LANDI KOTAL: The Ansaarul Islam militant group, perceived to be a pro-government outfit, gained some ground against Taliban on Sunday on the third day of fighting between them in the mountainous Tirah region bordering Afghanistan. According to information obtained from independent sources in the region, another two Ansaar men were killed as a fierce gun battle continued in Adamkhel, which is situated in an area adjoining Khyber and Orakzai Agencies where the Tariq Afridi group of Taliban has established its control and expelled the AI from one of their bases. The Taliban are also reported to be entrenched in a bunker in Bucha which they had seized on the first day of the clashes. Sources said capturing Bucha was important for the Taliban as it was adjacent to their Dwa Thoe stronghold which they had occupied in May last year after expelling Kukikhel tribesmen. But the Ansaars are reported to have regained bunkers in Angori, Haider Kandaw, Kala Vooch, Dray Stany and Bhutan Sharif over the past two days. Dawn.
BARA: At least six militants were killed and four others sustained injuries in fighting between the Tirah-based pro-government Ansarul Islam (AI) and the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Maidan area of Khyber Agency late Saturday night, tribal sources said. The sources said the AI had been continuing attacks at regular intervals on Senghakh hilltop, separating Adamkhel area of Maidan in Tirah valley from Arghinjo area in upper Orakzai Agency, since Saturday but failed to retake it from the TTP. At least four militants of the TTP and two from AI were killed in the fighting late Saturday night. The clashes erupted between the two militant organisations early Friday morning when the TTP attacked AI positions from Arghinjo and Kukikhel in the valley and took over five hilltops. Subsequently, the AI hit back and retook four positions except Senghakh hilltop on the same day.
People of Pakistan in general and of tribal belt in particular are concerned about escalation in drone strikes but the Fata people are equally concerned, rather angry over escalation in bombings by Pakistan Air Force jets and armed forces’ gunship helicopters that have been resulting in considerable collateral damage. The situation is quite dilemmatic that can be likened to a ‘Devil and the Deep Sea’ situation, the country’s security apparatus being left with no choice other than taking action against the hard-nosed anti-state militants, though with a heavy heart, since it is their conviction that the armed services of a country are duty-bound to protect their people and are not supposed to launch offensives and operations against them. The senior and middle-tier functionaries of our military establishment have, at times, fully asserted and even given statements like this while talking to this scribe: “intrinsically duty-bound to protect the people of Pakistan without yielding to any political or external powers’ (read American) pressure”. The forces’ seniors in particular take pride in their non-aligned composition, unlike our political class. The News.
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government does not seem serious about enacting the law for registering and regulating the private educational institutions in the province as current assemblies will complete tenure after a few weeks. Following the Peshawar High Court (PHC) directives to make legislation and regulate the private educational institutions in the province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on December 10, 2012 tabled the proposed bill titled “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Schools Regulatory Authority Bill 2012”, but it was referred to a sub-committee after objections raised by some lawmakers about some provisions of the bill. However, after it two assembly sessions were called but the bill was not passed by the KP Assembly, whereas the constitutional five years term of the government was going to end in a few weeks. The News.
PESHAWAR: The participants of a dialogue Sunday called upon all the political parties to join hands for restoration of peace. Addressing a ‘Peace Jirga’ organised by the Pakhtuns’ Awareness Movement (PAM), they said all the stakeholders should be consulted to find ways as to how peace could be restored in the region. All political force should unite to fight the menace of terrorism and work jointly to seek a negotiated solution to the deteriorating situation in the country particularly the Pakhtun region, said the leaders of different political parties. They also called for efforts to bring an end to the killings of innocent people in acts of subversion. “We must work sincerely for bringing about lasting peace on the soil of the Pakhtuns, which has seen a lot of bloodshed over the last one decade,” a speaker stated. The News, The Nation.
NOWSHERA: A patrol party of the Motorway Police escaped unhurt in a roadside blast on Sunday, an official said. Talking to reporters, Deputy Superintendent of Motorway Police Sajjad Sial said they were on a routine patrol on the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway near Marhati Banda when they saw a man with a briefcase. “We stopped and approached the man to find out the purpose of his waiting,” Sajjad said, adding that the man ran away towards a motorbike on the other side of the road, leaving the briefcase on the road. The explosion occurred as soon as the suspected man left the place on the motorcycle, he said. The News.
HANGU: A roadside bomb, apparently planted to target a convoy of the security forces on Kohat-Hangu road, went off without causing any casualty or damage, official sources said on Sunday. The sources said that the militants had planted an explosive device on the Kohat-Hangu road in Utmankhel area in lower parts of Orakzai Agency, which went off at 11am. However, the explosion caused no damage or casualty, the sources said, adding the time device was apparently planted to target the convoy of the security forces. The News.
JAMRUD: Two persons were killed and another sustained injuries in separate incidents in Mullagori area on Sunday, officials said. The political administration officials said that Sial Muhammad was killed while his son Saddam sustained injuries when their enemies opened fire on them in Mian Murcha locality. Another person identified as Ismail Khan was killed in Zanga village over an old enmity. The News.
TIMERGARA: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain has urged all political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, to attend the proposed all parties conference for devising a joint strategy for restoration of peace in the region. Speaking at a party gathering at Malikabad here on Sunday, he said that the APC was meant for ending bloodshed and not for upcoming general election. “We will also try to convince the JI on attending this conference as all other parties have accepted our invitation,” the minister said. The Awami National Party, Lower Dir, had organised the gathering, which was also addressed by Senator Zahid Khan, district president Hussain Shah Yousufzai, Zahir Shah Khan and Mohammad Ayub. On this occasion, several prominent figures of Malikabad, Khaima, Jabagai, Shamshi Khan, Anderay and Dherai, including Malik Sajjad Ahmad, Malik Rahman Mulk, Malik Salman Khan and Mohammad Israr, announced to join the ANP. Dawn.
KHAR: A jirga comprising elders from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies settled a 38-year-old enmity between two tribes, at a ceremony held at Nawagi here on Sunday.Tribal elders and senior officials from both the agencies and members of peace committees were present on the occasion. The enmity between the Mohmand and the Miagan tribes of Momand and Bajaur agencies continued for about four decades claiming 22 lives. To settle the dispute, the administrations of both the agencies had formed a jirga of elders of various sub tribes of Mohmand and Bajaur. The jirga held several meetings with the rival groups and succeeded in making the warring tribes to reconcile. INJURED: A woman and her daughter were seriously injured when in a gas cylinder blast in a house in Khar town on Sunday. Locals said two women were cooking food in the kitchen when the gas cylinder burst, injuring them seriously. The kitchen and a room of the house were also damaged in the blast. Dawn.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHARY