PESHAWAR: Taliban militants have shot dead 21 Pakistani soldiers who were kidnapped two days ago near Peshawar, officials said late Saturday night. “We found 21 bullet-riddled bodies of security personnel a short while ago in an uninhabited area,” local government official Naveed Akbar told AFP. The soldiers were abducted from two government paramilitary camps outside Peshawar on Thursday and the bodies were discovered about four kilometres away.
Monitoring Desk adds: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for massacring the 21 soldiers, reported private TV channels late on Saturday night. Officials of political administration and members of local jirga were sent to the area to retrieve the bodies. All the bodies have been identified and families of the victims have been informed about the killings. One injured soldier was shifted to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar while the other was still reported missing. Twenty-one of the 23 abducted soldiers were shot dead in execution style and their bodies were thrown away in Hassankhel area in FR Peshawar.
It is to be mentioned here that the slaughter came one day after TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, in a video message, expressed his willingness to hold negotiation with the government for a ceasefire but refused to surrender arms and sever links with Al-Qaeda. The Nation, Dawn, The News.
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government is in no mood to accept the proposed demands of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for a peace deal, mainly due to the fact that conceding to these demands tantamount to surrendering the authority of the state to the militants. According to well-informed government sources, there is a consensus among the top military and civilian leadership of the country that accepting the TTP demands would essentially amount to admitting defeat of the state against al-Qaeda-linked extremists. The TTP has let loose a reign of terror in almost every nook and corner of Pakistan since 2007 in a bid to pressurize the PPP government to concede to its two basic demands of making Shariah the supreme law of the land and to end all ties with the United States.
In its latest move which comes in the wake of the brutal assassination of the ANP leader Bashir Bilour, the TTP has repeated almost the same demands, knowing well that the ANP was now pressing for a decisive military action against terrorist sanctuaries in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjoining tribal regions. The News.
ISLAMABAD/KHYBER AGENCY: After two days of suspension, the Torkham Border was reopened on Saturday for all kinds of movement, following assurance from Afghan officials that action will be taken against those who tortured Pakistani nationals. The border was sealed by Pakistan after repeated incidents of torture on Pakistan nationals returning from Afghanistan by Afghan security officials. In the latest such incident, two Pakistani drivers were beaten at Pol-e-Charkhi post No1 in Afghanistan by the Afghan troops. Providing the details, Wing Commander Colonel Mushtaq said that dialog between Pakistan and Afghanistan officials continued since Friday and Afghan officials not only assured that the culprits would be punished but also that no such incident would recur in future. According to Customs Additional Collector Saeed Jadoon, the two day closure affected customs tax recovery of 7 million dollars to Afghanistan and 20 million rupees to Pakistan. The Nation, Dawn, The News.
TIMERGARA: A students of class 9, who had sustained injuries in a bomb blast in Lower Dir, died after remaining in coma for 15 months at a local hospital on Saturday. Aurangzeb, a resident of Samarbagh, was injured in the bomb blast that ripped through a funeral prayer, killing 45 people. Aurangzeb had been admitted to a Peshawar hospital where he died on Saturday. App Daily Times.
BAJAUR AGENCY: The local administration of Bajaur tribal region has finalised the security arrangement for the upcoming anti-polio drive starting from December 31. One personnel of the Levies Force will be deployed with every polio team while female workers will not take part in the campaign, sources of the administration said. The decision was made at a meeting of the health officials with the officials of the local administration held here at Khar on Saturday. Political Agent Bajaur Abdul Jabar Shah, Agency Surgeon Dr Jehan Zeb Dawar. Representatives of world health organization, Unicef and others senior officials of the administration and the local health deportment were attended the meeting. The Nation, Dawn.
GHALANAI/SWABI: Lady health workers and other staff of anti-polio campaign have refused to carry out fieldwork in Mohmand tribal region and parts of Swabi district citing threats to their life after recent attacks on vaccination teams in Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Mohmand Agency, workers of 56 female polio teams have refused to go to field for vaccination. Field supervisor Dr Shabbir Khan told Dawn in Ghalanai on Saturday that female staff of 56 polio teams in Ekkaghund, Prang Ghar and Haleemzai areas had abandoned their work due to security reasons. He said that the workers were earlier advised not to go to field after attacks on polio workers.
In Swabi, lady health workers and other polio campaign staff said on Saturday that they would not resume their duty till provision of proper security to them during the upcoming three-day polio vaccination drive, commencing on January 14. Dawn, The News.
LANDIKOTAL: The security forces foiled a terrorist bid by defusing four remote-controlled bombs planted on a link road in Landikotal tehsil of Khyber Agency, officials said on Saturday. After receiving information, the bomb disposal unit officials rushed to Nekikhel area and defused the explosives. The bombs had been planted at a distance of a few yards from one another, the sources said. The authorities registered a case against unknown people. The News.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHARY