MIRAMSHAH: Five people, two women and two children among them, were killed and nine others injured when helicopter gunships shelled targets in Mirali area of North Waziristan on Thursday. Sources said the helicopter gunships attacked targets in Hassamkhel, Haiderkhel, Inzar, Aipee and Khushal Toorikhel villages in Mirali tehsil. Several houses were destroyed in the shelling. The injured were taken to a local hospital. The houses which came under attack belonged to Dil Faraz and Shafiullah. According to the sources, the shelling was in retaliation to a remote-controlled bomb attack on security personnel. The panic-stricken tribesmen began vacating their houses and shifting to safe places after the attacks. Dawn, Daily Mashriq.
BARA: Around 200 personnel of the Khassadar Force were pulled out from Shalobar area and redeployed in Shahkas Levies Centre in Jamrud in Khyber Agency after attack by militants on different checkposts of security forces, official sources said on Thursday. The sources said that dozens of militants on Monday night attacked three checkposts in Shalobar area of Bara in which five soldiers and two personnel of Khassadar Force were killed and one of the posts was destroyed in the attack. The recently restored 200 members of the Khassadar Force were deployed along with the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps in the three newly-built checkposts in the Shalobar area in order to maintain peace in the area, the sources said. “The other day’s clashes with the militants exposed their incapability to counter the militants which led to their transfer to Jamrud.” The News.
LANDI KOTAL: Seventeen people who had been killed by gunmen in Bara on Tuesday were buried on Thursday after a jirga negotiated the handing over of their bodies to relatives. Security forces had taken the bodies into custody on Wednesday night after relatives refused to remove them from in front of the Governor House in Peshawar where their coffins had been placed in protest against the killings. Relatives and hundreds of protesters from Bara were demanding an investigation into the murders and an immediate halt to military operation in Bara. An 18-member jirga, which included MNA Hamidullah Jan Afridi and Awami National Party’s provincial senior vice-president Imran Afridi, secured the bodies from security forces who had arranged for their burial at Sheikhan village outside Peshawar. The 17 coffins were immediately taken to Bara and then buried in Alamgudar and Dogra areas. Dawn, The News.
PESHAWAR: Police on Thursday resorted to aerial firing, baton charge and teargas to disperse Bara students protesting outside Peshawar Press Club the crackdown on peaceful tribesmen, who had placed bodies of 15 people killed in their tehsil outside the Governor’s House here. Police said 18 protesters had been arrested during the action. Several media persons covering the event, including camerapersons Siddique Bangash of Geo Television, Waqar of AVT Khyber and photojournalist Fayyaz Aziz, also sustained minor injuries after being hit by stones during the action. The people already aggrieved due to the killings of their dear ones had got infuriated when police used water canons and teargas against them for sitting outside the Governor’s House with coffins on the night between Wednesday and Thursday. Mohammad Ali told Dawn that police used water canons against those observing sit-in at around 12.30am (Thursday) but most of the people remained firm and got off their shirts but later police used excessive teargas and forced them to leave behind the bodies and escape. “We had no other option but to go to safer places because the chilly weather coupled with teargas made our lives extremely miserable,” he said while narrating the ordeal of protesters. Dawn, The Nation, Daily Times, Daily Mashriq.
BANNU: The elders of Janikhel tribe in Frontier Region (FR) Bannu on Thursday asked the government to pull-out troops from their area as they were not treating them in accordance with Frontier Crimes Regulation. The demand came in a grand jirga held at Bachaki Janikhel and was attended by elders including Malik Movaiz Khan, Malik Jan Muhammad, Maj (r) Malik Mir Ghaffar, Malik Hashim Khan, Malik Maqbool Khan, Malik Balqiaz Khan, Malik Haji Mastan and others. Speaking on the occasion, the participants said that peace had been restored and maintained in the area after the military operation and there was no threat to the government’s writ. They complained that they were being victimised by the political authorities under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) while the security forces and police were raiding their homes without any reason. The News.
NOWSHERA: Provincial Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said that certain hidden forces are out to delay the forthcoming general elections but democratic forces will not let them succeed in their nefarious designs. He was addressing various gatherings on the occasion of inaugurating 42 development schemes in different localities of his constituency, PK-12, in Nowshera on Thursday. Awami National Party (ANP) district president Ahrar Khattak, PK-12 president Zar Ali Khan, union council presidents and officials of government departments were also present on this occasion. The minister said that constitutional tenure of the present government would end on March 16 and fresh elections would be held within 60 days after the dissolution of the present assemblies. He asked ANP workers to forge unity among their ranks and start preparations for the forthcoming general elections. Dawn.
NOWSHERA: Unknown miscreants blew up a CD shop at Chowki Mamraiz here on Thursday. Source said unknown miscreants had planted a remote control device near the CD shop at Chowki Mamraiz in Pabbi area which went off at 8.30pm with a big bang. Soon after the incident, police officials and bomb disposal squad rushed to the spot, cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.The bomb disposal squad said that three to four kilograms of explosives were used in the blast. It was stated that two passersby were slightly injured and shifted to Rashid Shaheed Hospital Pabbi.
Meanwhile, the building of Government Middle School Lundkhwar was partially damaged when an explosive device planted by unidentified militants went off on the night between Wednesday and Thursday. Dawn.
BANNU: The house of an official of the IB was partially damaged in an explosion on Wednesday, official sources said. The sources said that the explosive device was planted near the main entrance. The News.
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the killing of around 20 civilians in Khyber Agency and demanded that the claims made by the families that deceased were killed by security forces personnel must be probed independently and to the families’ satisfaction. In a statement on Thursday, the Commission flayed unreservedly the brutal killing of the people in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency. The families of the deceased had brought their bodies to Governor’s Houser and Peshawar Press Club where they protested and demanded action against the murderers of their dear ones. Many of the protesters claimed that the deceased were in military custody before their deaths. The News.
NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said here on Wednesday that a “responsible transition” in Afghanistan would mean that the Americans would leave the country at a time when “at least some of the entry-goals have been achieved”. Speaking at the Council of Foreign Affairs (CFR) at the end of her United Nations visit, Ms Khar said: “I do not want the (Americans) to leave behind conditions which are worse than the ones they inherited.” As the international community’s transition from Afghanistan takes place, we are of course very concerned, and we request only one thing: a responsible transition”. “A responsible transition entails a stable Afghanistan, an Afghanistan which will not be a breeding ground for terrorists, where women will have their rights, and will be a source of stability to the region. She noted that the 5 million-plus Afghan refugees that Pakistan had been housing for the last three decades in Pakistan started to trickle back in 2007. But since 2009 a fresh crop of refugees started coming into Pakistan and because of that property prices in Peshawar have risen by almost 300 percentage points over the past year. Dawn.
KABUL: A real peace process in Afghanistan has not begun and the United States does not know what has happened to Taliban prisoners released by Pakistan, the US ambassador to Kabul said on Thursday. Pakistan said 26 prisoners were freed late last year in a bid to kick-start peace talks ahead of the withdrawal of US-led Nato troops from Afghanistan, whose government is under pressure from an 11-year Taliban insurgency. “We don’t know, frankly, what has happened to the people that the Pakistanis have released,” Ambassador James Cunningham told a news briefing. “We would have preferred to have greater visibility into that, but still it’s positive that they were released, I think, from the Afghan point of view.” With the control of prisoners in Afghanistan a major issue between the US and the government of President Hamid Karzai, Mr Cunningham said some freed prisoners had returned to Taliban ranks in senior positions in the past. A peace process “hasn’t even really begun”, he said. “Our goal is the beginning, if not the conclusion of, a serious process on peace and reconciliation as soon as possible – but so far it hasn’t proven possible… to get that going,” he said. Washington began tentative moves towards peace with the Taliban a year ago. Dawn, The News, Daily Times.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHARY