Pak Army denies report of Kayani`s talk with Indian PM
Last Updated: Monday, April 25, 2011, 21:58
Islamabad: Pakistan Army on Sunday dismissed as "unfounded" and "totally baseless" a media report that its powerful chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through a "secret envoy and back channel".

A spokesperson of the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) denied the news item which appeared in 'The Times' of London on April 23 and called it "unfounded and totally baseless".

The paper had reported that Singh had appointed an "unofficial envoy" to make contact with Kayani, "who exercises de facto control over Pakistan's foreign policy".

The talks, through a back channel, have encouraged the UK and US believe that the countries' competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process, the media report had said.

The Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi had yesterday termed as 'false' the report that Singh had contacted Kayani before the Mohali meeting between Prime Ministers of the two countries.

PTI Government panel clears Yunus of mishandling of foreign fund Dhaka: Nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus was on Monday cleared of misappropriating Norwegian aid money for his Grameen Bank by an official committee but the finding is unlikely to change the Bangladesh government's decision to see his ouster.

The report comes nearly two months after Yunus, a celebrated pioneer of micro-finance, was forced out on March 2 from the Grameen Bank which he founded nearly three decades ago.

Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith today said the committee appointed by the government to investigate Grameen Bank's operations has found no evidence of financial irregularities.

"The (government) review committee said it did not find any irregularity in handling of the foreign fund," he told newsmen as the committee submitted its 50-page report. He said the committee also found that the effective interest rate of the micro financier -- 20 percent on basis loans -- was the lowest compared to other micro lending agency of the country.

"The committee has given its report within its purview and now the government will take the next step," Muhith said.

The panel also found no truth in allegations that the Bank charged excessive interest rates on loans to the poor.

Yunus' dismissal was upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court -- on the grounds that he had overstayed in his position and ignored requests to step down.

Local media quoted officials and experts as saying that the government's decision to fire Yunus as the bank's managing director is unlikely to be changed as he had overstayed the official retirement age for bank chiefs in Bangladesh of 60 years.


First Published: Monday, April 25, 2011, 21:58

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