Posts Tagged ‘Quetta’

Bilawal concerned over allowing banned parties to contest polls

QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari inquires about the health of a man injured in Mastung blast at the Combined Military Hospital on Monday.—PPI

QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari inquires about the health of a man injured in Mastung blast at the Combined Military Hospital on Monday.—PPI

QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday expressed concern over allowing candidates of banned organisations to contest the coming elections and said certain forces were again trying to form an Islami Jamhoori Ittehad-like alliance in the country.

He was addressing a press conference at a hotel after visiting Sarawan House to condole the death of Siraj Raisani in Friday’s Mastung suicide attack.

“Unfortunately, by allowing candidates of banned organisations to take part in the election, extremists have been given space,” the PPP leader said, adding that the move would harm the entire political process and would undermine parliament, democracy and the country’s position in the world.

He recalled that after the massacre of students and teachers in the terrorist attack at Army Public School, all political parties had agreed on a 20-point National Action Plan but that plan was not implemented by the PML-N government which caused difficulties in curbing acts of terrorism across the country.

“From day one, the PPP has been demanding the implementation of the National Action Plan in letter and spirit,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said. “Thousands of civilians and security personnel have lost their lives in acts of terrorism and these precious lives could have been saved had the National Action Plan been implemented.”

Referring to the possibility of delay in the polls, he said if elections could be held in Afghanistan and Iraq where the situation was worse then why they cannot be held in Pakistan.

“Despite the recent spate of violence and terrorist attacks, elections must be held on time,” he said.

He said PPP would launch public welfare programmes after coming to power and dispelled the impression that the party had lost its support in Punjab.

He said that PPP had not been given free hand to run its poll campaign in Punjab in 2013 elections and this time too the government was creating hurdles in its way.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2018

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Nation mourns deaths in poll campaign blasts

QUETTA: As the nation observed a day of mourning over recent terrorist attacks on election candidates in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa just a few days before the general elections, the caretaker prime minister, Senate chairman and political party heads arrived in the city on Sunday to condole the Mastung killings.

The death toll in the Mastung suicide bombing reached 149 on Sunday when officials found that some bodies had not been brought to any hospital. They were buried by their families soon after the blast, the officials said, adding that the death toll might increase further during a survey being conducted in nearby villages. “The death toll of Mastung carnage is now 149,” Mastung deputy commissioner Qaim Lashari confirmed to Dawn.

Take a look: ,Leaders of all major parties under threat, Nacta tells ECP,

The national flag remained at half-mast on government buildings across the country to mourn the death of all those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks at Peshawar on July 10 and in Mastung and Bannu on July 13.

Mastung toll surges to 149; Shahbaz, Imran, Sanjrani visit Raisani family

Shortly after their arrival at Quetta on Sunday, caretaker PM Nasirul Mulk and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani visited the Raisani family to condole the death of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, who was targeted in the Mastung blast on Friday, and then visited the injured victims at the hospital.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan also condoled the death of Mr Raisani during their separate visits to Quetta. Expressing serious concern over the security situation in the country, both the party heads termed the Mastung incident a “national tragedy”. Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari cancelled a public meeting in Malakand on Sunday as a mark of solidarity with the victims of the attacks. While he met the Bilour family to condole the death of Awami National Party candidate in Peshawar blast, he is likely to visit Balochistan soon to condole the death of the BAP candidate.

The country has been in the grip of renewed attacks by terrorists who have targeted three election candidates in blasts, killing more than 170 people and injuring over 200 others.

The first major incident took place on July 10 when ANP candidate from Peshawar (PK-78) Haroon Bilour and 19 others were killed in an attack targeting the party’s election meeting. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for the killing of Mr Haroon’s father Bashir Bilour in 2012, said it had carried out the attack. Two days later, two more terrorist attacks took place targeting election candidates in Bannu and Mastung.

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal candidate from Bannu (NA-35) Akram Khan Durrani survived the attack that killed four other people. Hours later, a powerful bomb blast targeted a meeting of Balochistan Awami Party candidate from Mastung (PB-35) Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, killing him with 127 others on the spot.

Meanwhile, PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif and PTI chairman Imran Khan during their separate visits to Sarawan House in Quetta condoled with the family members of BAP candidate Siraj Raisani, who was the youngest brother of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and former MNA Lashkari Raisani.

Talking to the media after the meeting, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif termed the Mastung carnage a “national tragedy”. He said: “Every Pakistani is sad on the huge human loss.

“We are with the Raisani family and others who had lost their near and dear ones,” he added.

He supported Lashkari Raisani’s demand for formation of a truth commission to investigate the terrorist attack that the militant organisation Islamic State reportedly claimed to have carried out.

“Pakistan can’t make progress unless the terrorism is defeated,” Mr Sharif said.

He said it was responsibility of the caretaker government and the Election Commission to ensure holding of impartial elections.

Mr Sharif accused the Punjab government of supporting “one of our opponent political party” and said such actions would create doubts about impartially of the polls. He said “rigged elections” wouldn’t be in the country’s interest.

“Unfortunately, when the entire country is under severe grief, the PTI chief is still distracting people of Pakistan with his false speeches,” he said, adding that it was time to get united against terrorism instead of segregating the nation.

Earlier, PTI chairman Imran Khan told a news conference that abandoning election campaign would encourage terrorists as they would succeed in their nefarious designs to sabotage the upcoming elections.

Mr Khan paid rich tribute to late Siraj Raisani and termed him “a true and a brave Pakistani.” He said the purpose of his visit was to express solidarity with the people of Balochistan, Raisani family and with all those who lost their loved ones in the Mastung tragedy.

He said some quarters were asking the PTI and other political parties to stop their election campaign. “Our election campaign is continuing and will not be stopped across the country. Abandoning election campaign means to surrender before the terrorists and their encouragement,” he said.

Replying to a question, Mr Khan said the PTI had a comprehensive plan to deal with terrorism. “To get rid of terrorism, all the four provinces must be united and should be on one page,” he said. He deplored that the National Action Plan prepared with consensus of political parties had not been fully implemented in the country.

Meanwhile, an official handout issued from the PM Office said that the caretaker prime minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk presided over a meeting to review the situation in the wake of Mastung blast. Senior civil and military officials, including Southern Command commander Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, also attended the meeting.

The provincial chief secretary informed the meeting about the details of the Mastung incident and the arrangements being made for the upcoming general elections.

The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to take all possible steps to ensure security of election candidates and the public. “The prime minister underlined the need to take the political leadership on board regarding the security arrangements and to secure their cooperation “in order to avoid any untoward incident”, the official handout added.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018

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After Mastung carnage, PM urges ‘utmost precaution’ for security of poll candidates, public

Caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting of civil and military officials to review the law and order situation in Balochistan in wake of the terrorist attack in Mastung that ,targeted an election gathering,.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Dr Akhtar Nazir shared details of the Mastung suicide attack — in which over 140 people were killed — during the huddle that took place at Governor House in Quetta.

PM Nasirul Mulk chairs a meeting on law and order at Governor House in Quetta. — Courtesy: Prime Minister's Office

PM Nasirul Mulk chairs a meeting on law and order at Governor House in Quetta. — Courtesy: Prime Minister’s Office

He also briefed the meeting about the arrangements being made for “peaceful and smooth conduct” of the July 25 general elections in the province, a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Prime Minister Mulk strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and directed authorities to take all possible steps to ensure the security of election candidates and the public.

Editorial: ,Security, intelligence gathering must improve to avoid more campaign carnage,

“Utmost precaution should be exercised and all possible measures should be taken to ensure security of the candidates and the public participating in political rallies and corner meetings,” the premier observed, accoridng to the statement.

He stressed the need to take the political leadership on board regarding the security arrangements and
to secure their cooperation “in order to avoid any untoward incident”.

Mulk instructed officials to immediately launch a public awareness campaign in coordination with all stakeholders, “to sensitise [the] general public about the need to strictly adhere to security [standard operating procedures]“.

Speaking at the meeting, the prime minister appreciated the efforts of the armed forces and civil administration for timely evacuation of the injured of the Mastung tragedy and saving lives.

In attendance at the meeting were Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Allauddin Marri, Balochistan Home Minister Agha Umar Bangulzai, Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Balochistan Chief Secretary Dr. Akhtar Nazir, Home Secretary Haider Ali Shikoh, IG Frontier Corps Balochistan (North) Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, IG FC Balochistan (South) Maj Gen Sardar Tariq Aman, IG Balochistan Police Mohsin Hasan Butt and other senior civil and military officials.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister visited slain Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Nawab Siraj Raisani’s family to ,condole his death, in the Mastung suicide attack. He also visited Combined Military Hospital Quetta to inquire about the health of the injured of the tragedy.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 (Peshawar), Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were killed in an attack targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility for killing his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 (Bannu) came under attack. While KP former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a BAP corner meeting in Mastung in which Raisani, who was contesting from PB-35, and at least 140 others, were killed, while over 200 were injured.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the 2014 carnage at Peshawar’s Army Public School.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan was ,informed by Nacta, that there are serious security threats to political leaders and electoral candidates and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked.

Meanwhile, political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced suspension of political activities across the country in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal earlier said at a press conference in Peshawar.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - July 15, 2018 at 7:25 pm

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Waseem floors Mthalane but loses world title via decision

Pakistan boxer Mohammad Waseem came up short in his International Boxing Federation flyweight title bout with South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane on Sunday but not before flooring his opponent in the 11th round and giving him a genuine scare.

With just eight pro fights under his belt, the Quetta-born pugilist had taken the gigantic challenge of facing Mthalane — a veteran of 37 fights heading into this one.

The fight in Malaysia, which took place on the undercard of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s welterweight showdown with Lucas Matthysse, saw Mthalane steadily but unremarkably build a lead on the judges’ cards over the first six rounds.

The African was clearly the busier of the two fighters in the first half of the bout but Waseem staged a comeback in the latter rounds, especially in the penultimate stanza.

Perhaps with the knowledge that he needed a late stoppage to win, the 30-year-old came out with a more adventurous mindset in the 11th, dishing some and copping some.

Waseem nearly pulled off a stunning upset when a counter left hook at the end of a Mthalane salvo, stunned the South African and saw him hit the canvass.

Mthalane was given a standing eight count but before Waseem could pounce to try and finish the fight right there and then, the bell rang. The fighters retreated to their corners as Mthalane and his camp breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Both the fighters gave their all in the last of their 12 tangos. The care for the basics banished, the duo brawled more, boxed less. Mthalane, with both his eyes swollen, was hurt for a second time in as many rounds as Waseem’s power punches took a toll on the 35-year-old.

Unluckily for Waseem, his final onslaught came a bit too late, for as soon as he had wobbled Mthalane for a second time, the round ended, and so did the fight.

The judges scored it a unanimous 114-113, 114-113 and 116-110 victory in the favour of Mthalane, although the fight was much closer than what the scorecards suggested.

Waseem, after eight straight victories, lost for the very first time in his pro career. But even in defeat, he gave a magnificent account of his ability and demonstrated why the Mayweathers took a chance on him.

Still young in boxing terms, Waseem can undoubtedly use the lessons learned in the defeat to fetch future victories.

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Siraj Raisani laid to rest in Mastung; PM announces national day of mourning on Sunday

The federal government has declared Sunday as a day of national mourning over recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“In view of tragic incidents of terrorist attacks at Peshawar on July 10 and in Mastung and Bannu on July 13, 2018, the federal government has announced to observe one day official mourning throughout the country” on Sunday, said an official announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.

It said that the national flag will fly at half mast on Sunday to mourn the deaths of nearly 150 people in the recent terrorist attacks ahead of the general elections.

The PM Office also directed the Ministry of Interior to formally issue a notification for declaration of Sunday as the day of mourning.

Later in the day, funeral prayer of Nawab Siraj Raisani, who was martyred in a ,suicide attack during an election gathering in Mastung, on Friday, was offered in Quetta.

Caretaker Balochistan Chief Minister Alaud Din Marri, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, LT Gen Asim Bajwa, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum, provincial ministers, chief secretary and other high officials attended the funeral.

Raisani was later laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard at Kanak, Mastung, near the graves of his father Nawab Ghaus Baksh Raisani and son Mir Haqmal Raisani.

Election violence

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) had on July 9 ,named six politicians,, including Pakistan Taehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chiefs, who are under threat of terrorist attacks.

On July 10, ANP candidate from PK-78 Peshawar, Haroon Bilour, and 19 others were ,killed in an attack, targeting the party’s election meeting.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had also claimed responsibility of the killing of his father Bashir Bilour in 2012, claimed responsibility of the attack.

On July 13, the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate from NA-35 Bannu ,came under attack,. While former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who had also been named in Nacta list, remained safe in the attack, four of his supporters lost their lives.

Later in the afternoon, a powerful bomb blast targeted a meeting of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate from PB-35 Mastung, Nawabzada Siraj Raisani. Raisani, and at least 127 others, were ,killed in the attack,, while over 200 were injured.

The Mastung attack was the deadliest terror attack in the country since the attack on Army Public School Peshawar in 2014 stunned the nation.

Other attacks on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and PTI election campaigns in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have injured several others since the beginning of this month.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ,summoned a briefing, from Nacta over the worsening security situation, which is scheduled for later today.

Meanwhile political parties have demanded better security to ensure they can freely conduct their election campaigns.

Apprised of the threat to his own campaign, the PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced ,suspending political activities across the country, in solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks.

“120 people are dead in Balochistan; each one of them have families. What would they think when they see me chanting slogans in rallies. I could never do that,” Bilawal told a presser in Peshawar.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - July 14, 2018 at 11:25 pm

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128 perish as savage attack on Mastung rally stuns nation

QUETTA/BANNU: Around 132 people were killed and 180 injured in two separate terrorist attacks during election-related activities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday. Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate for a Provincial Assembly seat, was among 128 people killed in a shocking suicide attack on an election gathering in the Mastung area, some 60km south-west of Quetta. As many as 150 people were injured in the tragic incident.

The suicide bombing came hours after Akram Khan Durrani, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal candidate from NA-35, survived an attack when a motorcycle bomb exploded near his convoy in the Bannu area of KP, killing four people and injuring 30.

Read: ,Campaign carnage,

Siraj Raisani was younger brother of former chief minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani, who is a candidate from PB-35 Mastung from where the former was also contesting election.

“My younger brother has been martyred in the suicide attack,” Haji Lashkari Raisani, another brother of Siraj Raisani, confirmed, adding that he was critically injured in the attack and succumbed to his injuries while being taken to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Quetta.

“Around 128 people have been killed and 150 injured in the suicide attack,” caretaker Home Minister of Baluchistan Agha Umar Bangulzai told Dawn.

Lashkari Raisani said and he and Aslam Raisani had also received threats from unidentified people.” The sixteen years old son of Siraj Raisani had also lost his life in a bomb blast in Mastung in 2011 when Aslam Raisani was chief minister. The blast had occurred when Siraj Raisani accompanied by his son was coming back from a stadium after distributing prizes among the players of a football match.

Nawab Aslam Raisani had also survived a suicide attack at Sariab railway crossing when he was chief minister.

BAP candidate Siraj Raisani among Mastung suicide bombing victims; MMA nominee Akram Durrani escapes unhurt as four killed in attack on his convoy in Bannu

The banned Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan’s ‘Ghazi force Lal Masjid’ wing in a Whatsapp massage has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

Emergency was declared in all government hospitals in Mastung and Quetta which were littered with bodies and injured.

Siraj Raisani had launched his election campaign in Mastung two weeks ago. He was invited by BAP workers and tribal elders to Daring-Gar, a small town along Quetta-Taftan National Highway, some 25km off Mastung. He went to the town in a motor rally and as he entered a large tent where an election gathering had been arranged, an explosion took place.

As result of the powerful explosion, a large number of people sitting in the gathering died on the spot and many were injured. The dead included some relatives of Siraj Raisani.

“It was a suicide attack,” Deputy Commissioner of Mastung Qaim Lashari said.

“The suicide bomber blew himself up when local leaders were speaking at the gathering,” said a survivor who had received injuries.

“The suicide bomber went near the stage where Siraj Raisani and other leaders were sitting and detonated the explosive-laden jacket he was wearing,” he said.

“Everyone was crying for help,” Munir Shahwani, a local journalist said, adding that the injured were immediately shifted to Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Hospital in Mastung and the CMH in Quetta.

Most of the victims were resident of Kanak and Daring-Gar who had invited Mr Raisani to announce their support for him.

“It seems the target of the suicide attack was Siraj Raisani,” a senior police officer said.

Soon after the attack, security forces rushed to the site, cordoned off the entire area and started shifting the injured and the bodies to hospitals.

PAKISTAN Army troops guard the area of suicide attack at an election rally in Bannu on Friday.—AP

PAKISTAN Army troops guard the area of suicide attack at an election rally in Bannu on Friday.—AP

Director General Civil Defence Aslam Tareen confirmed that it was a suicide attack and said that around 8kg explosives, ball baring and nails were used in the suicide jacket. “We have collected evidences from the explosion site,” he said.

The remains of the suicide bomber had also been collected from the blast site, police officials said.

The bodies of the victims, who could be identified, were handed over to relatives but a large numbers of bodies remained identified. “Some bodies are badly mutilated,” official sources said.

Caretaker Chief Minister of Balochistan Allauddin Marri has strongly condemned the suicide bombing and termed it a barbarian act. He expressed his sympathies with the families of the victims and said that terrorists involved in the attack would be brought to justice.

Earlier, minor attacks on the houses and convoys of election candidates have taken place in different parts of Balochistan.

An explosion occurred near an election office BAP candidate for a provincial assembly seat Shakil Durrani in Khuzdar on Thursday night, injuring two people.

The convoy of Rehmat Saleh Baloch, a National Party (NP) candidate for a provincial assembly seat, came under fire in Punjgur a week ago. However no one was killed or injured.

Two weeks ago, rockets were fired at the houses of Zahoor Buledi, BAP candidate for a provincial assembly seat, in Buleda and NP candidate Khair Jan Baloch in Jhaoo, causing no damage.

SIRAJ Raisani was contesting for PB-35 seat of Balochistan Assembly.

SIRAJ Raisani was contesting for PB-35 seat of Balochistan Assembly.

Attack on Akram Durrani

In the Bannu attack, tyres of the vehicle carrying MMA candidate Durrani were deflated due to intensity of the blast, however, he remained unhurt. Five police officials, including a woman, were among the injured.

Deputy Inspector General of police Abdul Karim told the media the remote-controlled explosive device had been fitted on the motorcycle which had been abandoned along the road in the Hoveda area.

He said candidates contesting July 25 elections had been warned about threat to their lives and asked to curtail their movement.

This was the second terror attack during the ongoing election campaign in KP in a week. A suicide bomber blew himself up at a corner meeting of the Awami National Party in Peshawar on Tuesday night, ,killing 22 people, including Haroon Bilour,, the party candidate from PK-78, and injuring around 60. The proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

Mr Durrani, a leader of the Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) — who had served as a federal minister in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government and as chief minister of KP, then North Western Frontier Province, in 2002-07 — was in Hoveda, some 16km south of Bannu city, in connection with his election campaign.

Witnesses said that the blast occurred when Mr Durrani boarded his SUV after addressing a public meeting. The explosive-rigged motorcycle was parked near Mr Durrani’s vehicle.

Witnesses said three people died on the spot and another expired at the District Headquarters Hospital in Bannu. The wounded were shifted to the hospital. Police and security forces cordoned off the area and mounted a search operation was to look for the perpetrators of the blast.

The deceased have been identified as Adnan Khan, Ahmad Ullah Khan, Jalat Khan and Umar Darraz, according to a list issued by the hospital administration.

After the explosion, Mr Durrani visited the hospital to inquire about the health of the injured. Talking to media, he said political workers could not be intimidated by bomb blasts and expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements.

Recently, the National Counter Terrorism Authority had issued a threat alert about attacks on leading politicians, including Akram Durrani.

JUI -F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has condemned the blast and the recent wave of terrorism in KP and other parts of the country. He said in a statement after the suicide blast in Peshawar, the Bannu attack was an attempt to terrorise people ahead of the polling day.

He urged the caretaker governments at the centre and in the provinces to fulfil their responsibility and take serious measures to ensure safety of the people.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2018

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85 dead, over 150 injured in Mastung bombing claimed by Islamic State

At least 85 people, including politician Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, were killed and more than 150 injured in a deadly suicide blast in Balochistan’s Mastung district Friday afternoon, provincial Health Minister Faiz Kakar confirmed to DawnNewsTV.

According to the Aamaq news agency, the militant Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Levies sources said the blast targeted a corner meeting organised by Siraj, a Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate for PB-35 (Mastung). Senior provincial official Saeed Jamali said the bomber detonated explosives in the middle of a compound where a political meeting was taking place.

“Mir Siraj Raisani succumbed to his wounds while he was being shifted to Quetta,” Agha Umar Bungalzai, provincial home minister, told AFP

Balochistan’s Civil Defence Director Aslam Tareen as well as Bungalzai both said the blast was a suicide attack. Tareen said eight to 10 kilogrammes of explosives and ball bearings were used in the attack.

Kakar said that the deceased were taken to Civil Hospital Quetta, Bolan Medical Complex and Combined Military Hospital Quetta. Over two dozen bodies, however, were kept in Mastung.

Civil Hospital Quetta Spokesperson Waseem Baig said the hospital received 53 bodies and 73 wounded. At least 20 of those injured are in critical condition.

Senior Vice-President of BAP Sarfaraz Bugti has condoled Nawabzada Siraj’s death.

Die-hard Pakistani and true patriot! RIP Siraj brother ,#MastungBlast, ,pic.twitter.com/zv7dEYI7hg,

— Sarfraz Bugti (@PakSarfrazbugti) ,July 13, 2018,

Nawabzada Siraj Raisani

The younger brother of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Nawabzada Siraj had been chief of the Balochistan Muttahida Mahaz (BMM), formed by Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani in the 1970s, till June this year.

He had recently ,merged BMM, with the ,newly-formed BAP,.

He was contesting PB-35 (Mastung) for the 2018 elections against his own brother Nawab Aslam Raisani, who is contesting as an independent candidate.

Siraj’s teenage son, Hakmal Raisani, had been ,killed in a grenade attack, on his vehicle in the same district in 2011. Siraj, who had been present inside the vehicle at the time of the attack, had escaped unhurt.

Shrugging off the threat to his own life, he had said at the time that he would continue to “raise the slogan of Pakistan”.

Election violence

The Mastung bombing was the latest — and deadliest — of a string of attacks targeting politically exposed persons ahead of the July 25 election.

Earlier today, a blast 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.

Last 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.

Following the attacks, activists have called for authorities to remain vigilant to protect candidates during the final days of the campaign season.

“The Pakistani authorities have a duty to protect the rights of all Pakistanis during this election period ? their physical security and their ability to express their political views freely, regardless of which party they belong to,” said Omar Waraich, deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International.

Additional reporting by Ismail Sasoli.

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NAB chief hints at action against two former CMs

QUETTA: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman ,retired Justice Javed Iqbal, has hinted that action will be initiated soon against two former chief ministers of Balochistan on charges of corruption and misuse of powers.

Speaking at a seminar here on Wednesday, Justice Iqbal said an inquiry against one of the former chief ministers had almost been completed while an inquiry against the other was under way.

Caretaker Chief Minister of Balochistan Allauddin Marri, the chief secretary, director general of NAB Balochistan, inspector general of police and other senior officers also attended the seminar about corruption.

On the occasion, the NAB chairman handed over to Chief Minister Marri documents of properties and keys of vehicles worth billions of rupees that were confiscated by the bureau in the mega-corruption case of the provincial finance department.

Justice Iqbal said that because NAB had a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, it would not hesitate to take action against corrupt officers and other elements. “Now action will be taken from top to bottom without regard to the corrupt officials’ status and influence,” he said.

Justice Javed Iqbal hands over to caretaker chief minister documents of properties and keys of vehicles recovered in a corruption case

Billions of rupees had been looted from the national exchequer and sent abroad for purchasing expensive properties. “All the money looted by the officials and other elements would be brought back to the country,” said Justice Iqbal.

He said that bureaucracy should now change its attitude because all people involved in looting and plundering of national wealth would be made accountable.

The NAB chief said that putting tough questions to the corrupt elements was not politics. “I consider it to be worship.”

Initiating inquiries against the corrupt elements was not victimisation as the NAB had nothing to do with elections, he said. However, he added: “We will not take any step that hurts the self-respect of any person.”

Turning to the sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan, Justice Iqbal said the situation would have been far better had the past provincial governments spent the funds meant for Zakat and Ushr properly.

He expressed the hope that the huge amount recovered under the mega-corruption case of the province’s finance department would be spent on the welfare of the people.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Marri said that corruption could only be purged from society through self-accountability.

“Today money looted from the people of Balochistan is being returned, but it’s a matter of shame that such a huge scandal was unearthed in this province,” Mr Marri said.

He said the government officers working in Balochistan were educated people, but despite its best efforts the province was getting mired in corruption.

“I have visited several countries in Europe and I have always admired them for their development. Our country and society is full of talented officers but corruption has pushed us back.”

Chief Minister Marri said the people should keep in mind while voting that all political leaders were ultimately accountable to the masses.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018

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Commission on missing persons says 3,331 cases disposed of

ISLAMABAD: The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has disposed of 3,331 cases of missing persons till June 30.

According to an official handout issued on Thursday, the commission received 5,177 cases up to May 31 and 36 more cases in June, taking the total to 5,213. It disposed of 67 cases in June.

“Out of 5,213 cases, the commission has disposed of 3,331 cases up to June 30, 2018, due to personal efforts of President, Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, Islamabad, retired Justice Javed Iqbal,” the handout said.

The commission conducted 204 hearings in Islamabad, 169 in Karachi, 73 in Lahore and 91 in Quetta.The Supreme Court has also referred more than 300 cases of missing persons to the commission for their recovery.

Mainstream political parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, have demanded that whenever a missing person is recovered he must be produced before a court of law.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2018

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PTI Balochistan president ineligible to contest elections, high court rules

The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Tuesday ruled that the provincial president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, is not eligible to contest the July 25 elections.

An appellate tribunal and returning officer (RO) had rejected Rind’s nomination papers for submitting a fake degree and being nominated in several first information reports (FIRs) in murder and kidnapping cases.

Announcing the verdict, a divisional bench of the BHC, comprising Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Justice Nazeer Langove, upheld the RO and tribunal’s decisions that had rendered him disqualified.

Advocate Sardar Latif Khosa and others had argued on behalf on Sardar Rind.

A day earlier, a divisional bench of the BHC had upheld the ,disqualification of PPP’s provincial president, Ali Madad Jattak,, who was vying for the PB-31 seat in Quetta.

Jattak had been disqualified by appellate tribunal of the BHC and RO for being convicted in a fake degree case.

Two ex-ministers declared ineligible

The same divisional bench also disqualified former provincial minister Mir Faiq Ali Jamali from participating in the poll.

The RO had rejected his nomination papers over submission of a fake degree. However, the appellate tribunal overturned the RO’s verdict, allowing Jamali to contest the elections.

The case had come to the BHC after Mohammad Omar Jamali, son of former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, challenged the tribunal head’s decision.

The Constitution bars convicts in certain cases from contesting elections unless a period of five years has lapsed since their release.

Deciding another poll-related appeal, the BHC disqualified ex-provincial minister Behram Khan Achakzai from the election race.

In doing so, the high court upheld the decisions of the RO and appellate tribunal, which had declared him ineligible over his involvement in a corruption case.

Security plan drawn up for elections

In a separate development, the Balochistan government has devised an expansive security plan to avert any untoward incident during the forthcoming elections in the province that has been plagued by violence for more than a decade.

In view of security threats, the provincial government has decided to provide security to every candidate of the national and provincial assemblies.

National Assembly candidates will be provided two security personnel each, while one official will be assigned the security of each Balochistan Assembly candidate across the province, a senior officer of the Balochistan home and tribal affairs department who requested anonymity told DawnNewsTV.

Five security personnel will be provided to each candidate in sensitive areas of the province, the officer added.

Over 1,000 candidates in Balochistan are vying for a total of 51 provincial assembly seats and more than 300 for 16 NA seats.

This decision in this regard was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by Balochistan Home Secretary Haider Ali Shikoh. All divisional commissioners and senior security officials attended the meeting.

The meeting also decided to form threat assessment committees on a divisional level to asses the security of candidates and voters during the election, the officer said. Intelligence and monitoring committees had already been formed on a district level across the province to ensure adherence to the election code of conduct and security of candidates. Deputy commissioners will head the threat assessment committees comprising representatives of all intelligence agencies.

Candidates belonging to Baloch nationalist groups including the Balochistan National Party-Mengal and National Party have recently been targeted in Makran and Awaran districts of Balochistan.

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Balochistan High Court allows Akbar Bugti’s grandson to contest elections

The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Monday allowed Nawab Aali Bugti, a grandson of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, to contest the July 25 general elections.

The returning officer (RO) in Dera Bugti had rejected Aali Bugti’s nomination papers for PB-10 Dera Bugti saying his opponents had alleged that the candidate had failed to disclose his assets. He was later disqualified by the appellate election tribunal.

A divisional bench of the BHC, comprising Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Justice Nazeer Langove, today set aside the judgements of the appellate tribunal and RO, clearing Aali Bugti to contest the poll.

Former home minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti had challenged the nomination papers of Aali Bugti, who had challenged the tribunal and RO’s decisions in the high court.

Disqualificaiton of PPP Balochistan president upheld

The same divisional bench of the BHC also upheld the disqualification of PPP’s provincial president, who was vying for the PB-31 seat in Quetta.

Announcing its reserved decision on the petition, the bench ruled that Ali Madad Jattak, the PPP’s Balochistan chief, cannot be allowed to contest the elections.

Jattak was earlier ,disqualified by appellate tribunal of the BHC, and RO for being convicted in a fake degree case. Jattak had then challenged the judgment of tribunal and the RO.

The Constitution bars convicts in certain cases from contesting elections unless a period of five years has lapsed since their release.

The court also reserved judgment with regard to the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Balochistan chief Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind. The appellate tribunal and RO had rejected Rind’s nomination papers for submitting a fake degree and being nominated in several first information reports (FIRs) in murder and kidnapping cases.

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National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua resigns

National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua resigned from the post on Wednesday, allegedly due to differences with the interim government, DawnNewsTV reported, citing sources.

Janjua’s resignation was accepted by Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, according to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division.

Lt Gen (r) Janjua, who had replaced Sartaj Aziz on Oct 23, 2015, was accorded the status of minister of state. His appointment was part of efforts to revitalise the national security division since, during Aziz’s approximately two-and-a-half-year tenure, the National Security Committee had met just four times.

The military too had reportedly been pressing the then government for bringing in a new NSA.

Janjua is the second military official to hold the post after Major General (r) Mehmood Durrani who was NSA during an earlier PPP government.

Janjua held the post of Southern Command Quetta before he retired from the army. Before that, he was president of the National Defence University, the military’s higher education institute and premier think-tank on national security matters.

He also worked on ‘Azm-i-Nau’, a military preparedness exercise with particular focus on India. In December 2017, the then premier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, had tasked Janjua to present the national security policy.

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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Ghazain, Shahzain allowed to contest polls

QUETTA: The Appellate Tribunal of the Balochistan High Court on Monday allowed independent candidate Nawabzada Ghazain Marri, former provincial minister Abdul Majid Abro and Dinesh Kumar to contest election in their respective constituencies.

A two-member bench of the Balochistan High Court comprising Justice Hashim Kakar and Justice Ejaz Sawati, rejected the objection filed against PB-9 independent candidate Nawabzada Ghazain Marri and allowed him to contest election from Kohlu.

Take a look: ,Gazain Marri announces to end separatist politics, set to join mainstream party,

The district returning officer of Kohlu had rejected Mr Marri’s nomination papers last week after his proposer and seconder did not appear before the RO.

On Monday, Nawabzada Marri, flanked by Advocate Adnan Ejaz, appeared before the tribunal and the court allowed him to contest polls.

“On very flimsy grounds my nomination papers were rejected by the DRO as my proposer and seconder had been abducted by unknown people and had also lodged an FIR in Kohlu,” Nawabzada Marri said while talking to journalists outside the court.

Referring to obstacles he was facing in contesting the election, he said obviously “we have been taking part in the election within the framework of the country’s constitution, but I know we have to face more obstacles in future”.

In reply to a question about his political future, Mr Marri said he would work for safeguarding and protecting interests of the people of Balochistan.

The election tribunal also allowed former health minister Abdul Majid Abro and Dinesh Kumar to contest election after rejecting objections on their nomination papers

While hearing another petition, the court rejected objection over nomination papers of Balochistan Awai Party President Jam Kamal who is contesting election from NA-272 and PB-50, Lasbela.

The Balochistan High Court’s election tribunal also nullified the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision of rejecting Jamhoori Watan Party leader Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti’s nomination papers and allowed him to contest polls from Dera Bugti.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2018

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Pakistan to adopt UN Decade of Action for water sector

ISLAMABAD: Facing a ,grim water situation,, Pakis­tan plans to adopt the United Nations’ Decade (2018-28) of Action: Water for Sustainable Development programme envisaging integrated water resou­rces management including seawater treatment for Karachi, Gwa­dar, Pasni, Jiwani, Keti Ban­dar and other coastal areas.

This was the crux of a consultative session attended by local and international consultants and representatives of the federal and provincial governm­ents and companies, arranged by the Pla­nning Commission as part of its efforts to implement the country’s first Natio­nal Water Policy recently approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

The conference was told that Pakistan was a water-scarce country and its availability was likely to further reduce and make it more vulnerable on supply side due to upstream water use by India, Afghanistan and China. Moreover, Pakis­tan’s water scarcity will inc­rease due to climate change and enhanced demand due to urbanisation, industrial dev­e­­lopment, population inc­rease, changes in life patterns and food consumption patterns, increased GDP and higher irrigation requirements due to global warming.

The session was told that groundwater aquifers, due to unsustainable withdrawal of water, had dangerously declined in Quetta and Lahore while out of 43 canal command areas, 37 had shown drastic decrease in groundwater level, with alarming consequences.

Groundwater quality has been deteriorating due to excessive mining, causing aquifer mixing of saline water and pollutants, including heavy metals like arsenic, lead and fluoride, while surface and ground water are also contaminated by pathogens due to mixing of sewerage and industrial wastewater contamination.

The conference noted that water borne-diseases generally included conventional diseases like malaria and typhoid, but now hepatitis was also increasing as reported from the districts of Gujranwala and Bahawalnagar, Rivers of Ravi, Sutluj, Malir and Lyari are now filled with sewage whereas Islamabad’s fresh water streams are now causing health hazards. Likewise, the greater Karachi area has damaged aqua life and water quality in the coastal areas.

The session recognised that the cosmopolitan city of Karachi and the emerging commercial hub of Gwadar required seawater treatment to meet their growing water demands for which innovative models should be devised for financial sustainability of the system.

It noted that solar desalination was highly suitable option for Keti Bandar, Tha­tta and Badin in Sindh and Ormara, Pasni and Jiwani in Balochistan and suggested that measures should be adopted to promote this technology in these areas.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018

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Two Afghan soldiers repatriated

QUETTA: Two Afghan army personnel who had crossed into the Pakistani territory were handed over to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the Afghan soldiers were handed over to Afghan border officials by the Frontier Corps authorities at the Chaman border as a goodwill gesture.

The Afghan army personnel were identified as Hayatullah and Latif­ullah. They had been taken into custody from Muslim Bagh and Pishin areas by Pakistani security forces a few months ago.

Latifullah belongs to the Afghan National Army and Hayatullah is from the border security force.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018

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4 suspected terrorists killed in Quetta ‘encounter’

The Balochistan Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Frontier Corps (FC) and other law enforcement agencies killed four suspected terrorists, including a woman, during an operation in Quetta on Wednesday, local sources told DawnNewsTV.

The CTD had launched an operation in Quetta’s Dasht area in the morning against suspected militants of an outlawed group active in the area, sources in CTD said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Quetta Razzaq Cheema in an afternoon press conference said the operation had been conducted after a tip-off from an arrested suspect.

During the operation, an exchange of fire took place between the two sides. Subsequently, personnel of the Frontier Corps and other LEAs reached the site to provide backup.

Seven CTD personnel were injured in the gunfight. One militant blew himself up close to an armored vehicle belonging to the security forces, but there was no human loss, CTD officials said.

Security forces later took over the compound being used by the terrorists. A large cache of arms and ammunition were recovered during a subsequent search operation.

2 killed in target killing

In another incident, unidentified armed militants opened fire at the vehicle of a police officer in Quetta’s Nawan Killi area. Police sources said that a CTD sub-inspector, his father and son were injured in the attack. The attackers managed to flee from the scene.

Police officials believe that it was a targeted attack.

The injured were rushed to the Combined Military Hospital, Quetta for treatment, but the father and son of the police officer succumbed to injuries.

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Paramilitary forces’ vehicle attacked on Quetta’s Sariab Road, 3 martyred

Three levies forces personnel were martyred in a targeted attack on Quetta’s Sariab Road on Eid day, DawnNewsTV reported.

Initial reports suggest that a paramilitary forces vehicle was intercepted by unidentified men on Sariab Road near Killi Bangulzai.

The levies personnel sitting in the car were fired at by the attackers. They lost their lives after suffering bullet injuries.

Rescue teams later reached the scene and moved the slain personnel’s bodies to Civil Hospital Quetta.

The slain men have been identified as Anwar Ali and the brothers Najeebullah and Haseebullah.

Quetta’s Deputy Inspector General of Police Razzaq Cheema said the miscreants had escaped unhurt from the spot after the attack.

“This seems to be an act of targeted killing,” he said.

Cheema had earlier said over 4,000 police and Frontier Corps personnel had been deployed on the eve of Eid in Quetta city.

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