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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.”

Three Shia men, identified as lawyer Fayyaz Hussain Shah (40), and his two nephews Mir Ghazi Shah (20) and Mir Hamza Shah (22) were shot dead while they were returning home from a religious gathering in Rawalpindi District. TTP 'spokesperson' Muhammad Khorasani claimed responsibility for the attack. He said that Shah was active in his Shia community and was also a local leader of PTI.

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.

January 19

At least seven militants and three soldiers were killed during a clash in Banda area of Salarzai town in Bajaur Agency of FATA. Security sources said heavy exchange of fire took place during an operation to clear suspected militants from the mountainous Banda area along the Afghan border.

The TTP 'spokesperson' Muhammad Khorasani claimed responsibility for attack. Khorasani said the TTP fighters “killed six soldiers including a captain,” adding, “We lost only one fighter.” “The fighting continued since morning until afternoon.” he added.

At least five militants were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at a compound in Shahi Khel neighbourhood of Shawal in North Waziristan Agency.

An ASI, identified as Tabassum Ali, was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants while he was providing security to polio team in Banaras area of Orangi Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Later, the anti-polio drive was suspended in Orangi Town and SITE Town.

An unidentified alleged target killer was killed in a retaliatory firing by the Police near Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) in Paposh Nagar of North Nazimabad Town.

As part of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism, hate material seized by Rawalpindi District Police reveals that various schools of thought promote hatred against one another and stand divided over many issues. According to Police sources, in the seized books, sects attack one another and also disagree over the celebration of the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing the inaugural session of Balochistan Development Forum organised by the Balochistan Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit (CMPRU) in Islamabad said that the Government will cleanse Balochistan, KP and FATA of terrorists.

He said owing to neglect in the past, Balochistan lagged behind in socioeconomic development and stressed that both Federal and Provincial Governments were now taking measures to ensure growth and peaceful environment in the Province. He said that the development of Balochistan was close to his heart, and despite constraints, the Federal Government provided substantial resources to supplement the efforts of the Provincial Government to address the needs of its people.

The political leaders and experts at the forum were unanimous in seeking autonomy for Balochistan and ownership over resources of the Province. Speaker Balochistan Assembly Jan Jamali urged Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch to assert Provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment to push the agenda for inclusive development of the Province and its inhabitant.

The Peshawar District administration has started issuing licences of non-prohibited bore weapons to the educational institutions. “The process of getting licence of non-prohibited bore weapons can be completed easily,” Deputy Commissioner Zahirul Islam said. When asked how many licences could be issued to a school, he said that he would issue even 10 licences to the administration of a school if it required the same number of licences for its security guards.

January 20

An activist of the MQM Unit-6, identified as Danish (30), was shot dead and another man, identified as Touseef (26), was shot at and injured in Malir Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

An unidentified man was shot dead and another unidentified man was injured near Kharadar in Lyari Town.

An unidentified dead body of a man was found near Hijrat Colony area of Lyari Town.

Police claimed to have killed a criminal in an encounter in Manghopir area of Gadap Town. However, the identity of the suspect could not be ascertained.

At least 10 people, including one woman and two children, were injured in a hand grenade attack carried out by Lyari gangsters in Bhimpura area of Saddar Town.

A man, identified as Wali Ahmed, was shot at and injured by unidentified armed assailants in Bhains Colony area of Lyari Town.

In an incident of firing, one Fahad (18) was injured near Usmanabad in Lyari Town.

One Shahid (30) was shot and injured by unidentified armed assailants near Mominabad in Orangi Town.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah while presiding over a meeting on law and order directed the Law Enforcement Agencies to intensify and strengthen vigilance at entry and exit points of the Province. He added that the ongoing targeted operation had started producing encouraging results, but he wanted the law enforcers to intensify the operation to purge the Province of terrorist elements.

The IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali briefed the Chief Minister on the targeted operation. He said the operation gave positive results. “If the 496 days of the targeted operation are compared with the corresponding 496 days [of the previous years], 337 per cent more criminals have been killed in encounters while 16 per cent more targeted killers arrested, 285 per cent more terrorists and 96 per cent more extortionists apprehended,” he said. A total of 766 criminals had been killed during the 496 days of the operation, while 175 criminals had been killed in encounters during the corresponding period, he said. Similarly, 1,399 criminals involved in targeted killings had been arrested, while 1,200 had been arrested earlier, he said. The number of militants and extortionists arrested increased from 124 to 478 and from 236 to 463, respectively, he said.

A Police constable, identified as Shahid, was injured when a terror bid was foiled by intercepting a suspected suicide bomber travelling in a bus on Main G.T. Road near Rawalpindi District. The bus that was en route to Rawalpindi from Peshawar was stopped and one of the bus passengers was taken into custody by Police on suspicion. Upon trying to escape, the suspect was fired at by Police in response to which he hurled a hand-grenade, injuring the Police. However, earlier reports said the suspect blew himself up after being intercepted at the Sardar checkpost in Wah Garden.

The CIA Police arrested a veiled woman, identified as Maria Sultan, from outside Kotwali CIA office in Lahore for her alleged links with al Qaeda. Police sources claimed the woman was a proclaimed offender and was involved in a suicide attack at Gujranwala Police Office.

Punjab Government promulgated an Ordinance which bans glorification of terrorists and their outfits at any forum and in the media. It regulates manufacture or sale of uniforms of law-enforcement agencies. The Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, which amends the identical law of 1960, is part of the legal reform measures the Government is taking to curb terrorism.

Pakistan denied reports that the UK and Washington had asked it to handover LeT 'operations commander' and 2008 Mumbai terror attack (also known as 26/11) accused Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi to India or to them for his "independent trial" to help improve ties with New Delhi. "No one has asked or sent any formal request to the (Pakistan) Government to handover the person (Lakhvi) to India or any other country," Pakistan's foreign office spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam said. Federal Investigation Agency's prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar had informed the Islamabad High Court on that two countries, whose citizens were killed in the Mumbai attacks, had asked Pakistan to hand over Lakhvi.

The teachers refused to keep arms at schools during duty hours, saying it is the responsibility of the state to provide security to teaching staff and students. The decision was taken at a meeting of the all primary schools teachers association held at the Government High School, Swari, on January 20, 2014. The meeting was told that the teaching community was not ready to accept the fresh security policy at the schools, adding that a teacher’s duty was to teach students and not to guard school. They said that provision of security to students and teachers was the prime responsibility of the Law Enforcement Agencies.

Earlier on January 19, the District Administration started issuing licences of non-prohibited bore weapons to the educational institutions.

January 21

A man, identified as Shoaib (30), was killed by unidentified armed assailants near Madni Masjid in Azizabad area of Gulberg Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

One Muhammad Ali was shot dead and another man, identified as Abdul Rasheed (35), was injured near Jhat Patt Market on Muhammad Ali Road in Lyari Town.

Unidentified militants shot dead an official of the Levies Force, Khaliq Jan, in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency in FATA. Sources said that Khaliq Jan was on his way home in Sarki Joharh when unidentified militants opened fire on him, leaving him dead on the spot. The assailants managed to escape from the scene.

Operation Commander Hangu and Orakzai Agency Brigadier Muhammad Jilani said that the SFs had cleared 50 percent area of Orakzai Agency from militants. Brigadier Muhammad Jilani said the return process of the IDPs to their native areas would be started once the area was cleared of militants.

The Minister for State and Frontier Regions Lieutenant General (retired) Abdul Qadir Baloch said a strategy was being formulated by the Government to create job opportunities for IDPs in North and South Waziristan agencies because until a few years ago most people there knew only about weapons’ manufacturing and related business activities.

The JI Amir Sirajul Haq has demanded of the Government to declare the FATA as a separate province so that its people could get their due rights. The JI chief said that nearly 10 million tribal Pakhtuns had still been living without basic facilities. He demanded of the Government to declare FATA as a separate province and Peshawar as a brave city, and elevate the status of Army Public School, Peshawar, to the university level.

A militant was killed and another two were arrested in a clash with the Police during a search operation in Malikabad area under Topi Police Station in Swabi District of KP. The slain militant was identified as Abu Saeed, a resident of Malikabad. He was wanted by the Police in a number of terrorism-related cases.

KP Government backtracked on its stand that teacher could carry small weapons into schools for own security after a representative body of primary schoolteachers rejected it. Minister for elementary and secondary education Atif Khan insisted his Department had never issued such instructions and that the Government would not encourage teachers or students to take firearms to classrooms.

A suicide bomber, identified as Mohammad Asif, denoted his vest when SFs arrested him while he was travelling in a bus on Main GT Road near Rawalpindi District. Earlier it was reported that a Police constable, identified as Shahid, was injured while foiling the terror bid. Officials of Law Enforcement Agencies and Police were trying to unscramble a code which was found scribbled on a piece of paper recovered from the pocket of the suicide bomber. The man got off a bus and blew himself up with a hand grenade when the bus was stopped at a Police picket on GT Road near Mughal Garden in Wah. The piece of paper with the number 21110 written on it was recovered from him along with PKR 7,000 in cash, a pair of sunglasses and two pieces of clothing.

A Police investigator said that officials from different agencies have joined hands with police to crack this code. They believe that this number could be a code for a possible target - a place or a person. The investigator said that the officials are trying to solve the mystery with the help of information which has already been gathered from terrorists in Police custody. Asif hailed from Fatehjang tehsil (revenue unit) of Attock District. Police sources said some of his family members had been picked up and shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation. Police are also interrogating the bus driver, a resident of Charsadda District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and his Afghan assistant.

According to Intelligence sources, the SFs arrested a local 'commander' of the IS, identified as Yousuf al-Salafi, as well as his two accomplices involved in recruiting and sending fighters to Syria from provincial capital Lahore. Three unnamed intelligence sources said the man, Yousaf al-Salafi, was arrested in the eastern city of Lahore and confessed during interrogation that he represented IS in Pakistan.

“Al-Salafi is a Pakistani Syrian who reached Pakistan through Turkey five months ago,” said one source. “He crossed into Turkey from Syria and was caught there. Somehow he managed to escape and reached Pakistan to establish IS.” The source said one of his accomplices, Hafiz Tayyab, was a prayer leader in Lahore and was involved in recruiting Pakistanis and sending them to fight alongside Islamic State in Syria, charging IS about USD 600 per person.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while chairing a meeting on reviewing progress of NAP said that the nation has to succeed in the war of terror at any cost, as there is no margin of error. He directed the Law Enforcement Agencies’ chiefs to improve mutual coordination in their ongoing counterterrorism drive in line with the NAP. The PM has also observed that steps are being taken for the effective implementation of NAP for complete elimination of terrorism.

He said implementation of NAP was the key to eradicate terrorism from the country. “We will do everything to achieve this objective even if this involves special allocation of funds,” he said.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that by cancelling dialogues, India has given rise to uncertainty and the threats from the Indian leadership points to a dangerous desire for war. He said that firing and shelling from across the LoC and the Working Boundary without provocation and efforts made by India to change the status of Kashmir all by themselves would further complicate an already volatile situation.

He said that Pakistan was willing to continue enduring, unconditional and fruitful negotiations with India but they were the ones to cancel the secretary level talks and now they will have to make the first move to revive the dialogue.

January 22

Two bullet-riddled bodies were found from Gulshan Rehman Colony on Kohat Road in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to police sources, the bodies belonged to Badhaber and Kamal Deen Gharri areas.

The Peshawar Police detained at least 150 suspects during a search operation carried out in the areas around the university campus. According to reports, the Police and SFs conducted a joint search operation in the adjoining areas of Regi Lalma, Malagori and university campus and sealed these areas. Identification of the citizens was carried out during home-to-home search. Police arrested more than 150 suspects including Afghanis who were living illegally in the country.

The Supreme Court directed the Federal Government to upload the details pertaining to terrorist outfits banned by the Government on websites, adding that there was no such record and friendly countries should also be informed in this regard. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, heard the suo moto case on the errors in legal books and journals. During the hearing, the court asked its staff to check the websites of the NACTA, the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Interior. However, after checking these websites, nothing was found pertaining to details of banned terrorist outfits. “How can we fight against terrorism when we don’t know about the amendments made in our laws?” Justice Jawwad remarked, adding that people don’t even know as to whether they are giving donations to organisations the Government has banned or not.

Justice Jawwad further observed that the Government was fighting against extremism so it should provide information so that the public could know about such terrorist outfits that were banned. “How we can we eliminate terrorism and extremism when we don’t know as to which organisations have been banned by the government?” Justice Khawaja remarked, adding that the people don’t know about these organisations and its figures. He observed that all the notifications were moved by the Law Ministry hence it should upload them on its website. He further said that the list of banned outfits should be uploaded in all languages so that the people in the country as well as abroad should know as to which outfits were banned.

The White House described the US-Pakistan relationship as “incredibly important” to shared security and emphasized that United States’ relations with Pakistan and India are not at expense of the other. “We don’t view these relationships as taking place at the expense of the other, that we can have a good relationship with India and we can have a good relationship with Pakistan,” Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor said.

The Government banned the JuD and the Haqqani Network and also froze the JUD’s bank accounts. It also placed foreign travel restrictions on Hafiz Saeed who heads the JuD. “Pakistan is taking these steps for its own sake, for the protection of its own people and to eradicate terrorism from the country once and for all. The JuD and some other organisations are listed (as terrorists) by the United Nations. Pakistan, as a member of the United Nations, is under obligation to proscribe the entities and individuals that are listed,” the Foreign Office spokesperson announced at a media briefing.

Immediately afterwards, the JuD announced that it would approach the Supreme Court to challenge the ban as it claims it is a charity. The ban comes just days before President Barrack Obama’s visit to New Delhi. For quite some time, both the US and India have asked Pakistan to ban the JuD and the Haqqani Network. In fact, Hafiz Saeed has been accused by both the countries of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

However, the FO spokesperson rejected the notion that Pakistan had taken these steps on the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Islamabad recently and who publicly criticised both these militant organisations. She said that the National Action Plan had been under discussion, and it had nothing to do with the visit by the US secretary of state.

“We take our obligations very seriously and try to meet these obligations scrupulously. Once any individuals and organisations are proscribed by the UN, we are required to freeze their assets and enforce travel restrictions. We take that action. Bank accounts of such entities and individuals are frozen after an SRO is issued,” she explained. While the Haqqani Network has also been banned, the organisation does not have bank accounts in Pakistan.

January 23

An unidentified man was shot dead in Manghopir area of Gadap Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

The CID Police claimed to have arrested three Lyari gangsters, identified as Sheeraz Faisal, Muhammad Zubair and Abdul Rehman, during a raid in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town. SSP CID Usman Bajwa said that three Lyari gangsters belonged to Sohail Ladla group and were involved in the killing of 14 Policemen and several other people. Police recovered massive weapons and hand grenades from their possession.

The CID Police also arrested a suspect, identified as Abdul Ghani alias Akram, and recovered proscribed electronic devices from his custody. These devices included mobile phone trackers, FM frequency tracker, hacking and transmitters and the instruments used in terrorism.

Unidentified miscreants blew up an 18-inch gas pipeline near Dera Murad Jamali in Naseerabad District.  The explosion caused suspension of gas supply from Sui to Uch Power Plant.

Unidentified militants blew up a 6-inch gas pipeline in Sohbatpur area of Jaffarabad District suspending gas supply to different villages. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Rawalpindi-bound Jaffar Express escaped a bomb blast in the 13 Mile area of provincial capital Quetta. However, no casualties were reported.

Kidnappers freed four people in Zarmilan area of South Waziristan Agency in FATA who were abducted along with 10 others from Killa Saifullah District of Balochistan on January 4. The captors had killed an official of the Pakistan Air Force who was among the kidnapped and had freed two hostages. Three people were still in the kidnappers' custody.

Three TTP militants were arrested from the Baghat area of Hangu District in KP. Official sources said Police carried out an operation in Baghat area and arrested three suspected Taliban militants. Four army uniforms, eight hand grenades, four Kalashnikovs, two bombs, detonators, explosives and hundreds of bullet rounds were also seized from the suspects' possession.

Official documents said that Law-enforcement agencies in KP have rounded up more than 8,000 suspects in a fresh crackdown against militants. According to the documents – which the KP Government submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office on January 22 – some 8,281 suspects have been arrested in 2,861 fresh operations. These include 22 clerics accused of delivering hateful speeches. The KP Government has also charged the representatives of some 222 seminaries with violating loudspeaker laws. In comparison, the Punjab Government has added the names of more than 2,000 suspects to the new list of terrorists, informed officials. They added the Sindh Government has placed the names of 500 suspects on the list, the Balochistan Government has identified 410 suspects, authorities in Islamabad have named 150 suspects and Gilgit-Baltistan has named 50 suspects.

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said that there is no ban on JuD but its accounts have been frozen and movement of its members restricted as per the UN resolution. “We are proceeding strictly in accordance with UN resolution and Jama'at’s bank accounts have been frozen, there is a ban on travel abroad of its leadership. We are moving in accordance with whatever is required under the UN resolution. I do not see much else needs to be done,’’ Basit said. He also stated that the facilities of JuD have been taken over by the Government of Pakistan.

“I will remind the audience that the resolution (UN) does not state that member states lock up such individuals,” Basit said, adding, "Pakistan is now moving ahead without any distinction when it comes to terrorism. We are moving against firmly on all organisations that come under the purview.”

The US Government said that it did not have confirmation on Pakistan banning the Haqqani Network or the JuD. “We recognise that Pakistan is working through the process of implementing measures to thwart violent extremism, including the National Action Plan. We don’t have any confirmation of specific steps,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

“The Pakistani Government has made clear in both private conversations and public statements that it is in Pakistan’s own interest to take steps against all militant groups in Pakistan, and explicitly to not differentiate between such group,” Psaki said, adding, “We support this commitment and believe that it is fundamental to addressing terrorism and ensuring attacks such as the horrific one that happened just weeks ago that impacted the Peshawar school children never occur again.”

The Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said the country had taken the decision under the UN obligation as opposed to being under pressure from elsewhere. “Pakistan took this decision under the UN obligation and not under pressure from any other quarter including John Kerry (US Secretary of State),” Aslam clarified.

Islamabad Police is likely to detain LeT 'operation commander' and mastermind of Mumbai 2008 attacks (also known as 26/11) Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in another case. Lakhvi is scheduled to appear in the District and Sessions Court on February 24, 2015 in connection with the bail granted to him in a kidnapping case on December 29, 2014, Police officials said. Similarly, hearing of the new case is also scheduled in the same court. The case was registered with the Tarnol police on November 21, 2014, in response to a complaint filed by Noorul Rehman on November 10, 2014.

The complainant stated that on November 10 about two dozen people riding double-cabins raided his house. “I scaled the wall of the house and escaped and informed Rescue 15 at 5pm.” He said the raiders introduced themselves as Taliban and threatened his sister and mother with dire consequences. The attackers also asked his family to withdraw cases he had lodged against his rivals Farman and Farhat Nigar. He alleged that the attackers were sent by his rivals to kill him and his family. “They should be held responsible if anything happens to me or my family.” An unnamed senior Police Officer said that the investigation of the case had been transferred to the CID and was being supervised by AIG-Operations Dr Sultan Azam Temuri. He said the investigators had arrested two people in connection with the case filed by Noorul Rehman whose links were established with Lakhvi.

According to details of Lakhvi current status, he was arrested in 2009 in connection with the Mumbai attack case. He was granted bail by one Anti-Terrorism Court on December 18, 2014. However, shortly afterwards he was detained on the directives of the capital administration under the MPO which was suspended by the Islamabad High Court on December 26, 2014. Later, a kidnapping case was registered against Lakhvi at the Tarnol Police Station on December 29, 2014, and on December 30, 2014, the Police arrested him. Afterwards he was taken into custody on physical remand and sent to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi District. Again, on January 8, 2014, the lower court of Islamabad granted him bail in connection with the kidnapping case against a surety bond of PKR 200,000. But he was again detained under the MPO for a month which would end on February 18, 2015.

JuD 'chief' Hafiz Muhammad Saeed led Friday prayers and delivered a fiery sermon followed by a protest by hundreds of his supporters on Lake Road near Chauburji Chowk in provincial capita Lahore. Saeed delivered a speech against India, America, Israel and France. He also condemned the Government of Pakistan for freezing his bank account and for banning the JuD and the FIF. Instead of taking action against the protesters, the Police provided them security.

LEA arrested two terror suspects from the Manga Mandi area in Lahore District on the information of an arrested terror suspect Yousuf al-Salafi, who is directly linked with the Islamic State (Daish), and shifted them to an unidentified location for interrogation. One of the agencies engaged in the operation showed that the officials, who had taken IS 'commander' Yousuf into custody from the Shahdara area on January 21, 2015, along with his accomplices, Qari Tayyab and Dr Fahad, arrested his two more accomplices following information provided by him. The raids were conducted by the ISI, the IB and CIA Police to track down the suspects associated with Daish. A Police source said that hate literature, CDs and other material had been seized from their possessions.

The preliminary investigation revealed that Kosar Ali, the suicide bomber who blew himself up at a Police picket on Main GT Road near Rawalpindi District on January 20, 2014, had been a student at the Lal Masjid seminary. Police and other LEA's detained seven suspects, including the two brothers of the suicide bomber, on January 22, 2015 in connection with the incident. The detained suspects were taken to an undisclosed location for further investigation.

January 24

One person was killed and two others were injured in separate incidents of violence in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Unidentified men gunned down an unknown person aged about 30 near Rangers check post in Mehmoodabad 2.

One person aged about 30 was shot and injured by unidentified armed men near Shah Latif town in Bhens Colony Landhi.

Arif Abbas (45) was shot and injured by unidentified gunmen in his house near Total Petrol Pump in Korangi.

Law enforcement agencies arrested seven TTP militants, including a ‘commander’, from different places. On a tip-off the SFs raided a house located in Bagatoo area of Hangu District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province arresting four terrorists of the banned TTP. Heavy weapons including eight hand grenades, four Kalashnikovs, two remote-controlled bombs, eight detonators, two batteries and hundreds of bullets were recovered from the possession of the arrested militants.

On intelligence report about the presence of TTP militants in the area the SFs conducted a raid in Harnai District of Balochistan and arrested three TTP militants, including a ‘commander’. SFs also recovered arms and ammunition from the possession of militants.

January 25

At least 35 suspected militants, an unspecified number of foreigners among them, were killed when military planes shelled their hideouts in North Waziristan Agency. According to the ISPR, the air strikes were conducted in Dattakhel tehsil. Officials said that over 1,200 suspected militants had been killed since the Army launched Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan in June 2014. The administration had lifted curfew from the area after 20 days on January 23.

January 26

Eight suspected militants, including key commanders of various outfits, were killed and several others sustained injuries when jet fighters of PAF blitzed their positions in various areas including Speen Drand, Tor Darra, Tarkhu Kas in Kukikhel, Nakai and other areas in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency in FATA. Several hideouts of militants were also destroyed in the operation.

Five persons, including a retired Police SI Muhammad Salleh Shah, were killed and one sustained injuries when in a Chithar-bound pickup that was coming from Dera Murad Jamali stumbled over a landmine in the Soonwah area of Naseerabad District.

Quetta Police recovered 50,000 rounds of different caliber weapons, which had been stolen from the arsenal depot of Balochistan Constabulary, during raids in Shaldara and Pashtunabad areas of the provincial capital.

Balochistan Government during a high-level meeting of security officials finalised 54 terrorism cases for trial by military courts that have been set up under the 21st Cons­titution Amendment. Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said that of the 54 cases selected, 19 related to the banned TTP, 18 to LeJ and 17 to Sipah-e-Muhammad. The Provincial apex committee, which is responsible for implementation of the NAP against terrorism, will forward the cases to the Federal Government for a final decision. Balochistan IG Mohammad Amlish Khan said that 168 accused had been nominated in the 54 cases 88 of them were under arrest and 80 absconding.

One militant was killed and three others were arrested by the SFs during a search operation in Katlang tehsil and its adjoining villages in Mardan District in KP. A soldier was also injured in the exchange of with the militants in Matta village in Katlang.

KP Police, in the ongoing search and strike operation throughout the province against criminals and anti-social elements, have rounded 246 suspects and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition. The number of arrests and recovery of weapons were made during the last two days of the operation, according to a statement from Police spokesman. “Around 79 arms and ammunition of different kind and 1,132 rounds of different bore were recovered during the search operation,” the statement added.

The statement further said that during the operation 873 houses and 499 hotels were checked and 38 cases were registered against the violators. During the snap checking on 275 checkpoints, 285 suspects were held and 10 arms of different kind and 130 cartridges of different bore were recovered. During action against “illegal” Afghans a total of 192 persons were detained and 66 cases were registered against them.

An unidentified man was killed while nine others were injured in a bomb explosion in Dawood Goth area of Malir city in Malir Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. During investigation, it was found that armed gangsters riding a motorcycle had lobbed an RGD-1 grenade at a cattle pen of one Jawed alias Chotu. Initial investigations reveal that the criminals belonged to the Akber Maleri gang of Uzair Baloch group.

The FIF, the charity wing of JuD, launched a free ambulance service at the Markaz-e-Taqwa in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town. “This [welfare work] is our key area for which we are known across Pakistan,” JuD chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed said at the launching ceremony. “After launching several such projects in rural and disaster-hit areas of the country, we now plan to expand to facilitate the maximum number of people,” he said, adding, “We are neither a political party nor do we have an electoral agenda. So we are stick to our social welfare projects.”

He said that in the first phase, the FIF would operate a fleet of 15 ambulances in all city districts and the number of vehicles would be increased gradually. “We are operating an ambulance service in 118 cities across the country. From Tharparkar in Sindh to Turbat in Balochistan and from Sadiqabad in Punjab to Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, you would find footprints of our welfare projects in every corner of the country,” he said.

Military courts will start functioning shortly as the Prime Minister’s Office has given final go-ahead to the Federal Ministry of Interior to start referring terror cases to these special courts for trial. A PMO source said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a recent meeting, attended by civil and military officials, finalised the mechanism for selecting and referring the cases to military courts for trial.

It is said that nine military courts have been constituted in all the four Provinces, which are expected to start functioning in the next few days. Although, under the 21st Constitutional Amendment, the military courts have been given the power to try suspected civilian terrorists of a specified category, it would be the discretion of the Federal Government to decide which cases should be referred to these courts.

The Senate Standing Committee on Defence was informed that the US had assured Pakistan of killing the top TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah or arresting him alive. The Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (retd) Alam Khattak told the Senate committee that the US has assured Pakistan of full cooperation to arrest or kill Mullah Fazlullah.

January 27

At least 53 militants, including 12 foreigners, were killed when jet fighters of PAF conducted aerial strike on militants’ hideout in Kharh Tangi area of Dattakhel tehsil in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. Six hideouts, an ammunition dump and seven explosives-laden vehicles were destroyed,” said an ISPR statement. Most of the foreigners killed were Uzbeks, military sources said.

In another strike in the same area later, 23 militants were killed, the ISPR claimed. Since the area is off-limits to journalists, it is difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead. The jets continued shelling for about one hour, inflicting heavy losses on the militants, sources said.

16 militants were killed and 12 others injured when PAF planes pounded their hideouts in Therkho Kas, Wacha Wana, Sra Vella and Nakai areas of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency. The officials claimed that those killed belonged to the outlawed TTP and LI. Six militant hideouts were destroyed in the strikes. 

KP Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan said the repatriation of the people displaced from Bara of Khyber Agency would begin after February 15 as most parts of the tehsil had been cleared from militants. He also said PKR 850 million had been released for the restoration of electric supply and rehabilitation of schools, health units, roads and streets in Shalobar area ahead of the return of local displaced tribesmen.

Earlier, the IDPs of Khyber Agency on January 26 staged a sit-in outside the Governor’s House on Sher Shah Soori Road in Peshawar to demand end to military operation in their area, a comprehensive financial package, early repatriation, and the opening of Bara Bazaar. They warned they won’t return to their homes until security was provided to them, their destroyed houses were rebuilt, and local schools, hospitals, Government offices and Bara Bazaar were reopened.

