KARACHI: In an interview with a private TV channel on late Tuesday night, former president general (retd) Pervez Musharraf supported the demand for ‘change’ and stressed the United States must not interfere in Pakistan’s internal politics. His remarks come at a time when many have been speculating that the military is involved in the prevailing political crisis.
Read more » DAWN
Boko Haram has seized control of a Nigerian town after hundreds of soldiers stationed there reportedly fled across the border to Cameroon, a police source said.
“Boko Haram fighters moved into Ashigashya” overnight on Monday, where they slaughtered three people in front of a church, a Cameroon police source told the AFP news agency on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
Almost 500 Nigerian soldiers fled the Nigerian border towns of Ashigashyia and Kerawa over the weekend to take refuge from Boko Haram fighters on Cameroonian territory.
Read more » Aljazeera
War takes on new dimension after United Arab Emirates is accused of secretly bombing Tripoli with the help of Egypt.
Libya: The escalation of a proxy war?
The political turmoil in Libya is exposing a growing gulf between rival Arab states. It is also defining a proxy war over the threat to the region’s old order since the start of the Arab Spring.
The United Arab Emirates is accused of carrying out air strikes on militias in Libya with support from Egypt. Two bombings in eight days are said to have caught the US completely by surprise.
Read more » Aljazeera
Germany’s Ifo Business Climate Index in manufacturing, which looks at the confidence of the country’s 7,000 firms, fell to 106.3 in August from 108 in July.
It’s the lowest figure since last July, marking the longest successive monthly decline since 2012, the report said.
Monday’s figures come after frustrating economic data for the second quarter. It showed Europe’s biggest economy contracted 0.2 percent during the period, after it grew 0.7 percent in the first quarter.
Read more » http://rt.com/business/182672-german-business-confidence-low-august/
KARACHI, SINDH: Well-known legal expert Asma Jehangir has said that those driving the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Tahirul Qadri are hell bent on sending the Prime Minister home.
Talking to Geo News, She said it seems as if the law is of no value in the country as any individual can hurl any kind of allegations by pulling together a crowd of 10 people.
Reacting to the allegations levelled by the former additional secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, Asma Jehangir said she had opposed his appointment in the ECP.
She said had the former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry been involved in rigging, then Imran Khan could also have played a role in it. “All this is part of a conspiracy to dislodge the Prime Minister,” she maintained.
Asma Jehangir asked as to what it is that Imran Khan himself had done for the country. “If Imran Khan thinks that by resorting to such acts he can tie the knot, it is his mistake,” she added.
Read more » The News
A senior US official told the BBC that Washington was not consulted about the attacks and was “caught off-guard”.
The air strikes on militia positions around Tripoli’s international airport were reportedly carried out by Emirati fighter jets using bases in Egypt.
The Egyptian authorities have denied involvement, and there has been no direct comment from the UAE.
The strikes failed to stop militias from Misrata and other cities, which operate under the banner Libya Dawn and include some Islamist groups, seizing the airport from a militia from Zintan that had controlled it since 2011.
Read more » BBC
Khan and Qadri both believed Musharraf would make them prime minister back in 2001. Khan acknowledged his mistake and has come a long way since: he is now a popular leader with a genuine political base. His position today is heartbreaking as standing alongside Qadri and delegitimising the ‘system’ without proposing an agenda for reform, Khan is deliberately or unwittingly entrenching the rhetoric about uncouth politicos, broken constitutional order, skies caving in and mighty saviours that is staple diet for our de facto system.
Many standing with the existing constitutional order and against the ‘revolutionaries’ are not inspired by love for Sharif. In a choice between the de jure system and the de facto system, they are standing with the former. But if the choice were between a status quo de jure system and a reformed de jure system, they would stand with the latter.
By Babar Sattar
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many — they are few
Shelley is believed to have introduced the idea of nonviolent resistance in his poem The Mask of Anarchy, which celebrated the power of ordinary people to defeat violence with pacifism. Thoreau in his essay Civil Disobedience advocated listening to one’s conscience and rising up against injustice and slavery. Gandhi’s doctrine of Satyagraha, inspired in part by Shelley, aimed at freeing India from colonial shackles and seeking self-rule. Nelson Mandela suffered penalties of law to fight apartheid.
In transformational revolutions (eg French, American, Chinese, Iranian) the key idea has been to liberate the many from the oppression of the few. And civil rights movements (such as that of Martin Luther King) resonated with people when they sought equality and justice for those oppressed due to vile prejudice or tyranny of the majority. What is the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s great revolutionary idea that will fix our broken homeland? Replacement of Nawaz Sharif with Imran Khan? Is the PTI fighting for a goal larger than the political aggrandisement of Imran Khan?
If this movement ensures that the mandate to rule in our democracy must be beyond suspicion, it will benefit ordinary Pakistanis. But if its sole purpose is to fix a perceived unproven wrong inflicted on the PTI voter in 2013, this movement by definition is a narrow partisan struggle not aimed at empowering ordinary citizens but a means to snatch power from the PML-N and hand it to the PTI.
The US has said that ISIL is more dangerous than a conventional terrorist group in terms of ideology, military and financial power and present an imminent threat to American people.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded.”
“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready,” he said at a Pentagon news conference which was jointly addressed by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.
“If they were to achieve that vision, it would fundamentally alter the face of the Middle East and create a security environment that would certainly threaten us in many ways,” Dempsey said.
Referring to the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley, Hagel said, “When we look at what they did to Foley, what they threatened to do to all Americans and Europeans, I don’t know any other way to describe it other than barbaric.
“They have no standard of decency, of responsible human behavior. They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” he said.
Hagel regretted that the secret operation launched by the US military this summer to rescue American hostages in Syria, including Jim Foley, did not succeed.
“We all regret that the mission did not succeed. The US will not relent our efforts to bring our citizens home and their captors to justice,” he said.
Hagel noted that US’ assistance helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces blunt ISIL’s advance around Irbil, where American diplomats and troops are working, and help the Iraqis retake the strategic Mosul Dam.
“A breach of the dam would have threatened the lives of thousands of Iraqis as well as Americans at our facilities in Baghdad and prevented the Iraqi government from providing critical services to its citizens,” Hagel said.
Courtesy: Out Look India
In an unprecedented public statement, Sindh Government minister has admitted that Pakistani armed forces have recently abducted the dissenting political parties’ activists in Sindh from their houses and later on killed them in a fake encounter.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Sindh Minister Javed Nagori has said that Pakistan Rangers, an armed force under the command of Pakistan Army, is abducting activists of various political parties from Liyari, Malir and other parts of Karachi, the capital of Sindh, and killing them extra-judicially in the fake encounters, reports a Sindhi daily Awami Awaz.
He further said that since Pakistan Rangers is a federal armed force and take orders from the Centre, therefore Sindh Government has no practical control over such actions. He mentioned, according to the journalists of Karachi, that Government of Sindh conveyed its objection to the Centre concerning such unlawful actions of the law enforcement agency, which remained unheard by Islamabad.
Malir and Liyari, along with other districts and townships of Karachi, are ethnic Sindhi and Baloch majority area of the city. Many a Sindhi and Baloch political activists have been killed in the fake-encounter so far in these areas. Majority of Sindhi activists killed in the fake encounters were associated with Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSQM), Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM) and Jeay Sindh Tahreek (JST). A high scale secessionist uprising has been seen in Sindh province, a historical land, during last ten years.
China’s Inner Mongolia is hosting the biggest military drill ever held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The training of 7,000 servicemen from five SCO member states is set to test troops’ effectiveness in fighting terrorism.
The Peace Mission-2014 drill, being conducted from August 24 to 29 in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was declared open by Deputy Chief of Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff Wang Ning, who is supervising the military training.
Read more » http://rt.com/news/182400-sco-military-drills-china/
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard says it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.
The Guards issued a statement saying the drone was trying to penetrate the site, state news agency ISNA said on Sunday.
“The downed aircraft was of the stealth, radar-evasive type and it intended to penetrate the off-limit nuclear area in Natanz… but was targeted by a ground-to-air missile before it managed to enter the area,” ISNA said, citing a statement by the Revolutionary Guards.
