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Pakistan Timeline - 2015



January 1

A FC official was killed and three others injured after their vehicle was bombed at the Harnae Phatak close to Police Line in Sibi town of same District in Balochistan in the morning. According to police officials, unidentified militants attached an IED to a tree near a graveyard close to Police Line. The militants detonated the IED by a remote device when FC vehicle passed by the area. As a result of the explosion, FC solider Mohammed Luqman died on the spot while three other personnel sustained wounds.

A suspected TTP militant, involved in the attack on a Levies Thana in Zhob District, was killed in an exchange of fire with Security Forces. Official sources said that a group of armed militants attacked the Levies Thana in Murgha Kibzai area of Zhob District and ransacked it before setting it on fire. The attackers were fleeing when FC troops reached there and opened fire on them. In the heavy exchange of fire, one attacker died.

FC personnel arrested a militant ‘commander’ and recovered arms and ammunition from his possession from Barkhan District.

The Sindh Rangers arrested 11 suspected persons during raids in Mianwali Colony, Jam Goth and Lyari areas of the provincial capital Karachi. According to a spokesman of Sindh Rangers, the members of banned outfits were also among the detainees. Four alleged gangster were arrested in Gulistan Colony area of Lyari. Arms were also recovered from their possession.

A local court sent LeT ‘commander’ Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks, on a 14-day judicial remand in a six-year-old ‘kidnapping’ case. The order came as Lakhvi’s two-day physical remand in the kidnapping case expired January 2.

Earlier in the morning, the Federal Government challenged the suspension of the detention order for Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in Supreme Court. Government pleaded the Supreme Court of Pakistan to set aside the Islamabad High Court (IHC) order.

Three special courts were formed in accordance with the Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA) to preside over cases relating to terrorism. Five special courts are to be formed in total. The three courts have been formed in Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Lahore (Punjab) and Quetta (Balochistan) in accordance with the PPA passed by parliament in order to curb rising militancy in the country. Judge Mukarrab Khan will head the special court in Lahore, Judge Zafar Khosa in Quetta and judge Anwar Ali Khan will preside over the court in Peshawar. As many as five special courts are to be formed whereas the next phase will focus on establishing special courts in Islamabad and Sindh.

PM Nawaz Sharif ordered the suspension of Senior Superintendent of Islamabad Police Asmatullah Junejo and another officer for showing leniency to the activists of ASWJ arrested on charges of displaying weapons. SSP Islamabad and Acting SHO of Shahzad Town Police Station, Anees Akbar, were suspended for not booking a leader of ASWJ Mufti Tanvir Alam and his eight accomplices for displaying weapons in violation of Section 144 imposed in the federal capital, Islamabad. Instead of booking all of the arrested persons for violating Section 144, the Police authorities booked them under Sections 13, 20 and 65 separately, showing leniency toward the activists of the religious outfit.

DIG, Operations, Dr Haider Ashraf awarded punishment including dismissal from service, suspension, demotion and censure to 39 officials including six SHOs and two ASIs during Orderly Room. The DIG dismissed two ASIs and one constable, suspended six SHOs, one constable and one clerk, censured six SHOs, two ASIs and one clerk, demoted an inspector and one sub-inspector, stopped increment of four SHOs, three ASIs, two constables, one clerk and one junior-clerk and fined two sub-inspectors, one TASI and one junior-clerk for corruption, misuse of their authority, misbehavior with citizens and indiscipline.

The CoAS, General Raheel Sharif, said the political consensus against terrorism should not be lost to petty differences. He said the entire nation was looking towards the political and military leadership of the country to take bold and meaningful decisions leading to stern action against the terrorists and their sympathisers. He was addressing the 178th Corps Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters.

PM Nawaz Sharif said that the entire national political class and military is united in the war against terrorism and extremism, and will achieve success by taking effective measures at the right time. The political leadership and military command once again came together for the speedy implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) for the eradication of terrorism.

PM said nobody could remain neutral in the war against terrorism and the NAP will eliminate terrorists for all times. Nawaz said the hideouts of hardcore terrorists would be completely smashed and they would be chased with courage and determination and eliminated while civilians would be protected by every means.

ANP Central General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain declared Punjab a training centre for terrorists and their masterminds and demanded that the Government begin a decisive action against terrorist outfits in the province. He was speaking at the ‘Shuhada Amn Qaumi Conference’ here at Nishtar Hall in Peshawar.

He said there should be no distinction between good Taliban and bad Taliban and that state institutions should take an across-the-board action against terrorists.

Defending the role of madrassas and resenting the Prime Minister’s mention of religious schools in the context of terrorism, Qari Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari, general secretary of the Ittehad-i-Tanzeemat-i-Madaris-i-Deenia — an umbrella organisation of five main bodies representing seminaries from as many different schools of thought - demanded that the Government expose elements and organisations behind the Peshawar school carnage, saying that it was the worst incident of its kind in the world. He, however, alleged that under the cover of the tragedy a propaganda campaign sponsored by the west had been unleashed against the madrassas and Islam.

At least 824 people were killed and 2,339 others injured in 372 bomb attacks, including 26 suicide bombings that occurred across Pakistan during 2014, according to official statistics. According to the data, the suicide attacks killed 249 people and left 582 wounded in different areas of the country last year. In 2014, the number of suicide attacks dropped by 34 percent from the year of 2013 when 39 suicide blasts took place. Terrorists staged 21 suicide attacks during the first six months of the year, seven in January, six in February, one each in March and April, two in May and four in June, which killed 163 people and injured 348 others. But the number of suicide attacks dropped in the second part of the year after the launch of the military operation “Zarb-e-Azb” against militants in the country’s northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

During the second half of the year, terrorists carried out only five suicide attacks that killed 86 people and left 234 wounded. As the country’s military and law enforcement agencies started actions against terrorists, the number of total casualties in 2014 dopped by around 46 percent from the previous year, when 1,532 persons were killed in 324 bomb attacks. In terms of the number of deaths, January of 2014 was the deadliest month when 168 people lost their lives and 401 others sustained injuries in 42 bomb attacks. The month of August was second most deadliest, when 103 people were killed and 309 others injured in 53 attacks. The worst attack of the year occurred on November 2, when a suicide bomber exploded his jacket amid a crowd of over 200 people who were returning after attending a “lowering of the flags” ceremony and Rangers parade at the Wagah border crossing between Pakistan and India. The attack killed at least 62 people and left over 150 others injured.

January 2

The FC claimed to have killed four suspected militants in the Naal area of Khuzdar District. One FC trooper was also killed during an exchange of fire with suspected militants. FC’s spokesman (Balochistan) said several suspected militants were also arrested during the operation. The forces also seized weapons and arms from the possession of militants during the action.

The Ghizer Police defused an eight kilogram bomb planted on a road leading to the home of the Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Peer Karam Ali Shah. The bomb was planted on the Ghizer-Ashkoman road. A Police source said that Governor Peer Karam Shah usually used the road to go his home situated at Chatorgan in Ghizer District. The Police official said that the Ghizer District was a peaceful place and that the incident was first of its kind in the area.

PM Nawaz Sharif wrote a letter to President Mamnoon Hussain, urging him to reject the mercy petitions of five condemned prisoners who were convicted for their involvement in terrorism cases. The convicts include: Muhammad Ikramul Haq alias Lahori alias Farooq Haider (son of Bashir Ahmed), Ahmed Ali alias Asif alias Shish Naag (son of Ghulam Abbas), Mohammad Tayyab alias Sajjad (son of Nabi Ahmed), Ghulam Shabbir alias Doctor alias Nasir alias Zeeshan alias Sohail (son of Bashir Ahmed), and Zulfiqar Ali (son of Abdul Hameed). The five prisoners hailing from Karachi and convicted for target killings had been arrested in different instances.

On December 17, PM Nawaz Sharif had approved the removal of moratorium on the death penalty after the attack on Peshawar's Army Public School. In the wake of the removal of the moratorium on the death penalty, seven executions have been carried out. The moratorium on the death penalty was imposed by former President Asif Ali Zardari during the tenure of the Pakistan People’s Party government in 2008.

The APC convened by PM Nawaz Sharif decided to amend the Constitution to provide for trial of terror suspects by military courts for a period of two years. The amendment endorsed by the APC will be known as the 22nd Amendment. It will be tabled in the National Assembly on January 3 (today) and in Senate on (January 6). The proposed amendment bill calls for amending Article 175 of the Constitution (Establishment and Jurisdiction of Courts) and the First Schedule of the Constitution, which contains laws exempted from operation of Article 8 (1) and (2) – the clauses pertaining to fundamental rights.

January 3

Pakistani Rangers, in an operation, killed four criminals, identified as Sanaullah (25), Ameer (35), Hassan (28) and Liaqat (30), near Jumman Shah Road of Lyari Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. “The criminals were involved in many cases of murder and extortion,” the Pakistan Rangers spokesperson said. Weapons were also recovered from their possession.

Unidentified gunman shot dead a man, identified as Ghulam Ali (25), near Gareeb Shah Shrine in Lyari Town in Karachi.

The polio worker's house was set ablaze by militants in Khattakmela area of Kurram Agency.  Official sources said that unidentified militants burned down the house of polio worker Muhammad Wazir, who performs duties as a polio worker.

Law Enforcement Agencies, including Police, FC, Balochistan Levies and Intelligence Agencies in a joint raid launched a crackdown against stores openly selling hate literature and materials allegedly promoting militancy in Kuchlak area of Quetta. At least 40 shopkeepers were detained in Quetta for interrogation, while dozens were arrested from other parts of the Province during the raids.

The Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that action had been launched against the TTP, its supporters and sympathisers. Speaking at a press conference, he said it had been decided in the National Action Plan (NAP) that TTP operatives, their supporters, masterminds and financiers would be identified across the country. The Federal intelligence agencies would cooperate with provinces to accomplish the task, he added.

Chaudhry Nisar said there were around 60 banned outfits, but all were not involved in terrorism. Some were operating under new names and some quietly operating with the same old names, he added. The minister said funds of banned organisations would be blocked and legal action would be initiated against them. If they remain adamant, their cases would also be referred to military courts.

Expressing confidence that Pakistan is capable of replying to any aggression, Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif said that India wants to engage Pakistan in a “low-intensity war”. “It seems that India does not understand the language of love and peace,” the Defence Minister said outside the Parliament House after conclusion of the National Assembly session.

He said that the Prime Minister had expressed the desire for having peace with India and all other neighbouring countries with sincerity, but India had not reciprocated Islamabad’s goodwill gesture. “India wants to keep us busy in a low-intensity war or low-intensity engagement on our eastern border. They are pursuing the same tactics of keeping our forces busy on all fronts and the anti-Pakistan mentality of the Indian leadership is now fully exposed,” he added.

