Pakistan News

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has advised President Mamnoon Hussain to approve the conferment of the Sitara-i-Shujaat and the Tamgha-e-Shujaat on those who were martyred in the Army Public School attack in December last year.

The decoration is intended to pay homage to those who were brutally murdered in the terrorist attacks on the school in Peshawar. The recipients include 122 students, two teachers and 20 staff members.

The Sitara-i-Shujaat (Order of Bravery) and the Tamgha-e-Shujaat (Medal of Bravery) are two of the highest-ranking civilian awards in Pakistan.

Past recipients of the Sitara-i-Shujaat include Malala Yousafzai and Dr. Parween Rehman, a human rights activist.

PESHAWAR: A 10th grade student of Peshawar's Army Public School (APS) succumbed to his injuries at the Combined Military Hospital on Saturday.

The student, Ishaq Ameen was shot in the head and face during the deadly attack on the Peshawar school on December 16, and had been in critical condition since, his brother Waqar said.

The death toll of the carnage now stands at 144, with 132 students among the dead, the Deputy Commissioner's office said.

The attack which was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) proved to be the deadliest terrorist attack in the country.

 

According to a senior security official, nine militants wearing paramilitary uniforms had scaled the rear wall of the school on Warsak Road with the aid of ladders, cut the barbed wire at the top of the wall and then ran onto the school premises firing their weapons and throwing grenades in several directions.

 

“There were nine of them. Six of them were suicide bombers; they blew themselves up and the others were taken down by soldiers of the Special Services Group,” the official had said.

Most of the victim students received bullets in the head and they were targeted from a point blank range by the attackers, according to the students and a minister.

“I saw 17 bodies at the CMH and all of them had received bullets in the head,” said a journalist who was covering the incident. He had said that some of the bodies were mutilated.

Ten children and a teacher injured in the Army Public School attack in Peshawar had landed in Karachi on Wednesday to seek further treatment at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi.

The decision to bring them to the port city was taken by the Shuhada-o-Ghazi Forum, a representative body of the parents of those who lost their lives in the school attack, to send 35 children to the Karachi for treatment.

After losing his son in the APS carnage, Mr Ali decided to create the forum comprising the grieving parents who he said wanted to take the situation in their control.

Speaking to Dawn, Mr Ali said the children and teachers would receive treatment at the orthopaedic and neurosurgery wards including plastic surgery needed for some students.

“Some students still have bullets in their bodies, some teachers still complain of feeling splinters in their back and hip bone, others need immediate neurosurgery as the required time to carry out such a surgery is running out,” he had said.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, he recalled, had announced on Feb 5 that the families of the injured would receive Rs1,500,000 for further treatment. “But we haven’t heard from them since then. At the same time, we don’t have time to wait for these promises to materialise, as some of these students need immediate help,” he added.

Shuhada-o-Ghazi Forum to lodge FIR against Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Khattak

 

The Shuhada-o-Ghazi forum announced on Saturday that a First Information Report (FIR) will be lodged against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, over their negligence in treatment for injured APS students.

Shortly after the death of Ishaq Ameen, Shuhada forum spokesman Ajoon Khan told media representatives that the wounded were not being treated properly which is why they are succumbing to the injuries.

"Why is the government not making arrangements to take our injured children abroad for treatment?" questioned Khan.

The spokesman said that a legal board is being constituted for drafting an FIR against the premier and KP chief minister.

CHARSADDA: A three-day polio campaign kicked off amid tight security arrangements on Monday in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda district.

According to a source, the drive is aimed at vaccinating 255,000 children across the district.

A total of 675 teams of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) have been designated for the campaign while 146 supervisors will be monitoring the district-wide drive which is to end Wednesday.

As part of the security measures taken up for a smooth execution of the drive, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Charsadda has imposed under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code a ban on the display of weapons and pillion-riding of motorbikes throughout the district.

According to sources, a total of 1,300 police personnel have also been employed to provide security to the polio teams as they carry out the drive.

As per a source, a four-day polio drive was also kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kohat district on Monday. A total of 640 policemen have been assigned the security of the polio teams.

Militant groups often attack polio teams as they see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage. There are also long running rumours about polio drops causing infertility.

Earlier on Saturday, unknown gunmen opened fire at a vehicle carrying a team of polio workers in Khyber Agency, killing the driver and leaving one polio volunteer injured.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Efforts to eradicate it have been seriously hampered by the deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared that Pakistan is responsible for nearly 80 per cent of polio cases reported globally and had imposed strict travel restrictions on Pakistan last year to prevent the possible spread of the polio virus to other countries.

اسٹاک ہوم بین الاقوامی رپورٹ کے مطابق پاکستان کو جوہری ٹیکنالوجی اور ہتھیاروں کے میدان میں بھارت پر برتری حاصل ہے۔ بین الاقوامی ادارے اسٹاک ہوم انٹرنیشنل پیس ریسرچ انسٹی ٹیوٹ کی طرف سے جاری تازہ ترین اعدادوشمارکے حوالے سے رپورٹ میں کہا گیاہے کہ 2013 میں دنیا کے ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کی مجموعی تعداد 17ہزار 270تھی جواب کم ہوکر 16ہزار 300پر آگئی ہے۔ دنیا کی 9 ایٹمی طاقتوں میں امریکا، روس، چین، پاکستان، بھارت، برطانیہ، فرانس، اسرائیل اور شمالی کوریاشامل ہیں۔ 1945میں پہلا ایٹمی تجربہ کرنے والاملک امریکا 7ہزار 300ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کا مالک ہے جن میں سے ایک ہزار920 ایٹمی ہتھیار میزائلوں اورفوجی اڈوں پرنصب ہیں۔امریکا نے 2013میں فوج پر 619ارب ڈالر کے قریب رقم خرچ کی جومجموعی عالمی فوجی اخراجات کا 37فی صد ہے۔ روس کے ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کی تعداد8 ہزار ہے جن میں سے 16سو ہتھیار نصب ہیں۔2013 میں روس نے فوجی اخراجات پر تقریباً 85 ارب ڈالرخرچ کیے۔ برطانیہ کے قبضے میں225 ایٹمی ہتھیار ہیں جن میں سے160نصب ہیں۔ 2013 میں برطانیہ کے فوجی اخراجات کی حجم تقریباً 58 ارب ڈالر رہا۔پاکستان کے ایڈیشنل سیکریٹری دفاع کے بیان کے مطابق 2013 میں پاکستان نے دفاعی اخراجات پر تقریباً 5 ارب70 کروڑ ڈالر خرچ کئے۔

PESHAWAR: Seventy-six suspected militants were killed in North Waziristan and 16 in Khyber Agency when planes pounded their hideouts in the two volatile regions on Tuesday, the military said.

“In a precise aerial strike in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan in the afternoon, 53 militants, including 12 foreigners, were killed. Six hideouts, an ammunition dump and seven explosives-laden vehicles were destroyed,” said an ISPR statement.

The jet fighters targeted militants’ positions in Kharh Tangi, some 35km west of the agency headquarters of Miramshah. Most of the foreigners killed were Uzbeks, military sources said.

 

In another strike in the same area later, 23 militants were killed, the ISPR claimed.

Since the area is off-limits to journalists, it is difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.

The jets continued shelling for about one hour, inflicting heavy losses on the militants, sources said.

TIRAH VALLEY: In Khyber Agency, at least 16 suspected militants were killed and 12 others injured when military planes pounded their hideouts in Tirah valley, according to security officials.

The air strikes were carried out in Therkho Kas, Wacha Wana, Sra Vella and Nakai areas, near the Afghan border. The officials claimed that those killed belonged to the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-i-Islam. Six militant hideouts were destroyed in the strikes. 

On Monday security officials had claimed that eight militants were killed in the same region.

KARACHI: The Afghan ambassador to Pakistan said on Saturday that his government was taking measures for the return of 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees from Pakistan in the shortest possible time.

“There is a three-way agreement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and all three signatories agree on voluntary, dignified and gradual return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan,” Afghan Ambassador Janan Mosazai told a group of journalists at the Afghan Consulate General in Karachi.

He said that his country was ‘incomplete in its essence’ without the homecoming of its people, who had to leave the country decades ago because of security conditions.

He said the Afghan government had welcomed five million of its refugees from Pakistan and Iran since 2002, which he described as the ‘largest return of refugees to their homeland in history’.

“It [refugees’ arrival] has slowed down for some time, but this issue is our key priority on which we fully focus. The fabric of the Afghan society is not complete without our refugee brothers and sisters. We are improving our environment to encourage their return so that they see no uncertain future and no shortage of basic amenities,” said Ambassador Mosazai.

He said he had met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Friday and thanked him for hosting a large number of Afghans with generosity for so many decades. “Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah gave us the assurance that his government in Sindh will treat Afghan refugees in a dignified and respectable manner until their full return home.”

He praised the leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement with whom he said he held a detailed discussion on economy, extremism and terrorism.

He said at present 1.6m registered Afghan refugees were residing in Pakistan, most of whom lived in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan while their number in Sindh was 65,000.

He, however, was not sure about the number of unregistered Afghan refugees, which he guessed might be between 400,000 and one million.

‘We don’t discriminate between good and bad terrorist’

He said that the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan were focused on cooperation to forge a common narrative against extremism and terrorism.

“There is a close engagement between the two countries to counter this menace and we are hopeful that our efforts will bear fruit in the coming months,” he said.

He said his government was engaged in the war against terrorism and made no distinction between militants.

“Afghan forces began their fight against militants in Kunar province four weeks ago and so far they have killed 200 militants. That proves the government’s clear and consistent policy that we don’t discriminate between good and bad terrorist. A terrorist is a terrorist.”

“We want to enhance cooperation between the two governments to forge a multi-faceted effort against terrorism. People of Afghanistan are the biggest victims of terrorism, so we welcome any measures to eradicate this menace,” said Ambassador Mosazai.

He complained that the Pakistani media accorded sparse coverage to terrorism in Afghanistan unlike the Afghan media, which broadly highlighted violent events in Pakistan. “It is in our own advantage not to go for a split narrative. The narrative of the two countries — the biggest victims of terrorism — should be single and common to fight it out successfully.”

Ambassador Mosazai said he held extensive meetings with the business leaders in Pakistan and discussed wide-ranging issues relating to trade cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

He said during the recent visit of President Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan substantive decisions were agreed upon in Islamabad.

He said Kabul would establish free economic zones in northern Afghanistan where Pakistani investors could set up their factories and industries.

He said his government desired full-scale increase in trade with Pakistan and hoped it could swell up from the current over $2 billion to $5bn.

ISLAMABAD: Federal Secretary of Water and Power Younus Thakkar on Sunday claimed the country-wide power breakdown was caused by militants who had blown up two transmission towers in Balochistan.

“Two transmission towers were blown up by miscreants in Sibi late on Saturday,” Thakkar said.

Early on Sunday, Pakistan had been plunged into darkness after a key power transmission line broke down. The power failure, one of the worst the country has experienced, caused electricity to be cut in major cities, including the capital Islamabad.

This was the fourth major breakdown of the system within the past one month plunging countless cities, towns and villages in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan into darkness. A substantial area in Sindh was affected, too.

The federal secretary said over 7,000MW of power had been restored and further work was underway to end the breakdown, which still extended into parts of Pakistan. He said the country was currently facing 4,000MW power shortage, and it was expected that the situation would normalise tomorrow (Monday).

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Thakkar admitted there had been a security lapse. He did however argue that it was impossible for the state to monitor transmission lines spread over thousands of kilometers.

Thakkar said it was time consuming to restore technical problems in the system as there was a single national grid station to supply power. He said steps were being taken to establish at least two alternate grid stations in the country.

Clarifying rumours about an acute shortage of furnace oil, Thakkar claimed an additional six days of stock was present and there was no fear of any power crisis at present.

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