini agreed yesterday to try to form an interim government aimed at reforming electoral rules that are blamed for the collapse last week of the 61st government since World War II.

But Mr. Marini, chosen for the role by President Giorgio Napolitano six days after center-left Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigned, faces an uphill task convincing opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi and his allies to drop their demands for immediate elections.

AFGHANISTAN

Journalist’s execution urged by parliament

KABUL — Afghanistan’s upper house of parliament praised the death sentence handed down against a local journalist who was found guilty of insulting Islam, an official said yesterday.

In a statement signed by Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, the chamber’s chairman, the Senate also condemned what it called “international interference” to have the sentence annulled, spokesman Aminuddin Muzafari said.

The journalist, 23-year-old Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh, was sentenced to death last week by a three-judge panel in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif for an item questioning why men but not women can have multiple spouses.

HONG KONG

Pope names next Hong Kong bishop

VATICAN CITY — The pope yesterday named a Hong Kong bishop to eventually succeed Cardinal Joseph Zen, the leading proponent for religious freedom in China.

Pope Benedict XVI nominated Monsignor John Tong Hon, a Hong Kong auxiliary bishop, as co-adjutor bishop, meaning he will take over as head of the Hong Kong Diocese upon Cardinal Zen’s retirement.

Cardinal Zen is 76, a year past the normal retirement age for bishops. In March, he said the pope had rejected his request to give up his duties as a bishop so he could concentrate on working to restore ties between the Vatican and Beijing.

From wire dispatches and staff reports