January 4

At least 31 militants have been killed and scores of others injured as jet fighters targeted militants hideouts in Koki Khel area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of FATA. According to an ISPR statement, “Four terrorist hideouts and a suicide bomber training centre were destroyed. 31 terrorists including some suicide bombers were killed”.

A US drone strike at Wacha Basti village near Alwara Mandi in Dattakhel of NWA killed eight militants and injured two others. Sources said that the drone targeted a compound belonging to an Uzbek ‘commander’ of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's Hafiz Gul Bahadur group.

A bomb targeting Shias at a volleyball match killed at least four persons and injured eight at the Hussaini ground in the Kalaya area of Orakzai Agency. The Hussaini ground is owned by the local Shia community.

FC and paramilitary force foiled a major terror bid in Sibi District by defusing an IED planted in a motorcycle parked on the road where a procession in connection with Eid Milad-un-Nabi (Prophet's birth anniversary) was scheduled to pass. According to sources in FC, militants had planted four kilogram of explosives in the motorcycle to target the procession. “Major terror bid was foiled prior to the arrival of procession,” they said.

One FC soldier was injured during an exchange of fire with the militants in Ziarat District. Later, the SFs arrested two TTP militants and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from their possession. “The arrested militants belong to TTP,” sources claimed.

An ATC-III issued black warrants for the execution of seven prisoners, including four LeJ militants, identified as Mohammad Shahid Hanif alias Mufti Shahid, Mohammad Talha Hussain alias Noman, Khalil Ahmed alias Hassan Jan and Mohammad Saeed. They have been involved in two sectarian killing cases in July 2001 and April 2002.

The black warrants were also issued for al Qaeda’s Zulfikar Ali for killing two Policemen near the US Consulate General in Karachi in March 2004. Another accused, Behram Khan, for murdering a lawyer in a courtroom of the Sindh High Court in April 2003, and Shafqat Hussain for killing a minor boy after kidnapping him for ransom in Karachi in April 2004.

The court asked the jail authorities to hang Shahid, Talha, Khalil, Behram and Zulfiqar on January 13, 2014, Shafqat on January 14, 2015 and Saeed on January 15, 2015. Judge Saleem Raza Baloch of the ATC-III issued the black warrants directing the authorities to carry out the hanging under the supervision of the area magistrates after fulfilling legal formalities.

A report titled ‘Activities of Maulana Abdul Aziz’, forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Interior by the Security Agencies warned the Government that due to his links with militant outfits and his anti-government rhetoric the resurgence of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz poses security threat to the law and order situation in Islamabad.

The report also highlighted the links between the TTP and the Lal Masjid cleric, stressing the importance of the TTP choosing Maulana Abdul Aziz as a representative on the committee formed to negotiate with the Government on their behalf.

It also stressed the need for a check on the growing number of madras's in Rawalpindi and Islamabad who also have overt and covert links with militant groups. The report names “notorious land grabber” Taji Khokhar as someone who has been arranging land for the construction of seminaries, funded by the Lal Masjid administration, and also assists them with their court cases. The report also names property tycoon Malik Riaz and former MNA Shah Abdul Aziz of Karak as the controversial cleric’s “sympathizers”.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, TTP-JuA ‘spokesperson’, has been found using social networking site LinkedIn, listing his skills as "jihad and journalism". Ehsanullah Ehsan has 69 connections on LinkedIn, indicating a sizable network. Ehsan does not hide his associations and openly promotes himself on LinkedIn as 'spokesman' for TTP-JuA. He describes himself as "self-employed" and says he has been a spokesman since January 2010. Ehsan even lists his skills as "jihad and journalism" and provides details of his school, employment history and language skills. The account also includes his photograph.

After being approached by The Telegraph, LinkedIn took down Ehsan's account on the night of January 2, 2015. A spokesman of the company said that the company's security team had decided to "restrict it"; meaning it was no longer in operation. But she said it was not clear if the account belonged to Ehsan or was a fake account, established by another party. She said the IP address of the account, indicating where in the world it was set up, suggested it was fake. She said the "lack of Taliban recruiting messages" was another clue.

The spokesman said, "(I) Can't say for certain that it is someone else...But I can say that our security team has a high degree of confidence that it is a fake account, which is reason enough to restrict it. (I) Also can't say for certain who might have set it up if it is fake."

January 5

ANP’s District West President, identified as Haji Saifullah Afridi, was killed in a targeted attack while he was on his way home from the mosque in Ittehad Town of Baldia Town in provincial capital Karachi. The law enforcers believed that the militants from TTP-Swat Chapter, who were also involved in previous attacks and killings on the ANP leaders and workers in Karachi, were behind Afridi’s killing. DSP Javed Hussain Shah said that TTP militants were behind the incident.

A man, identified as Nazeer (30), alias Siraiki was shot dead in Mawach Goth within the jurisdiction of Mochko Police Station in Baldia Town. According to Police, three gangsters, identified as Imran, Yasir and Arafat, affiliated with Kamu group of Uzair Baloch group, called the victim outside his home, shot him multiple times and escaped from the scene.

An unidentified man was shot dead in Baghdadi area of Lyari Town.

An unidentified dead body of a man was found dead from Bhains Colony area in Lyari Town. Police officials said the victim was tortured to death after kidnapping.

A Policeman, identified as Naqeebullah (42), was shot dead in Mawach Goth area within the jurisdictions of Mochko Police Station in Baldia Town.

The senators belonging to the MQM and the ANP demanded a military operation against terrorists in Karachi. The demand came when ANP’s Shahi Syed drew the Senate’s attention to what he called the continued targeted killing of his party’s workers as well as Pakhtuns in the city. Supporting the ANP’s call for the military action, Nasreen Jalil of the MQM said it was her party which had been demanding an army operation against terrorists in Karachi where Taliban were strengthening their presence.

Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) warned all the mobile phone companies that their respective executives will be booked for terrorism if a phone connection sold in violation of set rules is found to have been used in any terror activity. In a letter sent to the regional headquarters of Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Warid and Zong, the Sindh Chief Minister and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Rangers came up with the strong measures to counter the flaws which they said were causing ‘deterioration of law and order situation’.

With a conviction rate of nearly 32 per cent, the ATCs in Sindh have disposed of 798 cases between September 2013 and November 2014 while around 2,700 cases are still pending. The statistics of 33 ATCs in the Province showed that of the 798 disposed of cases, accused were acquitted in 543 cases and convicted in 255 cases. Eight of the total ATCs had a cent per cent acquittal rate in the 15-month period. The ATCs were established under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, for speedy trial of cases pertaining to terrorism, sectarian killing, extortion and kidnapping for ransom.

An unidentified man was killed in a bomb blast in Musa Colony on Sariab Road in Quetta. Imran Qureshi, the SP Sariab said, "The blast has severely damaged the dead person’s face."

TTP militants abducted nine people, including four Government Officials, in two separate incidents from Zhob District. In the first incident, militants intercepted a Zhob-bound passenger bus coming from Quetta and took away five people with them. Sources said the kidnappers checked national identity cards of the passengers and separated five people, including four Government Officials and a student of Bolan Medical College, from the others. In the second incident of kidnapping, the militants abducted four other people, who were travelling to Quetta from Islamabad.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said that eight militants, including a 'commander' of a banned outfit, were killed and 15 others were detained while two camps were busted in week-long operations launched in Panjgur and Kalat Districts of the province. Search is also in progress in Zhob and its adjoining areas to trace nine people who were kidnapped by unidentified armed assailants in Zhob District. “There is zero-tolerance towards terrorism, and stern action would be taken against all R&AW and NDS funded armed Lashkars,” said Mir Sarfaraz Bugti.

A polio worker, identified as Sanab Gul, was injured in a remote-controlled IED blast in Chamarkand area of Safi tehsil in Mohmand Agency of FATA.

A BDS was injured while defusing a bomb in Soran area of Bezai tehsil in Mohmand Agency. 

SFs launched a search operation in Shah Kas area of Khyber Agency after receiving reports regarding the presence of elements involved in terror activities. Local administration and SFs cordoned off the area and imposed a curfew during the operation.

Police claimed to have arrested three suspects, including two women, from Badbher area of Peshawar, who were smuggling arms and ammunition from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Punjab. SP (Rural) Shakir Bangash said that 25 pistols, 2 G3 rifles, 5 Kalashnikov/AK-47 rifles and 7,200 rounds were recovered from a vehicle. He added that the arrested suspects were part of a gun running ring.

Two convicted terrorists, identified as Ahmed Ali and Ghulam Shabir alias Fauji alias doctor, will be hanged at the New Central Jail in Multan District. Prison officials have received the death warrants issued by ATCs after mercy petitions of the two had been rejected by the President. The convicts belong to banned organisations.

The Lahore High Court's Rawalpindi Bench acquitted four death row convicts who were earlier handed the death penalty for their involvement in the suicide attack at Shah-e-Najaf Imambargah in Rawalpindi in 2002, which left 19 people dead and 35 others injured. The four convicts, identified as, Fazal Mohammad, Tahir Mehmood, Hafiz Naseer and Habibullah, were sentenced to death by an ATC in Rawalpindi in 2004, following which they had filed an intra-court appeal.

The military courts being set-up under 21st Constitutional Amendment would not try terror groups involved in ethnic killing of citizens in Karachi or insurgents attacking state installations in Balochistan as legislation moved in the NA specifically mentions religion and sect based terrorism as the intended targets of the amendments. The drafts of both the 21st constitutional amendment and Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act 1952 specify that the changes will be applicable on people belonging to terrorist groups using the name of religion or sect.

The legal experts believe that the words of the two amendments means that if a terrorist kills Pakistani people or attacks state institutions and installation but he does not belong to any religious or sectarian group, he would not be tried in the military courts. “Any person who is or claims or is known to belong to any terrorist group or organization using the name of religion or a sect and raises arms or wages against Pakistan and law enforcement agencies or attacks any civilian or military installations in Pakistan or kidnap any person for ransom or causes death of any person or injury …...shall be punished under this Act” says the Amendment in Section 2 of the Pakistan Army Act 1952.

Similarly, according to draft of 21st Constitutional Amendment, Article 175 will have “no application on acts mentioned at serial no 6, 7, 8 and 9 or part I(III) of the First Schedule, who claims, or is known to belong to any terrorist group or organization using the name of religion or sect.” Also, a special explanation is included in the bill to amend Army Act 1952 which states. “In this Act, the expression ‘sect’ means a sect of religion and does not include any political party registered under any law for the time being in force.” The National Assembly is likely to conduct voting on these amendments on January 6, 2014.

The US said that no funds have been issued to Pakistan from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman provision since 2013. Earlier on December 29, 2014, the Ministry of Finance had announced in Islamabad that the US Congress had cleared an installment of USD 532 million of civilian aid to Pakistan from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill. “Congress has not been notified of a request, Congress has not approved a request,” said spokesperson for the United States Department of State Jen Psaki. She noted that some media reports had also suggested that an approval has been made in the past, which was incorrect, as no approval has been made from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill since 2013.

The Indian media reported that Secretary of State John Kerry recently sent a certification to Congress, saying that Pakistan has “prevented al Qaeda, Taliban and associated terror groups such as LeT and JeM from operating” from its territory. The certification is a condition for the US to disburse aid to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill for civilian assistance. The report claimed that the certification allowed the Obama administration to release USD 532 million dollars in aid to Pakistan.

Later, the spokesman for the Indian Ministry for External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said, “How the Government of the United States of America decides to spend US Tax payers money is entirely its prerogative,” adding, “India does not believe that Pakistan is showing ‘sustained commitment’ or making ‘significant effort’ or ‘ceasing support’ or dismantling ‘bases of operations’ of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, the Haqqani Network and quite possibly the al Qaeda.”

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government announced a PKR 10 million reward for information leading to the arrest or death of the TTP 'chief' Mullah Fazlullah and LI 'chief' Mangal Bagh Afridi. The Provincial Government has prepared a list of 615 high-profile militants and proclaimed offenders and is offering a combined bounty of PKR 760 million, according to highly credible sources. The names of Fazlullah and Mangal Bagh feature on the list that includes high-profile militants and proclaimed offenders from 22 Districts of the Province and adjoining FATA.

According to official documents, at least 213 militants and proclaimed offenders wanted by the Police in various crimes belong to Peshawar District followed by 59 from Swat, 46 each from Kohat and DI Khan and 31 from Dir Upper District. Similarly, 26 militants hail from Mardan District, 25 from Charsadda, 20 each from Nowshera and Buner, 18 from Bannu, 15 each from Lakki Marwat, Hangu and Dir Lower, eight from Mansehra, seven from Kohistan, five from Haripur, four from Batagram, three from Abbottabad and two each from Shangla and Chitral Districts. The bounties for these militants and proclaimed offenders range between PKR 0.5 million and PKR 10 million, officials said.

January 6

Three bullet riddled bodies were found at a graveyard in Qandhari area of Safi tehsil in Mohmand Agency of FATA. The political administration shifted the bodies, which were yet to be identified, to Ghalanai Headquarters.

Two TI members were killed during a clash between LI and TI in Tirah valley area of Khyber Agency.

SFs razed the houses of suspected militants and their supporters in Damadaola area of Bajaur Agency. Sources say that during the pre-dawn operation was initiated by SFs after imposing a limited curfew in Damadola area. The sources further said that the miscreants who once had sheltered or been supporting local and al Qaeda-led militants are being targeted and added that the search operation was still underway.

Three suspected militants, identified as Gul Pir Khan, Noor Alam and Ameer Mohammad, were killed in a Police encounter led by CID’s Counter-Terrorism Unit on Northern Bypass, on the outskirts of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. The militants are suspected to be affiliated with the TTP. CID further claims to have recovered three pistols, two grenades and Improvised Explosive Devices from their possession.

Two Rangers personnel were killed and a civilian was injured when unidentified militants opened fire at the Rangers' raiding team and also hurled a hand grenade during the encounter in Khurramabad area of Landhi Town.

Sindh Government directed all private schools to finalise their security arrangements before the end of the winter vacation as the Government is not in a position to ensure Police deployment. Home Secretary Dr Niaz Ali Abbasi said that the Government would ensure effective patrolling around the schools under threat.

Two convicted men, Ahmed Ali alias Sheshnag and Ghulam Shabbir alias Fauji alias doctor, were hanged till death at the New Central Jail in Multan District. The latest executions have brought the number of those hanged until death to nine. Prison officials had already received the death warrants for the two men a couple of days ago. The warrants were issued by Anti-Terrorism Courts as mercy petitions of the convicts had been rejected by the President. Ali and Shabbir belonged to a banned organisation.

Ahmed Ali was handed capital punishment for killing three men, Altaf Hussain, Mohammad Nasir and Mohammad Fiaz, and injuring Mohammad Pervez and Mohammad Siddique, on the Railway Road in 1998. Ghulam Shabbir had killed DSP Anwar Khan and his driver Ghulam Murtaza on the Bohar Gate Road on August 4, 2000.

Punjab Government is amending a set of laws through ordinances to tie up loose ends that are allowing or can facilitate terrorist activities in the Province. According to reliable sources, the Government had earlier decided to introduce bills in the Punjab Assembly to amend the laws. But it dropped the idea and was now going to amend these laws through ordinances in the next few days because of the prorogation of the Assembly Session, the sources said. The first law to be amended through an ordinance is the Punjab Arms Ordinance 1965. The government is going to enhance punishments for possessing, using, storing or displaying unlicensed or prohibited weapons and ammunition.

Supreme Court restrained a local magistrate from proceeding on the bail application of LeT 'chief' and mastermind of Mumbai 2008 attack (also known as 26/11) Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi until January 7,2014, when the apex court will take up the Government’s appeal against the suspension of his detention. Also, the Islamabad High Court issued notices to Lakhvi on the appeal filed by the FIA, seeking cancellation of bail granted to him by the ATC in the Mumbai attacks case.

A magistrate in Islamabad had to give a decision on the bail application, but a two-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, stopped the judicial officer from passing any order until January 7. The court also issued notices to Lakhvi to answer the contention in the Government’s appeal, to be served upon him through the Adiala Jail superintendent, where the accused is currently detained. The court issued the notice with the observation that since there was also an IHC order in favour of Lakhvi, the court was also cognizant of the requirements of the fundamental rights of its citizens. “We will be lost if we deviate from the constitution,” Justice Khawaja observed.

In a joint appeal, the Secretary Interior on behalf of the Federal Government, District Magistrate Islamabad Capital Territory and Islamabad SSP, had sought the annulment of the December 29, 2014 Islamabad High Court order, suspending Lakhvi’s detention orders. The Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt argued that High Court order was not sustainable in the light of earlier Supreme Court judgments and pointed out that Lakhvi was a member of the proscribed outfit LeT who was arrested in a terrorism case.

But the court observed that the allegations against Lakhvi regarding his involvement in the Mumbai attacks was not relevant to the present appeal, since the court was only concerned with the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) 1960, under which Lakhvi was currently detained.

According to the HRCP’s Annual Report for 2014, around 592 people were killed in alleged encounters with the Police and Rangers. In 2013, which the HRCP termed to be Karachi’s deadliest year with 3,251 deaths, around 184 were killed in encounters. The breakdown shows that nearly 457 people were shot dead in alleged encounters with the Police while roughly 135 were shot dead by the Rangers and two others died as a result of torture by law enforcers.

The report claims that around 2,914 people, including children, were killed in 2014 which is almost 300 less than the year before. HRCP’s chairperson Zohra Yusuf claimed that deaths in these Police encounters were a human rights violation. She said that anyone killed extra judicially, be it the Taliban, was illegal. Yusuf said that in most of these encounters, the Police were not harmed while they claimed that they had to open fire in response to the criminals firing at them. She added that the Policemen who died last year were killed in grenade or targeted attacks, not encounters. “The Police do not trust the judicial system,” she said, adding, “They believe that courts will let the prisoner off and so they indulge in ‘police encounters’, however, this is no way to justify them.”

The report further stated, In 2014, there was also an increase in sectarian attacks. The death toll went up to 120 as compared to 108 in 2013. The number of dead bodies found in 2014 was also slightly higher than the year before with 340.

Over 8,000 seminaries have neither been registered with the ITMP, an umbrella of five schools of thought, nor with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, raising a serious question over their curriculum’s legitimacy and their source of funding. Following NAP committee’s recommendations, officials associated with provinces’ Auqaf departments are gathering data about madaris/makatib which have never been registered with the ITMP, Ministry Of Religious Affairs or with the Provincial Auqaf Departments.

Around 8,249 seminaries which have enrolled 0.3 million students are not registered across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, revealed officials, who will brief Federal Ministry of Interior next week. “This non-registered madaris/makatib did not fulfil the basic criteria set by the ministry of religious affairs,” a senior official said. Around 4,135 madaris or makatib are operating without getting proper registration from the designated authorities in KP, the official said, adding that some 2,411 seminaries are unregistered in Punjab, 1,406 in Sindh and 266 in Balochistan, he explained. At least 31 madaris are not registered in Islamabad where all seminaries are built on encroached land, he revealed and went on to say that even Jamia Hafsa, adjacent to Lal Mosque, also failed to fulfill basic requirements of registration. The official claimed that “Madaris operating in KP did not cooperate with us.”

The ITMP officials also confirmed that some members of seminary boards – Barelvi, Ahle Hadith, Shia and Jamaat-e-Islami – affiliated with the Ittehad Tanzimat Madaris-e-Deeniya – had also refused to comply when it came to regulating their syllabus in the Pervez Musharraf era. The problem exists in non-registered seminaries where there is no check on literature being taught there, a cleric said on condition of anonymity. The Ministry of Religious Affairs registered 26,131 madaris by September 2014, according to official figures obtained by The Express Tribune. Around 14,768 seminaries are registered in Punjab, 7,118 in Sindh, 2,704 in Balochistan, 1,354 in KP and 187 in the Islamabad.

Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that around 605 students were studying in the Islamabad’s unregistered seminaries. The 27 madaris belong to the Deobandi school of thought, two to Barelvi school of thought and one is managed by the Ahle Hadith, he said. Seminaries, whose curriculum is provided by Waqaful Madaris, are registered with Islamabad Auqaf Department.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a written reply to a question asked by Pakistan People’s Party’s Sughra Imam in the Senate that “Some madrassah are receiving financial support from Muslim countries. However, it is often difficult to trace the transaction of such money”, reports Dawn.

The Senate approved the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015 as well as the 21st Constitutional Amendment. The National Assembly had passed both the bills unopposed as 247 members voted in favour of the laws which would provide constitutional cover to special courts for the trial of terrorism suspects. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a speech at the start of the Senate session thanked the Leader of Opposition in Senate Aitzaz Ahsan as well as all political parties and their leaders who were present in Senate as well as the National Assembly session in the morning. The PM congratulated all members of parliament who voted in favour of both the bills in NA and passed it unanimously.

The chief of JUI-F Maulana Fazlur Rehman accused that the Government of “trying to link religion with terrorism” in reference to an amendment for madrassah reforms. “Terrorism does not differentiate between religion and secularism,” the JUI-F chief said, while addressing the media shortly after the approval of the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill and Pakistan Army Act 1952 (Amendment) Bill 2015 in the National Assembly today.

January 7

Twelve militants were killed in shelling by gunship helicopters of the Army while four terrorist hideouts were also destroyed in Mama Ziarat and Khadarkhel areas of Datta Khel tehsil in NWA in FATA. Seven vehicles of militants were also destroyed in the action.

Unidentified assailants shot dead four labourers while leaving another injured on the Qambarani Road in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. Several people including Afghan nationals were arrested in a search operation by law enforcing agencies in Quetta.

Two Levies personnel were killed and five others sustained injuries when unidentified assailants attack the paramilitary force vehicle in Jhao tehsil in Awaran District.

The bullet-riddled body of an officer of Pakistan Air Force, Liaquat Ali Khan, was found near a village in Qila Saifullah District. The officer was kidnapped along with four other people on January 4 from an area between Quetta and Zhob when they were coming from Islamabad in a rented car. The body with bullet wounds in the head was thrown on a road. The PAF officer Liaquat Ali Khan belongs to Talagang area in Punjab. The TTP claimed responsibility for killing the officer and kidnapping nine people in Qila Saifullah District.

Abdul Latif (30), the brother of the ASWJ District Central president, Abdul Rauf, was shot dead while another was injured when unidentified motorcyclists opened fire at a general store near Pahar Ganj within the limits of the Sharae Noor Jahan Police Station in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

A factory worker was gunned down near his house in Qaimkhani Colony within the jurisdiction of the Ittehad Town Police Station. The deceased was identified as 50-year-old Zameen Gul, son of Abdul Hameed. He was on his way to work in Sher Shah when unidentified men shot him.

A man identified as Syed Shah (24), was shot dead near 4-K Chowrangi within the limits of the Surjani Police Station. The Police said that the deceased was a resident of Qasba Colony, Orangi Town and was on his way to do some errands in Surjani when he was killed.

A factory supervisor was killed inside his office located on the second floor of a clothing factory in Godhra Colony within the limits of the Gabol Town Police Station. Police officials said that the deceased was sitting in his office when unidentified men walked in and shot him in the head.

The body of a woman identified as 45-year-old Feroza was found in her house in Orangi Town within the limits of the Pakistan Bazaar Police Station. Police officials said that deceased was strangled to death while her husband was not at home.

An unidentified woman was found dead in the bushes near New Port Qasim within the limits of Shah Latif Police Station.

Two convicted cadres of SSP were hanged at the central jail in Multan, the latest in a string of executions after the Government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty. “The two terrorists, Ahmed Ali and Ghulam Shabbir, were executed early this morning. Both were involved in murder cases and both belonged to Sipah-e-Sahaba,” said Saeedullah Gondal, an official at the central jail in Multan. He said Ali had been in jail for killing three people in a religious dispute in 1998, while Shabbir had been convicted of killing a Police officer and his driver in the same year.

A blasphemy accused identified as 52-year-old Aabid Mehmood alias Aabid Kazzab, freed a few days ago, was shot dead in Ahatta area Taxila in Rawalpindi District of Punjab. Unidentified assailants took him from his house in Ahatta area on January 6 and his bullet-riddled body was found in deserted area near Usman Khattar Railway Station. He had been shot in the chest and head from a close range. Police said it appeared to be a case of target killing. Aabid Mehmood owned a hotel and lived in Kamra village. He reportedly had claimed ‘prophethood’ in October 2011 and a case was registered against him under Section 295-C of CrPC on a complaint lodged by his son-in-law Sadaqat Ali. Aabid was sent to jail after his mental condition had been examined by a board of doctors at the Rawalpindi District Headquarters Hospital. He was released from Adiyala jail after about two years because of his mental and physical condition.

The Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the threat of war was hovering around persistently; however, the hangings of convicted terrorists would be carried out on fast-track basis without succumbing to any pressure whatsoever. He said that every individual should play his role in eliminating terrorism from the country. He said this while chairing a review meeting of the NAP convened at the Committee Room of the Interior Ministry. Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, NACTA national coordinator and other senior officials attended the meeting which was called to review the progress on the implementation of the 20-point NAP approved by the Prime Minister a few days ago.

PM Nawaz Sharif said that fighting terrorism was the Government’s top priority and the country remained committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The PM expressed these remarks during delegation-level talks with Bahrain Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa at the Gudabiya Palace. He said Pakistan was keen to work with Bahrain to further improve mutual economic relations that reflect the warmth existing in bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Supreme Court set aside the order of Islamabad High Court that suspended the detention order of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT ‘commander’ and alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks. A two-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Jawwad S Khwaja heard the Federal Government’s appeal against the order of the Islamabad High Court suspending the detention order of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. During the hearing, Justice Jawwad S Khwaja remarked that prima facie, the Islamabad High Court passed the order in haste and without proper considerations. Attorney General Salman Butt informed the court that Lakhvi after the dismissal of his representation by the interior secretary filed the writ petition in the Islamabad High Court on December 25, 2014. The next day, which was January 9, he said, the Islamabad High Court fixed the petition and issued notices to the Federal Government and Senior Superintendent of Police, Islamabad.

The Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that a clean-up operation has been launched against those banned outfits that have started operating under new names, and all such groups are under strict watch of security agencies. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that media should completely blackout coverage of terrorists, saying that they would “die their natural deaths” if not given any publicity. “The fight against terrorism is in the final round and all decisions would be taken in national interest,” he said while talking to media persons after chairing a high-level meeting at the Interior Ministry, which reviewed the implementation of the NAP.

Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the Federal Government, the provincial Governments, the Ministry of Defence and other relevant departments were establishing a strong mechanism of coordination for enforcement of the plan. He said that the apex committees have been establishment in all the four provinces, and three of them have already held meetings for building coordination.

Pakistan remained the world’s top host nation in 2014 with 1.6 million refugees, nearly all from Afghanistan, a report released by the UNHCR said. The data released by the UNHCR showed that Syrians, for the first time, have become the largest refugee population, overtaking the Afghans, who had held that position for more than three decades. At more than three million as of June 2014, the Syrian refugees now account for 23 percent of all refugees being helped by the UNHCR worldwide. Despite dropping to the second place, the 2.7 million Afghan refugees worldwide remain the largest protracted refugee largest protracted refugee population under the UNHCR care with the majority hosted by Pakistan. Thus, Pakistan is the largest protracted refugee situation globally, UNHCR reported.

The US supports efforts of Pakistan to counter terrorism and bring perpetrators to justice, the spokesperson of the US State Department, Jen Psaki said. Jen Psaki said that “We support efforts to counter terrorism and bring perpetrators to justice, believe – but we believe it’s important efforts be consistent with principles of due process.”

The Madaris (madrassah or religious seminaries) receive funding from different sources - overseas, regular contributions from their graduates working in big cities and local influential figures, a study said. A reading of the valuable study conducted by an officer of the district management group in a particular area of the southern Punjab some two decades ago shows its absolute relevance even in today’s scenario when the seminaries have grown manifold.

The study said that 71% such institutions were established after 1976. According to it, the real hard-core activists of different organisations are the ones, who graduate from these schools as residential students. Some 43 % students were residential. The study said that the seminaries belonging to two sects invariably indulged in sectarianism. They were in the control of the now banned outfits. Most of the managers of large and well-established schools said that some of their ‘outstanding’ former students have gone to a Muslim country and regularly finance their alma mater out of their personal income.

The study said that many institutions, as told by their managements, get regular subscriptions from the former students, who have settled in Karachi, Lahore and other big cities, and are working there as Imam Masjid (prayers leaders) or have their own seminaries over there. It said that local influential people also generously contribute to these schools. Many local landlords and businessmen regularly provide funding in order to lobby this strong and large group and do it for political and business purposes. By patronising these seminaries, they also try to create a clout for influencing the local administration and community.

President Mamnoon Hussain signed into law the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2015 as well as the Pakistan Army Act 1952 Amendment. President signed into law the 21st Constitutional Amendment, making it applicable with immediate effect. The 21st Amendment to the constitution would provide constitutional cover to trial of offences relating to terrorism by military courts. The Senate on January 6 had approved the 21st Constitutional Amendment as well as the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2015. Earlier on the same day, the National Assembly had passed both the bills unopposed as 247 members voted in favour of the laws.

Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the military courts would start functioning within days. In an interview to a TV channel, he said the cases of terrorism were lingered on due to some legal complications but now speedy justice would be provided. The Minister said these courts would remain intact for a period of two years. He said the Government was standing besides Army against this menace, adding, whenever Army had taken a step while remaining within the constitution and system it had emerged victorious with the nation’s support.

As the Government reviews security measures following winter vacations, owners of private schools said the costs associated with the arrangements could result in a large number of the institutes winding up for good. Security arrangements at around 915 private and 1,600 Government schools were declared satisfactory by authorities led by District Commissioner Peshawar. Government officials visiting the schools in various districts checked the new arrangements, including increasing the height of boundary walls, installation of CCTV cameras, arrangement of walk-through gates and deployment of security guards at entry points. According to All Pakistan Private Schools Association, the total number of private schools in Peshawar is 2,027 of which 915 were checked and their security arrangements were declared satisfactory.

January 8

Four Al-Qaeda terrorists, including a ‘commander’, were killed in alleged encounter with Police in Qayyumabad area of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. CID In-charge Raja Umer Khattab said the shootout with terrorists took place in sector D area of Qayyumabad. Police also recovered suicide jackets and weapons from the custody of terrorists. He said Al-Qaeda ‘commander’, identified as Sajjad, was among the dead.

Unidentified armed men shot and injured two Policemen in Nazimabad 3 area. Both the Policemen were rushed to a nearby hospital but they succumbed to their wounds on the way. The deceased Policemen were identified as Bughio Khan and Abdul Bari.

A man named Suleman Rizvi was killed when armed assailants opened fire on a mechanic shop in Paposh Nagar area.

Police claimed that the accused opened firing on patrolling Policeman in Jhatpat market, Kalakot and in retaliatory fire gang war accused identified as Ramzan was killed. Police said Ramzan belongs to Baba Ladla group and was involved in several cases.

In an exchange of fire, gang war accused Abid alias Abba was killed in Saifee Lane area within the limits of Baghdadi Police Station. Police said Abid was involved in more than 10 cases of murder. Five personnel of Baghdadi Police sustained injuries in exchange of fire with gang war accused.

One MQM activist was shot dead and two sympathizers were injured in a firing incident in Orangi town. Rescue sources said unknown gunmen opened fire at shop in Orangi town near Rehmat Chowk as a result MQM 119 unit worker, identified as Muhammad Nadeem was killed and two others sustained injuries.

Four SF personnel were killed and two others injured in an IED explosion apparently targeting the vehicle of SFs in Lower Kurram Agency of FATA. According to security officials, three FC personnel and one Levies Force personal lost their lives in the blast. The vehicle of the SFs struck the IED planted alongside a road in Shabak area of Lower Kurram Agency.

Akram Lahori, the Saalar-e-Aala (commander-in-chief) of the LeJ, executed at the Kot Lakhpat Jail. The jail has received death warrant of Lahori who was involved in the killing of an Iranian diplomat.

January 9

At least seven LI militants were killed and several others injured in explosions at a terrorist centre in the Sipah area of Khyber Agency in FATA. According to sources, a landmine detonated inside the militant camp in Sipah area, killing four suspected terrorists. As the insurgents were trying to move the bodies, security forces fired mortar shells at the building, killing another three militants.  

Six militants were killed in an exchange of fire with SFs in Dattakhel tehsil of NWA. Official sources said that the clash took place in Dattakhel where militants offered resistance during operation of the security forces. In cross-firing, which continued for more than an hour, six extremists were killed while others fled away.

Four soldiers were killed and two others sustained injuries in a roadside blast when the soldiers were on a routine patrol in the Bashak area Orakzai Agency.

One soldier was killed and five others injured in a rocket attack on a mosque of military centre in Kalaya area of Orakzai Agency. The militants fired two rockets at mosque in the Military Headquarters when Friday prayer was underway. Rockets were fired from mountains of Akkakhel side. The slain Orakzai Scouts soldier was identified as Munawar Shah and those injured as Naib Subedars Mehmood Khan, Azizur Rehman, Hawaldar Zawan Shah, sepoys Kashif Ahmed and Farmanullah sustained wounds.

Eight persons were killed and 25 others wounded in a bomb blast on Imambargah Aun Muhammad Rizvi at Chittian Hattian locality of Rawalpindi city of Punjab. The blast occurred at a time when a Mehfil-e-Milad to celebrate the birth of the holy Prophet was in progress at the Imambargah. The Police earlier claimed it was a suicide attack but later the CCPO Rawalpindi Akhtar Laleka said that blast was not a suicide attack. Around 4-5 kilo explosive were planted in a Nullah outside the Imambargah.

At least three soldiers of FC were killed and five others sustained injuries when their convoy came under gun and rocket attack in a remote hilly area of Santsar in Gwadar District of Balochistan. A security convoy was on its routine patrolling in Santsar area when unidentified militants, armed with rockets and sophisticated weapons, attacked the military vehicles.

Unidentified militants blew up railway track with explosive material in Jaffarabad town of same District, suspending the train services. According to FC sources, some unidentified militants planted explosive device at railway track which went off with big bang, due to which a deep crater was developed by destroying the tracked.

A former PAF chief technician Khalid Mehmood, convicted in the former President General Pervez Musharraf attack case, has been executed in the Central Jail Adiala in the night. Khalid Mehmood, along with four others, was awarded the death sentence on October 3, 2005 by the Field General Court Martial under the Army Act for his involvement in an assassination attempt on Pervez Musharraf on December 14, 2003 in Rawalpindi. He belonged to Chak No 372 Police Station of Dunyapur in the Lodhran District with the present address of Lava, near high school Talagang, Chakwal. Mehmood was shifted to Adiala Jail on October 27, 2010.

The Police claimed to have arrested two members of a banned religious outfit in Nankana Sahib town of same District. DPO Kamran Yousaf said that they got formation that suspicious people visited some houses at Chak 18. He said that a team headed by Sadar SHO Zulfiqar Ahmad Virk raided the houses and arrested Naeem and Zahid, while their three accomplices managed to escape. The DPO said that they had also recovered a huge quantity of weapons with hundreds of live bullets. He said that they had also seized Jehadi literature.

The anti-terrorism court No 2 has issued black warrants for Zahid Hussain alias Zahido of the LeJ. He will be hanged in Lahore Central Jail on January 15. Zahid Hussain had killed ASI Ghulam Rasool and injured constables Yousaf and Majid in Sital Marri on August 13, 2000.

A constitutional petition was filed in the Supreme Court praying for declaring the 21st Constitutional Amendment and the creation of military courts as ultra vires and against the basic structure of the Constitution. The petition was filed by Chairman Pakistan Justice Party Muhammad Munsif Malik through Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the Federation through secretary law, secretary defence, speaker National Assembly and chairman Senate as respondents. The petitioner prayed the 21st Constitutional Amendment and creation of military courts on the touchstone of Article 8 of the Constitution denied the people their fundamental rights of fair trial and due process through independent and impartial courts. He said the amendment also affects the rights guaranteed to citizens under Article 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 10-A and 25 of the Constitution.

Pakistan Army announced establishment of nine military courts in all the four provinces, initially. Three military courts each would be set up in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two in Sindh and one in Balochistan, ISPR said in a statement. These courts would start functioning soon, the statement added. The Army’s statement on setting up the military courts follows parliament’s nod earlier this week.

The Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rasheed called for greater mobilisation among the countrymen to flush menace of terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. A seminar organised by SAFMA entitled “will Pakistan change”, saw the participation of Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid as the chief guest and other lawmakers including Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Hasil Bazinjo and members of civil society. The seminar stressed the need to draw lessons from Peshawar tragedy and create national unity against all forms of the terrorism.

The Ulema and religious scholars from different schools of thought underlined the need for public execution of convicted militants so that no one could dare to take lives of innocent people by carrying out subversive activities. They extended their complete support to the government initiatives taken to uproot extremism and terrorism from the country, saying that all religious sects were united against terrorism.

Pakistan faced a range of internal security issues in 2014, resulting in a wide range of violence, including terrorism, militant attacks, sectarian violence, crimes, target killings, security operations and drone strikes. Compared to 5,687 deaths in 2013, a total of 7,655 people died in 2014 as a direct result of violence, which is an average increase of about 35%, revealed a survey conducted by CRSS. The most significant increase in violence was in observed in the FATA, where fatalities more than doubled from 1,457 in 2013 to 3,399 in 2014. A big reason for this marked increase is the military-led operation Zarb-e-Azb in the North Waziristan Agency of the FATA region. The second largest increase was in Punjab, where death from violence rose from 120 in 2013 to 309 in 2014, a drastic increase of 158%.

Part of this increase in figures may be attributed to the November 2014 bombing of the Wagah border-closing ceremony, which left 60 dead. KP saw a decrease in violence-related deaths, with 945 deaths in 2014, as compared to the 1,031 deaths in 2013. Gilgit-Baltistan saw the largest decrease in violence-related casualties, at 3 in 2014, from 20 in 2013. The sudden spike from June 2014 onwards is clearly attributable to the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Deaths from violence accelerated towards the end of the year, pulling significantly ahead of the same month figures from 2013. The last three months in 2014 were especially bloody, with an alarming 258% increase from the same period in 2013.

January 10

The Jamaat al-Ahrar, faction of the TTP claimed responsibility for the bomb blast on Imambargah (Shia place of worship) Aun Muhammad Rizvi at Chittian Hattian locality of Rawalpindi city of Punjab on January 9, which killed eight persons and injured 25 others. “We claim responsibility of the attack on the Imambargah and vow to continue such attacks,” spokesman of Jamaat al-Ahrar, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said in an email.

The Pentagon said that the “sanctuary” that some of the militant groups enjoy in Pakistan has long been an issue of concern. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said that it was for Pakistan to continue the fight against terrorism in its own interest, and noted that like the Paris victims, Pakistanis have been victims of terror. “It’s not about us putting pressure on the Pakistani government. It’s about the Pakistani government continuing to address this threat in keeping with their best interests and the interests of their people,” Kirby replied, when a journalist suggested that Washington pressurise Pakistan into doing more.

January 11

Dr Akbar Ali was shot dead when he was seeing patients in his Al-Syed Clinic of Paposh Nagar in Nazimabad town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Ten minutes after the killing of Dr Akbar Ali, a homoeopath Doctor, Yawar Hussain, was shot dead by unidentified assailants when he was pulling down the shutter of his clinic near Khilafat Chowk in Nazimabad town. 

One Abdul Rauf was shot dead while he was busy in his shop in Gulberg town.

A group of Pakistani and Afghan militants have beheaded a Pakistani soldier after pledging allegiance to Islamic State, a new video released online, copying execution tactics used by the Middle East militant group. It remains unclear whether IS-inspired militants allegedly hiding on the Pakistani-Afghan border are acting on their own or on direct orders from the IS leadership in the Middle East. In the latest Arabic-language video, whose authenticity could not immediately be confirmed, a large group of turbaned militants, many on horseback and holding rifles and black IS flags, are seen gathered in an undisclosed forested area.

A militant identified by the SITE intelligence group as former TTP ‘spokesman’ Shahidullah Shahid is then seen addressing the crowd to announce pledges of allegiance to IS from leaders of various groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We want to inform you that we have brought together the emirs of 10 groups who want to pledge their allegiance to the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” he said, referring to the IS leader. At the end of the 16-minute video a man wearing a helmet, a T-shirt and combat trousers, identified as a Pakistani soldier, is seen being beheaded with a machete.

An employee of the FWO was injured in a blast in Tajaban area of Kech District in Balochistan. Security officials said the blast occurred near a vehicle of FWO personnel when they were working on the under-construction Gwadar-Turbat-Reto-Dero national highway.

One person sustained injuries in a landmine blast in Jori area of Dera Bugti District. As per details, the blast took place when one farmer, who was watering the fields, put unconsciously his foot on the landmine injuring him.

A remote-controlled bomb was planted to target a police mobile at Mustang Road in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. However, no human loss was reported as a result of the explosion.

Unidentified assailants abducted two trader brothers in Guldar Baghicha near Chaman area of Killa Saifullah District. According to Levies force, the victims were on way to their shop from house in a vehicle when some armed men intercepted them. They took away them along with their vehicle to an unidentified destination on gunpoint.

SFs detained at least nine suspects including one suicide attacker and three members of TTP Swat group in Quetta. According to the sources, SFs on a tip off, raided three different areas of Quetta and taken as many as nine suspects into custody.

Former President and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said that the military courts would save the future of the coming generations from terrorism. Zardari said that the situation prevailing in the country demands political wisdom from all political parties of the country. Addressing a meeting with PPP’s divisional coordinators and district presidents at the Bilawal House, Zardari said the current situation demands that “we act within our senses rather than losing our tempers”.

Former Federal Minister of Interior Rehman Malik said that ISIS is conspiring to spark violence between Shia and Sunni communities and emphasised that the Government and the law enforcement agencies would have to take coordinated and serious steps to foil this conspiracy. Rehman Malik said that military courts are necessary to punish the terrorists and these courts could not be termed as extra-constitutional.

The ISI chief Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar met Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in Kabul and discussed ways to boost anti-terror cooperation. It was Akhtar’s third visit to Afghanistan since he assumed office in November 2014. “The President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani received Pakistan intelligence ISI chief Lt General Rizwan Akhtar in his office on Sunday,” the Presidential Palace said. “In the meeting both sides discussed ways to further strengthen joint efforts against terrorism and extremism,” the statement added. They also talked about peace and security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region, among other matters.

January 12

Seven personnel of the FC were killed and one injured when militants attacked a checkpost of the SFs in the Mekhtar area of Loralai District in Balochistan. The FC officials said that around 40 militants armed with automatic weapons attacked the FC checkpost. As a result, all the eight personnel of the force sustained multiple bullet injuries and seven of them died on the spot. The FC personnel launched a counter attack, killing one attacker and injuring many others.

SFs destroyed the house of an absconder terrorist in Malokabad area of Mingora town in Swat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The house was demolished by the forces with explosive materials. According to police sources, the accused was required to the security forces in a number of terror acts and was absconding since then.

The Supreme Court directed the Federal Government to come up with details in 10 days about the number of missing persons in the country. The directive was issued by a two-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja which had taken up an application of Nasrullah Baloch, Chairman of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons, seeking an order for his protection. During the hearing, Mr Baloch alleged that the mutilated bodies found in different areas of Balochistan were buried within two or three days instead of handing them over to the families. The identity of these defaced bodies, he said, remained a mystery and even their relatives would not recognise them if handed over.

He regretted that there was no mortuary to preserve such bodies and said that earlier the Bolan Medical Complex in Quetta had such a facility but it had been closed down. The court asked the advocate general of Balochistan to submit a report on the procedure of handing over such bodies to the families and the number of hospitals and mortuaries functioning in the province. The other three provinces have also been directed to submit similar reports. Describing the enforced disappearances as a national issue, Justice Khawaja said the matter must be addressed amicably. The court directed Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt to submit comprehensive data about the number of missing persons in the country.

According to media reports, the CIED was seized with 1,265 cases as of Dec 31. But the Defence of Human Rights claims that the total number of cases of missing persons is 5,149 and 252 of them surfaced in 2014 alone.

Five more convicted terrorists would be executed in Sukkur and Faisalabad jails on January 13. Three terrorists belonging to banned outfits and lodged in central jail Sukkur in Sindh province and two convicts in District jail Faisalabad in Punjab province will be hanged. The three terrorists in Sukkur jail - Muhammad Shahid Haneef, Muhammad Talha and Khalil Ahmed - were involved in the murder of Defence Ministry Director Zafar Hussain Shah in the vicinity of Gulbahar jail in Karachi in 2001. All the three would be hanged at 6.30 am on January 13, said jail authorities. The two other terrorists - Nawazish Ali and Mushtaq Ahmed - convicted of orchestrating the murder attempt on former president general Pervez Musharraf will also be hanged at Faisalabad District Jail on January 13-morning.

To counter terrorism and improve security of the people and public property, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government has enacted three special laws within a short time. Under the new laws, people are being arrested during search and strike operations. Some political leaders have criticised the PTI-led provincial Government for introducing a law to absolve itself of the responsibility to protect the people. The passage of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Restriction of Rented Buildings Act 2014, KP Restriction of Hotel Businesses Act 2014 and KP Security of Sensitive and Vulnerable Establishments and Places Act 2014 took a long time. The opposition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly gave a tough time to the Government to pass the KP Security of Sensitive and Vulnerable Establishments and Places Act 2014.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that terrorists were the common enemies of Pakistan and the United States. The visiting US Secretary of State met PM Nawaz Sharif here at the PM House and assured him that Washington would continue its support in the battle against terrorists. The PM conveyed Pakistan’s concern to the US about the unprovoked Indian aggression across the LoC and the Working Boundary in the recent months as aggressive Indian posturing could undermine Pakistan’s struggle to wipe out terrorism.

Building on recent accusatory statements by Government representatives, Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif claimed that India was helping terrorist groups in Pakistan to carry out "heinous acts". In an interview on Dawn’s programme News Eye, the Minister alleged that India "has designs on Pakistan". “The Taliban have links with India. Also, India’s involvement in the insurgency in Balochistan cannot be ignored,” he said. When asked to provide evidence for his claim, the Minister dodged the question and proceeded to claim that a low intensity war was underway. He stated that his allegations were based as much on conviction as on experience.

The United States military command assured Pakistan’s security establishment that TTP ‘chief’ Fazlullah would not be ‘spared’ and efforts are underway to track him down. The reported development surfaced during the meeting of top military commanders from Pakistan and the US on Monday which reviewed the ongoing coordinated drive against TTP and its allied offshoots, with the commitment to continue the scaled-up counterterrorism drive at the respective sides of the Western border. General Lloyd J. Austin CENTCOM and Pakistan’s COAS General Raheel Sharif met at the General Headquarters.

In a disturbing development for Islamabad, a former commander of the TTP, Hafiz Saeed Khan, has replaced an Afghan national, Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, as the Ameer of the Khorasan chapter (which includes Pakistan) of Daish or the IS, led by Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi. The previous Daish Ameer for the Khorasan chapter, Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, was a former Guantanamo prisoner, who had earlier spent several years in a Pakistani prison after being freed by the Americans. He had been appointed for an interim period to organise the Khorasan chapter of the IS which includes Pakistani, India, Afghanistan, Iran and some Central Asian territories. Rahim was operating from the Zamindawar District of Afghanistan which is situated on the right bank of the Helmand River to the northwest of Kandahar. However, Maulvi Saeed Khan, the new Ameer of the Khorasan chapter of Daish, comes from the FATA of Pakistan and belongs to the Mamozai area of Orakzai Agency. Before discarding the TTP umbrella in mid-October 2014, Saeed was the Ameer of the Orakzai Agency chapter of the TTP. 

January 13

SSP Malir Rao Anwar claimed to have killed five alleged terrorists in an encounter at Gulshan-e-Bunair area of Karachi, the Provincial capital of Sindh. SSP raided the area of Quaidabad along with 500 Policemen on secret information about the presence of terrorists of the plotters of Karachi jailbreak attempt. When Police reached the scene terrorists opened fire on them, as a result a Police mobile was damaged. However, in retaliatory fire five alleged terrorists belonging to a banned outfit were killed. Police recovered weapons and explosive material from the possession of dead criminals. Later, two killed terrorists were identified as Sajid and Mateen. Police sources said that Sajid was the mastermind of Karachi jailbreak foiled bid.

Two MQM workers, identified as Mohammad Ashraf alias Guddu and Mohammad Abdul Rehman, were shot dead while they were sitting along the road outside their homes near Taqva mosque in Rizvia Society of Liaquatabad Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Unidentified armed assailants shot dead the joint in-charge of the MQM Balochistan Committee, identified as Ashraf Khan (35) in Farid Colony of Orangi Town. 

Seven terrorists were executed in different jails of Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Karachi and Sukkur.

Three militants of LeJ Shahid Hanif alias Mufti Shahid, Muhammad Talha and Khalil Ahmed alias Hassan Jan were executed in Central Prisons in Sukkur. They were condemned to death by an anti-terrorism court after they were found guilty of killing Syed Zafar Hussain Zaidi, director laboratories of MoD in Karachi in July 2001.

Two terrorists involved in former President General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf assassination bid case were executed at District Jail Faisalabad. The terrorists were identified as ex-employee of Pakistan Air Force Nawazish Ali and Mushtaq.

Zulfikar Ali was executed at the Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi. He was associated with Al-Qaeda. He was convicted for killing two Policemen near the US Consulate General in Karachi. He was convicted by Anti-terrorism Court in Karachi after being booked in 2003 in FIR no 35/03 registered in Karachi under Sections 353, 302, 324, 397 and 7-ATA.

Behram Khan, the killer of a lawyer, was hanged at Karachi Central Jail in the presence of judicial magistrate. Behram Khan, along with Police SI Pir Bux, had killed Advocate Ashraf in the courtroom of Sindh High Court in 2003 and they were arrested while trying to escape. Anti-terrorism Court in Karachi had sentenced Behram to death while SI Pir Bux was sentenced to life in prison for abetting the crime.

Two security personnel were killed and three others injured when the SFs vehicle hit a roadside land mine near the Nawab Shaheed check-post in Kurram Agency of FATA.

The anti-terrorism court Number 1 awarded death on 22 counts to four militants of LeJ for attacking the Multan ISI headquarters. Abdur Rahim, Hafiz Salman, Sajjad and Muhammad Afzal have been awarded death on 11 counts under section 302 of the PPC and the same sentence under section 7 of the ATA. The court also awarded life imprisonment twice to their accomplice Ijaz Ahmed. The convicts had rammed a mini-truck into the ISI Headquarters in December 2009, killing 11 people and injuring 76 others. Several houses and residential quarters were also collapsed in the attack.

Asking Pakistan to target all militant groups, US Secretary of State John Kerry said terror outfits like LeT, Taliban and the Haqqani Network pose a threat to regional countries like India and the world. Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan Prime Minister’s adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Kerry said the terror groups like the “Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other groups continue to pose a threat to Pakistan, to its neighbours and to the US.” “We all have a responsibility to ensure that these extremists are no longer able to secure a foothold in this country or elsewhere. Make no mistake. The task is a difficult one and it is not done.”

January 14

Unidentified assailants shot dead one ASI and his two brothers and a passer-by in Mohallah Hayatkhel in the limits of City Police Station in Dera Ismail Khan town of same District in KP. The sources said that two assailants riding a motorcycle arrived at Mohallah Hayatkhel in the evening and opened fire and killed ASI Qaiser Jehan and his brothers Khurram Jehan and Ansar Jehan. A passer-by Alqab was also killed in the attack. It was learnt that the slain cop was posted as the in-charge of a Counter-Terrorism Unit in Peshawar and had come home on leave.

KP Government granted male teachers permission to carry licensed weapons in school. Acknowledging the Government's inability to station Police at all of KP's more than 30,000 schools, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak asked the schools to make some security arrangements on their own.

The Intelligence Agencies arrested nine suspected militants, including a couple linked with al Qaeda, during crackdowns in different areas of Faisalabad District. According to sources the al Qaeda-linked couple, identified as Rizwan and Maria, was involved in a hand grenade attack on a shrine in Gujranwala District on an unspecified date.

Afghan SFs arrested five men suspected of responsibility for the December 16 massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar. TTP suspects are key commanders, who allegedly coordinated the attack.

Quetta ATC, headed by judge Aftab Ahmed Lone, indicted former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf and two other nominated accused in the Nawab Akbar Bugti murder case of August 26, 2006. The other two indicted by the Court include former Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and Home Minister Mir Shoaib Nosherwani.

Ahmed Khan Sherpao and Shoaib Nosherwani were present in the court during the hearing while counsel for Pervez Musharraf presented an application for his exemption from appearance on health grounds. The judge remarked that the exemption from appearance before the court could only be granted after examination of the former president by a medical board. The court expressed resentment over the non-constitution of the medical board and summoned the Director General, health, Balochistan, at the next hearing of the case on February 4, 2015.

Pakistan has decided to ban the Haqqani Network, JuD and 10 more outfits. Confirming the development, senior officials said that a formal announcement to this effect would be made in ‘coming days’. The decision came a day after the US State Department declared the fugitive chief of the TTP Mullah Fazlullah as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’. Mullah Fazlullah had claimed responsibility for the December 16 massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar. “It’s our first step towards execution of the National Action Plan. The nation will see more positive steps towards dismantling militant groups. Both civilian and military leadership decided to ban the Haqqani Network and Jamaat-ud-Dawa,” an unnamed senior intelligence official confirmed to The Express Tribune.

The Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the number of proscribed organisations actively engaged in terrorism and extremism in Punjab alone had reached 95. During the briefing on the status of implementation of the National Action Plan to counter terrorism and extremism, Chaudhry Nisar said that law-enforcement agencies were proactively monitoring madrassah to check the spread of terrorist ideology in the country.

January 15

At least seven militants were killed while four others were injured in a US drone strike near the Pak-Afghan border in Wacha Dara area of Ladha tehsil in South Waziristan Agency of FATA. Two of the dead militants are reported to be of Uzbek origin. Intelligence sources say that the US drone fired two missiles on a compound in Wacha Dara area located near the Pak-Afghan border between Makeen and Shawal.

An unidentified man was shot dead near Haider Chowk in Orangi Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Law Enforcement Agencies arrested two target killers affiliated with a political party, who were involved in several cases of target killing and other crimes, from an undisclosed area of Karachi. Weapons were also recovered from their possession.

An ATC declared the TTP 'chief' Mullah Fazlullah, his former spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid and six others as proclaimed offenders in the June 8, 2014, Karachi Airport attack case. Six others were identified as Malik Mumtaz Awan, Asim Sharif, Abdur Rasheed, Akhtar alias Plumber, Iqbal alias Thekedar and Abdullah Baloch. The Police submitted that Fazlullah and Shahid had addresses of Sohrab Goth area of Gadap Town but they could not be traced. The court declared the suspects as proclaimed offenders, ordering confiscation of their properties. The hearing of the case was adjourned till January 26, 2015.

Sindh High Court directed the Provincial authorities to apprise it about what measures they have taken to secure the public and private educational institutions across the Province, excluding the government’s advisory regarding security arrangements in wake of December 16, 2014 attack on an Army Public School in Peshawar. A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar issued notice to Sindh Chief Secretary, Education and Literacy Department Secretary, Home Secretary to submit their response to the petition by January 21, 2015.

The CoAS General Raheel Sharif said the military courts had been established with the consent of the people of Pakistan. The General said Pakistan was in a state of war, and the government and the armed forces were determined to wipe out the terrorists as the recent [APS] incident had shown the extent to which they (the terrorists) could go. General Raheel was confident that Pakistan would overcome its problems soon.

The ISPR Director General Major General Asim Bajwa said that the justice system has not come under military domain, explaining that military courts are a stop gap arrangement due to the existing capacity issue of Pakistan’s judicial system. Bajwa addressed the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a leading think tank in London.

Chief of BNP-M, Sardar Akhtar Mengal said that extremism was being promoted in Baloch society to weaken Baloch nationalists. "Extremists are penetrating in a tolerant Baloch society," Mengal said. He said new shadowy extremist organisations were surfacing in the Province to undermine the Baloch political and democratic movement.

A Government school in Rajgarh area of Lahore District received a threat note pasted on its main entrance, creating panic among teachers, students and their parents. According to details, unidentified persons pasted a threat note on the main gate of Government Junior Model Girls School Rajgarh. Parents who were visiting school for dropping their children read the note and informed the school administration. Officials of District Administration and police reached the spot immediately. Police sent the letter to the forensic laboratory for further investigation. However, the classes began normally after the school was cleared.

Police traced the terrorist network involved in January 9, 2015, bomb attack on Chittian Hattian Imambargah in Rawalpindi District and arrested four suspects. Police sources said two of the suspects arrested were convicted of murdering PTV producer Aun Mohammad Rizvi in 1999 and were acquitted by the Supreme Court in October 2011. But the sources declined to disclose their names.  Police investigators, the Counterterrorism Department and Intelligence Agencies are now scouring for the suspects’ links to Hafiz Muhammad Nawaz facing death penalty for killing Rizvi.

In a major development linked to the trial of hardcore terrorists in military courts, Islamabad Police referred the murder case of former Minority Affairs Minister Dr Shahbaz Bhatti to a military court. Bhatti was killed outside his residence in Islamabad on March 3, 2011. Earlier, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) had pointed out that the threats from extremists were adversely affecting the proceedings of the trial of Dr Shahbaz Bhatti murder trial. Threatening pamphlets claiming to be from TTP-Punjab Chapter (also known as Punjabi Taliban) had been found in the office of a key witness in the case.

Lahore High Court Division Bench dismissed a withdrawn petition of a condemned prisoner, Ikramul Haq, alias Lahori, challenging his death warrants. A Faisalabad ATC had reissued the warrants after the convict failed to prove reconciliation with the complainant party. The convict’s counsel pleaded in the petition that the complainant party wanted to record statement in the High Court. However, he said, the trial court reissued the death warrants of the convict and execution was fixed for January 17, 2015.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue presided over by Senator Nasrin Jalil of the MQM was informed by the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank that the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 needed to be amended to ward off international isolation and ease operational difficulties being faced by local Law-Enforcement Agencies. The meeting was.

Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan said the definition of financing of terrorism for the purpose of starting investigation into Suspicious Transactions Reports would be amended to include “financing of terrorism including funds collected, provided, use or meant for, or otherwise linked or related to terrorism, terrorist act or organisations and individuals concerned with terrorism”.

An official explained that unless Pakistan met international standards in its laws and efforts to curb terror financing, the international community under the banner of Financial Action Task Force on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing could declare it a high-risk and non-cooperative country, leading to international sanctions. The finance secretary said the amendment would ensure domestic and international cooperation among agencies for investigation into terror financing. The new law proposes due diligence of customers and the requirement of regulatory agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the SBP to maintain record of transactions that was not covered in the previous law.

The UNHCR country representative, Maya Ameratunga said that her organisation would not support Afghan refugees found involved in terror activities in Pakistan. She said that the UN Refugee Agency was aware of security challenges in Pakistan and supported measures being taking by the Government to improve law and order. She said some Afghan refugees, both registered and illegal, had been taken into custody by Pakistan’s law-enforcement agencies for their alleged involvement in terror activities. The UNHCR, she added, would provide legal assistance only to registered Afghan refugees. She said the UN Refugee Agency has been providing assistance to Afghan refugees for their voluntary repatriation to their home country.

She called upon the Pakistan Government not to use force for the repatriation of Afghans. The forced evacuation of refugees would affect a large number of Afghan families as security situation in Afghanistan was still not conducive, she added. She said efforts to improve security situation in Afghanistan were continued so that repatriation process of Afghan refugees from neighbouring countries could be carried out in a smooth way. She said the UNHCR kept a continuous vigil at the activities of Afghan refugees and would inform Pakistani authorities if anyone of them is found involved in suspicious activities.

January 16

Police rescued five abducted foreigners and arrested two kidnappers during search operations in Satellite Town and overseas colony area of Turbat District. Imran Qureshi, the DPO said that the foreigners include three Yemenis and two Tanzanian nationals. He further stated that weapons were also recovered from the possession of the kidnappers.

The Police and SFs in a joint search and strike operation arrested 434 suspects and 115 unregistered Afghan nationals from different parts of the Province, especially Peshawar. The SFs also seized a large quantity of arms and ammunition from their possession. A Police official of Tehkal Police Station said the operation was carried out by the Police and SFs around the Bacha Khan Airport and that all Police Stations of the city were told to carry such operations in their respective areas. He said the operation lasted several hours during which the Police and SFs cordoned off the areas and closed roads and pathways at their entry and exit points. According to spokesman for the Police Riaz Ahmad, a total of 434 suspicious people were arrested in the Province during the last two days. He added that 189 weapons, 5,516 rounds, and a large quantity of ammunition was also recovered.

Police and SFs also forcibly shut down several private hostels in different areas of Peshawar. The action led the students living there blocked the University Road and thus, causing traffic jam for around an hour. Shouting slogans against the Government, the protesters said they didn’t know why their hostels had been closed and that evicting them without prior notice was an injustice. They said they were members of poor families by and large and couldn’t afford to stay in expensive hotels.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan said that there has been 60 to 70 percent reduction in extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom cases and target killing incidents have reduced in Karachi. Khan said that after the Abbas Town blast in March 2, 2013, we focused on elimination of four heinous crimes with all available resources which include terrorism, extortions, target killings and kidnapping-for-ransom and we got success and today there is clear reduction in these crimes in the city.

Pakistan cannot ban the JuD led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed because it is a charitable and not terrorist organisation, said Pakistan’s Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain.  Hussain’s comments came a day after some media channels quoted unnamed Pakistani Interior Ministry sources as saying the Government was likely to outlaw several terrorist groups, including the JuD and the Haqqani Network.

“We are looking to ban terror organisations but the JuD is a charitable organisation and the Government of Pakistan has no evidence against Hafiz Saeed or the JuD,” Hussain said. Hussain drew a distinction between the LeT – banned as a terrorist organisation by Pakistan, India and the United States among other countries – and the JuD. Both India and the US say the LeT resurfaced as JuD after the ban. “Lashkar is banned in Pakistan and we have not found any linkages between JuD and LeT,’’ Hussain said, adding Saeed had the right to address rallies as he was “not involved in any terrorist activity”.

He further said, “India or the US should give us evidence and we will consider it. The JuD does not have a military wing and they are only involved in preaching Islam and working in the education field.” Hussain said he also supported the JuD chief’s call for liberating Kashmir. “Even I refer to Kashmir as our atoot ang (inalienable part). Tomorrow you will ask for a ban against me and against all Pakistanis who support the freedom struggle in Kashmir,” the Minister said.

CoAS, General Raheel Sharif while speaking at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London said that National Action Plan was a comprehensive long term strategy to address extremism, terrorism in the country with the Government doing best for its implementation, adding that the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists in North Waziristan Agency of FATA was making good progress and there were no favourites among terrorists as all terrorists of any kind were being hit in the operation.

General Sharif further said that the relations with Afghanistan were improving, adding, “We are working for stability in the region”. He said that longstanding Kashmir issue has to be resolved for long term peace, stability in South Asia, Pakistan wants peace, but with dignity and honour. He urged that negotiations between the two countries over Kashmir must be made on an equal basis. He said that the World needs to understand our environment. Our cooperation with UK in security, social sector is growing. About return of TDPs from NWA, he said the world should help in dignified resettlement of TDPs.

DG ISPR Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa while addressing a think-tank of the Royal United Services Institute (USI) in UK said that Security Forces have killed 2,000 militants in North Waziristan Agency of FATA in the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He also said that 200 soldiers had been killed during the operation, and 800 others had sustained injuries. He reiterated the army’s resolve to ensure writ of the state in Bajaur and North Waziristan Agencies at all costs by wiping out militants. The DG ISPR said that effective military operations are under way to purge the areas of terrorists.

Referring to Islamabad and Afghan Security Forces' expected launch of coordinated operation against terrorists in their respective border regions, QWP chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said, “The Afghan Government has given its consent for launching a coordinated operation against terrorists”. Sherpao said the new Afghan Government was not only willing to cooperate in the war against terrorism but was also ready to enhance bilateral cooperation in other fields. The QWP chief also said that the new Afghan leadership desired close security cooperation with Pakistan in order to expedite action against terrorists and launch a coordinated offensive to wipe out terrorism from the region.

“Apart from a detailed meeting with President Ghani, we also met Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and other Afghan leaders. Our discussions were focused on how to enhance bilateral cooperation between our two countries,” said Sherpao. Since Pakistan has assured Kabul that it would not allow anyone to use its soil against Afghanistan, Sherpao said the Afghan leadership also expressed its desire to resolve all issues with Pakistan through mutual understanding. They want to normalise relations bedeviled by distrust and embark on a new journey of mutual friendship, he added.

JI Chief Sirajul Haq while addressing a rally on Multan Road warned that the anti-Islam policies of the west could plunge the world into the third world war. He said that the respect of the Holy Prophet was an essential part of a Muslim’s faith. Thousand of faithful across the country came on roads to express their anguish over the fresh publication of blasphemous caricatures by a French Weekly and vowed to render every sacrifice to safeguard the sanctity of the Holy Prophet. The call for the protest had been given by Haq.

He announced million marches in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi on January 23, 205, in continuation of the protest. He also stressed upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to call for an emergency meeting of the Muslim rulers to lodge protest with the French Government on this score and to stress upon the United Nations to frame laws ensuring respect for all the Prophets of Allah and all the revealed books.

Pakistan has outlawed the Haqqani Network, officials said, days after US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Government to fight groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and US interests.

Senior Pakistani Government officials said that a formal announcement of the ban would be made “within weeks”. “We have decided to ban the Haqqani Network as a step in implementing the National Action Plan devised after the (Peshawar) school attack,” said a Cabinet Member.

The US said that Pakistan’s decision to ban the Haqqani Network and some other militant groups is an important step towards eliminating terrorism. “We welcome (the decision) to outlaw the Haqqani Network, Jama'at-ud-Dawa, and I think about 10 other organisations linked to violent extremism,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said at a news briefing in Washington. “It is an important step, certainly, towards eliminating terrorist activity in Pakistan,” she said.

The Government has put more than 5,400 suspected militants on a new terror watch list, in a fresh move to swiftly execute a crackdown against sympathisers, financiers and facilitators of banned outfits across the country. As part of implementation on the National Action Plan against terrorism, these suspected terrorists were included in the list under the Fourth Schedule of the ATA 1997, a legal tool that allows the Government to catalogue all those involved in terrorism. “The fresh crackdown is being conducted by civilian forces with cooperation of intelligence operatives,” an unnamed official monitoring progress on the NAP said on January 16.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home Department has put some 2,572 suspects on the list — most of them linked with banned organisations, he revealed, adding that more than 1,896 suspected terrorists have been placed on the list by the Punjab Home Department. The Sindh Home Department placed the names of 479 suspects on the terror watch list. Similarly, the Balochistan Government has identified 400 suspects, Islamabad police 50, and the Gilgit-Baltistan Government has named 23 militants, the official added.

The Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed all relevant departments to block bank accounts/financial transactions and all kinds of funding of proscribed organisations/NGOs or any other individuals or organisations having connection with militants or terrorist activities. A databank and monitoring network is being established for all the proscribed organisations so that all such organisations re-emerging secretly or under new names should be shut down, he said.

He also directed Ministry of Information Technology to work in close coordination with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Intelligence Agencies and international monitors to close down all terrorism related websites/web based messaging services and other terrorism-related material on the internet and social media.

Pakistan’s military command has shared with the British authorities a list of more than 50 suspicious organisations that are headquartered in the UK and are operating in Pakistan, for strict scrutiny and surveillance over their finances and operations. These organisations not only include banned outfits but also include dozens of Islamic charities registered in the UK as social welfare and humanitarian organisations on the pretext of communities’ services.

The British authorities, in response, are said to have assured their complete support to Pakistan in its ongoing counterterrorism drive. According to informed security sources, the CoAS General Raheel Sharif conveyed to UK Government functionaries and security officials that majority of the organisations marked as suspicious by Pakistan’s security agencies (but were not banned here) were operating as charity organisations. These organisations are mainly registered in UK and some other Western countries including Canada, France and the United States. “The financial controls on dozens of 50 plus Islamic charities and other outfits are loose and they are freely moving millions of pounds from the UK to Pakistan each year,” an informed unnamed intelligence insider said, adding, “What do they do of this big amount of money is highly suspicious since social and humanitarian work they originally get the money for, is nowhere to be seen.”

January 17

Ikramul Haq, a convicted terrorist belonging to SSP, was hanged till death at Kot Lakhpat Central Jail in provincial capital Lahore. He was accused of killing a Shia man, identified as Nayyar Abbas, at an Imambargah in Shorkot area of Jhang District in 2001. Haq was scheduled to be hung earlier on January 8, 2014 but the execution was delayed at the eleventh hour after an agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant was produced before the magistrate. Later, the condemned prisoner and the plaintiff parties were asked to approach the Anti-Terrorism Court for confirmation of the agreement, pardoning Haq. Out of eight family members of the deceased Abbas, only his two brothers and a sister appeared before the judge, hence the court refused to accept the agreement and upheld its decision of death sentence to the convict.

So far, a total of 19 terrorists have been hanged. These include, a total of seven in the year 2014 (two on December 19, four on December 21, one on December 30). At least 12 terrorists have been hanged so far in 2015 (two on January 7, seven on January 13, two on January 15 and one on January 17).

January 18

Two officials of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), identified as Sohail Yusuf Bhatti (47), and Yusuf Talat Khan (56), were shot dead in a targeted attack near the Federal Urdu University on the main University Road in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Yusuf was the Deputy Director of Lyari Development Authority and Bhatti was the Detector Land LDA.

Two Policemen, identified as Abdul Ghafoor (50), and Muhammad Farooq, were shot dead in North Nazimabad Town.

A doctor, identified as Dr Farooq Ahmed Shaikh (55), was shot dead in a targeted attack in Federal B area of Gulberg Town. On his way home after work around 1:45am when he was shot dead in a target attack in Federal B Area.

A man, identified as Rehan (50), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Chhota Maidan area within the limits of Paposh Police Station in North Nazimabad Town.

Muttahida Qaumi Chief Altaf Hussain demanded the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to impose martial law in Sindh for the safety of life and property of people. He said the Sindh Government has failed in maintaining peace in the city as killing of innocent people in Karachi was on the rise. He demanded the Prime Minister to issue arm licenses to citizens if martial law couldn’t be enforced.

Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali of the Supreme Court, who is also the monitoring judge of the ATCs in Sindh, chaired a meeting that was informed of bifurcation of cases into “militancy-related” and “others” by the ATCs. Of the over 2,700 cases pending disposal before the 19 ATC across the Province, 192 cases of bomb blasts and militant attacks by militant organisations have been prioritized for hearing on a day-to-day basis as provided under the ATA of 1997.

SFs arrested two militants, identified as Maulavi Shah Wali and Hafiz Naimatullah, during a raid in Jangle Pir Alizai area in Qilla Abdullah District.

SFs arrested two suspected militants from Killi Tekhdar area of Chaman town and recovered weapons from their possession.

Police detained 31 suspects during various raids in Quetta. Police said hate materials and CDs were recovered from their possession.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Saifullah Chathha while presiding over a meeting in Quetta asked officials to ensure construction of boundary walls and foolproof security at all schools in the Province as part of the National Action Plan against terrorists. He ordered officials of Law-Enforcement Agencies and educational institutions to jointly evolve a security plan for safety and protection of schools, colleges and universities. The meeting decided that boundary walls would be built and protective wires installed at all schools, besides deploying security guards at every educational institution.

Five suspected militants belonging to Pakistan were arrested last week in Afghanistan, said officials from both the countries. The five were detained last week after Pakistan sent a list of suspects to security services in Afghanistan, said an unnamed official. “We are investigating whether the five detained are the ones wanted by Pakistan,” one of the Afghan officials said. A Pakistani official said that talks were underway with the Government for the transfer of the five prisoners in Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the Chief of JuD, and the founder of LeT, during a rally in Lahore while urging Muslims across the world to boycott French commodities in protest against the publication of sacrilegious caricatures by French magazine Charlie Hebdo said that the UN should declare blasphemy as terrorism and pass an international law against it. “If it fails to do so, Muslim countries should sever ties with it and form a Muslim Union.” “Blasphemy is the worst form of terrorism in the world. It is terrorism against 1.5 billion Muslims. There will be no peace if international laws are not made against blasphemy,” threatened Saeed.

The commander of The Resolute Support, the new mission of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell warned that the IS is making recruitment in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We are seeing reports of some recruiting,” said General Campbell, adding, “There have been some night letter drops, there have been reports of people trying to recruit both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, quite frankly.”

General Campbell said the IS group, which had a “hard message to sell” in Afghanistan, but there were concerns that the group had the potential to spread its message in the country and in neighbouring Pakistan. “The Taliban have their allegiance to Mullah Omar and a different philosophy and ideology than ISIS, but, potentially, there are people who are disgruntled with the Taliban, they haven’t seen [Taliban 'commander'] Mullah Omar in years, or they want to go a different way,” he said.

Those disgruntled with the Taliban leadership could be “vulnerable to the ISIS message, and so we’re looking at it very hard”, he said, adding that the US and Afghan authorities had so far seen “only bits and pieces” of this group in Afghanistan. “We’re doing deep dives into it to make sure we’re seeing everything. I’ve made it a priority intelligence requirement for my staff, but I have not seen a whole bunch of it yet, to tell you the truth,” Campbell added.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.





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