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Pakistan Timeline - 2016



January 1

The CTD arrested a militant affiliated with Jundullah-Haji Aqakhel group, and identified as Abdul Aziz alias Aziz Rehman, from Orangi Town in Karachi, who was accused recruiting young men for the Islamic State (IS/ also known as Daesh) and had sent three militants to Syria. He was collecting funds for the IS in Karachi and Quetta (Balochistan).

The official revealed that the Aziz had confessed during initial investigation to having sent three trained young men to Syria. One of them, Jaffer, has been killed there, while the whereabouts of Hamza and Rasheed are not known.

CoAS General Raheel Sharif while addressing tribal elders of Gwadar, Talar and Turbat areas of Makran Division said that the nation would get rid of terrorism this year. “The new year will be the year when terrorism will end,” he said. He also said that the “elements involved in the bad practice of financial misappropriation” should also be dealt with strictly.

January 2

Two ‘criminals’, identified as Mam Dost (24) and Jehangir (23), were killed in a Police encounter within the Mawach Goth Police Station in Baldia Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

January 3

Four SF personnel injured in two separate bomb attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Two soldiers suffered injuries when their convoy was damaged in a roadside bomb blast near the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway Toll Plaza in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. SSP-Operation Dr Mian Saeed said that a remote-controlled IED weighing around four kilogrammes was used in the attack.

Two Constables, Muhammad Ali and Faqeer Muhammad, were injured when Police mobile van comes under grenade attack in Par Hoti Police Station area of Mardan District. The mobile was parked near a CNG station when unidentified motorcycle bourne assailants lobbed a hand grenade at it.

The Upper Dir District Police conducted 1,838 operations and arrested over 2,000 alleged criminals, including terrorists, during 2015. This was stated by District Police Officer Syed Israr Bacha on January 2 while briefing media persons about record of the Police to maintain law and order in the District. He said that the Police arrested 28 terrorists, 653 proclaimed offenders and 1,335 suspects in search operations in 2015. He said that they had also seized 103 kilogrammes of charas and 204.5 liters of wine during raids at different places.

The main accused in the May 13, 2105, Safoora carnage of Karachi, identified as Umer Kathio, was arrested in joint raid conducted by Police and Rangers. The raid was conducted on a lead from Saad Aziz, another accused who has been in Police custody. According to sources, Umer Kathio had formed a network of terrorists in 2011. His task was to facilitate the terrorists of the al Qaeda. The sources further said the he later joined the Islamic State (IS/ also known as Daesh) while his wife runs a network of Daesh in Sindh.

Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said during an interview to Radio Pakistan that the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet on January 15, 2016, to draw up a roadmap for the Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue for the next six months to carry forward the bilateral engagement and the Pakistan Government will focus on the revival of peace process in Afghanistan and the consolidation of the process of improvement of relations with India.

The dialogue will cover all issues, including Kashmir, Siachen and water, he said. Talking about the policy of a peaceful neighbourhood, he said it ultimately paid back as there is "visible improvement" in relations with India and Afghanistan.

January 4

Two Policemen were killed when unidentified armed assailants opened fire at a Police check post in Bibi Nanai area of Sariab Road in provincial capital Quetta. "Armed assailants opened fire at Sariab road," said a police official.

A special unit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police foiled a terror plan by arresting six suspected militants in an intelligence-based operation in Bannu District. Based on prior intelligence, special Police unit Bannu raided an under-construction house in Pir Dil Khel Sorani area of Bannu where the armed militants were busy in terror-planning. The arrested militants were named as Shamsur Rehman, Abidullah, Anwar Kamal, Safdar Iqbal, Mansoor and Qudratullah.

Five gangsters were arrested by Rangers during a targeted raid in Lyari Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Weapons were also recovered from their possession. The Law Enforcement Agencies also raided Social Security Hospital and retrieved weapons hidden in the hospital premises.

Security Forces have established new check posts in areas of Bajaur Agency in FATA along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to boost security and stop militants from entering through the porous boundary. While briefing the media, Bajaur Scouts Commandant Colonel Nair Zaman said these check posts have been set up in Mamond, Salarzai and other areas along the border. The step has been taken to boost security as militants in Afghanistan would enter Bajaur and attack locals, pro-Government elders and security forces. “We have also succeeded in finding militants’ weapons dump with the help of locals.”

January 5

A five kilogram of bomb with 2.5 kilogram of ball bearings and two gallons petrol along with a remote control device was found under the stairs of the Samsani overhead bridge on Canal Road in provincial capital Lahore, sometime after Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan drove through the area. Sadar Division SP Haroonur Rasheed said that the bomb had been placed to harm the Interior Minister who crossed the bridge on his way to Islamabad.

Special Police Unit foiled a terror bid and arrested three alleged terrorists having ties with a banned outfit during a raid at a hideout [of terrorists] on Muddi Road near Shaheedabad area of Dera Ismail Khan District. However, the name of the banned organisation has not yet been disclosed. Three kilograms of explosive along with two hand grenades, 25 feet Primacord, wire and 12 volts battery were also recovered from their possession. Those arrested were identified as Khawaja Mohammad, Sakhawat Khan and Asfandyar.

Sindh Police arrested two suspects involved in various cases, including an attack on an Express News DSNG van on January 17, 2014, which resulted in the death of three media workers. “The arrested men belong to a group of 10 people that have been active in Karachi since 2014 and were involved in various target killing cases and attacking media persons,” DIG West Feroz Shah said. “The group mainly operated from Orangi Town area of Karachi and consisted of accused Saqib, Naveed, Kashif, Imran, Sarfaraz, Javed Afridi, Qari Rasheed, Qari Mohsin, Rehan and Kamran,” he added. IG Sindh Police announced a prize money of PKR 1 million for the Police officials who carried out the raids to arrest them.

PM Nawaz Sharif assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Islamabad would not hesitate to take “prompt and decisive action” if the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the attack on an Indian airbase in Pathankot was proved beyond doubt. “PM Nawaz Sharif assured PM Modi that his Government would take prompt and decisive action against the terrorists,” the Indian Prime Minister’s office said in a press statement after Sharif called Modi from Colombo. “Our (Pakistan) government is working on the leads and information provided by the Indian government. We would like to investigate the matter,” PM Sharif said.

During the telephonic conversation, PM Modi called for “firm and immediate action” against those involved in the Pathankot strike. “Specific and actionable information in this regard has been provided to Pakistan,” Modi was quoted by the Indian External Affairs Ministry.

The number of deaths in terrorist attacks declined by 48 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, said an annual report issued by PIPS. According to the report, 625 terrorist attacks were witnessed in the country in which at least 1,069 people lost their lives, while 1,443 people sustained injuries.  The report said deaths in sectarian violence in 2015 surged by 7 percent with 272 people killed as compared to 225 such killings in year 2014. A total f 630 civilians, 318 personnel of security and law enforcement agencies and 121 militants were killed in year 2015, the report added.

January 6

Five TTP militants were killed in an exchange of fire during Police encounter at a graveyard in Machar Colony area of Sohrab Goth in Gadap Town of provincial capital Karachi. SSP Rao Anwar said, "The militants had set up a hideout in the graveyard and on police's arrival, they opened fire."  Two of the attackers were identified as Naeem and Hafeezullah, while identities of the other have not asceratined thus far. Police also claimed to have recovered 2.5 kilograms of explosive material and other arms and ammunition from the hideout.

Four TTP militants, identified as Hanif alias 'Nadeem Kala', Ashraf Ali alias 'Bhaloo', Rehmat Shah and Zahid Hussain, were arrested during a Police operation in Defence Housing Authority-Phase 1 neighbourhood. Karachi-South DIG Dr Jamil Ahmed said that the Police recovered a shopping bag containing ball bearings, suicide jackets and four kilograms of explosive material. They also recovered bomb-making material and four pistols from their possession

Sindh Rangers and CTD claimed to have arrested a close aide of slain TTP leader, Baitullah Mehsud, in a joint raid carried out in Kotri area of Jamshoro District. AIG CTD Sanaullah Abbasi said the terrorist identified as Meherban, son of Badshah Khan, was a close confidante of Mehsud and was placed in the Red-Book.

Unidentified militants abducted six locals while they on their way to Gandoi area of Sui tehsil in Dera Bugti District. No group has claimed responsibility for abduction.

SFs arrested four TTP militants during a raid in Gawal Ismailzai area of Zhob District. The spokesman for the FC Khan Wasey said that weapons were also recovered from their possession. Wasay alleged the weapons were being smuggled into interior Balochistan for use in subversive activities.

The FC arrested three suspects from Mangochar area of Kalat District. Wasey said that that weapons and explosives were also recovered from their possession.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan has dismantled terrorists’ network and its war against terror has entered in the final phase. Speaking to the Sri Lankan businessman and journalists, Nawaz Sharif once again expressed resolve to end energy crisis in the country by 2017. Inviting the Sri Lankan business community to invest in Pakistan, PM Nawaz said, CPEC and TAPI projects would change the fate of the region. Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan offers attractive investment regime to the investors and Sri Lanka could take full benefit from it. He said, “We will also encourage our investors to invest in Sri Lanka.” The Premier went on to say that Pakistan desires good economic relations with Sri Lanka.

The SBP has frozen bank accounts of over PKR one billion as they were allegedly being used for financing terrorism. This was disclosed by Governor SBP, Ashraf Wathra and his team at a press conference on January 6. Wathra said 121 bank accounts of more than PKR one billion were frozen over evidence of being used for funding terrorist activities in the light of a resolution of UNSC.

In order to choke the funding of terrorists, he stressed the need for making the NACTA functional besides enhancement of cooperation between federation and provinces. He said effective measures were being adopted for putting tabs of transfer of money through ‘Hundi’. The SBP Governor further said that about 20 to 30 percent imports were taking place without the letter of credit (LC). “We are binding such importers to identify their sources of funding,” he added.

Federal Government is considering new policy measures to make the NACTA effective in tracking proscribed organisations and individuals amid criticism over slow implementation of the NAP. Fresh recommendations have been made for choking terrorism financing and making NACTA more effective, said SBP Governor Ashraf Wathra. He was responding to questions regarding the anti-terrorism financing regime after attending a meeting. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the subcommittee on choking terror financing constituted under the Prime Minister’s NAP implementation committee.

The Schools Education Department has issued directives to District Education officers to put up material discussing anti-terrorism efforts, tolerance and co-existence in all schools of the Province. The material was created by the Punjab Textbook and Curriculum Board and contains topics ranging from definition of terrorism to the importance of tolerance in the society. The material is in Urdu. The document lists external conspiracies, anti-state actors, lack of education, misinterpretation of religious texts, sectarianism, provincialism, racial discrimination, poverty and Indian infiltration as reasons for terrorism. The document classifies forms of terrorism into suicide attacks, bombings and shooting and kidnapping of citizens.

January 7

Four tribesmen, including a tribal elder Malik Wali Khan Mehsud, were shot dead by unidentified militants in Shaktoi area of Ladha tehsil in SWA of FATA. Two other tribesmen were identified as Malik Akbar Khan Mehsud and Jawad Mehsud. The third remained unidentified.  No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack, but residents claimed that commander Said Khan alias Sajna, who is affiliated TTP, had warned the IDPs a few days ago not to return to their homes, otherwise they themselves would be responsible for consequences.

Two soldiers were injured in a roadside blast at Shaheedano Dand in Kurram Agency.

The Sindh Police’s CTD claimed to have recovered 50 kilograms of explosives, two Kalashnikovs, two rifles, eight grenades, and four pistols, in a raid in the Manghopir area of Gadap Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. In a statement, the CTD said that a TTP terrorist, Meharban Badshah, who had been arrested in Hyderabad District, had disclosed the storage location.

Pakistan Customs Intelligence recovered 22,000 kilograms of explosive materials from a container that had been stored at the Karachi Port since November 20, 2015. A Customs spokesman said the container (CBHU-8570130) came to Karachi from China and had been stored at the port for over a month now. It was meant to be shipped upcountry but, according to the official, was not sent as the Peshawar Customs Intelligence had, some time back, caught two containers which had arrived at the Karachi Port along with this one and found explosives in them.

KP's SPU claimed to have arrested three suspects for campaigning for proscribed militant organisations in Dir Colony of provincial capital Peshawar. The arrested suspects, identified as Raheemullah, Sibghatullah and Sajjad, were found distributing pamphlets in support of banned militant’s outfits. However, the SPU did not specify the name of the outfit.

The Islamic State (IS/ also known as Daesh) militants broadcast four interviews of TI militants abducted by them in Afghanistan on its FM radio channel The Voice of Khilafat. Those interviewed included Pakistanis who said they were members of the group. They said they were captured by the IS. The other men who were in the IS custody said in the interview that they were Afghan Taliban aligned to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

January 8

At least 38 terrorists were killed and five others were injured in fresh air strikes on militant hideouts in Meezar and Sherani areas along the Afghanistan border in NWA of FATA. A large number of local and foreign militants were killed in air strikes, said ISPR. Those killed include 15 militants of Uzbek origin associated with Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the officials said. Five hideouts and three explosive-laden vehicles were also destroyed in the air strikes, the officials added.

Pro-Government Tribal Chief Wali Jan Mehsud escaped a roadside bomb blast near Moley Khan Sarai in SWA. Security Forces said that Mehsud was on way to Shahur High School when a remote-controlled bomb went off at a roadside near Moley Khan Sarai. The blast slightly damaged the car of Mehsud.

Two Police personnel, Constable Mushtaq and constable Wajid, were shot dead by unidentified assailants outside a mosque in Multani Mohala of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. The assailants managed to flee the scene of crime.

Unidentified assailants shot dead a senior Afghan Taliban ‘commander’, Maulvi Muhammad Alam, in Kuchlak area of Quetta. Maulvi Muhammad Alam, loyal commander to Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was shot dead, Taliban leaders said on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorised to speak to the media. “I can confirm that Maulvi Muhammad Alam has been killed.

The United States said that Pakistan knows well the threat of terrorism and its Government has vowed that they are not going to discriminate between terrorist groups as part of its counterterrorism operations. US State Department Spokesman John Kirby, in a media briefing said, “Pakistan itself has condemned Pathankot air base attack and made clear that they are committed to investigate it. US, obviously, would like to see it investigated too as completely and as thoroughly as possible.” Kirby said terrorism is a regional challenge that requires real regional solutions, and the US wants Pakistan to be a part of those solutions.

The US State Department said that it was up to the Pakistan Government to determine how long it would take to investigate the attack on the Pathankot airbase following information provided by India. The spokesman John Kirby said Pakistan has condemned the attack and has made clear its commitment to investigate it. “It’s not for us to ascribe a timeline to somebody else’s investigation,” spokesman John Kirby said in response to a question at a regular briefing.

January 9

At least five suspected militants were killed in a US drone strike carried out in Mangroti area in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. This was the second US drone strike of the day in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

Two Coast Guard personnel were killed and three others were wounded when their vehicle hit a landmine in Kaldan area of Jewni tehsil in Gwadar District.

SFS claimed to have foiled a major bid of terrorism by seizing weapons and arresting a suspected militant from Dera Murad Jamali area of Naseerabad District.

SFs launched a search operation in various parts of provincial capital Quetta, including Kasi Road, Balochi street, and arrested 25 suspects. “25 suspects were arrested from various parts of Quetta,” said an unnamed police official.

On a tip-off, Police conducted a raid at the Kalakot area in Lyari Town of Karachi and arrested two alleged target killers whose identity was not disclosed. The Police also claimed to have recovered weapons from their possession.

In a bid to root out extremism and maintain peace under the NAP, the Gilgit-Baltistan Government during a high level meeting decided to audit financial matters of seminaries operating in the region. An unnamed Government official, “There are 162 registered madrassas in the region which have been receiving financial assistance from various sources over the years,”  adding, “Accounts of these seminaries will be audited to make sure funding isn’t spent on terrorist activities.”

Another unnamed official said that security agencies have listed at least 50 clerics as a “threat to the region’s peace”. “The government is thinking of listing those clerics under schedule 4 [of the anti-terrorism act].” In addition, the Government has also decided to issue notices to clerics involved in hate speech.   “If these clerics don’t refrain from making such speeches, they would be dealt with according to the NAP,” said the official.

January 10

A man, identified as Umair Khan (25), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants in Qasba Colony of SITE Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Seven Afghan nationals were abducted and two others were injured in an exchange of fire with kidnappers in Talab area of Taftan in Chagai District. Taftan Assistant Commissioner Murad Kasi said, “It is not known who was behind the kidnapping of the Afghan nationals.”  

January 11

The shop owner of an officially sanctioned wine shop, identified as Moti Ram, was injured when unidentified militants lobbed a hand grenade at the shop located on Muneer Mengal Road in provincial capital Quetta.

Frontier Corps on the basis of intelligence reports arrested a TTP militant during a raid in Chanjan area of Killa Saifullah District.

The ATC allowed CTD to detain an al Qaeda suspect, identified as Abdur Raqeeb, for 30 days for questioning. The department told the judge that they have credible information about suspect that he is involved in providing financial assistance to terrorists and in other offences came within the ambit of ATA. Raqeeb, alleged to be Hyderabad's Ameer of al Qaeda, was picked up in a targeted operation in PIB colony of Gulshan Town on January 8, 2016.

