ISLAMABAD: Police officials report that Dr Tariq Awan, a former Medical Superintendent of Federal Government Services Hospital, received a threatening letter from the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, asking for Rs10 million within ten days. The letter, which was hand-written in Urdu, threatened the retired Dr Awan with `dire consequences` if the failed to deliver the money, sources added. The sender, who identified himself in the letter as a member of TTP, said he would contact Dr Awan again after the expiry of thenday deadline. A security presence has been set up around the doctor`s residence in order to monitor `suspicious people and activity`. According to police, the letter was delivered to Dr Awan`s house, in the limits of Kohsar police station, by a local courier service. Dawn.
ISLAMABAD: In a major development, mainstream political and religious parties and civil society groups agreed on Thursday to negotiate peace with militant elements through a broadened tribal jirga earlier formed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F. The parties attending an all parties conference (APC) hosted by the JUI-F agreed on a five-point declaration. `The first meeting of the grand tribal jirga, now having the backing of all the country`s main political leadership, will be held in Peshawar on Friday (today) to devise a strategy to proceed further in the light of the declaration, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced at the conclusion of the nine-hour conference. The APC was boycotted by Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf. It was the second APC in 14 days but more significant for its clear objective and higherlevel representation than the one hosted by the Awami National Party (ANP) on Feb 14 which had also called for holding dialogue with militant groups, but failed to produce any concrete plan of action. Dawn, The News.
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the murder of Malik Mumtaz, a journalist based at Miramshah, South Waziristan, on Wednesday. The HRCP stated the murder is a continuation of the disturbing trend of increasing violence against journalists. The fact that Mumtaz is the fifth journalist killed in the first two months of 2013 highlights the vulnerability and the threats those in the journalism profession face. At least 10 journalists were killed in 2012. The HRCP terms the murder and the past episodes as direct attacks on freedom of the media. The response of both the federal and provincial governments has been completely inadequate as journalists continue to be attacked with impunity. Dawn, The News.
WASHINGTON: A Pakistani firm has invented a new formula to make fertilisers that cannot be converted into bomb-making materials, diplomatic sources told Dawn. The firm, Fatima Group, has succeeded in making non-lethal alternatives to ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in the fertilisers itmakes. Fertilisers with ammonium nitrate, however, can easily be converted into bomb-making ingredients. `Such a long-term solution would be a true scientific breakthrough,` Lt-Gen Michael Barbero, the head of the Pentagon`s Joint Improved Explosive Device Defeat Organisation, said in a statement.A US television network, CNN, reported on Thursday that the United States and Pakistan reached an agreement last week to make fertilisers with non-explosive materials. Dawn.
PESHAWAR: Benefits of economic revitalisation programme could not trickle down to militancy-affected entrepreneurs in tribal areas due to bureaucratic hurdles, tough conditions and lengthy documentation process. The multimillion dollars economic revitalisation project was launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas to provide financial grant to people for rehabilitation and upgradation of their small and medium enterprises in militancy affected areas. Officials told Dawn on Thursday that 2,581 applications had been received from entrepreneurs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata and of them, 841 had been processed including only 59 from Fata, the most militancy-hit region. They said around 1,000 applications had been filed for receiving grant. Multi Donors Trust Fund (MTDF) was supported by Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, European Union, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Britain and the US in 2010 to help people whose business had affected due to the militancy. Dawn.
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah has asked entrepreneurs in the country to come forward and invest in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, especially in its industrial and mineral sectors, and contribute to socio-economic uplift of the country. He said that the government would provide security to the investors. The governor said this while talking to a joint delegation of entrepreneurs representing the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Fata Chamber of Commerce and Industry, All Pakistan Commercial Exporters Association and All PakistanMarble Exporters Association besides various bodies of Anjuman-i-Tajran, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, at the Governor`s House here on Thursday. Dawn.
GHALANAL: At least eight militants were killed and 12 suffered injuries as jet fighters pounded militant hideouts in Mamozai tehsil of Orakzaitribal region on Thursday. Sources said jets targeted militant positions in Jendri and Shah Wali villages of Mamozai tehsil at 4:50pm. The bombing destroyed three militant hideouts, they said, adding eightmilitants were and 12 others were injured. Eyewitnesses said dead bodies were retrieved from the rubble of destroyed houses and the injured were taken to a local hospital. Dawn, The News.
KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand`s government signed a breakthrough deal with Muslim insurgents for the first time ever on Thursday, agreeing to hold talks to ease nearly a decade of violence in the country`s southern provinces that has killed more than 5,000 people. The agreement was announced in Malaysia`s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, between Thai authorities and the militant National Revolution Front, also known by its Malay-language initials, BRN. It is seen as a positive step, but is unlikely to immediately end the conflict because several other shadowy guerilla movements also fighting in southern Thailand have yet to agree to talks. `God-willing, we`ll do our best to solve the problem. We will tell our people to work together,` Hassan Taib, a Malaysian-based senior representative of the BRN, said after a brief signing ceremony with Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary general of Thailand`s National Security Council. Dawn.
GHALANAI: Four schools were blown up in different areas of Safi tehsil of Mohmand Agency on Thursday. Officials of the political administration said explosive devices had been planted in the buildings at night. (AFP quoted a government official as saying the buildings of all the four schools werecompletely destroyed and that the number of schools destroyed in Mohmand Agency was now more than 100.) No one was injured in the blasts. The four schools are: Middle School Abdul Baqi Ayee Kore Qandahri, Government Middle School Mula Khel (Malik Awal Khan), Government Primary School Haji Adam Kamal Khel Qandahri, and GovernmentPrimary School Malik Ghulam Qandari Shrab Kor.
MORTAR SHELL: Two people were killed when a mortar shell which they were trying to sell considering it as scrap exploded in Sagai area of Safi tehsil. According to sources, Zahid Khan, 20, and Amjad Khan, 6, had found the unexploded shell in a field. Dawn, The News, The Frontier Post.
HANGU: The officials of the bomb disposal unit defused an eight kilogram of improvised explosive device (IED) planted by militants under a bridge at Sarokhel in the limits of Doaba Police Station on Thursday.Talking to reporters, District Police Officer (DPO) Dr Mian Saeed Ahmad said the explosives were planted by the militants to target the convoys of the Thall Scouts who often use the same route during their movement between Thall and Kohat.He added that due to the timely intervention of the police, the area was saved from a major terrorists’ attack. The News.
PESHAWAR: Senior journalist Malik Mumtaz Khan, who was gunned down by unidentified assailant in Miranshah in North Waziristan on Wednesday, was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard on Thursday. A large number of tribal people had thronged his village in Miranshah from all over North Waziristan to attend his funeral prayers. They praised him for his bravery and honesty and for highlighting their problems in the media. Many tribesmen could not control their emotions while having a last glimpse of Malik Mumtaz, whose coffin was kept in the vast graveyard for the funeral rites.The tribesmen paid him rich tributes and were heard saying that the man who used to highlight their sufferings had been silenced forever. The News, The Frontier Post.
BARA: Unidentified militant from a hilly hideout injured a local tribesman with a sniper gun fire when he was cleansing the snow from the roof of his house in Takhtaki area of Tehsil Bara, Khyber Agency the other day, tribesmen and local administration sources said. Sources said that wounded Mada Khel the inhabitant of Kamar Khel tribe was clearing the snow from his roof when an unidentified militant opened fire with a sniper gun from a mountainous sanctuary, critically inuring him. Sources confirmed the area is in full control of defunct Lashkar-e-Islam (LI). The wounded tribesman was rushed to local hospital, locals added. The people of the area made it clear that the firing was made by pro-government armed faction Ansar-ul-Islam (AI) on Mada Khel from Ahmadi Malik Din Khel, a hill sanctuary. The Frontier Post.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHARY