Tag Archives: Peshawar

First Pakistani women paratroopers make history

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army, in another landmark achievement, successfully completed the first ever Lady Officers Para Trooping Course at Para Training School, Peshawar, said a statement issued here on Sunday.

Besides challenging physical training, Para jumping course involved training in exit, flight and landing techniques.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109317-First-Pakistani-women-paratroopers-make-history-

Pakistan – Tirah valley operation intensifies, 23 soldiers killed

By

PESHAWAR: A decisive operation has been launched against militants in the Tirah valley of Bara by Special Services Groups (SSG) forces along with regular troops, during which at least 23 troops have been killed along with local lashkar men.

Scores of militants have also been killed in the offensive during the last three days.

Official sources confirmed to Dawn.com that several soldiers, including SSG commandos, have been killed in the battle for Tirah valley on Saturday, around 30 militants have also been confirmed dead along with scores of others injured.

On late Sunday evening, a clash took place between security forces and militants in Akka Khel area of Bara tehsil. Ten militants were killed in the fighting, official sources said.

Sources said that SSG commandos along with regular army troops and Frontier Corps are battling to root out the last pockets of resistance in the Tirah valley especially on the border of Orakzai Agency.

The landlocked area is reported to be a bastion of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other foreign militants.

The offensive has entered a crucial phase, after softening of targets by gunships and jet fighters.

Ground troops along with local volunteers have been mobilised to clear the area.

Security experts had already hinted at a decisive strike in the Tirah valley as the TTP and Lashkar-i-Islam had started consolidating their positions in the valley.

The two groups pose a serious threat to the settled areas especially Peshawar.

The FC media cell had confirmed on Friday that four soldiers were killed and over 14 militants had died in the clashes which have been continuing since then.

Sources have confirmed to Dawn.com that one dead body of an SSG commando and six injured SSG soldiers along with eight other solders were shifted to the CMH Peshawar on Saturday.

Continue reading Pakistan – Tirah valley operation intensifies, 23 soldiers killed

China to provide support in constructing a regional railway hub

By Imaduddin

PESHAWAR: China is to provide all kind of financial and technical support in the construction of a regional railway hub for Pakistan, said Director Pakistan Study Centre Sichuan University Chengdu China Dr Chen Jidong.

Speaking as a key note speaker at the one day seminar on prospects of Pak China Relations at University of Peshawar (UoP), Dr Chen Jidong said the active promotion of construction of the railway project will connect Pakistan with Xinjiang region in China and will enhance the capacity of transportation between two countries not only by land but also add to a new outbound transportation line for western China.

He said that the project is the greatest advantage of Pakistan, and will build trade and transport corridors by connecting South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and Western China owing to the country’s geographical advantages.

Dr Chen said that Pakistan has a railway network not younger than the year 1861, aging by the day and needs arduous upgrading.

Some external powers are creating serious law and order situation in Balochistan, with the evil design to halt the expected development of the area through Gwadar port operations, said the Chinese strategic analyst Prof. Zhon Rong.

He added the taking over of operations of Gwadar Port by a Chinese company in the recent past to go with the railway project, can transform Pakistan into economic giant of the 21st Century. Let me tell the Pakistani people that Gwadar Port is first for the development of Pakistan and then any other country, he added.

Continue reading China to provide support in constructing a regional railway hub

Jihadi Vs. Jihadi – 32 dead as Taliban clash with rival Islamists in Pakistan

Militant clash in Khyber tribal region kills 32

By: Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: An intense gun-battle erupted between two banned militant groups in Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley on Friday, with at least 32 militants so far killed in the clash.

Intelligence officials said the gun-battle started late Thursday between the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and rival group Ansarul Islam (AI) in Tirah Valley’s Maidan village. The dead included 23 Ansar fighters and nine TTP militants, while several others were also injured.

Officials said the death toll was likely to increase as the fighting had not yet ended.

Speaking to a Dawn.com reporter, Sadat Afridi, a spokesman for the banned Ansarul Islam group, claimed that they had captured over three TTP bases in the valley’s Maidan village, and that the fight was still on for a fourth base.

Afridi said that his group has vowed to flush out TTP militants from Tirah Valley as they “carry out attacks on mosques and public places, which is against Islam.”

Afridi said that they would not allow the TTP to continue “killing innocent Muslims in the name of religion.”

Khyber is among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and home to religious extremist organisations including the al Qaeda.

The remote Tirah valley holds strategic significance for militant groups. On one side, it shares a border with Afghanistan. On the other it leads to the plains of Bara, which connect the agency to the outskirts of Peshawar.

Khyber also links several agencies to each other, serving as a north-south route within Fata. The region has been long fought over by a mix of militant organisations, including the TTP, the Ansarul Islam and Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam.

Continue reading Jihadi Vs. Jihadi – 32 dead as Taliban clash with rival Islamists in Pakistan

Senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour martyred

PESHAWAR: Senior Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bashir Ahmed Bilour passed away in Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital after doctors failed to resuscitate him. He was critically injured in a suicide attack in Peshawar, Geo News reported.

The blast also left 9 others dead and 17 injured, sources said.

The attack took place when the Awami National Party’s President for KPK Bashir Ahmed Bilour was exiting the residence of the party’s local leader following a meeting, along with his personal secretary and SHO Kabuli Police Station.

Both the personal secretary Noor Mohammed as well as the SHO, Sattar Khan were killed on the spot while 18 others were injured. According to hospital sources, Bashir Bilour was brought to the hospital in critical condition and was unconscious.

According to eyewitnesses, the suicide bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body at a close distance from Bashir Bilour, inflicting critical wounds to his chest and stomach that later proved fatal. Bilour had repeatedly termed the fight against terrorism as ‘our own battle’. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Continue reading Senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour martyred

Rocket attack on peshawar airport.

Peshawar struck by rocket attacks

PESHAWAR: At least two rockets have landed in the urban Pehsawar near Bacha Khan International Airport, Geo News reported. Earlier three loud explosions were reported from different areas Khyber PakhtunKhwa’s capital, but later they turned out to be rocket fire. According to sources, two rockets fired from unknown location, landed in the University Town near airport.

Reportedly one of the rockets struck a residential block,while the other fell near a the airport’s boundary wall with loud bangs which shattered the windowpanes of buildings close-by. Rescue workers as well as law enforcers are on their way. More details are awaited.

Courtesy: The News

 

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-79791-Peshawar-struck-by-rocket-attacks

 

Canadian Senator Salma Ataullahjan on Pakistan, Pakhtunkhwa & Malala Yusufzai in the Globe & Mail

Malala Yousafzai drew a ‘red line’

BY: SALMA ATAULLAHJAN

I recently met the parents of Malala Yousafzai in Birmingham, England. Malala, who should be learning and laughing and doing what teenaged girls do, is instead lying in a British hospital, recovering after being shot and wounded in Pakistan by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education.

Malala and I are both Yousafzai Pakhtun women, from the same town and the same clan. We are a generation and two continents apart, but the 15-year-old girl’s courage, determination and maturity has triggered hope and inspiration in me at a time when I felt that all was waning in the land of our birth, Pakistan.

When I was 15 in the historic city of Peshawar, in the province of Pakhtunkhwa, my sisters and cousins could never have imagined a day when simply going to school would jeopardize our lives. We were brimming with confidence and optimism. Girls and young women were emerging to take positions of responsibility in government, social development and politics. Our colleges and universities were centres of learning and debate. I studied at a convent run by Irish nuns, and we spoke English and wore Western-style uniforms.

Continue reading Canadian Senator Salma Ataullahjan on Pakistan, Pakhtunkhwa & Malala Yusufzai in the Globe & Mail

The History and Disappearance of the Jewish Presence in Pakistan

Pakistan was never traditionally anti-Semitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s.

By Shalva Weil for ISN Insights

In November 2008, Lashkar e Taiba (LET), a radical Islamist group from Pakistan, specifically targeted “Nariman House” in Bombay (Mumbai) for a terrorist attack, along with other tourist locations, such as the Taj Mahal hotel. Nariman House was a ‘Chabad house’ of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Hasidic Judaism – a Jewish outreach center that included an educational center, synagogue and hostel. It was run by Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. When the building was attacked, six occupants, including the Rabbi and his pregnant wife, were killed. A total of 164 people were killed in the Mumbai attacks. David Coleman Headley, who testified in the United States at the end of May 2011 in the trial of his friend, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, confessed that he had planned the Mumbai attacks in conjunction with an officer of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, a man whom he called “Major Iqbal”. The officer was reportedly delighted that the Jews were targeted.

The Jews of Pakistan

Pakistan was never traditionally anti-Semitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s. Recently, Yoel Reuben, a Pakistani Jew living in the town of Lod in Israel, whose family originated in Lahore, documented some of the history of the Jewish communities with photographs of original documents. When India and Pakistan were one country, before the partition in 1947, the Jews were treated with tolerance and equality. In the first half of the 20th century, there were nearly 1,000 Jewish residents in Pakistan living in different cities: Karachi, Peshwar, Quetta and Lahore. The largest Jewish community lived in Karachi, where there was a large synagogue and a smaller prayer hall. There were two synagogues in Peshawar, one small prayer hall in Lahore belonging to the Afghan Jewish community, and one prayer hall in Quetta. Even today, according to unofficial sources, there are rumors that some Jews remain in Pakistan, including doctors and members of the free professions, who converted or pass themselves off as members of other religions.

The Jews of Pakistan were of various origins, but most were from the Bene Israel community of India, and came to Pakistan in the employ of the British. Yifah, a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, relates that her great-great-grandfather Samuell Reuben Bhonkar, who was a Bene Israel, came to Karachi in British India to work as a jailer, and died there in 1928. The Bene Israel originated in the Konkan villages, but many moved to Bombay from the end of the 18th century on. In Pakistan, they spoke Marathi, their mother-tongue from Maharashtra; Urdu and most spoke English. Prayers were conducted in Hebrew.

In 1893, a Bene Israel from Bombay, Solomon David Umerdekar, inaugurated the Karachi Magen Shalom Synagogue on the corner of Jamila Street and Nishtar Road, which officially opened in 1912. During these years, the Jewish community thrived. In 1903, the community set up the Young Man’s Jewish Association, and the Karachi Bene Israel Relief Fund was established to support poor Jews. In 1918, the Karachi Jewish Syndicate was formed to provide housing at reasonable rents, and the All India Israelite League, which represented 650 Bene Israel living in the province of Sindh (including Hyderabad, Larkano, Mirpur-Khas and Sukkur, as well as Karachi), was first convened – founded by two prominent Bene Israel, Jacob Bapuji Israel and David S Erulkar. Karachi became a fulcrum for the Bene Israel in India, the place where they congregated for High Holiday prayers. There was also a prayer hall, which served the Afghan Jews residing in the city. A 1941 government census recorded 1,199 Pakistani Jews: 513 men and 538 women. So accepted were the Jews of Karachi in these years that Abraham Reuben, a leader in the Jewish community, became the first Jewish councilor on the Karachi Municipal Corporation.

Continue reading The History and Disappearance of the Jewish Presence in Pakistan

Long Live Malala Yousufzai, Long Live Pakhtoon resistance. Death to her attackers & to this terrorist mindset. Sindh salutes Malala.

Taliban says it shot ‘infidel’ Pakistani teen for advocating girls’ rights

By Haq Nawaz Khan, By Michele Langevine Leiby

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A 14-year-old Pakistani activist who won international acclaim for speaking out for girls denied education under the Taliban was shot and seriously wounded Tuesday on her way home from school, authorities said.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on ninth-grader Malala Yousafzai, who officials said was shot in the head by at least one gunman who approached a school bus in Mingora, a city in the scenic Swat valley in the country’s northwest.

Yousafzai was flown by helicopter to a military hospital in Peshawar, where officials said a bullet was lodged near her spine. Surgeons were unable to operate immediately because of swelling in her skull. ….

Read more : The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/taliban-says-it-shot-infidel-pakistani-teen-for-advocating-girls-rights/2012/10/09/29715632-1214-11e2-9a39-1f5a7f6fe945_story.html

6 killed, 18 injured as blast rips through Peshawar market

PESHAWAR: A blast near the Malik Market outside the Sheri mosque in Matani, Peshawar destroyed at least 10 shops in the locality, partially damaging the mosque, an eye witnesses said. Express News reported that six people were killed and at least 18 were injured including few children due to the blast.

The blast site is located around 100 yards away from the Matani police station. The injured have been shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital, Express News reported.

The eyewitness told The Express Tribune that a huge explosion was heard near the market after which he saw bodies scattered in the area. Ambulances were rushed to the area immediately as additional number of police personnel made way to the spot.

So far no official version about the attack was available.

However, a senior police official confirmed the explosion in Matani, a village on the outskirts of Peshawar city, close to the Khyber Agency and FR Darra Adamkhel.

The area has been a clash point for militants and peace militias for years. This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.

Courtesy: Urduwire

http://www.urduwire.com/en/news/6-killed-18-injured-as-blast-rips-through-peshawar-market_nid718811.aspx

NWA militants abandoning bases to escape imminent offensive

Excerpt;

….. Almost all top figures of the Haqqani Network have shifted to safe places during and before Ramadan.

Some of them crossed over to Afghanistan, while some have moved to less populated areas in the Potohar region of Punjab, where the Haqqani family owns well-protected houses and accommodations.

Tribal sources said al Qaeda fugitives had already moved towards Syria, where the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and US-led allies are forcing Syria’s Bashar Al Assad to resign. These fugitives would now play a key role in mass movements against Assad and would even get involved in terrorist and other violent acts.

However, local tribesmen are carefully monitoring the situation. A majority of influential and affluent families have already abandoned homes and shifted to Peshawar, Islamabad and other main cities and towns, while others are forced to play silent spectators to whatever might unfold in the area.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/08/24/news/national/nwa-militants-abandoning-bases-to-escape-imminent-offensive/

NWA operation to be Pakistan’s own decision: Peshawar corps commander

PESHAWAR – Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani has made it clear that the government alone will make the decision regarding a military operation in North Waziristan and “no one can impose its own will from abroad in this respect”.

“The armed forces are well aware of their responsibilities and are alert for all sorts of action in any part of the country,” was his reply to a query while talking to reporters on Thursday at an iftar dinner hosted by him in the honor of journalists and analysts.

The corps commander expressed surprise over media reports regarding military operation in North Waziristan, saying “how is it possible for the armed forces to accept a wish from abroad regarding our own internal issue or any other administrative matter”?

