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Pakistan reacts cautiously to Newsweek's retraction

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, May 17, IRNA
Pakistan on Tuesday gave cautious reaction to an announcement by the US-based publication Newsweek retracting its controversial story on desecration of Holy Qur'an in Guantanamo Bay prison.

"If the retraction is an admission that the story was baseless, then the magazine acted in an irresponsible manner," Foreign Office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani told IRNA.

"It had damaging consequences," he said in reference to the killing of outraging Afghans in their homeland and nation-wide protests in Pakistan.

The spokesman, however, refrained from commenting on Pakistan's stand if the Newsweek report turned out to be true.

On Monday, Pakistan repeated its call for an official
investigation to the incident, saying it wanted US share Guantanamo incident probe's results.

"Pakistan has already condemned the incident in the strongest term," Jilani told the weekly news briefing in Islamabad prior to the issuance of the retraction announcement.

Islamic groups in Pakistan have called for international anti-US protest on May 27.

"Islamic groups will hold demonstrations on May 27 across the world to condemn the desecration of Holy Qur'an in the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay," Qazi Hussain Ahmad, head of coalition of six politico-religious groups said on Sunday.

Newsweek magazine reported on May 9 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp placed copies of the holy Qur'an on toilets to torture Muslim inmates, and in one case flushed a holy book down the toilet.

However, after two weeks, the weekly retracted its story apparently under pressure from the US administration, which found the story a new blow to its image in the Islamic World.

::IRNA No.059 17/05/2005 18:22 --End

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