Read more » Aljazeera
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More details » BBC urdu
Iraq conflict: UN warns of possible Amerli ‘massacre’
The UN has called for action to prevent what it says may be a possible massacre in the northern Iraqi town of Amerli.
Special representative Nickolay Mladenov says he is “seriously alarmed” by reports regarding the conditions in which the town’s residents live.
The town, under siege by Islamic State for two months, has no electricity or drinking water, and is running out of food and medical supplies. The majority of its residents are Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by IS.
Read more » BBC
Islamic State militants are the most dangerous threat America has faced in years, top US officials have warned. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said US strikes had weakened IS in Iraq, but the group could be expected to regroup. America’s top general Martin Dempsey said IS fighters could not be defeated without attacking its base in Syria.
Read more » BBC
Hamas must halt its campaign of summary executions of suspected collaborators, Amnesty International today said after at least 18 more Palestinians were put to death by firing squad for allegedly providing information to Israel.
It brings the number of alleged informants executed in the past two days to 21, including several people arrested yesterday in relation to the killing of three senior Hamas commanders by Israeli forces.
“This flurry of executions by Hamas is made even more shocking by the fact that the victims were sentenced to death after trials which, if they happened at all, were summary and grossly unfair,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.
“Hamas must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty.”
At least 11 people, including two women, were executed by firing squad today in al-Katiba prison yard in the west of Gaza City.
Seven others were executed after Friday prayers outside the main mosque in Gaza City.
Read more » Amnesty International
(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.
Family members of another man, Hajras bin Saleh al-Qurey, told Human Rights Watch on August 17 that they fear his execution is imminent. The Public Court of Najran, in southern Saudi Arabia, sentenced al-Qurey to death by beheading on January 16, 2013 for allegedly smuggling drugs and attacking a police officer during his arrest.
“Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.”
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Saudi government news agency, on August 18, authorities executed four Saudi men in Najran province. A court had previously convicted the men – identified as Hadi al-Mutlaq, Awadh al-Mutlaq, Mufreh al-Yami, and Ali al-Yami – of attempting to smuggle hashish into the country.
Read more » Human Rights Watch
GENEVA (14 August 2014) – Two United Nations human rights experts today expressed their grave concern at the situation of Pakistani asylum seekers in Sri Lanka who are being detained and forcefully deported to Pakistan without an adequate assessment of their asylum claims.
“States must guarantee that every single asylum claim is individually assessed with due process and in line with international law,” stressed the UN Special Rapporteurs on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and on freedom of religion and belief, Heiner Bielefeldt.
At least 108 Pakistani citizens have been deported since the beginning of August, according to the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR).
“Most asylum seekers from Pakistan belong to religious minorities, including Ahmadiyya Muslim, Christian and Shia, groups that are often subjected to persecution, discrimination and violence in Pakistan,” Ms. Izsák said. “Many of them are being deported despite being registered with UNHCR and having their first instance interviews still pending.”
Violent attacks against religious minorities have increased significantly in recent years, according to Pakistani sources. Last year, 687 persons belonging to religious minorities were reportedly killed in over 200 separate attacks.
“Such violence is fueled by existing blasphemy legislation particularly targeting minorities and lack of protective measures for them in Pakistan,” Mr. Bielefeldt said.
“The personal security and safety of Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians and Shias who are being returned to Pakistan from Sri Lanka is a matter of serious concern, due to the large number of cases of violent attacks and threats against members of those religious communities by militant extremists in Pakistan,” he highlighted.
The UN human rights experts called on the Government of Sri Lanka to comply with the principle of non-refoulement (no-forced-returns) when there is a credible potential threat against an individual and to stop the deportations immediately in order to allow the completion of the entire asylum claim process.
Read more » UN, Office of High Commissioner Of Human Rights
KARACHI: There has been a shift from one dominant institution to multiple institutions in Pakistan which has transformed into an urban country where provision of goods is now a privatised process. These thoughts were articulated on Wednesday by political economist Dr Akbar Zaidi invited by the Karachi University faculty of arts to deliver a lecture on “The Changing Nature of Pakistani State”.
Read more » DAWN
Watch a very memorable singer of Sindhi language, Late Syed Suleman Shah.
Courtesy: PTV » Youtube
Disney India and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions Pvt. Ltd (AGPPL) are to collaborate on Mohenjo Daro.
Directed by Gowariker, the film will star Hrithik Roshan and new comer Pooja Hegde in an epic adventure love story set at the time of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Mohenjo Daro, meaning Mound of the Dead in Sindhi, is a lost civilization that was abandoned in 19th century BCE. The city’s ruins lie in the Larkana district of Sindh, and are a designated Unesco World Heritage Site since 1980.
Given the settings, the movie is likely to be a sweeping historical extravaganza, along the lines of Jodhaa Akbar and Lagaan, the former also an association between UTV Motion Pictures (aka Disney India), while the latter an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film; both movies were critical and box-office hits.
According to a press release, Disney India Producer Sunita Gowariker said, “There has always been a natural creative synergy between UTV and AGPPL in our previous movies. This time through our collaboration with Disney we’ll have an even greater focus on entertaining families”.
“After Jodhaa Akbar, we are thrilled to work with Ashutosh and Hrithik again, and we are excited about bringing another wonderful Indian story to the big screen,” said Amrita Pandey, VP and Head of Marketing & Distribution, Disney Studios, India.
Mohenjo Daro is set to go into production in South Africa from October 2014.
The U.S. military said U.S. forces conducted nine strikes on Saturday and another 16 on Sunday in efforts to help the Iraqis retake the dam.
As we noted earlier, a pitched campaign delivered control of part of the dam to Kurdish forces earlier this weekend before the entirety of what has been called “the most dangerous dam in the world” was seized on Monday. As Daniel Pipes told CNN after the structure was initially seized by the marauding group just two weeks ago:
If you control the Mosul dam, you can threaten just about everybody — a very substantial part of Iraq — with flooding, with lack of electricity, with lack of water.
Last week, we mentioned the growing role of the PKK, the Kurdish Workers’ Party, in the fighting. Despite being designated a terrorist group by the United States for waging a decades-long battle against Turkey, the group has become a formidable opponent in the battle against ISIS. Helping to lead the way have been female guerrillas who enlisted in the battle to fighting alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Read more: Business Insider
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By Amin Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association, headed by Retired Vice Admiral Ahmed Tasnim, jumped into the fray on Tuesday by supporting the call for dissolution of assemblies, formation of a caretaker government
Read more » DAWN
Pakistan – Sources in Sharif’s government said that with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.
‘From czar-like prime minister to deputy commissioner-type character’
ISLAMABAD: Besieged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been assured by military that there will be no coup, but in return he must “share space with the army”, according to a government source who was privy to recent talks between the two sides.
Last week, as tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the federal capital to demand his resignation, Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.
He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahirul Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.
According to a government insider with a first-hand account of the meeting, Sharif’s envoys returned with good news and bad: there will be no coup but if he wants his government to survive, from now on it will have to share space with the army.
The army’s media wing declined to comment.
Thousands of protesters marched to parliament on Tuesday, using a crane and bolt cutters to force their way past barricades of shipping containers, as riot police and paramilitaries watched on after being told not to intervene.
Military spokesman General Asim Bajwa tweeted a reminder to protesters to respect government institutions and called for a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the crisis.
Even if, as seems likely, the Khan and Qadri protests eventually fizzle out due to a lack of overt support from the military, the prime minister will emerge weakened from political crisis.
Sharif may have to be subservient to the generals on issues he wanted to handle himself — from the fight against Taliban to relations with India and Pakistan’s role in neighbouring, post-Nato Afghanistan.
“The biggest loser will be Nawaz, cut down to size both by puny political rivals and the powerful army,” said a government minister who asked not to be named.
“From this moment on, he’ll always be looking over his shoulder.”
A year ago, few would have predicted that Sharif would be in such trouble: back then, he had just swept to power for a third time in a milestone poll that marked the first transition from one elected government to another.
But in the months that followed, Sharif — who had crossed swords with the army in the past — moved to enhance the clout of the civilian government in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its history.
He irked the generals by putting former military head Pervez Musharraf, who had ended Sharif’s last stint as prime minister in a 1999 coup, on trial for treason.
Sharif is also said to have opposed a military offensive to crush Taliban insurgents and sought reconciliation with India.
Sources in Sharif’s government said that with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.
He also feared that if the agitations turned violent, the army would exploit the situation to seize power for itself.
Read more » DAWN
The Islamic State militant group has released a video online purporting to show the beheading of a US journalist. The victim was identified by the militants as James Foley, a freelancer who was seized in Syria in late 2012. The militants said it was in revenge for recent US air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq. The video has not been independently verified, but the White House said if it was genuine, the US would be “appalled by the brutal murder”.
Read more » BBC
The paper reported that the Indian government decided this after a meeting between Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and senior Hurriyat Conference leader Shabbir Ahmad Shah in New Delhi. Earlier on Monday, the high commissioner met Kashmiri leader ahead of the proposed secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India.
Read more » Daily Times
Another statement of the Chairman of the UN Committee on the conduct of the IDF in Gaza continues to doubt the sincerity of future conclusions: William Schabas said that Netanyahu was biggest risk to the survival of Israel. This statement is in addition to a previous statement where Schabas said that he would like to see Netanyahu in the Hague.
At the same time that Schabas, Chairman of the UN Inquiry Committee on IDF conduct in Gaza, is denying that he is anti-Israel, more and more statements against Netanyahu are being published. A newly uncovered video shows Schabas calling Netanyahu the greatest threat to the survival of Israel.
In the video published by UN Watch on its YouTube channel, Schabas refers to threats that endanger the survival of the State of Israel, and says above all, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. “Honestly, if I had to think of a person who is considered the greatest threat to the survival of Israel, I would probably choose to Netanyahu,” said Schabas as mocking laughter erupted from the other members of the panel.
Read more » Jerusalem Online
FERGUSON, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Ferguson, Mo., on Saturday, following nights of protests after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
“If we’re going to have justice, we must first have and maintain peace,” Nixon said at a Saturday afternoon press conference. “The eyes of the world are watching.”
Read more » USA Today
Militants massacre 80 Yazidis; airstrikes target insurgents around Iraq’s largest dam
Some 80 members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority have been massacred by Islamic State militants in a village in Iraq’s north, Kurdish officials said.
“They arrived in vehicles and they started their killing this afternoon,” senior Kurdish official Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters.“We believe it’s because of their creed: convert or be killed.”
In addition to the murders, local women were kidnapped from the village, another Kurdish official source told Reuters. A local Yazidi lawmaker confirmed the information.
According to BasNews, a Kurdish website, it was the Yazidi minority village of Kojo some 20 km south of Sinjar that came under attack by the Islamic State (former ISIS) radicals.
BasNews reports that around 80 men – the village’s whole male population – was slaughtered, while all the women were kidnapped.
Read more » Toronto Star
Islamabad has become political hot spot these days due to Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri’s ‘Freedom’ and ‘Revolution’ protest marches. Taking advantage of Pakistani and international media focus on these marches, the Sindh Police, [!–!?–!} have allegedly launched the unannounced military operation in natural resources rich Sindh province against the secessionist Sindhi nationalist parties.
At least 12 Sindhi secessionists have been killed and over 100 have been either arrested or involuntarily disappeared, according to the reports from Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Dadau, Nawabshah, Jamshoro, Badim, Mirpurkhas and Umerkot districts of the historical province. The victims are associated with the Jeay Sindhi Qomi Mahaz (JSQM), Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM), Jeay Sindh Tahreek (JST), Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JST).
According to the Sindhi newspapers, the people of Sindh observed Black Day on 14th August, the day Pakistan was created out of united India in 1947. The day in Sindh is usually organized against the creation of Pakistan and the subjugation of Sindh to the ethnic Punjabi Muslim dominated Pakistan.
