Posts Tagged ‘North Waziristan’

Shah Mahmood regrets ‘haste’ in placing names on ECL in fake accounts case

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday regretted that the government had shown haste in placing the names of 172 people — who were named in an investigation report in a case pertaining to fake accounts — on the Exit Control List (ECL).

“We showed haste in placing the names on the ECL,” the foreign minister said. “The government does not want to do anything in a rush now.”

Qureshi was responding to criticism from the PPP over the “government’s failure” to act upon the Supreme Court’s directives to remove the names of the people from the ECL. During today’s National Assembly sitting, the PPP protested over the delay by the government to take the names off ECL despite a Supreme Court order in this regard.

On the recommendations of the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked with probing the case, the federal cabinet had in its meeting on December 27 last year decided to place the names of 172 individuals on the ECL, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Murad Ali Shah, Farooq H. Naek and several other leaders and provincial ministers belonging to the PPP.

Last week, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had ,grilled the state prosecutor, over why the government had decided to place names of Bilawal and Sindh CM on the no-fly list based on JIT’s recommendation, ordering the federal cabinet ,to reconsider its “hasty decision”,.

“How long will this government commit contempt of court?” asked PPP leader Shazia Marri in today’s session.

Attempting to placate the opposition party, Qureshi said that the matter was ,discussed in a federal cabinet meeting, and the government had decided to wait until the detailed verdict is released. According to Qureshi, the top court had ordered the government to consider the removal of travel ban, not to take the names off the list immediately.

“The government has not refused to remove the names from the ECL; it has only sought time,” he insisted.

PPP MNA Naveed Qamar pointed out that Chief Justice Nisar — who is heading the bench hearing the suo motu case regarding a delay into a 2015 probe into money laundering via fake bank accounts — was retiring on Jan 17, questioning if the government was waiting for him to leave office.

The foreign minister assured the lawmaker that the government “has great respect for the chief justice and his orders will be implemented even after his retirement”.

PPP leaders accused the government of “using the ECL as a tool for political victimisation”.

“Names of PTI members are removed from the ECL within 24 hours,” Qamar claimed, adding that Liaquat Jatoi, a PTI leader, was also placed on the no-fly list; however, he was travelling with “impunity”.

Qamar and Yousuf Talpur, another PPP MNA, demanded that the attorney general be summoned to the parliament to give his view on the matter.

Qureshi urged the opposition to “show patience” on the matter.

PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also backed PPP, saying that if the PML-N believed the government’s motive behind placing Bilawal’s name on the ECL was to serve democracy, it would have supported the move.

“Bilawal has never been in the government,” the former premier pointed out. “The government should have removed his name from the ECL to show generosity, without waiting for written orders.”

‘No justification for extrajudicial killings’

Waziristan MNA Mohsin Dawar raised the issue of enforced disappearances in the assembly, saying that a young man, who had allegedly been picked up from North Waziristan, was found dead.

“Does the state have the power to provide justice to the family of the murdered man?” he asked.

He regretted that former Malir SSP Rao Anwar — accused of killing four innocent men in a fake encounter — had been “set free” by the court.

Mohsin also demanded to know if the joint investigation team, formed to probe police officer Tahir Dawar’s brutal murder in November last year, had made any progress.

He seconded Abbasi’s demand that Bilawal’s name be removed from the ECL, adding that a ‘black list’ was also maintained which had no legal status.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that the government was working on the issue of enforced disappearances and hoped that the opposition will support the legislation in this regard.

She said Shehryar Afridi, the state minister for interior, should brief the parliament on the developments in Tahir Dawar’s murder investigation, adding: “We also want to know about [the progress in investigation].”

“Government is trying to rectify the issue of maintaining a black list as there is no logic behind it, the minister said.

She agreed that Rao Anwar should be punished for his crimes. “The government should look into this matter; at how he [Anwar] is enjoying privileges,” she stated.

After his arrest in the ,Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case,, the former SSP was confined for a few months to his home, declared a sub-jail, but subsequently granted bail by an anti-terrorism court in July last year.

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Shah Mahmood regrets ‘haste’ on part of govt in placing names on ECL in fake accounts case

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday regretted that the government had shown haste in placing the names of 172 people — who were named in an investigation report in a case pertaining to fake accounts — on the Exit Control List (ECL).

“We showed haste in placing the names on the ECL,” the foreign minister said. “The government does not want to do anything in a rush now.”

Qureshi was responding to criticism from the PPP over the “government’s failure” to act upon the Supreme Court’s directives to remove the names of the people from the ECL. During today’s National Assembly sitting, the PPP protested over the delay by the government to take the names off ECL despite a Supreme Court order in this regard.

On the recommendations of the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked with probing the case, the federal cabinet had in its meeting on December 27 last year decided to place the names of 172 individuals on the ECL, including Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Murad Ali Shah, Farooq H. Naek and several other leaders and provincial ministers belonging to the PPP.

Last week, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had ,grilled the state prosecutor, over why the government had decided to place names of Bilawal and Sindh CM on the no-fly list based on JIT’s recommendation, ordering the federal cabinet ,to reconsider its “hasty decision”,.

“How long will this government commit contempt of court?” asked PPP leader Shazia Marri in today’s session.

Attempting to placate the opposition party, Qureshi said that the matter was ,discussed in a federal cabinet meeting, and the government had decided to wait until the detailed verdict is released. According to Qureshi, the top court had ordered the government to consider the removal of travel ban, not to take the names off the list immediately.

“The government has not refused to remove the names from the ECL; it has only sought time,” he insisted.

