Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Terrorists wants to destabilize country


KARACHI: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said terrorists’ want to destablise the country as they are facing defeat in Swat and FATA.

Talking to media here, Malik said after extremists after facing defeat in Swat and FATA, militants are dispersing in the cities. Baitullah Mehsud had threatened to carryout the blast.

He said investigations of Lahore blast underway and it is difficult to reach conclusion at the moment. Bajuaur Agency has been cleared and other areas would also be cleared soon.

Interior minister has warned the militants to lay down their arms otherwise they will be eradicated. Operation will be continued till the elimination of last terrorist.

About displaced persons, Malik said the people of Swat and Mingora are Pakistanis and they are free to go wherever they want across the country. The situation in troubled areas will soon bring under control inshallah. Malik has praised the security arrangements made by Sindh and Punjab forces.

Lahore suicide blast


LAHORE: The suicide car bomb blast at Rescue-15 building adjacent to CCPO Office killed 23 people and injured over 300 others here in Civil Line area on Wednesday.

The injured have been shifted to different hospitals of the city where medical aid is being provided to them.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the blast.

According to sources, gunshots were being heard near the blast site for minutes before a speeding red van laden with explosives broke the barriers outside the Rescue-15 building and blew up with a loud blast, bringing down the entire building.

The suicide bomber intended to target the office of the CCPO, sources added.

Explosives weighing 100 kilograms were used in the explosion which was followed by gunshots in the area with intervals while four suspects were arrested from the blast site.

Windowpanes of the nearby buildings and houses were shattered and 15 vehicles were destroyed as thick smoke clouded the blast site.


Rescue activities were kick-started after the blast and the injured were whisked away by ambulances to Meo, Gangaram and Services hospitals.

Machines are being used to recover people trapped under the debris. Six of the ten bodies brought to Meo Hospital were of policemen while two bodies are beyond recognition.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kayani visits SWAT

Two militants and as many villagers were killed in a clash between Taliban fighters and residents in the Kalam Valley of Swat while the military claimed killing ìa number of terrorists, including a commanderî during the last 24 hours.

Security forces have retaken this town, also the district headquarters, during the current operation.

The Army chief met the commanders and troops taking part in the operation and reviewed progress made in military foray into Buner. In Swat, security forces continued operation against the Maulana Fazlullah-led militants in Peuchar, Kanju, Takhtaband, Barikot and Odigram.

A few militants were killed and three soldiers were injured during clashes in the area. Gunfire was still taking place between the troops and militants. Security forces have secured the area up to Shahid Khapa.

The Taliban sources insisted that Muslim Khan was alive. Seven suspected militants were also arrested on Thursday.

Fierce fighting took place in Kanju and Takhtaband in which, the ISPR said, a number of militants were killed while five soldiers were also killed and four others were injured. Security forces were strengthening their positions around Takhtaband Bridge in Barikot, Gokdara and Odigram areas of the valley. Moreover, there were reports of clashes between the militants and villagers in Kalam, a beautiful valley north of the Mingora city. The residents refused to do so which led to clashes between the villagers and militants, in which two militants and as many villagers were killed.

SANA adds: With security forces making big gains on the ground and seizing control of more strongholds, the TTP Swat is reaching out for Uzbek and Tajik militants, operating from North and South Waziristan, for help.

ìWe have traced conversation between the Taliban commanders in which the commander of the Swat Taliban is appealing to his counterpart in Waziristan to send Uzbek and Tajik fighters as Army is rapidly gaining ground in traditional strongholds of the Taliban in Swat,î a senior intelligence official told IslamOnline, wishing not to be named.

The intelligence official claimed the help appeal was made by Ibne Aqeel, the operational commander of the Swat Taliban.ì(In conversation), Ibne Aqeel admitted that the militants have conceded severe losses at the hands of security forces and have gone on a defensive position,î he said.

ìWe cannot say with authority at the moment that if these foreign militants will join the Taliban fighting in Swat, but we are fully prepared,î he said, adding ìAdditional troops have been sent to the bordering areas of South and North Waziristan to tackle the foreign militants if they try to move towards Swat.î

Donors moot

Pakistan on Thursday received pledges of $224 million for relief and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons (IPDs) during a donors’ meeting.

However, the United Nations is to flash on Friday an appeal to the world, seeking about $500-600 million, said Minister of State for Economic Affairs Division Hina Rabbani Khar, who was accompanied by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, at a press briefing.

To a question, she said aid for the IDPs from the western countries would land in Pakistan through the UN agencies. However, Muslim countries would extend their help under bilateral arrangements.

Right now the biggest challenge the government is facing was to provide relief, manage camps and simultaneously work on rehabilitation and reconstruction issues. Qamar Zaman Kaira disclosed the government will continue to provide services to the IDPs if the materialisation of pledges gets delayed and to this effect, as the president and the prime minister have asked the finance ministry to cut the development budget and even the budgetary allocation on important ongoing projects as the government priority is to provide solace to the displaced persons.