Continue reading NWA operation to be Pakistan’s own decision: Peshawar corps commander

This is not our war? Still?

By Kamran Shafi

So then, our ‘assets’ have attacked the extremely high security installation, the Kamra Airbase and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex killing one soldier and damaging an aircraft or two. Whilst earlier reports said that one terrorist had been captured alive, we are now being told that all eight, some say nine, have been killed.

If I had anything to do with the investigations, I would certainly look into the matter of the death of the terrorist caught alive, because you see, just like Mehran, I suspect that this was an inside job too.

There is a report also that says all the attackers were foreigners while others say only one was. Be which as it may this only proves the point that there is a collection of terrorists from across the Muslim world congregated in Fata and comfortably embedded with said ‘assets’.

Now then, after all of the attacks this country has suffered at the Taliban’s hands: Kamra; POFs; Sakesar; GHQ; Hamza Camp; ISI buses; Parade Lane; ISI HQs in Lahore and Faisalabad; Moon Market; Marriott; Lahore Cantonment; Mehran airbase; Lt Gen Mushtaq’s brutal murder in Rawalpindi; Peshawar Meena Bazaar and many others,  this is still not our fight; not OUR war? Till when will we live in denial, friends, till when will we call these murdering brutes our  ‘assets’?

Continue reading This is not our war? Still?

Pakistan’s extremists whip up frenzy over Burma’s Muslims

The exaggerated version of truth about violence in Myanmar propagated by religious groups in Pakistan to recruit and fund their own agendas.

By Taha Siddiqui

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistanis are mounting protests online and in the streets of cities like Lahore and Peshawar over the ill-treatment of Muslims in Myanmar, a situation that Islamist groups here are distorting to raise money and potentially win recruits.

The international community has raised concerns about human rights abuses against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar. Clashes in June between Rohingyas and their Buddhist neighbors, the Rakhine, left 78 dead, according to the Myanmar government. A new Human Rights Watch report calls the number “grossly underestimated” and charges that security forces failed to protect Rohingyas, and in some cases opened fire on them.

But on the streets of Pakistan, the rhetoric runs much hotter with protesters claiming “thousands” of Rohingyas are being slaughtered in western Myanmar (also known as Burma). Online, meanwhile, a series of doctored and misidentified photographs are circulating widely in Pakistani social media and beyond that purport to show violence against Rohingyas.

Investigations by social media watchdogs, and the respected Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune, have proven that most of these claims are exaggerated or entirely false.

For example, one photo posted on a Facebook page originating from Pakistan show Buddhists dressed in their traditional red robes standing in the middle of two rows of dead bodies. The caption reads: “Bodies of Muslims killed by Buddhists.” In reality, this picture is from an earthquake incident in China in 2010, where Tibetan monks came to help with the rescue efforts.

Continue reading Pakistan’s extremists whip up frenzy over Burma’s Muslims

Another death foretold? By Kamran Shafi

Considering how very incensed the Deep State gets the more you hold a mirror to it; and being conscious of the sudden torrent of vile abuse and, worse, dastardly and outlandish allegations presently being heaped upon yours truly, I wanted to write about dog shows and fat Labradors this week. However, this is the Land of the Pure, where ever newer horrors are visited upon us every single minute of every single day, some couched in words. All of them, you can be sure, spoken from on high: as if the sermonisers were standing on some particularly elevated moral ground, with us mortals crawling somewhere down there.

To come straight to the point, the following words in Lt.-Gen. Asad Durrani’s article “The second oldest profession” in this newspaper of May 29 sent a very, very cold chill down my spine. Said the general: “I do not know if Afridi should have been tried by a jirga or in a court of law, under tribal decree or under the country’s penal code, but I do know that for him, it is not yet all over.” And as if that was not disturbing enough: “I think Dr Afridi will get another chance to administer a polio vaccine; the next time in the Promised Land.” I ask you.

Who does not know that Dr Shakil Afridi, the man who helped our ally in the War on Terror find Osama bin Laden a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad Cantonment, is a ‘Dead Man Walking’? He is in Peshawar Jail, which is as vulnerable to attack by the mighty Taliban as Bannu Jail where they first bribed their way in; then garlanded and honoured General Musharraf’s convicted attacker, Adnan Rasheed (who was sentenced to death) with a dastarbandi (adorning him with a turban), and then made video recordings of their great feat, rehearsed firing and all. We have to note that not a single person was even injured in that Great Escape in which nearly 400 prisoners, some of them dangerous terrorists, escaped. So, where’s the problem in ‘rubbing out’ Shakil Afridi in Peshawar Jail?

However, for a former head of the ISI to say almost gleefully what he said, Durrani certainly deserves mention. Specially, and I say this as someone who lauded his stand on the Mehrangate scandal: admitting that as a Pakistan army general he should not have done what he did, being such a senior person. Indeed, what he said about Afridi is way out of court.

