BARA: At least 40 persons were killed in clashes between the Tirah-based banned organisation Ansarul Islam (AI) and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and shelling of warplanes on the positions of the latter on Friday, tribal sources said on Saturday. The sources said the clashes erupted between the two militant organisations early on Friday morning when dozens of TTP militants armed with mortars and rockets launched an attack on the positions of the AI west and north of Maidan from Arghenjo in the Orakzai Agency and Kukikhel area in Tirah valley. After a brief fight, the TTP captured three hilltops from the Kukikhel side, namely Kalawooch, Angori Sar and Drey Stani, and two positions from the Arghenjo side named Qismat Sangar and Sengakh Sar in the AI-controlled part of the valley, the sources said. The News, Dawn, The Nation.
PESHAWAR: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has shown eagerness in holding peace talks with the Pakistan government and stated the outfit is seeking ‘serious and powerful mediators’ who can freely negotiate on behalf of the army. Talking to rediff.com from an undisclosed location, TTP spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan said: “The government had made us an offer to come to the table for talks. We are serious about talks. But we will move after we see that our interlocutors are serious and the talks could be result-oriented.” He added, “We are ready for talks for the betterment of the Pakistani nation and for the sake of Islam. We have never rejected such offers in the past and we will never do so in the days ahead.” The Nation.
MARDAN: A private security guard was killed and two others sustained serious injuries when an explosive device planted next to the house of a well-known industrialist went off in the limits of Par Hoti Police Station on Friday evening, police and eyewitnesses said. Gul Shad, hailing from Nowshera, who is security in-charge at the house of Samiur Rehman Khan situated on the Mardan-Swabi Road, reported to the police that he along with other guards Musa Khan, Mehar Mohammad and Khair Mohammad were performing duty when the explosion took place at around 07:50pm. He said Musa Khan died on the spot while Mehar Mohammad and Khair Mohammad were seriously injured in the explosion. He said the injured were taken to the District Headquarters Hospital in Mardan. The News, Dawn, The Nation.
PARACHINAR: Unidentified persons robbed passengers and burnt their vehicles in Kurram Agency, tribal sources said on Saturday. The sources said that gunmen waylaid three passengers near Zara Mela in Masozai area. The gunmen then snatched cash and valuables from the passengers who were travelling from Khyber Agency to Sadda town. They also set the vehicles on fire. Talking to ‘The News’, one of the passengers Gulbat Khan said that around 100 armed men stopped their vehicles and deprived all the passengers of their valuables. He said the armed men also beat up the passengers.
Another passenger Asghar Khan said that Rs0.6million were snatched from him and also set on fire all the three vehicles. The News.
LONDON: The United Nations launched an inquiry on Thursday into the use of unmanned drones in counter-terrorism operations, after criticism of the number of innocent civilians killed by the aircraft. The inquiry, announced in London, will investigate 25 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories. Most attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles have been by the United States. Britain and Israel have also used them, and dozens more states are believed to possess the technology. “The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay, and its use in theatres of conflict is a reality with which the world must contend,” said inquiry leader Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights. “It is therefore imperative that appropriate legal and operational structures are urgently put in place to regulate its use in a manner that complies with the requirements of international law.” The News.
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtun-khwa Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Husain said the government is ready to talk with Taliban only for the sake of durable peace in the region. The provincial government has invited the Taliban with open heart for negotiations, he said and added that the Afghan Taliban were released on exchange of prisoners between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was speaking on Saturday at Wadudia Hall, Saidu Sharif on the occasion of the death anniversaries of Bacha Khan and Wali Khan, after distributing cheques among the injured persons of the Tableeghi Markaz. He said Masajid, Imambargahs, funeral places and schools were not safe from the scourge of terrorism. He hoped that the day was not far away when there would be complete peace in the region. He claimed that the Awami National Party achieved success in the last elections after rendering great sacrifices for the cause of democracy and peace and hoped that the party would again win the next polls. The News.
ISLAMABAD: The militants have blown up 839 schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Federal Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) from 2009 to 2012 with 81 schools destroyed in 2012 alone, study shows. The Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC) annual report shows that the militants have blown up 81 schools last year with 52 schools destroyed in KP and 29 in Fata. In KP, the most effected district was Swabi where 13 schools were destroyed which means that one school was destroyed in every month of the year. Charsadda comes after Swabi where militants destroyed 10 schools. The militants destroyed eight and five schools in Nowshera and Mardan districts respectively. Four schools were destroyed in Kohat, four in Laki Marwat, two in Dera Ismail Khan, two in Hangu, and one in Swat and one in Tank district. The News.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Unknown persons killed two tribesmen and dumped their bodies in the fields, local sources said on Saturday. They said that two tribesmen Faridullah and Irshad Khan hailing from the South Waziristan Agency left for a walk at night but did not return homes. The family members started search for them and found their bodies in the fields near Nasir Bagh Road. The News.
JALOZAI: Hamza rolled his beautiful eyes in sheer innocence as he cuddled to his father’s leg. He wore a sweater and a winter cap but his angelic face had turned rough due to biting cold. The little boy did not understand what his helpless father, Musafar Khan, was discussing. “Hamza was born here at the camp and now he has turned three years old,” his father said, indicating years-long stay at Jalozai camp which was established to provide temporary shelter to people displaced by military operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata. “My other two children were also born in this camp,” said the father of eight, worrying that the tented village was turning into a permanent abode for them. The News.
PESHAWAR: Unidentified gunmen on Friday injured two people and kidnapped a hotel’s manager in two separate incidents in the provincial capital. The incidents appeared to be sectarian in nature, though police didn’t confirm it on the record. A police official told Dawn that Ashiq Hussain from Parachinar and his friend, Fayyaz Khan from Kaga Wala in Peshawar’s Badbher area, suffered minor injures after a motorcyclist opened fire on them near Kohat Bus Stand at 10:30pm. When contacted, SHO of Bala Mani Police Station Ghaffar Khan said a man riding a motorcycle fired shots from his pistol on Ashiq and Fayyaz and fled. He said according to witnesses, the injured were attacked shortly after they left their workplace at Kohat Bus Stand for their room in a nearby hotel. The SHO said though Ashiq belonged to the Shia community, it had yet to be ascertained whether he was subjected to sectarian violence. Dawn.
NAWAF KHAN, SHARAFAT ALI CHAUDHARY