Top military body’s declaration on Thursday that it was ready for any sacrifice for eliminating terrorism sparked speculations about the possibility of a major military offensive against Tehrik-i-Taliban and other terror networks operating from tribal areas. “Participants expressed their satisfaction over the standard of preparedness of Armed Forces to take on the upcoming challenges being faced by the country. It was reiterated that the resolve to fight the menace of terrorism will be kindred and Armed Forces of Pakistan are ready to render any sacrifice therein (sic),” a rather strongly-worded statement from ISPR said after the meeting.
The meeting, chaired by General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Asif Sandila, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Secretary Defence, Secretary Defence Production, Chief of General Staff, Director-General Joint Staff, Director-General Inter Services Intelligence, Director-General Strategic Plans Division and senior military officers from the three services. Dawn.
Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old activist who had been shot and critically injured in an attack claimed by the Taliban, was airlifted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) in Rawalpindi on Thursday. Malala’s father and a five-member medical team which treated her in a military hospital in Peshawar also accompanied her in the army helicopter. Her other relatives are coming to Rawalpindi by road. She was operated upon twice — first to extract a bullet from her shoulder and then to decompress the brain. Although she is still unconscious, her condition is not deteriorating. A senior government official said the bullet had caused some damage to her brain and because of this she had been placed on a ventilator.
Eighteen militants were killed as US drones attacked a compound in upper Orakzai on Thursday morning. Another eight people were killed and 22 injured when two bomb blasts hit a bus stand near a bazaar in the same agency. A senior administration official said the US drone fired four missiles on the compound owned by Maulana Shakirullah, the commander of Taliban’s Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, in the Bulandkhel area.
“Eighteen militants, all Afghans, were killed and 16 others were injured when missiles fired by the drone destroyed the compound, Khushal Khan, Political Agent of Orakzai agency, said. Four adjoining houses were partially damaged, local people said. After the attack, sources said, Taliban cordoned off the area and started retrieving bodies and helping the injured. Local people, who were not allowed to go near the compound, said that drones were flying at low altitude almost the whole day, forcing local people to stay away from the area. Dawn, The News, The News, Daily Times, Daily Express.
A man was killed and two others were injured in an accidental hand grenade blast in Khyber Agency area of Landikotal. A hand grenade of Peace Force (Aman Lashkar) went off in Landikotal’s area of Zakha Khel, killing a volunteer and injuring two others. The body and the injured man have been shifted to the nearby Landikotal Hospital. The Frontier Post, Daily Times
A pro-government tribal elder and his two bodyguards were gunned down and his nephew was injured when armed men sprayed bullets on their vehicle near Miramshah, in North Waziristan Agency, on Thursday. Residents said that Malik Masher Khan was on way home from Miramshah when assailants opened fire at his vehicle at Derga Mandai village on Miramshah-Ghulam Khan Road. The tribal elder, his guards Zarin Khan and Zer Jan died on the spot while his nephew received bullet injuries. Malik Masher belonged to Borakhel tribe, a sub-clan of Ahmadzai Wazir tribe. Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack till the filing of the report. Dawn, The Frontier Post.
A worker of a construction company was killed when a bomb exploded on G.T. Road here on Thursday. Police said that the victim, Sajid Hussain, 17, was working with a construction company repairing a bridge on G.T. Road. He lifted a black shopping bag placed on the roadside to dispose it off when it went off, killing him on the spot, they added. The deceased belonged to Dahnia area of Kasur district. Soon after incident, police and bomb disposal squad reached place and collected evidence. Officials said that three to four kilograms of explosive were used in the blast. Police launched a search operation in area and arrested at 20 suspects. Police registered a case against four local alleged militants identified as Qari Ahmad Ali, Farman, Fawad and Salman at Akora Khattak police station. Dawn.
Unidentified persons blew up two shops of the compact disc (CD) in the Station Chowk in Pabbi tehsil in Nowshera district on Thursday, sources said. The sources said that explosive devices planted at the CD shops owned by Abdul Jalil and Shahzad in the Fauji Market in the Station Chowk went off early in the day, destroying both the shops. The News, The Frontier Post.
At least 50 religious scholars associated with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) issued here on Thursday a joint fatwa (religious edict) declaring the attack on Malala Yousafzai as un-Islamic and appealed to people to observe Friday as a ‘day of condemnation’. It also demanded that the government should review its “pro-US” policies to eliminate real causes of terrorism in the country because the “US is anti-Islam and an invader”. The edict said Islam did not prohibit women from getting education and the attackers “transgressed the Islamic Hudood (principles), according to a press release issued by the SIC which comprises 20 groups of the Barelvi school of thought. Dawn.
Suspected militants abducted a retired military intelligence officer a few hundred meters away from his house on Thursday morning, after shooting dead his driver who resisted the attempt, police said. Brig (retired) Tahir Masood was being driven to his office from his house in the Defence Housing Authority residential colony when four gunmen in a Honda car blocked his Prado and kidnapped the brigadier, killing the driver. Police said Brig Masood had entered property business after retirement. But the exact nature of his job could not be ascertained. Dawn.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Thursday called for action against militants in North Waziristan, saying all other options for eliminating militancy from the tribal agency had failed. “The time has come that the federal government and security forces should launch a full-scale offensive against warmongers in North Waziristan and other restive parts of Fata to establish lasting peace in the region,” provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a news conference at Peshawar Press Club here. Mr Hussain asked how long the people of the province would be rendering sacrifices, receiving ‘bodies of sons and daughters’ and crying over them. Dawn.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHRY