Jan 092018
Pakistan has suspended military and intelligence cooperation with US: defence minister

Worsening relations Pakistan has suspended military and intelligence cooperation with the United States in the wake of US President Donald Trump's allegation that Pakistan has given the US "nothing but lies and deceit" and suspension of security aid for Pakistan, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said while addressing a gathering at Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday.Speaking during a seminar titled 'Contours of Security Environment of Pakistan', Khan said the US is facing defeat in Afghanistan despite spending billions of dollars. He alleged that the US is using Pakistan as a 'scapegoat' for its failures in Afghanistan. "Pakistan does not want to put a price on its sacrifices but wants them to be recognised," the defence minister said, adding that Pakistan will not allow Afghanistan's war to be fought on Pakistani territory.Khan also said that the US is busy in a blame game against Pakistan rather than providing it with assistance to secure the Pak-Afghan border. Answering a question on the occasion, the minister said that Pakistan took the right steps by blocking Nato supplies to Afghanistan in the aftermath of 2011 attack at Salala check post. But Pakistan is not taking the same route after Trump's recent tirade as it is a "leverage we want to use at the appropriate time", he clarified.The defence minister said Iran, China and Russia are as important to the region as the US and reaffirmed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif's statement signalling that the alliance between Pakistan and the US is over. [Read More…]

Jan 092018
Senators express displeasure over 'presidential pardon' for convicted Rangers personnel

Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday expressed grave concern over reports of a presidential pardon granted to Rangers personnel convicted in the 2011 Sarfraz Shah murder case. On Sunday, a section of media had reported that the president had granted pardon to five convicted Rangers personnel, namely Shahid Zafar, Muhammad Afzal Khan, Baha-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Tariq and Manthar Ali. However, Dawn had found that the provincial authorities concerned have yet to receive an official confirmation of the president’s pardon.Senator Farhatullah Babar nonetheless termed the development a "cruel joke" as he highlighted the issue. "Official sources quoted in the media reports lent the news credibility," Babar added.He had especially asked the chairperson's permission to discuss the matter after the conclusion of the meeting's agenda."This is an unacceptable affront to the rights of victims and their families. Are uniformed personnel given the license to brandish guns and kill innocent people at will and with impunity?" he asked.He said that he was unable to forget the "terrified young man beseeching his killers to not take his life with folded hands, and the sadistic pleasure writ large on the man's face as he pulled the trigger." "The images of this shameful incident will continue to shake the nation's conscience for years to come," he said, adding that a presidential pardon handed to the convicts "will only make the shameful images more horrifying." The senator also worried that pardoning the convicts without the victim's family's consent would further embolden law enforcement [Read More…]

Jan 092018
7 killed as suicide bomber targets police truck on Quetta's Zarghoon Road

Quetta's security challenges At least seven people were killed on Quetta's Zarghoon Road when a suicide bomber rammed into a parked police truck on Tuesday, injuring 16 people, police said. Five policemen and two passers-by were among those killed, Inspector General of Balochistan Police Moazzam Jah Ansari told reporters. He said eight policemen were injured in the attack. Volunteers move the body of a policeman at the site of the suicide bomb attack in Quetta. — AFP According to Associated Press, the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying a suicide bomber targeted a police contingent returning from duty at the provincial assembly building. IG Ansari said the suicide bomber had walked up to the scene and blew himself up near the back of the police truck. He said the earlier impression that the attacker could have travelled to the truck on a motorcycle was not correct.Bomb Disposal Squad officials said 10 kilograms of explosives had been used in the attack. Most deaths occurred due to the impact from ball bearings and pellets stored in the bomber's suicide jacket, said the IG.IG Ansari while talking to reporters said he could "tell in advance" that the suicide bomber must have come from across the Afghan border, as DNA tests showed suicide bombers involved in previous attacks in Quetta were foreign nationals too.He said the terrorists had targeted police in the attack and not the Balochistan Assembly, which is in the same area, as the blast occurred an hour [Read More…]

Jan 092018
No court can try dictators in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif tells lawyers

"No court that can try a dictator has ever come into existence in Pakistan," ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, himself sent packing by the Supreme Court, complained to a group of lawyers gathered at Punjab House, Islamabad on Tuesday.Claiming that that he had been "persecuted" over the years and "pushed towards revolt", Sharif drew parallels between what he considers to be his own 'cornering' by the state and the events that led to the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan. "[Former Bangladesh prime minister] Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was not a rebel, but was made into one," Sharif remarked, referring to the tragic consequences that followed the state's refusal to allow a popularly elected leader to hold the prime minister's office.This is not the first time Sharif has invoked the spectre of 1971 ever since he was unceremoniously ousted from power by the Supreme Court's Panamagate decision. But "I want to forget all these wounds," he remarked. "I don't want to take them to a point where my emotions get out of my control." "What has been done to me, and to all the elected prime ministers in this country's history, is not correct," he continued. "What kind of return for service to the nation is this?" Demanding an end to the usurpation of democratically-elected governments, he asked that those involved in behind-the-scenes manipulation of the political order "repent for their sins and ask for forgiveness from the nation."Returning to the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan, the thrice-ousted prime minister said: "The [Read More…]

Jan 072018
Karachi citizen runs over suspected robbers in Jauhar, killing one

A citizen in Karachi on Sunday ran over two suspected robbers as they tried to flee after allegedly looting him, killing one and injuring the other.Police said Tariq Javed was looted by two men on a motorcycle as he came out of an ATM in Gulistan-i-Jauhar's Block 1. Javed followed the robbers in his car and rammed into them, killing one and injuring the other, a station house officer said as he recorded the citizen's statement.Javed, a student at an engineering university, said that the men had stolen his cellphone and Rs4,000. A police officer on duty at the site of the incident said that the money and cellphone had been recovered from the possession of the robbers. He added that police are checking to see whether the robbers have a criminal record.Last month, a citizen Mariam Nadir was rewarded by the Rangers for running over robbers on a bike and injuring them while she was in a car in Nazimabad.In a similar incident in 2016, Inspector General (IG) Sindh A.D. Khowaja offered a cash reward to a citizen who shot two suspected robbers dead. On the occasion, the IGP persuaded Karachi's citizens to make similar efforts to help police fight crimes in the metropolis. Click for detailed story

Jan 062018
'Missing' Karachi University students return home after two days

Two days after they were allegedly 'picked up' by men in plain clothes and in police uniform, a Karachi University student and his younger brother returned home on Saturday, a family member confirmed. A second KU student who had also gone missing also returned home.Mumtaz Sajidi, 22, a final-year student of the KU international relations department, and his 18-year-old brother, intermediate student Kamran Sajidi, were whisked away from their home in Madhu Goth off University Road in a pre-dawn raid on Thursday. They hail from Balochistan.On the same day, Saif Dada Baloch, an MPhil student of agriculture sciences at KU, was also taken away from his home in Madhu Goth.“All I can say that my both brothers, Mumtaz and Kamran have returned home,” said their brother, Naeem Sajidi in a brief conversation with Dawn.“They were both were safe,” he added, without elaborating further.Saif Dada Baloch has also returned to his home in Madhu Goth, Naeem added.The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had expressed serious concerns over the kidnapping incidents and demanded the production of the young students in court.“So far we know that Mumtaz was only participating in demonstrations. You cannot spot people only for raising voice for any action they believe is not right. It’s an alarming trend and we demand the immediate recovery of these youngsters. The fresh incidents would not help anyone’s cause, but it would worsen the already fragile situation,” said Asad Iqbal Butt of the HRCP. Click for detailed story

Jan 062018
Sindh asks federal govt to replace A.D. Khowaja with Dasti as IG

Tug of war between Khowaja, Sindh govt The Sindh government on Saturday once again asked the federal government to post Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new police chief to replace Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja.It proposed a panel of three grade-22 officers to the Establishment Division for appointment to the post including, in order of seniority, Dasti, retired Capt Arif Nawaz and Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak.However, the Sindh government's letter to the Centre noted that Nawaz and Lak have been recently been posted as IG Punjab and additional director general Intelligence Bureau, respectively. It said both police officers' transfers and postings will be affected by tenure limitations set out by the Supreme Court in the Anita Turab case.It further said that Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak has previously never been posted in Sindh and hence lacks experience about the "dynamics of this province".The provincial government therefore deduces that Dasti is the only grade-22 officer who can be considered for appointment to the post of Sindh police chief.According to the letter, the Sindh cabinet has approved the posting of Dasti as IG Sindh, and he should therefore replace the incumbent IG A.D. Khowaja, a grade-21 officer. On December 30, the provincial cabinet had agreed to remove Khowaja from his post and put forward a panel of three PSP officers to the federal government to consider them for the post. The three names included Sardar Abdul Majeed PSP (BS-22), Ghulam Qadir Thebo PSP (BS-21), and Dr Kaleem Imam PSP (BS-21).However, the [Read More…]

Jan 062018
Man allegedly murders nephew over ‘honour’ in Karachi

Honour killings continue despite new law A 30-year-old man was allegedly murdered by his maternal uncle last month in Karachi’s Saeedabad area in what police suspect to be a case of 'honour killing', it emerged on Saturday.Ghulam Mustafa was found stabbed to death on a street in Saeedabad area on December 12, said West Zone-SSP (Investigation) Zeeshan Shafiq Siddiqi.During initial probe, the relatives of the victim told investigators that a maternal uncle of Mustafa, who lived in the same street, has been missing since then and his mobile phone was also shut.The police treated him as a suspect and with help of modern technology managed to arrest him from Lahore.During interrogation, the held suspect “confessed” that he killed his nephew on the suspicion that he (the nephew) allegedly had illicit ties with his wife, revealed SSP Siddiqi.Honour killings continue despite new law Scores of young women and some men in Pakistan are still being murdered by relatives for bringing shame on their family, a year since new laws came into force aimed at stemming the flow of 'honour killings'.The shocking murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch, allegedly by her brother in July 2016, turned the spotlight on an epidemic of murders in the name of honour and sparked a fresh push to close loopholes allowing the killers to walk free.In October 2016, a joint sitting of both houses of parliament passed two key pro-women bills that had been pending assent for a long time.The move at that time was [Read More…]

Jan 062018
Some forces want to 'wrap up' democratic set-up before Senate elections: Ahsan Iqbal

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has expressed the fear that some elements are attempting to undo the democratic set-up of the country ahead of the Senate elections scheduled to be held in March.Voicing his concerns during an interview with DawnNews on Saturday, Iqbal, without naming any institution, held "certain forces" responsible for the prevailing "uncertainty" and political crises in the country."There are some vibes that some forces are trying to wrap up the democratic set-up in the country before the Senate elections," he said. He said that the country is facing threats now more than ever in its history. "Unfortunately at a time when Pakistan is facing immense threats on the external front, the country's political dynamics are showing some very negative signs," he added. "We are trying to make PPP and other political parties realise that we need unity against the external threats," the minister said adding that it was not the time for sit-ins. The minister warned that politics of agitation and sit-ins would strengthen the agenda of US President Donald Trump against Pakistan.Talking about the looming political crises in Balochistan where some lawmakers have launched a no-confidence drive against the provincial chief minister, Iqbal said resignations from Balochistan were rendered under duress. Referring to his recent visit to the province, he claimed that lawmakers in Balochistan had informed him that they were being "pressurised". "Whoever is doing this is not serving the country, it would weaken the country and strengthen Trump's agenda," he remarked. He vowed that the [Read More…]

Jan 062018
Afghan deputy governor abducted in Peshawar is released

An Afghan official abducted in Peshawar last October has been freed by his captors and returned home. Qazi Mohammad Nabi Ahmadi, the deputy governor of Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, was kidnapped while visiting a doctor in Peshawar, near the border. No one has claimed the kidnapping, and it's unclear who abducted him. Ahmadi is a member of the Hezb-e-Islami party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former warlord who fought in the 1990s civil war and recently made peace with the Kabul government. Zardasht Shams, Afghanistan's deputy ambassador in Islamabad, said on Saturday that Ahmadi had rejoined his family in Kunar. He said the official's brother, Habibullah, who was also abducted, remains missing. The family has been approached for ransom, but it's unclear whether any has been paid. Click for detailed story

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