At least six militants were killed and a security official was injured in an operation conducted by SFs in Kulachi area of Dera Ismail Khan District in KP. Three of those killed were suicide bombers and blew themselves when cordoned off by the SFs, official sources said. During the operation, 10 militants have been arrested following fire exchange between militants and the forces in Zar Kani, Gara Manda, Kot Sultan and Daraban area.

Hundreds of students protesting against a French magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons of PBUH stormed a Christian boys’ school in Bannu town of Same District demanding it close. Four students were slightly hurt in the incident which happened as students from local colleges and schools demonstrated against the cartoons. “A group of some 200 to 300 protesting students entered Panel High School after jumping its outer walls and forcibly opened the gates,” school principal Fredrick Farhan Das said. He said the students who wanted the school to be shut damaged the property and smashed windows.

In an attempt to avert attacks like the one on APS on December 16, which left 154 people—mostly children—dead, the Police in the provincial capital are training teachers how to use weapons. Aside from offering to train male teachers, the KP Police have for the first time taken the task to train women teachers in how to wield a weapon. Lecturers from Frontier College for Women stepped into Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines for a purely voluntary training which will be undertaken over the period of a week.

Under the Provincial Government’s revised guidelines, only watchmen and security guards will be allowed to carry weapons in schools. After the carnage at APS, the Government had allowed schoolteachers and administration officials to keep licensed weapons in schools and had also decided to issue them permits. However, severe criticism from various quarters led the Government to rethink its stance. “Now, school administrations have been told only watchmen and guards will be allowed to have weapons,” the official added.

Unidentified militants shot dead a Policeman, identified as Shahmir Jhandir (22), deputed for the security of anti-polio volunteers near a bakery in Nazimabad No 3 area of North Nazimabad Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities, however, termed the incident a targeted attack on Police and not on the polio team.

Principal of Iqra Rozatul Atfal School, identified as Fazl Urrhman (45), was shot dead by unidentified militants near Bhetak Hotel, Munawar Chowrangi in Gulistan-e-Johar area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

Unidentified armed assailants shot dead a man, identified as Israr (30), in Defense Housing Authority in Gadap Town.

An unidentified man was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Hawkesbay Scheme 42 in Hawke's Bay Town locality of Kiamari Town.

One Abdul Khair (28) was shot at and injured near Usmania Chowk in Garden area of Saddar Town.

The Sindh High Court directed the Home Secretary, Provincial Police Chief, Rangers Director General and others to submit their respective replies in the petitions against alleged detention of seven workers of the MQM by Law Enforcement Agencies. A division bench comprising Justices Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh and Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah also issued notices to the Federal and Provincial law officers to ensure the filing of comments on behalf of the official respondents. The hearing was adjourned till January 15, 2015.

According to details, on January 15, 2015, Shahzad Khan, a worker of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, was held in Orangi Town and on January 16, 2015, MQM worker Syed Tahir Ali, an employee of the education department, was arrested Later, on January 20, 2015 the paramilitary troops arrested Abrar, owner of a roadside tea stall, in Orangi Town within the jurisdiction of the Mominabad Police Station. He said that on the same day another worker of MQM, Umair Sharafat, an employee of Honda Atlas, was arrested from Sector 10 in Orangi Town. Also, the LEA personnel and Police raided the house of Naseer, an employee of a hospital, in Orangi Town and took away the victim. On January 21, 2015, he said, another worker of MQM, Bilal, was taken into custody in Hingorabad area of Lyari Town. The same day, Suleman, a factory worker, was also picked up by the Rangers and Police within the jurisdiction of the Kalri Police Station.

An Antiterrorism Court declared the 'chief' of the TTP, Mullah Fazlullah, its former 'spokesman' Shahidullah Shahid and six others as proclaimed offenders in the Karachi airport attack case of June 8, 2014. Earlier in October 2014, three suspects, identified as Sarmad Siddiqui, Asif Zaheer and Nadeem alias Burger alias Mullah, were arrested for providing logistic support, funds and weapons to the militants.

Unidentified militants abducted five Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation coal miners from Sorenge area in Quetta. According to Police sources, militants kidnapped seven miners belonging to the PMDC in Quetta's Sorenge area. The abductors later freed two coal miners and took the other abductees to nearby mountains. "Five coal miners are still with kidnappers," Police said. No outfit claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Lahore Police have so far arrested 329 suspects for violating three recently promulgated ordinances by the Punjab Government in January 2015 and booked 673 others for violating the Foreigners Act 1946 and Code of Criminal Procedures 1898 to implement the NAP against terrorism.  The Police are facing difficulties in judicial trials and conviction processes as people, arrested and booked in connection with Punjab Information of Temporary Residence Ordinance, Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Ordinance and Arms Ordinance (amendment) Ordinance, have secured their bails from local courts.

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court, comprising of Justice Noor ul Haq Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, granted one-week time to the prosecutors for arguments against Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, and adjourned the hearing till next week. The Bench heard the appeal petition filed by Mumtaz Qadri’s counsel, Khawaja Sharif.

A highly influential convicted terrorist has made the Federal Government surrender its policy of executing convicted terrorists without discrimination. In a case of discrimination and violation of law and policy, the Nawaz Sharif Government has succumbed to pressure to block the execution of this unnamed highly influential convicted terrorist despite President Mamnoon Hussain’s final rejection of the condemned terrorist’s mercy appeal.

The Home Secretary was also told that the convicted terrorist should be imitated of the President’s decision. But just two days later on January 2, 2015, the Federal Ministry of Interior sent an “immediate” letter to the Home Secretary, directing the Province to “stay” the execution of the terrorist till further orders. The Home Secretary was also told that the Provincial Government should re-examine the case to ascertain if it fell within the parameters set by the Government. Sources said the Provincial Government, within a few days time, informed the Federal Government that the case fell within the Government’s policy. However, the Federal Government is yet to get the terrorist executed.

The advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that a new nuclear deal signed between the US and India during President Barak Obama’s recent trip to New Delhi will be detrimental to stability in South Asia. "The operationalisation of Indo-US nuclear deal for political and economic expediencies would have a detrimental impact on deterrence stability in South Asia," Sartaj Aziz said. Aziz described the new deal with India as “another country-specific exemption from Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) rules” that would undermine the credibility of the watchdog, weaken the non-proliferation regime and "further compound the already fragile strategic stability environment in South Asia". "Pakistan remains opposed to policies of selectivity and discrimination," he added.

Appreciating the tribal people for playing a significant role in expelling terrorists from their area, COAS General Raheel Sharif reiterated that Pakistan Army would not abandon the tribal areas without restoring functional normalcy. Speaking to officers and men during his visit to Mohmand Agency, the COAS appreciated their professionalism, dedication and sacrifices in fighting terrorism and bringing stability in Mohmand Agency. General Raheel emphasized on the need to follow a comprehensive and uniform reconstruction and rehabilitation policy across FATA after areas had been cleared of terrorists. He expressed the hope that such projects would help root out terrorism on long term basis by providing education and economic opportunities to the youth, according to an ISPR press release.

Asia Coordinator of the CPJ, Bob Dietz, while addressing the second International Conference on Combating Impunity and Securing Safety of Media Workers and Journalists in Pakistan, said that Pakistan ranks worryingly high when it comes to the number of attacks on journalists in democratic countries. He deplored that the authorities in Pakistan had failed to move forward in this regard and had not been able to provide an environment conducive for journalists so far. “Why can’t we make the situation better,” he asked, earnestly, adding that far too many journalists were getting caught in the crossfire between militants and the authorities.

 “A hit-list of journalists in Balochistan was floated by pro-establishment militants and this list was published in a report by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), but even then, five of the people on the list ended up dead,” said senior anchor Hamid Mir. He said that it was time the government passed a law for the protection of the media. “I do not say it will end the trouble, but it will be a first step towards a solution,” he added.

The local 'commander' of Islamic State, Yousuf al-Salafi, confessed during investigations that he has been receiving funds through the US. Law Enforcing Agencies had claimed on January 22, 2015, that they arrested al-Salafi, along with his two companions, during a joint raid in Lahore District. However, sources revealed that al-Salafi was arrested sometimes in December 2014 and it was only disclosed on January 22, 2015. “During the investigations, al-Salafi revealed that he was getting funding, routed through America, to run the organisation in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” said a source privy to the investigations. Al-Salafi also confessed that he along with a Pakistani accomplice, reportedly imam of a mosque, was recruiting people to send them to Syria and was getting around USD 600 per person from Syria.

“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organisations, which is being routed through the US,” a source said, adding, “The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests and that is why it launched offensive against the organisation in Iraq but not in Syria.”

January 28

SSP Malir Rao Anwar Ahmed claimed to have killed five militants in Nawab Goth area within the limits of Steel Town Police Station in Bin Qasim Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. The Police recovered weapons, explosives material and suicide vests from their possession. SSP Malir raided in Nawab Goth on spy information of the presence of terrorists and killed five alleged terrorists during the encounter. According to SSP Rao the militants belonged to TTP were planning to attack the Razzakabad Police Training Centre.

An activist of MQM, identified as Sohial Ahmed (46), was found dead near Machko in Mawach Goth area of Baldia Town. Ahmed was the MQM unit-64 in-charge. According to details, on December 15, 2014, PPP held an open house in Bahadurabad area of Gulshan Town. During the open house, Ahmed raised various questions regarding Sindh Government's performance where PPP activists and Police officials were also present. In the same open house, Suhail was threatened by PPP’s Saeed Chawla. The same night, Ahmed was arrested by the Police and on January 28, he was found death in Mawach Goth.

An unidentified man was shot dead near Yousuf General Store in Kamela Stop area of Lyari Town.

A man, identified as Sajjad Maqsood (30), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Chungi Naka on Surjani Road in Korangi Town.

A man, identified as Anwar Bux (25), was shot at and injured near Godown Chowrangi at Ding Dong Factory in Korangi Town.

AIG Sindh Police Ghulam Qadir Thebo said that Police had arrested one of the five suspects, identified as Mohammad Mansoor, involved in the murder of Karachi University Dean Islamic Studies Faculty Dr Shakeel Auj. In September 2014, Dr Shakeel Auj was shot dead in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

At least seven militants were killed and one other was injured in a US drone strike in the Shawal area of North Waziristan Agency in FATA. Intelligence sources said the US drone fired two missiles on a compound and a vehicle on the border of North and South Waziristan Agency in Shawal valley. The identity of the militants is yet to be ascertained.

A senior official of the Balochistan Levies said that a group of 25-30 militants stormed a check post of the Levies force in Qila Saifullah District and fled with five official rifles, three motorbikes, five bulletproof jackets and a walkie-talkie.

A death row prisoner, identified as Rameez Raja, who had escaped during the Bannu jailbreak on April 15, 2012, was re-arrested during a raid by Hub Police in Lasbela District. Raja, originally a resident of Kohat District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, was awarded death penalty in July 2012, for murdering his relative.

Five abducted coalminers, who had been kidnapped on January 27, 2015, from Sorenge area in Quetta, were rescued. The five abducted coalminers were identified as Lal Muhammad, Noor Muhammad, Sale Muhammad, Rahman Gul and Sanaullah.

The Islamabad High Court asked the Interior Secretary to submit details of all cases against the LeT 'operational commander' and mastermind of Mumbai 2008 attack (also known as 26/11) Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. According to details, when Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi resumed the hearing on January 28, Lakhvi's counsel Rizwan Abbasi said that the report submitted by the Inspector General of Police is not enough and requested complete details of cases from all Provinces. The judge adjourned the case.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while speaking to Islamabad's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said that the country would like to have normal relations with India on basis of mutual respect and sovereign equality as “India is an important neighbour for us”. He said that it is important for both Pakistan and India to resolve all their outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute in order to ensure peace and stability in the region.

The Government admitted that close to 80 seminaries operating in Pakistan received financial support to the tune of PKR 300 million from a dozen countries during 2013-14. The Federal Ministry of Interior revealed that in Islamabad the Embassy of Netherlands donated PKR 2.5 million to Helping Hands Welfare Association Baltistan (HHWAB) for students of local seminaries and schools. The Australian High Commission provided PKR 3 million to Malik Welfare Association Baltistan in order to support seminaries in the northern areas of the country. A US-based organisation, Kashmir Family Aid, contributed PKR 0.7 million in 2014 to the HHWAB for local seminaries and schools.

“Financial assistance for religious or sectarian purposes is discouraged as this potentially threatens to violate law and order and sectarian harmony in the country,” stated the Federal Ministry of Interior, responding to a question by PPP Senator Sughra Imam. Senator Tahir Mashhadi said that almost all seminaries are being financed in one way or the other by someone. “Foreign funding to seminaries is very dangerous. It has triggered sectarian war in Pakistan. It [foreign funding] must be blocked on a now or never basis,” he said.

While the Punjab Home Department claimed that not a single madrassa in the Province received foreign funding, documents belonging to the Interior Ministry revealed that Madrassah Jama'at-ul-Islam Sargodha was the recipient of PKR 13.3 million from the Sheikh Eid Charitable Association the money was funneled through Qatar Islamic Bank and National Bank of Pakistan. The Jamiat-ul-Islam Sargodha also received PKR25.3 million through the same banks.

The Madrassa Aisha Siddiqa Trust of Gulistan-e-Jauhar Karachi received PKR 35,000 from an unknown source, the Sindh Home Department stated. Saudi Arabia is funding some madrassas in the Province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home Department revealed. Also, Saudi Arabia is funding madrassas in Balochistan, according to official sources.  Madrassa Dar-ul-Uloom Baltistan received PKR12 million from Kuwait, Masjid Gulzar Ghoi was given PKR 2000 by Saudi Arabia and Jamia Khair Ul Madaris received PKR100,000 from Hong Kong.

A special force will be formed to guard educational institutes in KP and the rest of the country, a senior official of the Home Department said. “We have 64,000 educational institutions and the total number of policemen is just 75, 000,” he said. “If we deploy a single member of the force at every institution, Police Stations will be empty,” official added, stressing on the need for an additional force to guard schools.

The force will be managed on a federal level by a retired Major General. The country head will form teams for all the four provinces and a retired brigadier will lead each of them. Meanwhile, District-level teams are to be led by retired colonels. Each colonel would assess the situation in his respective district and recruit personnel according to security needs, size of area and population. The men who will take charge as the chief of the provincial and federal forces are yet to be decided as the plan is still under discussion.

January 29

Three unidentified bodies were found in Shero checkpoint area of Dera Ismail Khan City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Witnesses reported that three bodies of persons shot to death were found along with Kalashnikov bullets near the bodies.

A considerable portion of the railway tracks were destroyed when a huge explosion took place near Thull, in Jacobabad District of Sindh. More than three feet of the tracks were blown off. The bomb went off as soon as Peshawar-bound Khushal Khan Khatak Express passed from the spot of the blast.

January 30

At least 61 Shias were killed and 50 others were injured in a bomb explosion at Karbala Maula Imambargah in Lakhi Dar area of Shikarpur District. Jundullah, a splinter group of TTP claimed responsibility for the attack. “Our target was the Shia community (mosque)… They are our enemies,” said Fahad Marwat, Jundullah 'spokesperson'.

An alleged suicide bomber was killed during an exchange of fire with SFs in Maikhtar area of Loralai District. According to sources, SFs conducted an operation in the area. The militants resisted the SFs and one alleged suicide bomber blew himself up during a shoot out that lasted for an hour. Another militant fled from the spot.

SFs foiled a major terror bid by seizing an explosive-laden vehicle in Panjpai area of Quetta. The SFs also apprehended an alleged suicide bomber along with the explosive-laden vehicle. He said 200 bombs were recovered from the explosive-laden vehicle during the raid.

Intelligence Agencies and Anti-Terrorist Forces personnel arrested a TTP 'commander' from Pishin District. The SFs recovered weapons from their possession.

FC personnel recovered arms and ammunition from an Alto car in Gulistan area of Killa Abdullah District.

The Police arrested an Afghan prayer leader for delivering hate speech during Friday sermon at Pabbi town of Nowshera District in KP. Pabbi Police arrested Afghan cleric, Maulvi Noorullah, after complaint by local people that he delivered a provocative speech during the Friday sermon. Maulvi Noorullah is prayer leader at the Jamia Masjid Tahirzai No 1, Pabbi main bazaar. Soon after receiving the information about hate speech, a Police party led by SHO Pabbi Shad Ali Khan reached the mosque and arrested the cleric under MPO 16.

On the directives of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, the Mardan City Police Station has registered four separate kidnapping cases against unidentified people.

An anti-terrorism court in Lahore awarded death sentence on 47 counts to three terrorists involved in attacking buildings of the Police Emergency Service (15) and an intelligence agency. The court also awarded life imprisonment to each convict and imposed a collective fine of PKR 25.35 million. The Civil Lines police had registered a case against Abid Akram, Sarfraz and Shabbir for attacking the offices of the Police and intelligence agency on May 27, 2009. At least 26 personnel were killed and 337 injured in the attack.

Authorities in KP referred a list of terror suspects to the Federal Government for trial by military courts. The 45-page report contains 423 cases of terror suspects for trial by military courts, which also includes the name of TTP ‘Chief’ Mullah Fazlullah. Peshawar has the highest number of cases — 116 — to be tried by military courts, whereas the remaining 307 cases are from other areas of the province. Most of the terror suspects were charged for attacks on Security Forces, Government buildings, State installations and killing of civilians. TNSM chief Sufi Mohammad and Maulvi Faqeer are among other high profile suspects on the list. A few of the terror suspects are awaiting trial in jail, while many of them are absconders in Afghanistan.

The Government has quietly reversed its decision of setting up military courts in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan. “We were today informed that the Government has no intention of extending 21st Amendment in the Constitution to AJK and GB,” said Chairman of National Assembly’s Special Committee on Kashmir Maulana Fazlur Rehman on January 30 after chairing an in-camera session of the committee. “Media reports about the planned move to establish military courts in AJK and GB had created concerns,” said Mr Rehman who initially agreed to support military courts in the country at the All Parties Conference, but later reneged on his decision.

The PM Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said that cases of target killings in Karachi could be sent to the proposed military trial courts for speedy disposal. The PM stated this at the Sindh Governor House where he chaired a high-level meeting to review the law and order situation after reaching Karachi just one day after the city observed a strike called by the MQM against the extrajudicial killing of a party activist. The PM expressed the resolve at a meeting to eliminate the terrorists who had been responsible for causing lawlessness in the city while dubbing such criminals as enemies of the country.

Pakistan’s Government should ensure the security of the country’s religious minorities from judicial injustice and attacks by militants HRW has said in its World Report 2015. The HRW said violent attacks on religious minorities rose significantly in 2014 as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Government failed to ensure religious freedoms. The 25th edition of the report reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. “Pakistan’s Government did little in 2014 to stop the rising toll of killings and repression by extremist groups that target religious minorities,” said Phelim Kine, Deputy Asia Director at HRW.

The US has strong relationships with both Pakistan and India and going forward Washington would continue to have a close strategic partnership with Islamabad, the State Department said. “We have assured both countries that the United States relationship with India and United States relationship with Pakistan, those relationships are strong, they are vital for our strategic interest, and they stand on their own,” Spokesperson Jen Psaki said replying to a question at the daily briefing. “We work with Pakistan on a range of issues. We work with India on a range of issues,” she added, when asked about Washington’s ties in South Asia in the wake of President Barak Obama’s visit to New Delhi.

The Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch said that some elders are unwilling to accept lungies, or traditional souvenirs, from the Government due to threats from militants since the launch of the ongoing military operations in the tribal regions. Replying to a question in the Senate, Baloch said the Federal Government has conferred some 8,000 ‘lungies’ on tribal elders over the past five years in recognition of their services for maintaining peace in their respective tribal agencies.

The traditional souvenirs have come at a price for its recipients as according to FATA Senator Saleh Shah, about 1,400 such ‘mashran’ (elders) have been gunned down by the Taliban. “The government must recognise their sacrifices as well,” he said. Baloch said the government has all respect for those who rendered sacrifices for the country. He added that the recipients of ‘lungies’ were ed on the recommendations of the political agents, or top administrators in tribal agencies.

Senator Hidayat Ullah objected that the Government has increased the price of ‘lungies’ and tribal elders were reluctant to purchase these souvenirs. But Baloch argued that the Government has increased the price from PKR 25 to PKR 50 in 2014 which is a nominal increase. The Government had granted 750 lungies between 2009 and 2010 3,200 in 2012, 375 in 2013 and 2,100 in 2014. These lungies had been distributed in 13 regions, including Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai, North and South Waziristan agencies and Frontier Regions Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Tank, Lakki and Dera Ismail Khan.

January 31

Two Police personnel were killed and another was injured when a convoy of DPO Khuzdar came under gun and rocket attack by militants in Pasni area of Gwadar District. However, DPO Khuzdar Asghar Ali Yusufzai, who was traveling with his family, escaped unhurt in the attack and was safe.

As part of an ongoing crackdown against militants from banned organisations in Balochistan, Police and ATC personnel have arrested 260 suspects from different parts of Quetta. Police sources told that raids were conducted in Sariab Road, Brewery Road, Satellite Town and other parts of Quetta. Arms and ammunition were also recovered from the possession of the suspects who have been shifted to different Police Stations in Quetta for interrogation.

February 1

Rangers claimed to have killed five gangsters in an encounter in Salar Goth area of Malir Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. They were identified as Akber Maliri, Khalid Lashari, Sheraz Ibrahim alias Comrade of Malir, Gulab Hasan alias Peero, and Yousuf Pathan. Akbar Maliri, was stated to be the main character in the gang warfare in parts of Malir and belonged to the Uzair Baloch group.

CID of Sindh Police claimed to have killed four TTP militants in a shootout in Manghopir area of Gadap Town and recovered weapons and explosive material from their possession. The names of the killed terrorists were not released to the media yet. ATC In-charge Ali Raza said the action was conducted on secret information about the presence of terrorists in the area.

Two carders of the ASWJ, identified as Naseem Khan (28) and Mohammed Asif (24), were killed in a sectarian attack on the main National Highway near Malir Halt in Malir Town. The victims were office-bearers of the ASWJ in District Central, said a spokesperson for the ASWJ.

A shopkeeper and a cadre of ASWJ, identified as Akhtar Hussain (55), was shot dead while his son, Athar Hussain (26), was injured when unidentified militants opened fire at them at Islam Chowk near the Farooq-i-Azam mosque in Pakistan Bazaar area of Orangi Town. The victim was a worker of the ASWJ, said the party spokesperson.

A customs official, identified as Mohammed Salahuddin Khan (56), who was shot at and injured in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town on January 29, 2015, succumbed to his wounds. Salahuddin was parking his car near his house in Block 13-C when unidentified armed assailants attacked him and fled.

An extortionist was shot dead in the Kalakot area of Lyari Town. His identity could not be ascertained immediately. Initial report state that he had gone there to collect ‘protection money’ when he was attacked, claimed SHO Safdar Mashwani.

A landmine explosion killed a military officer and injured two personnel in Chathar area of Naseerabad District in Balochistan. Police sources said the military officer who was killed in the blast was identified as a FC captain. Police sources said FC personnel were on routine patrol when their vehicle hit by a landmine.

The bullet-riddled body of a missing man was found in the Sonari Mat area of Dera Bugti District. An official of Dera Bugti Levies said the body was dumped in a desolated place. The body was identified as Barfi, son of Noor Khan. “The victim had been missing for one-and-a-half years from Sui,” the Levies official said.

A 24-inch gas pipeline was blown up in the Dera Bugti District, disrupting gas supply to the Sui compressor plant from the Pir Koh purification plant. According to Levies official in Dera Bugti, militants placed explosive materials along the gas pipeline.

A dozen militants belonging to the Marri tribe laid down their arms and surrendered before Security Forces in Kohlu District. “Twelve militants laid down their arms in the presence of Provincial Minister for Energy and Irrigation Jangayz Marri and Commandant Mewand Rifles Masroorur Rehman,” a statement issued by FC Balochistan said. It added that all 12 of them had been involved in anti-state activities. According to the FC Balochistan spokesman, the militants, while laying down their arms, promised not to support any anti-state elements and vowed to live a peaceful life as law-abiding citizens of Pakistan.

The wife and children of Dr Shakil Afridi were seeking immediate evacuation from Pakistan. Dr Afridi, who helped the United States locate al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, has been jailed in Peshawar for his alleged links to various terrorist groups. In a report based on interviews with friends and relatives of Dr Afridi, the FOX news channel claimed that his wife and children were “in increasing fear for their lives and should be evacuated from Pakistan immediately.”

The report claimed that Dr Afridi was still in isolation in a Pakistani jail and his bid for a review of his 2012 conviction for “terrorism links” has been stalled since last March. Dr Afridi’s wife and his two sons and a daughter had left their native province and were now hiding in Punjab. They feared for their lives because the Taliban and other terrorist groups had vowed to avenge Bin Laden’s killing, the report said. “I am sorry to say that (the) US government is doing nothing for him,” Qamar Nadeem Afridi, the doctor’s lawyer and also a cousin, told Fox News.

The PM Nawaz Sharif has said that the Nation, Government and the Army are on the same page to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the country. He vowed to defeat the terrorists and make the country peaceful. He strongly condemned the Shikarpur incident where innocent people were made targets.

The CM Shahbaz Sharif said that the nation would emerge victorious in the war against terrorism. He was speaking to a delegation of PML-N activists. Sharif said victory was the only option in the war against terrorism. He said the nation agreed on the need to eradicate terrorism, religious extremism and sectarianism. Sharif said the nation would be rid of intolerance and religious extremism.

The Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid said that a resolution of the Kashmir issue is imperative for long-lasting peace in South Asia. Addressing a function on Kashmir Solidarity Day, Pervaiz Rashid said the resolution would bring prosperity in the region, pulling people out of illiteracy and poverty. He reiterated that Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris in their just struggle for the right to self-determination.

The Chairman of Kashmir Committee and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that peace in South Asia is linked to good Pakistan-India ties, which is not possible without resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He said this at a seminar oraganised in connection with the Kashmir Day, which is held every year on February 5 to support the cause of resolving the Kashmir dispute. “If referendum can be held in Scotland then why a similar plebiscite can’t be held in Kashmir?” he questioned. He said that Kashmiris were sacrificing for their right of self determination, adding that Pakistan stands united with the people of Kashmir. He also criticized the international community for their discriminatory attitude towards the Kashmir dispute.

February 2

At least three peace volunteers were killed while two others were injured in a bomb blast in Nari Baba area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of FATA. Official sources say that the blast occurred in one of the pickets of the Tauheedul Islam Peace Committee members. The sources say that the casualties occurred in what is believed to have been a remote-controlled blast.

A man, identified as Sultan (26), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Chanesar Goth in Mehmoodabad area of Jamshed Town in the provincial capital Karachi.

One Iftikhar (35) was shot dead near Teen Hatti in Liaquatabad Town.

Two people identified as, Muhammad Farooq (19) and Ibrahim (18), were shot at and injured by unidentified armed assailants near Raheem Shah Colony in Orangi Town.

A man, identified as Yousuf Masih (21), was injured near Double Road in Surjani Town of Gadap Town.

A man, identified as Imran Khan (30), was shot at and injured in Ranchor Line.

A man, identified as Shair Muhammad (40), was shot at and injured by unidentified armed assailants in Old Sabzi Mandi area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

The LeJ militants hurled a grenade near a private school in Block-7 area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town. However, no casualties were reported. The militants also left a threat letter before escaping from the scene.

The Sindh Government decided to set up a 1,000-strong Police force - ATF to be trained by the Army - and approved the creation of a Counterterrorism Department and three zonal committees each having top officials of military, Rangers and Police to execute a Provincial Action Plan. The committee meeting, which was jointly chaired by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also decided to forward 57 terrorism cases to the newly-established military courts in the first phase.

"Brigadier Ahsan Gulrez of V Corps said that in order to ensure execution of the PAP across the Province, three zonal committees - Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur - would be constituted." The statement read, "The directives of the provincial action plan are action against proscribed organisations, dealing firmly with sectarian terrorists, action against armed militias, Karachi targeted operation, choking of financing for terrorists and their organisations and establishment and deployment of a dedicated counterterrorism force."

Two Policemen including an Additional SHO were killed in an explosion near Lorry Adda area of Mansehra District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to DPO Mansehra Ijaz Khan, the explosion took place when a Police van escorting a convoy of vehicles set off for Gilgit Baltistan. He said Additional SHO of City Police Station Fareed Khan was killed while three others injured. Another one succumbed to his injures at hospital.

An employee of the QESCO grid station was killed when unidentified opened fire at the grid station in Gwadar bazaar of Gwadar District.

Unidentified militants abducted five employees of irrigation department, including the sub-engineer, from Shadi Core area of Makran Division. Police said the employees were engaged in the construction of the dam when they were kidnapped by the militants. BRA 'spokesman' Sarbaz Baloch claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

A Hindu doctor, Dr Manoj Kumar, was released on February 2 by abductors in Hazar Ganji area of Quetta after the payment of PKR 14 million as ransom on February 1, 2015. Dr Kumar had been abducted from Industrial Police Station area of Quetta on December 2, 2014.

The Federal Government assured Provinces in the National Assembly that they would get aid to fight terrorism "beyond their expectations" after both its opponents and some allies accused it of indifference over January 30, 2015, attack on an Imambargah in Shikarpur District of Sindh. The Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Abdul Qadir Baloch, said that the Provinces would face no deficiency of resources in fighting terrorism, which he called "Pakistan's number one problem".

The US budget for the next fiscal year, released, includes assurance that Washington will continue to assist Pakistan's efforts for countering terrorism. "For Pakistan, the budget demonstrates our commitment to fostering stability and prosperity, and provides security assistance that promotes counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities," said a statement issued with the budget.

February 3

At least four soldiers were killed in an explosion targeting a convoy of Security Forces in Warmagai area of Kurram Agency in FATA. Following the blast, SF and militants also clashed in Warmagai area, killing two TTP militants, including one key 'commander', Gul, and his accomplice.

Five TI activists were killed in an IED in Naray Baba area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency. LI claimed responsibility for the attack.

Unidentified militants shot dead five customs officials patrolling overnight in Kohat District. District Police Chief Kohat, Sohaib Ashraf said. "We are unaware of the identity of the attackers but it's an act of terrorism." A Customs Department Official said "all five members of the team were killed in this attack. They hailed from local areas of Kohat and Karak Districts."

A man, identified as Adil (30), was shot dead and another identified as Ayaz (27), was injured by unidentified armed assailants near Nadeem Clinic on Jamshed Road in Korangi Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

One Bilal (20) was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Madrasa Arabia in Mehfooz Road area of Malir Town.

An unidentified criminal was killed while tow of his accomplices managed to escape during a Police encounter near Ganna Mandi in Sohrab Goth area of Gadap Town. Police also recovered one TT pistol from his possession.

A man, identified as, Sadam Hussain (22), was shot at and injured by unidentified militants near Mochko in Baldia Town.

Two convicted terrorists affiliated with LeJ, identified as Attaullah alias Qasim and Mohammad Azam alias Sharif, were hanged till death in Karachi Central prison. Qasim and Sharif were sentenced to death for killing Dr Ali Raza Peerani in June 2001 in Soldier Bazaar area of Jamshed Town. An ATC had declared both of them guilty of the murder in July 2004. The convicts' appeals against capital punishment had been turned down by the Sindh High Court and later the Supreme Court. Black warrants for the execution of the two condemned prisoners were issued on January 24, 2015 on a request of jail authorities.

Unidentified militants killed the BNP-M member and newly elected Chairman of a Union Council, Nasir Hassan, in Gwadar District.

Police claimed to have seized 205 kilograms of explosive material and said that a major terror attack was prevented.

Unknown assailants set Ghausia Alia shrine on fire in Mach area of Bolan District. According to Police, two rooms of the shrine were destroyed and all religious books turned to ashes. The shrine was built in 1948 in memory of Pir Tahir Al Gilani al-Baghdadi, who migrated from Baghdad (Iraq) and settled in Mach.

The JASP condemned the incident and held demonstrations in Quetta and Mach. While addressing the protesters in Quetta, JASP leaders Mufti Mohammad Sajid Qadri, Qari Noor Mohammad and Allama Ghazi Kamal called for extending the Zarb-e-Azb military operation to entire country.

A Division Bench of the Lahore High Court, Multan Bench, rejected the appeals of two TTP convicts, identified as Behram Khan alias Sufi Baba and Omar Fidai, who were involved in the bomb blast at Darbar Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar in Dera Ghazi Khan District on April 3, 2011. The appellants had filed separate appeals against the ATC's decision to award death sentence on 105 counts to Behram Khan besides life imprisonment on three counts and 10-year jail on 73 counts. The court had also fined him PKR 129.6 million. Omar Fidai had been awarded life imprisonment on 106 counts and fined PR 129.6 million.

The ATC No-I, Rawalpindi, Judge Pervez Ismail Joya while addressing Benazir Bhutto murder case ordered FIA to produce Muhammad Ismail, an ISI official in court who recorded all telephonic conversations of the then TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud and terrorists on December 27, 2007. The court has summoned Muhammad Ismail and four other witnesses and directed the FIA to present them at any cost on February 4, 2015.

Hearing an appeal against the conviction of slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer's killer Mumtaz Qadri, a Division Bench of the Islamabad High Court observed that the case could not be shifted to a military court, as it was an appeal and not trial. Qadri had assassinated Taseer on January 4, 2011 in the Kohsar Market, Islamabad, for opposing the blasphemy laws. The legal counsel for Mumtaz Qadri, Khawaja Mohammad Sharif, requested the Court for an early disposal of the case, saying that there were some media reports that the case could be shifted to a military court. "We are the appellate forum, and as per the constitutional amendment, cases can only be transferred from the trial courts," said Justice Siddiqui.

While the National Action Plan (NAP) is being implemented across the country since December 17, 2014, Islamabad Police, in association with Law Enforcement agencies, have so far arrested 1,999 people and booked them in 1,610 cases in connection with four recently promulgated ordinances in provincial capital Lahore. However, 1,163 cases in four categories are pending with the courts.

According to details, Police conducted 744 joint search (combing) operations in 1,050 localities, registered cases against 91 people and quizzed 93,421 others from December 17, 2014 to February 2, 2015. 52 cases have been registered under Foreign Act, Arms Act and Control of Narcotic Substance Act during the period. Official statistics further show Police arrested 688 people and registered 555 cases against them under the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Ordinance 2015 with 458 cases pending with courts held 865 people in 601 cases under the Punjab Information of Temporary Resident Ordinance 2015 with 471 cases pending with courts and apprehended 446 people in 449 cases under the Punjab Arms (Amendments) Ordinance 2015 from January 9, 2015 to February 2, 2015 with 244 cases pending with courts.

February 4

At least 25 militants were killed in air strikes in the Sanzila area of South Waziristan Agency in FATA as part of a major offensive against the TTP and other insurgents. "In precise aerial strikes, 25 terrorists were killed and seven hideouts were destroyed", the ISPR said in a statement.

At least four militants were killed and one was injured in a clash between SFs and militants in Jani Khel area of Bannu District in KP.

The Peshawar High Court was told that the oversight board has declared six more missing persons as 'black' or hardcore militants. AAG Mujahid Ali Khan submitted the oversight board report in the division bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Muhammad Daud Khan. The report was about five missing persons who had been shifted to the internment centre in Ghallanai, headquarters of Mohmand Agency, of FATA. The oversight board headed by the FCR commissioner had declared four missing brothers - Zar Shah, Akbar Shah, Amir Shah and Zahir Shah - as hardcore militants. All the four missing brothers were active members of the Mohmand Agency chapter of TTP.

A Policeman, identified as Zaiullah, guarding polio volunteers was killed and one child was injured when unidentified militants opened fire at the polio team on Sirki Road in Quetta.

An ATC in Quetta accepted the application of former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf with regards to exemption from appearance in court in a case pertaining to the August 26, 2006, murder of former Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. The court, however, expressed anger over the performance of Director General Balochistan Naseer Baloch with regards to his slow progress on submitting Musharraf's medical report. It subsequently adjourned the hearing of the case to February 25, 2015.

Advocate Sohail Rajput, counsel of Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, confronted Musharraf's lawyer Akhtar Shah outside the court and said that the latter was ready to fly to Saudi Arabia which required travelling for four hours, but he was reluctant to travel for one hour to arrive in Quetta. "Musharraf is deliberately not appearing in the court," Rajput said.

Two members of a polio team, Saifullah Jamali and Sikandar Jamali, were injured when unidentified assailants armed with hatchets and clubs attacked them in Bahadurpur village near Thull town in Jacobabad District of Sindh. Residents of Bahadurpur village said the polio workers were without any police escort.

Police still have no clues as to the whereabouts of two college students, Niaz Ali and Muhammad Habib, who disappeared on January 22, 2014, from a village of Skardu District. "My son had gone to a nearby mosque to offer prayers after having his lunch that day," Mohsin Ali, Niaz Ali's father said. "He was accompanied by his friend, Muhammad Habib, who also lives in our neighbourhood." "We have been searching for the boys for 12 days now," Ali said. "A police complaint has been registered and notices have been pasted on walls across the village. But there is still no trace of my son and his friend. We are deeply worried."

"We are still trying to examine the finer details of the matter and determine the whereabouts of the college students," an investigating officer said.

The only French al Qaeda plotter, Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted over the September11, 2001 (also known as 9/11) attacks told American lawyers that members of the Saudi royal family had donated millions to the terror group in the 1990s. Moussaoui, dubbed as the "20th hijacker," made the revelations in court papers filed in a New York Federal Court by lawyers for victims of the attacks who accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting al Qaeda.

He said he created a digital database of al Qaeda donors, including members of the royal family such as former intelligence chief Prince Turki al Faisal and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was Saudi ambassador to United States for 22 years until 2005. Moussaoui said he met in Afghanistan an official from the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC to discuss al Qaeda's plots to attack the United States, and that he was supposed to meet the same man again in Washington for help on a plot to shoot down Air Force One. He also claimed there were direct dealings between senior Saudi officials and slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, saying he traveled to Saudi Arabia twice to deliver handwritten letters between the al Qaeda mastermind and senior Saudis, including Prince Turki.

However, the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC denied the allegations. "The September 11 attack has been the most intensely investigated crime in history and the findings show no involvement by the Saudi government or Saudi officials," it said in a statement. The embassy called Moussaoui "a deranged criminal whose own lawyers presented evidence that he was mentally incompetent," and said his words had no credibility.

The US Defence Intelligence Agency has informed Congress that Pakistani military and paramilitary forces have succeeded in driving militants out of most population centres in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. In his annual report to the House Armed Services Com­mittee, Director Defence Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart, also said "Army ground operations in North Waziristan Agency have cleared anti-state militants from most population centres, and we expect the military will continue targeting remaining militant strongholds in 2015".

Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz informed the National Assembly that Pakistan desired a meaningful and resulted oriented dialogue with India, however, the dialogue process minus the Kashmir issue would not be acceptable. The Advisor said that as per reports, US President Barack Obama during his recent visit to India stressed the need to resume the stalled dialogue process with Pakistan, however, he said that Pakistan had not yet received any positive indication in this regard.

The Upper House of the Parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the UN and the international community to play its role for the resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the UNSC and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

February 5

A man, identified as Faisal (30), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants in Soldier Bazaar area of Jamshed Town in provincial capital Karachi.

One Manzoor (40) and Altaf (50) were shot at and injured near 5-L Chingchi stop in North Karachi Town of Karachi District.

A man, identified as Muhammad Iqbal (40), was shot and injured near Native Jetty Bridge in Kiamari Town.

Unidentified armed assailants shot dead a man, identified as Paomir Khan Miani, in Kot Murtaza area of Tank District while he was returning home from market.

The BDU defused a mortar shell found in fields in Pishtakhara area of provincial capital Peshawar.

While addressing the PoK Legislative Assembly and Kashmir Council's joint session in Muzaffarabad District, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made it clear that Kashmir cannot be separated from Pakistan and expressed the resolve that Pakistan stands by Kashmiris in their struggle for independence from India. He said that no solution to the Kashmir issue exists but a plebiscite under the auspices of the UN as no agenda of dialogue with India would be complete excluding the Kashmiris. "Our hearts beat with those of the Kashmiris," he remarked. "Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Historically as well as geographically, both Kashmir and Pakistan are naturally like one soul and two hearts. We have been together for centuries and cannot be separated. We share our joys, sorrows, culture and festivals, which we celebrate together," he added.

LeT founder and JuD 'chief' Muhammad Hafiz Saeed while addressing a public meeting outside the Lahore High Court on the occasion of the Kashmir Solidarity Day demanded PM Nawaz Sharif to immediately call a meeting of the OIC in Islamabad to chalk out a unanimous strategy of the Muslim world for resolving the Kashmir issue. "We are Kashmiris and Kashmir is ours our religion binds us as one nation and we will always continue our moral support to our brothers oppressed by the brutality of Indian armed forces in Kashmir," he said.

Saeed demanded Nawaz Sharif to summon a conference of Islamic countries' heads in Islamabad on the issue of Kashmir. He suggested that Muslim countries should make their own Muslim United Nations and develop their joint army. America, India and Israel - they all are enemies of Islam and making conspiracies against Pakistan because they see its nuclear power as the "atom bomb of Islam".

Sindh Police reached Dubai to take into custody Lyari gangster and the chief of PAC Uzair Jan Baloch alias Sardar Uzair. Uzair Baloch was arrested on December 29, 2014 by the Interpol in Dubai, when he was attempting to cross into the UAE from Oman. According to sources, Baloch was travelling on a fake Iranian passport with his name listed as Abdul Ghani Khuda Bukhsh. "We are in constant contact with the Interpol for the extradition of Uzair Jan Baloch," said SSP Naveed Khawaja, who is heading the Police team.

Interpol had issued red warrants for two key figures of the Lyari gang-wars, Uzair Baloch and Noor Mohammad alias Baba Ladla, on June 11, 2014.

February 6

Rangers and Police killed a terrorist, identified as Aziz Afghani, during a joint raid in Sohrab Goth area of Gadap Town. A spokesman for the paramilitary force said that Afghani was involved in various crimes, including kidnapping-for-ransom.

Police killed a suspect, identified as Ubaidur Rehman, in Altaf Nagar area of Orangi Town when he tried to escape from custody after snatching a gun from a constable. The Police said that a constable was also injured in the exchange of fire. Rehman was involved in the killing of 22 people including four doctors and eight Policemen.

Unidentified militants blew up two power pylons of 220 KVA transmission lines in Chatter area of Dera Murad Jamali in Naseerabad District. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

Militants abducted six officials of PTCL from Gawal area of Killa Saifullah District. They abductees were identified as Engineer Haji Asad, SDO Muhammad Ashraf, Muhammad Nabi, Sajjad Beg and two others.

Five employees of a private company working on the reconstruction of Shadi Kour dam near Pasni in Gwadar District were released in Blangur area of the District. They were abducted on February 2, 2015. BRA had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

February 7

At least seven militants were killed in a clash with SFs in Mohmand Agency in the FATA. According to a statement by the ISPR, seven militants were killed by SFs in a clash that erupted after the militants were intercepted by the forces. The bodies were handed over to the administration for further investigation.

Six unidentified bodies were recovered from Yaka Ghund area in Mohmand Agency. According to tribal sources, the bodies were found in the Umar Banda area. Officials believe that the bodies might be of militants killed in clashes with SFs.

Unidentified militants blew up a railway track in the Bakhtiarabad area of Sibi District. Levies' sources said that a two-feet track was damaged when an IED was detonated, suspending train services between Balochistan and other parts of the country.

February 8

Three members of the pro-government peace committee, TI, were killed and five others sustained injuries in an explosion in Nari Baba area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of FATA. The LI militants had planted an explosive device in one of the abandoned houses and the explosion occurred in one of the rooms. The LI claimed responsibility for the blast.

Unidentified militants blew up Government Girls Middle School in Bezot area of Orakzai Agency. "Two rooms and verandah of the school were destroyed and the boundary wall was damaged in the explosion which took place at 6am," an official of the political administration said. Agency Education Officer Habibullah confirmed that the primary section of the school was destroyed by two remote-controlled blasts. Habibullah added that 141 schools had been destroyed in Orakzai Agency out of which 38 schools had been reconstructed while 106 needed reconstruction on emergency basis.

The JuA Chief Omar Khalid Khorasani has been injured in a joint operation by the Afghan and NATO forces on the Afghanistan side of the border, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the spokesman of JuA confirmed. "Omar Khalid Khorasani was injured in a joint operation by the Afghan and Nato forces in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province," spokesman for the group, Ehsanullah Ehsan said. "Khorasani has now been taken to a safe place and is improving," Ehsan added.

The Security Forces arrested three militants, including a foreign national, during a massive search operation launched in the Nowshera District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The sources said that the search operation was launched early in the day against the militants who had fled military actions in Khyber Agency, North Waziristan and Frontier Region Peshawar and hiding in Nowshera District.

Rangers arrested a target killer, Abdul Rafique alias Kaein, during a raid in the Mehmoodabad area of Jamshed Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Kaein is Mehmoodabad sector in-charge of the MQM. During the initial interrogation he confessed to his involvement in the May 12, 2007 massacre. Rafique disclosed to the interrogators that a team of target killers, headed by Amir alias Dawani of Manzoor Colony, used to take orders from him. He has also confessed to numerous killings and gun battles with Ashok and Kobra group in Chanesar Goth area of Jamshed Town.

An intense scrutiny of cases against terrorists, which were received from the Provincial Apex Committees, is being done at the Federal Ministry of Interior before referring them to the military courts. "Had such examination not been elaborate and severe, the Ministry would have inundated the Special Courts with hundreds of cases by now," said a senior unnamed official. He said that it was not necessary and mandatory for the Interior Ministry to forward each and every case, communicated to it by any Apex Committee, to the military courts. "We have developed a foolproof mechanism to closely study the cases to reach a conclusion," he said.

The official said that the Interior Ministry would keep handing over the cases to the Special Courts that it would find fit for trial. Thus far, more than 1,000 cases against alleged hardcore terrorists have been received by the Interior Ministry from the apex committees. The official said that these bodies have also been intimating to the Ministry the available evidence and proofs against the accused and their profiles. The Apex Committees consist of senior officials of the military and civil administration, including top officers of Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies.

"Even in the prevailing alarming situation, our utmost effort will be to meet the requirements of justice to the maximum possible extent so that complaints about miscarriage of justice don't arise," he added.

The Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that lack of economic opportunities breeds extremism and provides manpower to perpetrators of terrorist acts. He was addressing a seminar "Prosperous Pakistan - Strategies 2030" organized by a German Economic Forum on the sidelines of 51st Munich Security Conference in Munich. The Minister said for this reason, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was focusing much attention to improve the country's economy and create maximum job opportunities. Khawaja Asif said that despite security challenges, the Government had made remarkable progress on economic front, which had also been acknowledged by international organisations like IMF and World Bank.

According to joint surveillance carried out by civilian and military Intelligence Agencies over the past few weeks, South Punjab and parts of interior Sindh have been identified as the strongholds of groups and individuals supporting several militant outfits. In southern Punjab, both material and manpower support comes mainly from Rahim Yar Khan, Jhang, Chiniot, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur Districts, whereas in Sindh, Khairpur, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Nawabshah and Larkana are the Districts from where militant outfits draw much of their support.

An unnamed security official said that both civilian and military intelligence outfits have identified individuals as well as groups that have been supporting militants. The official disclosed that supporters and abettors of terrorists, including banned outfits, had been under surveillance following the approval of the National Action Plan to deal with the growing threat of militancy. Security Agencies have launched a targeted operation against the 'supporters and abettors' of terror outfits in southern Punjab and interior of Sindh as part of the new counter-terrorism strategy.

February 9

At least 13 suspected militants were killed and their seven hideouts destroyed when the PAF fighter jets pounded Tor Darra, Sur Kas, Wachy Wanay, Dua Toey, Sra Khawra and Sra Wela areas of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of FATA.

Four peace body members sustained injuries in a roadside blast in Shandara area of Baizai subdivision in Mohmand Agency. The sources said that militants had planted an IED at a roadside in Shandara area and triggered the explosion when the pro-government peace committee members were patrolling the area. “The militant triggered the explosion when a local peace body head Malik Sanobar Essakhel along with his brother and two volunteers were patrolling the area,” official sources said.

As part of the implementation of the NAP, the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan during a meeting chaired by interim Chief Minister Sher Jehan Mir decided to scrutinise both registered and unregistered madrassas operating in the region. According to a Government official, “Scrutinising madrassas was one of many decisions taken in the moot." He added clerics from outside G-B have been barred from entering the region for an indefinite period as intelligence reports have suggested their presence could incite hatred and lead to sectarian violence which has plagued the region in the recent past.

According to a statement issued from the Chief Minister’s office regarding the meeting, the regional Government will take steps to set up military courts soon to formally implement the NAP. The statement added collection of donations by any groups or parties has been banned, officials have been directed to ensure tinted glasses are removed from private and official vehicles and police have been directed to launch a crackdown against proclaimed offenders.

February 10

At least 15 BLF militants and a FC official were killed in a gun battle in Basima area of Kharan District. According to details SFs had launched a search operation in Khori village of Basima area when a group of militants hiding inside a bunker suddenly started firing at them.

Three unidentified militants were killed when the FC opened fire during an operation in Shadikor area of Gwadar District.

FC personnel arrested four suspects accused of having links with a banned organisation during search operations for the recovery of kidnapped employees of PTCL in Killi Sharna, Killi Ghat and Gawal Ismailzai areas of Zhob District. SFs recovered 24 rifles with bullets, an SMG with ammunition and other weapons from their possession.

Balochistan Interior Secretary said that 54 cases have been forwarded to Federal Ministry of Interior for hearing in the military courts. According to a statement issued here, Interior Secretary Balochistan Akbar Hussain Durrani said the Interior Ministry will forward the cases to military courts for hearing after carrying out scrutiny.

A man, identified as Anees Memon (50), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Hollywood Bakri in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

An unidentified man was shot dead near Munawar Chowrangi in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

One Nasir (27) was shot at and injured by unidentified armed assailants near Mirza Adam Khan Road in Lyari Town.

A government-run community health centre was blown up in the Shal Kor area of Yakaghund tehsil in Mohmand Agency of FATA. Agency Surgeon Dr Niaz Afridi confirmed the incident and said that total 17 health centres had been blown up by militants in Mohmand tribal region.

The two-judge bench of SC headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja during a hearing was told that 4,557 dead bodies were recovered from all over the country in the last five years and 266 of them were unidentified. After learning this the SC directed the Federal and Provincial Governments to launch coordinated efforts for the recovery of missing persons as well as addressing the issue of unidentified dead bodies found dumped in different parts of the country. “There should be an effective mechanism so that whenever a dead body is found, the relatives of the missing persons should be contacted to identify it,” observed SC's Bench.

The Bench had resumed hearing of the application filed by VBMP Chairman Nasrullah Baloch, who is pursuing cases of enforced disappearances in SC for many years. He also sought protection for self as he claimed that he too was receiving death threats. The petitioner requested the court to direct provincial government to allocate a site for burial of unclaimed bodies and also assign a number to each grave to facilitate recognition of the unidentified dead.

The applicant told the Bench that Balochistan’s Chief Minister had confessed before them that he was helpless in resolving the missing persons’ issue. “If they [civilian government] are helpless [in resolving this issue] then they should go home,” Justice Khawaja observed, adding, “We are creating difficulties for ourselves by not addressing such an important issue the Federal Government should take the lead in missing persons’ case.”

According to Province-wise details, Balochistan’s Assistant Advocate General Fareed Dogar told the Court that 153 dead bodies were recovered from seven Districts of the Province and 46 of them were unidentified. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan said 2,600 dead bodies were recovered in the Province and 43 bodies went unidentified. Punjab’s Additional AG Razaq A Mirza revealed that 1,299 dead bodies were recovered from the Province in the last two years. “Fifty-one of these dead bodies are unidentified,” he added. Sindh’s AG Adnan Karim informed the court that 437 dead bodies were recovered from the province. “Of these 398 were found in Karachi,” he said, adding that 304 bodies were handed over to the legal heirs while 94 of them were unidentified.

An ATC convicted an Afghan national, identified as Khalilullah, for possessing explosives and attacking a Police party on March 16, 2014, and sentenced him to 14 years rigorous imprisonment along with confiscation of his properties in Peshawar. The judge Salem Jan Khan observed that the prosecution had proved its case against him, and the evidence on record connected him with the commission of offence.

Police arrested 50 suspects during a search operation after threats were hurled by a banned militant outfit at the Police Training College in Hangu District. DPO Anwar Saeed Kundi said that a militant organisation had threatened to target the Police Training College, adding that a search operation was launched in Guli Bagh, Lakhti Bandai, Qazi Pump, Umarabad, Kurramy Walo Killay, Ibrahimzai and Shahu area in the District. During the search, 50 suspects were arrested and arms and ammunition was recovered from their possession.

There has been a 32 per cent rise in the number of people killed by LEAs in a single month of January in 2015 as compared to the number of people killed by the LEAs during the same month in 2014, though the overall number of people killed during both the corresponding periods decreased by 29 per cent in Karachi, stated HRCP report released.

The report states that the number of people killed by the LEAs in January 2015 was 52 in the city as compared to the 36 killings carried out by the LEAs during January 2014. The report further says that the total number of people killed in January 2014 was 273 as compared to 194 killings during January 2015.

Giving the breakdown of killings in January 2015, the report notes that 114 men were killed in January 2015. These included 33 targeted killing of non-political persons, political activists killed (11), sectarian killings (eight), abducted and killed (eight), dead bodies found (16), killed in bomb blasts (one), killed in Lyari gang warfare (seven) and killed by banned outfits (11).

Following the Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan's directives, Islamabad Police have begun equipping key installations and important buildings – including media houses – with a panic button which can be activated in the case of any emergency to summon a quick response from rescue and law enforcement personnel. He met with representatives of media houses in Islamabad and said that there were threats to media personnel. Representatives from about 30 media houses participated in the consultation and were asked to follow the Government-developed SOPs for their security, including installation of panic button. So far, 10 media houses have been were provided the facility, officials said, adding that two representatives of each media house were provided the panic button facility.

A total of 78 important installations in the capital are considered possible targets for terrorists. These include educational institutions – schools, colleges and universities – which were provided the panic button system as part of the fresh security SOPs. So far, Police have successfully introduced the panic button facility at 422 Government and over 1,200 private educational institutions in the city.

During an important briefing by the NACTA and NCMC to Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on the progress of NAP, the Federal Ministry of Interior directed the Interior Secretary Shahid Khan to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and reconcile the national list of proscribed organisations under the recommendations set by the UNSC.

The Government arrested more than 2,065 clerics for misusing loudspeakers during the recent crackdown across the country as part of the NAP. During the meeting, Nisar was informed that 3,265 cases of misuse of loudspeakers have been registered and equipment seized in 1,281 instances. He was further told that 547 cases had been registered for hate speech. In total, as many as 218,220 suspects had been picked up in 16,344 operations by law enforcers. Of these, 12,462 people had been arrested. Despite the haul, officials found that only 140 of them had links with terrorists.

Nisar directed the Ministry of Interior to further fine-tune the procedure of proscription and ensure that any proscribed organisations must not be able re-emerge with new name and nomenclature. The NAP meeting was also told that a bill has been tabled in the National Assembly which, if passed, would make possession of illegal mobile phone SIMs a cognizable offence.

February 11

Nine militants involved in planning the attack on the APS in Peshawar in Pakistan (December 16, 2014) were killed and scores of others injured in a drone strike in the Nazyan area of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. Official sources said that the drone fired two missiles on a compound in the Nazyan area near the Pak-Afghan border. According to security officials, militants based in the Nazyan had planned the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar.