Police registered a terrorism case against leaders of the Tanzeemat-e-Ahle Sunnat, an alliance of several religious parties of the Barelvi school of thought, for allegedly inciting people to violence against the state and its institutions by raising the case of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed and convicted killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, during a rally in Nishtar Park located in Soldier Bazar of Jamshed Town on January 10, 2016. At the January 10 event, speakers demanded a fresh trial of Mumtaz Qadri by the Federal Shariat Court, termed the death sentence handed down to him ‘un-Islamic’ and warned that they could go to any extent if the Government failed to change its attitude.

As many as ten oil tankers carrying fuel supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan reached Torkham border in Khyber Agency of FATA amid tight security, resuming the service over a year after its suspension. Officials at Torkham while requesting anonymity said the tankers with no apparent NATO related marking on them reached the border at around midday and were later parked near the crossing point for necessary checking. 

DG Rangers of the Sindh Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar during a meeting with traders said that the targeted operation in Karachi will continue as per the instructions of the heads of the armed forces and the Federal Government. “Despite the ongoing pushing and shoving, I have been clearly instructed by the heads to go on with the operation,” said Major General Bilal Akbar.

“The future of Karachi operation is bright and it will continue until it reaches its logical conclusion,” a KCCI press release stated. Siraj Kassam Teli, the chairman of Businessmen Group and a former KCCI President, said the business community would support the Rangers efforts. “The business community hopes the Government and Rangers will continue working to restore peace in Karachi,” he added.

January 12

A labourer was killed when unidentified militants opened fire at a FWO Camp in Hoshap area of Turbat District.

Unidentified militants opened fire at a FWO vehicle that was carrying officials, injuring at least five personnel in Turbat District.

Two death row convicts were hanged till death in Toba Tek Singh and Bahawalpur jails early on Tuesday. A death convict, Muhammad Sardar, was hanged till death in the District Jail Toba Tek Singh. He was accused of killing one Amanullah in 1993.

Another convict, identified as Rasheed Ahmad, was hanged till death in the New Central Jail in Bahawalpur District. He was accused of murdering a man in 2004.

Law enforcement agencies claimed to have arrested seven LeJ suspect allegedly involved in attacks on different media houses during a raid in Samanabad area  of provincial capital Lahore. Quoting intelligence sources, some television news channels reported that prime suspects Saifullah and Waheed and their five accomplices were arrested. Arms and ammunition, maps of some media houses and jihadi literature were recovered from their possession.

Special Police unit arrested an Afghan terrorist, Hamidullah alias Hamzaullah, involved in the attack on Pishtakhara Police Station van in Academy town on September 11, 2015, during a raid at Board bazaar bus stop in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. Police constable Ajmal Khan was killed, while ASI Jamal Shah, head constable Tahir and constable Shehzad had received injuries.

Observing that "instability will continue for decades" in many parts of the world including Afghanistan and Pakistan, US President Barack Obama said both al Qaida and ISIS pose a direct threat to the US during his final State of the Union Address to the Congress. "Both al-Qaida and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today's world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage," Obama said.

January 13

At least 15 people, among them 13 Police personnel, a FC soldier and a civilian, were killed while 25 others were injured when suicide bomber blew himself up near a Government health centre in Satellite Town area of Quetta. Earlier, it was reported that 14 persons were killed in the attack. TTP and JuI claimed responsibility for the attack. TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani sent an email to journalists, claiming responsibility of the suicide attack. But Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the JuI, made a similar claim and said the attack had been carried out by his group to avenge the act of torturing the people in custody. 

An employee of ARY TV channel was injured when unidentified militants hurled hand grenades and opened indiscriminate fire at the office in Islamabad. The attackers, before fleeing from the scene, left pamphlets which said Daesh (also known as Islamic State/IS) claims responsibility for the attack.

Assistant Sub-Inspector, Mohammed Akram, along with his eight accomplices, was arrested for their alleged involvement in kidnappings-for-ransom, during a raid in Gharibabad area of Malir Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. The officials added that the gang had been active for the past one month. They used to kidnap people by posing themselves as officers of the CTD of Police, said Karachi-West DIG Feroze Shah. The paramilitary force also seized the police van used for kidnapping people, he added.

The JeM ‘Chief’ Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf and close aides were taken into protective custody in connection with the January 2, 2016 attack on Pathankot airbase in Indian Punjab. They were all shifted to an undisclosed location. The sources further said that the concerned authorities were interrogating them over the armed attack on Pathankot airbase. Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that the Government has made "considerable progress" in investigating the attack. "Based on the initial investigations in Pakistan, and the information provided, several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad have been apprehended," the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said.

“We will keep them (Azhar and brothers) for as long as we need to carry out our investigation over India’s claims about the attack. We are resolved to take this investigation to its conclusion,” said an unnamed senior intelligence official. Another senior Government official close to the investigation said that Azhar, who has been placed under house arrest in the past but never prosecuted, would be prosecuted this time if evidence connected him to the attack on the Pathankot air base.

Three suspects, including a student of a private university, were arrested by LEAs in connection with the Pathankot airbase attack. According to Intelligence Agencies, a student of the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Usman Sarwar of Arifwala tehsil of Pakpattan District Saad Mughal of Sahiwal District and Kashif of Karachi (Sindh) were arrested in connection with the Pathankot incident. Indian authorities had shared five mobile phone numbers with Pakistan in connection with investigation into the attack. Acting on the leads, the authorities took the three students into custody because the numbers provided by India had been issued in their names.

January 14

SFs claimed to have killed at least three militants during a search operation in Sami and Tabjan areas of Kech District. A spokesman for the FC Khan Waey said that the militants were allegedly involved in attacks at the FWO. Weapons and ammunition were also seized by the SFs.

FC personnel also foiled major terror bid by defusing three IED in Solani area of Kech District. The FC spokesman said that the militants had planted the IEDs to target SFs and FWO workers in the area.

The CTD sealed a mosque-cum-seminary run by JeM and detained 14 JeM cadres from Mundeyki Goraya village in Sialkot District. An unnamed senior official said that a contingent of CTD and Police raided and sealed Jamia Masjid and Madrassah Al-Noor.

The US declared Islamic State (IS/ also known as Daesh) Afghanistan-Pakistan wing a FTO. “The US Department of State has announced the designation of ISIL-K as a FTO under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act”, says a statement issued in Washington. The Department of State took this action in consultation with the Departments of Justice and the Treasury, the statement added. The group, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIL-K, announced its formation on Jan 10, 2015 and is composed primarily of former members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban.

US Under-Secretary of State for Civilian Security Sarah Sewall during a seminar in New Delhi urged Pakistan to take the fight to all terrorist outfits working along its borders, without any exception. “We will continue to work with the government of Pakistan to take the fight to all terrorist networks in the border region and do everything in their power to help India achieve justice for the Mumbai attacks,” she said in her speech, which the State Department also released in Washington. “That is what partners do — we help each other overcome shared struggles and face hard truths,” said the US official.

January 15

Four persons were killed and many were wounded in separate incidents of firing in different parts of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. The firing incidents took place in Korangi crossing and Qasba Colony resulting in death of three persons. Another three men were shot and injured in Lyari, Maripur and Shershah.

Pakistan Rangers killed a suspected gangster, identified as Nasir Wachani, in an ‘encounter’ in Lyari area of Karachi. Nasir Wachani was ‘very close’ to Uzair Baloch, as he looked after his ‘financial and land affairs’.

The CTD officials said that three suspects allegedly involved in an attack on a constable were apprehended during a raid on Nishtar Road. Two of the three suspects were identified as Aaqib Murgi and Qasim Baji. The third accused was yet to be identified. According to CTD, they used to collect extortion from traders.

Caught in Iran while travelling illegally to Syria to join the militant Islamic State group before being repatriated to Pakistan, two youngsters have turned away from ‘armed struggle’ after being ‘rehabilitated’ with the support of their families and security administration, officials said. Although still under surveillance, the men in their early 20s have no more militant tendencies according to the psychiatrists who evaluated their condition, said official in charge of the CTD Raja Umer Khattab. The two men belonging to the middle and upper middle class families of Karachi were handed over to the FIA by the Iranian authorities before being given into the custody of the Quetta Police.

During question hour in the Senate, the Government disclosed that five unidentified persons had been arrested in Sindh for allegedly financing terrorism, but failed to explain when they had been taken into custody or if their cases were under investigation or would be tried in court. This was revealed in a written reply to a question regarding the number of people arrested under the NAP on charges of financing terrorism. According to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, five people had been arrested in Sindh, four in KP and 28 in Gilgit-Baltistan on these charges. No arrests have been made on this account in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Islamabad and Balochistan. It was also revealed that while cases of those arrested in GB and KP were being heard in the ATCs, there was no mention of the status of the cases from Sindh.

