PESHAWAR: Amid tears and sobs, senior minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bashir Ahmed Bilour — who was assassinated in a suicide attack here on Saturday — was laid to rest in a local graveyard on Sunday. A large number of people attended the funeral. With helicopters hovering overhead, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and other political leaders joined hundreds of members of the ANP in a sports stadium for the funeral prayer, reports AFP. Security gates were set up at the entrance of the Karnal Sher Khan Stadium and people were allowed in after body searches. Authorities had installed jamming equipment to block mobile phone signals, which are widely used by terrorists to trigger bombs. Draped in national flag, Bashir Bilour’s coffin was brought from his brother’s residence in an ambulance which later drove to Syed Hassan Pir graveyard where he was buried near his mother’s grave. Dawn, The News, The Frontier Post, The Nation, Daily Mashriq.
LAHORE: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claims to have killed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s outspoken senior minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour to avenge the May 2012 abduction and killing of Maulana Naseeb Khan Wazir, a leader of Maulana Samiul Haq’s JUI. While claiming responsibility for Bilour’s killing, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said: “The attack was carried out to avenge the killing of our elder, Sheikh Naseeb Khan”. Maulana Naseeb Khan Wazir, a central leader of the JUI (S), was kidnapped by unidentified persons from the Taru Jabba area of Nowshera on May 3, 2012 and his body was found a day later, on May 3, from Pishta Khara village of Peshawar. The Maulana was abducted while travelling from his Madrassa in Akora Khattak to Kohat. The News.
LAHORE: Banned Tehrik-i-Talaiban Pakistan has prepared plans to target nine important personalities, three shrines, a jail and sixteen important sensitive installations and on the basis of intelligence reports, Punjab Home department has issued red alert for them. In its communication to the concerned authorities on Sunday, the Home Department said that militant commander Israfel son of Mangal Bagh has planned to launch explosive attacks through Sodium Acid and other materials. The communication said that those on the target list of Taliban include prominent lawyers, Shia leaders, and important persons associated with media and in politics. Some of them have already received threatening messages from Taliban and their security has been strengthened. The Frontier Post.
WANA/ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has made reconciling warring factions in Afghanistan a top priority, military officials and western diplomats say. According to commanders deployed in the border region, he is backing dialogue partly due to fears that the end of the US combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014 could energise a resilient insurgency straddling the shared frontier. “There was a time when we used to think we were the masters of Afghanistan. Now we just want them to be masters of themselves so we can concentrate on our own problems,” a military officer stationed in South Waziristan said. “Pakistan has the power to create the environment in which a grand reconciliation in Afghanistan can take place,” he said in Wana. “We have to rise to the challenge. And we are doing it, at the highest level possible.” Dawn, The Nation.
PESHAWAR: The political administration of Kurram Agency has planned to form some 1,400 village defence committees with special focus on militancy-affected central sub-division of the valley to block resurgence of militants in the area, officials said. Political Agent Yousaf Rahim told Dawn that the proposed plan had been sent to the Civil Secretariat, Fata, in Peshawar for approval and these committees would operate under the supervision of local authorities. Kurram Agency, adjacent to the Afghan border and having strategically important location, comprises three sub-divisions; upper, lower and central. The officials said that dynamics in upper sub-division were different and therefore this part of the tribal agency did not require such arrangements. “Most of these committees would be established in central sub-division of the area which remained a safe haven for local and foreign militants,” said an official, who stated that local authorities were waiting for the secretariat’s response. Dawn.
LANDI KOTAL: Three persons including a militant commander were killed in a firing incident in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Sunday. Sources said that a member of Tirah-based militant group Ansarul Islam opened firing on its local commander Ahmad Khan after an exchange of hot words with him. Ahmad Khan was killed on the spot. Other members of the group, present on the occasion, overpowered the attacker identified as Said Umar and killed him immediately, they added. Later, the members of Ansarul Islam also killed the father of Said Umar in Khatu Cheena area, sources said.
At Torkham border, Custom officials impounded an empty truck coming back from Afghanistan and recovered arms and ammunition from its secret cavities. The Khasadar Force also took the driver and cleaner of the vehicle into their custody and shifted them to Landi Kotal lockup. Dawn, The News.
HANGU: Militants blew up a boys’ school in Sarukhel village in Doaba area on Sunday, police sources said. The sources said that explosive devices planted by militants at the Government Primary School No I went off in the evening, destroying two rooms and boundary wall of the school. It was the 4th school blown up in Doaba during the last two months. The News.
BARA: Seventy-three sacked personnel of the Levies force have asked the political administration of Khyber Agency to restore their services, otherwise they would stage protests and approach the court to seek justice. Shahid Khan, one of the suspended Levies personnel, told this scribe on Sunday that more than 600 sacked Khassadar personnel had been reinstated by the political administration whereas the restoration of his 73 colleagues was being delayed due to unknown reasons. He termed it discrimination against them. On the instructions of political administration, dozens of suspended Khassadars and employees of Levies Force furnished their affidavits as prerequisite for the restoration of their services last month, he said. However, he said the services of Khassadars were restored whereas the Levies personnel were asked that out of 73 members of the force, 50 would be reinstated immediately against the vacant posts and the rest of 23 would be restored later. The News.
MARDAN: A total of 23 incidents of terrorism took place in the district and the police foiled three such attempts in the current years, officials said on Sunday. A police officer and a suspected militant died while 15 persons, including nine policemen were injured in separate incidents in Mardan district. The officials said suspected militants targetted eight schools, two CD shops, two private buildings, two police posts, two power transmission lines and a shrine during 2012 in the district. During a joint operation of the police and security forces, alleged militant Bawar Khan was killed while his son Abid, who is also a suspected militant, escaped following a clash in the limits of Chura Police Station. Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Zarnosh Khan was also killed in the clash.
In another incident, six policemen, including SHO Khankhel Khan, driver Hashmat and constables Fazle Subhan, Iqbal, Kachkol and Jehangir sustained injuries in a roadside blast in the limits of Rustam Police Station. The News, The Nation.
BANNU: Three soldiers sustained injuries in a roadside blast on the Miranshah Road in Khwajdarkhel village in the limits of the Bakkakhel Police Station in the Frontier Region (FR) Bannu on Sunday, official sources said. The sources said a security forces vehicle was on routine patrol in the area when an explosive device planted by unidentified persons on the roadside went off at 5:30pm in Khwajdarkhel village in Janikhel, Frontier Region (FR), Bannu. Three soldiers whose identity could not be confirmed were wounded. They were shifted to the Combined Military Hospital in Bannu where their condition was stated to be stable. The News.
WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s policies are not driven by any strategic over-reach to Afghanistan and this is appreciated in both the US and Afghan capitals, says Ambassador Sherry Rehman. Ambassador Rehman, who recently completed her first year as Islamabad’s envoy in Washington, told Dawn that the United States and Pakistan had a “joint strategic motive” for stabilising the region. “As Pakistan would be the first to suffer the fallout of Afghan conflict, the US would not like to reverse all development gains in an irresponsible exit, or leave Afghanistan with a security vacuum,” she explained. The ambassador said that Pakistan was taking extra care to demonstrate it was engaging at the highest levels with a broad base of Afghan leaders and groups, and that Kabul was secure in Pakistan’s friendship and motive. Dawn.
Nawaf Khan, Sharafat Ali Chaudhary