WSJ report of frayed relations between Washington and Jerusalem, including combative Obama-Netanyahu phone call, sparks firestorm among Israeli politicians
The shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown in a Missouri suburb earlier this week and the rampant police response to demonstrations in its wake have led many to question the scope of police militarization in the United States.
Read more » Yahoo News
Times Square SHUT DOWN: More than one thousand march in New York as Ferguson protests spin-off across the country over police shooting of Michael Brown
The New York rally in support of Michael Brown began Thursday evening in a march up Broadway before culminated in Times Square
Head of highway patrol, put in charge of Ferguson security by Governor Jay Nixon on Thursday, the St Louis suburb resembled a ‘war zone’
In addition to vigils in Ferguson and New York, there have been protests planned across the country via Twitter
Ferguson police have said that on Friday they will name the police officer who shot Brown
The fifth night of demonstrations in support of gunned down Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown saw scores of protesters marching through the streets of New York in a vigil that culminated in Times Square Thursday night.
Tensions flared as some protestors attempted to shove their way through a police barricade set up in their path toward the beating heart of the city.
Police held their own and tempers soon calmed, but as night gripped New York, the already congested Times Square ground to a halt as over 1000 marchers flowed into the streets to demand an end to police brutality and militarization and justice for 18-year-old Brown.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2725535/Times-Square-SHUT-DOWN-thousands-marching-Ferguson-protests-spin-country-fifth-night-tensions-gunned-teen.html#ixzz3ATAwojrB
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Prime Minister Modi asks all the neighbouring countries to come together and work jointly to erase the poverty from the region
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave a clarion call to all neighbouring and SAARC countries to work “shoulder-to-shoulder” to remove poverty from the region, leaving behind the world of death and killings.
Read more » http://www.news.nom.co/pm-asks-neighbouring-countries-to-11459555-news/
Gunmen armed with automatic weapons, grenades and wearing suicide vests attacked two military airbases in southwestern Pakistan early Friday, with security forces killing seven militants in the ongoing fighting, officials said.
Sarfaraz Bugti, the home minister of insurgency-hit Baluchistan province said that militants had tried to storm the Samungli airbase, used by Pakistan’s Air Force, and Khalid military airbase, both in the provincial capital Quetta, but had failed to penetrate either perimeter.
“Exchange of fire is going on near both the airbases. Seven terrorists have so far been killed,” Bugti told AFP.
“The target of the attacks were both the airbases but police and security forces thwarted the attacks,” he added. The airbases are some 12 kilometres (seven miles) apart in Quetta.
Mohammad Amlish, provincial police chief told AFP seven security personnel including four police, and three soldiers had been wounded in the gunbattle but that police had managed to stop the militants from entering the Samungli airbase through a drain.
“We have recovered three dead bodies. Two of them detonated their suicide vests after being encircled by police while one was shot dead,” Amlish told AFP.
A senior military official said rockets were fired at Samungli airbase, with two landing inside the perimeter fence. He said no damage was caused.
Quetta city’s police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema told AFP that militants first launched an attack on Samungli airbase before targeting Khalid military airbase around an hour later. Police had defused four bombs near the outer wall of Khalid airbase, he said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but the Taliban have threatened a bloody response to a recent Pakistan military offensive against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region.
Pakistan launched the offensive in mid-June shortly after a brazen attack on Karachi airport that left dozens dead and extinguished a largely fruitless peace process with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
Later that month, gunmen opened fire at a plane landing at Peshawar airport in the country’s northwest, killing a passenger and wounding two crew members.
The Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed joint responsibility for the Karachi airport attack.
North Waziristan has become a major base for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which rose up against the state in 2007, while the United States has long called for action in the area against militant groups targeting NATO forces in Afghanistan.
More than 500 militants and 27 soldiers have been killed in the assault so far, according to the military, though the death toll for insurgents cannot be independently confirmed.
Impoverished Baluchistan is wracked by an insurgency waged by ethnic Baluch tribes seeking greater autonomy from the federal government and a greater share of profits from the region’s wealth of oil and gas resources.
The region has also been hit by attacks blamed on Taliban militants.
Courtesy: Yahoo News