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Karachi attacks : edit in the News, April 19, 2015

Targeted attacks have returned to Karachi. On Thursday, the vice-principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College Debra Lobo was shot in the face by militants who claimed to be linked to the Islamic State. The American citizen has survived the attack – but only just. On the same day, the SHO of the Preedy police station, Ejaz Khwaja, was shot dead by two gunmen. The SHO was travelling to the police station in civilian clothes and was unarmed when he was shot. The disturbing thing is that Khwaja was the third Preedy SHO to be shot dead in the last two years. The government responded by announcing a Rs3 million award for any information leading to the arrest of anyone involved. An investigation committee comprising senior police officials was also formed, but the response reeks of a non-systematic approach to the killings. Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah asked the investigating team to identify any ‘lapse in security’.

Such incidents leave us wondering how the government ca....... Read more

April 20, 2015   No Comments

Our Afghanistan policy: By Hussain Nadim in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2015.

The writer is Project Director of Peace and Development Unit at the Planning Commission.
Pakistan may be the “worst neighbour in hell” as the sentiment goes in Afghanistan. However, the recent shift in Afghanistan’s policy on Pakistan depicts a new Afghan mindset — a new-found ‘respect’ for Pakistan, freeing it from the accusation of being a state that caused instability in Afghanistan.

Just a few years ago, while attending seminars on Afghanistan in the US, the UK, or Australia, it was rare to find Pakistan not being targeted as the barrier to peace in Afghanistan. Moreover, the war against the Taliban was considered to be the only option to foster peace, a strong Indian role was advocated, and presence of American troops was deemed to be a necessary condition for peace in Afghanistan. That has changed drastically. The recent panel discussion titled “Peace in Afghanistan” at the University of Sydney — which included Afghan, British, and Australian expert....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

New Signs of Danger for Americans in Pakistan

By MICHAEL KUGELMAN in the Wall st Journal, Apr 17, 2015
The writer is senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
On April 16, in the volatile Pakistani megacity of Karachi, gunmen shot a 55-year-old American woman named Debra Lobo. They attacked her as she drove home from her job as an administrator at a medical college. Luckily, Ms. Lobo survived.

The attack was a troubling reminder of the dangers of Karachi, one of Pakistan’s most violent cities. But it was also highly unusual. Despite Pakistan’s well-earned reputation as a dangerous place, Americans there are rarely targeted by terrorists.

To be sure, there have been several incidents. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and killed in 2002. Four American auditors for an oil and gas company were gunned down in 1997, and two U.S. diplomats were shot dead in 1995. These tragedies all happened in Karachi.

More recently, an American was....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Black shadow: Editorial in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2015.

The dark shadow of the Islamic State (IS), the extremist organisation that has terrorised the Middle East and wishes to establish a caliphate across the Muslim world, has fallen over us. The assailants who shot at US national Debra Lobo in Karachi, have claimed to be affiliated to the organisation. This is the first such incident where militants have claimed affiliation with the IS instead of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or al Qaeda after carrying out an attack of this kind.

Ms Lobo, the vice-principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC), was shot at as she was leaving her place of work on April 16. The 55-year-old was fortunate to survive but has been critically injured. The unknown assailants, four persons on two motorcycles, shot Ms Lobo and have since vanished. Leaflets on the scene in Urdu and English claim that the attack was carried out to avenge the killing of five suspected TTP militants who were killed by Rangers personnel in Kaemari on April 8. Ms Lobo....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Civilian or khaki justice? : by Saad Rasool in the Nation,Apr 19, 2015

The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore. He has a Masters in Constitutional Law from Harvard Law School.
Earlier this month, the Army Chief “confirmed” the death sentence for six TTP militants, who had been tried in the military courts, recently established under the 21st Constitutional Amendment, and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015. On Thursday, these death sentences were suspended by a seventeen member bench (Full Court) of the honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a petition filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), which challenges the constitutionality of the amendments made to the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and seeks clarification of the 21st Constitutional Amendment, on the grounds of fundamental rights and due process of law.
The decision of the honorable Supreme Court, on the one hand, is being hailed as a (minor) victory by human rights activists and most of the legal fraternity, while, on the other hand, it is being criticized by those who vie....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Dire Situation: edit in the Nation,Apr 19, 2015

