In a rare direct comment about one of the strongest opponents of the hardline Islamist group that was ousted from power in 2001, the Taliban Sunday praised India for resisting US calls for greater involvement in Afghanistan. The Taliban also reiterated that they would not let Afghanistan be used as a base against another country, addressing fears in New Delhi that Pakistan-based anti-India militants may become more emboldened if the Taliban return to power. The Afghan Taliban have longstanding ties to Pakistan, and striking a softer tone towards its arch rival India could be a sign of a more independent course. Direct talks with the United States — which have since been suspended — and an agreement to open a Taliban office in Qatar to conduct formal peace talks have been seen as signs of a more assertive stance. The News, Dawn.
Kidnapping for ransom has become a nightmare for residents of the volatile Kurram Agency, forcing many of the tribal families to leave their native towns and seek accommodation in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. After re-opening of Thall-Parachinar Road recently which remained blocked since 2009 as armed militants had occupied this lone route to the restive area the residents are now faced with the menace of kidnapping for ransom by militants. According to MNA Sajid Hussain Turi, so far 50 people of Turi tribe werekidnapped by militants, while over Rs80 million had been paid by the victim families in ransom for securing release of their relatives. The militants kidnap young and earning members in order to bargain for hefty ransom. There are families whose members have been kidnapped twice within a span of eight months, the lawmaker said. Dawn.
Tribesmen in Landikotal mourned on Sunday as the death toll from a bomb attack climbed to 29 after four blast victims died overnight in hospitals, officials said. Private markets and all bazaars remained closed as local tribesmen held funerals to bury the dead in different parts of Khyber tribal district along the Afghan border, witnesses said. “Four more critically injured [victims] died in hospitals overnight. The whole town is closed to mourn the deaths,” Raseed Khan, a local government official, told AFP. Daily Times.
Grief and sorrow were writ large on the face of 35-year-old Khan Muhammad who was busy taking care of his three sons and a nephew at the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) here on Sunday. They had been injured in Saturday’s blast in Landikotal bazaar in Khyber Agency. Khan Muhammad, a pushcart vendor selling biscuits in the bazaar, was busy with customers when he heard a deafening sound. “It was a very loud explosion. It was all dark and in the smoke one could not see anything,” the father recalled. “There was chaos all around. The injured were crying for help and people were running for life,” he said, adding a neighbour told him that his sons were also injured in the blast. I rushed to hospital in Landikotal where I found my sons lying on beds. The hospital was full of the injured and dead. A number of injured were lying on the ground,” he said. The News.
The cops, who were killed in a blast near the bus stand on the University Road, were laid to rest in their respective villages with state honour on Sunday. The bodies of the slain cops were taken to Sheikhan, Barh and Ibrahimzai villages. Deputy Inspector General of Police, Kohat Range, Syed Imtiaz Shah, district coordination officer (DCO) Mubarak Zeb Khan and District Police Officer Mian Saeed laid floral wreaths on their graves and condoled with their families. The four cops, Tasawar Hussain, Naqi Ghulam, Qaiser Iqbal and Fahad Shah, and three civilians were killed when a vehicle of the Riaz Shaheed Police Station was targetted with an IED on the University Road on Saturday. The spokesperson for the TTP Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the blast. He said the police and the security forces were killing their innocent fellows and destroying their homes. The News.
The Fata MPs group, led by Hamidullah Jan Afridi, has expressed its indifference with the PPP coalition partners’ recent decision to stand by the Zardari-Gilani rule in the NA Speaker’s verdict despite being challenged in the Supreme Court. “The group has neither discussed such issues, nor were we taken into confidence, and therefore we are independent to come up with our own line of action,” said group leader Hamidullah Jan Afridi when The News contacted him on Sunday. The group, part of the government alliance, comprises seven Fata MNAs and senators as they disassociated themselves from the Munir Orakzai-led MPs, expressing their reservations about his leadership. “We are part of the treasury, but do not support its each and every step blindly- particularly when the government does not bother to consult us on key decision involving the judiciary. The judiciary is an important institution which must be protected by every citizen and it is not necessary that we, after our internal consultations, decide to support the government,” he said in reference to the NA Speaker’s ruling in the prime minister disqualification reference as well as the Dr Arsalan-Malik Riaz cases. The News.
The police arrested two militants in Jarma village on the Indus Highway here on Sunday, official sources said.The sources said the police had received information about the presence of militants on the Indus Highway in Jarma and sent a raiding party for arresting them. Both the militants, whose identity could not be ascertained, surrendered to the police after a brief exchange of fire. The police recovered three hand-grenades and two pistols from the possession of the militants. The News.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar said on Sunday that national interest will be kept supreme regarding the issue of resumption of Nato supply. He expressed these views while talking to media persons after inquiring health of Landi Kotal blast victims. The governor said Pakistan being a responsible country will take every decision in the national interest and prosperity of people. He said Akakhel tribesmen were targeted in Landi Kotal tragic incident for their positive and constructive role for promotion of peace in Khyber Agency. The governor said that writ of the government was established in major part of the Fata due to government’s successful strategies and sacrifice of security forces and tribal people. The News.
A top government functionary dropped the clearest hint yet on Sunday that Pakistan may reopen Nato supply routes for US-led foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan. “We cannot oppose Nato nor can we live a secluded life in this world,” Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar told reporters in Peshawar. The governor was speaking to the media during a visit to the Hayatabad Medical Complex to enquire after the health of Saturday’s Landi Kotal blast victims. He added that the government would have to take a decision over the Nato supply lines. Governor Kausar’s statement came against the backdrop of reports that the United States is getting increasingly impatient over the delay in the resumption of supply lines. Express Tribune.
Tahir Amin, Sharafat Ali Chaudhry