Unidentified militants attacked the residence of an Afghan consulate official in cantonment area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Consulate official Humayun Yousafzai is unhurt. Initial investigation revealed a sub-machine gun was used to fire at the house and 29 bullet casings have been recovered from the site of the attack. Photos from the crime scene show the boundary wall of the house marred with bullets. A FIR has been registered against unidentified individuals and an investigation is under way. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.

The CTD arrested a key wanted terrorist, identified as Raees Khan, during a raid in Chakora area of Lower Dir District. CTD conducted a raid on a tip-off on a hideout and recovered hand grenades, pistol along with rounds from his possession.

A parked vehicle was damaged in a blast in Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti District in Balochistan. According to Levies sources, Unidentified militants had planted improvised explosive devices in a vehicle and had parked it near a house that went off. A vehicle was damaged in the blast while no loss of life was reported.

Punjab CTD conducted a raid on a Madrassah run by JeM in Razaabad of Faisalabad city in the Punjab Province and arrested eight JeM militants. The arrestees were shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation. Among those taken into custody include JeM Regional Chief Muhammad Hassan Alias Abu Jandal whereas the identification of the others could not be confirmed so far.

The Government shut down several religious schools run by the JeM militant group accused of masterminding the attack on Pathankot air base in India, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said. The crackdown in Punjab, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s power base and the headquarters of JeM, follows the arrest this week of several members of the militant group, including its leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, a hardliner and long-time foe of India. The Government has said it is clamping down on Azhar’s group while it investigates Indian assertions that the January 2 attack on the Pathankot air base was the work of the Pakistan-based militants.

At least 79 militants, including three commanders, given up their armed struggle against the state after a successful operation carried out by Security Forces in Miranshah of NWA in FATA.

Ministry of States and Frontier Regions has facilitated the return of 447,544 registered families of IDP, NADRA report said. NADRA has so far verified 447,544 IDPs, out of which 265,214 have returned, while 182,330 remain. As per agency-wise updates till January 2, in Khyber Agency 91,689 IDPs were verified by NADRA, of which 73,767 returned, and 17,922 remain, in NWA 104,002 IDPs have been verified of which 33,725 returned and 70,277 remain, while in SWA the number of NADRA-verified IDPs is 71,124, of which 13,997 have returned and 57,127 remain.

Similarly, NADRA has verified 35,823 IDPs of Orakzai Agency, of which the number of registered returnees was 16,102 and 19,721 remain. For Kurram Agency the number of NADRA-verified IDPs was 33,024 of which 16,117 registered have returned and 16,907 remain. For Frontier Region Tank 2,228 have been verified by NADRA, with 1,852 registered returnees. The data further revealed that for Bajaur the number of NADRA verified IDPs was 72,895 and all of them were returned while for Mohmand the number of NADRA verified IDPs was 36,759 and all of them were returned to their respective agency. The long-awaited return of TDPs of FATA was initiated in March 2015 and till date around 90,000 NADRA-verified families have been processed with cellular companies for provision of Transport Grant at the rate of Rs 10,000 and Return Cash Grant at the rate of Rs 25,000 per family.

January 16

At least nine children were injured in hand grenade attack in Chakiwara area of Lyari Town in Karachi of Sindh. The police have launched a search operation in the area after the attack but no significant development has been reported.

Sindh Rangers Director General Major General Bilal Akbar while talking to a delegation of Pakhtun Jirga led by ANP Senator Shahi Syed pledged to take the ongoing operation in the city to a logical end. He said the indiscriminate operation, that has gained public support due to its positive results, would be taken to its logical end.

Four constables were injured when suspected militants lobbed a hand-grenade into a Police van on the Swabi-Mardan Road in Dagai area of Swabi District. The injured constables were identified as Arshad Ali, Imtiaz Ahmad, Aftab and Mohammad Ishaq.

Police arrested a terrorist along with explosive and ammunitions in Mardan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. On a tip-off, Police conducted a raid at a hideout in Tarnab Chowk Charsadda and arrested the suspected terrorist identified as Yarmat Shah who hailed from Khyber Agency. Police said that the terrorist was a commander of a banned terrorist outfit. The suspect was shifted to undisclosed location for further investigation.

January 17

Three bullet-riddled dead bodies were recovered from Gorkop area of Kech District. The dead bodies were identified as those of Noshad alias Nodo, Abdul Ghani and Maqsood. "All victims received multiple bullet wounds," Levies sources said.

SFs foiled a major terror bid on a roadside in Sui tehsil of Dera Bugti District, defusing an IED weighing around 17 kilogram. Khan Wasey, spokesman for the Frontier Corps said, "Miscreants wanted to target security forces through the IED."

SFs arrested three TTP militants from Nassai area of Qilla Saifullah District.

SFs arrested a TTP militant during a raid in Karbala village of Pishin District.

A brother of a local leader of the PML-N, identified as Mir Ishtiaq Baloch alias Mulla Pappu (35), was shot dead on Ahmed Shah Bukhari Road in Baghdadi area of Lyari Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh ahead of a planned ‘peace rally’. A passerby was also shot at and wounded in the attack. The victim had also contested the recent local government election on a Union Council chairman seat in Lyari. “It appeared to be a targeted killing incident,” said City SSP Fida Husain. Baghdadi SHO Rao Dilshad said that the victim was the younger brother of PML-N leader Mir Ashfaq Baloch.

A man, identified as Shan (25), was shot dead outside his residence near Old Golimar area of Lyari Town.

Three JeM cadres, who were among the 31 arrested suspects as part of a crackdown on the outfit in the aftermath of the January 2, 2016, Pathankot terror attack, were charged in an Anti-Terrorism Court of Sialkot District for possessing jihadi literature.  The three suspects, however, were not charged in connection with the Pathankot attack and instead were charged for possessing jihadi literature.

Graffiti welcoming Islamic State (IS/ also known as Daesh) was seen in at least two places in Gilgit District, stirring panic among locals and law-enforcement agencies. “At least two walls were painted with slogans welcoming IS in Gilgit,” a resident said, a day after the graffiti was found spray-painted in Amphari area of Gilgit. “Nobody knows who did this; people saw it in the morning and reported to the Police,” said the local.

The wall-chalking was removed by authorities immediately after it came to their notice, but finding such graffiti in Gilgit perturbed residents who believed it could be the work of someone aiming to create unrest in the region.  The graffiti also gave authorities in the region a reason to scramble in worry. “This is to create panic in the region, [or so] it seems to be at least for now,” an unnamed security official said.

JeM rejected claims that its leader Maulana Masood Azhar has been arrested for his alleged role in the January 2, 2o16, terror strike on the Pathankot airbase in India. “Disbelievers and hypocrites across the world are celebrating our arrest,” a statement in Urdu said, “but the arrest never happened.” “Even if they happen, what difference will it make? No difference, except one. Allah willing, there will be more enthusiasm and excitement among people of the faith, and the work of jihad will gather more strength and energy,” said the statement, posted on a Facebook community used by the JeM to communicate with media and followers.

“Those taking the Mujahideen as helpless and weak are greatly mistaken. You made the children of the martyr Afzal Guru cry, and since then, you have been crying, screaming and shrieking everyday,” it stated.  In its statement, the Jaish also lashed out at Pakistan’s government “which is friends with (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, (former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna) Advani, and (former Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee”. “We will settle all scores… We are not polytheists, who were born on the railway tracks, but the followers of Muhammad the Arab and the enlightened ones of Medina, suffused with the unity of Allah and intoxicated by the desire for martyrdom,” the Jaish said.

January 18

Six FC personnel were killed and one was injured in an IED blast near FC’s Margat Checkpoint in provincial capital Quetta. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

An ATC in Quetta acquitted former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in the case of the murder of JWP leader Nawab Akbar Bugti who was killed on August 26, 2006 in a military operation in Dera Bugti District. The court also acquitted former Federal Home Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, and former Provincial Home Minister Shoaib Nosherwani. During the hearing, the court also rejected the request by Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, son of Akbar Bugti, to order exhumation of his father’s body to ensure the body buried in Dera Bugti was that of his late father.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the US Maleeha Lodhi in a letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) President Elbio Rosselli expressed confidence that the UNSC will deliver on its pledge to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir. The letter said that it is a matter of the determination of the Kashmiris' future.