Two extortionists, affiliated with Lyari gang war group, were arrested after they were injured in exchange of fire with Police in Kalri area of Lyari Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. SSP Fida Hussain said the Police recovered arms and two hand grenades from their possession.

Police arrested 13 clerics of various defunct religious organisations, including SSP, LeJ, ST and MWM for fanning sectarianism in the Province.

Security Forces arrested some suspected militants and destroyed five of their sanctuaries during a search and strike operation in Janikhel area of Bannu District in KP. The sources said the SFs launched an operation in various areas in Janikhel and arrested some suspected militants and destroyed five of their sanctuaries, besides seizing heavy arms from their possession.

The CTD arrested two alleged terrorists from the Ring Road-Kohat Road bridge of Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. A press release stated that the commandos of the CTD arrested Ramzan and Rasmal on a tip-off and recovered four hand-grenades and two pistols from them. The officials said the held militants were affiliated to the TTP, Tariq group, who were tasked by Commander Hazrat Ali to collect funds for the group through extortion.

The Police foiled a major bid to smuggle arms and ammunition to other parts of the country and arrested one alleged gunrunner in Badaber area of Peshawar. SSP Operations Mian Saeed Ahmad said “We have seized 50 Kalashnikovs, 600 rifles and 20,000 rounds of various bores from the secret cavities of the truck”. He added that an accused Abdul Amin belonging to Lakki Marwat District had been arrested.

A Pakistan-born man, Abid Naseer (28), went on trial on February 11 for allegedly taking part in an alleged al Qaeda plot to bomb targets in the US and Europe between 2008 and 2009. Jury selection began in Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, for the trial Naseer, who was extradited in 2013 from Britain to face US charges that he was involved in one of three al Qaeda cells planning attacks in England, Norway and the US. He was initially arrested in Britain in 2009 along with a dozen men, mostly students from Pakistan, on suspicion of plotting an attack in Manchester. Naseer was re-arrested by British authorities in 2010 after the US indicted him. He fought extradition, but his appeal was rejected in 2012 by the European Court of Human Rights and he was extradited in January 2013.

According to details, one of the cells that Naseer did not belong to, but was part of the conspiracy, had plotted to bomb the New York City subway system, prosecutors said. Two men, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the New York plot, and a third, Adis Medunjanin, was convicted at trial and sentenced in 2012 to life in prison. Prosecutors said Naseer and Zazi coordinated their plans through emails to the same Pakistan-based al Qaeda facilitator, “Ahmad,” using similar code words to discuss explosives and the timing of their respective plots.

Naseer has pleaded not guilty to the charges of providing and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to use a destructive device in a bombing plot in Manchester, England. He is representing himself at trial and faces life in prison if convicted.

The Government extended the purview of the recently amended Pakistan Army Act to the FATA for the setting up of military courts there. President Mamnoon Hussain approved a summary permitting the Government to establish military courts in FATA. An official statement issued by the Presidency said: “On a summary initiated by States and Frontier Regions Division, the president has approved the prime minister’s advice for extension of Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act No-II of 2015) to FATA in terms of Article 247 of the Constitution of Pakistan.”

While briefing the National Assembly on the execution of the National Action Plan against terrorism Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan clarified that the Government has not outlawed any group after the December 16, 2014, APS Peshawar attack, and would not take such action under United States or Indian pressure. “Yes we are a signatory to the UN Charter and we will devise a policy on this topic [But] so far, we have only added 10 organisations – proscribed by the UN – to our watch list,” he said.

Nisar said there were 60 banned groups in Pakistan while the number of organisations proscribed by the UN is 177. “However, we will not declare any organisation unlawful under pressure from the US or India,” he added. Nisar, however, acknowledged that there was some confusion on the issue which would be removed in the coming days. “A cell is working on this issue in the Interior Ministry. We will bring all proscribed organisations in our schedule,” he added.

He further said that complete peace could, however, only be restored in the country once we eliminated the terrorist leadership. “These terrorist leaders have managed to escape from Pakistan’s border area adjacent to Afghanistan,” he said.

Lieutenant General (retired) Asad Durrani, who served as the ISI as Director-General from 1990-1992, in an interview with Al Jazeera on February 11 said that Pakistan probably knew about slain al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts leading up to his capture in Abbottabad on May 1-2, 2011. “I cannot say exactly what happened but my assessment […] was it is quite possible that they [the ISI] did not know but it was more probable that they did. And the idea was that at the right time, his location would be revealed,” Durrani said, implying that Pakistan would have only exchanged knowledge of his location in a quid pro quo deal.  “The right time would have been, when you can get the necessary quid pro quo – if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States,” he added.

The Abbottabad Commission set up by the Government to investigate the raid, charged the military and the government with “gross incompetence” leading to “collective failures” that allowed Bin Laden to reside in Pakistan unnoticed. “The admission of incompetence was probably done on political reasons… As far as the people of Pakistan were concerned, it was going to be very uncomfortable for them that their Government, you know, is in cahoots now with the United States and gets hold of Osama bin Laden,” he stated.

February 12

Seven suspected militants were killed and 15 others were injured in PAF air strikes on militant hideouts in Dwa Thoe, Sarrai, Sheikh Kot, Tor Darra, Nangrosa and Speen Drand areas of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency of FATA. 

At least two children, identified as Muhammad Moheed and Shabana Bibi, were killed while two others were injured when a toy bomb exploded at Kharal Maldialan near Bagh in Muzaffarabad District of PoK.

Two foreign gangsters, involved in kidnapping-for-ransom cases, were killed in an exchange of fire with Police during an encounter near Indus Plaza in Sohrab Goth area of Gadap Town in provincial capital Karachi. SSP Malir Rao Anwaar said that the gangsters after opening fire at Police party in the area tried to flee. The Police retaliated and two of them were killed on the spot.

At least 25 people were wounded after a remote controlled explosion on railway track derailed Khushhal Khan Khattak Express near the Dilmurad Railway Station in Jacobabad District. The train was heading towards Peshawar (KP) from Karachi.

Police claimed to have arrested two target killers, identified as Iqbal alias Shahzad and Ayaz, involved sectarian killings during a raid conducted in Korangi Town. SSP Korangi Junaid Shaikh that the accused were involved in sectarian killings and murders of doctors. He added that the targeted killers had killed 15 people in Landhi, Korangi and other areas, saying they were also involved in the multiple acts of extortion.

Intelligence Agencies and officials investigating the January 30, 2015 Shikarpur Imambargah attack during an apex committee meeting jointly chaired by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah identified a militant group operating in Sindh and Balochistan border areas. “The meeting discussed the progress made so far on the Shikarpur probe,” said the source, adding, “It was stated that the Imambargah was bombed by the TTP group operating in the Balochistan-Sindh border areas. The mastermind of the bombing is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the facilitators were in Shikarpur. The investigators picked up five suspects during the course of probe but later released two of them. Twelve people are under investigation.”

PM Nawaz Sharif has told US President Barack Obama that India doesn’t deserve to be a member of the UNSC since it has been violating the UN resolutions on Kashmir. These views were expressed by the PM when Obama called him. The two leaders discussed various issues for more than half an hour. Nawaz asked the US president to impress upon the Indian leaders to have a dialogue with Pakistan for the resolution of outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute, as per Indian Prime Minister Modi’s commitment made on May 2014. The PM reminded Obama of the need for maintaining strategic balance in South Asia.

Pakistan PML-Q leader and former Chief Minister of Punjab Pervez Elahi claimed that former chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who was then the head of the ISI, had asked his party to attack the-then Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s convoy. He said that he had received a letter from General Kayani to stop the convoy of Iftikhar Chaudhry near Jhelum District and ask the PML-Q activists to attack it at Kharian if it moved ahead. He said they refused to do so. He further said that he still had that letter with him.

Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin and Justice Chaudhry Mushtaq of two-member bench of the Lahore High Court upheld orders of the Anti-Terrorism Court which handed down death sentence to four militants for attacking the ISI’s Multan Office in 2009. The four militants were identified as Abdul Raheem, Hafiz Suleman, Sajjad and Muhammad Afzal on 11 counts each, and 25-year imprisonment to their fifth accomplice Ijaz.

Trial proceedings in 12 terrorism cases referred to military courts have started, a military spokesman said. The Government had handed over 39 cases for trial to military authorities last week, out of which 12 were transferred to military courts. This is the first batch of cases placed before the newly established courts for which the Government has amended the Constitution and the Army Act. The 12 cases being tried by military courts include six from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, five from Punjab and one from Sindh, the spokesman said, adding that trial proceedings were being held in camera.

The ISPR DG Asim Bajwa said that most of the 27 militants who planned the attack on Army school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, were Pakistani. Revealing details about the attack, DG ISPR said that nine militants were killed, while 12 were arrested. Six of the 12 were arrested from Afghanistan. The remaining six militants are on the loose.

While addressing a press briefing in Islamabad, Bajwa said 176 ‘hardcore’ terrorists have been killed since December 16. According to him, 1,942 intelligence-based operations were carried out across the country, killing 176 hardcore terrorists. More than 5,000 of them were also apprehended. Bajwa also said the attack was planned across the border in Afghanistan. The planning was done by Mullah Fazlullah and Aurangzeb alias Omar Amin,” he said. “Both are hiding in Afghanistan. Asif and Haji Kamran were later given the charge of the entire operation later, and went on to form two separate groups to ute the attack, added Bajwa.

Responding to a question, DG IPSR said that there should be no hesitation in saying that there has been Indian involvement in Pakistan’s affairs, be it LoC violations, or support to the TTP in FATA or elements in Balochistan. It is time for the world to do more for Pakistan, he said, adding that external support to the militants should end. “Pakistani forces are determined to eliminate terrorism.”

Commenting on an interview of former ISI chief General (retd) Asad Durrani, during which he said Pakistan probably knew the whereabouts of al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, Bajwa said it has been established beyond doubt that Pakistan did not have any role in harbouring the Osama Bin Laden. “He (Asad Durrani) retired 30 years ago, and does not represent the agency… he does not have any intelligence or information,” Bajwa said.

February 13

At least 22 Shia persons were killed and another 50 were injured during a gun and bomb attack at an Imambargah in Phase-5 locality of Hayatabad area in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP when suicide attackers and gunmen —dressed in police uniform — attacked worshippers offering Friday prayers. Sources said that around 800 worshippers were present inside the Imambargah at the time of attack. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP, Operations) Dr. Mian Saeed said at least three suicide bombers attacked the Imambargah. He confirmed that one suicide bomber detonated his device, while another was shot dead. The third was arrested in an injured condition. The Police have launched a search operation for the third attacker. KP Police chief IG Nasir Khan Durrani said the entrance of the Imambargah is highly guarded and the attackers entered from the other side of the mosque. The attackers climbed a high wall and cut barbed wires in order to enter the Imambargah. They arrived in a car which they burnt. The BDU chief Shafqat Malik said the attackers looked like Uzbeks. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani called for the deployment of Frontier Corps personnel, saying the Imambargah is very close to tribal areas which allow easy access for terrorists. The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

A militant was killed while a soldier sustained injuries in a clash in Domanza village in the limits of Township Police Station in Bannu District. The source said that Security Forces were carrying out search and strike operation in the Domanza village when a militant identified as Noor Zaman opened fire on them. The forces returned the fire that continued for sometime during which the militant was killed while a soldier Abdul Khaliq sustained injuries.

SF demolished the houses of four militants, including Ghaniullah, Nazeerullah, Waliullah and Rab Nawaz, in Janikhel area.

A man, identified as Guddu (20), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Muhajir Chowk in Orangi Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

An unidentified man was shot dead near Mianwali Colony in Manghopir area of Gadap Town.

One Asif Ahmed (24) was shot at and injured in Orangi Town.

Two death row prisoners, identified as Muhammad Fayaz and Muhammad Riaz, were hanged till death in Central Jail of Mirpur District in PoK. They were convicted for the murder of Raja Moaaz Rabbani (22), the son of former President of Supreme Court Bar Association Raja Fazal Hussain Rabbani Advocate in 2004 during a robbery attempt at his residence. According to jail sources, Fayaz and Riaz, were residents of Saray-e-Alamgeer in Gujrat District of Punjab Province and were awarded capital punishment by the PoK Shariat Court in 2005.

Three polio workers and two Levies officials were abducted from Murgha Kibzai area in Zhob District. "The families lost contact with the polio workers since this morning," a levies official who requested anonymity said. It is feared that the missing persons were picked up by militants, he added.

An ATC rejected the bail plea of 2008 Mumbai terror attack (also known as 26/11) mastermind and LeT 'commander' Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, in a kidnapping case. Civil Judicial Magistrate Naveed Khan heard the case and dismissed the petition of his acquittal. The court made its decision after hearing the arguments of Lakhvi’s counsel Rizwan Abbasi and prosecutor Aamir Nadeem. Abbasi maintained that the case registered against Lakhvi was false.

While addressing a press conference at the Punjab Assembly the Provincial Home Minister Colonel (retired) Shuja Khanzada said that of the estimated 12,000 madrassas in Punjab, nearly half of them are unregistered. He said that over 170 teams were working to document unregistered seminaries, in collaboration between the Counter-Terrorism Department and the Punjab Information Technology Board. The government initiates a registration campaign along with biometric registration of Afghans in the Province. “About 2,000 madrassas were registered in the Province over the past few days,” he added. He said that “1, 000 systems will be commissioned in the next few days, and data will be directly transferred to the national database.” The government is working on bringing changes in the curriculum as well, Khanzada added.

Out of the 1,400 foreign students present in Punjab, the Home Minister said visas of 498 students had expired, and their cases will be taken up with the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Office, and that these students may be deported soon.

Further on the question of military courts he said that as many as 40 high profile cases have been referred to military courts by the Punjab Government, which are due to become functional within a month’s time. “Military courts would become operational soon,” he said, adding that he expected they will be functional within this month.

Pervez Musharraf in an interview published in The Guardian had said that the ISI had given birth to the Taliban after 2001 because the then Afghan Government led by ex-President Hamid Karzai had an overwhelming number of non-Pashtuns and officials who were said to favour India. "Obviously, we were looking for some groups to counter this Indian action against Pakistan. That is where the intelligence work comes in. Intelligence being in contact with Taliban groups. Definitely they were in contact, and they should be," he asserted.

He said that under his regime, Pakistan had tried to undermine the Karzai Government for helping "India stab Pakistan in the back." "In President Karzai's times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and, therefore, we were working against his interest. Obviously, we had to protect our own interest," he said. Karzai infuriated both Musharraf and his successor Ashfaq Kayani by spurning offers to help train Afghanistan's embryonic army. Instead, Karzai sent cadets to India, where Musharraf believes they were "indoctrinated" against Pakistan.

"Pakistan had its own proxies, India had its proxies, which is unhealthy. I do admit this, it is most unhealthy. It is not in favour of Afghanistan, or Pakistan or India. It must stop. The R&AW of India, the ISI of Pakistan have always been fighting against each other since our independence. That is how it continued, it continues now also. It must stop, but it can only stop when leaderships on both sides show the will to resolve disputes and stop confrontation in favour of compromise and accommodation," he said.

February 14

15 militants were killed and a soldier sustained injuries in a clash near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the Kurram Agency of FATA. Afghan militants equipped with heavy weapons intruded into Pakistani territory close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and stormed the security post near the border in Kurram Agency. A soldier, whose identity could not be ascertained, sustained injuries in the attack, while 15 militants were killed in the retaliatory fire.

As many as 17 Districts of the Province, including parts of Quetta, plunged into darkness after militants blew up two pylons of a power transmission line in Chatter area of Naseerabad District. Sarbaz Baloch, a 'spokesman' for BRA claimed responsibility for the attack.

The death toll from February 13’s gun and suicide attack at the Imambargah in the Phase-5 locality of the Hayatabad area in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP, rose to 22. Police officials said the same TTP group which masterminded the December 16, 2014, Army Public School carnage carried out the mosque bombing.

A senior official from the CTD, which is investigating the case, said the three suicide bombers who drove to the upscale neighbourhood in a Toyota Corolla car had entered Peshawar through an unfrequented route. “Once you are inside Hayatabad and wearing paramilitary uniform, it is unlikely that anyone would stop you because the posh town is home to the headquarters of two paramilitary forces,” the official said. The Umar Mansoor group of the TTP claimed credit for the deadly bombing and released the purported pictures and names of the bombers. “The same Umar Mansoor group had also carried out the massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar. Both attacks are near identical,” the official said, adding that the group’s lynchpin, Aurangzeb alias Umar alias Naray, has been nominated in the FIR.

The Central President of ASWJ, Aurangzeb Farooqi, escaped an attack near Quaidabad bridge in Bin Qasim Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. However, three of his bodyguards sustained injuries in the attack.

February 15

At least two people were killed when unidentified armed assailants opened fire at a hotel on Mastung Road in Quetta. According to local Police, one of the victims has been identified as Ghulam Sarwar, while the identity of the other one is yet to be ascertained.

Two suspected militants blew themselves up during a search operation for the recovery of kidnapped polio workers and levies personnel in Margha Kibzai area of Zhob District. Three polio workers and two levies men went missing on February 13, 2015 from Zhob District.

A key 'commander' of LeJ, identified as Usman Saifullah Kurd, and his companion were killed while two FC personnel were injured in a raid conducted by FC in Sariab area of Quetta. A third of their accomplice was arrested unhurt. Kurd had been convicted by an Anti-Terror Court in 2003 for masterminding two sectarian attacks in Quetta. He had escaped from the high security Quetta cantonment jail in 2008, following which the Government imposed a bounty of PKR 2.5 million on him. According to security sources, Kurd was believed to be the mastermind of the January 31, 2015, Shikarpur Imambargah attack in Sindh.  Intelligence sources also said that he had close contacts to both al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.

Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai escaped an IED attack in Reko Sultan Golai area of Nushki District. “No one was hurt in the explosion nor was any damage reported,” said Nushki Deputy Commissioner Qudos Mengal. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

A senior PIMS doctor, Dr Shahid Nawaz, succumbed to his injuries after being shot in the head outside the VIP ward of the Institute in Islamabad. He was the head of the hospital’s cardiology unit. The two attackers escaped from the hospital unhindered. It was the second targeted attack at the hospital in three weeks. Earlier on January 23, 2015, a nursing student was shot on the premises.

A local leader and 'spokesperson' of ASWJ Rawalpindi Chapter, Maulana Mazhar Siddiqui, was killed in a targeted sectarian attack near Pirwadhai More within the precincts of the Rawalpindi's Golra Police Station in Rawalpindi District.

A woman was killed and 14 others, including children, were injured in a blast in Gula Jan area of Pir Qayyum village in Kurram Agency of FATA. Official sources said that the blast occurred when a toy-like bomb exploded in the house.

Unidentified militants opened fire at a vehicle carrying a team of polio workers in Lowi Shalman area of Landi Kotal tehsil Khyber Agency, killing the driver and leaving one polio volunteer injured. According to security officials, the polio workers were being driven to a session in the morning when they came under attack. Subsequently, the driver of the vehicle Ziarat Gul was killed and a polio worker was injured.

SFs have started preparations to launch a crackdown against militants in Akakhel and Qalanaga areas of Bara tehsil. The administration has ordered locals to vacate the area by 6 pm today (February 16). Action will be taken against those violating the orders.

Police arrested 34 suspected persons, including six proclaimed offenders, during search in Afghan Refugees’ camp and adjacent areas of Kohat Town of same District. Official sources said that the police launched search operation in Afghan Refugees’ camp and Sher Ali Banda and Muslimabad localities and arrested six proclaimed offenders identified as Tariq Mehmood, Tanveer Ahmad, Naeem, Ashraf and Anwarul Haq. Six rifles and several cartridges were also seized from them, an official said, adding that they were wanted by the law-enforcement agencies in cases of heinous nature.

Police arrested several suspects allegedly involved in graffiti favouring the Islamic State in different parts of Gilgit-Baltistan. The first wall-chalking in the region, welcoming the self-proclaimed caliphate, was spotted in Gilgit back in November, 2014. Almost three months later, similar graffiti was seen on walls in Skardu District, stirring fear among locals and signaling the possible presence of the group in G-B.

“Skardu city Police arrested Zakaria, a resident of Shigar Valley, for spraying slogans in favour of the terror group,” read a statement issued by G-B’s Central Police Office. According to the statement, Zakaria was caught red-handed in Skardu. Moreover, Shamsuddin, Awais, Zahid Mir and Muhammad Yasin were also arrested in connection to the incident.

Four-member law enforcement team, comprising senior Police and Rangers officers and led by SSP Naveed Khwaja, that left for Dubai on February 5, 2015, to take custody of PAC leader Uzair Jan Baloch is waiting for the Federal Investigation Authority’s representative to hold talks with the authorities in Dubai since the latter has refused to entertain the team without an FIA representative.  According to official requirements, the FIA official was supposed to leave for Dubai in a day or two after the law enforcement team’s departure. As of now, this has not happened.

“As the process was initiated by the ministry of interior, it is their responsibility to send a representative to Dubai who can deal with further investigation. Police are a provincial authority, they are not authorised to deal with international authorities. The FIA needs to be there to take up the process with the Interpol as they won’t speak to us,” said additional inspector general Ghulam Qadir Thebo. On February 13, 2015, Thebo wrote to the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs to extend the deadline for bringing back Uzair by at least a month so that the FIA official could reach Dubai and continue the documentation process.

An FIA officer explained that in such cases an FIA representative was sent from the Pakistan embassy’s link office in Muscat if an FIA official was not sent from Pakistan. “The process can work both ways, that is, an officer can be sent from Pakistan and extra help can also be taken from the Pakistan embassy’s link office in Muscat,” the officer added.

The Minister for SAFRON and Frontier Regions Lieutenant-General (retired) Abdul Qadir Baloch said that the Government believes that the operation Zarb-e-Azb operation will be completed by the end of the year and after that a ‘mini-Marshall plan’ will be launched for socio-economic progress of the people of the FATA. “The era of the Taliban or terrorists will end in Fata and there will be complete peace in the entire tribal areas by the end of this year,” Abdul Qadir Baloch said. Baloch said he could say this only about cleansing FATA of terrorists and not about other parts of the country.

Amid escalating pressure from opposition parties for speeding up action against proscribed religious groups, Government officials revealed that over 600 hardcore terrorists have been arrested since the approval of the NAP against terrorism. These terrorists were arrested in an ongoing countrywide crackdown over the past seven weeks, officials monitoring the NAP execution said. They have been categorised by military and civilian agencies as 'jet-black terrorists' and their cases are to be sent to the Federal Ministry of Interior with a recommendation for trials in military courts, the officials added.

Officials added that supporters and abettors of terrorists, including banned outfits, had been under surveillance in South Punjab and parts of interior Sindh which have been identified as the strongholds of groups and individuals supporting several militant outfits. Of these 600-plus terrorists, 320 belong to TTP, while 311 have links with LeT, JeM and HuT. "Cases of these terrorists who carry an aggregate bounty of PKR 271 million would be sent to the military courts," a senior official of the NACTA said.

However, he added that next week the Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will give the final word on whether the cases of these 600-plus terrorists would be sent to the military courts or to anti-terrorism courts set up under the Pakistan Protection Act. The NACTA official conceded that most of the special committees tasked to ensure swift execution of NAP have failed to meet the targets set for them.

February 16

A 24-inch diameter gas pipeline was blown up by unidentified militants in Peshbogi area of Dera Bugti District in Balochistan.

An IED was defused near a school in Wah cantonment of Taxila in Rawalpindi District. Students spotted a bag placed at a bus stop near their school. They informed their teacher who contacted local administration and Police. Later, the Bomb Disposal Squad reached the scene and defused the bomb.

The patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, brought to the Supreme Court's notice repeated incidents of desecration of Hindu temples in the country. At the last hearing on February 11, 2015, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk had asked Mr Vankwani to submit in writing alleged excesses aimed at defiling the places of worship of Hindus. The court had taken up a matter relating to implementation of a set of guidelines handed down in a June 19, 2014 judgment on minority rights.

Dr Vankwani, a PML-N Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Tharparkar, submitted two applications, one requesting the court to take notice of desecration of temples and the other seeking an order for the Government to submit details about measures being taken to protect the premises sacred to the minority communities. In his application, he said that between January and February a number of incidents of desecration took place in Sindh. He said that authorities were reluctant to arrest those involved in attacking temples in Sindh.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while chairing a meeting of the Sindh Apex Committee held at Governor House in Karachi to review the progress on the implementation of NAP and discuss matters related to overall law and order situation in the Province said that the Government had no option but to win the war against terrorism and scourge would be eliminated from every nook and cranny of the country. He said following the December 16, 2014, Peshawar tragedy, the NAP was approved by the entire political leadership and the ultimate decision of the state was to eliminate terrorism from the country.

He said two of the 20 points of NAP were implemented immediately while rest of the measures had been left up to the Apex Committees formed in all Provinces. Sharif said under NAP, the 21st constitutional amendment was passed and Army Act was also amended adding the country's future and security were linked to NAP's implementation. The whole nation is eyeing the tangible results of NAP, he added. Nawaz Sharif reiterated that terrorism would be eliminated from every nook and corner of the country besides tribal areas.

The CoAS General Raheel Sharif during a meeting of the Sindh Apex Committee chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stressed the need to depoliticize the Police force in Karachi for permanent peace and said that action should be taken against all criminals without any distinctions based on political, religious or sectarian lines. He said that it was critical to depoliticize the Police force in Karachi, and that there should be no political interference in postings and transfers of Police officers. He also stressed that action should be taken against criminals above all kinds of political, religious and sectarian lines.

Acknowledging that Karachi plays an important role in the country's overall economy, he said that peace in Karachi means peace in the entire country, for which effective measures need to be taken. The Army chief said an atmosphere of peace was created because of the Rangers-led operation, and that political forces need to also play their role for permanent peace in Karachi. The consensus of all stakeholders is critical for peace, he said. He also stressed on the need for improved coordination between intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The Government of Sindh, Home Department modified the nomenclature of CID of Sindh Police to "Counter Terrorism Department" (CID), with immediate effect.

Punjab Police during the meeting of the Committee on Rules of Procedures and Privileges, chaired by Senator Colonel (retired) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi disclosed that certain religious seminaries are receiving foreign funding in the Province but admitted its inability to collect the concrete evidence. A list of suspicious religious seminaries in the Province which receive foreign funding is with the department. The list is confidential, said Police officials.

February 17

At least eight persons, including two Policemen, were killed and 23 others were injured in a suicide attack on Police headquarters near the main gate of Police Lines in Qila Gujjar Singh area of Lahore. Tehreek-e-Taliban TTP-JuA 'spokesperson' Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack. IG Punjab Police Mushtaq Sukhera said that the target of the attack was Police Lines. He added, "Ever since operation Zarb-e-Azb began the army has been taking action against militants... and this was perhaps in reaction to that."

A polio team member, identified as Naseem Abbas, was injured in a knife attack by a resident of Imamia Colony within the jurisdiction of Ferozewala Police Station in Sheikhupura District. According to details, the polio vaccination members, including a lady health visitor Razia Batool and vaccinator Naseem Abbas, knocked at the door of one Ubaid to administer anti-polio drops to his children. Police said Ubaid first dubbed the polio drive against Islamic values and later lobbed a knife on Naseem who suffered injuries.

Police registered a case of suicide blast outside Qila Gujjar Singh Police Lines against three terrorists, including a suicide bomber. Police executed sections 302 and 324 of Pakistan Penal Code, ¾ of Explosive Act and 7 of Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) against the bomber and his two accomplices who allegedly dropped him at the site. Also, Police teams launched search operations in different areas of the city, including Qila Gujjar Singh, Lunda Bazaar, Shahdara, Misri Shah and Lorry Adda.

Four dead bodies, including that of two missing Levies personnel, were found in Zhob District. According to Levies sources, two bodies were identified as that of Levies officials and one was identified as the driver of the polio team. One dead body is yet to be identified, the sources added. Three polio workers and two Levies personnel were kidnapped on February 13, 2015, from Murgha Kibzai area of Zhob District.

Balochistan Government postponed the anti-polio campaign in Quetta, Zhob, Sherani and Sibi Districts of the Province due to looming security threats, according to an unnamed Health Department Officer.

A man, identified as Babu (24) was killed and a passer-by Navid (20) was injured in a firing incident near Lal Masjid in Paposh Nagar area of North Nazimabad Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

One Abdul Qadir (30) was shot dead near Janjal Goth in Gulshan-e-Maymar of Gadap Town.

A man, identified as Mohammad Sharif (25), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Azeem Plaza in Garden area of Saddar Town.

A militant 'commander', Bakhti Raj of Koz Shamnal Chagharzai, was killed in a clash with the SFs during a search operation in the Gagra tehsil of the Buner District in KP. One woman had also sustained bullet injuries in the incident. Sources said that Bakhti Raj was wanted by SF in militancy-related incidents.

The Lakki Marwat interment centre oversight board has found Shahid Khan, an eight-grader, a collaborator of militants and listed him in the black category (proven militant). The information was shared by Additional Advocate General Qaiser Ali Shah on behalf of the KP Home and Tribal Affairs Department during the hearing of 10 petitions on enforced disappearances on February 17. A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Muhammad Daud Khan heard the petitions.

Upon hearing the oversight board's findings, Shahid's father Sarbuland Khan erupted in rage and asked the court how a secondary school student could possibly be a collaborator of militants. "How can a schoolboy be involved in anti-state activities? I want to know the exact charges against my son," he said, adding he had taken Shahid to the police station on the request of police officials. "Is there a limit to injustice? You lock me up in a room and even I will confess to whatever you wish," the perturbed father yelled, adding he met his son twice and has not seen him for a long time. The court said the purpose of the hearing was to trace the whereabouts of his son and the case cannot be pursued further since he has been listed in the black category.

The oversight board found Asif Khan involved in anti-state activities and placed him in the black category while his counsel claimed the KP government issued an advertisement in newspapers on February 13, declaring Khan a proclaimed offender and offering Rs1 million as head money. Khan's mother Nazakat Bibi said he used to work at Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan as an office boy, from where SF picked him up four years ago. The family was allowed to see him at Lakki Marwat internment centre six months back. The court directed the Provincial Government to submit a detailed report regarding the detainee at the next date of hearing.

The KP ruling party PTI renewed its demand for redeploying paramilitary FC troops in the province and reassigning to KP soldiers serving in other parts of the country. "The FC's job is to guard the border between FATA and KP but this force is spread out across the country," said PTI chief Imran Khan in a statement. According to the PTI chairman, K-P has suffered the most at the hands of terrorists. "Therefore, the federal government should return the FC to the province that it belongs to," the statement said.

During his visit to Kabul, the CoAS General Raheel Sharif was informed by Afghan authorities that "they are tightening the noose around Fazlullah" the fugitive 'chief' of TTP. According to security sources, the visit took place following Intelligence reports that Fazlullah directly masterminded the February 13, 2015, Imambargah attack in Peshawar reportedly from Afghanistan's Kunar Province or its adjoining belt. "There was credible intel (intelligence) information that it was cross-border activity," said the unnamed sources.

A source disclosed that the Army Chief reiterated Pakistan's demand for action against the TTP chief. "They [Afghanistan] are after him [Fazlullah] and may be quite close," the source claimed. General Raheel told the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, "The enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of Pakistan. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism." He assured Kabul that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used against the neighbouring country.

The United States said that it will allow for the first time the widespread export of armed drones to some allied countries as part of its global counterterrorism fight. Armed drones are a cornerstone of Washington´s battle against extremists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, although they remain hugely controversial and opponents say they frequently kill or maim civilians.

February 18

At least four Shias were killed and six others were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up during evening prayers at the mosque in Qasr-e-Sakina Imambargah located on Kurri Road in New Shakrial area of Rawalpindi District. The suicide attack was followed by gun and grenade attack. The blast occurred when suicide bomber blew himself up after security officials stopped him from entering the Imambargah.

Jundullah, a splinter group of TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack. Speaking from an unknown location, the 'spokesman' of the group Fagad said that the blast was a reaction to operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency.

The MWM leader Asghar Askari criticised the Government and alleged that it was colluding with militants. "This is the fourth attack [on the Shia community] this Government is a murderous and terrorist Government. We have been lifting bodies due to them," he said, adding that the Punjab Government has given support to these terrorists. In an appeal to Army chief General Raheel Sharif he said, "Zarb-e-Azb should be spread to the whole of Punjab."

The initial investigative report of the February 17, 2015 Police Line blast in Lahore District submitted by IG Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera and Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, revealed that "the bomber intended to attack a police van or a top police official". As per the investigative report, the bomber and his accomplices inspected the site of the blast hours before the explosion. The Provincial Police Chief confirmed the Police Lines was the intended target. "The bomber wanted to enter the Police Lines but exploded prematurely," IG Mushtaq said.

Two people, including an Ismaili Shia, identified as Karim Hashwani, and his driver, Nawaz (45), were shot dead in a sectarian attack at Ali Garden in North Nazimabad Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. The militants belonged to SSP. Police arrested one of the militants, identified as Hashmi Ishaq, after an exchange of fire while his accomplice, identified as Khalid, managed to escape under the cover of fire.

At least two people, including a worker of MQM, identified as Amir (28), were killed when an unidentified target killer opened gunfire at him and his friend Naveed in North Nazimabad Town.

Police, in coordination with the District Intelligence Agency, arrested more than 50 Afghan nationals in Sukkur District under a security plan chalked out to implement the NAP. According a survey conducted recently, around 9,900 students were enrolled at 226 religious seminaries in the District, said District Intelligence bureau Manzoor Jamali, adding that 98 of them were unregistered institutions. Sukkur SSP Tanveer Tunio said that flags of banned outfits were being removed and graffiti likely to foment sectarian strife was being erased across the District.

Hyderabad Deputy Inspector-General of Police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi while speaking to journalists at the local press club in the District warned all banned outfits against organising any procession, saying that participants in such events would be apprehended. He said the Rangers and Army were partners of Police, who were in the front line. The DIG said that about 50,000 students were studying in religious seminaries functioning within the Hyderabad Police range.

According to a report, at least 116 accused were killed in 464 Police encounters and 330 accused were arrested read-handed during these encounters from January 1 to February 18, 2015. Sindh Police of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad Division arrested 5,428 accused in raids and encounters and recovered arms from their possessions. In addition 175 criminal gangs busted and 15 patharidars were arrested. Those arrested included 2,983 absconders, 450 proclaimed offenders, 11 extortionists, five kidnapers, 15 terrorists, three target killers, 1,609 other accused and robbers, including seven dacoits with head money. Police recovered one G3 rifle, three MP5, seven SMGs, 117 shotguns, 36 rifles, 5,556 rounds, three suicide jackets, two bombs, one rocket launcher, 67 hand grenades, and two detonators from the accused.

Three terrorists and one FC soldier were killed in an exchange of fire during an encounter in Panjgur District. One FC soldier was wounded.

Unidentified militants blew up a water pipeline in Toba Nokahai area of Zahein Loti in Dera Bugti District, suspending water supply to many areas.

SFs arrested 21 suspects from various areas of the Province.

LEAs recovered five PTCL employees during a search operation in Kanu area of Zhob District. Local LEA sources said that the recovered PTCL employees had been kidnapped a week ago from Murgha Kibzai area of Zhob district by unidentified armed militants. They were identified as Sajjad Baig, Muhammad Tahir, Muhammad Nabi, Asad Khan and Muhammad Abbas.

The SFs thwarted a terrorist attack and defused a 15 kilogram explosive device planted by unidentified militant along the main highway on Tank-Tatoor Road in Tank Town of same District.

The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the time had come to eliminate the menace of terrorism from Pakistan once and for all. "It is time to end this menace, and this is why we announced an all-out war against terrorism. We have formed a 20-point agenda to end this menace. Inshallah, we will not rest until terrorism is completely eliminated," he said. The PM strongly condemned the terrorist attack at the Qasr-e-Sakina Imambargah in Islamabad, and extended his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. Referring to recent terrorist attacks in the country, Sharif said that this was a sign that the terrorists were losing strength. "This is a signal that they (the terrorists) are trying to mount a final attack, but we know how much force they have left in them," he said.

A US Congressional delegation was assured that Pakistan had no favourites and the Operation Zarb-e-Azb was against all the militant groups in the NWA of FATA. Talking to a visiting US Congressional delegation led by Senator Jack Reed - a ranking member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee - at the GHQ, CoAS General Raheel Sharif said that TTP's network and other militant groups had completely been dismantled in NWA and a large area had been cleared off the militants. During the meeting, security situation along the Pak-Afghan border also came under discussion and US delegation was told that Pak-Afghan forces were conducting coordinated operations against the militant hide-outs and significant progress had been made in such operations.

The ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa said that the recent spate of terrorist attacks across the country was an attempt to divide the nation. "The recent spates of terrorist attacks are highly condemnable. Our heart goes out to aggrieved brothers and sisters, we stand with them at time of grief," Asim Bajwa said in messages on Twitter. Bajwa's messages came hours after a suicide bomber attacked the Qasr-e-Sakina Imambargah in Islamabad, killing three people and wounding two others. The attacks are "an attempt to create divisiveness amongst nation, which only serves the interest of detractors of Islamic Republic of Pakistan", he said.

February 19

Four TTP militants were shot dead in a Police encounter near a graveyard in Sohrab Goth area of Gadap Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Malir SSP Rao Anwar said that the SHO of Bin Qasim Town Police Station Azhar Iqbal had received secret information that chief of TTP- Sohrab Goth Chapter, Qari Alamgir, was staying in a house there along with his accomplices. "Qari Alamgir was wanted in kidnapping for ransom and other criminal cases," said SSP Anwar. The Police claimed to have seized explosive material, arms and ammunition from their possession. "Eight to 10 bags containing explosive material, a suicide jacket, pistols, submachine guns and hand grenades were seized," claimed SHO Iqbal.

MQM worker, identified as Danish Kaleem (24), was killed while he was sitting at a milk shop in Orangi Town. Iqbal Market Police said that the victim was the member of MQM's medico-legal aid committee. Meanwhile, condemning the killing of MQM worker Kalim in Orangi Town, party chief Altaf Hussain on February 19 said that the neighbourhood has become a hub of al Qaeda and IS terrorist activities, reports The News. In a statement issued in Karachi, Hussain said that thousands of MQM workers have been killed in Orangi Town area. "Orangi Town, Pakistan Bazaar and Chishti Nagar have become hubs of al Qaeda and Daish (IS)," he said.

A gangster, identified as Talha alias Gwadari (24), involved in the killing of three PPP workers, was shot dead in an encounter near Gabol Park in Lyari Town. Gwadari hailed from Gwadar District in Balochistan and was one of the key members of Uzair Baloch gang.

Unidentified gangsters shot dead a man, identified as Naseer Baloch, at Benazir University Road within Kalakot Police precincts in Lyari Town.

Three dead bodies of militants were found in Saran area under the jurisdiction of Mattani Police in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP.

Unidentified militants shot dead Jama'at Ahl-e-Sunnat (JAS) tehsil President, Maulana Mehmood Shah, in Oghi area of Mansehra District in a sectarian attack while he was on his way home after leading evening prayer at Masjid Rizwia.

A landmine explosion killed two people and injured two others in Chahtar area of Naseerabad District.

SFs conducted a raid and arrested eight suspected militants in Sibi District. According to FC spokesman, SFs recovered 24kgs explosives and other weapons from their possession.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced PKR 5 billion development package for Quetta and said that funds should be spent on building roads, improving sanitary system and cleaning the city. Funds to the tune PKR 30 billion would be given for the purpose and international donors would be asked for assistance, he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing the passing-out parade of first Special Combat Unit in Quetta said that the entire nation was united against terrorism and will definitely win this war as it was a matter of survival for Pakistan's future generations. He said that Pakistan was currently facing serious challenge of terrorism that need to be countered with patience, tolerance, courage and a high state of vigilance.

At least 234 madrassas in Balochistan are being funded by 'brotherly' Muslim countries, said Home Department officials tasked with investigating religious seminaries in Province. "We have collected enough evidence against 234 madrassas accused of receiving financial assistance from foreign countries," an unnamed senior official said, adding, "The list (of these seminaries) has been shared with relevant agencies and departments (the Federal Investigative Agency and State Bank of Pakistan) so that their accounts can be scrutinized and the sources of their funding traced." "But the list will go on," he added.

When contacted, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Khan Durrani confirmed that various cases have been forwarded to agencies concerned for further investigation, but did not specify the number of madrassas against whom evidence of foreign funding has been collected. However, he revealed that more than 3,000 of the Province's 5,441 madrassas are not registered. "Some 5,330 of the 129, 997students that study in seminaries in Balochistan are foreigners, mostly of Afghan descent," said Durrani.

A member of the team conducting the surveillance of madrassas in Balochistan revealed the names of seminaries in Quetta and Nushki Districts which were receiving financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, Behrain and Iran. These, he said, include Mataul Uloom, Arbia Maftaul Uloom, Anwar-e-Sahaba, Gold Masjid, Dunya Arbia, Jamia Uloom and many others.

February 20

At least five militants and an Army Officer were killed and a soldier was injured when fighting erupted during a cordon-and-search operation in Dattakhel area in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. According to a statement by the ISPR two of the dead militants were foreigners.

Three militants were killed in a clash with Security Forces in Patala area of Kurram Agency.

A man, identified as Mohammad Qamar (30), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants in Quaid-e-Azam Colony of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town in provincial capital Karachi.

An unidentified man was shot dead and a another man, identified as Raja Naeem (25), was injured by near Tipu Sultan signal within the limits of Bahadurabad Police Station in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

One Iqra University student, identified as Javed Haris, sustained injuries after he was set on fire by unidentified assailants in Akhtar Colony area of Jamshed Town. According to Police sources, Javed had been abducted four days ago from Baloch Colony in Orangi Town, but details surrounding his abduction are not yet known. A threatening letter was also recovered from his pocket, warning of similar actions if the military operation did not end.

A bomb weighing 1 kilogramme found outside the residence of local ANP leader, Gul Muhammad Khan, in Bhains Colony of Bin Qasim Town was successfully diffused by Bomb Disposal Squad. ANP Sindh's spokesperson said that Gul Muhammad Khan has been receiving continuous threats from militant outfits.

Shahbaz Rangers claimed to have arrested two TTP militants in a raid on a Karachi-bound coach coming from Peshawar (KP). Sindh Rangers Commander Colonel Abdul Ghaffar said in press briefing at the Shahbaz Rangers headquarters that the 60-Wing personnel on a tip-off carried out a raid on the coach while it was passing through an area near Mirpur Mathelo town of Ghotki District. They picked up two suspected passengers and during the subsequent interrogation it emerged that they belonged to the TTP, said Colonel Ghaffar. The Rangers commander said that they were fleeing to Karachi to escape death in the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb and intended to fly to a foreign country, probably the UAE. Col Ghaffar spoke of some startling disclosures by the suspects during the interrogation but declined to share them with the media at this juncture.

He further said that another TTP suspect was arrested in a separate raid and interrogation with him was under way. "At the moment, we can share the only information with the media that this man was tasked with opening a TTP unit in Shikarpur District to coordinate with the network of international terrorism," the Rangers commander said.

Cantonment Police claimed to have arrested a militant at Shaheen check post in Kohat District and recovered explosives and grenades from his possession. According to a Police official, they were checking vehicles passing through in Cantonment and signalled a van to stop. He added during the search, the militant lobbed a grenade at them and fled. There were no casualties because the grenade failed to explode. Policeman further said they chased and managed to arrest him.

Provincial Home Minister Colonel (retired) Shuja Khanzada said that the kidnapped sons of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer were being held in Afghanistan. Ali Gilani was abducted on May 2, 2013 during an election rally in Multan District. Shahbaz Taseer was abducted on August 26, 2011 from Lahore District.

Khanzada said the Government was doing its best to secure the safe release of both Gilani and Taseer. He informed the House that 95 per cent of cases of abduction for ransom were being conducted by suspects from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said that Pakistan was prepared for mediation between the Afghan Government and Taliban for peace in the region. The Foreign Office spokesperson said peace and stability in Afghanistan were of great importance. "We believe it is for the Afghan government to lead the efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan. Any reconciliation process has to be Afghan led and Afghan owned. Pakistan, as a neighbour and as a country that has vital stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan, is ready to provide whatever assistance we can. We are ready to facilitate the reconciliation process to the extent possible," she said. However, the spokesperson said the mechanisms available would not be made public through the media.

February 21

An abductor was killed while a Sikh trader, identified as Munish Singh, was recovered during a raid in Aamri area of the Chagai District. Three of his accomplices were arrested. Singh was kidnapped from Dalbandin area of Chagai District two months ago.

A 10th grade student of Peshawar's APS succumbed to his injuries at the Combined Military Hospital. The student, Ishaq Ameen was shot in the head and face during the deadly attack on the Peshawar school on December 16, and had been in critical condition since. The death toll of the carnage now stands at 144, with 132 students among the dead, the Deputy Commissioner's office said.

February 22

Two gangsters, affiliated with the Uzair Baloch group, were killed during an encounter with the Police in the mill area within the limits of the Kalakot Police Station in Lyari Town of provincial capital Karachi.

Two Baba Ladla gangsters, identified as Sohail alias Khoof and Shaheryar alias Sherry, were killed during another encounter in Bihar Colony of Lyari Town.

Uzair Baloch gangster, identified as Arsalan Baloch, was killed in Daryabad area of Kalri in Lyari Town.

Eight people were injured when two unidentified militants hurled a hand grenade near Tanga stand in Behar colony of Lyari Town.

Rangers claimed to have arrested a TTP Swat Chapter militants during a targeted raid conducted at the militants' hideout in Metroville area of SITE Town.

In an attempt to move forward to implement the National Action Plan at the Provincial level, the Sindh Government during a meeting chaired by Sindh Home Secretary Abdul Kabir Kazi on February 21 decided to ban establishment of new madrassas and mosques without a prior permission of the Home Department. The Government also decided to build a 'high-security prison' in Jamshoro District within a week for high-profile terror suspects. Other key decisions included repatriation of all Afghan refugees by the year end, proposing legislation for the regulation of mosques and seminaries, recruitment in the newly-established CTD of Police and expediting process of forensic lab facilities in major cities to improve investigation and prosecution.

A child was killed and nine others were injured in a bomb explosion on at Rush Bazaar located on Taj Road in Chaman town of Qilla Abdullah District. DPO Chaman Asad Khan said that a remote controlled bomb fixed to a vehicle parked near a temple exploded.

An eight-inch diameter gas pipeline was blown up by unidentified militants near the Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti District. According to Police, the terrorists had planted an IED near the gas pipeline which exploded, suspending the gas supply to the area.

A four-inch diameter water supply pipeline was also blown up in the Nokani area of Dera Bugti District.

The Nawab Bugti Express narrowly escaped a bomb blast targeting a railway track in Jaffarabad District.

Law Enforcement Agencies recovered arms, including three SMG, two Kalashnikovs, four pistols, two short guns and 250 magazines from Bonistan area of Panjgur District.

One militant was killed while three others were arrested during a clash with SFs near a gas station on the Bannu-Kohat Road in Bannu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The sources said the personnel of SFs and intelligence agencies were patrolling the area when four militants attacked them with a hand-grenade near the gas station on the Kohat Road, but the soldiers escaped unhurt in the attack. The sources said the soldiers returned the fire in which one of the militants was killed on the spot. Following the attack, the SFs personnel arrested the three other militants during a search operation carried out in the locality.

The KP Police in the ongoing search and strike operation throughout the province against criminals and anti-social elements have rounded up 268 suspects and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition.

Two Khassadar personnel were injured when a bomb went off near a checkpost in the Jamrud tehsil of the Khyber Agency in FATA. Those injured were identified Shoaib and Abrar.

Sources in the security establishment said that around four dozen major intelligence-led anti-terror operations are in the pipeline across the country to take out or neutralise enemies of the state, and that these Special Units would lead these operations with the backup of civilian Anti-Terror Task Forces. They informed that normally the secret services provide only information to the law enforcing agencies and paramilitary forces to launch action against the terrorists but their Special Units lead or directly supervise anti-terror operations when high profile targets are involved.

When asked about the target areas of the major anti-terror operations, they declining to share the entire details informed that actions would be launched in parts of Punjab, Karachi, settled areas of KP, PATA of Khyber Agency and parts of Balochistan. They informed that security services have information concerning the movements of high profile targets in KP, Karachi and some of their high value facilitators in Punjab, besides some areas of Balochistan.

A 'spokesperson' for JuD told the media that JuD 'chief' Hafiz Muhammad Saeed's counsel pleading innocence and claiming that the JuD has no link with al Qaeda, Taliban or the Mumbai 26/11 attacks requested the UN chief Ban Ki-moon for lifting of the sanctions. He said attention of the UN was also sought towards some corrective measures which have been taken in light of the UN instructions. "We have also shown willingness for audit of our organisational activities," he added.

While referring to its relief activities across the country, the appeal reiterated that the JuD has no organisational or legal link with LeT, and it is a legal Pakistan-based charitable NGO and all of its institutes and projects are registered in the country. A letter, dispatched by the JuD chief, had already been pending with the office of Ban Ki-moon. The appeal was made through the letter in 2009 to the UN that it had taken a hasty decision in proscribing the JuD, its chief Hafiz Saeed and other members and termed the UN decision detrimental to the interests of Pakistan.

The purpose behind our fresh move is to win clearance or a no objection certificate from the UN while contesting the case on merit, the 'spokesperson' said.

The HRW demanded that the Pakistan Government should immediately order local authorities to stop pressuring registered refugees to return to Afghanistan. "The Pakistan government has an obligation to protect all Afghans in the country, including those not registered as refugees, from harassment and other abuses," HRW said. A recent increase in Afghans repatriating from Pakistan appears related to coercive pressure from local Governments on Afghans to return to their country since the December 16, 2014 Peshawar's APS attack. "Pakistani officials should not be scapegoating Afghans because of the Taliban's atrocities in Peshawar," said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "It is inhumane, not to mention unlawful, to return Afghans to places they may face harm and not protect them from harassment and abuse."

Nine times as many Afghan refugees were repatriated from Pakistan in January 2015 as in December 2014, according to the UNHCR. UNHCR analysis of the returns indicated that a significant percentage of these 3,829 returns were coercive. Nearly all of the refugees returned from three Pakistani provinces - KP, Azad Kashmir, and Punjab - where an increase in arrests, detentions, and evictions of Afghans were reported during the same period. Those registered as refugees possess PoR issued by the Pakistani Government, with the support of UNHCR.

February 23

SFs claimed to have arrested a key perpetrator of the December 16 Peshawar APS terrorist attack during an operation in the Pawaki village under Pishtakhara Police Station in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The ISPR confirmed the arrest of 27-year-old Taj Mohammad from Pawaki. It said that he was the commander of one of the two groups that carried out the APS attack. The militant is said to be a resident of the neighbouring Khyber Agency in FATA. He was living as an internally displaced person in Pawaki. Officials said the militant had confessed to his involvement in a number of terror attacks.

Military courts have been established in Sindh to hear the cases pertaining to terrorism. Two colonel rank officers have been nominated as head of the courts. It has been said that an officer of major's rank will be appointed as the prosecutor. After the process of appointment of officers is completed, the courts of Sindh will begin hearing cases. The Sindh Government and Police officials said that more than 65 cases of hardened criminals and those involved in terrorist activities would be sent to the military courts for trial.

Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that operation Zarb- Azb was launched to flush out terrorists and maintain peace in the country. "Foreign elements are involved in spreading terrorism. Temperature on eastern border and working boundary had been increased with pre-plan mission. "We are raising voice at international forum about incidents of terrorism and involvement of a neighboring country in such activities", Khawaja Muhammad Asif said. Pakistan is fully capable to eliminate the menace of terrorism from this area, he added. "We cannot rule out India's involvement or support to Taliban who are spreading terrorism and disturbing peace of Pakistan", he added further.

Pakistan reiterated to show 'zero tolerance' towards terrorist organisations including the ISIS, saying Islamabad was fully cognisant of this looming terror threat. "The ISIS is a globally threatening phenomenon and we are fully cognisant of the situation," Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told a National Assembly panel. "We would be unsparing if we find a shred of clue about the IS presence in Pakistan," Chaudhry briefed the NA Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs that met under the chair of outgoing Senator Haji Adeel. Likewise, the secretary said the supporters, facilitators and abettors of the ISIS or Daish would be dealt with an iron hand.

The PM Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting on the implementation of NAP at the PM House. The PM appreciated the Punjab Government for taking lead in implementing the plan for targeting terrorism and extremism in the country. He asked the other provinces to speed up implementation of this important initiative that has the backing of the entire political spectrum of the country. He said that terrorists were enemies of stability and harmony and every possible step would be taken for ensuring their complete elimination.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs that Pakistan is determined to end terrorism following Peshawar tragedy while Washington is also cooperating with Islamabad in its efforts against militancy. He said that Washington was assisting Pakistan in different sectors, including development, energy, health and education. He said US intends to provide 3.40 billion USD aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

February 24

The District President of ASWJ Molana Sahbir Ahmed Haidri was shot dead in Korangi Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

One Waseem (33) was shot dead near Bihar Colony in Lyari Town.

A man, identified as Faizal (40), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Yousuf Plaza in Sohrab Goth area of Gadap Town

A man, identified as Shahabuddin (20), was shot at and injured near Azmeen Plaza at Shoe Market in Garden area of Saddar Town.

At least one person was killed and seven others injured in an explosion on the Mall Road in Chaman town of Qilla Abdullah District. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

Bodies of three persons recovered were identified as that of the perpetrators involved in the attack on Peshawar's Bacha Khan International Airport on December 15, 2012. According to sources, all three men belonged to a militant organisation of Khyber Agency in FATA and were among the militants who fired rockets at the Pakistan Air Force base inside Bacha Khan Airport. The bodies, which were found at a nullah in Peshawar's Mattani area, were recognised as that of 'commander' Noor Mohammad, 'commander' Kemya Gul and 'commander' Sher Muhammad - all of whom were wanted for being the masterminds of the fatal attack. The sources also added that the three men were also suspected to be involved in the rocket attacks on the Sheikh Muhammadi grid station near Peshawar which left seven people dead on April 2, 2013.

As Afghanistan moved closer to holding direct peace talks with Afghan Taliban, the US State Department acknowledged that Pakistan too has a stake in the outcome. "In terms of the role of Pakistan, we have long encouraged Pakistan to support (Afghan) President (Ashraf) Ghani's reconciliation efforts," said the Department's spokesperson Jen Psaki, adding "We, of course, remain in support and in contact with President Ghani on these matters as well as certainly countries like Pakistan who have a stake in the outcome."

She said the US continued to support "an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process" whereby the Taliban and the Afghans engaged in talks towards a settlement to resolve the conflict. Asked if the US found Pakistan's role in these talks encouraging, she noted that the Afghan President also had acknowledged this role in his recent statements and in his inaugural address. The United States too had "long encouraged" Pakistan to support a reconciliation process, said the US official, adding that both Afghanistan and Pakistan had "shown a commitment to try to move forward". She however, rejected the notion that the United States too was talking to the Taliban. "There are no direct or indirect talks," she added.

Afghanistan's chief executive Abdullah Abdullah on February 23, 2015 had said that peace talks with the Taliban would begin in the "near future".

The US State Department warned US citizens to defer non-essential travel to Pakistan due to dangers posed by foreign and local militants throughout the country. "The US Embassy in Islamabad and the US Consulate General in Karachi continue to provide consular services for all US citizens in Pakistan. The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar no longer offers consular services and the US Consulate General in Lahore remains temporarily closed for public services," said a statement.

The Commandant of the Khyber Rifles, Colonel Tariq Hafeez, said that Khyber-2 operation against TTP and other terrorist groups hiding in different parts of the Tirah valley of Khyber Agency in FATA would begin next month. Colonel Tariq Hafeez pledged that SFs would now reclaim all areas at present under the control of several outlawed militant groups in Khyber Agency and FATA. "We will not spare anyone and will go after them no matter where they are hiding and will smash their operational structure to reduce their striking capability," he said.

Col Hafeez said that with the arrest of 25 hardcore terrorists, SFs had achieved much of the objectives of the Khyber-1 operation. He said that SFs were now determined to annihilate all anti-state elements operating on Pakistan's soil. Referring to escape of some leaders of Bara-based outlawed groups to Afghanistan, he said that those who were not sincere to their own motherland could not be sincere to anyone.

The United States Embassy in Islamabad denied some media reports that US consulate offices in Peshawar (KP) and Lahore (Punjab) had been closed after a travel advisory was issued by the US State Department. "There have been inaccurate statements in the media characterising the operating status of the Consulates General of the United States in Lahore and Peshawar," said a press statement, adding, "For clarification, US Consulates General Lahore and Peshawar are open but have a limited operational status, which does not include provision of consular services, as has been the case for some time." The statement read, "US Consulate General Karachi continues to provide full consular services, as does the US embassy in Islamabad."

February 25

Anti-Terrorism Court sentenced four TTP militants to death for killing 10 prison staff during an attack on the residential quarters for prison staff in Ichra locality of Lahore District in July 2012. "The court has awarded death sentence to four militants for the 2012 attack on jail staff," special prosecutor Shaikh Saeed said. A court official confirmed the sentences. He added that the convicts were fined Rs1.8 million each.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that 400 foreign students studying in different madrassas across Punjab without local documentation will be deported soon. He added that a list of these students has been sent to the Federal Government. "It's a high-time to end terrorism. It's now or never. All those Afghan immigrants who don't have a permit will also be sent back," he said, adding, "We are importing 1,000 biometric machines which would be linked to the NADRA database and can verify if a person is a Pakistani citizen or not."

The Federal Ministry of Interior said that LeJ was carrying out terrorist activities across the country to get the hangings of its leaders and workers stopped and to secure their release or help them escape. According to the NCMC threat alert issued to the Provinces, militant groups like the LeJ and TTP may jointly carry out terrorist activities. According to a private television channel, the cell has dispatched a letter (threat alert) to the home secretaries of Sindh, Punjab, KP, Balochistan, Provincial Police Chiefs, the IG FC of KP and Balochistan and authorities in PoK and the Gilgit Baltistan region.

"The LeJ is infuriated over crackdown on its activists. LeJ had approached al Qaeda for help but it expressed its inability to do so citing its preoccupation in other areas like Syria and Iraq. LeJ then contacted TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah who not only provided finance to LeJ but also promised to extend further assistance. Now LeJ-Fazlullah nexus is at work in unleashing the wave of terrorism in the country," the letter read. In the letter, the cell claims that terrorists are planning to conduct terrorist activities in the Punjab, most likely in Lahore.

Former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published said that Kabul must share power with the extremist group Taliban and block Indian influence if it wants peace in the country. He said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's September inauguration presented a new opportunity for reconciliation between the Government and Taliban and related insurgent groups. "Ashraf Ghani is a balanced man," he said, adding, "I think he's a great hope." Pakistan and India must stay away and avoid engaging in proxy war, he said. He further said that India had provided weapons, training and equipment to ethnic Baloch separatists inside Afghanistan. He said that US and its allies had consistently failed to consider Pakistan's concerns, forcing Islamabad to rely on other militant groups inside Afghanistan to prop up its interests.

He acknowledged that India and Pakistan had been engaged in a long-running proxy war on Afghan soil that fed the conflict. But, he said, his and Islamabad's role in nurturing the Taliban and allied militant groups operating in Afghanistan were a legitimate counterweight against its rival India there. "There are enemies of Pakistan that have to be countered," he said, adding, "Certainly if there's an enemy of mine, I will use somebody to counter him." "The world must realise that we may not like the face of Mullah Omar…but that is how life is, that is what Afghanistan is," said Musharraf. But he said those groups were an instrument to counter India's influence on the ground in Afghanistan and insisted that former US President George W. Bush "knew that I am not playing a double game" with Washington.

Sindh Police received a note from Intelligence Agencies warning a probable terror attack in Karachi. It stated that the terrorists might be in uniform. The number plates of two suspected trucks have also been mentioned. Police have started checking on check-posts.

Sindh Police Chief Ghulam Haider Jamali said that the leader of PAC Uzair Jan Baloch has not yet been produced in court in Dubai, while rejecting reports that he would be extradited to Pakistan within a day or two. "The Police team and a Rangers official have submitted the documents in court which include FIR against him and details of around 55 cases pending in Pakistani courts against him," he said. He added, "We are close to getting the custody of Uzair Baloch."

According to details, Uzair Baloch had fled Pakistan soon after the launch of the Rangers operation in Karachi in September 2013. The Sindh government had sent documents to the federal authorities in May 2014, seeking the issuance of red warrants against both Lyari gangsters Uzair Baloch and Baba Ladla who were said to have fled to Iran, Oman, the UAE or South Africa. The warrants were eventually issued against both Uzair and Baba on June 11 and 12, 2014, respectively. In December 2014, the Interpol arrested him in Muscat and brought him to Dubai. On February 5, 2015, the four-member law-enforcement team left for Dubai after the Federal Ministry of interior ministry directed the Provincial and Federal authorities to complete the PAC leader's extradition within a week.

The Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ordered all commissioners and DIG's to expel Afghan clerics from the Province and submit a report over the implementation within seven days. A Home Department source said that there were 294 Afghan Peshimam (prayer leaders) in the Province and their documentation had been sent to relevant commissioners as part of the NAP. Currently, Pakistan hosts 1.6 million Afghan refugees, whom the Government has issued the Proof of Registration cards through the NADRA and thus, legalising their stay in the country until December 2015. The number of unregistered Afghan nationals is said to be between two and three million.

However, the HRW has spoken against the forceful return of Afghanistan refugees from Pakistan, reminding the government of their obligation to protect all Afghans in the country, including those not registered as refugees.

February 26

Two persons were killed and two others were injured in separate incidents of violence in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Bashir (40), a resident of Manghopir was shot dead by unidentified armed men near German School in Orangi Town. Separately, the body of Umer Gul (35) was found dead near Gulzar Masjid. The motive behind killing could not be ascertained. In another incident, Dawood (25) and Zakir (28) of Ghulam Rasool were shot and injured by unknown armed men near Sajjan Goth in Baldia Town.

Police said that 30 kg of explosive material was recovered in Ittehad Town. The Bomb Disposal Squad officials told that 160 rods of 50 gram each were also attached with the explosives.

One prisoner was killed and another was injured in an attempt to escape from Gilgit's District Jail. Police said that the two inmates were involved in 2013 deadly attack that killed 12 tourists at a mountain camp near Nanga Parbat. The dead and injured inmates were identified as Bilal and Dilbar respectively. Police launched an operation in search of two inmates who managed to escape from the detention the facility. Gilgit-Baltistan Home Secretary Sibtain Ahmed has offered cash reward of PKR two million for arrest of the prisoners.

Pakistan's provision of safe havens to LeT will continue to be a key irritant in relations with India, Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper claimed in his testimony on "World Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" while presenting the report in a hearing of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee. Clapper said in 2015, the Pakistani government will probably focus on diminishing the capabilities of the TTP, which claimed the Peshawar's Army Public School attack on a December 16, 2014.

On relations with Afghanistan, the testimony said, "We judge that Pakistan will aim to establish positive rapport with the new Afghan Government, but longstanding distrust and unresolved disputes between the countries will prevent substantial progress."

A jirga of Sipah tribe of Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency of FATA handed over 15 wanted tribesmen to political administration under the policy of the Government to clear the area of militants and restore lasting peace there. A similar number of wanted men out of the total 102 had surrendered to the administration few days ago. So far, 30 wanted men have surrendered to the administration. The Khasadar Force took the surrendered men into their custody and shifted them to an unspecified location for interrogation. The jirga was held at Khyber House.

Some participants of the jirga said that almost all the 15 persons, who offered voluntary arrest, were innocent and had no association with either LI or any other militant group. They said that the administration assured them of 'fair treatment' of the arrested suspects during the interrogation and said that they would be set free if charges against them were not proved.

February 27

Two Shia men, identified as the employees of Qatar Hospital, Saleem Akbar and Ali Haider Rizvi, were shot dead at Ghausia Chowk in Orangi Town of provincial capital Karachi, while they were returning home from their duties.

A leader of ASWJ and a Peshimam (prayer leader) of a mosque, identified as Yaseen, was killed in a sectarian attack at Safoora Chowk next to Johar Complex in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

The Shikarpur Police claimed to have arrested two alleged terrorists, Ghulam Rasool and Khalil Ahmed Brohi, who had given refuge to one of the suicide bombers who had blown himself up at a mosque in an Imambargah (Shia place of commemoration) of Shikarpur District on January 30, 2015. The police also claimed that the two suspects had also planned to attack a protest rally taken out against the mosque bombing incident in Shikarpur. The SSP of Shikarpur, Saqib Ismail Memon, said that Police also recovered a suicide jacket, explosive material and other things from their possession. He said that the suspects belonged to Dera Murad Jamali area of Naseerabad District in Balochistan and were affiliated with a banned religious organization.

A Shia man, identified as Qaisar Hussain, who was working at a pharmaceutical unit in Hayatabad Industrial Estate was shot dead in a targeted sectarian attack in Hayatabad area of Provincial capital Peshawar. A Police official said that Hussain hailed from Asterzai in Kohat District but was residing in Musharraf Labour Colony.

Police foiled separate attempts to smuggle weapons and recovered small arms from two vehicles in Chamkani and Mattani area of Peshawar. Officers tried to intercept a car on the service road near the motorway but the driver sped away, after which police chased it and found the vehicle abandoned by the roadside. One hundred and fifty repeaters and 12 rifles were found hidden inside the car. Police said the fire arms were being smuggled to Punjab.

According to Intelligence sources, of the total 294 Afghan prayer leaders, who are to be expelled from all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within a week, up to 153 alone have been identified in Peshawar. Intelligence agencies identified the Afghan prayer leaders last month. Their names have been sent to the commissioners and RPOs concerned to expel them within a week. The report also identified those who have acquired Pakistani CNICs.

According to the list, 16 Afghan prayer leaders have been identified in Peshawar city, 40 each in town and rural, 31 in cantonment and 26 on Warsak Road. The areas that were reported clear in the provincial capital included Civil Secretariat, University campus and Hayatabad, where not a single Afghan prayer leader is staying. Among the other Districts, 17 were identified in Charsadda city and 32 in Shabqadar town of the Charsadda District. There were 46 prayer leaders identified in Mardan, 13 in Swabi and five in Nowshera, who are non-locals. Besides, there were eight Afghan prayer leaders identified in Lower Dir two in Malakand district, one in Abbottabad, two in Mansehra, nine in Kohat, two in Hangu and four in Bannu.

Some 53 suspects, among them 43 Afghan nationals, were arrested during a search operation carried out jointly by Police and Frontier Corps personnel in Killi Kheezi and Darwashabad areas of Quetta. Official sources said the FC and Police personnel raided various places on the outskirts of Quetta and rounded up 53 suspects. Afghan nationals were living without legal documents, police said.

February 28

The BDS defused two bombs planted near a girls' college in Yakatoot area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. A Bomb Disposal Squad official said the bombs weighed two kilograms each.

BDU defused a one-kg bomb concealed in cloth in Ganda Nallah of Yakatoot area.

Three terrorists were arrested after exchange of fire with Police in Badhaber area of Peshawar. Arms and hand grenades were seized from their possession. SSP Operations Mian Saeed said that Police launched search operation in Badhaber area. During action, the terrorists taking shelter in the area started firing at Police and tried to flee. Police after a brief exchange of fire arrested all three terrorists, stated to be affiliated with a defunct organisation.

Two TTP militants were arrested in a search operation in Kohat town of same District.

The FC recovered and diffused a 7- kg bomb installed near a gas pipeline in Peer Sehwari area of Dera Bugti District. According to the FC officials, SFs patrolling the area recovered bomb planted near an 8-inch gas pipeline and foiled a terror bid.

SFs arrested a key Jundullah militant, Abdul Salam Regi, from Lak Pass area of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, on the morning. Security sources said Regi was planning to launch suicide attacks in Balochistan and Iran.

March 1

Two Afghan Police personnel were killed in a militant attack in Chaman area of Qilla Abdullah District in Balochistan. A senior administration officer in Chaman, who declined to be named, said that six militants on three motorcycles opened fire at the vehicle of Afghan Policemen in Chaman's Bypass area. The assailants sped away on their motorcycles after the strike. The Afghan cops, who belonged to Helmand province of Afghanistan, were en route to Quetta for medical treatment when the attack took place.

Two militants were killed during an exchange of fire with SFs in the Lehri tehsil near Sibi town of Same District. According to a FC spokesman, militants opened fire at the patrolling party of SFs, wounding four personnel. SFs resorted to retaliatory firing in which two militants were killed. Weapons were recovered from the possession of militants.

Unidentified militants blew up two gas pipelines in Pir Koh and Loti area of Dera Bugti District. Explosives placed under a pipeline supplying gas to a purification plant from well number 10 of Pir Koh gas field were detonated by remote control. A separate pipeline supplying gas to the Loti purification plant from well No 12 was also blown up by saboteurs.

The wall of a government-run girls' school and two vehicles were damaged in a bomb blast at Gul Mohammad Kalmati Goth near Murtaza Chowrangi area of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Sources said that an explosive device weighing about half a kg was placed near the boundary wall of the School. Two cars parked near the school-building were also damaged when the device containing ball bearings exploded. The school was closed for the weekly holiday. No one was injured.

The KP Police, during the ongoing search and strike operation throughout the province, arrested 257 suspects. Police also recovered 58 weapons of different kind. During snap checking on 134 checkpoints, 200 suspects were held while a total of 46 unregistered Afghan nationals were also detained and 20 cases registered against them. Security inspections of 788 educational institutions were also carried out and various institutions were advised to beef up security arrangements further.

Police in the Federal Capital Islamabad foiled a terrorist attack that aimed to the strike Pakistan Day parade on 23 March. Police sources said that two suspected terrorists were arrested during recent raids and confessed to planning an attack. The terrorists were arrested from Ghouri Town in connection with the attack on the Qasar-e-Sakina Imambargah which occurred on February 19. Sources said the arrested terrorists confessed to planning an attack during their interrogation. A large cache of weapons was also seized from their possession.

Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said that the normalisation of Indo-Pakistan relations is urgently needed to reduce tension on the LoC. "It is premature to predict the outcome of foreign secretary level talks between Pakistan and India scheduled for next week but chances of a decision to resume a composite dialogue are likely either in the upcoming or the follow-up meetings," Mr Aziz said. Mr Aziz said all outstanding issues, including the Kashmir dispute, had been part of agenda for talks with India.

About the recent eight per cent increase in India's defence allocation, the PM's adviser said Pakistan had never been involved in arms race. However, he said, Pakistan would never compromise on availability of conventional weapons for its armed forces. Answering a question that foreign policy was being controlled by the army chief, the PM's adviser said: "Harmony between political and military leadership is essential for national security which is an integral part of country's foreign policy. It is not possible to implement the priorities on security issues without coordination with the armed forces." Mr Aziz said the time of blame game between Afghanistan and Pakistan was over.

At least six criminals were injured during a clash between Lyari-based gangsters associated with Sheraz Comrade group and the Jabbar Jhengu group at Aath Chowk in Lyari Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. 

March 2

A child, identified as Rasheeda (2), was killed and seven others were injured in a hand grenade attack on Mirza Adamkhail Road in Lyari Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting with Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Janan Mosazai in Islaambad said that relations with Afghanistan had undergone qualitative transformation since the Government took over in 2014. He said Pakistan hopes that the process of peace talks within Afghanistan would speed up and reach a successful conclusion soon. He expressed satisfaction over the increased security cooperation between the two countries and said the recent visit of CoAS General Raheel Sharif proved quite helpful in streamlining important matters. He was also pleased over the first meeting of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Business Council that would be taking place in the next few weeks to attract international investors to both countries.

PM Nawaz approved of the appointment of a focal person for following up implementation on the decisions taken during inter-ministerial meetings with Afghanistan on daily basis. A similar focal person would be appointed from the Afghan side as well, a PM Office statement said.

Pakistan has deported around 2,000 unregistered Afghans after the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, said an unnamed security official. According to the sources, “Pakistani authorities have clearly conveyed to the Afghan Government that around three million refugees are posing grave security risk and it is now working to send back non-registered Afghan refugees at the earliest to minimise these risks.” These sources said that after the approval of the NAP the Provincial Governments have been directed to arrest illegal Afghans and deport them immediately.

“It has been clearly conveyed to Afghan authorities that around all the three million refugees will be repatriated by December 2015, and meanwhile no action will be taken against the registered refugees,” the sources said, adding, “it has also been conveyed that action is only being taken against those Afghan refugees who have not got themselves registered properly.”  The sources said that Intelligence Agencies have proof which was handed over to the Afghan authorities that there are unregistered Afghans who are involved in terrorist activities and crimes, creating law and order problems in Pakistan which cannot be tolerated anymore.

The UAE Department of Justice issued three objections regarding the extradition of PAC leader Uzair Jan Baloch to Pakistan. The Pakistan Embassy is currently working on efforts to resolve the objections and progress with the process of extradition as soon as possible. Baloch will be presented in Dubai prosecution on March 5, 2015.

Pakistani officials were optimistic that they would get custody of Baloch following a local court decision, however, no decision was reached. Following the hearing, Baloch was taken back to prison under high security. Uzair Baloch was presented before the court under security of UAE Special Forces. The defendant has secured one of UAE’s top lawyers to argue his case and has reportedly paid AED 500,000 in fees.

A report compiled by the KP Provincial Government, titled 'District-wise details of Madaris', revealed that 145 madrassas in the Province fall in the 'highly sensitive' category. It states that of the 3,010 seminaries in the terror-hit province, 26 per cent are unregistered. It also reveals that in the KP region, 57 per cent of the Category B (highly sensitive) madrassas are in Tank District, which has a total of 123 madrassas.

KP Information Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani said the Government will not tolerate unregistered madrassas in the Province. Speaking of which, Ghani said that KP Home Department has already been notified to take action against such unregistered seminaries. The Provincial Information Minister further informed that only those foreigner students, whether Afghan or other nationals, will be allowed to study who possess proper legal documents. “Action will be taken against illegal foreign students,” he asserted.

The FATA FDMA decided to tentatively send back families of the IDPs from 29 villages of NWA and Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency by the end of this month. However, officials associated with the repatriation program are still skeptical about the dates announced. Moreover, the UN, one of the main stakeholders, has not yet been given permission by the UN Department of Safety and Security and has sought more time to seek a NoC from its headquarters in New York, as North Waziristan remains a “no-go area” for its staff.

The FDMA DG briefed officials about the situation in North Waziristan and March 31, 2015, was decided as a tentative date to send back people from 29 villages of Mir Ali subdivision of the Agency. Around 12,000 to 13,000 registered families from these villages will be sent back in Phase 1 of the repatriation process from an embarkation point set up at Mirzail check post in FR Bannu.

An unnamed senior official said, “The task seems to be a tough one, based mostly on wishes and prayers,” said the official, adding there will be difficulties during the process, mostly security-related. “There is a plan, but the situation is not entirely feasible for its implementation.” According to the official, the FDMA will provide transport grants of PKR 10,000 to each family through mobile SIMs as well as repatriation cash grant of PKR 25,000 through ATM cards. Moreover, UNICEF will hand out hygiene kits among the returning families and the World Food Program will provide six months of ration. However, what remains a major concern for the returning families is the destroyed infrastructure.

March 3

Unidentified militants opened indiscriminate fire at the DPO Sherani Muhammad Shakir's vehicle in Spira Ragha area of Loralai District, killing three Policemen and injuring the DPO. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

SF conducted a search operation and arrested eight suspected militants from Uch area of Naseerabad District. The SFs recovered arms and ammunition from their possession. The spokesman for FC said that the militants were involved in attacks on SFs and vital national installations in the area.

FC conducted a search operation and arrested four suspects from Mughtian area of Pishin District. SFs recovered four Kalashnikov’s from their possession.

SFs foiled a terror bid by defusing a landmine in Kohlu District.

Three dead bodies of suspected persons were found dumped on the road that linked Gulshan-e-Hadeed with the Superhighway in the Dhair Sharif area near Quaid-i-Azam Public School in Memon Goth area of Gadap Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Memon Goth SHO Jan Mohammed Ahmdani said, “Sporting long beards, the men looked like Pakhtuns or Afghans.” “The killing appeared to be very recent as fresh blood stains were found there,” said Sub-Inspector Wazir Ali Channa.

Security Forces arrested four TTP militants, including 'commander' Lal Sher, during a raid in the Chapri Naryab area of Hangu District. Weapons and bombs were also recovered from their hideout.

The Police arrested 46 suspects and seized weapons during search operation in Manglawar area in Swat District.

The US CENTCOM Chief General Lloyd Austin while testifying before the Congress’ House Armed Services Committee on US CENTCOM’s posture said that tensions between the two nuclear-tipped neighbours, India and Pakistan, affects regional stability and directly impacts Pakistan’s strategy in Afghanistan. General Austin said that “Tension between Pakistan and India also continue to threaten regional stability and largely drives Pakistan’s regional strategy, especially as it relates to Afghanistan,” adding, “Our desired end-state is a stable sub-region characterised by a low risk of conventional or nuclear war, with regional states committed to non-interference with respect to their neighbors’ internal affairs, the denial of sanctuary for Violent Extremist Organistaions (VEOs), and the non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).”

He said that they had made substantial progress in efforts to strengthen cooperation with Pakistan over the past year. “The US-Pakistan military-to-military relationship continues to improve. Key contributing factors are our Foreign Military Financing (FMF), international military education and training, and the Coalition Support Fund.” “We also prioritised our security cooperation at the Defense Consultative Group Conference with the goal to help Pakistan to build additional capacity in support of their counter-insurgency and CT operations and other common objectives.”

Further, he said that while militants were present in the border areas, Pakistan had been taking action against them. “Violent extremist organisations, to include the remnants of core al Qaeda, continue to operate in Pakistan’s FATA and, to a lesser extent, parts of eastern Afghanistan.” He added that these groups threaten regional stability, plan attacks against the US and partner interests, and pursue WMD with Taliban insurgency continuing to present a credible threat to the Afghan Government.

“We are encouraged by (Pakistan) leaderships’ commitment to counter-insurgency operations in the FATA and openness to improve relations with Afghanistan,” he said, adding, “The Pakistani military’s recent operations to clear militant strongholds in North Waziristan and other FATA regions and to prevent the militants’ return have achieved near-term successes. However, Pakistan will likely continue to face the threat of VEOs for the foreseeable future.”

During a roundtable organised by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani said that a formal announcement on outlawing the Haqqani Network it still under consideration. “These are the kind of issues that are in the works, I would say,” Jilani said, when asked on a timeline for a formal announcement on the subject.  Earlier in January 2015 Pakistani officials had said that Islamabad had decided to outlaw the militant group and that a formal announcement would come “within weeks."

Jilani told reporters that as US troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan’s eastern border, they had seen increased militant activity, adding that a slower drawdown “would be viewed very positively in Pakistan.”  He added that Pakistan has had to depute more soldiers on its Western border, boosting numbers from 145,000 to nearly 177,000 in a bid to control cross-border militancy. This has meant fewer troops were available for carrying out an offensive in North Waziristan Agency of FATA.

Former Federal Minister Lieutenant General (retired) Abdul Majeed Malik has disclosed in his book Ham Bhi Wahan Mojod Thay (I was also present there) that former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf kept former Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in the dark while carrying out the Kargil Operation in 1999.

He has written that at the time of Kargil Operation, General Kayani was heading 12 Division that was responsible to guard Kashmir. However, General Musharraf did not keep Kayani in the loop, who later opposed the operation. He said Musharraf was entirely responsible for the operation and he did not even brief the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about his plans. He has disclosed that General Musharraf called his Chief of General Staff from China to seek details of the briefing given to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Kargil Operation – a briefing that was tapped by Indian intelligence agencies. It was a grave breach of security to discuss such a sensitive issue on telephone call, Malik wrote.

Pakistan’s military leadership reviewed prevalent internal and external security situation of the country including progress of ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb at the 180th Corps Commanders' Conference, held at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and chaired by CoAS General Raheel Sharif. The meeting dwelt at length on various professional matters. The participants also under took a comprehensive review of operational preparedness besides prevalent internal and external security situation of the country including progress of ongoing operation Zarb-e- Azb.

Pakistan and India agreed to end the tension on the LoC and Working Boundary and narrow down the differences in “a spirit of friendship and cooperation”. Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Adviser to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi after one-on-one and delegation-level talks with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry. This was the first interaction between the two sides after 2012. The Indian foreign secretary handed over a letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz welcomed the meeting between the two foreign secretaries in Islamabad and hoped that the process would continue. He underlined the importance of enhanced cooperation among the SAARC member states.

Pakistan said when both the countries were ready, future meetings could be planned by remaining in contact. Bilateral and regional issues, including those of common concern like Jammu and Kashmir, Sir Creek, Siachen Glacier, water issues, tension at the LoC and Working Boundary and terrorism, found place in the discussions held at the Foreign Office. “Both sides raised concerns and this visit is an ice-breaking development,” commented the spokesperson at the Foreign Office. Jaishankar said that the talks were held in a constructive and positive atmosphere, where he reiterated India’s concerns on cross border terrorism, including on the Mumbai case and emphasised that ensuring peace and tranquility on the border was vital.

PM Nawaz Sharif said that it was important to establish good neighbourly and cooperative relations between India and Pakistan. Nawaz said this was consistent with his vision of a peaceful neighbourhood in South Asia. He expressed confidence that the talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries would result in charting the way forward in their bilateral relations. The PM said both the countries needed to open a new chapter in their relationship by working towards resolving their outstanding issues through dialogue, said a press release issued by the PM Office.

March 4

Two persons, including the General Secretary of ASWJ, identified as Dr Muhammad Fayaz, and his driver, were killed when unidentified militants opened fire at his vehicle near Paracha Chowk in Sher Shah locality of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

A senior Shia lawyer, who was also a counsel for several activists of the MQM, identified as Advocate Ali Hasnain Bukhari, was shot dead by two unidentified militants in Korangi Town. A MQM spokesperson said that Bukhari was a party worker and added that the killing was the fourth incident of its kind during the past week. The MQM Rabita Committee condemned the incident and said in a statement that the killing of party workers had become routine.

Lyari Town traders protested outside the Sindh Assembly against the deteriorating law and order situation in their neighbourhood, including extortion and threats from Lyari gangsters. Major markets and bazaars in the area remained shut as traders and residents held the protest. Shopkeepers from Jhat Pat Market, Gharib Shah Market, Chakiwara Market, Kumbharwara, Green Timber Market and goods transporters shut their business for the day to demonstrate against extortion and threats.

A gas pipeline was blown up in Zainkoh area of Loti in Dera Bugti District. According to Levies sources, an explosive device was detonated under the pipeline, suspending gas supply to a purification plant from well No-7. “A several feet long portion of the 18-inch diameter pipeline was destroyed,” the sources said.

The KP Police, during the ongoing search and strike operation throughout the province, arrested 425 suspects. According to a press release, during snap checking at 129 checkpoints, 314 suspects were held and 17 arms of different kind and 209 cartridges of different bore were also recovered. During action against unregistered Afghans, a total of 38 people were detained and 31 cases registered against them. Similarly, hate martial was also seized and one case registered against the accused.

A Pakistani national, identified as Abid Naseer (28), was convicted on US charges of conspiring with al Qaeda to bomb targets in Europe and the US. Naseer was found guilty by a Federal Jury in Brooklyn for providing material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to use a destructive device. Naseer remained expressionless as the jury returned the verdict after less than two days of deliberations. He faces life in prison.

US prosecutors said Naseer led an al Qaeda cell plotting to bomb a shopping center in Manchester, England, in April 2009. The proposed attack was one of three plots affiliated al Qaeda cells were working on, along with attacks against the New York City subway system and a Copenhagen newspaper, prosecutors said.

Naseer was convicted nearly six years after he was first arrested in a British anti-terrorism operation. While British authorities never charged Naseer, he was later indicted in the US and extradited in 2013. Naseer represented himself at trial. Representing himself in the trial, Naseer, a self-described semi-professional cricket player, denied any affiliation with al Qaeda or any plot. His court-appointed legal adviser said he would appeal.

Prosecutors said Naseer, who wrote in coded emails, using women’s names for bomb ingredients and describing the attack as a wedding. Prosecutors used never-before publicised documents seized from the 2011 raid in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as part of their case against Naseer and testimony from British MI5 officers who conducted surveillance on him.

Security around the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in provincial capital Lahore was put on high alert by Police after the University received a threatening letter from the militant group Islamic State (IS or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS). The letter threatened to attack the University with a suicide attack or a series of bombings, according to a Police Officer. UET public relations officer Dr Tanvir Qasim confirmed the letter had been received via posted mail from an unidentified source. However, he said the contents of the letter were unknown to him. UET sources claim the letter was received on March 4 from unknown sources claiming to be from IS, threatening to attack hotels and the university campus after which security within the UET campus was put on high alert.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Lahore Dr Haider Ashraf said security around the university has been increased with increased patrolling and checkpoints. However, he added that the letter could be a hoax, but this can only be ascertained after an investigation. Ashraf said till then, the threat would be taken seriously.

Four militants who escaped in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) jailbreak on February 26, 2015, had brainwashed prison officials into helping them successfully escape, BBC Urdu that spoke with the investigation team said. During the jailbreak, one prisoner was shot dead while another was injured, whereas two managed to escape successfully.

Following the incident, authorities rounded up three head wardens, five wardens, one FC official, one Police Official and a dispensary in-charge. A member of the G-B jailbreak investigation team said that the prisoners had developed close ties with jail officials posted outside their barracks. They told them their reasons for taking arms against institutions and individuals who opposed their ideological viewpoint.

The officer said that the investigation also showed that the prisoner’s aides were also in contact with jail officials and “took care of their needs.” It was also learnt that jail officials who were taken into custody were on duty outside the prisoners’ barracks continuously for the past three months. It was therefore established that security arrangements were deliberately kept lax at the jail premises so that the prisoners could escape easily.

The investigators said on March 1 that it was the fear of being sentenced to death by a military court that spurred the four militants to risk a jailbreak. In his statement to the police, an injured Dilbar, who was among those attempting to escape from Gilgit District Jail, said he and his accomplices were certain of a death sentence. “This forced them to risk their lives,” said one of the unnamed investigators.

March 5

Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in Islamabad that the terrorism is a menace that any country alone cannot fight and required cooperation of all countries. The Spokesperson said menace of terrorism is a problem that affects everyone, particularly this region.  She said Pakistan has suffered the most and it has done more than any other country to counter terrorism and we expect similar role from other countries. She said there are reports and also investigations about the number of incidents took place in India.  She also added that it is not a good approach to immediately blame others, on terrorism incidents.  First investigations should be conducted.

March 6

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti while addressing a press conference at Frontier Corps Madadgar Centre at Khoila Pathak said that SF foiled a bid to sabotage the Pakistan Day celebrations and arrested three suspects, recovering a huge cache of arms from their custody from Hazar Ganji area of Provincial capital Quetta and from Chaman area of Qilla Abdullah District. The Balochistan Home Minister said that following a tip-off the forces launched a search operation in the said areas and recovered the arms and explosive material. “We arrested three militants from Chaman, possibly having links with TTP, and some from Hazar Ganji area of the provincial capital, having links with the banned religious and nationalist organisations,” he said.

Bugti said militants are working for other countries and involved in the killing of innocent people. He said they were planning to execute an attack on March 23, 2015, but the SFs arrested them after successful operations. Many militants, he claimed, have moved to the tribal areas of Balochistan, especially the Pashtun belt after the operation Zarb-e-Azab against militants’ hideouts in North Waziristan, adding that however there would not be any place for them to hide.

According to  a statement issued by the ISPR, one TTP militant, identified as Sargana Rasool Khan, was arrested in an information-based operation (IBO) carried out by SFs near Sarai Naurang in Bannu District. The ISPR statement added that Rasool Khan was involved in terrorist activities across the Province and the FATA. The SFs also recovered three fake passports, 100 CNICs and a cache of arms from his possession.

The US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said that US was encouraged by Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s visit to Pakistan on March 3, 2015, in a sign of thawing relations between the Islamabad and New Delhi. She said that the US welcomed the visit. “We certainly were encouraged that they (India and Pakistan) decided to resume dialogue,” Harf stated, adding, “Both India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation and an improved relationship.” She added that better ties would be “good for regional peace and stability in South Asia” “In general, obviously, we (US) think cooperation is a good thing.”

The team of four law enforcers who have been in Dubai for the past one month for the extradition of PAC leader Uzair Jan Baloch might have to return quickly as their visas are about to expire, AIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo said. The team, led by SSP Naveed Khwaja, left for Dubai on February 5, 2015, after the Federal Ministry for Interior directed the Federal and Provincial authorities to conclude Uzair Baloch’s case within a week.

So far, the leader of the proscribed group has not appeared before a judge in Dubai, though the authorities sounded positive that the four-member team of law enforcers could “very soon” get his custody from the UAE court. “We have done everything on our part. And at the moment we fear that the Police team’s visa might expire soon that might delay the process,” the Karachi Police Chief said, adding that they were “well equipped” to deal with the PAC leader’s case in Dubai as they had submitted all the evidence and case details to the authorities and were awaiting his appearance in the court and a judgment.

The DIG Sanaullah Abbasi while speaking to journalists at the CPLC office in Hyderabad District of Sindh said that extrajudicial killings and other actions cannot be justified officially but society has come to accept this ‘modus operandi’ of Police to eradicate crimes and make streets safer. “It is not necessary for an encounter to be seen as genuine only if a Policeman loses his life in it. You can see Police have restored peace and order in the city (through this modus operandi)…,” he said.

Asked if ‘half fry and full fry formula’ used by policemen to refer to a particular treatment meted out to arrested suspects in proportion to severity of their crimes, did not amount to extrajudicial actions, the DIG said he could confidently say that society had come to accept the ‘formula’. The terms ‘half fry’ and ‘full fry’ are commonly used by police to mean if officers are convinced the arrested suspects are involved in crimes they will be shot in the leg to render them disabled before sending them to jail. It had gained notoriety during the tenure of SSP Farid Jan Sarhandi.

SSP Irfan Baloch who was also present at the briefing said that over the past three months, 73 suspects were arrested after they fell injured in encounters with Police. “Remember, none of them [suspects] can obtain bail. We have made a strong case to ensure they were denied any chance of getting bail,” he said.

The Government of Pakistan lifted an unannounced ban on executions in all cases other than terrorism since that has already been implemented in the aftermath of December 16, 2014, Peshawar school attack. The Federal Government has informed PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan and all four Provincial Governments in this regard. According to the order by the Federal Ministry of Interior, over 1,000 convicts would be hanged across the country.

March 7

Two TTP militants were killed in a Police encounter in the area behind the new Sabzimandi off the Superhighway in Sohrab Goth locality of Gadap Town. Malir SSP Rao Anwar identified one of the deceased TTP militants as Shahzad Ali. He had been arrested in Charsadda District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in murder and other cases and sent to the Dera Ismail Khan prison from where he had escaped along with 174 other inmates during July 30, 2013 jail break. The Police claimed to have recovered two pistols from their possession.

The Chief of Pakistan Army staff General Raheel Sharif visited the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar where he was briefed on progress made in the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb and Khyber-1 operations. The Army Chief was also briefed on the security situation in KP and FATA.

March 8

Three TTP militants were shot dead and one Policeman was injured in retaliatory firing in Manghopir area of Gadap Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. According to details, Police party on its routine patrol on Ijtimahgah road near Medina restaurant came under attack by suspected militants. ASI Imran got wounded in the attack, said Manghopir Police Station SHO Ghulam Hussain Korai. The police returned fire and killed three militants, while their three accomplices escaped. The Police claimed to have seized a Kalashnikov and two pistols from their possession.

Three Lyari-based gangsters, identified as Abdul Rehman, alias Lamba, alias Goinda Alishan, alias Shan and Subhan, alias Grenade, were killed during a targeted raid conducted by Police on a suspected hideout of gangsters in Jatoi Para in Baghdadi area of Lyari Town. “They were involved in 30 cases of killing, extortion and kidnapping,” said City SSP Fida Hussain. The dead belonged to the gang of Kamran, alias Kamo Laasi.

The paramilitary force killed two alleged abductors, identified as Ziarat Gul and Amir, during an intelligence-based targeted raid in Mussarat Colony of Liaquatabad Town. The raid was conducted on information about the presence of suspects allegedly involved in short-term kidnapping-for-ransom cases.

At least 200 suspected persons, including 40 Afghan nationals, were arrested in search and strike operation in the Kohat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The sources said the Police and other law-enforcement agencies launched door-to-door search operation in Jangalkhel, Oblan, Cantonment, Ghamkol, Refugees Camp and Rawalpindi Road. Arms, including two hand-grenades, eight pistols, 12 guns and hundreds of cartridges, were seized from them.

The FC Balochistan detained three suspected militants and recovered weapons from their possession during a search operation in parts of Dera Bugti District.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while addressing the 6th Think Tanks Forum of Islamic Countries in Islamabad said that all the issues between India and Pakistan need a comprehensive dialogue process, as there is a lack of trust between the two countries. The Adviser said Pakistan wants to resolve all the issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek and other disputes with India through dialogue process.

He further stated that the Pakistan Government and the Army are on the same page on ties with China, India and Afghanistan, adds The News. He said the Muslim Ummah (community) needs to join hands to face the challenges of extremism and terrorism with a view to improve the perception of Islam and to settle political disputes.

The FDMA began registering about 3,000 displaced families to be sent back to parts of South Waziristan Agency. The authority’s coordinator, Omar Mehsud, said the return journeys of the families would begin on March 16 after completion of the registration process. A facilitation desk has been set up in the office of the political agent in Tank where those wishing to return are being registered. He said the registration process would continue for three days and families hailing from Sarwakai and Sararogha tehsils, adjacent to Frontier Region Tank, would be sent back to their homes.

The authority in collaboration with political administration has identified six villages in Sarwakai and 10 villages in Sararogha where these 3,000 families of Mehsud tribe would be rehabilitated. Around 70,000 families of Mehsud tribe were forced to leave their homes when Security Forces launched Operation Rah-e-Nijat against the TTP in June, 2009. However, a large part of the region dominated by the Mehsud tribe is still considered as a conflict zone, which is delaying the return of IDPs to those areas. Displaced families have been residing in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but a large number of them have also moved to Karachi and Hyderabad.

The Police arrested three Afghan nationals for extortion in Abbottabad town of same District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and recovered the money they had taken from a local trader. Ejaz Ahmed, in-charge of Counterterrorism Department of Abbottabad Police, said that Haji Sultan, a businessman, informed Mir Pur police that he had been receiving telephone calls from unknown miscreants demanding PKR 10 million as extortion from him. The official said the Police in a raid on a restaurant on Mansehra road arrested three Afghans identified as Shafiullah, Ibrahim and Amanullah presently residing in Afghan refugee camp in Haripur. PKR 300,000 extortion money and three pistols were recovered from them.

Iran announced it will send a delegation to Pakistan to seek the extradition of Jaish al-Nasr 'commander' Abdo-Sattar Rigi, who Tehran claims was arrested by Pakistani Security Forces last week. However, the officials in Islamabad said that it was Jaish al-Adl head Abdul Salam Rigi and not Abdo-Sattar who was arrested while travelling on Taftan-Quetta highway in Balochistan. “So far, a delegation has not been sent to Pakistan to pursue the case,” Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari said. “[But] we have asked the Foreign Ministry to make the necessary arrangements,” he said. “If the Pakistani Government agrees, a delegation will be sent to pursue the case of Abdo-Sattar Rigi,” the Minister added.

Earlier on March 4, 2015, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced Tehran was carrying out legal procedures to extradite Abdo-Sattar. “Based on laws, Pakistan should also cooperate with us in the extradition [of Abdo-Sattar],” he said. The statement came after the chief of the Interpol bureau in Iran, Brigadier General Massoud Rezvani, announced that Abdo-Sattar Rigi had been arrested in Pakistan. “Based on our information, he is [Abdolmalek] Rigi’s cousin, and a red alert has been issued for him,” Rezvani said. But officials in Islamabad said that the suspect arrested was Salam Rigi, a cousin of Jundullah 'chief' Abdolmalek Rigi, confirming reports circulated by Pakistan’s media. According to the reports, Salam was arrested after security forces intercepted the bus he was travelling in some 50 kilometers from Quetta. Iranian officials, however, maintained that it was Abdo-Sattar Rigi who was arrested. They claimed he was carrying Salam’s ID card at the time.

March 9

Four TTP militants, including 'chief' and deputy chief', were killed and three SFs were injured during an encounter conducted by Police and Rangers in Sector 10 of Surjani Town in Gadap Town of provincial capital Karachi. The injured included two Rangers personnel and one Police constable, identified as Usman. Police claimed to have seized a suicide jacket, two grenades and four pistols from their possession. According to officials, Tariq Khan alias Chota Abid, said to be the 'chief' of the TTP's Khan Sajna group in Karachi, was killed along with his 'deputy chief' Rehmanuddin alias Lala, Amjad Khan and Sardar Rab Khan.

An unidentified man shot dead near Madina Hotel in Manghopir area of Gadap Town.

One Mousa (50) was shot at and injured near Madina Bakri in Nai Abadi area of Baldia Town.

A man, identified as Abdullah (40) was shot and injured near Mezail Chowk in Ittehad Town of Baldia Town.

The IGP Ghulam Haider Jamali while speaking to journalists at a reception hosted by Shikarpur SSP Saqib Ismail Memon said that the Sindh Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies were making joint efforts to curb terrorism and other criminal activities including kidnapping for ransom and extortion across the province in general and Karachi in particular. He said action was being taken against all terrorists and criminals without considering their political or religious affiliation. He claimed that a remarkable reduction in heinous crimes was noted after launching of operations in Shikarpur, Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro and other areas.

Sindh Police chief during a press conference held in the office of the Sukkur DIG said that the law and order situation in Karachi had registered a significant improvement due to the Rangers-led operation, which would continued until lasting peace was restored to that city.

Two Policemen, identified as ASI Sultan Muhammad and constable Ejaz Ahmed, were killed by unidentified militants while patrolling a neighourhood in Batao area of Nushki District.

A woman, identified as Shahari Sawali (70), was killed in IED explosion on main Oshab Road in Turbat District. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

Diamer local Police arrested 31 Afghan nationals, including women and children, for staying illegally in the District and sent them to Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. Diamer Superintendent of Police Rauf Qaiserani said that the arrested Afghan nationals had been shifted to a refugee camp in Peshawar. Earlier, Gilgit-Baltistan Government had ordered all Afghan nationals living in Diamer District to leave the region voluntarily, or they would be shifted to refugee camps in KP.

He also said that Police accompanied by Diamer Deputy Commissioner Usman Ahmad also conducted search operation in Chilas District jail and recovered cell phones, knives and other instruments from prisoners. He said that jail officials had been directed to step up security at the jail.

The Islamabad High Court upheld the death sentence of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, and struck down terrorism charges. Qadri was a bodyguard of Taseer and was convicted of shooting him dead in Islamabad on January 4, 2011. Anti-Terrorism Court handed down double death sentences for murder and terrorism to Qadri in late 2011. He appealed the sentences, but IHC upheld the murder sentence - though it struck down the sentence for terrorism. Judges Noorul Haq Qureshi and Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui dismissed the appeal over the murder charge. But they also set aside Qadri’s conviction on terrorism charges, which means it is highly unlikely he will be sent to the gallows any time soon.

Qadri’s lawyer Mian Nazeer said they had not yet decided about appealing the Supreme Court, but were pleased with the ruling on the terrorism charges. “We have got relief by this decision. Charges against Qadri under provision seven of Anti-Terrorism Act have been dropped,” Nazeer said.

Several religious parties staged a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club in support of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, whose death sentence was upheld by the Islamabad High Court. Speaking to the protesters, ST leader Mohammed Shahid Ghori said they would be compelled to take an extreme action if the decree was implemented. He said that the support extended by some lawyers to him showed that the killing of the former Governor was correct. JUP leader Qazir Ahmed Noorani said that those who had called Qadri a terrorist would be taken to task.

A senior Afghan lawmaker warned President Ashraf Ghani about relying on Pakistan to help broker peace talks with the Taliban, citing what he said was Islamabad’s history of supporting the insurgents. “I am in support of peace and stability in Afghanistan, but I don’t have much faith in Pakistan’s honesty over peace talks,” said Speaker of the Upper House of Parliament Fazil Hadi Muslimyar, adding, “President Ashraf Ghani must have a guarantee from Pakistan that if the Taliban enter into negotiations, Pakistan will not use other militants as proxies [to fight against Afghanistan]."

A former National Security Adviser in the last Government, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, said that he supported the peace initiative, but also had concerns about Pakistan’s role in the process. “Pakistan’s military and its intelligence agency are the forces behind the Taliban, and that prevents me from being hopeful,” Spanta said.

According to authorities, the Islamic State (also known as Daish or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -ISIS/IS), has significant presence in Pakistan through a website managed by terrorist group TTP. Amid confusion and a struggle to remove a legal lacuna to deal with cyber crime-related issues, relevant authorities have been reluctant to block the terrorist groups’ propaganda website — which, according to security analysts, is being used as a launching pad for expansion into Pakistan by the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

At present, a cyber crime wing in the FIA and a vigilance cell in the PTA exclusively deal with such violations. However, officials in these wings are not ready to block the website, citing judicial and administrative hurdles. The website contains verses from the Holy Quran, jihadi songs, statements in support of sectarianism and propaganda material against the Security Forces. It also has pictures of slain TTP 'chief' Hakimullah Mehsud and 'incumbent chief' Mullah Fazlullah.

Referring to the controversy, a senior official in the PTA, Abdul Samad, said that a NGO, Bolo Bhi, which works for to protect rights of internet users, took the authority to the Islamabad High Court, which restrained the Inter-Ministerial Committee from functioning. The Committee decides if a website should be accessed or blocked in Pakistan. Bolo Bhi’s counsel Babar Sattar argued that the workings of the Committee had been non-transparent and dubious. He maintained that policy is not a law through which websites had been blocked.

State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said that the cyber crimes bill 2015 (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill) is being thoroughly reviewed in order to make it consistent with the NAP. This is so that it can cater to the growing needs of the drastically changing and challenging scenario in the wake of an increase in terrorism in the cyber space, said Rehman.

Islamic State (also known as Daish or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -ISIS/IS) supporters have launched their own version of Facebook, named ‘Khelafabook’. The homepage of the social networking site shows the map of world with an IS logo over all continents. However, Khelafabook, which resembles Facebook, is currently down. The message on the site’s main page reads that the site has been temporarily shut down to protect the identity and information of its members.  The site claimed that it is an independent organisation and is not sponsored by the Islamic State. The purpose of launching the website is to allow the group and its supporters to communicate after numerous pro-IS accounts were suspended on social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, a message on the site read.

According to a study conducted by the Brookings Institution, at least 46,000 Twitter accounts are linked to supporters of the lS. The study found that even though many accounts were suspended by the messaging platform, the number remained high. “From September through December 2014, the authors estimate that at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by IS supporters, although not all of them were active at the same time,” the report said.

In order to step up action against hardcore criminals and militants, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police have established three zones of the CTD with an immediate effect to cover almost all areas of the province. The CTD was earlier known as the DCT, which would only gather intelligence information and pass it to the Districts and other units of Police force for further action.

According to a Police Department notification issued on March 8, the decision of establishment of three zones was taken to harness the activities of CTD and bring conformity in its action against outlaws in the province. Each zone will be supervised by an officer of the rank of SSP/SP. The zone-1, to be called northern zone, will consist of all Districts of Hazara and Malakand regions, while central zone (zone-II) will include the Peshawar and all Districts of Mardan region. All Districts of Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan regions will be part of the Southern Zone i.e zone-III.

It was stated that now coordinated efforts would be made against the militants, kidnappers, extortionists and target killers hiding in the far-off areas of the province. The statement added that the CTD personnel arrested 93 alleged hardcore criminals, which included 49 terrorists, eight kidnappers, 29 extortionists and seven target killers in operations conducted during the last fortnight in different parts of the province. It said that the terrorists also included a commander of an outlawed outfit involved in different bomb blast attacks. The CTD also recovered a big cache of arms and ammunition from the arrested outlaws.

March 10

Four TTP militants and a Policeman, identified as Constable Said Muhammad, were killed, while six Policemen, including a DSP, sustained injuries in an exchange of fire that continued for more than three hours in Shewa village of Razaar tehsil in Swabi District. The militants used hand-grenades in the clash. Heavy gunfire was also reported in the clash.  Two of the militants were identified as Salman and Bilal belonging to Shewa village while the identity of others was being confirmed. The Government had already fixed PKR 2 million head-money over 'commander' Salman.

Unidentified militants hurled a hand grenade at the residence of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Revenue Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur in Cantonment Police area of Dera Ismail Khan District. Gandapur belongs to the PTI. However, no casualties were reported. No outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.

The CTD, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, officials said that they arrested two suspected militants, identified as Subhanullah and Rafiullah, from Peshawar. The two were shifted to an unknown place for an interrogation. He said that the militants were involved in the attack on the office of a Government Department at Torkham border and the other Rafiullah was the ringleader of a kidnapper’s gang.

Judge Saleem Jan Khan of a local ATC acquitted two suspected militants, Naeemullah Khan and Niaz Mohammad, arrested by local Police for possessing explosives and intending to carry out terrorist activities. He pronounced the order observing that the prosecution didn’t prove charges against Naeemullah Khan, a resident of Bajaur Agency of FATA and Niaz Mohammad, a resident of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The prosecution alleged that the accused were arrested by the police on November 6, 2014 in Achini area in the jurisdiction of Sarband Police Station, Peshawar. It added that the Police recovered six hand grenades during the body search of the two. An FIR was registered against them by the CTD under Section 5 of Explosive Substance Act and Section 7 of the ATA. Shabir Hussain Gigyani, lawyer for the defence, said his clients were falsely implicated in the case and that the two were taken into custody by an Intelligence Agency few weeks before the registration of the case against them.

At least two Policemen, identified as ASI Riyasat Ali and head constable Saeed, were shot dead and another constable, identified as Jahangir, was injured when unidentified armed assailants opened fire at their van stationed near Rimpa Plaza on M.A Jinnah Road in Saddar Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. The attackers shot both the victims in head using 9mm pistols, said Raja Umer Qatab, the head of the Anti-Terrorism Cell of the CID.

Head constable Shakeel was killed and another Mujahid was injured when unidentified militants opened fire on them near Pakistan Chowk in Aram Bagh area of Saddar Town. Officials said that initial investigation revealed that the suspected attacker waited for the Policemen to arrive before he opened fire on them. "From the initial investigation, it appears that both incidents were carried out by the same group," said DIG South Abdul Khaliq Sheikh.

Two persons, identified as Nasir Baloch and Saddam Sudeer Baloch, died in Police custody under mysterious circumstances in Turbat District. According to a senior official the suspects were arrested on the night of March 9, 2015 form Sangani Sar area of the District. They had been locked up inside the guard room, not the legal or authorized detention place. Nasir Baloch hailed from Panjgur District while Saddam Sudeer Baloch hailed from Turbat District.

Unidentified armed militants opened fire at an unidentified Levies official in Maizai Addah area of Quilla Abdullah District, killing him on the spot.

A Levies Constable, identified as Amanullah, was shot dead by unidentified militants in Sanjavi area of Ziarat District. The attackers managed to escape unhurt from the spot. No outfit claimed responsibility for the two attacks.

A District And Sessions Court in Islamabad issued a bailable arrest warrant for former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in the 2007 murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Ghazi Abdul Rasheed. Rejecting all four applications of the suspect, Additional District and Sessions Judge Wajid Ali Khan issued a warrant for him because he had failed to appear in court for his hearing. Musharraf’s counsels have been trying to avoid a court appearance citing ill health and security fears. They had also challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter, maintaining that the case was pending in the Supreme Court and a hearing should not be conducted until the apex court’s verdict.

In the first application the counsels had said the Additional District and Sessions Judge had no jurisdiction to hear the case and it should be sent back to the judicial magistrate. In the second plea they had requested the Court to defer the case until the apex court’s verdict in the Lal Masjid case. The third application stated that the court could not summon Musharraf because the Police had placed his name in the second column of the charge sheet submitted in the court. In the final plea the legal team had maintained that Musharraf could not appear before the court because of security threats and ill health.

Issuing the warrant, the Court directed the Police not to arrest Musharraf if he assured through surety bonds that he would appear in court for the next hearing to take place on April 2, 2015.

According to a new interactive infographic unveiled by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists, Pakistan had about 120 atomic weapons, 10 more than India, in its nuclear arsenal in 2014. The Nuclear Notebook Interactive Infographic provides a visual representation of the Bulletin’s famed Nuclear Notebook, which since 1987 has tracked the number and type of the world’s nuclear arsenals. Having reached a peak of over 65,000 in the late 1980s, the number of nuclear warheads has dropped significantly to a little over 10,000, but more countries now possess them, it shows.

According to the infographic, the US and Russia both have about 5,000 weapons each. France has 300, China possesses 250, the UK, 225 and Israel 80. North Korea has only conducted nuclear tests in the years 2006, 2009 and 2013. “I don’t think people truly understand just how many of these weapons there are in the world,” said Rachel Bronson, Executive Director of the Bulletin.“The Interactive is a way to see, immediately, who has nuclear weapons and when they got them, and how those numbers relate to each other. It is a startling experience, looking at those comparisons.”

Files recovered from slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad (KP) reveal that the Prime Minister’s brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, sought to strike a peace deal with the TTP through al Qaeda. The files were revealed in terror convict Abid Naseer’s trial by a Brooklyn jury on March 4, 2015. One of the files is a letter written by Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (Mahmud), who was then the 'general manager' of al Qaeda, to Osama bin Laden (identified as Sheikh Abu Abdallah) in July 2010. The letter reveals a complicated nexus involving al Qaeda, TTP, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the ISI.

According to one letter from Rahman, one of bin Laden’s top deputies, dated July 2010, Bin Laden was informed that Shahbaz Sharif wanted to cut a deal with the TTP, whose leadership was close to Bin Laden. The Government “was ready to reestablish normal relations as long as [the Pakistani Taliban] do not conduct operations in Punjab.” Attacks elsewhere in Pakistan were apparently acceptable under the terms of the alleged proposal.

Rahman’s letter stated that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif initiated negotiations with the militant group. In the letter, Rahman informed TTP commanders Hakeemullah Mehsud and Qari Husayn that Shahbaz Sharif “sent them a message indicating they [the government] wanted to negotiate with them, and they were ready to reestablish normal relations as long as they do no conduct operations in Punjab.” Rahman clarified that the deal was limited to the “governmental jurisdiction” of Punjab and did not include Islamabad. “The government said they were ready to pay any price…and so on,” the letter states.

According to a report, based on information available from December 24, 2014 to March 8, 2015, presented to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on March 10, the Government, since the launch of the NAP to rid the country of extremism and terrorism, has so for executed 24 criminals, while the Law Enforcement Agencies have arrested about 26,000 suspects on different charges across the country. The report states that 14 people have been executed in Punjab, seven in Sindh, one in KP and two in PoK.

The report states that the Security Agencies conducted 24,844 combing operations all over the country. Of these, 13,288 operations were conducted in Punjab, 4,252 in Sindh, 5,456 in KP, 66 in Balochistan, 393 in Islamabad, 1,252 in PoK, 54 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 83 in the FATA. The report states that under the NAP, security agencies arrested 2,519 criminals from Punjab, 4,854 from Sindh 14,165 from KP, 3,427 from Balochistan, 728 from the Islamabad Capital Territory and nine from PoK, 18 from GB and 176 from FATA and the remaining from some other areas.

According to the data, around 6,408 Afghan refugees have been deported, including 4,887 from KP, 798 from Balochistan, one from Islamabad, two from GB and 720 from FATA, whereas 328,034 have been registered.

March 11

SFs claimed to have killed seven militants during a search operation in the Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti District. FC spokesman said that seven militants involved in blowing up gas pipelines and targeting SF were killed during the operation. The SFs also recovered rocket launchers, IED, bombs and other weapons were from their possession.

One MQM worker, identified as Waqas Ali Shah, was killed during a Rangers led raid in at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of MQM in provincial capital Karachi. He was the member of the party's Central Information Committee. However, Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo refuted the claims and said that Waqas was not killed by the Rangers. MQM leader Aminul Haque claimed dozens of party workers had been picked up by the Rangers. “Rangers opened fire killing one of our workers, Waqas Ali Shah, and wounding a cameraman from a private news channel,” he added.

Many towns in interior of Sindh shut abruptly after enraged workers of the MQM took to the streets in the wake of a predawn raid its headquarters. In Hyderabad, angry youths burnt tyres on roads in units No-8 and 10 of Latifabad. The party’s women workers also held a demonstration in unit-7 of Latifabad. A partial strike was observed in Sukkur against the Rangers’ raid. A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Mirpurkhas against the raid as all shops and shopping centers remained closed.

Two unidentified dead bodies were found from Link Road area near Super Highway in Bin Qasim Town.

A man, identified as Abdul Majeed (50), was shot dead by unidentified armed assailants near Lyari General Hospital in Lyari Town.

A man, identified as Mueenuddin (40), was shot at and injured near Paracha Roundabout in Shershah area of Kiamari Town.

One Saeed (42) was injured in firing incident near Choona Depot in Liaquatabad Town.

A man, identified as Najeebullah (25), was shot at and injured near Banaras Chowk on Manghopir Road in SITE Town.

The CTD arrested two TTP militants after an exchange of fire near Hub River View Road Paracha Chowk in Kiamari Town. The terrorists are expert of laying landmines and they have been shifted to undisclosed destination for interrogation.

Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the raid on MQM headquarters was lawfully conducted by Rangers. In a statement, he said that the raid was carried out on intelligence report, adding that taking action within the ambit of law was the responsibility of Police and Rangers. The Minister said that the MQM itself demanded the ongoing targeted operation against criminals in Karachi. He said that the prime minister had granted the permission of carrying out the Karachi operation after the Cabinet’s approval. Chaudhry Nisar said all political parties were taken into confidence over the action, adding it was agreed upon that political affiliations would not come in the way of the operation.

An ATC issued the black warrants of death row prisoner Saulat Mirza. Mirza is an MQM activist and is expected to place at 5:30am on March 19, 2015. Mirza was sentenced to death by an ATC in May 1999 for murdering the managing director of then named Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997.

Two extortionists allegedly demanding PKR1 million from a trader, identified as Muhammad Ali, in Charsadda District were arrested form Majoki area of the District. A security official is also said to be their accomplice. Ali, who runs a medicine business, told Prang Police some extortionists were calling him and demanding money. Ali also provided Police with the number from which calls were being made. After receiving the complaint, Police started investigating the case. Prang SHO Imran Khan said they conducted a raid in Majoki area and arrested two extortionists, Attaullah and Fahim. During initial investigation, the accused disclosed the name of their accomplice, Nadeem, who is a security official deputed in Mohmand Agency of FATA.

The TTP extremists in FATA have long exploited local grievances in order to sustain their activities, said US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall during her presentation on the long-term US strategy for combating terrorism at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. She argued that weak and unpopular Governments also create feelings that encourage terrorism.  She noted that over the past 13 years violent extremist movements had diffused and proliferated, despite continued efforts to eliminate them. “Increasingly, they have sprung from within conflicts worldwide. And they have exploited grievances and divided societies in order to further their own aims,” said Ms Sewall. “Weak, illegitimate, and repressive governments inadvertently created opportunities for terrorists to capitalise on popular resentment.”

She argues that in a repressive setup, extremists “make common cause” with local insurgents, the discontented and criminal networks, and operate in poorly governed territory. In the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, TTP has long exploited local grievances in the tribal belt in order to sustain itself, she said.

A Pakistani man, Jahanzeb Malik, was accused in a deportation hearing in Ottawa of plotting to bomb the United States consulate and financial buildings in Toronto. Jahanzeb Malik, who came to Canada as a student in 2004 and was granted permanent residency five years later, was arrested by a Federal Police Anti-Terror Squad on March 9, 2015. Rather than file charges, authorities took him before an Immigration and Refugee Board to seek his deportation to Pakistan, officials said.

At the hearing, the CBSA alleged that Malik planned “to build remote controlled bombs to blow up the US Consulate and other buildings in the financial district on Toronto.” He also was alleged to have hoped to make a video of the attack “to encourage others to do the same,” according to a summary of the case provided by the Immigration and Refugee Board. The CBSA told the board Malik confessed the plot to an undercover Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and tried to “radicalize” the officer who had befriended him “by showing him videos apparently of ISIL beheadings.” He also allegedly took weapons, combat and landmine training in Libya, and told the officer he was “a personal friend of Anwar Al-Awlaki, the slain al Qaeda leader in Yemen.” Public.

Police issued a list of 110 most wanted terrorists belonging to various banned outfits and the top ten terrorists on the list were allegedly involved in high-profile suicide attacks, besides sectarian violence. One of the most wanted terrorists, Matiur Rehman, was involved in the attacks on former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and suicide bombing on Sheraton Hotel, Karachi. He carried PKR 10 million head money.

Mansoor alias Choota Ibrahim Hasan and Qari Ehsanul Haq alias Shahid were also involved in the suicide attack on Pervez Musharraf on December 25, 2003, in Rawalpindi District of Punjab. PKR five million rewards had been announced for their arrest. The head money on Ikramullah, who was associated with Baitullah Mehsood group and involved in the suicide attack that killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi, is PKR 2 million.

PKR five million rewards was announced for providing information leading to arrest of Rana Mohammad Afzal, who belonged to the Masood Azhar group of the TTP. He had close links with al Qaeda’s Arab 'commanders'. 

March 12

Six BRA terrorists were killed and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered on the second day of the operation carried out by the FC in Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti District. Around 1,000 troops backed by helicopters took part in the operation. “Security forces have killed at least 13 militants who were hiding in the gas field when they refused to surrender,” said a FC spokesman Manzoor Ahmed. There was no loss on security forces side, he added.

Provincial Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the militants were members of the BRA. “We have evidence that they were members of the BRA and were terrorists,” he said, adding, “We took this action for peace in the region and we will act against the miscreants wherever we get information about them.”

Two persons were killed and eight others were injured during firing at a checkpoint jointly manned by the Police and Army near Gora Qabristan on University Road of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the morning. Cantonment SP Rana Umar Farooq said that an attacker armed with a TT Pistol fired at a sentry manning the post. “It was rush hour and the check post was crowded with lots of vehicles so a passer-by was killed along with the attacker while eight others sustained injuries.” The SP said the identity of the deceased attacker was yet to be established as no ID card or any other document to identify him was found. “He walked to the check post and did not come in any vehicle,” Farooq informed.

A triple murder convict, Muhammad Siddique, was hanged till death in District Jail Toba Tek Singh. Siddique was convicted for killing three men who were hooting at a theater dance performance in 2004. The convict was a security guard at the theatre. It was the first ever hanging at the Toba Tek Singh District Jail, functional since 2007. ATC, Faisalabad had found him guilty of murders and awarded death sentence six times to the convict on May 16, 2005. The convict had submitted appeals before the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which were rejected subsequently. President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain had also rejected his mercy petition. Following the rejection of mercy appeal, the ATC had issued his death warrant.

The TTP splinter group JuA confirmed, that two of its key ‘commanders’, Maulana Shakeel Ahmed Haqqani, alias Qari Shakeel, and Dr Tariq Ali, alias Abu Obaidah al-Islamabadi, had been killed along with two other men in Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. In a statement released, the group’s ‘spokesperson’ Ehsanullah Ehsan blames the ISI for their deaths and he warned that the group will exact revenge. Maulana Haqqani was a key commander of JuA who the authorities blamed for high-profile attacks in Mohmand agency of FATA.

Islamabad High Court ordered the release of LeT 'commander' and alleged mastermind of November 26, 2008 (26/11) Mumbai (Maharashtra) terror attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, declaring his detention illegal. The notification which was issued by Islamabad’s District Administration was termed as null and void by Justice Noorul Haq. Lakhvi’s lawyer Rizwan Abbasi had put forth arguments pertaining to the case, objecting that all of the statements related to the case were in Hindi language.

The Islamabad Deputy Commissioner had issued Lakhvi’s detention orders under the Maintenance of Public Order on December 18, 2014 immediately after he was granted post-arrest bail by an ATC). Since then it has been extended thrice.

The PM Nawaz Sharif said that the terrorism is the common enemy of Pakistan and Afghanistan, requiring common endeavors to get it defeated. “Pakistan is determined to eliminate terrorism at the earliest by exploiting all available resources. Building stable and cooperative relations with all the countries in the region, including Afghanistan, is part of our vision of a peaceful neighborhood and region,” he said while talking to Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, who called on him at the PM House.

Nawaz said with the change of leadership in Afghanistan, the two countries had started a historic new phase in their bilateral relations, agreeing to overcome the past and building a forward-looking relationship based on mutual trust. “Our focus is on enhanced political engagement, security and counter-terrorism cooperation, trade and economic partnership, and regional cooperation. Both the countries have paid a very heavy price at the hands of terrorism and now we have launched the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which has broken the backbone of terrorist network in the country,” he said. “We have a commitment not to allow territories to be used against each other,” he said, adding, “Pakistan is in favour of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.”

The COAS, General Raheel Sharif, said fleeing terrorists will be chased and eliminated as there was no place for them to hide now. The Army Chief reaffirmed the commitment to eliminate all terrorists and rid Pakistan of all types of terrorism. The COAS, who along with Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, visited the North Waziristan Agency in FATA and said that the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb would not stop till the job was finished.

They reviewed the progress of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb and future operational plans besides meeting troops, Director General ISPR Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa tweeted on the social media. During the briefing, they were informed that a new level of unity had been achieved during the Operation Zarb-e-Azb while efficacy of air power with ground operations was appreciated. Terrorists are being chased and hit and there was no place for them to hide, they were told. The COAS directed all the commanders and civil agencies to prepare a plan for dignified return of IDPs. The return will commence on March 17 from the SWA and on March 31 from the NWA.

Appreciating the Sindh Rangers for their commitment to restore normality in Karachi, provincial capital of Sindh a day after they raided the MQM headquarters Nine-Zero, Corps Commander Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar said that  the ongoing targeted operation will continue till the elimination of the last criminal and target killer, reports The News. He said the operation should continue till the port city was purged of terrorists and criminals.

In a detailed briefing, Deputy General Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar informed the Corps Commander that the operation was conducted on March 11, 2015, after confirmed information about the presence of alleged criminals, target killers and anti-social elements along with a heavy cache of arms and ammunition. He said the Rangers, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders, arrested the absconding criminals sentenced to death for their involvement in targeted killings, while prohibited weapons were recovered from the Khursheed Begum Memorial Hall and surrounding offices and houses.

The statement further maintained that those arrested, including the 26 alleged target killers wanted for more than 50 killings, were presented before an ATC, while 27 others were designated in various FIRs. “Preventive detention as well as joint investigation of individuals is also being procured. The arrested individuals as well as the seized weapons would be handed over to the city police,” it said.

The LI led by Mangal Bagh has merged itself into the TTP under a reorganization planned by militants. According to a statement issued by JuA ‘spokesman’ Ehsanullah Ehsan, the reorganized TTP would consist of members of his group, LI and the remaining of the TTP. The head of the new set-up was yet to be named, he added.  The TTP disintegrated last year after a group led by Omar Khalid Khurasani based in Mohmand Agency revolted against Mullah Fazlullah and formed his own faction with the name of JuA.

Ehsanullah Ehsan congratulated what he called “Mujahideen of Pakistan” on the unification of militant groups. He said the decision was taken at a meeting attended by Mullah Fazlullah, Omar Khalid Khurasani and Mangal Bagh. Ehsan said an organising committee had been formed to constitute a central supreme Shura and an organising body. Militants announced the unification at a time when SFs are making significant gains against them in military operations in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency which were once considered their strong bastions.

March 13

At least 48 TTP and LI militants were killed and several others sustained injuries when PAF fighter aircraft targeted their hideouts in Kukikhel area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of FATA. The sources said that Khajuri, Akakhel, Shalobar, Malikdinkhel, Kamarkhel, Qambarkhel and Sepah areas in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency had been cleared of militants.

At least three gangsters, linked with Baba Ladla group and identified as Mohammad Hassam, Azhar alias Buddha, and Waseem Ahmad, were killed in retaliatory fire after the suspects opened fire on the Rangers in Rexer Lane of Lyari Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. A Rangers official was injured in the exchange of gunfire. They were involved in 23 different cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom. The criminals had been running their network for over four years, said a Rangers spokesman.

Rangers arrested 17 suspects as they carried out a search operation in residential apartments located in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 18 of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town.

Several religious parties staged a sit-in organized by Tanzeemat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, an alliance of several parties representing the Barelvi School, at the Numaish traffic intersection on M.A. Jinnah Road in Jamshed Town against the Islamabad High Court decision to uphold the death sentence of Malik Mumtaz Qadri in the then Punjab Governor Salman Taseer murder case. The protesters demanded that the conviction of the self-confessed killer be reviewed.

At least 58 suspects belonging to the MQM arrested from Nine Zero on March 11, 2015, were presented in an ATC, which granted remand of 32. Faisal alias Faisal Mota, who was sentenced to death in the January 13, 2011, in the murder case of journalist Wali Khan Babar was also among the 58. Also, the ATC granted custody of Faisal Mota, Nadir Shah, Shabbir Mullah, and Amir Ali to Paposh Police on remand till 25 March, 2015. Additionally, Police have requested the remand of 26 suspects for 14 days.

Unnamed official sources stated that the Rangers’ raid on MQM's Nine-Zero headquarter is said to have seriously dented the alleged militant wing of the political party as the initial interrogations reveal that those arrested include head of the MQM's militant wing and a set of most dangerous target killers associated with the party. According to sources the ammunition seized from Nine-Zero include US and German weapon together with a M4 rifle that is clearly embossed “Property of the US government” and lots of bullets used by NATO. These sources claim that the MQM leader Amir Khan, arrested during the raid, faces serious charges and alleged to have strong connection with the target killers and others, involved in heinous crimes, but arrested during the raid.

MQM leader Wasay Jalil strongly denied that the MQM ever had any militant wing. He spoke high of Amir Khan and dubbed him as patriotic and law abiding citizen. About the weapons recovered, Jalil said the party did own weapon but all the arms and ammunitions were licensed.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah while addressing the 87th passing-out parade of the Sindh Police Saeedabad Police Training College in Baldia Town said that the ongoing targeted operation was launched in consultation with the MQM and it had yielded positive results with regard to elimination of terrorism, targeted killing, kidnapping-for-ransom and extortion. He said the country was passing through a crucial period and routine life in Sindh, Karachi in particular, had been virtually paralysed due to terrorism and lawlessness. He said that targeted killing, kidnapping for ransom, extortion and terrorism had emerged as a big challenge for the government. He claimed that the result of the government’s effective strategy and coordinated performance of the police and Rangers was evident from the fact that now there was not a single case of kidnapping-for-ransom, traders were not receiving any extortion slips and targeted killing had become almost nonexistent.

Two more death row prisoners, identified as Akhtar and Muhammad Sajid, were executed in Faisalabad Central Jail. Akhtar and Sajid, had been found guilty in separate offences of murder. ATC, Faisalabad had awarded death sentence to Akhtar in 2001. He had intruded into a house on December 10, 1999 and attempted to rape a woman. The culprit also stabbed to death the father-in-law of the victim named Manzoor, who had offered resistance to the culprit. The appeals of the convict had already been rejected by the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court. His mercy appeal was also turned down by the president.

The other death row convict, Muhammad Sajid, had killed a woman Khursheed Bibi and wounded her husband Azhar, on March 12, 2000, over a personal feud. He was awarded death sentence by an ATC court in Faisalabad, on March 30, 2001. Sajid's petitions were also turn downed by the superior courts and his mercy appeal had also been rejected by the President.

The Islamabad High Court cancelled a detention order against LeT 'commander' and alleged mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks (also known as 26/11) Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, paving the way for his release. Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi ordered that the petitioner be released immediately if he was not required in any other case. According to details, an ATC granted post-arrest bail to Lakhvi against PKR one million sureties on December 18, 2014. Later, the Federal Government detained him under the Section 3 of MPO, which was extended on January 18 and February 18 to 30 days each. Lakhvi had challenged his detention orders, making the Federation of Pakistan as respondent through the Ministry of Interior and ICT administration. Justice Qureshi noted that the respondent’s apprehensions about the release of the petitioner were not substantive. “The allegations leveled have neither been substantiated by any material as required by the court nor the same have been appended to the reply submitted by the respondents,” said Justice Qureshi in the judgment.

Soon after the court’s decision, New Delhi summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit to lodge a strong protest against the release orders.  Abdul Basit informed India that the trial of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was continuing and the judicial process should be allowed to take its course. “He may have been granted bail but as you know the trial continues we are all working to complete the trial. Let the judicial process take its course,” Basit said.

On the other hand, Pakistan's Foreign Office also summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner to lodge protest for what it said unnecessarily highlighting the issue of release of Lakhvi, reports The News. A Government official said instead of creating hype and projecting the case in the media out of proportion India should behave diplomatically and express concern in diplomatic norms. The official while giving details of two important incidents, 2008 Mumbai terror attack and 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, urged India to allow the judicial process to be completed.

The US said that it was closely monitoring developments in Pakistan related to the release orders of Lakhvi. “We are monitoring reports that an IHC judge suspended detention orders for the alleged Mumbai attack mastermind,” US State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki said, adding, “For now he remains in prison.” She said that the US hoped Pakistan would keep its commitment to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice, but declined to speculate on the outcome of the ongoing legal process. “The Government of Pakistan has pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators – financiers, and sponsors of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice and we urge Pakistan to follow through on that commitment,” said Psaki. “Pakistan is a critical partner in a fight against terrorism. We've certainly seen these reports (of a court granting bail to Lakhvi), but we can't speculate on the outcome of an ongoing legal process,” she added.

The authorities have decided to shift 20 high profile prisoners from Central Jail Gilgit to different prisons in Punjab in the wake of February 27, 2015, jailbreak in Gilgit-Baltistan. Sources said that three prisoners involved in June 22-23, 2013, Nanga Parbat massacre were also among the 20 inmates, who would be shifted to Punjab jails.

An unnamed official said that after the jailbreak incident Gilgit Police failed to arrest the runaway prisoners. “At least 900 security personnel are taking part in the search operation to trace the runaway prisoners,” he added. Currently 100 prisoners, including 20 sentenced to death by Anti-Terrorism Courts, are kept in the Gilgit jail.  He said that the administration feared another jailbreak incident. “Despite security threats and challenges in the region, it is difficult to shift under-trial cases of terrorism from Gilgit-Baltistan to other areas of the country as appearance of witnesses in the courts in these cases is not easy due to long distance and security issues along Karakorum Highway,” he said.

An unnamed Police Official of the investigation wing said that the Lahore Police has received the geo-fencing information of the suicide bomb blast outside Police headquarters at Qila Gujjar Singh in Lahore District on February 17, 2015, which revealed that attackers were receiving instructions from militants in Afghanistan. The official said that after the bomb blast the Joint Investigation Team carried out the geo-fencing of the crime scene which revealed that the terrorists had been in the Qila Gujjar Singh area for two days and were in contact with an outfit in Afghanistan from whom they were taking directions. “The target of the terrorist was the Police lines which they failed to target with perfection,” he added. He added that 11 alleged terrorists are in police detention and we are interrogating them.

The Provincial Police Chief confirmed that Police Lines was the intended target. “The bomber wanted to enter Police Lines but exploded prematurely,” IG Punjab Mushtaq Ahmad Sukehra said. After failing to get into the Police Lines, the bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body in front of a nearby multi-storey building that had offices of travel agencies.

Almost 275 schools in KP are non-functional due to a lack of staff, land disputes and security issues, revealed a report compiled by Government and NGOs working for education in the Province. According to the report, 15 schools are closed or non-functional in KP’s Nowshera District, 17 schools in Mardan District, seven in Swabi District, seven, including five girls’ schools, in Peshawar, 40 in Mansehra, 37 in Swat and 14 in Buner District. Likewise, 23 schools are closed in Haripur, 20 in Upper and Lower Dir, eight in Bannu, four each in Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Shangrila, Tank and Karak, eleven in Hangu, two in Chitral, six in Battagram and three in Torghar.

According to the documents, as compared to the 115 boy’s schools, more than 160 girl’s schools, including primary, middle and high, are non-functional across the province. According to the Education Department, more than 3,000 educational institutions were destroyed in earthquakes, floods and acts of terrorism in the Province. It also said that majority of these schools have no boundary walls.

March 14

One person was killed and four others sustained injuries in an explosion in Orangi Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Rescue sources said the blast took place near Birohi Hotel, however, the nature of the explosion was not ascertained yet.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Abbasi unveiled a programme for the return of IDPs of three tribal agencies. The programme will be implemented from March 16. Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Abbasi said in the first phase 40,500 families would go back to SWA, Khyber Agency and NWA. The Government would pay Rs 25,000 in cash and Rs 10,000 as transportation cost to each household. He said payment of cash grant to over 300,000 displaced families and compensation for damaged houses required PKR 80 billion, adding that some foreign donors had shown willingness to contribute in this regard.

Sardar Mehtab termed the dislocation of a large number of people from FATA “a great human tragedy.” According to the breakdown, 2,500 families will return to Sarwakai and Sararogha tehsils of SWA, 20,000 to Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency and 18,000 to Mir Ali tehsil of NWA. Repatriation to SWA will start on March 16, to Khyber on March 20 and to NWA on March 31. Villages and tehsils, where displaced families would return, have been identified. The Governor said 29 such villages in Mir Ali and Akakhel tribe- dominated area in Bara tehsil had been identified for the return process.

The NADRA has verified 310,729 IDP families from FATA. After the launch of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, 101,788 families had left NWA and 86,107 had shifted from Khyber Agency in 2014. As many as 66,978 families had moved from SWA in 2009 and since then they are waiting for return to their homes. In reply to a question, the Governor said around 125,000 people of NWA had taken refuge in Afghanistan but most of them had returned to Pakistan via Kurram Agency. The authorities are facilitating tribal people coming back from Afghanistan.

The Corps Commander Lieutenant General Hidayat-ur-Rehman said that terrorist group Daish (also self-styled as the Islamic State) poses no threat to Pakistan. General Hidayat said that there was no need to fret about Daish or its potential emergence in the country. General Hidayat rejected the notion that the terrorist group was silently spreading across the country, saying that the Army and Security Forces were in control of the situation. “For us it’s just a change of name, and there is no need for Pakistanis to worry. There are several defections in the Taliban now, which are becoming part of Daish. But we’re well aware of the situation and are able to tackle them effectively,” he said.

March 15

At least 15 persons, including 13 Christians and two Policemen, were killed and more than 70 were injured when two suicide bombers attacked two churches near Youhanabad neighbourhood in Lahore, sparking mob violence in which two other militants were killed. Youhanabad is home to more than 100,000 Christians, said officials. TTP-JuA claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thirteen dead bodies of tribesmen were found in the deserted mountains of the Shaktai area of South Waziristan Agency in FATA. Sources said that the bodies were found by local people in the past couple of days. Malak Saeed Anwar Mahsud told Dawn by phone from Shaktai that the deceased hailed from Mandaw village and belonged to Abdalai and Jalalkhel clans of the Mahsud tribe. 17 tribesmen of Mandaw village had been missing after a search operation conducted by SFs from February 12-15 in the Shaktai area. Four of them were still missing. 

The Police recovered and defused a home-made bomb, which was stuffed in a gunnysack and placed on a roadside in Gomal area of Tank District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A heavy contingent of Security Forces and Police reached the spot after the locals informed the Police about the gunnysack, which had been placed on Tank-South Waziristan Road. They said a home-made bomb, 7.5 kilogram, was recovered from the gunnysack, which was defused by the officials of the bomb disposal unit.

At least five Rangers officials were injured when 30 unidentified militants opened fire using automatic and semi-automatic weapons on the Basari check post on Karakoram Highway near Diamer-Bhasha Dam area on the border of KP and Gilgit-Baltistan. Rangers retaliated with return fire which forced the attackers to flee, an official of Kohistan Police said. The injured officials were identified as Hawaldar Liaquat, Lance Naik Abdul Razzaq, Lance Naik Muhammad Aslam, Lance Naik Akhtar Hussain, residents of Punjab, and Sub-Inspector Muhammad Mushtaq.

According to the official, the Federal Government had recently sent a threat alert to all Provinces as well as GB, stating militants might attack security forces or government installations before or on March 23, 2015. The Federal Government had deployed Punjab Rangers in the area in order to put an end to the long-standing armed territorial conflict between tribes of Diamer District of Gilgit and Kohistan District of KP.

A Rangers spokesperson said that ambulance services of certain welfare organisations, and their officials, were involved in the illicit trade of illegal weapons in the city. An official of the paramilitary force said that during investigation of arrested suspects, it has been uncovered that “officials and personnel of certain welfare services are involved in smuggling and hiding of illegal weapons across the city”. Through the statement, the paramilitary force warned that “direct or indirect involvement in smuggling of arms is a high level crime. All those involved in such illegal practices will be brought to book under the Sindh Arms Act”. The paramilitary force had claimed in a statement that one accused Umair Hassan Siddiqui, allegedly involved in killing of 120 people, was a key member of the target-killing racket and he became part of a team when the MQM decided to carry out killings on ethnic grounds in 2008.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid said that criminals belonging to any group would not get any relaxation on political basis. He said that the Law Enforcement Agencies, including Rangers, had no role in politics and were taking actions according to the unanimous decisions of the democratically elected Government. If anybody had complaint regarding the operation in Karachi, he could approach the independent judiciary, he said and added, “We do politics of reconciliation and not that of expediency.” He said if any criminal used the flag and office of any political party, then it was obligation of that political party to surrender the person to the law.

“Armed forces, security and intelligence agencies and police are chasing the terrorists,” he said, adding that the Government owned the operation in Karachi and indiscriminate action would be taken to establish peace in the city and arrest the criminals. “Nobody will be allowed to indulge in crime on the pretext of religion and politics,” he warned.

Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered halt to implementation on the agreements with other countries for exchange of convicted criminals. An unnamed official of Interior Ministry said in a statement that it was revealed in the investigations conducted on the orders of the Interior Minister that in the last many years Pakistanis involved in dangerous crimes abroad were brought to Pakistan under these agreements. Then in connivance with the officers of Interior Ministry and Provincial Governments these convicts were released illegally. Before formulating any transparent policy, the interior minister has stopped the Interior Ministry and FIA from implementing the agreements.

The Minister ordered that the inquiry regarding the convicts released in the last several years should be completed in a week and strict action should be taken against all those persons involved in the illegal activity and they should be arrested.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.





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