UNITED NATIONS: With armed drone strikes persisting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday reaffirmed his position that their use must be regulated and controlled by the terms of international law. The UN chief spoke about the ever-increasing drone strikes in the pursuit of the “war on terror” five days after the UN General Assembly adopted — at Pakistan’s initiative — a resolution calling for the operations by remotely controlled aircraft to comply with international law. “The operations of arms drones must strictly adhere to international law and international humanitarian law,” he told a press conference, while responding to a question.The secretary-general deplored civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes, saying the targets must be legitimate. The News.
PESHAWAR: Members of parliament (MPs) of Pakistan and Afghanistan have urged their respective governments to jointly work for regional peace and the reconciliation process. In a joint statement released after the 11th round of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentarians’ Dialogue in Kabul, the two sides reiterated their resolve to continue the dialogue process to stabilise relations between the two countries. Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Sherpao, who is the convener of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, led the parliamentary delegation comprising Senator Afrasiab Khattak, MNAs Sahibzada Tariqullah, Bismillah Khan, Ghazi Gulab Jamal, Malik Ihtebar Khan, Mussarat Ahmadzeb, Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash, Senator Zafar Ali Shah and others. The News.
PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Member National Assembly (MNA) Ayesha Gulalai Wazir on Monday condemned the suicide attack on a military checkpoint in Mir Ali subdivision in North Waziristan. Speaking at a press conference here, she said it would have been better had the government given an opportunity to the ordinary tribesmen to shift to safer places before launching of any military action there. Ayesha Gulalai Wazir said a number of innocent tribal people, including women and children, have so far been killed and wounded in the ongoing operation against suspected militants. “We don’t accuse the security forces of deliberately targeting the civilian population, but sometimes the shells hit residential areas and cause casualties,” the lawmaker explained. The News, The Express Tribune, The Dawn, Daily Mashriq.
PESHAWAR: Amn Jirga Chairman Syed Kamal Shah on Monday asked the government to lift curfew in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and stop the security forces from shelling the civilian population in Mir Ali tehsil. In a statement, he said that innocent tribes’ people were being killed in suicide attacks and drone strikes. He said scores of innocent tribes’ people were being killed in the shelling by the security forces during the last few days. He said media persons had not been allowed to visit the conflict-hit areas to record the statements of the victims. Kamal Shah asked the government to constitute an independent team so that it could visit the area and inform the nation about the real situation in North Waziristan. He criticized the national leaders for using the human tragedies for their political ends, asking them to stop the politics of sit-ins and protest. Kamal Shah asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan to visit Fata and apprise themselves about the situation of tribes people. The News, The Dawn.
PESHAWAR: The Fata Students Federation on Monday staged protest against the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan and asked the government to stop it forthwith. Holding banners and placards, the protesters led by central president of the federation Khan Bahadur Wazir, general secretary Roohullah Mohmand and deputy president Burhanuddin gathered outside the Peshawar Press Club. Speaking on the occasion, Khan Bahadur said that innocent tribal people were being killed in the military offensive. He lamented that the people were stranded at homes and couldn’t bury the dead due to the weeklong curfew imposed by the political administration. The News, Daily Mashriq.
LANDIKOTAL: Speakers at a gathering organised by Khyber Agency-based socio-political organization, Khyber Union in Peshawar, opposed the repeal of Article 247 of the 1973 Constitution and demanded formation of an elected Fata Council. A grand meeting of the Khyber Union activists, local elders, civil society activists and students was held in Peshawar on Monday to raise voice against the repeal of the Article 247. A former federal minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi also addressed the event. The speakers rejected the abolition of the law and recommended changes in the existing status of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). They said no political party and leader from Fata has the ultimate authority to ignore the rights of the tribespeople to decide about their own life. The News, The Dawn.
LANDIKOTAL: The Khyber Agency Paramedic Association (KPA) has demanded Shuhada package for the families of slain colleagues and threatened not to take part the anti-polio campaign starting from January 3 if foolproof security was not provided to the health workers. To plan future strategy and raise the demands Khyber Agency paramedics Association held its general body meeting in Jamrud on Monday. Special prayers and fateha were offered for the departed souls of their colleagues, who were killed while administering anti-polio drops in Jamrud during the last two weeks. KPA President Abdul Haleem Afridi chaired the meeting, which was attended by a large number of health workers and paramedics from KA. The meeting denounced the poor security measures of the local administration taken during anti-polio campaigns. Speaking at the meeting Abdul Haleem said that they were being targeted one by one but the health authorities in KA administration didn’t take any concrete step to save their lives. The News, The Express Tribune.
MIRALI: The foreigners residing in North Waziristan have multiplied the difficulties of their host tribesmen and they have also took up weapons against the persons whom they were giving due respect in past. Sources in the area said that all this began when the foreign guests especially Uzbeks and Turkmen, who have been otherwise bringing fortunes to the more greedy and well-connected residents of the medieval age towns of NWA, started to invite reprisals for their dastardly acts of terror against the state and its organs. Reportedly people of Mirali are becoming bitter and inhospitable to well entrenched Uzbek fighters who were living in the neighborhoods as paying guests in the houses and were accommodated thanks to local custom of hospitality and advance rent payment in dollars. The people, having paid the cost with the lives of their loved ones and damages to their property, are really mad at them, the sources said. Sensing the changing moods, some 40 of them escaped with single weapon, a blanket and some ready-to-eat ration and are in hiding. The News, The Frontier Post.
PESHAWAR: The provincial police authorities have asked the Home and Tribal Affairs Department to properly construct the boundary wall between Hayatabad and Khyber Agency and ensure joint patrolling of police with the Frontier Constabulary personnel, a source said. The source said the provincial police authorities have written to the Home Department to fortify the wall between Hayatabad and Jamrud so that no criminal elements can break into the posh township and escape after committing crimes. The letter also asked for ensuring joint patrolling of police and Frontier Constabulary soldiers in the towns between tribal and settled areas. Several other steps were also proposed to stop the attacks from the tribal towns. The News.
LAHORE: As international powers continue to mount pressure on the Pakistan government – the question of whether to conduct a military operation against the Taliban or to pursue dialogue still looms. The United States and other global powers fear that the Taliban can turn back to Kabul if their talks with the Pakistani government are successful. Similarly India fears that in case dialogue succeeds, Taliban will support jihadi groups operating in Kashmir to create problems for India. Sources in the PML-N say the government is in constant contact with the military leadership which has informed the prime minister that if an operation has to be conducted, the winter season was ideal for the Pakistan Army. However, sources said that the government did not want to disclose any such information in this regard. The PML-N government is wary of facing reactions from Jamaat-e-Islami and other right wing political parties if it pursues a full-scale military operation against the militants in North Waziristan. The Express Tribune.
PESHAWAR: Additional Chief Secretary Arbab Muhammad Arif has urged the financial managers of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to ensure judicious spending of every rupee meant for the wellbeing of the people. While addressing the second workshop on Public Financial Management and Accountability Assessment held by the World Bank on Monday, Arif said it was time to work hard for change in Fata. “We need to make sure that each rupee coming in is spent on the betterment of the people.” Arif expressed hope the suggestions made at the workshop would help the FATA Secretariat design a future road map. In his opening address, World Bank Senior Governance Specialist Sher Shah Khan said the management of the FATA Secretariat deserves appreciation for leading the public financial management process. More than 100 countries are following the Public Expenditure Financial Assessment, he said, adding that it is purely evidence-based and that the framework is very clear about the criteria. Fata Finance Secretary Syed Waqarul Hassan, Planning & Development Secretary Zahir Shah, among other officials, were present on the occasion. The Express Tribune, The Frontier Post.
PESHAWAR: More than five months after the start of the ongoing fiscal, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is set to begin implementing some new projects covered under the current Annual Development Programme, according to the relevant officials. The provincial government, the officials say, will launch a mega development project here today (Tuesday), focusing on infrastructure improvement in Peshawar. This will be the formal beginning of the new projects under the current ADP, including two for Peshawar. Of the Peshawar-specific projects, one is about the city`s beautification at the cost of Rs500 million, while the other, the Rs1 billion Peshawar Uplift Programme, is about improvement of local infrastructure, including roads, sanitation facilities, water supply, streetlights and pavements. As part of the Rs500 million project, GT Road in the provincial capital will be beautified and repaired, where necessary, at the cost of Rs178 million. The Dawn.
ISLAMABAD : Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Monday said the military action in the North Waziristan tribal region was being conducted to avenge the death of military personnel. Addressing a press conference here, the JUI-F chief said the government should explain how the military convoy was attacked in the tribal region despite a curfew being in place. Fazl added that the action in North Waziristan was “against the tribal people” and claimed that 65 people killed in the action were innocent civilians. Criticizing the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), the JUI-F chief said Imran Khan’s party was staging the sits-in only to keep its politics alive and without achieving any meaningful results, adding that those who have brought PTI to power “should now be prepared to handle it”. Responding to a question on an upsurge in sectarian violence in the country, Fazl said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should directly intervene in bringing it to a halt. The Frontier Post.
PESHAWAR : Federal government on Monday released second tranche of 3.1 billion rupees for development projects of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). FATA secretariat sources said federal government had allocated Rs 16.58 billion for over 1300 under progress developments projects of tribal areas. The government had earlier refused to release the funds over non submission of the details of expenditures of already released development funds due to which it was feared that underway projects of FATA would be adversely affected. However, after the assurance of submitting details of amount spent on various projects the federal government released second tranche of Rs 3.1 billion with the directives to accelerate the pace of work on development projects and completing them in stipulated timeframe, the FATA secretariat sources said. The Frontier Post.