Irfan Haider

Oct 132017
Policeman killed, 3 others injured in Quetta firing

A policeman was martyred and three others, including a child, were injured when armed suspects opened fire on a police patrolling party in Quetta on Friday, police said.Constable Ali Muhammad was martyred in the attack that took place on Quetta's Faqeer Muhammad road while two other policemen were injured along with the child, police said.Following the incident, the injured were rushed to Quetta Civil Hospital where they were taken to the trauma center.Meanwhile, the suspects escaped unhurt, police added.Police and other law enforcement agencies personnel arrived at the site following the attack. Investigations into the incident are underway. There have been numerous attacks on security forces in Balochistan in the past few months.On September 4, three Frontier Corps (FC) personnel, including a lieutenant colonel, were martyred while three others were injured as unidentified attackers opened fire on their convoy in Balochistan's Washuk district.Earlier, on August 24, two FC soldiers lost their lives when militants ambushed a convoy of security personnel in the Dasht-i-Seyahloo area of Kech district.On August 14, seven personnel of the Frontier Corps lost their lives and three others injured in a bomb blast in the Khost area, about 150km northeast of Quetta, in Harnai district, and in firing in Panjgur district.An explosion near Quetta's Pishin Stop on the night of August 12 claimed at least 15 lives and left at least 32 injured.At the time, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said that an on-duty security vehicle was targeted in the blast, adding that 10 security officials [Read More…]

Oct 132017
US pulls out of Unesco over ‘anti-Israel’ bias

UNITED NATIONS: The United States has announced it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation, accusing the body of “anti-Israel bias”.A US State Department spokesperson said the US would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.Irina Bokova, Unesco’s outgoing director-general, said she “deeply regrets” the decision and is convinced that “Unesco has never been so important for the US, or the US for Unesco” given the rise of what she called violent extremism and terrorism in the world.The decision demonstrates the US administration’s “complete and total bias” towards Israel, says Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party comprising secular intellectuals.Read: Palestine in UnescoBarghouti said it is “as if Israel is dictating US policy not only in the Middle East but also in international organisations. That’s going to have a very harmful effect on the idea the US being a mediator between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”In 2011 when Unesco members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel, the US stopped paying into Unesco but did not officially withdraw. The US opposes any move by UN bodies to recognise Palestine as a state, believing that this must await a negotiated Middle East peace deal.Unesco is best known for its work to preserve heritage, including maintaining a list of World Heritage sites, and programmes to promote education in developing countries.“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at [Read More…]

Oct 062017
Death toll from Jhal Magsi blast climbs to 21

The death toll from Thursday's deadly suicide bombing in Jhal Magsi rose to 21 after another victim succumbed to his injuries at Larkana Hospital on Friday, DawnNews reported.Several people, including a police constable, had died on Thursday in the attack, which occurred at the entrance of the Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a small town in the Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan. A First Information Report was lodged against unidentified persons by Station House Officer at the Gandawah police station, an officer who wished to remain anonymous told Dawn on Friday. Security agencies and police are investigating the incident.Deputy Commissioner Jhal Magsi Asadullah Kakar said on Friday that the victims of the blast, including the police constable, had been buried in different parts of the district amid tight security. Currently, nine people are under treatment in the Larkana Hospital while 14 are admitted at Gandawah District Headquarters Hospital. A dozen patients, who had received minor injuries, were discharged from Gandawah Hospital after receiving treatment. One injured woman had been shifted to the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi.The deputy commissioner assured that the hospitals are taking "good care" of the injured.The bombing was the second deadly attack on a shrine in Pakistan in 2017. In February this year, another suicide bomber had killed more than 80 people and injured more than 250 in an attack targeting the busy Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh.This was also the second attack on the Pir Rakhel Shah shrine. On March 19, 2005, [Read More…]

Oct 062017
Important information uncovered in relation to Karachi knife attacks, says CM Sindh

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah on Friday said that an important clue had been found in relation to the knife attacks on women in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Karachi, and that police had reason to believe that two suspects were involved in the attacks.Since last week, fear has gripped residents of Gulistan-i-Jauhar after multiple reports of at least one attacker stabbing women in the area with a sharp object.The police have launched a manhunt and an investigation into the motivation and identity of the attacker.Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered ─ two at the Sharea Faisal police station and one at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station ─ on the complaint of three women who said that they had been attacked by a lone "knife-wielding" motorcyclist.Speaking to the media on Friday, the chief minister said that there is a reason to believe that two suspects ─ one from Sahiwal in Punjab and the other from Karachi ─ are involved in the attacks.Expressing hope that the real criminal will soon be put behind bars, Shah added that both suspects are yet to be arrested. "We will not let anyone to play with the law," Shah added.A day earlier, after police claimed to have made a key arrest in the case, another woman was stabbed and injured in Gulistan-i-Jauhar in the evening despite a heavy deployment of police at more than two dozen spots.The 28-year-old woman, identified as Tahira Bano, was stabbed and wounded by a lone attacker riding a motorbike [Read More…]

Oct 052017
Another woman stabbed in Karachi despite police claim of ‘important arrest’ in knife attacks

RESIDENTS of Gulistan-i-Jauhar protest against the spate of knife attacks targeting women in their locality on Thursday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star KARACHI: As the city police chief on Thursday claimed to have made a key arrest in the mysterious ‘knifeman’ attacks in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal, another woman was stabbed and injured in Gulistan-i-Jauhar in the evening despite heavy deployment of police at more than two dozen spots.Gulshan SP Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto told Dawn that the 28-year-old woman, identified as Tahira Bano, was stabbed and wounded by the “lone” attacker riding a motorbike in the busy Rado Bakery area. She was admitted to a private hospital for treatment.These incidents have sowed fear in women in the localities. Women’s rights activists staged protests and criticised the law enforcement agency and political administration for their failure to arrest the perceived lone attacker.On Wednesday alone six women, including two teenage girls, were stabbed and injured by the mysterious attacker in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal, bringing the total number of such reported attacks to 12 in a week or so. Women defy fear, lambaste police, govt inefficiency The incidents have not only emerged as a serious challenge for the police but have also prompted political activists to question the effectiveness of the Pakistan Peoples Party government.The attacks also triggered reaction from PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who said: “PPP will not tolerate [these] attacks on innocent women. These terrorists are challenging our nation by attacking our women.” He told Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to summon [Read More…]

Oct 042017
4 more women attacked by 'knifeman' in Karachi, say police

Four more women were stabbed and injured by the "knifeman" in Karachi in the vicinity of Aziz Bhatti and Shahrah-e-Faisal police stations on Wednesday, bringing the official number of victims to 10, a police spokesperson told Dawn.Fear and panic prevailed among the residents of the area as police authorities fail to arrest ostensibly a lone attacker who has been on a stabbing spree since last week in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and adjoining areas.Fear gripped residents after reports surfaced of a “knife attacker” targeting women in the area. Subsequently, the police had launched a manhunt and an investigation into the motive and identity of the attacker.The latest attacks come after the Karachi East-Zone Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sultan Ali Khowaja announced that police officials were deployed in at least 30 points in Gulistan-i-Jauhar along with decoy teams in order to prevent the attacks and arrest the culprit, a day before. According to the police, a woman was stabbed near Millenium Mall in the Gulistan-i-Jauhar area. Another woman was attacked at Aziz Bhatti Park in Gulshan-i-Iqbal. Both attacks occurred in the jurisdiction of the Aziz Bhatti police station.A third woman was attacked in Gulshan-i-Jamal that falls under the Shahrah-e-Faisal police station.The fourth incident was reported in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, where a 13-year old girl was stabbed and injured.She was taken to Jinnah hospital for treatment. The hospital’s executive director, Dr Seemin Jamali said that the girl sustained minor stab wounds on her back.Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the continued attacks on women [Read More…]

Oct 042017
Pakistan pursues zero-tolerance approach against all militants, Asif tells Tillerson

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif raised the issue of United States's South Asia Policy with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and told him that Islamabad has pursued a zero-tolerance and indiscriminate approach in its campaign against "all terrorist and militant groups", read a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday.Pakistan and the US shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large, the foreign minister maintained. The minister pointed out that Pakistan has been making achievements in its war against terrorism."In contrast to other countries, the incidences of terrorism in Pakistan has seen a marked decline — with a salutary impact on economic and commercial activity," Asif was quoted as saying."This was made possible because Pakistan has pursued a zero-tolerance and indiscriminate approach in its campaign against all terrorist and militant groups." The foreign minister informed the US Secretary of State about the strong public reaction in Pakistan regarding the pronouncement of the US Administration’s South Asia Policy, which Asif said was based on "inadequate recognition of Pakistan’s sterling contribution in the fight against terrorism." In addition to huge human and material cost incurred by Pakistan, Asif said, "Our cultural ethos as a moderate state had suffered due to protracted instability in Afghanistan."Secretary Tillerson acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism, said the press release. He agreed that cooperation between Pakistan and the US in Afghanistan was crucial to achieving durable peace and stability in the region. "Pakistan’s [Read More…]

Oct 042017
'Missing' Karachi University professor returns home

A faculty member of the University of Karachi (KU) who had gone missing and was believed to be in custody of law enforcement agencies returned home on Wednesday, his family and KU officials told Dawn.Dr Ismaeel Aarfi, an assistant professor in the university's faculty of Islamic Studies, had been whisked away from Gulshan-e-Maymar in the early hours of September 15.Sources in KU told Dawn that, during his detention, the teacher was asked for information regarding "certain persons" and was shown some pictures of people he did not know.Meanwhile, Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) President Dr Shakeel Farooqi in a statement on Wednesday announced that the teachers of KU and Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) would observe a ‘black day’ on Friday across the country against the detention of the teacher.The KUTS chief alleged that Dr Ismaeel was taken away by personnel of a paramilitary force.“It is so heart-breaking and disappointing that a respected and noble university professor is whisked away by Rangers from his home and set free [a] couple of weeks later,” KUTS's press statement read. “Something is wrong here and that has to be straightened out.”KUTS is also consulting lawyers and lawmakers to move a court of law for appropriate legal action against such incidents, the statement read.“Teachers condemn the arrest of Dr Ismaeel Aarfi and vowed to react strongly to any such incident if [it] occurs in [the] future,” according to the statement jointly issued by KUTS and FAPUASA. Click for detailed story

Oct 032017
3 terrorists convicted by military courts executed in KP: ISPR

Three terrorists tried and convicted by military courts were executed at a jail in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The convicts were "involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including [an] attack on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane at Peshawar Airport, killing of civilians, attacking the armed forces and law enforcement agencies," the ISPR handout read.The details of the convicts provided by ISPR are as follows: Sajid s/o Ibrahim Khan: The convict was a member of proscribed organisation. He was involved in firing on a PIA plane landing at Peshawar Airport which resulted in death of a woman and injuries to two other passengers. He was also involved in killing of innocent civilians and attacking LEAs, which resulted in death of a man identified as Pir Israr, along with eight of his family members, a civilian Niaz Gul, Assistant Sub Inspector Sajid Khan and injuries to civilians and police officials. The convict was in possession of fire arms and explosives. He admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded a death sentence. Behram Sher s/o Khairan: The convict was a member of proscribed organisation. He was involved in destruction of the Government Girls Primary School as well as attacking army personnel, which resulted in the death of a soldier and injuries to 2 other soldiers. He was also in possession of explosives. The convict admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded a [Read More…]

Oct 032017
Petition challenging Election Act 2017 submitted in Supreme Court

The Election Act 2017, which paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to promptly be re-elected president of the ruling PML-N, was challenged in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.A petition, filed under Article 184/3 of the Constitution, states that the bill "is against the basic spirit of the Constitution". "A party leader controls voting in the National Assembly, as Article 63A of the Constitution states that an MNA can be disqualified if he or she votes against the official party line," the petition argues. Until the bill stands as law "a disqualified person will continue to control the basic business of the National Assembly", which can be dangerous for the country, the petitioner, Advocate Zulfiqar Bhutta, has argued.He has urged the SC to declare the bill null and void and without legal effect. The government on Monday had bulldozed an amended Election Bill 2017 through the Lower House of parliament despite strong protests from opposition lawmakers.The bill, subsequently signed into law, features a controversial amendment that will allow politicians disqualified from holding public office to head a political party.Opposition lawmakers had protested loudly against the bill's passage, seeing it as a law designed to accommodate a single individual — ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.Sharif was on Tuesday elected unopposed as PML-N president. Click for detailed story

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