The Sindh Government announced that it would issue uniform Friday sermons to mosques to curb extremism and promote sectarian harmony in the province. Abdul Qayyum Soomro, the Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Religious Affairs, said that the Government would issue Friday sermons to mosques across the Province. “One of our key objectives is to promote sectarian harmony,” Soomro said. “The Sindh Government has been planning to legislate it and a bill on the issue will soon be presented in the Provincial Assembly,” he added.

However, religious leaders belonging to different schools of thought said the government’s decision was impractical.  Mufti Muhammad Naeem, the principal of the Jamia Binoria International, a key Deobandi seminary in Karachi, wondered how the decision would work.  He said that Government had not taken religious leaders into confidence while making the decision. “These are only suggestions without practical steps which are not enough to curb sectarianism and will only create more confusion among the masses,“ Naeem said, adding, “We don’t know how the government will enforce it. It hasn’t explained it yet.”

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the Upper House of Parliament that the US policies were responsible for instability in South Asia and urged the Obama administration to analyse its role and that of its allies in the region. Winding up discussion on an adjournment motion moved by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed about US President Barack Obama’s remarks that instability will continue for decades in Pakistan, Aziz said: “Pakistan’s answer to instability is the strengthening democracy in the country.” He said that “the US created ‘holy warriors’ in our tribal areas during Afghan Jihad and then left them as soon as the war was over, a factor which contributed to decades of instability in Pakistan and the region.”

About any external threats to the country’s stability, the adviser said that since 2013, Pakistan was pursuing a policy of non-interference and was not taking part in other nations’ wars. “We have decided that we are not going to indulge in fighting other countries’ wars now, and this policy is being pursued vigorously by the government,” Aziz said, adding that “Pakistan has also taken a strong stance against terrorism.

January 19

Twelve persons, including a journalist, were killed while 39 others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber targeted the tribal Khassadar force in the Karkhano Market of Khyber Agency in FATA. The incident occurred hardly 30 metres from the Karkhano checkpost, the entry-point to Peshawar from Khyber Agency. The security sources said the bomber parked his motorbike and walked towards the Line Officer Nawab Shah of the Khassadar Force and his Khassadar Force and his guards. “The bomber detonated his explosives vest. The car of the Line Officer and another vehicle caught fire while the roof of a nearby shop caved in after the blast,” said an official. Those killed in the blast included Line Officer Nawab Shah and Mehboob Shah Afridi, president of the Tribal Union of Journalists, Khyber Agency chapter, who was talking to him at the time of explosion. Others who lost their lives were Gul Sahib, Raziq Khan and Waris Khan, all members of the Khassadar force, and civilians Taimur Khan, Mubarak Shah, Malik Khan, Mohammadullah, Ashfaq Khan and the wife of one Shoaib. A child was also among the dead. Meanwhile, the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Rangers, after being tipped off about the presence of terrorists at Super Highway and Northern Bypass areas of Karachi, conducted a raid at a hideout and in the ensuing shootout shot at and injured three terrorists who later succumbed to their injuries. They were identified as Shamsher Khan, Ataullah alias Daud Pathan and Zaheer alias Zafeer Pathan.  Ranger's spokesperson said that the terrorists were members of a banned outfit and involved in target killing, extortion, rape, robbery, and kidnapping-for-ransom cases. The terrorists had killed Policemen and were also involved in bomb attacks on Rangers. The Rangers recovered weapons from the hideout.

Two gangsters of the Baba Ladla (Rauf Nazim) group, identified as Adil alias Rind alias Salman and Moeed, were shot dead in an encounter in Gul Muhammad Lane of Lyari Town. A Rangers soldier also suffered injuries. The two gangsters were. The spokespersons said the two men were involved in many murder, kidnapping-for-ransom and extortion cases. Weapons and ammunition were found at their hideout.

The CTD AEC detained 10 suspected terrorists affiliated with a banned outfit in Mohammed Khan Colony of Manghopir area in Gadap Town. A Police constable, identified as Kashif, was injured in the shootout. They were found in possession of a vehicle-based Improvised Explosive Device. Arms and ammunition, including bomb, repeater rifles, and pistols were recovered from the hideout.

Rangers arrested a suspected terrorist during a raid in Gulshan-e-Hadeed area of Bin Qasim Town.

Another suspect was arrested during a raid in Frontier Colony area of SITE Town.

Rangers claimed to have detained two suspects during separate raids in the Defence Housing Authority area who were allegedly involved in providing arms to ‘separatists’. The suspects were detained. The paramilitary force also seized weapons from their possession. According to the Rangers spokesperson, the two suspects were involved in providing weapons to ‘defunct separatist outfit’. However, he did not name the organisation and the held suspects.

Pakistan is considering a ban on FIF, a charity run by LeT founder and JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. "Officials said the Government is likely to ban FIF. The Federal Ministry of Interior, these officials said, had started serious consultations with all the stakeholders before banning FIF and a final decision would be taken in next few days".

A former US Navy SEAL kept an unauthorised photo of Osama bin Laden's corpse on a computer that he turned over to investigators. The discovery came after Matthew Bissonnette, who shot Osama in the infamous 2011 raid on the al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan, gave investigators a copy of his hard drive. He had been under investigation for allegedly revealing classified information in his book about the incident, "No Easy Day". Bissonnette gave investigators his hard drive as part of a deal to avoid prosecution over the material, two people familiar with the deal told The Intercept.

January 20

The TTP militants stormed the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda District of KP, killing at least 21 persons and causing injuries to 35 others. Victims included 17 students, two gardeners, a caretaker and a professor, adds BBC. Eyewitnesses said the four attackers broke into the university from the back by using the sugarcane fields as a cover. They cut the barbed-wire that fenced the university perimeter and then shot dead a security guard. The militants made it to the hostels and other buildings amid thick fog and began killing people randomly. “The police, army personnel and security guards on duty responded promptly to engage the attackers. However, the terrorists kept hiding and hurling grenades while taking advantage of the thick fog,” DIG, Mardan Range, Mohammad Saeed Wazir, who led the operation said. “Our cops fought bravely to shoot dead all the four attackers one by one. They were wearing suicide jackets but none of them could succeed in blowing himself up,” DIG Police Saeed Wazir maintained.

The mastermind of the December 16, 2014, APS Peshawar attack, Khalifa Umar Mansoor alias Aurangzeb, of the TTP Geedar faction has claimed the attack through a post on his Facebook page, adding that four attackers were sent to the university. However, the ‘central spokesperson’ Muhammad Khorasani denied any involvement in the attack. Refuting Khalifa Umar Mansoor’s claims, Khorasani in an email sent to media men said, “The TTP and its amir Maulana Fazalullah have nothing to do with the attack.” “We consider these youth studying in non-military educational institutes as our future, they are Muslims and their protection is our responsibility,” he stated. “Those people who used the name of the Taliban in the attack will be tried in Sharia courts,” the email added.

DG ISPR Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said that there were a total of four terrorists who were contained and killed at the hostel’s stairs and rooftop. He said two cell phones which were in terrorists’ use have been seized. He said even after the terrorists were killed, one of the mobile phones were still getting calls from an Afghan SIM. “We are in hold of information, confirming who the terrorists were and where they were operating from,” he said, adding, more clues are being gathered from the seized mobile phones. "We also have information where the instruction to the terrorists was being made," he said. 

An improvised explosive device, weighing three to four kilograms, was defused by BDS personnel near the Haji Camp Bus Stand in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. BDS personnel said that the three to four kilograms of explosive material was used in the making of the bomb which was also fitted with a remote controlled detonator. Police also claimed to have arrested a suspicious person from the vicinity.

SFs killed nine terrorists in air raids in Khyber Agency of FATA.

At least five BLA militants, including 'commander' Suhbat Baloch, were killed during a raid in BLA hideout in Chapar area of Barkhan District. Three BLA militants were arrested. “The arrested persons have been shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation,” FC spokesman said. Two persons kidnapped six months ago were also recovered from the hideout where Light Machine Guns, AK-47 assault rifles and anti-Pakistan seditious material were also found.

FC detained 16 suspects in Turbat District, Panjgur District and Sui area of Dera Bugti District for questioning.

Unidentified militant robbed of PKR 375,000 from JS Bank branch in Block-7 of Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Gulshan Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. SSP Jawed Jiskani said that seven men riding motorcycles arrived at the Gulistan-e-Jauhar and held the two security guards hostage at gunpoint. The SSP said the CCTV footage of the robbery clearly showed the faces of the robbers and they would soon be arrested.

The ATC handed over 11 suspects of al Qaeda to CTD on a seven-day physical remand. The Police department claimed that the suspects were planning to spread terror in the city and produced the suspects Qari Muhammad Moshin, Qari Muhammad Akram, Moshin Khan, Syed Muhammad Riaz, Anas Muhammad, Muhammad Arshad, Abdul Wakeel, Abdul Wahab, Muhammad Owais and others before ATC Administrative Judge Farooq Shah amid tight security. According to CTD, the suspects belonged to al Qaeda and LeJ and seized a rickshaw with explosives, rocket launchers, rifles, detonator and bombs from their possession.

The bank accounts of 30 seminaries and over 300 NGOs have been frozen in Gilgit-Baltistan for failing to provide details of sources and activities. An official document signed by Assistant Commissioner Rana Waqas Anwar, who also has registration authority in GB, stated that the registration of NGOs and seminaries will be cancelled if they fail to submit required documents by the second week of February this year. “For the last eight years these madrassas and NGOs haven’t submitted their audit reports, details of projects implemented so far, and sources of funding,” the document stated. The orders have been communicated to banks operating in the region, it added.

January 21

Four civilians died and two others received injuries when one of six rockets fired from the Afghan side of the border hit a shop in Angoor Adda in South Waziristan Agency of FATA. According to officials, four of the rockets fired at about 2pm landed in open fields while two hit the market.

The political authorities in Bajaur Agency claimed to have completed the long-awaited documentation of the religious seminaries operating in the region in order to ensure better education and facilities there. Sources in the political administration said that important data of all the religious seminaries operating in the agency had been collected during the process, which continued for over a year. The sources said a joint committee of local administration and various religious organisations carried out the task, adding heads of seminaries showed full cooperation with the administration in the documentation process.

Security Forces arrested dozens of suspects in a search launched in the aftermath of the Charsadda university attack in KP. Search operations in Charsadda are ongoing as Police comb the area around the University. Several suspects have been arrested. During initial investigations, four grenades, 16 magazines and 240 cartridges were recovered from the site of the attack. Several schools were closed last weekend after intelligence suggested militants were planning an attack, according to Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the private Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. A KP Government spokesman said they were closed as part of a security drill.

The COAS, General Raheel Sharif said that the armed attack on Bacha Khan University was managed from Afghanistan. According to ISPR, the COAS telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and US commander in Afghanistan General John Campbell and shared the details of gathered information in connection with the attack on the university. The COAS said an operative of TTP issued instructions to the terrorists in Charsadda from a location in Afghanistan. COAS General Raheel Sharif sought cooperation of Afghanistan in tracing and hunting down the militants, who perpetrated the attack.

Pakistan and Afghanistan need to work together to effectively overcome the Taliban challenge, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.  "The conclusion that we've drawn here is...that the Taliban poses a security threat to both countries, and that the nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to be able to more effectively confront that threat if they're able to more effectively cooperate," Earnest said.

US Vice President Joe Biden held a tri-lateral meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Davos to discuss the recent reconciliation efforts. During the meeting, Biden reaffirmed US support for reconciliation and improved bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Any sort of decisions about how the continuation of those talks and any sort of agreement that could be produced by those talks about whether or not that's in the interest of those countries to pursue those are decisions that will be made by the leaders in those two countries, as it should be," he said.

January 22

At least six militants were killed while a soldier embraced martyrdom and two other injured during a search operation in Mashkey area of Awaran District in Balochistan.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti narrowly escaped an attempt on his life when his convoy hit a roadside bomb in Baker tehsil of Dera Bugti District. The Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti was on an official visit to his hometown in Baker tehsil. However, no casualties were reported in the blast. It exploded moments after Bugti’s vehicle crossed the site. One vehicle in the convoy was partially damaged as a result of the blast. No group has so far claimed responsibility.

Police killed three al Qaeda terrorists in a shootout in Azam Chowk in Layyah District of Punjab Province, thwarting a major terror attack. According to a CTD spokesman, “a team of Police personnel on January 22 night raided a house in Azam Chowk. The terrorists present in the house opened fire. The police returned the fire killing three terrorists.” “Three of their accomplices, however, managed to escape,” he said, adding that a huge quantity of explosives was recovered from the house.

Unidentified militants shot dead personnel of Police Elite Force Unit in Rasheed Ghari area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. SP Imtiaz said that Elite Force Policemen Shahzeb and Ihsanullah were riding a motorcycle en route their office when unidentified militants opened fire. The SP said that both the victims were well trained in the use of security scanners. The motorcycle-riding assailants escaped from the attack site.

The CTD of Peshawar arrested a terrorist wanted for attacks on Police personnel. According to CTD Peshawar, the force took action in Bannu and arrested a terrorist named Sadaqat Ullah who is a resident of Suleman Khel Peshawar. The arrested terrorist was involved in bomb attacks on Badhaber Police back in 2012 and destroyed electricity towers.

A leader of Geedar faction of TTP released the video footage of four militants who, he said, had carried out January 20’s assault on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda. The footage strengthened indications of a possible split in the TTP whose ‘central spokesman’ Mohammad Khorasani had issued a written statement that evening disassociating the group from the attack and calling it un-Islamic. But the same day, a Geedar faction’s leader Umar Mansoor said his fighters had attacked the campus. Mansoor is considered close to Mullah Fazlullah, the embattled leader of TTP. 

The footage shows the four attackers, two of them in their mid-teens, practicing shooting as part of their training before carrying out the Charsadda attack. The video which spread rapidly on Facebook but was not released on media accounts of the TTP. The fresh attack had chilling echoes of a 2014 assault on a school in Peshawar, also claimed by Mansoor’s faction. Mansoor had issued a similar video in the wake of the Peshawar attack on December 16, 2014. The authenticity of the video could not be independently verified.

Pakistan has asked Washington to drone Mullah Fazlullah and others involved in terrorist activities, including the most recent Bacha Khan University attack. Security official sources said that Washington has been conveyed through its Islamabad mission that it must play its role in targeting the TTP terrorists, who are using the Afghan soil for their nefarious designs against Pakistan. The US authorities have been told that they should at least now be serious in targeting the TTP men in Afghanistan as Kabul continues to be under the influence of New Delhi. India is said to be involved in destabilising Pakistan. Only a few months back, Islamabad had shared dossiers of Indian involvement with the UN and Washington.

January 24

At least 17 terrorists were killed in aerial raids conducted by the SFs in Shawal and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan Agency in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. 

Four persons suffered injuries when a roadside bomb exploded near Phandu Chowk area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Police said the bomb was planted near a bridge with an aim to target the vehicle of Salahuddin, the caretaker of a local Masjid.

Three people, identified as Asghar, Majeed and Sher Agha, were shot at and injured by unidentified armed assailants near Kalapul area of Lyari Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Another man, identified as Muhammad Faisal was shot at and injured near Fawara Chowk in Garden area of Saddar Town.

The MPA Javed Nagori escaped a gun attack while passing through the Kharadar area of Saddar Town. No casualties were reported.

Police arrested 17 suspects during search operations in Mahmoodabad, Shah Faisal Colony, Baldia Town and Defence areas. A large cache of arms and ammunitions was recovered from their possession. The Police arrested suspects hailing from Waziristan, including three injured after an exchange of fire with the Police. The Defence Police also arrested three suspects while the Baldia Town Police arrested three Lyari gangsters. The Karachi police also claimed that they had arrested three gang war criminals from Ittehad Town and weapons were also recovered from their possession while eight suspects were arrested during a raid in Natha Khan Goth.

According to the Federal Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control report issued CTD arrested 64 suspects in parts of the country under the National Action Plan for allegedly providing financial assistance to terrorists. The province-wise details stated that 41 such cases were reported in Punjab with 57 people involved. 51 arrests have been made so far in the province.

In Sindh, five people were arrested for their alleged involvement in facilitating terrorists by providing them financial assistance and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa four cases were reported to the CTD in which eight suspects were arrested. Some cases were registered in Diamer District of Gilgit Baltistan and 28 suspects were arrested for allegedly providing shelter and meal to terrorists.

Balochistan Government decided to establish a special force to be deployed at university campuses across the Province. “The new force would be subservient to vice chancellors,” said Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani. He further said that the administrative powers over the force would be with Police. Durrani said 60 personnel will be deployed at each university, adding that the force will be well equipped.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to continue operations against terrorists of all hues while admitting that progress on the revised national counterterrorism strategy has been slow. “We will fulfill this responsibility,” the PM said, adding, “In certain areas of NAP, progress has been slow, but in many other areas work has been started.”

US President Barack Obama in an interview with the Press Trust of India published urged Pakistan to show it is “serious” about crushing extremist networks operating on its territory, saying the latest mass killing of students underlined the need for more decisive action, reports Dawn. He said that the crackdown on extremists was “the right policy” but was quoted as saying that Pakistan “can and must” take more effective action.

“Pakistan has an opportunity to show that it is serious about delegitimising, disrupting and dismantling terrorist networks,” Obama said, adding, “In the region and around the world, there must be zero tolerance for safe havens and terrorists must be brought to justice.”

According to authoritative sources, around 130,190 combing and search operations were conducted till the middle of January 2016 throughout the country as part of the NAP. Giving the details of operations, the sources said that in the Islamabad Capital Territory and Gilgit-Baltistan, 6,580 search operations were conducted since January 15, 2015, 3,455 arrests were made and one terrorist was killed. Similarly, in the Punjab, the number of operations carried out was 38,038. During these operations, 6,346 arrests were made and 62 terrorists were killed. The highest numbers of operations were carried out in the KP i.e. 55,634. The arrests made were 3,223 while the number of terrorists killed was unavailable.

In Sindh, 28,003 operations were carried out and 29,818 arrests were made. The number of those who were killed during the operations was 946. Around 1,935 operations were conducted in Balochistan and 4,115 arrests were made. Also, 423 terrorists were killed during the operations. Overall, 46,957 arrests were made and 1,432 terrorists were killed (excluding KP) in some 130,190 countrywide operations since January 15, 2015, the sources added.

Authoritative sources have revealed that while the Operation Zarb-e-Azb had started much earlier in 2014, since January 2015, during operations in Fata, 1,359 terrorists have been killed and 916 injured. These include 440 killed during Zarb-e-Azb, 308 killed in Operation Khyber, 1, 454 killed in Operation Khyber II, and 157 killed in Shawal. Also, 80 terrorists were injured in Zarb-e-Azb, 393 in Khyber, 1, 422 in Khyber II and 21 in Shawal. During this period, the armed forces had 78 Shaheeds in Zarb-e-Azb, 45 in Khyber, 1, 57 in Khyber II and eight in Shawal. Also, 203 armed forces personnel were injured in Zarb-e-Azb, 55 in Khyber, 1, 190 in Khyber II, and 17 in Shawal. In all, there were 188 Shaheeds and 465 Ghazis during the one year of operations in FATA.

January 25

Five people including TTP Chief Mullah Fazlullah has reportedly been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan. According to reports, a drone strike was conducted on Fazlullah’s house in Afghanistan, killing at least five people, including a woman said to be TTP chief’s wife and his son.

Police arrested a terrorist of TTP in a raid at an under construction petrol pump on the Super Highway in Jamshoro District of Sindh. The terrorist was identified as Qamar Zaman Mehsud who hails from North Waziristan. Police recovered 10 kilograms of explosive material, a bundle of wire, three hand grenades and an automatic rifle with 50 rounds from the his possession.

The Islamabad High Court dismissed the Government's petition seeking voice samples of Mumbai terror (also known as 26/11) attacks mastermind and LeT 'commander' Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other accused in the case. The prosecution had filed an application in the Islamabad High Court seeking voice samples of the suspects to compare it with the communication intercepted by Indian intelligence and then present it before the ATC as evidence against the seven accused. But, the IHC dismissed the petition.

In 2011 and 2015, the issue of obtaining voice samples of Lakhvi had been dismissed by the trial court on the grounds that "no such law exists that allows obtaining of voice sample of an accused". In the recorded intercepts, the suspects are alleged to be instructing the terrorists.

January 26

FC killed four suspected militants in an exchange of fire during search operation in Winder area of Lasbela District. FC Spokesman Khan Wasey said that SF also recovered weapons from their possession, adding that the suspects were involved in carrying out bomb blasts, kidnapping-for-ransom and attacks on SFs in the Province.

SFs killed two militants in Pasni area of Gwadar District. Illegal arms and ammunition were also recovered. The militants were identified as Mohammad Younus Kolanchi and Mohammad Hanif Kolanchi. “Their accomplices managed to escape,” a police official said.

The FIA arrested two suspects, identified as Asmatullah and Muhammad Ramzan, for selling and possessing Afghan SIM cards in Chaman town of Qilla Abdullah District. "FIA also recovered a large number of Afghan SIM cards from the possession of the accused, the duo were shifted to FIA's Chaman centre for interrogation," said an unnamed official.

The body of a khasadar official was found in Safi tehsil of Mohmand Agency in FATA, after he was abducted in the night of January 23. An official of the political administration confirmed Rehmatullah, a resident of Alingar in Safi, had been murdered and his body dumped. His body was found in a search operation. The slain khasadar officer was the son of a former peace committee leader, Saifur Rehman.

Unidentified militants lobbed a hand grenade outside Balochistan Minister Changez Khan Marri’s house in DHA Phase II in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. However, the grenade failed to explode. No casualties were reported. Police booked militants affiliated with BLA for the attack. The Minister had arrived in Karachi on the night of January 25, 2016.

Rangers arrested of six suspects, including four officials of the Fisherman Cooperative Society (FCS), who were allegedly working as facilitators for Lyari gangsters, during raid in Kalri area of Lyari Town. The spokesman for the Sindh Rangers said Saleem Deedak, Mehar Bux, Mohammad Saeed Baloch and Dil Murad were arrested during raids in the Kalri area. The suspects were moved to the Rangers headquarters for interrogation and later taken to an Anti-Terrorism Court, which allowed their preventive detention for 90 days. The initial interrogation showed that the four were affiliated with the Aziz Jan Baloch and Baba Ladla groups and were working as their facilitators.

Rangers arrested an alleged target killer, identified as Mohammad Farooq alias Lendi, in Kharadar area of Saddar Town. The ATC allowed the Rangers to keep him in preventive detention for three months. Farooq was said to have admitted that he belonged to the militant wing of a political party and was involved in a number of target killings.

Rangers arrested a target killer, identified as Mohammad Adnan Siddiqi, during a raid in the Ramswami area of Saddar Town. The Rangers got his 90-day Preventive detention from the ATC. The spokesman said Siddiqi belonged to the notorious militant wing of a political party and admitted murdering six people in attacks.

Rangers arrested four suspected criminals, including Lyari gangsters during raids in Korangi Town and Tharu Lane area of Jamshed Town. Weapons, including SMGs, uni-barrel rocket launchers, pistols, hand grenades and Avan grenades were seized from their possession.

An IED, allegedly meant to target a school, was defused by BDS personnel in Bashirabad area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. Officials say unidentified suspects handed over the improvised bomb, fitted in a pressure cooker, to a child, asking him to take it to his school. But the little boy instead of taking it to school brought the IED home. A TTP slogan was written on the pressure cooker, officials said. On seeing the explosive, family members of the child alerted Police and BDS personnel were called in. According to BDS officials, around five kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the device.

January 27

Police claimed to have killed four TTP militants, identified as Amirullah Mehsud, Khan Wali alias Khanewal and Khoni Khel, in an encounter near Safoora Goth area of Gulshan Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. SSP Malir Rao Anwar said that Police conducted a raid in Safoora Goth area after receiving a tip-off about the presence of suspected militants.

A joint team comprising Police and Intelligence Officials recovered a huge cache of weapons and ammunition from warehouses on GT Road and Kohat Road areas of provincial capital Peshawar. Officials claim militants wanted to carry out a major act of terrorism in the area, for which they were dumping dangerous weapons at the locations raided. Recovered arms include over a thousand M4 and M6 rifles, telescopes and a large numbers of bullets, officials said. An unnamed official said that the arms were foreign made.

SFs arrested four suspects, demolished three hideouts of terrorists, and recovered arms and ammunition from Harnai District. Khan Wasey, the spokesman for Frontier Corps, said that 500 kilograms of explosives, four IEDs, one hand grenade, and a number of other weapons were recovered during the raid.

Journalists and activists in Pakistan faced an increasingly hostile climate in 2015 due to harassment, threats and violence from both the state and militant groups, according to HRW Report released. In the 659-page World Report 2016, which has reviewed human rights practices in more than 90 countries, HRW says the Government imposed new restrictions on free speech and funding of civil society groups in 2015 due to the security situation faced by the country.

Asia Director of HRW Brad Adams said that Pakistan should not curb freedom of expression and association under the threat of extremism. “Pakistan should reverse course and repeal or amend laws curbing freedom of expression and association,” he said, adding, “The Government should never use the threat of extremist violence as a pretext to violate the rights of independent voices.”

The Report further added that media was also deterred from reporting on or criticising human rights violations in the country’s counter-terrorism operations, it added.  “Pakistan’s Government should take urgent steps to create an enabling environment for free expression and association,” Adams said. “Pakistan needs to fight terrorism, but denying its citizens fundamental freedoms and due process rights is an unlawful and extremely misguided approach.”

January 28

Four Policemen were killed when TTP militants open fired at them while they were sitting inside a mini gas station situated on Munir Mengal Road in Satellite Town of provincial capital Quetta. TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani said, “The TTP’s special unit STF’s commandos successfully carried out the attack at a police mobile at Quetta’s Satellite Town. The commandos disappeared after the attack”.

Two bogies of the Jaffar Express were partially damaged in an explosion near railway tracks in Mithri area of Sibi District. However, no casualties were reported.

A terror bid was foiled by Police when a terrorist during an encounter with Police blew himself up in Domeli Mor area of Jhelum District. The terrorist who was allegedly targeting the Rawalpindi to Lahore Pakistan Express tried to plant explosives on railway tracks near Grand Trunk Road when some passerby reported about this to Motorway Police. The terrorist lobbed a hand grenade at security personnel upon sight and then blew himself up, security sources said. Police recovered four hand grenades and two pistols, as well as two National Identity Cards and a vehicle from his possession.

Police defused five bombs planted under a 132KV electric tower in provincial capital Peshawar. The bombs, comprising 20 kilograms of explosive materials, were packed into four pressure cookers and a canister in Phando area the main transmission lines powering Peshawar.

KP CM Pervez Khattak while talking to the head of Department for International Development (DFID) Joanna Reid at CM Secretariat in Peshawar said that border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is not safe and without securing it cities in the country can’t be made safe for people. The CM said that entry points at Miranshah, Angoor Adda and Torkham were open for any sort of movement and terrorists involved in the recent Charsadda incident came from across the border. “The incidents of suicide bombing have dropped visibly as there is no hideout for training of terrorists,” he added.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while speaking to India Today said that they are still waiting for India’s response. Sartaj Aziz said, “We are still waiting for India to suggest the dates for the foreign secretary-level talks. The ball is in India’s court.” The talks, which were scheduled for January 15, 2016, in Islamabad, were called off after the January 2, 2016, Pathankot terror attack.

The head of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Muhammad Khan Sherani said that he is willing to review the blasphemy laws that critics say are regularly misused and have led to the deaths of hundreds, to decide if they are Islamic, reports Daily Times. Chairman Sherani said that he was willing to reopen the debate and see whether sentences as harsh as the death penalty were fair.

“The Government of Pakistan should officially, at the government level, refer the law on committing blasphemy to the Council of Islamic Ideology. There is a lot of difference of opinion among the clergy on this issue,” Sherani said, adding, “Then the council can seriously consider things and give its recommendation of whether it needs to stay the same or if it needs to be hardened or if it needs to be softened”.

Terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan, providing shelter to terrorist outfits like the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, is a serious problem, US General John "Mick" Nicholson told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing as commander to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. "I view it (terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan) as a serious problem," he said. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace General John Campbell as commander.

"One of the biggest problems has been the sanctuary, particularly for the Haqqani Network, particularly the involvement of the ISI in Pakistan, which in many cases have been supporting the Haqqani Network. Have you seen any progress in this whole problem?" Senator John McCain, Chairman of the SASC asked General Nicholson.

In response, General Nicholson said that continued presence of the terrorist safe haven has been a major problem. "This has been one of the principal challenges. It's a sanctuary that our enemies, in particular the Haqqani Network, have enjoyed inside Pakistan," he said. The US is not satisfied that there's adequate pressure put on the Haqqanis, he asserted.

January 29

The dead body of a polio worker, identified as Shah Faisal, who had gone missing from Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency in FATA on January 27, 2016, was found in Regi area of provincial capital Peshawar. Political Tehsildar at Jamrud, Asmatullah Wazir, said that Shah was a contractual employee with the Health Department.

Two suspected militants were killed in an exchange of fire with SFs in Mastung District late. Official sources said that unidentified assailants attacked a convoy of SFs in the Kanak area of the District. They fired rockets and shots. SF personnel in the convoy retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for about three hours.

Six soldiers of Pakistan Army and a child were injured as a suicide bomber blew himself near Cantt area of Zhob District. The attacker attempted to enter Cantt area when the Friday prayers were underway, said Provincial Home Secretary Akber Hussain Durrani. TTP-Mehsud faction claimed responsibility for the attack. The spokesman Azam Masood called Radio Free Europe Mashal correspondent in Dera Ismail Khan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Government of Balochistan during a meeting held with Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri in the chair pledged that the responsibility of providing security to people would be fulfilled at all costs and actions against terrorists and anti-social elements and their facilitators would continue to purge the province of all terrorists. He decided to pursue a `tit-for-tat policy’ to deal with terrorists and their facilitators to ensure fool-proof security in the Province. There was consensus among participants that terrorist attacks on police and other security personnel were a reaction to successful anti-terror operations being carried out by law enforcement agencies.

Unidentified militants hurled a hand grenade at a Rangers check post in North Nazimabad Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.  However, no casualties were reported.

A hand grenade was lobbed in a market in Liaquatabad Town. No casualties were reported.

Police arrested six TTP militants after a shootout in Rizvia Society of Liaquatabad Town and found an IED planted inside a motorcycle. SSP Central Muqadas Haider said acting on a tip-off a police team raided a hideout in Rizvia Society. After an encounter, Police arrested six terrorists and shifted them to their headquarters. Four TT pistols, grenades, a Kalashnikov and an IED concealed inside a motorcycle were found at their hideout. Two of the arrested men were identified as TTP 'commander' Sayd Alam Mehsud and Sayd Ameen Mehsud. He added that the six terrorists were members of the TTP network in Dera Ismail Khan District of Afghanistan and Afghanistan.

Rangers arrested a target killer, identified as Adnan alias AD alias Danish, in Kharadar area of Saddar Town. The paramilitary force said that Danish was a member of a militant wing and an ATC had granted his 90-day preventive detention.

PM Nawaz Sharif while chairing a meeting at PM House has reiterated that Karachi operation would continue till its logical conclusion. PM Nawaz expressed government’s resolve saying, “War against terror will continue till elimination of last terrorist.” He said, “Eliminating the menace of terrorism and ensuring a peaceful Pakistan for our future generations is the top most priority of PML-N Government and our successes against terrorism and achieving economic stability have created a new hope in people.”

January 30

Dr Manan Baloch, a senior leader of the BLF, and four other suspected militants were killed in an encounter with SFs in Mastung District of Balochistan. Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister Secretariat in Quetta, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti said Manan headed the BNM, an organisation supporting militants. Bugti said SFs conducted a search operation in Killi Datu area of Mastung during which an exchange of fire took place between the SF personnel and militants hiding in a house. He said Manan and four other men were allegedly involved in subversive activities, including attacks on law enforcement agencies.

The local administration along with tribal elders demolished 12 houses of suspected militants during a search operation in the Haleemzai tehsil of Mohmand Agency in FATA. Political Naib Tehsildar Mehmood Shah said that the local administration conducted the operation in Ghalanai Mian Gan, Adin Khel and other villages of the tehsil. The militants, whose houses were demolished, were identified as Sheraz, Mohammad Shah, Haroon, Aziz, Adnan, Ziarat Shah, Sazono, Ibrahim, Yasir, Akhtar Ali, Khatir and Subhan. Earlier, the local administration had handed over a list of 22 wanted militants to the Haleemzai elders to demolish their houses. An official statement said the administration conducted the operation with the help of Haleemzai elders.

Sindh Rangers claimed to have arrested Uzair Baloch, leader of the Lyari gang and chief of proscribed PAC, in a targeted operation on the outskirts of Karachi. Rangers arrested Baloch while he was attempting to enter the city, said a press release issued by the paramilitary force. The press release also claimed the recovery of weapons from Baloch. His family members claimed that Baloch was arrested by Interpol at the boarding lounge of Dubai airport on December 27, 2014, and the Security Forces after keeping him under arrest illegally since then, has declared his arrest now.

January 31

Sindh Rangers Chief Major General Bilal Akbar stated that Karachi operation has not slowed down. “Some people say the Rangers operation in Sindh has slowed down. It has not. You have to understand that we will be more prominent and active when there are more enemies to overpower. You will not see much action when the criminals have been weeded out as we don’t bother law-abiding citizens,” he explained.

Notwithstanding Pakistan Government's ban on the media coverage of terrorist groups such as the JuD and LeT, Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has appeared on a private Pakistani channel's talk show. The PEMRA on November 2, 2015 had restrained all Pakistani television channels from "all kinds of coverage" of the JuD, its front FIF and about 60 other proscribed organisations and their leaders. However, Saeed made an appearance on a talk show on Channel 24 on January 27, 2016. He glorified his organisation's "public welfare" works and talked about how India and the US were "pressuring" the Pakistani Government to take action against organisations like the JuD and JeM. Saeed, in reference to the Pathankot terror attack, dismissed the suggestion that the government was "patronising" some "non-state actors and banned organisations".

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.





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