And now to the jailbreak. There is not a squeak out of the leaders and the spokesmen of the Ghairat Brigades about that catastrophe. Remember that we know that Adnan Rasheed worked for Amjad Farooqi, who in turn worked for Abu Faraj al Libi and is also known to have been a member of these extremist organisations at various times: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan; Harkatul Ansar; Harkatul Mujahideen; Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami in which he is said to have been this group’s pointman with al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front. Quite a beauty, what? Yet, not a word about the jailbreak and its links with al Qaeda, especially when one of the prisoners who escaped was accused of plotting to kill the then chief of army staff himself!

Continue reading Another death foretold? By Kamran Shafi

Friday Times : Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – VI – By: Farhat Taj

There are three groups of Pashtuns fighting the US/NATO and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan – the Peshawar Shura led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the North Waziristan based Haqqani Network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, and the Quetta Shura led by Mullah Omar. All three of them are closely linked with the military establishment of Pakistan.

A section of Hekmatyar’s party has already given up violence and is part of the current Afghan government and parliament. Many of the remaining prominent party leaders are frustrated with Hekmatyar’s rigid stance and have privately said they are willing to give up violence for a peaceful political process.

Continue reading Friday Times : Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – VI – By: Farhat Taj

Heavily armed jihadi groups clash in Pakistan: 5 killed, 5 injured in clash between rival Islamic militants

5 killed, 5 injured in clash between rival militants groups

Firefight between Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansarul Islam began when latter’s fighters attacked stronghold of LI militants.

PESHAWAR: At least five militants were killed and five others were injured when clashes erupted between Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and Ansarul Islam (AI) in the Sanda Pal area of Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency.

According to locals, the firefight between the two groups began in the early hours of Monday when fighters of AI attacked Sanda Pal, a stronghold of LI militants.

They claimed that four militants of the Mangal Bagh-led LI had been killed and two were injured, while one fighter of AI was killed and three were injured.

Clashes between the two groups occur frequently as AI fights the LI to gain control of the area.

According to sources, heavy weapons were used in the fight and AI fighters took control of a number of small outposts to reach Sanda Pal – the main outpost.

Residents living in the secluded valley have little communication with the world.

The area has been under the influence of militants, including the LI, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Ansarul Islam, who have consistently targeted each other over territorial disputes and sectarian differences.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Via – Twitter » TF’s Tweet

Pakistan Entrapped

Islamic Radicalism: Pakistan Entrapped in A Vicious Circle of Militancy and Cowardice of the State

By Mujahid Husain

Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants have once again started attacking Pakistan, this time in a much organised manner. It was being said, after the successful military operations in tribal areas that Taliban and Al-Qaeda sympathizers have been chased away. But the reality is totally opposite to it. Indeed it is the Local and foreign militants who have driven away security forces and other peace-promoting organisations from there.

Militants are now focussing their attention on the suburbs of big towns and hamlets. They are easily making them their prey. Their successful operation of getting hundreds of dreaded inmates flee from Bannu jail, situated in the tribal area, is the latest example of their prowess. Adnan Rashid one of the most wanted and a dreaded attacker on the life of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was one of them. He was greeted with garlands in the jail campus by the attackers of the Bannu Jail. Garlands were specially brought for him by the miscreants. This incident proves militants’ planning, strength and their self confidence.

Taliban attackers kept celebrating their victory for two hours in the jail campus itself. In the meantime the police station and security forces of Bannu town kept themselves silently locked in their offices. They dare not try to interfere in the operation of the militant attackers.

After the jail break incident a private school of Peshawar came under their wrath. The school was attacked with hand grenades in which children were killed.

State government finds itself helpless in front of the terror organisation called ‘Lashkar-e-Islam’ which is active in the suburbs of Peshawar.

Continue reading Pakistan Entrapped

Pakistan: the continuing saga of a fat, lazy and incompetent ‘security state.’ Militants attack Bannu jail, nearly 400 inmates escape

Militants attack Bannu jail, nearly 400 inmates escape

By: AFP

PESHAWAR: Nearly 400 prisoners including militants escaped early Sunday from a jail in northwestern Pakistan after an attack by insurgents armed with guns, grenades and rockets, officials said.

More than 150 heavily-armed militants stormed the central prison outside the restive northwestern town of Bannu bordering the lawless tribal regions where Taliban and al Qaeda linked militants are known to operate.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We attacked the Bannu prison and got our special members freed,” Ehsan told AFP.

“In a couple of days when all of them have reached their designated places we will issue details about them. At the moment I cannot give you exact numbers.”

The attack started at around 1:00 am (2000 GMT Saturday) and continued for two hours, with militants in cars and pick-up trucks shooting and lobbing grenades to force their way into the prison, a security official told AFP.

“Some 384 prisoners, including some hardcore militants, have escaped during the attack,” the official said, asking not to be named. ….

