- The Washington Times - Friday, October 29, 2004


Bhopal victims seek redress

BHOPAL — Groups representing survivors of a 1984 industrial gas leak in central India that killed 15,000 people have appealed to the Supreme Court to quadruple compensation payments, saying $330 million released this week was not enough.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court accepted an estimate by victims groups that the number of people affected by the disaster had increased from the 105,000 listed in 1989 to 572,000 with new births and previously unreported cases.

Union Carbide, which owned the Bhopal plant, accepted moral responsibility for the disaster but blamed it on sabotage by a disgruntled employee.


Elections won’t influence Musharraf

SINGAPORE — Pakistan supports Afghan President Hamid Karzai but democratic elections in Afghanistan will not influence Pakistan’s political processes, President Pervez Musharraf said in remarks published in Singapore Wednesday.

In an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times, Gen. Musharraf dismissed suggestions that the Pakistan military maintained links with the former Taliban regime in Kabul for strategic reasons.

Asked if Afghanistan’s presidential elections could create pressure to speed up the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf replied: “If we have to learn democracy from Afghanistan, God save Pakistan.”


U.S. believes bomb exploded at Marriott

The State Department said yesterday it believed a blast at an Islamabad hotel was probably caused by a bomb, differing from the Pakistani view that it appeared to be the result of an electrical fault.

“Our information, and the information we shared with the American community, was that it was probably an improvised explosive device — a bomb of some kind,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.

But he stressed that the explosion at the Marriott Hotel in the central area of the Pakistani capital Thursday was under investigation by the Pakistani government and he said the U.S. and Pakistani theories on what happened were preliminary.

The blast injured five persons, including one U.S. official with the U.S. Embassy, and blew glass and other debris out the front of the hotel and through its lobby.

On Thursday, Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said it appeared to have been caused by an electrical fault.

“There is nothing to worry about. It is apparently a case of a short circuit. We are investigating,” Mr. Sherpao said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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