He said the biggest challenge is to target those displaced persons who are living with their relatives, as the government wants to register them and provide required food relief and cash of Rs25,000 per family. To a question, he denied the US troops would take part in the military operation against the militants. Earlier, in the donors’ meeting, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani urged the international and local donors to help the government for effective rehabilitation of the IDPs. In his opening remarks, the prime minister said the government was cognizant of the problems being faced by the displaced persons and was taking steps for their rehabilitation on a war-footing. Gilani assured full security to the international aid workers working in the affected areas and relief camps.

Slaying of SSG commandos

By Rauf Klasra

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered a high-level inquiry into the allegations against former Malakand commissioner Muhammad Javed for facilitating the alleged beheading of four SSG commandos in Swat.

Gilani made the announcement during his interaction with senior journalists and anchorpersons at the PM House the other night. Muhammad Javed, nicknamed the “godfather” of Swat Taliban, was said to be acting as the key adviser to the “Taliban state”. Even the people of Buner had accused him of cheating them by telling lies in a bid to facilitate the fall of their city to Tajiks and Uzbeks last month when the local people had formed a Lashkar of 400 people to fight the invaders.

“Let me assure you that notice of the reports about the role of the former Malakand commissioner into the beheading of four SSG commandos has been taken at the highest level and he would be punished in the light of the report,” Gilani told journalists.

Gilani was told the family members of one SSG commando, Anjum Riaz, had pointed out in the presence of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan the involvement of the former Malakand commissioner in the slaying of the commandos. Even the father of one of the slain commandos had demanded of Dr Babar Awan to ask the government to take action against the former Malakand commissioner as his son was beheaded because of this official.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Russia alarmed over new EU pact


Mr Medvedev was speaking at the end of a Russia-EU summit held against a background of deep divisions over security, trade and energy supplies.
He also signalled a new gas crisis may lie ahead, suggesting Ukraine lacks the money to pay for gas Russia provides.
A row over prices severely affected supplies to Europe in January.
The BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says divisions between Russia and the European Union seem to be growing ever wider, and this latest summit, held in the far east of Russia, made that abundantly clear, with little sign of progress on any significant topic.
"We would not want the Eastern Partnership to turn into partnership against Russia. Moscow has accused the 27-member bloc of creating new dividing lines in Europe by offering closer ties to six former Soviet republics.
The Eastern Partnership Initiative aims to forge close political and economic ties in exchange for democratic reforms.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed up to the initiative, which seeks to bolster stability in the region.
On the divisive issue of energy supplies, President Medvedev raised questions about whether Ukraine can afford billions of dollars to top up its gas stocks.
Ukraine has denied there is any problem.
Russia supplies 42% of EU gas imports. Its decision to cut all gas to Ukraine - a vital transit country - meant that many EU member states also lost their supplies of gas for two weeks in January.
Speaking in Khabarovsk, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned there should be no more disruptions to gas supplies from Russia

Pakistan stresses ‘comprehensive approach’ to fight terrorism

NEW YORK: Reaffirming his government’s commitment to combating terrorism, Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon has said a comprehensive approach that includes political, legal, developmental, human rights and operational measures would ensure the eradication of the menace.

In line with Islamabad’s continuing commitment to global counter-terrorism measures, ambassador Haroon announced at an event in Washington that Pakistan would ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism in September next.

The 1999 Convention is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of global criminal prohibitions on terrorist financing and helps prevent terrorist organisations obtaining resources to support their activities.

Against this backdrop, ambassador Haroon said President Asif Ali Zardari was pursuing a three D’s approach—dialogue, development and deterrence.

The event was jointly organized by two Washington-based think-tanks—the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation and International Peace Institute (IPI).

Pakistan stresses ‘comprehensive approach’ to fight terrorism

NEW YORK: Reaffirming his government’s commitment to combating terrorism, Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon has said a comprehensive approach that includes political, legal, developmental, human rights and operational measures would ensure the eradication of the menace.

In line with Islamabad’s continuing commitment to global counter-terrorism measures, ambassador Haroon announced at an event in Washington that Pakistan would ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism in September next.

The 1999 Convention is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of global criminal prohibitions on terrorist financing and helps prevent terrorist organisations obtaining resources to support their activities.

Against this backdrop, ambassador Haroon said President Asif Ali Zardari was pursuing a three D’s approach—dialogue, development and deterrence.

The event was jointly organized by two Washington-based think-tanks—the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation and International Peace Institute (IPI).

Britain announces 10 mln pounds more for displaced

LONDON: Britain announced Friday an extra 10 million pounds (15.9 million dollars, 11.4 million euros) in aid to help huge numbers of people displaced by a military offensive in northwest Pakistan.

The new money brings Britain's contribution to 22 million pounds, and will be distributed via UN agencies working in the affected areas, said international development minister Douglas Alexander.

"The UK is deeply concerned for the wellbeing of over two million people displaced by this conflict. A mass movement of people of this scale poses huge humanitarian challenges," he said.

The announcement came after the United Nations appealed for a total of 543 million dollars to help, as people continue to stream out of the conflict zone into camps set up in different parts of the North West Frontier Province.

The UN puts the number of displaced people at 1.7 million.

The British minister said aid agencies were doing "heroic" work under extremely difficult conditions," adding that Britain remained determined to support their efforts.

"This extra money will help the UN manage a coordinated and effective international response to this crisis to allow those affected by the fighting (to) take the first steps towards rebuilding their lives," said Alexander.

"The UK stands ready to assist the government of Pakistan to combat the shared threat of violent extremism and we remain strongly committed to our partnership with the people of Pakistan," he added.

UN in $543m Pakistan aid appeal


The UN has appealed for a total of $543m in humanitarian aid to help more than 1.6 million people displaced by fighting in north-west Pakistan.
The UN said the "extraordinary" exodus had caused "incredible suffering".
Tens of thousands of people are being housed in camps south of the main fighting zone in the Swat valley.
Separately, the top US military commander, Adm Michael Mullen, has warned that the US troop build-up in Afghanistan could push Taliban fighters deeper into Pakistan, further destabilising it. Martin Mogwanja, acting UN humanitarian coordinator, said: "The scale of this displacement is extraordinary in terms of size and speed and has caused incredible suffering.
On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani chaired a donor conference in Islamabad and officials said the international community had so far responded with pledges of $224m. In Swat, the army says that about 15,000 members of the security forces are fighting between 4,000 and 5,000 militants.
Meanwhile Adm Mullen admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington that successes against the Taliban in Afghanistan could push militants further into Pakistan.
Adm Mullen's comments come as US President Barack Obama's administration prepares to send thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Indian cabinet to be sworn in


Mr Singh will be taking charge fora second term, only the second PM after Jawaharlal Nehru to be returned to power after a full five-year term. The Congress party won a decisive mandate in the recent polls and Mr Singh has emerged politically stronger. However, a key ally of the Congress has left the governing alliance after disagreements over ministerial posts. The Tamil Nadu-based DMK party said its 18 members of parliament would not serve in the government but would still support the coalition in the house.

The move is seen as the first setback to the coalition, but analysts say it is unlikely to pose a serious threat to the government. The Congress party and its allies swept back to power when votes from the marathon five-phase general election were counted last weekend. Mr Singh and a 19-member cabinet will take the oath of office from Indian President Pratibha Patil at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in Delhi on Friday evening. Mr Singh has displayed an ability to stand firm and outlast his most trenchant critics.

Security forces operation against militants continues


SWAT: Security forces operation against militants in different districts of Malakand division continued.

District Swat remained under curfew for seventh consecutive day whereas relaxation in curfew has been announced from 7 am to 4 pm in tehsil Maidan of Lower Dir.

Security forces action continued overnight in Kambar, Takhtaband, Shamozai, tehisl Matta and upper areas of Char Bagh. Periodic shelling carried out at militants positions. The supply of gas, water and power to district Swat remained suspended.

Meanwhile, security forces from Lower Dir headquarters Timergira pounded the suspect hideouts of militants.

Zardari-Altaf's telephonic talk

LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Quaid, Altaf Hussain talking to President Asif Ali Zardari on telephone said that MQM was all out with Pakistan Army and the government in fight against terrorism.

Both the leaders deliberated in detail on matters relating to the war against terror in Malakand and the situation emanating thereafter.

Altaf Hussain said that the registration of all the displaced persons must be undertaken in all the provinces and they should be restrained within the camps.

President Asif Ali Zardari on this occasion said that the government would not rest until relieving the country of the terrorists. He apprised of that registration of the migrants was being ensured.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reducing spread of nukes a high priority: Obama


WASHINGTON: Satellite photos released show Pakistan has expanded two sites crucial to its nuclear program as part of an effort to bolster the destructive power of its atomic arsenal, a US arms control institute said. US President Barack Obama said it is "absolutely imperative" that the United States take the lead in reducing the spread of nuclear weapons.

"It is absolutely imperative that America takes leadership working with, not just our Russian counterparts, but countries all around the world to reduce and ultimately eliminate the dangers that are posed by nuclear weapons," the president said after an Oval Office meeting with former secretaries of state George P. Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Defense Secretary William Perry and former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia.

Obama mentioned possible steps to "lock down loose nuclear weapons," including revitalizing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, making progress on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and working with Russia to reduce dependence on nuclear weapons.

Russia and the U.S. have the world's largest nuclear stockpiles.

"We are going to be pushing this as one of our highest priorities, to take specific steps, measurable steps, verifiable steps, to make progress on this issue, even as we keep a long-term perspective and a long-term vision about what can be achieved," Obama told reporters. "And we can think of no better advisers, counselors, and partners in this process than the four gentlemen who joined us here today."

US aid proof of support to Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Pakistan ambassador in the United States Hussain Haqqani has welcomed the announcement of emergency aid of 100 million dollars from America for the affected people of Swat operation.

In a statement issued from Washington, Hussain Haqqani said that this aid is another proof of the full support to the Pakistani people by the United States but more aid is needed from the international community for rehabilitation of the affected people of Swat.

Hussain Haqqani said that Pakistan needs aid for rehabilitation of the people affected by the war on terror and the elimination of human crisis.

He said we expect from the US people to help generously and they can participate in the mission by typing Swat to 20222 on their cell phones.