Read more : DAWN.COM

via – Twitter

Pakistan – More than 50 dead in gunfights, air strikes in Orakzai, Kurram

By AFP

PESHAWAR: At least 51 militants and four soldiers have been killed in air strikes and clashes with security forces in the restive northwest over the past week, officials said Sunday.

On Sunday, planes bombed a tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, killing 26 militants, a senior paramilitary official told AFP.

“Jet strikes today killed 26 militants and wounded 15 others and destroyed their seven hideouts in different areas of Upper Orakzai and Kurram,” the official said.

Separately, at least 25 militants and four soldiers were killed in Bara, Khyber Agency in gunfights between March 12 and 18, the official said.

Four security forces personnel embraced martyrdom and 12 others were wounded in gunfights which left 25 militants dead,” he said.

The official said that no militant had been killed in custody and added that the military operation was directed at the militants belonging to the Taliban-linked Laskhar-e-Islam group that is led by warlord Mangal Bagh.

The group has been involved in recent suicide attacks and kidnapping in Peshawar, which borders Khyber, he said.

Two local intelligence officials confirmed the clashes and death toll.

Independent verification of the incident is not possible as access to the area is restricted by the military.

Read more » The Express Tribune

Drones & Ababeels

Declaring sanity

by Nadeem F. Paracha

In March 2010 animated conspiracy theorist, TV personality and poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad, Zaid Hamid finally met his nemesis at the Peshawar University.

Hamid, who till then, had been enjoying a virtual free run on certain TV channels and on privately-owned campuses, was chased away by large sections of the audience that turned up to listen to him speak at the state-owned Peshawar University.

As Hamid’s speech began being booed at, Hamid made a quick exit from the premises only to face another crowd of students outside who shouted slogans against him, and pelted his car with stones.

Suddenly a man who was lovingly being courted by TV channels and student bodies and administration of private educational institutions, was angrily courted out by the students of a state-owned university.

Continue reading Drones & Ababeels

Guess it doesnt harm national sovereignty when Pakistan army gets into secret deals with US; that’s only for bloody civilians

Army has its eye on Nato supplies deal

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD: The bankrupt Pakistan Railways management has pulled off the mother of all deals with the NLC, while the army is working hard behind the scenes for an equally big deal with the United States.

In the first week of February, railways signed a deal with the military-run National Logistics Cell (NLC) under which the cell will repair 30 railway locomotives of which 15 will be returned to the railways to use. The other 15 will be used by the NLC to carry freight booked by the NLC.

What does the NLC get out of this deal? This was a question that proved hard to answer as the NLC and the ISPR never bothered to reply to any questions despite a weeklong wait.

However, Dawn has learnt that the military is gearing up to earn big bucks from the transport of US/Nato/Isaf supplies via Pakistan’s land routes in the near future and this is what is behind the NLC deal with the railways.

In fact, negotiations between the Pakistan military and the US started as far back as 2009 for a share of the transport pie that has earned many individuals and companies in this country millions since the start of the war in Afghanistan over a decade ago.

A source within a transport company that carries military supplies to Afghanistan confirmed that trial runs were carried out at the request of the American government in 2009 and 2010; from Karachi to Peshawar and from Karachi to Chaman to not just see if the rail routes worked but also how long the journey took. “The journey to Chaman took seven days which was an improvement on the trucks as the increasing number of FC checkpoints was causing delays,” the source said.

It now appears that while the US waits for the parliamentary review of bilateral relations that was ordered after the Salala incident, behind the scenes the two sides are negotiating the terms and conditions for transporting Nato and American supplies to Afghanistan.

An official in the Foreign Office confirmed that the Americans, Nato officials based in Afghanistan, the NLC and the Foreign Office were working out some plan to use the railway for supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The recent trip by the newly appointed ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, to Pakistan was part of these negotiations, the official said.

This, however, is not the only price that is being demanded. Fees to use the roads as well as a charge at the port may also be negotiated.

The bi-partisan and bi-cameral Parliamentary Committee on National Security has also demanded that a fee be imposed on Nato trucks using roads in Pakistan as well as charging them around Rs30 billion for the repair of roads.

There is a third fee that may also witness a hike once these negotiations are over, although it is not confirmed.

At the Karachi port, goods for Afghanistan are charged at the rate of Rs15,000 per piece, while goods that have arrived from Afghanistan and are on the way out are charged Rs20,000.This fee was imposed in 2010 before which the NLC charged Rs5,000 per item for goods on way to Afghanistan. One reason these negotiations have become so important is that the country is trying to thrash out a deal where none existed to begin with.

After the 9/11 attacks and the quick decision of the allied states to invade Afghanistan, Pakistan could not negotiate any terms, monetary or otherwise, for the movement of US and Nato supplies through it.

As a result, the US reserved the right to choose the companies for the transportation of its supplies.

For Nato/Isaf and British military supplies, the NLC could select or nominate companies.

As a result, Pakistan was used as a route without the state making any money from a business that was worth big bucks.

Over time, Pakistan’s land routes became an important part of the war effort.