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has released its annual report, State of Human Rights (for 2014), which confirms that the situation in Pakistan remains worrisome as ever. The reports covers human rights, labour and unemployment, the justice system, journalists’ safety, prisoners’ rights, forced disappearances and missing persons, universal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and the state of education, health, housing as well as law and order in the country.
Perhaps the most distressing finding of the report is that there has been a significant increase in sectarian violence. There were no less than 147 incidents of sectarian violence in the country, which included 144 terrorist attacks and 3 sectarian clashes. Unfortunately, the Parliament is yet to find the time and resolve to even discuss this issue. Those who can’t bring themselves to talk about it cannot be expected to do anything about it either. As minorities remain on the receiving end, the feder....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

The final say: edit : edit in the News, April 19, 2015

By staying the execution of six persons, stated to be convicted terrorists, the Supreme Court has made it plain that the 21st Amendment, passed by the National Assembly early this year, is not a final part of our legal structure and is open to question. The executions of the six men had appeared imminent after the Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, on April 2 this month ratified a military court decision that they be hanged. But the matter has now become far less clear-cut, with a 17-member full bench of the SC ruling that the executions be stayed until a decision had been reached on the 21st Amendment, and certain aspects of the 18th Amendment. The 21st Amendment, passed earlier this year, in the wake of the Peshawar school attack in which 132 children were among those killed, establishes military courts – which are to stay in place for two years – to try terrorists. The law was challenged almost immediately after it was ratified in January this year. At the latest hearin....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Karachi operation : Edit in Dawn, April 19th, 2015

GIVEN the menu of items discussed at the last apex committee meeting in Karachi, it would appear that the Rangers’ operation in the city is approaching an important turning point. They appear to be moving beyond simply apprehending violent elements, to actively draining the swamp that breeds them, — with a particular focus on the sources of funding which come from “extortion, illegal hydrants, kidnapping for ransom” and other such activity.

Additionally, a computerised record of all seminaries in the province will need to be compiled with details on size as well as sources of funding. Other measures include the creation of a land record to identify land grabbing. Many of the rackets that are identified in this list find patronage from powerful groups, including political parties. Yet only these parties can execute the actions, while remaining committed to bringing in a more just and formally bounded system of local government that would carry on the exercise in the futur....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Gloves off in Sindh : Edit in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2015

The provincial implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) formulated in the wake of the massacre at the Army Public School in December 2014 has been somewhat patchy to say the very least. The provinces were for the most part unprepared and in some instances unwilling to pick up on what was required of them under the NAP, and apex committees were constituted to ensure there was no backsliding. The Sindh apex committee appears to have now chosen to grasp the nettle, and at a meeting on April 17, decided to move against those who are the financiers of terrorist groups in the province. The committee was informed that “a large number” of terrorists from proscribed groups have been arrested, but we have yet to see any prosecutions.

The chief minister of Sindh was clear in his determination to root out terrorist funding; saying that extortion, the illegal use of water hydrants and kidnapping for ransom were all funding channels for terrorists. Large amounts of arms and ammuni....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Altaf calls PTI, JI ‘branches of Taliban, Al Qaeda’: REPORT in Dawn, April 19th, 2015

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has called the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami ‘bran­ches of the Taliban and Al Qaeda’ and predicted a massive defeat for his party’s rivals in the NA-246 by-election on April 23.

Addressing a huge rally on Liaquatabad flyover on Saturday, the MQM chief said the people of Karachi had already rejected the pro-Taliban forces and they would vote for his ‘progressive, liberal, peace-loving and democratic’ party.

He asked the ‘establishment’ to ‘treat us as Pakistanis’.

“I appeal to the establishment to consider us Pakistanis as well. Don’t doubt our patriotism as our hearts are already wounded. We are true Pakistanis and want to serve this country for its prosperity and long-lasting peace. If we have committed any mistake, forgive us and we forgive you for yours’.”

He asked the ‘authorities’ to understand the problems faced by Karachi.

Mr Hussain raised voice....... Read more

April 19, 2015   No Comments