LONDON: The UN’s envoy on counter-terrorism and human rights launched an investigation on Thursday into the impact of drone strikes on civilians, aimed at securing accountability for attacks going “badly wrong”. Ben Emmerson, a British lawyer and United Nations special rapporteur, said the huge expansion in the technology behind unmanned planes, and consequently their increasing use, required a new legal framework. “The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay, and its use in theatres of conflict is a reality with which the world must contend,” he told reporters in London. “It is therefore imperative that appropriate legal and operational structures are urgently put in place to regulate its use in a manner that complies with the requirements of international law.” CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,461 people since 2004, according to Britain’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, up to 891 of them civilians including 176 children. Dawn, The News, Daily Times, The Nation.
ISLAMABAD: Britain is hosting a trilateral summit on Afghanistan on Feb 3-4 to address problems in Pakistan-Afghanistan ties and push forward the political process in the war-ravaged country. The summit involving UK, Pakistan and Afghanistan would see civilian and military leadership of the countries sitting together to discuss the challenges being faced in reconciliation process. “We are trying to make contribution to move forward on political process in Afghanistan,” British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said on Thursday. Dawn.
KOHAT: Unknown assailants gunned down two Afghan clerics at a mosque in Hangu city on Wednesday night, police said. They said that the mosque attack occurred in Kata Kani area, where the Afghan refugees had been living for past several months. Those killed were identified as Maulana Zahir and Maulana Mohammad Yousuf. The police said that one person was injured in the attack. However, his name could not be ascertained. The injured person was taken to district headquarters hospital. Officials said that security had been tightened in the sectarian-hit sensitive area of Hangu, while police had cordoned off the area and started search operation. Dawn.
PESHAWAR: The World Food Programme reduced wheat flour quota for internally displaced persons from 80 kilograms to 40 kilograms owing to shortfall in donations, officials said. Reduction in monthly food ration quota has affected around 908,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) who have been rendered homeless owing to violence in their hometowns and villages. The displaced people in Jalozai camp, Nowshera district have refused to receive 40 kilograms of flour. “IDPs have refused to accept the reduced quantity of flour because their needs have been increased,” said Haji Gulbatt, a member of the camp council in Jalozai. He said that relief agencies had also reduced quantity of biscuits, provided to the displaced children as food supplement. The UN agency, which depends exclusively on donations, requires $136 million to continue food distribution operation for violence-stricken people for 2013. Dawn.
LANDI KOTAL: The political administration of Khyber Agency on Thursday secured release of 24 persons, who were arrested from Bara on different occasion during the ongoing military operation. The released men were handed over to the members of a jirga during their meeting with political agent at his office. The jirga comprising local tribal elders and representatives of various political parties and traders had demanded of the administration to release all innocent tribesmen belonging to different tribes of Bara. The jirga had earlier provided the authorities with a list of all those people whom they considered innocent and were in the captivity of security forces or the local administration. Sources said that releasing the tribesmen was a goodwill gesture and a follow up of the negotiations started between the government functionaries after the January 15 Alamgudar incident wherein 18 persons were killed by unidentified gunmen. Dawn.
PESHAWAR: The political agents of North and South Waziristan and a representative of Wapda have sought more time from the Peshawar High Court (PHC) for safe recovery of the kidnapped employees of the Gomal Zam dam project, saying talks with the Taliban for reducing ransom amount were in final stage. Political Agent (PA) South Waziristan Shahidullah and Wapda’s chief security officer Col (R) Mateen informed a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Mrs Justice Irshad Qaiser that their talks with the Taliban were in final stage as they were trying to reduce the ransom amount to be paid for safe release of the employees.
On the other hand, North Waziristan Political Agent Siraj Ahmed Khan informed the bench that he had also convened thejirga of Utmanzai tribal elders and they were tasked to find the Taliban as the political authorities would be able to reach them for safe recovery of the employees. He also said the Taliban were changing their position and they did not find them anywhere in the agency. The News.
PESHAWAR: The militants rained more mortar shells on the provincial capital on the second consecutive day as four shells landed in Hayatabad on Thursday. Sources said four mortar shells, fired from Shalobar area in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency, landed in Phase-VI, Hayatabad, wounding two children. A day earlier, six mortar shells had been fired at Peshawar from Bara. Three of the shells landed at the residential area of Frontier Corps in Hayatabad, they said. Two other mortar shells had landed in a deserted place in the same phase of Hayatabad. The News.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Police on Thursday recovered 75 kilogrammes of explosive material, two rockets and two landmines during a search operation. On the orders of DPO Suhail Khalid, police conducted the search operation in Zafarabad Colony and in Gillani Town. Police are investigating the matter. Daily Times.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHARY