Eleven bloody days in Pakistan: a timeline

ISLAMABAD: At least eight people were killed in a bomb blast in Lahore Thursday, the tenth attack to strike Pakistan in just under a fortnight, with the apparently coordinated wave pointing to resurgence in militant violence.

Here is a recap of the incidents which have killed 138 people over the past 11 days:

February 23

– At least eight people are killed and 30 injured after a blast rips through a building in an upscale shopping area of the eastern city of Lahore. No group has immediately claimed the attack.

February 21

– At least seven people are killed when multiple suicide bombers attack a court complex in northern Pakistan. The attack is claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistani Taliban.

February 16

– At least 90 devotees are killed and hundreds wounded when a devastating bomb detonates in the popular Sufi shrine of Lal Shabaz Qalandar in Sehwan in southern Pakistan. The Islamic State group claims the attack.

– Gunmen on motorcycles kill four policemen and a civilian in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan. The attack was claimed by the umbrella TTP.

– An improvised explosive device claimed by JuA hits an army convoy in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan, killing three soldiers and wounding two others.

February 15

– A suicide bomber rides a motorcycle into a van carrying judges in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing the van´s driver in an attack claimed by the umbrella TTP.

– Two suicide bombers launch an assault on a government compound in the Mohmand tribal region in the northwest, killing five people and wounding seven, with the attack claimed by JuA. Later, a fourth suicide bomber blows himself up as police surround him.

February 13

– Fourteen people are killed and 82 injured when a powerful bomb blast tears through Lahore. The attack, apparently targeting police, is claimed by JuA.

– Two members of the bomb disposal squad are killed while defusing a device in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. No group claims responsibility for the bomb.

February 12

– A roadside bomb kills three paramilitary soldiers in a restive northwestern tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

Six killed, over 20 injured as sessions court in Charsadda comes under attack

CHARSADDA / ISLAMABAD: At least six people, including a lawyer were killed and more than 20 others injured as a sessions court in Charsadda was hit by multiple suicide bombers Tuesday morning.

District Nazim Charsadda Fahad Riaz confirmed the casualties.

Attackers attempted to enter the court premises through the main gate, witnesses said, adding they opened fire and also threw hand grenades, prompting retaliatory fire by police and security forces deployed at the court premises. The attackers were killed.

“The explosions took place at the entrance of the sessions court,” said Charsadda DPO Sohail Khalid.

An explosion, witnesses said, took place at the entrance of the court, and one near the bar room. “One of the suicide bombers tried to enter the court, however, was shot dead by security officials.”

“One of the attackers lobbed a hand grenade at the gate of the court and then opened fire,” said Naeem Iqbal, a witness.

“Initial estimates suggest the explosives used in the attack weighed around 9kgs,” Mardan DIG Aijaz Khan told reporters.

The bodies and injured were shifted to Charsadda Tangi Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

“One of the attackers lobbed a hand grenade at the gate of the court and then opened fire,” said Naeem Iqbal, a witness.

“Initial estimates suggest the explosives used in the attack weighed around 9kgs,” Mardan DIG Aijaz Khan told reporters.

The bodies and injured were shifted to Charsadda Tangi Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

Army chief lauds security forces

Army chief general Qamar javed Bajwa lauded response by security forces to Charsadda explosions, saying “first tier police response saved many lives.”

3 bombers killed during attack on Charsadda court: officials

Security forces killed three suicide attackers who attempted to wreak havoc at a local court in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda district, officials said Tuesday.

DSP Charsadda Fayaz Khan said five civilians have been killed in the attack, which the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahraar (JuA) has claimed.

Provincial government sources said one lawyer is among those killed and 15 others are injured.

At least three attackers attempted to enter the court premises through the main gate. They opened fire and also threw hand grenades, prompting retaliatory fire by police and security forces deployed at the court.

One bomber was killed in the firing at the gate, whereas the second was killed as he entered the court. The third bomber was killed when he detonated his explosives.

Eyewitnesses said the remains of the bombers were lying on the roadside along with their explosives and ammunition.

Town resident Mohammad Shahbaz told Reuters he was inside the judicial complex when the suicide bombers stormed it.

“I escaped towards the canteen and climbed the wall to save my life. But there were many people dead and injured,” he said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were inside, but hundreds of people including lawyers, judges and citizens normally attend such district court complexes every day.

Upto 10 ambulances were dispatched to Charsadda from Peshawar, where the Lady Reading Hospital has been put on high alert.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, whose party rules in KP, lauded quick action by the police that averted a higher death toll.

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also praised the security personnel’s response to the attack, DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.

The attack comes as security has been heightened across KP and the country after the recent wave of terror.

Pakistan: Defence analysts hold authorities responsible for Lahore attack

 

“We are also investigating the militants’ nexus because Ahrar had been previously collaborating with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in carrying out attacks.”

The deadly suicide attack in Lahore which claimed 13 lives – including those of two senior police officers – on Monday is described as a failure of security agencies as they failed to counter it despite a prior intelligence report.

The government and police are shifting responsibility by terming the intelligence report ‘vague’ and not ‘specific’. However, independent defence analysts are holding the security institutions responsible.

Defence analyst Hassan Askari said the recent statements of the outlawed TTP Jamaatul Ahrar showed their confidence as they were specifying their targets despite being dislocated by the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

“It seems that the terrorists are reorganising and their next target is Punjab, where a large number of extremists moved to after being dislocated by Zarb-e-Azb. There is therefore a need to carry out a military operation in Punjab to tackle the future situation,” he said.
He said most of threat alerts did not materialise as security agencies did not take them seriously. Questioning authenticity of the alerts, he said they were generated by tapping communication, media reports and information gathered from the arrested suspects. “These are not precise because our intelligence agencies penetration in the militant networks,” he added.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Lahore City Police spokesperson said the police are in a war-like situation. “For the last three weeks we have declared red alert. We have increased number of security pickets in the city and are conducting search operations on a daily basis,” he said.

Before the Lahore attack, the TTP Jamaatul Ahrar had released a video announcing to launch ‘Operation Ghazi’ in memory of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was killed in July 2007 by the Pakistan Army inside Laal Masjid of Islamabad. The video message was clear. It demanded cooperation from other militant outfits that had been scattered after the start of the operation Zarb-e-Azb.

After the Lahore attack, the TTP’s Waziristan faction and the Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility. An intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said,

The TTP-JA has already claimed that it carried out Chaman (Balochistan) attack on the FC jointly with the LeJ Al-Alami. The blast in Kurram Agency on Jan 21, 2017 and the suicide attack in the courts was claimed by IS’s official media outlet.

“This shows a growing collaboration amongst militant outfits. The targets pointed out in the video are all in the cities,” he said. The Taliban’s Mehsud faction and those affiliated with Mullah Fazlullah have already joined hands, according to a statement released on February 02.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/

Pakistan: Award named after Dr Abdus Salam — The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction

Pakistan: Award named after Dr Abdus Salam — The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction

Prominent Pakistani intellectual and scientist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a student and colleague of Dr Salam’s, will be serving as the advisor and member of the award admin.

It’s only fair that Pakistan’s only Nobel Prize [in Physics] winner gets an award dedicated to him. The award has been launched in an effort to promote science fiction writing in Pakistan.

Spearheaded by Usman Malik and Tehseen Baweja, The Salam Award launches today; it’s a tribute to Dr. Abdus Salam and an effort to promote science fiction writing in Pakistan.

The Salam award seeks to recognise the man’s genius and his status as a marginalised person within his country via the honorific and to encourage the pursuit of science fiction and imaginative writing in Pakistan. It’s an admirable small effort by a few concerned individuals to change that and encourage our populace to be more imaginative.

Prominent Pakistani intellectual and scientist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a student and colleague of Dr Salam’s, will be serving as the advisor and member of the award admin.

The award will be given to aspiring short fiction writers of Pakistani origin, regardless of sexual orientation, creed, or caste. Story submissions will be in English, blinded, and judged by a rotating jury of science fiction professionals each year. The three finalists will each receive an agent and editorial review of their manuscripts. The winner will receive 500 US dollars as well as the aforementioned perks.

Judges for 2017 are Jeff Vandermeer, Mahvesh Murad, and Usman Malik. The 2017 editor reviewer is Ann Vandermeer of Tor.com. The 2017 Agent reviewer is Seth Fishman of The Gernert Company.

Source : https://images.dawn.com/

 

British PM condemns ‘honour killing’ of Samia Shahid

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the murder of British Pakistani Samia Shahid who lost her life to an ‘honour-killing’ incident, and said that her support is with the victim’s husband.

She made the comments during a question answer session in the parliament before a full house.

The 28-year-old from Bradford had been visiting her family in Jhelum when she was murdered in July. Her second husband, Mukhtar Syed Kazam who is the complainant in the case, had raised concerns that his wife had been murdered because her family disapproved of their marriage.

Samia’s relatives had initially claimed she had suffered a heart attack which led to her death.

The case is being investigated by the Punjab government.

On October 20, 2016, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured British Labour MP Naz Shah that Pakistani authorities are “actively pursuing” the murder case of British Pakistani Samia Shahid.

Saudi Arabia: 39,000 Pakistanis deported in 4 months for involvement in “some terrorist actions”

.“Pakistan itself is plagued with terrorism due to its close proximity with Afghanistan. The Taliban extremist movement was itself born in Pakistan.”

RIYADH — About 39,000 Pakistanis have been deported from the Kingdom in the past four months for violating the rules of residence and work, according to informed security sources.

The sources also said the involvement of a number of Pakistani nationals in some terrorist actions orchestrated by Daesh, the so called IS, is a cause of public and societal worry.

They said a number of Pakistanis were held in the crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault.

Against this backdrop, Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee of the Shoura Council, called for thoroughly scrutinizing the Pakistanis before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom.

He asked for more closer coordination with the concerned authorities in Pakistan to thoroughly check those coming to work in the Kingdom due to the involvement of a number of Pakistanis in security issues.

Sadoun said the political and religious inclinations of the Pakistanis coming to work in the Kingdom should be known to both sides before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom.

“Pakistan itself is plagued with terrorism due to its close proximity with Afghanistan. The Taliban extremist movement was itself born in Pakistan,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to Nafithat Tawasul (communications window) of the Interior Ministry, they are 82 Pakistani suspects of terror and security issues who are currently held in intelligence prisons.

According to the window, as many as 15 Pakistanis, including a woman, were nabbed following the recent terrorist operations in Al-Harazat and Al-Naseem districts in Jeddah.

The ministry recalled that last Ramadan, Abdullah Ghulzar Khan, a Pakistani, exploded himself at the car park of Dr. Soliman Fakheeh Hospital near the US consulate in Jeddah.

He lived in the Kingdom for 12 years with his wife and her parents. He had arrived in the country with a private driver’s visa.

Last year, the security forces had foiled a terrorist operation in which two Pakistanis, a Syrian and a Sudanese were held for plotting to explode Al-Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah where more than 60,000 spectators were gathered to watch a soccer match between the national teams of the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

The terrorists were using a booby trapped truck loaded with 400 kg of explosives.

Source http://timesofahmad.blogspot.com

Trump Muslim ban: US court rejects appeal to reinstate travel restrictions

LOS ANGELES: A US federal appeals court early Sunday rejected a request by the Department of Justice to immediately reinstate President Donald Trump´s travel ban.

Trump´s administration had lodged the request with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of an appeal against a lower court order temporarily suspending the travel ban on citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries.

For now, the travel ban suspension remains in place. Both the State and Homeland Security Departments said Saturday they were resuming normal practices concerning travelers from the affected countries.

Judge William Canby, Jr. in Phoenix and Judge Michelle Friedland in San Francisco did not give a reason for their denial in a two-paragraph ruling.

However, they told the states of Washington and Minnesota, which had filed the original suit against Trump´s travel ban, to provide documents detailing their opposition to the government´s appeal by 11:59 pm Sunday (0759 GMT Monday).

The Department of Justice was given a deadline of 3 pm Monday to supply more documents supporting its position.

Source //www.thenews.com.pk

Security agencies arrest terrorist of banned outfit

Sources revealed that the terrorist had fled to Afghanistan during anti-terrorism operation in Mohmand Agency. Lately, he came back from Afghanistan two days ago and stayed at his brother’s home in Hazro.

The security agencies took action on the basis of intelligence information. It was reported that interrogation of Qari Haider has commenced and it is expected that important information about the terrorist network will be revealed

Source http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/

12-Y-O Pakistani Christian Girl Drugged, Raped and Killed, but Police Claim It Was Suicide

 12-year-old Christian schoolgirl was murdered in Pakistan last week and evidence suggests she was also drugged and raped, despite police claims that she committed suicide.

The girl has been identified by her first name, Tania, in a report by the British Pakistani Christian Association which has started an online petition seeking to catch whoever committed the crime.

Tania was reportedly dropped off to school on Jan. 23 by her older brother, Johnson, but later that morning he recieved a call from the local police station informing him that his sister had drowned in the Upper Chenab Canal.

“On hearing the news of the death of their beloved sister, Johnson and Sania ran to the site where she was located. There they saw the devastating sight of their sister’s dead body wrapped in a white police cloth,” the report explained.

“The shock left them reeling as they fell to their knees and wept by her frail dead body, they wept incessantly and bitterly for the loss of their beloved sister.”

The police at first alleged that the girl had committed suicide by jumping into the canal; however, the family is arguing that she was likely raped, given that her mouth was full of froth, which is a recognized symptom of a commonly used date rape drug.

The family has also said that Tania’s trousers were badly ripped, which they believe was the result of rape, and have disputed a police report that claims Tania suffered “deep depression” in school, noting that pupils and friends argue that this is an “unfounded allegation.”

The report details other problematic aspects of the police claim that Tania killed herself, including CCTV footage that showed her getting into a vehicle outside of school with someone else inside. The family is also calling for an independent autopsy of their daughter’s body.

Nadeem Gill, the girl’s father, said that Tania “was young, happy and full of energy. There is absolutely no way she would take her own life!”

“Every day in the evening we would spend an hour talking on Skype. She would tell me what she had done through the day and would ask me about my day. She was a truly wonderful and loving daughter,” Gill added.

“Our corrupt police force is preventing justice for my daughter. But I will never give up until her murderer is found.”

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA, who urged Christians to sign the petition calling for justice for Tania, said that the family has suffered enough.

“Pakistani statutory authorities and the government need to recognize the growing concern of evident targeting of Christian girls for rape and forced Islamic marriage,” Chowdhry said.

“Tania’s case fits the profile of many other similar rape incidents, sadly in her case it led to murder,” he added.

“By ignoring the plight of minority girls, Pakistan as a nation is developing a poor reputation for human rights and it may simply illustrate that most of the population do not care.”

Christians in Pakistan have suffered various attacks from the Muslim majority population for years, with persecution watchdog groups, such as Open Doors USA, ranking the country at No. 4 on its World Watch List of nations where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith.

Open Doors noted that besides being unfairly targeted by Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, hundreds of Christian girls and women in Pakistan are also kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriages.