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PAKISTAN: News Briefs

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Operation Zarb-e-Azb to continue till elimination of last terrorist, says President Mamnoon Husaain: President Mamnoon Hussain on April 29 said that the Zarb-e-Azb operation was progressing successfully and would continue till complete elimination of the last terrorist. The President said that the government was committed to bring Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) at par with other areas of the country by completing ongoing development projects and providing socio-economic amenities to improve the standard of life of the people. Daily Times, April 30, 2016.

Religious seminaries boom in absence of Government checks, says report: According to a report in Dawn on April 29 (today), the number of madrassas (Islamic seminaries) in the country, as well as the number of students enrolled in them, has been on the rise. Even though seminary boards offer different reasons for the growing number of students and institutions in the country, the administrators of all five mainstream seminary boards believe that a lack of a clear policy was augmenting negative growth as well. Dawn, April 29, 2016.


PAC leader Uzair Jan Baloch confesses to murdering 198 people: The Lyari gangster Uzair Jan Baloch, leader of the People's Amn Committee (PAC), on April 27 confessed his involvement in at least 198 murders, according to an unnamed Rangers official. Investigators reveal that Baloch has made several startling disclosures before the joint interrogation team. Tribune, April 28, 2016.

1,025 militants surrendered in Balochistan during past year, claims Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Akbar Hussain Durrani: Under the political reconciliation scheme launched in Balochistan, at least 1,025 militants, belonging to various outfits, have surrendered before the Provincial Government during the past year, said Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs, Akbar Hussain Durrani on April 26. Among the surrendered militants are a dozen key militant 'commanders', who have laid down their arms before provincial officials. "Those who surrendered under the reconciliation police were paid a sum of Rs0.5 million," he said. Dawn, April 27, 2016.

2015 taxing year for Ahmadis in Pakistan, says JA Annual Report: According to Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya (JA) annual report released on April 25, the year 2015 proved to be yet another taxing year for the Ahmadi community in Pakistan. Over the year, two Ahmadis were killed, the houses of scores of others were set ablaze and a concerted anti-Ahmadiyya campaign continued relentlessly, the report stated. Tribune, April 27, 2016.

'Will drag Pakistan to UN over Taliban', warns Afghan President Ashraf Ghani: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani on April 25 warned that he would lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) if Pakistan refuses to take military action against Taliban 'commanders' operating from its soil to wage insurgency across Afghanistan. "I want to make it clear that we do not expect Pakistan to bring the Taliban to talks," Ghani said during the joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Times of India, April 26, 2016.

Senators give call for 'full-fledged' military operation in Punjab: Speaking on adjournment motions regarding the "terrible incident of suicide blast in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, Lahore" on March 27, 2016, the Senators on April 21 called for a full-fledged military operation on militants' hideouts in Punjab. Initiating the debate, Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) parliamentary leader, Saeed Ghani, recalled that before this incident, the Punjab Government had always opposed a military operation, claiming that there were no organised militant groups in the province. He said the incident had proved the existence of terrorist groups in Punjab. Dawn, April 22, 2016.

Terrorists driven out of NWA and combing operations to be launched in rest of Pakistan, says CoAS General Raheel Sharif: Terrorists have been driven out of their last bastion in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the military said on April 18, announcing the completion of the final phase of Zarb-e-Azb operation and launching of "combing operations" in areas other than FATA. The Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif emphasised on consolidating the gains and resettling the TDPs (Temporary Displaced Persons) in their areas to the best of our abilities, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement. Tribune, April 20, 2016.

ISI with Haqqani Network facilitated the 2009 suicide attack on CIA in Afghanistan, reveals US declassified document: According to a declassified United States (US) Government document obtained by National Security Archive, a non-governmental research institute at George Washington University, a Pakistani intelligence officer paid USD 200,000 to an extremist network to facilitate a suicide bomb attack on Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives on Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost District of Afghanistan on December 30, 2009. The heavily redacted document suggests that Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, and the Haqqani Network were involved in facilitating the attack. Tribune, April 16, 2016.

Pakistan given USD 13 billion for war on terror since 9/11, Defence Secretary Alam Khattak told the Parliament: Defence Secretary Alam Khattak while briefing the Senate Committee on defence told the Parliament on April 15 that Pakistan received at least USD 13 billion from the United States (US) since the September 11, 2001 (also known as 9/11) attacks for logistic and other support in the war against terrorism. Khattak said that his country got "USD 13 billion under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) since 9/11", while another USD 200 million is due to be reimbursed by the US. Times of India, April 16, 2016.

Surge in civilian casualties in Balochistan worries HRCP: Concerned over reports of an increase in civilian casualties from the Johan area of Kalat District and the Isplingi area of Mastung District allegedly as a result of an operation by Security Forces, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Zohra Yusuf said on April 12 that the authorities needed to ensure excessive force was not being used, as it would further alienate the people of Balochistan. The recent increase in casualties from these two areas being reported at the Quetta's Civil Hospital has become a cause of concern for the HRCP whose representatives say it is difficult to identify those getting killed in the military operation due to its inaccessibility to rights activists. Dawn, April 13, 2016.

49 militants and two civilians among 52 persons killed during the week in Balochistan: Security Forces (SFs) on April 9 claimed to have killed 34 suspected militants, including a key 'commander', in the Kalat District. One security force official was killed while two others sustained injuries during the exchange of fire.

SFs claimed to have killed 15 militants during a raid in the Johan area of Kalat District on April 6. Daily Times , Dawn , The News , Tribune, April 6-11, 2016.

JuD runs parallel Sharia'h court in Punjab, says report: The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jama'at-ud-Dawa (JuD) 'chief' Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has set up a Sharia'h (Islamic law) court in Lahore, capital of Punjab Province, to dispense "speedy justice", taking up citizens' complaints and issuing summons carrying a warning of strict action in case of non-compliance. The JuD claimed the court only offers arbitration and resolves disputes in accordance with the Islamic judicial system, but failed to justify the summons. This is the first such parallel judicial system in Punjab province. Dawn, April 8, 2016.

252 militants killed; 640 square kilometers of area cleared in Shawal Valley so far in the last phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, says Army: Since the last phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb kicked off on February 27, at least 252 militants have been killed and 160 severely injured, while Security Forces (SFs) have cleared 640 square kilometres of so far uncontrolled area in Shawal Valley of North Waziristan Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on April 3. Major terrorist hubs in Mana, Gurbaz, Lataka, Inzarkas and Magrotai areas have been cleared of militants, the ISPR said. Daily Times, April 4, 2016.

92 militants killed during last four months, says Provincial Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti: Security Forces (SFs) have killed 92 militants, including a key 'commander', and have conducted 417 targeted operations in the province during the last four months, said Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti on April 1. "Security forces in the province have also seized more than 10,000 kilograms of explosives and other arms and ammunition," said Bugti. He added that during the last four months, 22 Frontier Corps (FC) personnel have been killed and 65 others have been injured. Dawn, April 2, 2016.

[Source: SATP]

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