PPP MNA Naveed Qamar pointed out that Chief Justice Nisar — who is heading the bench hearing the suo motu case regarding a delay into a 2015 probe into money laundering via fake bank accounts — was retiring on Jan 17, questioning if the government was waiting for him to leave office.

The foreign minister assured the lawmaker that the government “has great respect for the chief justice and his orders will be implemented even after his retirement”.

PPP leaders accused the government of “using the ECL as a tool for political victimisation”.

“Names of PTI members are removed from the ECL within 24 hours,” Qamar claimed, adding that Liaquat Jatoi, a PTI leader, was also placed on the no-fly list; however, he was travelling with “impunity”.

Qamar and Yousuf Talpur, another PPP MNA, demanded that the attorney general be summoned to the parliament to give his view on the matter.

Qureshi urged the opposition to “show patience” on the matter.

PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also backed PPP, saying that if the PML-N believed the government’s motive behind placing Bilawal’s name on the ECL was to serve democracy, it would have supported the move.

“Bilawal has never been in the government,” the former premier pointed out. “The government should have removed his name from the ECL to show generosity, without waiting for written orders.”

‘No justification for extrajudicial killings’

Waziristan MNA Mohsin Dawar raised the issue of enforced disappearances in the assembly, saying that a young man, who had allegedly been picked up from North Waziristan, was found dead.

“Does the state have the power to provide justice to the family of the murdered man?” he asked.

He regretted that former Malir SSP Rao Anwar — accused of killing four innocent men in a fake encounter — had been “set free” by the court.

Mohsin also demanded to know if the joint investigation team, formed to probe police officer Tahir Dawar’s brutal murder in November last year, had made any progress.

He seconded Abbasi’s demand that Bilawal’s name be removed from the ECL, adding that a ‘black list’ was also maintained which had no legal status.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that the government was working on the issue of enforced disappearances and hoped that the opposition will support the legislation in this regard.

She said Shehryar Afridi, the state minister for interior, should brief the parliament on the developments in Tahir Dawar’s murder investigation, adding: “We also want to know about [the progress in investigation].”

“Government is trying to rectify the issue of maintaining a black list as there is no logic behind it, the minister said.

She agreed that Rao Anwar should be punished for his crimes. “The government should look into this matter; at how he [Anwar] is enjoying privileges,” she stated.

After his arrest in the ,Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case,, the former SSP was confined for a few months to his home, declared a sub-jail, but subsequently granted bail by an anti-terrorism court in July last year.

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MNA Dawar questions his arrest

PESHAWAR: An independent member of the National Assembly from North Waziristan, Mohsin Dawar, has expressed concern over his offloading from a Dubai-bound plane by authorities on the ground that his name was on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Speaking at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Sunday, the lawmaker recalled that he along with another MNA, Ali Wazir, was going to the UAE to attend a cultural event in Dubai when security personnel stopped them, saying they were wanted by the Swabi police.

“We had held a peaceful public meeting in Swabi and did nothing wrong, but police registered a case against us without any reason. I approached the court which granted me bail before arrest till Dec 4, but I along with the other MNA was detained at the Bacha Khan International Airport,” he regretted.

Mr Dawar said the Federal Investigation Agency kept him in custody for three days without getting prior permission from the speaker of the National Assembly.

He claimed that their names were put on the ECL a day before their flight to the UAE on Friday. “We are in contact with leaders of various political parties as our arrest is an insult to the mandate of Waziristan’s people,” he said.

The MNA demanded action against those personnel who arrested them.

“We held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan and conveyed to him our demands regarding peace and development in our region. The prime minister agreed to support us and during his recent visit to Waziristan announced many development schemes for it,” he said.

The lawmaker appreciated the government’s stand on Kartarpur corridor and suggested that people of Pakistan and Afghanistan should also be facilitated in the same manner at Torkham, Chaman, Spin Boldak and Ghulam Khan borders.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018

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Pakistan believes in peace beyond borders: Imran

NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Prime Minister Imran Khan visiting the Ghulam Khan Border terminal on Monday to inspect fencing along the border with Afghanistan. Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is also seen.—APP

NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Prime Minister Imran Khan visiting the Ghulam Khan Border terminal on Monday to inspect fencing along the border with Afghanistan. Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is also seen.—APP

MIRAMSHAH: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Pakistan believes in peace beyond borders and will play its role in the Afghan peace process, as peace in the war-ravaged country is critical for achieving an enduring peace in Pakistan.

Addressing a jirga of selected elders during his first visit to North and South Waziristan tribal districts after assuming office, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the nation had fought an imposed war inside the country at a very high cost and vowed that they would not again opt for any such war inside Pakistan.

He announced several welfare packages for the area, including induction of tribal districts into the mega Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and three per cent share to the seven districts of the erstwhile Fata in the National Finance Commission award.

During the visit to the tribal borderlands, Mr Khan was accompanied by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and provincial ministers. The jirga was attended by the elders of the Mehsud, Ahmadzai Wazir and Dawar tribes.

PM witnesses border fencing, announces welfare packages for tribal districts during his first visit to Waziristan after assuming office

However, lawmakers Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir representing the tribal areas in the National Assembly were conspicuous by their absence during the PM’s visit. Spokesman for the KP government Ajmal Wazir expressed ignorance about their absence when asked about it. “I don’t know whether they were invited or not. Better to ask the MNAs,” he replied when asked about the lawmakers having affiliation with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement. He said that a large number of elders and maliks representing different tribes were present in the jirga.

The PM maintained the status quo of his predecessors, except PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and addressed a gathering of selected elders instead of holding a public meeting.

The KP government spokesman told Dawn that Mr Khan announced that elections for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and local governments would be held in the seven tribal districts next year.

“His visit to the area would send a positive message to the people of erstwhile Fata and would end a sense of deprivation among them,” said Mr Wazir.

According to him, the premier also announced induction of the militancy-affected North and South Waziristan tribal districts into the mega housing scheme and three per cent share to the seven districts of the erstwhile Fata in the NFC award.

Earlier, the PM laid a wreath at the martyrs’ monument and was briefed in detail about the operations conducted, ongoing stability operations, rehabilitation of temporary dislocated persons, socio-economic development projects and fencing along the Pak-Afghan border, said the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Mr Khan also visited the Ghulam Khan border area and saw the fencing. The army media wing said the prime minister hailed achievements of the security forces and intelligence agencies for their successful operations against terrorists.

“No other country or their armed forces have done what Pakistan and its armed forces have done in war against terrorism,” the premier said in his address. He said the nation had fought an imposed war inside the country at a very heavy cost of sweat and blood with loss to socio-economic fibre and they shall not fight any such war again inside Pakistan.

The PM said: “We are for peace beyond borders including in Afghanistan. We shall play our role in Afghan peace process along with other stakeholders as peace in Afghanistan is critical for achieving an enduring peace in Pakistan.”

Paying tribute to the martyrs and their families, he said they had given huge sacrifices for the safety, security and prosperity of Pakistan. He praised the people of the tribal districts and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who bravely faced a very challenging time.

The PM also announced several welfare packages for the newly established districts, including the establishment of a university, a cadet college, and employment opportunities including those in law enforcement agencies.

Zulfiqar Ali in Peshawar also contributed to this report.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018

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Pakistan will never again fight ‘imposed wars’ on its territory: PM Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday told tribal elders in Waziristan that Pakistan has “fought an imposed war inside our country,” and that “we shall not fight any such war again inside Pakistan”.

The premier had travelled to Miranshah earlier in the day accompanied by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. This was his first visit to the newly-merged tribal districts of North Waziristan.

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“No other country or armed forces have done what Pakistan and its military have done in the war against terrorism,” PM Khan was quoted as saying by Inter-Services Public Relations.

Furthermore, the premier reportedly said that Pakistan will play its “role in the Afghan peace process along with other stakeholders as peace in Afghanistan is critical for achieving enduring peace in Pakistan”.

The prime minister also lauded the people of erstwhile Fata for “courageously facing challenging and difficult times of terrorism”, the ISPR said.

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Upon his arrival to Miranshah earlier in the day, the prime minister had been briefed on the security situation, ongoing stability operations, socio-economic projects and rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Officials had earlier said the premier is expected to announced a large package for the region and will also announce the establishment of a major hospital and sports complex in Miranshah.

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Seven districts of the erstwhile Fata were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the wake of the 25th Constitutional amendment. This is the head of government’s first visit to the region after its merger with the province.

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PM Khan makes maiden visit to newly merged North Waziristan tribal districts

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Miranshah on Monday, marking the start of his maiden visit of newly merged tribal districts from North Waziristan.

The premier is accompanied by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that the PM had been briefed on the “security situation, ongoing stability operations, socio-economic projects and rehab of TDPs [Temporarily Dislocated Persons].”

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The DG ISPR added that the premier will later visit the Ghulam Khan trade terminal and will also address a jirga of local elders in Miranshah.

PM Khan is ,kicking off his maiden visit, of the newly merged tribal districts in North Waziristan today. Officials say the PM is expected to announced a large package for the districts and will also announce the establishment of a major hospital and sports complex in Miranshah.

Seven districts of the erstwhile Fata were merged with KP in the wake of the 25th Constitutional amendment. This is the head of the government’s first visit to the region after its merger with the province.

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SP Tahir’s body to be handed over to Pakistan tomorrow, says KP information minister

The body of Superintendent of Police (SP) Tahir Khan Dawar ? who was abducted from Islamabad last month and found dead yesterday in Afghanistan ? is expected to be handed over to Pakistan authorities tomorrow, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) information minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said in a statement on Wednesday.

Police and civil administration have been ,waiting at the Torkham border since Tuesday night, to receive the slain SP’s body.

The body was earlier expected to be handed over to Pakistani authorities today. Yousafzai said a KP Police delegation had waited at the Torkham border crossing all day for SP Tahir’s body but were unsuccessful. He did not mention the reason of the delay.

Miram Sadaqat, the spokesperson of the Afghan Red Crescent, told DawnNewsTV that the organisation’s volunteers will transfer the body to the Torkham crossing as soon as Afghan authorities hand it over.

He said that Afghan police and hospital administration were “collecting information” about the body.

SP Tahir, a police officer who had survived two suicide attacks in Bannu, was ,kidnapped from Islamabad’s G-10/4 area on October 26,. A body believed to be his was found in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province yesterday.

He hailed from North Waziristan district and earlier this year was made acting SP and given charge of Peshawar police’s rural circle. Prior to that he had served as DSP of University Town and Fakirabad and had also had a stint with the Federal Investigation Agency.

Photos of the SP’s badly tortured body with a hand-written Pashto letter placed on his chest, purportedly written by a yet unidentified militant group, went viral on social media on Tuesday before police could officially confirm the happening, but a senior official said a “source” had informed them of the tragic news.

A senior KP official said that the paper found on the body mentions no militant outfit and would be investigated later. The note carries the name of Wilayat Khorasan, the nomenclature the militant Islamic State (IS) group uses to refer to the Pak-Afghan region.

It referrs to SP Dawar with his first name and says that the “cop who had arrested and killed several militants has met his fate”. The note also threatens other people to take caution “otherwise they too would meet the same fate”.

In a statement released today, the Foreign Office spokesperson had confirmed that the body of SP Tahir had been recovered along with his service card by Afghan locals.

According to the FO spokesperson, SP Tahir was discovered by residents in Dur Baba district of Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Tuesday and handed over to the local police.

The police had shifted the body to Momand Dara district of Nangarhar from where it would be transferred to Jalalabad, the FO spokesperson said. The statement further said that the body is yet to be received by the Consul General of Pakistan in Jalalabad and it “would be subsequently transferred to Pakistan via Torkham border after completion of necessary formalities”.

Islamabad didn’t contact Kabul about SP Tahir, says Afghan envoy

Earlier today, outgoing Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal told journalists at a farewell ceremony that the Pakistani government had not reached out to Afghan authorities for any information about the missing police official.

“How did a police officer disappear from Islamabad and turn up dead in Afghanistan?” he asked.

He urged the leadership of both countries to “sit together” and talk about SP Tahir’s suspected murder.

Zakhilwal also expressed grief over the police officer’s death and said he did not have any information about the abduction.

In response to a question, he said that the Afghan government had been in touch with ,slain Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam-Sami (JUI-S) leader Maulana Samiul Haq, and had urged him to ,play his role, to solve the Afghan issue.

“Apart from reconciliation, Pakistan and Afghanistan have no other way [to achieve peace],” he added.

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SP Tahir Dawar’s body to be handed over to KP police today

The body of Superintendent of Police (SP) Tahir Khan Dawar ? who was abducted from Islamabad last month and found dead in Afghanistan ? will be handed over to Pakistani authorities by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on Wednesday, MNA Mohsin Dawar told DawnNewsTV.

SP Tahir, a police officer who had survived two suicide attacks in Bannu and had been serving as head of Peshawar police’s rural circle, was kidnapped from Islamabad’s G-10/4 area on Oct 26. A body believed to be his was found in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province yesterday.

SP Tahir hailed from North Waziristan district and earlier this year was made acting SP and given charge of the rural circle. Prior to that he had served as DSP of University Town and Fakirabad and had also had a stint with the Federal Investigation Agency.

Photos of the SP’s badly tortured body with a hand-written Pashto letter placed on his chest, purportedly written by a yet unidentified militant group, went viral on social media on Tuesday before police could officially confirm the happening, but a senior official said a “source” had informed them of the tragic news.

A senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) official said that the paper found on the body mentioned no militant outfit and would be investigated later. The note carries the name of Wilayat Khorasan, the nomenclature the militant Islamic State (IS) group uses to refer to the Pak-Afghan region.

It refers to SP Dawar with his first name and said that the “cop who had arrested and killed several militants has met his fate”. The note also warns other people to take caution and threatens that otherwise they would also meet the same fate.

The KP official said that they would investigate where the officer was killed and what group was responsible for the murder.

MNA Mohsin Dawar said that SP Tahir’s body would be handed over to the ,KP police at the Torkham border crossing,, and that further details would be provided by Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) operations Peshawar Javed Iqbal.

Police and civil administration waited at the Torkham border on Tuesday night to receive the slain SP’s body, but it ,did not reach the country, yesterday.

Islamabad didn’t contact Kabul about SP Tahir, says Afghan envoy

Outgoing Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal told journalists at a farewell ceremony that the Pakistani government had not reached out to Afghan authorities for any information about the missing police official.

“How did a police officer disappear from Islamabad and turn up dead in Afghanistan?” he asked.

He urged the leadership of both countries to “sit together” and talk about SP Tahir’s suspected murder.

Zakhilwal also expressed grief over the police officer’s death and said he did not have any information about the abduction.

In response to a question, he said that the Afghan government had been in touch with ,slain Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam-Sami (JUI-S) leader Maulana Samiul Haq, and had urged him to ,play his role, to solve the Afghan issue.

“Apart from reconciliation, Pakistan and Afghanistan have no other way [to achieve peace],” he added.

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Thousands killed in drone strikes, terror attacks since 2004

ISLAMABAD: A total of 409 drone attacks have been conducted in Pakistan since January 2004, in which 2,714 people have been killed and 728 injured.

The majority of the strikes were carried out during the government of Pakistan Peoples Party between 2008 and 2012. Sources within the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) recently shared details, claiming that the period saw 336 aerial attacks, in which 2,282 people lost their lives and 658 received injuries. The officials added that 2010 alone saw 117 attacks that cost 775 people their lives and injured another 193. Between 2013 and 2018 — during the government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — a total of 65 drone attacks occurred. A total of 301 people died and 70 were injured. In 2018, two drone attacks have been conducted so far. One person was killed and one was injured.

It is, however, worth remembering that the top leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan has been killed in drone attacks.

The attacks over the years have targeted the areas of Bajaur, Bannu, Hangu, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Nushki, Orakzai, and South Waziristan. The officials of Nacta added that 289 attacks were conducted in North Waziristan alone, in which 1,651 individuals were killed and 421 were injured. South Waziristan saw 91 attacks that killed 707 individuals and injured 215. There were 13 strikes in the Kurram Agency that killed 110 and injured 32, five in the Khyber Agency that killed 57 and injured 29, four in the Bajaur Agency that killed 129, two in Hangu that killed seven and injured two, one in the Mohmand Agency that killed 18 and injured 18 and one in Nushki that killed two.

Nacta sources say 336 aerial attacks took place during PPP’s government while 65 occurred when PML-N was in power

Terror attacks

At least 19,177 civilians and officials have been killed so far and 47,869 have been injured in the18,850 terror related attacks in Pakistan since 2001, the officials stated. The attacks, they said, mostly targeted Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and were carried out through different methods that included bomb explosions, hand grenade attacks, mine explosions, missiles, rockets, and suicide attacks. Terrorists also targeted minorities geared to instigate sectarian violence and employed sophisticated methods, including the usage of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) — vehicle explosive devices as well as radio controlled improvised devices.

During the current year — 2018 — 405 terrorist attacks have taken place in the country, in which 133 officials and 233 civilians have been killed and 348 personnel and 567 civilians have been injured.

In Punjab, 14 incidents of bomb blasts, suicide attacks and engagements with terrorists led to the deaths of six LEA officials and as many civilians during the year. Four officials and 52 civilians have so far been injured.

Sindh has seen 11 incidents of terror related attacks, which included strikes on LEAs, through bomb explosions, hand grenade attacks and general aggressive engagement with terrorists. The province has also had to contend with suicide attacks and IED explosions. Two LEA officials and as many civilians lost their lives and eight officials as well as six civilians have been injured.

There were 51 incidents targeting LEAs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the year. 21 personnel and 11 civilians have been killed and 55 officials and 57 civilians have been injured in these attacks.

In Baluchistan, 172 incidents were recorded — mostly targeting LEAs. Ranging from bomb explosions, to suicide attacks, and involving sectarian violence. The officials stated that 58 personnel and 193 civilians have lost their lives in the current year. 166 officials and 396 have been injured as well.

In Fata, during the current year, there have been a total 150 incidents involving LEAs in the tribal districts. According to the officials, 42 personnel and 21 civilians have been killed, with another 110 and 52 injured.

Gilgit-Baltistan has also seen an unfortunate six incidents during the year, with officials reporting that four personnel lost their lives. Four LEA officials and as many civilians were injured. Only one incident of a mine explosion was recorded in Azad Kashmir during the year. One official was injured.

Fortunately, Islamabad, the capital of the country has remained safe the entire year.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018

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COAS attends funeral prayers of 7 soldiers martyred in North Waziristan

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and others offered funeral prayers at General Headquarters on Sunday for seven soldiers martyred in an attack in North Waziristan a day earlier, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release.

The soldiers were ambushed and came under attack from a compound while an intelligence-based operation in the Ghailani area of North Waziristan was under way. In return fire, the surviving soldiers in the group killed nine attackers.

A group of militants who were reported to have infiltrated from across the border was involved in the attack and apparently hiding in the compound.

The soldiers who embraced martyrdom were identified as Captain Junaid, Havaldar Ameer, Havaldar Asif, Havaldar Naseer, Havaldar Abdul Razzaq, Sepoy Samiullah, and Sepoy Anwar.

Their bodies are being sent to their respective native towns for burial with full military honours.

Below are photographs and details of the martyred soldiers released by ISPR:

Capt Junaid of Murree tehsil was unmarried.

Capt Junaid of Murree tehsil was unmarried.

Havaldar Ameer of Gilgit district is survived by a wife, two sons and a daughter.

Havaldar Ameer of Gilgit district is survived by a wife, two sons and a daughter.

Havaldar Asif of Khanewal district is survived by his wife, parents, seven sisters and a brother.

Havaldar Asif of Khanewal district is survived by his wife, parents, seven sisters and a brother.

Havaldar Naseer of Diamer district's Chilas area is survived by his wife and mother.

Havaldar Naseer of Diamer district’s Chilas area is survived by his wife and mother.

Havaldar Abdul Razzaq of Astore district is survived by a wife, a son and five daughters.

Havaldar Abdul Razzaq of Astore district is survived by a wife, a son and five daughters.

Sepoy Anwar Jan of Gilgit Baltistan's Ghizer district was unmarried.

Sepoy Anwar Jan of Gilgit Baltistan’s Ghizer district was unmarried.

Sepoy Samiullah of GB's Hunza district was unmarried.

Sepoy Samiullah of GB’s Hunza district was unmarried.

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5 security men injured in North Waziristan firing

Five security personnel were injured when unknown attackers opened fire on a patrol team in North Waziristan’s Boya area on Thursday, security sources told DawnNewsTV.

The injured ? one of whom is said to be in critical condition ? were identified as Naek Rehman Zafar, Sepoy Syed Jabbar Shah, Sepoy Ali Raza, Sepoy Khurram and Sepoy Muhammad Ali, the sources said.

After the attack, a heavy contingent of security forces reached the site of the incident and the wounded were rushed to Miranshah Hospital.

A search operation is underway in the area, the sources said.

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Gen Bajwa commends stabilisation operations on visit to South Waziristan

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday visited South Waziristan where he was briefed on stabilisation operations and progress of fencing along the Pak-Afghan Border in Waziristan at Angoor Adda.

The army chief appreciated the quality and pace of work, said a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) — the media affairs wing of the military.

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Later in the day, General Bajwa addressed a combined jirga of elders from North and South Waziristan in Wana.

Tribal elders thanked the army chief for the restoration of peace in the area as well as the merger of the region formerly known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). They also acknowledged the ongoing efforts for the area’s socio-economic development.

The tribal leaders assured the COAS their unflinching support for security forces and the state.

Read next: ,The cold emptiness of South Waziristan,

Furthermore, the elders highlighted the need for additional communication infrastructure, electricity, water, educational institutions and upgraded cellular network facilities.

The COAS thanked the local tribal elders for extending their support and cooperation to the security forces.

He said that peace had largely returned in the region. However, he also said that he was aware of a few improvised explosive device (IED) blasts having taken place recently in North Waziristan.

“No conflict ends through kinetic operations alone,” he said. “There is always a post-operations rehabilitation and development effort.”

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General Bajwa said that while stability operations continued alongside border fencing, progress on socio-economic prong was also gaining momentum and expressed confidence that the same shall get more attention through the implementation of merger measures.

“Terrorism and development cannot go together, therefore, collectively we have to make sure that unrest doesn’t return,” he added.

The COAS asked all the concerned, especially the local population — the main stakeholders to retain the attained peace and stability in the area — to “remain vigilant and safeguard the environment from inimical forces, who were eyeing to reverse the gains”.

He said that the suggestions offered by tribal elders were valid and most of these were already included in the mid to long-term development plan of the government.

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DG ISPR denies giving Miramshah protesters assurances to court-martial army personnel

Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Sunday rejected a media report claiming that the armed forces had assured protesters in North Waziristan tribal district that the army personnel responsible for the alleged killing of a man would be court-martialed.

On Friday, during a protest against the arrests made in connection with a remote-controlled bomb blast a day earlier, security forces had ,allegedly opened fire,, killing one and injuring 10 others.

The death had sparked a sit-in in Miramshah, which, according to newly elected MNA from North Waziristan Mohsin Dawar, was called off after their demands were accepted.

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According to VOA (Voice of America) DEEWA, one of the demands of the protesters was to court-martial “Captain Zarar, who allegedly killed a boy during a protest”.

However, the DG ISPR contested that claim on Twitter hours later, saying that “while an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain facts, no assurance [has been] given for any court martial.”

Maj Gen Ghafoor denied that the forces had killed or injured anyone, and accused the media outlet of keeping up “its tradition of false reporting.

“People of Waziristan are peace loving and value the attained peace,” he wrote.

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Dawar responded to the DG ISPR’s tweet by saying: “And you are keeping your tradition of backtracking. Our one precondition for beginning talks was an admission of guilt from your side, regarding the martyrdom of innocent protestors. We only began talks AFTER we were given that admission of guilt.”

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ECP set to void two polls over low women turnout

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is set to void polls, and their results, in two national assembly constituencies over ,low turnout of female voters,.

“A summary has been moved to the Commission by the ECP secretariat recommending that the polls in NA-10 (Shangla) and NA-48 (North Waziristan) — where women votes were less than 10 per cent of the total polled votes — be declared void,” a source in the ECP told Dawn on Thursday.

Read: ,Thari women set example for all with nearly 73% turnout in 2018 elections,

The number of registered voters in a constituency includes both men and women who have registered to vote. The 10pc law was passed to ensure that women participated in the polls, and were not marginalised or coerced into not voting. According to the rules, if among the total votes cast in a constituency, the share of women in the final count is less than 10pc, the results of the polls may be declared void.

Shangla NA seat was won by PML-N candidate while an independent candidate clinched North Waziristan seat

In NA-10 (Shangla) the total number of registered voters is 374,343. Out of the 212,294 male voters, 115,639 (54 pc) cast their votes while only 12,663 women from the total registered 162,049 female voters turned up to vote. The total votes cast in the constituency was 128,302 and the 12,663 female votes was less than 10pc of the total votes.

Ibadullah Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had won the seat by clinching 34,070 votes in a closely contested battle with Saeed ur Rahman of the Awami National Party who bagged 32,665 votes. It was one of 44 constituencies where the number of rejected votes was higher than the margin of victory.

In NA-48 (Tribal Area) the total number of registered voters was 274,205. Out of the 196,668 male voters, 57,600 (29.28 pc) and out of a total 77,537 female voters just 6,364 (8.19 pc) turned up to vote. Women voters fell short of just 32 votes to attain the 10pc share in the total polled votes. The seat was won by Mohsin Javed — an independent — by securing 16,496 votes defeating the PTI’s Aurangzeb Khan who managed 10,369.

There were many other constituencies where the turnout for women voters remained low, but above the yardstick of 10pc of the total vote. In NA-44 (Tribal area), out of the total 114,261 female voters, just 10,849 voted. The total number of registered voters in the constituency was 265,217, which included 150,956 men — 59,295 (37.29pc) of them voted.

Likewise, in NA-49 (Tribal area VIII) out of the total 81,207 registered female voters, merely 12,001 women turned up to vote. In NA-50 (Tribal area IX) just 7,513 of the total 44,865 registered female voters exercised their right to vote. In NA-33 (Hangu), out of the total 118,650 women voters 22,001 cast their votes.

In NA-268 (Chaghai) out of the total 99,613 women voters, 20,606 voted. Surprisingly, the female turnout in terms of percentages — relative to the total registered votes — was higher than the men. Out of the total 134,678 male registered voters in the constituency just 27,618 (20.65pc) polled their votes.

In as many as 18 constituencies, the women voters’ turnout was higher in terms of percentage against male voters. In NA-271 (Tharparkar i) 72.83pc of the total registered voters cast their votes. The proportion of male voters in the constituency was 65.39 percent. NA-222 (Tharparkar II) was similar — with a positive that this was the only constituency where over seventy percent of the voters, both male and female, exercised their right to vote. 71.40pc of the registered female voters and 70.51pc of the male voters cast their votes. In NA-56 (Attock) 63.03pc of the women polled their votes compared to 62.19pc male voters. In NA-186 (Muzaffargarh VI) 61.85pc women and 58.85pc men polled their votes. In NA-1 (Chitral) 61.57pc female and 60.49pc male voters exercised their vote.

In NA-64 (Chakwal I) 60.72pc women and 55.67pc men turned up to vote. Other constituencies where women voter turnout was higher than the men included NA-46, NA-58, NA-65, NA-66, NA-67, NA-68, NA-70, NA-71, NA-72, NA-74, NA-76, and NA-77.

Still however — overall — there were many constituencies where women represented less than one-third of the total votes cast that showcases that we are from inclusive elections in the country.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2018

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Conservative areas see women vote for first time

PESHAWAR/SAHIWAL: In a historic first, women in some conservative parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab came out of their homes to cast their votes in the general election on Wednesday as candidates sought to fulfil the legal requirement of minimum 10 per cent women’s turnout to validate their result.

In Balochistan, too, women came out in large numbers to vote despite terror attacks and repeated threats.

Women in tribal areas and other conservative areas had been barred from voting in the past general elections, as the practice of keeping women from voting is a norm under verbal and written agreements bet­ween candidates and family elders in such areas.

However, for the first time in the country’s electoral history, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) annulled the result of Dir Lower (PK-95) by-polls in 2015 after finding that none of the registered women voters had cast votes.

The Elections Act requires the ECP to declare an election null and void if women’s turnout in a constituency is less than 10pc of its total polled votes.

On Wednesday, candidates and local administration on ECP directives ensured at least 10pc turnout of women voters in the districts notorious for barring women from voting. The measures encouraged women voters not only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dir Lower but also in a village of Punjab’s Sahiwal district to visit their respective polling stations and cast their vote.

“Since the 1990s we had not seen women coming out in large numbers,” said Zahid, a local journalist in Dir.

“I voted for the first time. My mother, aunt and cousins also went out today to vote,” said a cheerful Shafi Naz from Dir Lower while speaking to Dawn. She wanted to go to vote during the previous elections also, but the family elders did not like women to leave their homes. Surprisingly, she said, nobody objected to their going out to vote. However, she was not aware of the fact that Election Act required 10pc women vote to acknowledge result of a constituency.

In North Waziristan, Bajaur and other far-flung parts of Mohmand tribal agency also saw a rise in female voters’ turnout despite lack of facilities and slow polling process.

Considering past voting trends in the conservative parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ECP had issued directives to district returning officers and deputy commissioners to ensure women’s voting in six districts namely Swat, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Shangla, Swabi and Batagram.

Punjab

Women of Jahan Khan Village (111/9-L) in the National Assembly constituency of Sahiwal (NA-147) also created history by voting for the first time in any general election for which the administration, civil society organisations and media could be credited.

There are 4,022 registered voters in the village and out of them 1,822 are women.

The village is divided among Jahan Khan, Shadookay and Kubaykay localities out of which Jahan Khan is the most populated. The Joiya biradri dominates the village.

Deputy commissioner Mohammad Zaman Wattoo told Dawn that a special session had been arranged to train women to vote by the polling staff. He said if the media had not highlighted lack of women’s participation in elections, this year too they would not have voted in the village.

District Election Commissioner Rana Ghaffar said the election commission had categorically told village elders and candidates that in case there was less than 10pc turnout of women, the ECP would declare election results null and void.

Balochistan

Undeterred by the terror attacks targeting election activities, women voters in Balochistan, too, came out of their homes to cast votes.

“Our brave sisters from Panjgur have come out in great numbers to vote, despite threats repeated terrorist threats,” National Party chief Hasil Bizanjo stated in a tweet to appreciate their courage.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2018

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Women herded to polling station to meet condition of election law

PESHAWAR: The women, barred from voting in general elections for long, were forced to cast vote to save results of a constituency from becoming null and void yet many in conservative areas of the province preferred to stick to their old tradition of not casting vote.

After promulgation of Election Act, 2017 that required Election Commission of Pakistan to declare a constituency’s result null and void if at least 10 per cent women turnout was not recorded, things seemed a little better as ECP and local authorities checked trend of barring women from vote. There was at least no open or declared agreement like the past to keep women away from voting.

Some people could not, however, break away from their old tradition and women turnout was low in some areas.

Many areas in KP see low turnout of women voters

“Just one woman polled her vote out of 987 registered voters at polling station No.31 in Haji Banda area of NA-29 and PK-72 constituencies,” said Shahida Anjum, a presiding officer of a women polling station. She said that no one had turned up all day.

Advocate Imtiaz Khalil, a resident of Haji Banda, claimed that since 1988, women had never polled their vote and it was their own choice.

Things on the other hand were quiet unusual in Lower and Upper Dir districts where not only a woman candidate Hameeda Shahid contested elections on PTI ticket but women also came out to cast vote.

Although the practice of keeping women away from voting was a norm under verbal and written agreements between male candidates of political parties and elders in many districts, it was checked in 2015 by-polls for the first time in the electoral history of the country when results of PK-95 in Dir Lower were declared null and void owing nonparticipation of women voters.

The Election Act, 2017 also requires ECP to declare an election null and void if women’s turnout in a constituency is less than 10 per cent of its total polled votes. This may have worked in some areas like Dir Upper and Dir Lower, but many districts still saw low turnout of women votes.

The ECP had already assessed the situation and issued directives to DROs and DCs just a day ahead of the polling day on the basis of media reports to ensure participation of women in elections in six districts including Swat, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Shangla, Swabi and Battagram.

Not only in rural areas of Peshawar, but also in Nowshera, Swabi, Battagram and Malakand women were barred from coming out to vote, according to reports.

Nighat Siddiqui, at the gender desk of ECP in Islamabad, said that she was aware of the situation in Haji Banda, Achini and Kurri area of Nowshera where women’s turnout was low as well as slow pace of voting in Swabi due to rain.

“We called the local elders and officials to resolve the issue. We made announcements from the local mosques in Malakand that constituency results would be declared null and void if women voters’ turnout was less than 10 per cent,” she said.

Tehsinullah, a local, said that women did not come out to vote in four polling stations of Haryaankot like last year but later local administration mobilised the locals to encourage women to cast vote to fulfil the 10 per cent requirement.

In the rural areas of Peshawar, where women came out even in the hot summer in their traditional shuttle-cock burqas, they were under the influence of their male family members.

“I am a sugar patient and feeling exhausted. My relatives told me to go and vote for this candidate,” said an elderly woman, almost breathing heavily in hot and humid weather under a thick burqa. She had no clue as to who the party or the person was she was voting for.

Mukhtiyar Bibi was casting her vote at Mohamadzai polling station in Chamkani, on the advice of her men relatives. However, she expressed the hope that an elected government would be formed provide employment to people. She said said that her son got a bachelor degree but he was jobless.

Women didn’t exercise their right to vote at several polling stations in Battagram district despite ECP’s clear directives to authorities to ensure female participation in polls.

There was no declared agreement between political parties or local elders to stop women from casting their votes. However, through mutual understanding the people did not allow women to exercise their right to vote in several areas.

Women in Nogram, Deshwal, Nehar, Bathkhana, Umaray, Nala, Gangwal, and Rashang polling stations didn’t turn up to cast their vote. Women didn’t poll votes at maxim polling stations in Ajmera union council.

Mohammad Shayan, a resident of Garhi Nawab, said that women did not poll their vote as there was no such tradition. “We are not responsible for the election results of candidate, whether they win or lose. We would not bring out our women to cast vote,” he added.

Khursheed Khan, a resident of Allai, said that disenfranchisement of women was not a new thing in the area. He said that their culture and tradition didn’t allow women to come out to vote that was why no one voted at Roop Kanai Banda polling station.

Mansehra also witnessed a low turnout of women voters as compared to 2013 general elections.

The women polling stations in urban parts of the district wore a deserted look till 10am that irked supporters of different candidates.

According to presiding officer of a combined polling station at Siren forest division offices in Channia, hardly 115 voters including 18 women polled their votes till 11am.

The polling in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under eagle-eyes of international and national monitors was carefully monitored by the ECP’s gender desk set up for ensuring participation of women in the process but tribal districts remained out of its sight and deprived of any such benefit of the special initiative.

However, a National Assembly constituency in North Waziristan remained disconnected not only through internet but also cellular service and could not register timely complaints with the desk.

There were reports on social media about independent candidates and polling agents in North Waziristan, who accused the local security personnel and authorities of high-handedness and poor arrangements that slowed down polling.

A candidate for NA-48 alleged that polling station for women was changed to rig the polls. He alleged that women were forced to stop at checkpoints in Miramshah and walk for two to three kilometres to reach the polling station.

Women in Bajaur tribal district complained about lack of facilities and slow voting. They said that many women returned to their homes without casting their vote owing to poor arrangements.

(Our correspondents from Battagram, Malakand, Dir Upper and Mansehra also contributed to this report)

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2018

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PTI candidate Ikramullah Gandapur killed in suicide attack in DI Khan

Ikramullah Gandapur, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate for PK-99, succumbed to grave injuries sustained in a suicide blast in Dera Ismail Khan earlier on Sunday, police said late afternoon.

Authorities confirmed that he passed away at Combined Military Hospital (CMH) DI Khan, where he was bring treated.

Ikramullah Gandapur

Ikramullah Gandapur

DI Khan DPO Manzoor Afridi told Dawn.com that at least eight to 10 kilogrammes of explosive material were used in the suicide attack on Gandapur, which took place in the Kulachi area of the district.

According to hospital sources, the PTI leader’s driver was also killed in the attack. His guard is said to be in critical condition. He is being treated at CMH.

Faraz Mughul, Gandapur’s assistant, also confirmed the casualties.

Police said that the candidate was targeted near his residence while he was heading to a political convention.

Gandapur's vehicle in shambles after the suicide attack.—DawnNewsTV

Gandapur’s vehicle in shambles after the suicide attack.—DawnNewsTV

Gandapur had till recently served as the provincial agricultural minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet. He was elected through a by-election on the Dera Ismail Khan PK-67 seat after it was vacated following the death of his brother, former law minister Israrulah Gandapur, also in a suicide attack.

PTI Chief Imran Khan condemned the “cowardly terrorist attack” on Twitter.

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The attack comes after the house of a senior leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was ,attacked in Gwadar, on Tuesday. According to sources, Abdul Ghafoor Hoat was inside the house when unidentified gunmen fired shots at the building. He, however, escaped unhurt.

Bomb attacks leading up to the elections — AFP

Bomb attacks leading up to the elections — AFP

The most fatal election-related attack took place in ,Mastung on July 13, during a corner meeting organised by Mir Siraj Raisani — a BAP candidate for PB-35 (Mastung). The deadly ,suicide blast, claimed the lives of nearly 150 people while injuring more than 200.

Earlier the same day of the Mastung tragedy, a blast had targeted former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy in Bannu. While Durrani remained safe, four people were killed and 32 others injured in the attack.

The preceding night, two people had been injured in a blast near BAP’s election office in Khuzdar.

On July 10, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar’s Yaktoot area. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which had also claimed responsibility for 2012 attack that killed Haroon’s father, Bashir Bilour.

On July 7, at least seven people, including a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), were injured when a convoy came under a bomb attack in Bannu.

Earlier this month, an attack on a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate’s office in North Waziristan’s Razmak tehsil had injured 10.


This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources, such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.

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