According to one estimate, the American supplies constitute about 70 per cent of the goods transported through Pakistan.

US Transcom Commander Gen William Fraser testified this year that “in 2011 more than 35,000 containers were delivered” through Pakistan.

When US embassy’s spokesman Mark Stroh was asked about the deal between the NLC and the railways, he said: “We are aware of the agreement but since the ground shipping lines remain closed, the effects of the agreement with regard to our shipping remain to be seen.”

However, observers say there is a chance that the Pakistan Army will end up with some share of the pie as no other route is as economical as the one through Pakistan.

At the moment, the Americans and the allies are flying in supplies but this is expensive. In addition they are using the ‘Northern Distribution Network’, a variety of routes across Central Asia that originate in Europe.

According to a report by the US National Public Radio, these routes cost “two or three times as much as shipping them by sea and moving them up through Pakistan”.

And the impending elections in the US and its financial constraints may be important factors influencing its decision, especially as the planned drawdown in Afghanistan may mean an increase in the supplies leaving the country.

In this regard, the Salala incident simply provided an opportunity to the army to increase its leverage on the issue.

It now remains to be seen what the outcome is and what the army ends up with.

At a time of dwindling aid and assistance from the US, ‘Rawalpindi’ may just strike gold with the NLC and the war in Afghanistan. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Pakistan Taliban ‘number two sacked

By AFP

PESHAWAR: The number two commander in Pakistan’s nebulous, umbrella Taliban movement has been sacked as deputy chief but will remain within the organisation, a spokesman said Monday.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the Taliban’s commander in Bajaur, one of Pakistan’s seven districts in the tribal belt on the Afghan border and one that has seen a recent lull in fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani soldiers.

He was sacked on Sunday at a meeting presided over by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud at a secret location in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone.

“A shura (council) meeting was held on Sunday and it decided to remove Maulvi Faqir Mohammad from the position of deputy chief of TTP,” he said, adding that Mohammad would continue to serve the group as an ordinary member.

Ehsan gave no reason for the removal. Neither was a successor announced.

The TTP is a loose confederation of militant commanders founded and run by Baitullah Mehsud until his death in a US drone strike in August 2009. His killing sparked a bitter succession battle won by Hakimullah Mehsud.

A source close to the Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity that the Bajaur commander fell out of favour with Mehsud over his alleged support for peace talks with the Pakistani government.

Mohammad also had sympathies with Mehsud’s biggest rival within the TTP, Wali-ur Rehman, the source added.

Northwestern Pakistan, particularly the main city of Peshawar, has seen a recent increase in suicide and gun attacks blamed on Taliban.

Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, reportedly asked his Pakistani counterparts to stop attacks within Pakistan, considered vital in any peace process in Afghanistan.

The only TTP commander who refused to comply was Mehsud, an Afghan Taliban member recently told AFP. Young and impetuous, the TTP leader has reputedly said there will be no end to attacks until Washington stops drone strikes.

Courtesy: DAWN

ISI, MI admit to deaths of four Adiala prisoners

ISLAMABAD – The counsel for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) directors general conceded before the Supreme Court on Monday that four out of 11 prisoners of Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, picked up by intelligence personnel for investigation into their alleged role in the October 2009 attacks on General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, had died.

He said some of the remaining seven prisoners were in Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and Internment Centre, Parachinar, thus he was unable to produce them in court. “No one is above the law and the prime minister also appeared in court when he was summoned,” the chief justice remarked. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez, directed the spy agencies’ counsel Raja Muhammad Irshad to file a reply explaining the circumstances under which the four prisoners died and produce the remaining seven prisoners in court on February 9. ….

Read more » Pakistan Today

Pakistan’s TTP “Taliban” Prove Once Again That They Are Really Monsters – TTP claims killing of 15 abducted FC troops

Mullagoris mourn death of 15 FC men

PESHAWAR: Villagers in Mullagori area in Khyber Agency continued to mourn the death of the 15 Frontier Constabulary (FC) men who were kidnapped by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants last month and killed on Thursday.

All the slain men were from Painda Lalma village and belonged to the Mullagori tribe. Their bodies were transported to the village on Thursday after collective Nimaz-e-Janaza was offered for them at an official event at the FC offices in Peshawar’s Hayatabad town.

Relatives of the dead FC personnel had also reached there to take possession of the bodies. The FC men were overpowered when the TTP fighters led by Commander Asmatullah Shaheen stormed the FC Fort in Mullazai area in Frontier Region Tank in a night-time attack on December 23. They abducted the 15 FC personnel and later killed them. ….

Read more » The News

Behind Pakistan’s ‘Haqqani problem’

– Analysis » By Khaled Ahmed

The planned committee that will ensure that the APC statement is acted upon will have a tough time bringing the Haqqanis under control because in this instance the tail is wagging the dog

During the APC against America on 29 September 2011 in Islamabad, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the Haqqani network was ‘indigenous to Pakistan’. How could he say that except on the basis of the fact that both the founder of the Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son the current commander Siraj, are graduates of his Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, near Peshawar?

Continue reading Behind Pakistan’s ‘Haqqani problem’

Pakistan’s military and legislators plan peace talks with Taliban

– In the midst of bad and worsening relations with Washington, Pakistan considers new round of peace talks with Pakistan-based Taliban, arguing that ‘military solutions’ are making things worse.

By Owais Tohid

Excerpt;

……. But analysts believe that striking negotiations with Islamic militants will pose serious challenges. “We struck peace accords with militant commanders during the past and those blew up on our face,” says Peshawar-based defense analyst, retired Brig. Mohammad Saad. “Once you enter into negotiations, they [the militants] grow bigger than their size and start believing themselves as equal. The more the state talks to them, they will become a bigger problem in Pakistan.”

“Their agenda is different,” Brigadier Saad adds. “Their ideology is in clash with the norms and values of any modern civilized society.” …..

To read complete article → csmonitor

‘Taliban and Anti Taliban’ – A People’s History of FATA

by Amit Julka

When I read Taj’s book, ‘Taliban and Anti Taliban’, I thought a more suitable title for the book would have been A People’s History of FATA, as it has much in common with Howard Zinn’s seminal work A People’s History of the United States. Both books narrate the story of a land from the point of view of the conquered, and not the conquerors. Both books seek to challenge the dominant narrative and conventional wisdom. The only difference is that Zinn’s Native Americans had been vanquished and exterminated about four centuries ago while Taj’s tribesmen are being systematically oppressed and exterminated as we speak.

And this is where the significance of the book lies. It presents the story of a people who have been often been regarded as savages and brutes from their eyes and not the eyes of those who wish to conquer them. FATA has often been termed as Pakistan’s dirty backyard. The state claims that the region is not under its control, and hence justifies oppression against the natives under the garb of the draconian FCR laws. The Americans say that the region is a haven for terrorists. However, no mainstream observer has bothered to tell the story of the people and the way they have been squeezed between the state and the Taliban.

The book starts with the chapter ‘Deconstructing Some Myths About FATA’. In this chapter, Taj questions two fundamental notions that outsiders have about the region and its people. Her first argument is that contrary to popular opinion, the people of FATA are not Taliban sympathizers. She argues that the widespread militant activities in the region have more to do with the state’s policy of treating the Taliban and their ilk as strategic assets. Thus, according to her, the Taliban and other jihadi groups have been imposed top-down and enjoy no popular support. On the contrary, she argues that it is the indigenous people of the region who have tried to resist them, and it is the state’s collusion with the militants that has changed the power structures in the region and destroyed tribal institutions like jirga and Pakhtunwali.

Her second argument is that the state’s attempt to portray the tribal areas as unruly and beyond its control is nothing but insidious propaganda. In fact, it is the state, and especially Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI that has repressed people through legal and extra-legal means. Moreover, she adds that the influx of militants from Afghanistan to Pakistan wouldn’t have been possible without the state’s collusion. This, she claims flies in the face of the state’s claim that some soldiers may have sympathised with the Taliban due to ethnic affiliation or other such factors. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

Faith based Killing no crime – Jamaat e Islami

– Taseer`s killer committed no crime: JI

PESHAWAR, Feb 2: Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Prof Muhammad Ibrahim said on Wednesday that former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was responsible for his comments about the blasphemy law, which led to his killing, and the accused Malik Mumtaz Qadri should be released.

“The accused Malik Mumtaz Qadri has committed no crime and he should be released,” said Prof Ibrahim, who is also the JI provincial amir, while speaking at a press conference at Al-Markaz-i-Islami here.

He asked the government to stop supporting Nato forces and reject American pressure for military operations in parts of the country. He expressed grave concern over the killing of three Pakistani citizens by an American national in Lahore and asked for awarding capital punishment to him. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

MQM in the way of plot against Pakistan: Altaf

– By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

Excerpt;

…. The gist of the press conference was that Western powers were plotting the dismemberment of Pakistan, but the Muttahida had resolved to foil the design.

Repeated assurances were made to the armed forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence as well as the nation that the MQM was against conspiracies being hatched against the country.

Mr Hussain chose not to answer the serious allegations levelled by former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza against him and his party over the past fortnight, parrying a number of questions by reporters.

He concentrated on showing documents, maps and reports from the international media to strengthen his contention that international powers were working for the break-up of Pakistan.

Although he refused to pinpoint the international powers he was referring to, an allusion left no doubt: “The country which has the biggest influence in Pakistan is behind such conspiracies”. The MQM cannot fight such powers alone, Mr Hussain added. “There would have been no super power had the army, the ISI and the MQM got united.”

The MQM supremo accused the leadership of the Awami National Party of “misleading the Pukhtoons living in Karachi and Peshawar”. He even went to the extent of claiming that the United States had given millions of dollars to Asfandyar Wali for contesting the 2008 general election. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM