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Tragedy strikes again: Editorial in Dawn, June 24th, 2017

Tragedy strikes again: Editorial in Dawn, June 24th, 2017
DESPICABLE attacks in Quetta and Parachinar yesterday — one of the most sacred days of Ramazan — have caused a terrible loss of life and injury. The immediate emphasis must necessarily be on providing the best possible care to the wounded and the families of those who died in the cowardly attacks in two very different regions of the country. What the attacks suggest is that the approaching Eid holidays across the country are very much a moment of elevated threat. Whether it is the rising threat of the militant Islamic State group or the old danger posed by the Pakistani Taliban, the militants, together or separately, have demonstrated that they have the ability to strike inside Pakistan. It is obvious that complacency will not keep the country safe over the upcoming holidays and that safety will only be incrementally re-established if security standards are urgently tightened. The country has not suffered a major atta....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

62 martyred as terrorists hit three cities

PARACHINAR/ QUETTA/ KARACHI: Terrorism hit the country badly on Friday as at least 62 people were martyred in terrorist activities in three cities.

As many as 45 people were martyred and more than 100 sustained injuries, 25 of them critically, when two bomb blasts rocked Parachinar, the administrative headquarters of Kurram Agency, on Friday.

Government officials and local tribesmen said the first blast took place at Turi Bazar in the densely populated main city where hundreds of people were busy buying Iftar items and shopping for Eidul Fitr.

After the first blast, several people gathered for rescue work and the local tribesmen staged protest against the government and local administration and security authorities for their failure to protect the people against acts of terrorism. At this stage the second explosion occurred.

“The second blast was devastating and took several human lives,” said a government official, Wajid Hussain.

He sai....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

9 terror suspects arrested

Report in Dawn, June 24th, 2017
LAHORE: Pakistan Rangers (Punjab), Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and intelligence agencies claimed on Friday to have arrested 29 suspected terrorists in a joint search operation in Faisalabad and Gujranwala under the Operation Raddul Fasaad.

According to a news release, 26 of the suspects were arrested in Faisalabad for facilitating the militants. The law enforcement agencies recovered 50 illegal weapons also from their possession. The officials claimed the weapons were likely to be used for terrorist activities on Eidul Fitr. The suspects were shifted to undisclosed locations for interrogation.

In another raid, the CTD claimed to have arrested three members of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Gujranwala.

A CTD spokesman said they had got a tip-off that the suspected terrorists, belonging to the LeJ, were present in Model Town Park, GT Road, and they were planning to attack sensitive installations. He said a CTD t....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

Four policemen gunned down in attack claimed by new militant outfit

by Imtiaz Ali in Dawn, June 24th, 2017
KARACHI: Assailants shot dead four policemen who were sitting at a roadside eatery for Iftar in the SITE area on Friday in one of the deadliest attacks on the law enforcement agency that has lost nine of its men this year in various acts of terrorism in the city.

A hitherto unknown militant outfit claimed responsibility for the deadly assault.

The attack came on a day when the Karachi police was already put on ‘alert’ in the wake of terrorist attacks in Quetta and Parachinar. Only last month, two policemen were targeted within the remit of the New Town police station.

SITE SP Asif Ahmed Bughio told Dawn that four policemen were about to break their fast at a restaurant located between the Siemens and Habib Bank traffic intersections when two armed motorcyclists emerged there, fired a volley of bullets at them and rode away.

The policemen sustained critical bullet wounds and were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed H....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

Hardcore militants to be moved from central jail to Malir

By Faraz Khan in The Express Tribune, June 24, 2017
KARACHI: Fearing the chance of more jailbreaks following the recent escape of two ‘hardcore’ militants, the authorities have decided to shift militants incarcerated at the Karachi Central Jail to Malir Jail, where 20 well-secured barracks are to be established this year.

The central prison houses around 6,000 inmates – twice its original capacity. There are 380 staffers, including officials and guards, temporarily being supported by three platoons of the Frontier Constabulary, each having around 40 to 45 personnel, and 50 Rangers soldiers. As per these estimates, the inmates to guard ratio is 10:1.

In Karachi the threat of a jailbreak has been looming for years and intelligence agencies have repeatedly issued warnings about these activities by terrorist groups. One such attempt was thwarted around two-and-a-half-years back when, during a raid, the Rangers discovered a tunnel being dug towards the prison.

....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

Parents appeal to Haqqani network to free their Canadian son

by Rahimullah Yusufzai in The News, June 24, 2017
PESHAWAR: The parents of a Canadian citizen and his American wife who were kidnapped nearly five year ago in Afghanistan have appealed to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network to release the couple and their two children on humanitarian grounds in this holy month of Ramazan on the eve of Eidul Fitr.

Patrick Boyle and his wife Linda, who belong to Canada, recorded a video message in English with Urdu and Pashto sub-titles to launch the appeal in the hope that their eldest son, Joshua Boyle and his wife Caitlan and their two children born in captivity would be finally freed. The video-tape was shared by the couple with this correspondent.

Joshua Boyle, 33, and his wife Caitlan Coleman, 31, were kidnapped from the Wardak-Kabul road in October 2012. They were reportedly on a backpacking trip. Their choice to do tourism in war-torn Afghanistan came as a surprise as it carried grave risk.

Later, it emerged that....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

US bill seeks to revoke Pakistan’s major ally status

by Anwar Iqbal in Dawn, June 24th, 2017
WASHINGTON: Two US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill in Congress, seeking to revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally (MNNA).

The movers also argue that since Pakistan has failed to effectively fight terrorism, it no longer deserves US economic and military assistance.

The focus of the bill, however, is on revoking the MNNA status, which was granted to Pakistan in 2004 by then President George W. Bush to encourage Islama­bad to help the United States fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. If passed, the legislation will greatly hurt military to military relations between the two countries.

The status grants critical benefits in foreign aid and defence cooperation, as a major non-Nato ally is eligible for priority delivery of defence material and expedited arms sale process. The designated country also benefits from a US loan guarantee programme, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arm....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

US sees no threat to Pakistan from arms deal with India

Reuters report in The Nation, June 24, 2017, 9:18 am
With the United States expected to authorize India’s purchase of naval drones, a senior White House official cautioned on Friday that any U.S. military transfer to India would not represent a threat to its rival neighbor Pakistan.

The official spoke to reporters in advance of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, a White House visit that will include one-on-one talks and a working dinner.

Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones, worth more than $2 billion, is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing’s help to contain North Korea’s nuclear program.

The U.S.-based company that makes the drones, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, said on Friday that the U.S. governme....... Read more

June 24, 2017   No Comments

Tell-tale signs of IS presence in Balochistan:

By Shezad Baloch in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2017.
The writer is a research student at UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a former correspondent of The Express Tribune
In the wake of a large-scale security operation in Mastung, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) -– the media wing of the Pakistani Army — issued a statement denying the existence of any directly or indirectly Islamic State-affiliated infrastructure in Balochistan or anywhere else in Pakistan.

A day earlier, on June 3rd, every major newspaper in the country reported that IS infrastructure had been targeted in the raid and that the army had faced tough resistance. During the exchange of fire at least 12 extremists — described by an army spokesperson as hardcore terrorists — were killed. Army personnel also sustained serious injuries during the three-day operation.

Intelligence reports indicated that the IS has set up an infrastructure in the cav....... Read more

June 23, 2017   No Comments

Minorities in Sindh : edit in Daily Times, June 23, 2017

One wonders why PPP that loves to describe itself as “liberal and progressive” party always surrenders to the pressure of right wingers and other influential groups. The Sindh government had recently passed a bill against forced conversions in the province, but it has now been put on the backburner after objections put forward by religious group, that don’t even have representation in the assembly. PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari had personally assured Jamat-e-Islami chief that the bill would not be passed after the latter had announced a protest movement in the province. Then there are land grab groups in the province suppressing the rights of minorities and again, the government appears to have no power and will to stop them.

The prime minister seems to be doing all the right things regarding minorities’ issues lately. From attending Holi celebrations to announcing holidays on minorities’ festivals, he has us wondering if the ruling party is thinking of abandoning its l....... Read more

June 23, 2017   No Comments