Posts Tagged ‘Quetta’

At least 6 policemen martyred in suicide attack targeting police van in Quetta

  • ,Quetta’s security challenges,

At least six policemen were martyred and seven others were injured when a suicide bomber targeted a police van on Airport Road in Quetta on Tuesday evening, Quetta DIG Razzaq Cheema told DawnNewsTV.

Moreover, two suicide bombers also attacked a Frontier Corps (FC) checkpost in Quetta’s Mian Ghundi area, however, the FC personnel killed the attackers following an exchange of fire, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

“The first suicide bomber blew himself up outside a FC checkpost in the outskirts of Quetta city after he was spotted by the guards,” Balochistan Home Secretary Ghulam Ali Baloch told AFP.

“Just in the next moments, another bomber who was covering the first attacker exchanged fire with the security forces and later blew himself up.” Some eight paramilitary officials were wounded in this attack, he added.

Around half an hour later a third bomber drove his motorcycle into a police truck on a road leading to the airport, killing at least six policemen, Baloch added.

Moazam Jah Ansari, Quetta’s police chief, confirmed the attacks and said the bombing of the police truck was so powerful that the vehicle overturned.

It was not clear whether the third bomber was wearing an explosive vest or if the bike was filled with explosives.

“Seven policemen were injured in this attack,” he said, adding that the three blasts may have been coordinated.

Policeman walks past the vehicle targeted by suicide bomber. —AP

Policeman walks past the vehicle targeted by suicide bomber. —AP

Police and FC personnel rushed to the blast site and cordoned off the area. No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In January this year, at least ,seven people were killed, on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road when a suicide bomber rammed into a parked police truck, injuring 16 people, police said.

Quetta’s security challenges

Balochistan has faced a number of security challenges in recent months, with security personnel in the province often being targeted in roadside explosions and suicide attacks.

Five people were killed and 27 others had suffered injuries in a ,suicide attack on a convoy of a paramilitary force, in the Sariab Road area of Quetta in November last year.

In October, seven policemen belonging to the Rapid Response Group (RRG) of Balochistan Police and a passer-by were ,killed in a suicide blast,, also in Sariab area.

Fifteen people, including eight soldiers, were martyred when a suicide bomber ,targeted a military truck, near the Pishin bus stop in Quetta in August.

Earlier in June, 14 people ? including seven policemen ? ,lost their lives in a suicide blast, that shook Shuhada Chowk in Quetta’s Gulistan Road area.

Balochistan has been experiencing incidents of violence and targeted killings for over a decade. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.


This is a developing story. More details to follow.

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2 Hazara men gunned down in ‘targeted attack’ in Quetta: police

    Two men belonging to the Hazara community were killed, while a third was injured in an incident of firing in Quetta’s Western Bypass area on Sunday.

    Police sources said unknown miscreants opened fire and killed two people identified as Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Zaman. One person was wounded as result of firing, the sources said. The injured was rushed to Bolan Medical Complex, Quetta, for treatment.

    Police said the victims were members of the Hazara community and that the incident appeared to be a targeted attack.

    The assailants escaped unhurt from the spot after the attack. Police and other law enforcement personnel reached the spot as an investigation into the incident was initiated.

    Attacks against Hazaras in Quetta have seen a spike recently, with this attack being the second this week alone. A ,shopkeeper was gunned down, in the provincial capital earlier this week while another ,Hazara man was killed, in the beginning of April.

    The Hazara community has been disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance.

    A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights last month stated that ,509 members of Hazara community were killed, and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta during the last five years.

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    Crackdown on PTM activists ahead of Lahore rally

      LAHORE: In the wake of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’s (PTM) resolve to stage a rally at Mochi Gate here on Sunday (today), police launched raids late on Saturday and arrested several leaders of the PTM, Awami Workers Party (AWP) and Pashtun students from a local hotel and Punjab University.

      As the news of the arrests spread through social media, protests were staged in Quetta and Peshawar on the call of the PTM leader, it is learnt.

      Police raided a hotel on Davies Road and arrested PTM leader Ali Wazir, AWP president Fanoos Gujjar and Ismat Shahjahan besides several other leaders and workers.

      Police also raided Punjab University and arrested Pashtun student leaders Alamgir, Muzamil Khan, Bilal Mandokhail and others.

      Senior police officer denies arrest of PTM leaders

      After the refusal by the Punjab government to allow the PTM rally at Mochi Gate, the PTM leaders had asserted that they would stage the rally as per plan, adding that there would be no violence or agitation.

      After the arrests, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen took to social media to call for nationwide protests against the Lahore arrests.

      On Twitter, the hashtags #PashtunLongMarch, #ReleasePTMWorkers and #ShameOnPunjabPolice became top trends.

      When contacted, Deputy Inspector General Haider Ashraf said police had not arrested any worker but engaged a dozen of PTM leaders to get affidavits from them that they would not take part in any anti-state activity.

      Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2018

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      Pakistan failing on human rights, claims new HRCP report

        An independent watchdog criticised Pakistan’s human rights record over the past year in a new report released on Monday, saying the nation has failed to make progress.

        The damning report card issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) says people continue to disappear in Pakistan, sometimes because they criticise the establishment and other times because they advocate better relations with India.

        The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, per the report, received 868 new cases, of which 555 were settled.

        The report claims that the blasphemy law continues to be misused, especially against dissidents, with cases in which mere accusations that someone committed blasphemy lead to deadly mob violence.

        While deaths directly linked to acts of terrorism declined in 2017, the report said attacks against the country’s minorities were on the rise.

        This year’s 296-page report was dedicated to one of the commission’s founders, Asma Jahangir, whose death in February generated worldwide outpouring of grief and accolades for the 66-year-old activist who was fierce in her commitment to human rights.

        ,Read: Climate of fear: State of human rights remains dismal in Pakistan,

        “We have lost a human rights giant,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said following Jahangir’s death. “She was a tireless advocate for inalienable rights of all people and for equality — whether in her capacity as a Pakistani lawyer in the domestic justice system, as a global civil society activist, or as a Special Rapporteur… Asma will not be forgotten.”

        Monday’s report also took aim at religious bigotry and the government’s refusal to push back against religious zealots, fearing a backlash.

        “The people’s right to socio-economic activities is curtailed by intolerance and extremism and authorities are lenient for fear of political backlash,” said the report.

        It added that religious conservative organisations continued to resist laws aimed at curbing violence against women, laws giving greater rights to women and removing legal restrictions on social exchanges between sexes, which remain segregated in many parts of the Pakistani society.

        The report pointed out that in 2017 instances of violence against women was much higher than the actual cases reported, whereas 22m women in the country have still not been registered to vote for the upcoming general election.

        Still, there was legal progress in other areas, it noted, describing as a “landmark development” a new law in Punjab, which accepts marriage licences within the Sikh community at the local level, giving the unions protection under the law.

        But religious minorities in Pakistan continued to be a target of extremists, it said, citing attacks on Shias, Christians falsely accuse of blasphemy and also on Ahmedis.

        “In a year when freedom of thought, conscience and religion continued to be stifled, incitement to hatred and bigotry increased, and tolerance receded even further,” said the report.

        On Sunday in Quetta, gunmen attacked Christian worshippers as they left Sunday services, killing two. Five other worshippers were wounded, two seriously.

        Last year was a troubling year for activists, journalists and bloggers.

        Several were detained, including five bloggers who subsequently fled the country after their release. From exile, some of them said their captors were agents of an intelligence agency.

        In December, Raza Mehmood Khan, an activist who worked with schoolchildren on both sides of the border to foster better relations was picked up by several men after leaving a meeting that criticised religious extremism.

        Last year, a government-mandated commission on enforced disappearances received 868 new cases, more than in two previous years. The commission located 555 of the disappeared but the remaining 313 are still missing.

        “Journalists and bloggers continue to sustain threats, attacks and abductions and blasphemy law serves to coerce people into silence,” the report said.

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        At least 2 dead, 5 injured in attack on Christian community near church in Quetta

          At least two members of the Christian community were killed and five others injured in a firing incident near a church in Quetta, DawnNewsTV reported.

          DIG Quetta Abdur Razzaq Cheema said the incident occurred when worshippers were leaving after attending the Sunday service at a church in Essa Nagri area of the provincial capital.

          Unidentified attackers riding a motorbike opened fire on the members of the Christian community and managed to flee the scene soon after the incident, the DIG said.

          The injured were rushed to Bolan Medical Complex, Quetta, where two injured worshippers succumbed to their, the hospital officials said.

          ,Also read: Murder of Christians,

          Earlier this month, four members of a Christian family travelling in a rickshaw ,were killed in a firing incident, on Quetta’s Shah Zaman road. The Christian family belonged to Punjab and had come to Quetta to see relatives.

          In December last year, nine people were killed and 30 injured in a suicide attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road.

          At least two ,suicide attackers had struck, the Bethel Memorial Church while Sunday service was ongoing. There were 400 worshipers inside the church when the assault started.

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          SC orders Qila Abdullah police to arrest suspect over marriage proposal threat

            QUETTA: The Supreme Court ordered the Balochistan inspector general and deputy commissioner and police officer of Qila Abdullah district on Wednesday to arrest and produce before it within 10 days a man involved in firing at the house of Obaidullah to pressurise him to marry off his 10-year-old sister with the accused.

            A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while taking up an application filed by Obaidullah at the court’s Quetta registry, also directed IG Moazzam Jah Ansari, the deputy commissioner and the district police officer to provide full protection to the family of the applicant.

            Mr Obaidullah, a resident of the Gulistan area of Qila Abdullah, said in his application that Din Mohammad, an old man, forcibly wanted to marry his sister and last year he had opened fire on his house and warned that “your 10-year-old sister is my wife and no other man can marry her”.

            He said he had lodged an FIR against the accused and his associates who were threatening him and his family with dire consequences, but police had not arrested them.

            The applicant said that due to threats his sister could not go out of the house, forcing the family to leave their native town and move to Quetta.

            The girl also attended the hearing along with her brother.

            The Qila Abdullah deputy commissioner informed the bench that police had raided the house of the accused — a truck driver — but he was not found there.

            The investigation officer informed the bench that four accused nominated in the case had been arrested by police, but they obtained bail from court. He said only the main accused, Din Mohammad, was still absconder.

            The next hearing of the case will be held on April 23 in Islamabad.

            Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2018

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            CJP urges judges to provide speedy justice

              QUETTA: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has said that no hurdle will be tolerated in the way of providing speedy and inexpensive justice and it is the responsibility of the judges to provide swift justice to people.

              Speaking at a ceremony held here on Wednesday to hand over keys of vehicles to judges of the Balochistan High Court, CJP Nisar said thousands of cases had been pending for 40 years and judges would be held responsible for the delay in providing justice to the masses.

              “There was a time when judges would write judgements in their own handwriting, so no one could have made changes in their judgement, but today many judges are making decisions without applying basic legal rules,” he said.

              “Judges are the most important pillar of the judicial system in the country. We should respect our profession because Allah has attached us to this profession which leads towards respect and forgiveness,” he added.

              Sharing his views on legal reforms in the country, CJP Nisar said: “We don’t have the power to change the legislation made during the British rule in the subcontinent, but if we follow the existing legal rules, we can provide easy justice and dispose of hundreds of cases timely.”

              He said the people had been waiting for judgements in their cases for 30 to 40 years and their right to justice was being violated by lack of interest of judges. “If people are not getting justice despite knocking on the doors of honourable courts, I think we all would be held responsible for these delays.”

              The chief justice urged the judges to learn complexities of laws because, he said, the time had come that “we all have to bring changes in our judicial system and it is up to you (the judges) to first bring a positive change in your courts”.

              He said as compared to other government departments the judges had more privilege and lavish salaries and perks.

              Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2018

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              No politics acceptable in social sectors of Balochistan: CJP

                QUETTA: The Supreme Court regretted on Tuesday that health and education sectors in Balochistan were worse than those in Sindh and warned that if the situation did not improve the court would consider imposing a ban on trade unions in these departments.

                “No politics is acceptable in these sectors,” said a three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

                The bench had taken up a suo motu case about the plight of people being deprived of basic amenities like healthcare, education and clean drinking water in Balochistan at the court’s Quetta registry.

                “We thought that the situation in Sindh was very poor, but the situation in Balochistan has no match. Everybody is trying to put responsibility on others, when we ask anyone about any matter,” the court regretted.

                Chief Justice Nisar expressed his annoyance over the absence of two former chief ministers of Balochistan — Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Nawab Sanaullah Zehri — from the hearing despite ,the issuance of summons,. He directed them to appear before the court on April 30 in Islamabad.

                The court had summoned the former chief ministers to explain what they had done during their tenures to resolve numerous issues faced by people in Balochistan.

                Orders transfer of health secretary to some other department

                The court directed the provincial government to finalise the education policy in 15 days and also submit a compliance report in one week after admitting 100 students of Balochistan to private medical colleges.

                Balochistan Chief Secretary Aurangzeb Haq, Additional Chief Secretary for Planning and Development Nasibullah Bazai, Education Secretary Noor-ul-Haq Baloch, Health Secretary Saleh Mohammad Nasar and Advocate General Rauf Atta appeared before the court.

                The chief secretary assured the bench that after the provincial cabinet’s approval a draft of the education policy would be submitted to the court in Islamabad.

                The chief justice lashed out at the health secretary for coming late and said he was not satisfied with the performance of Mr Nasar. “You should leave service if you cannot come on time.”

                When the CJP asked the health secretary which province he was from, Mr Nasar said he belonged to Balochistan.

                At this, Justice Nisar said: “If you are from Balochistan then you should work for the province. Have you seen the conditions of hospitals? There is no single MRI machine in Civil Hospital.”

                The CJP directed the chief secretary to transfer the health secretary to some other department.

                He regretted that the Balochistan government paid a doctor Rs24,000 per month, whereas the monthly salary of a driver of the apex court was Rs35,000.

                Chief Justice Nisar directed the chief secretary to equip hospitals with modern instruments in order to provide better health facilities to people.

                The education secretary informed the court that over the last three years, 400,000 children had been enrolled in schools in Balochistan.

                On a court query, Mr Baloch said there were no drinking water and washroom facilities in 50 per cent primary schools in Balochistan and the situation was same in middle and high schools as well.

                When the chief justice asked how much time would be required to provide such facilities in schools, the education secretary said washrooms would be constructed in 11,000 schools over the next three years. “We need Rs6 billion for providing these facilities in all schools across the province.”

                The CJP said the planning and development and finance departments were part of the government and if they were not releasing funds for education then who was responsible, adding that the provincial government had failed in good governance.

                Mujeebullah Ghirsheen, a representative of the Government Teachers Association, informed the court that schools were being occupied by landlords and the provincial government had failed to take action against them.

                Chief Justice Nisar criticised the role of the association and reprimanded Mr Ghirsheen, asking him to educate children instead of proving himself to be a leader. Political interference in the education department would not be tolerated, he warned.

                The chief justice ordered the transfer of Mr Ghirsheen to Khuzdar.

                Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018

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                Balochistan govt to introduce health policy

                  QUETTA: The Balochis­tan cabinet on Mon­day decided to introduce a health policy in the province.

                  A meeting of the cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo was informed that a comprehensive draft of the policy would be presented in the next meeting for its approval.

                  The officers of the health department briefed the meeting about the draft.

                  The draft was referred to a committee of the cabinet headed by Health Minister Abdul Majid Abro for preparing recommendations in view of the suggestions of its members.

                  The cabinet members observed that an immediate introduction of the healthy policy was necessary for providing better health facilities to the people of the province.

                  Quetta Safe City Project to be implemented

                  It decided that no further delay would be allowed in implementing the health policy in Balochistan.

                  The cabinet decided to implement the Quetta Safe City Project without further delay and exempted the project from some clauses of the Balochistan Public Procurement Regularity Authority.

                  It approved issuance of a notification from the law department for re-determine of limits and headquarters of civil courts under the Balochistan Civil Courts Ordinance, 1962.

                  The cabinet also approved a project for improving basic infrastructure in the industrial town of Hub under the chief minister’s programme for developing divisional headquarters.

                  It extended the service of the Chairman of the Balochistan Public Service Commission for two years.

                  The cabinet approved amendment in the Balochistan Public Service Commission’s Act, 1989, under Article 242 of the Constitutions.

                  Speaking at the meeting, Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo said all government departments were bound to obey and implement all decisions taken by the cabinet and an action would be taken against officials who were found responsible for not implementing the decisions.

                  Published in Dawn, Aprill 10th, 2018

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                  Hazara delegation meets chief justice in Quetta

                    QUETTA: A delegation of the Hazara community headed by Abdul Khaliq Hazara met Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar at the Supreme Court, Quetta Registry, on Monday.

                    The delegation informed the chief justice about the problems and issues their community was facing in the city.

                    They CJP told the delegation that their problems would be solved according to law.

                    Published in Dawn, Aprill 10th, 2018

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                    SC summons former Balochistan CMs to explain what they did for improvement in province

                    • ,Lacking medical facilities,
                    • ,Hospital visit,
                    • ,Meeting with Hazara community,

                    Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday directed the last two chief ministers of Balochistan — Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Nawab Sanaullah Zehri — to appear before the apex court and explain what they did for the improvement of governance in the province during their respective tenures.

                    A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJP, was hearing cases at the court’s Quetta registry regarding the plight of public hospitals and medical colleges, and a doctors’ strike in the province.

                    “Three chief ministers came during one tenure [of the federal government] but what did they do for improvement of governance?” the CJP asked. “Call these chief ministers who ruled here for more than four years.”

                    The incumbent Balochistan chief minister, Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, also reached the apex court along with Health Minister Mir Majid Abro.

                    Over one million children in the province remain out of schools, Secretary Education Noorul Haq Baloch informed the court, adding that around 2.6m children should have been currently enrolled in schools.

                    “Why has the government failed to enrol out of school children?” the chief justice asked.

                    Lacking medical facilities

                    During the hearing, Justice Nisar asserted that he would want provision of water and healthcare to become the primary focus of the government. “According to Articles 184 and 199 of the Constitution, we have the right to intervene wherever basic human rights are violated.”

                    Secretary Health Saleh Nasar informed the court that a policy was being planned within the next ten days to improve the condition of government-run hospitals.

                    “Let us know what help you require from the federation,” the CJP told the officials. He also expressed his surprise upon learning that the OPDs in public hospitals of the province had been closed down.

                    The CJP ,repeated his commitment, to ensuring medical colleges don’t charge exorbitant fees. “We want the money to be returned to 20 million students,” he said, adding that all amounts above Rs856,000 in annual fees should be returned by the medical colleges.

                    “Unfortunately, our medical colleges are substandard,” he remarked.

                    Hospital visit

                    The chief justice later visited Quetta Civil Hospital where he interacted with the patients and visited the strike camp of paramedics and young doctors. He ordered the authorities to listen to the protesting medics’ demands and present a report to him following which the medics called off their strike.

                    Chief minister Balochistan and other officials also accompanied the chief justice during his visit.

                    The bench is expected to continue hearing cases at the Quetta registry until Wednesday.

                    Meeting with Hazara community

                    A delegation of the Hazara community also called on the chief justice and apprised him of their issues, according to a notification issued by the Supreme Court. Justice Nisar assured the delegation of resolving the community’s issues in accordance with the law.

                    Sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted people from the Hazara community.

                    A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights last month stated that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta during the last five years.

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                    CJ takes exception to slow pace in Model Town trial

                    • ,Power companies,
                    • ,Spring festival,

                    LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday took suo motu notice of delay in proceedings into the 2014 Model Town killings and summoned details of the case from the trial court and the advocate general for Punjab by April 14.

                    Fourteen people, most of them members and supporters of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, were killed and 80 others injured during a clash when the police and administration tried to remove barriers placed outside the party’s headquarters in Model Town. Officials claimed the action had been taken on the demand of the area people as the barriers restricted their movement.

                    The families of those killed were holding a protest outside the Supreme Court’s registry when the chief justice noticed it on his arrival and called their representatives to his chamber.

                    Punjab govt told to submit record of solar energy firms by 14th

                    Bisma Amjad, who represented the aggrieved families, appealed to the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the inordinate delay in dispensation of justice despite the passage of four years.

                    She said they were denied a fair trial and demanded that those involved in the killing of innocent people be punished accordingly.

                    The CJP expressed concern over the delay in the trial proceedings and assured the aggrieved families of complete justice. He summoned complete record of the case from the trial court.

                    The trial has been pending before an antiterrorism court against police and officials of the civil administration. A private complaint filed by Idara Minhajul Quran is also pending adjudication before the trial court.

                    Power companies

                    Chief Justice Saqib Nisar also took suo motu notice of mismanagement in Quaid-i-Azam solar power plant in Bahawalpur and all such projects being run by different power companies in the province.

                    He directed the Punjab chief secretary and the advocate general to submit by April 14 complete record of these companies as well as details of expenditures on the projects. Another suo motu notice relating to establishment of all 56 public sector companies in the province is already pending before the court.

                    Besides, Chief Justice Nisar summoned Vice Chancellor of Multan’s Nishtar Medical University Dr Zafar Hussain Tanvir and members of the search committee which recommended his appointment.

                    Advocate General for Punjab Shakilur Rehman Khan told a two-judge SC bench that Dr Tanvir had a PhD degree in zoology.

                    The chief justice expressed his disappointment when he was informed that Prof Faisal Masood was also a member of the search committee.

                    Prof Masood is acting vice chancellor of University of Health Sciences and Chief Justice Nisar regularly seeks his expertise to resolve public interest cases like medical education and quality of milk and food. However, Prof Masood was not present in the court on Sunday.

                    The chief justice observed that he never thought that Prof Masood could recommend any ineligible person for the post of vice chancellor. “One cannot be a passenger of two boats at the same time,” the chief justice said, referring to Prof Masood.

                    The bench adjourned hearing to April 14.

                    Spring festival

                    Chief Justice Saqib Nisar attended a spring festival at a hotel in Quetta on Sunday. The event was aimed at bringing together members of the diplomatic and business communities along with government officials, friends and families to celebrate the arrival of the new season.

                    Various activities were organised to entertain the participants. Children enjoyed cultural walk, face painting and took photographs with those dressed up as Disney characters.

                    Stalls displaying handicrafts, paintings and jewellery as well as those with food ranging from continental to local delicacies were also set up.

                    Saleem Shahid from Quetta also contributed to this report

                    Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2018

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                    PM Abbasi discusses regional security, connectivity with Afghanistan’s Ghani

                    • ,’Current situation does not benefit anyone’,
                    • ,Rejection of Kabul’s allegations,
                    • ,Peace process,

                    Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed the fight against militancy, the Afghan-led peace process, bilateral relations and regional connectivity as they met in Kabul on Friday.

                    Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Abbasi had landed in Kabul for a day-long visit to ease strained relations between the two countries and revive a push for peace talks with the Taliban.

                    PM Abbasi was welcomed by President Ghani. The two later inspected an honour guard at the Presidential Palace in Kabul before heading in for meetings.

                    The PM, accompanied by several other top Pakistani officials on the trip — his first to Kabul since becoming prime minister last year — was scheduled to meet with a string of Afghan officials, according to Ghani’s spokesman, Shah Hussain Murtazawi.

                    PM Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inspecting the guard of honour.— DawnNewsTV

                    PM Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inspecting the guard of honour.— DawnNewsTV

                    ‘Current situation does not benefit anyone’

                    In the meeting between Afghan President Ghani and the prime minister, the two leaders discussed terrorism and the peace process in Afghanistan as well other measures, including the construction of railroad projects, prisoner exchanges and Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), Afghanistan’s ,Tolo News reported,, quoting a statement from Ghani’s office.

                    “Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed on achieving the common aim of regional security through connectivity,” Radio Pakistan said about the meeting.

                    “The Afghan president reiterated that the current situation does not benefit anyone and that any concerns in this respect should be addressed through talks,” Tolo News reported.

                    He also shared details of alleged violations by Pakistan along the Pak-Afghan border.

                    The two sides agreed to creating a timeline and mechanism for repatriation of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, the statement read.

                    “Pakistan’s connection to the Central Asia, energy transition, Quetta-Kandahar-Herat and Peshawar-Jalalabad railroad projects and construction of Peshawar-Jalalabad highway” also came under discussion, according to the statement.

                    Welcoming the Afghan government’s peace offer to the Taliban, Prime Minister Abbasi said an Afghan-led peace process “is the only way to stability in the country”.

                    He also extended Pakistan’s offer for cooperation for peace in Afghanistan and invited President Ghani for an official visit to Pakistan.

                    Separately, in a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, the prime minister “discussed a range of issues, including peace and security, anti-terror efforts,” violations along the Pak-Afghan border and trade relations between the two countries.

                    “Abbasi said Islamabad will ease transport and exports of Afghanistan’s goods to Pakistan and that he hopes Afghan officials will do the same,” Tolo News reported, quoting a statement from Afghan official’s office.

                    Rejection of Kabul’s allegations

                    The visit, aimed at reducing tensions between the two neighbouring countries and further strengthening the Afghan peace process, ,comes in the backdrop of various accusations against Pakistan levelled by authorities in Afghanistan,.

                    A day before the PM’s visit, Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal had taken to Twitter to reject Afghan allegations of illegal airstrikes conducted by Pakistan.

                    “Pakistani security forces are undertaking counter-terrorism operations in Bajaur Agency directed against terrorist groups who continue to attack Pakistan from their sanctuaries based on Afghan soil that have resulted in loss of lives and injuries on the Pakistani side,” Dr Faisal tweeted after Kabul alleged that Pakistan had conducted air strikes in the Afghan province of Kunar, causing “huge financial damage”.

                    He added that in a meeting of the director generals of military operations of the two countries, held in Rawalpindi on Thursday, Pakistan had shared details of the operations with the Afghan side, making clear that these operations were on the Pakistani side of the border.

                    Peace process

                    Last month, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had also ,extended support, to Kabul’s proposed political process seeking to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and said Pakistan is ready for one-on-one talks with the Afghan Taliban.

                    President Ghani had ,proposed a ceasefire, and release of prisoners as part of a range of options, including new elections involving the militants and a constitutional review as part of a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that last year alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 Afghan civilians.

                    In return for Ghani’s offer, the Taliban would have to recognise the Afghan government and respect the rule of law, including the rights of women, one of the priorities for Afghanistan’s international partners.

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                    Former separatist leader says CPEC will change fate of Balochistan

                      QUETTA: Dr Jumma Khan Marri, a former separatist leader and president of the recently formed Over­seas Pakistani Baloch Unity, has said that development projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will change the fate of Balochistan.

                      Addressing a gathering in the Kohlu area from Moscow on telephone on Wednesday, he said that those opposing the CPEC and other development projects were not only the enemies of Pakistan but also the people of Balochistan.

                      Dr Marri, who recently ,disassociated himself from the separatist movement,, urged all the Baloch who are still on the mountains to lay down their weapons, join mainstream and start contributing to the development projects for the betterment of Balochistan.

                      He said the so-called leaders were enjoying a luxurious life in Europe, but the common Baloch people were suffering the brunt of terrorism.

                      Dr Marri said that he had launched the Overseas Pakistani Baloch Unity to expose and confront the disgruntled leaders on all forums and fronts abroad. He said he would come back to Pakistan soon, but first he and his organisation would dismantle these anti-Pakistan elements by unmasking their true faces.

                      He appealed to the people of Balochistan to help and extend support to him in his mission of peace, unity and brotherhood.

                      According to a statement, Wadera Ghazi Khan, Mir Sher Baz Marri, Wadera Mir Gul Sanjrani Marri, Syed Nizam Shah Marri, Wadera Bevragh Marri, Umar Farooq and Mir Zarak Khan also addressed the gathering.

                      Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2018

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                      ‘Ring leader of TTP killers’ held in Quetta

                        QUETTA: Law enforcement agencies have arrested the leader of a gang of hitmen belonging to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who were involved in the killing of 16 police officers over the last three months in the city, and raids are being conducted to arrest other members of the gang.

                        This was disclosed by Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo at a press conference here on Tuesday after presiding over a meeting on the law and order situation in the province. Provincial Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti accompanied the chief minister.

                        “Fazal Haq Ghaibzai, the ring leader of the TTP target killers, was arrested during a joint operation by police, the Counter Terrorism Department and the Frontier Corps on Tuesday night on the basis of intelligence information,” Mr Bizenjo said.

                        He said Ghaibzai had confessed during interrogation that he and five members of his gang had killed some senior police officers and FC personnel in different areas of Quetta.

                        The chief minister said Ghaibzai was a resident of Quetta and his father was a prayer leader at the mosque of a local school.

                        Sarfaraz Bugti said Ghaibzai had told interrogators that Raziq Achakzai, an Afghan commander who ran terrorism training camps in Spin Buldak, had provided money to his gang.

                        “Ghaibzai said Asim Muhammad Hasni, one of his accomplices, used his wife in different terrorist acts and for hiding weapons. He said Pir Ain-uz-Zaman is emir of the TTP Balochistan and the killers’ gang was formed on his order,” Mr Bugti added.

                        He said security forces had found a lead about the ,suicide attack on a Quetta church, in December last year and recovered the wireless set that had been in use of traffic sergeant Hafiz Niazi who was killed on Iqbal Road in Quetta.

                        Mr Bugti said that during the last two months there were threats of suicide attacks in Quetta and other areas of Balochistan, but security forces had foiled over a dozen such attempts and arrested several suspects.

                        A video of the suspected terrorist was shown to the media in which he said the TTP Balochistan emir’s associates, including his deputy, were based in Spin Boldak.

                        Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2018

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                        Petitioner wants case against Justice Isa put off

                        • ,‘Dead petition’,

                        ISLAMABAD: Just a day before the scheduled hearing of a challenge to the appointment of a sitting Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa, the petitioner approached the apex court with a request to postpone the case “for some good day”.

                        “Tomorrow the applicant would not be available in Islamabad due to the treatment of his father,” says a one-page application moved before the Supreme Court by Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi on Tuesday.

                        A three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan on Wednesday was supposed to hold as maintainable or simply reject the petition that had already created a controversy in the country. The petitioner has ,challenged the appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, as the Balochistan High Court chief justice and his elevation to the Supreme Court.

                        Only last month Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar overruled an objection the SC registrar had raised on the petition of Advocate Rahi last year and then issued a directive to fix the petition before the court to decide its maintainability.

                        In his application filed on Tuesday, Advocate Rahi stated he had received a phone call at 9:40am from his father who informed him that he was seriously ill. The applicant did not identify the nature of illness and whether he was leaving for hometown or not. “It is therefore, respectfully prayed that the case may kindly be adjourned for some good day, in the interest of justice,” the application added.

                        When Advocate Rahi was contacted in the evening, he told Dawn that he was still on his way to Rahim Yar Khan and would come to know about the ailment of his father after his complete medical check-up.

                        ‘Dead petition’

                        Earlier on April 2, a joint meeting of the Balochistan Bar Council, Balochistan High Court Bar Association and Quetta Bar Association ,adopted a resolution to express their concern, over the sudden hearing of what they said a “dead petition” against Justice Isa.

                        The resolution stated that the legal fraternity of Balochistan expressed serious concern over the proceedings in the dead case against Justice Isa and cautioned that if the proceedings were not halted immediately, they would lodge a protest in coordination with other associations of lawyers across the country.

                        Also, the Sindh Bar Council expressed concern over the issue and asked if the recent emergency of the petition challenging the appointment of Justice Isa was a mere coincidence or an attempt by non-democratic forces to intimidate independent judges. The SBC wondered if the sudden hearing of the petition was linked to Justice Isa’s report in the Quetta carnage case and his remarks in Faiz­abad sit-in case about the performance of intelligence agencies and other state functionaries.

                        Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2018

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                        Cricket legends ‘blown away’ by Pakistani child bowlers

                        • ,Pakistani hopes lifted,

                        QUETTA: Two six-year-olds have become social media sensations in cricket-mad Pakistan with videos of their bowling “blowing away” the likes of Shane Warne and Wasim Akram, who have been giving the pair tips on improving their game.

                        Eli Mikal Khan, from the southwestern city of Quetta, has been nicknamed “Shane Warne Junior” after videos posted on Twitter of his astonishing leg break bowling attracted awe from fans around the world and drew tips and encouragement from the Australian legend.

                        Another six-year-old, an aspiring pace bowler named Hasan Akhtar, has meanwhile been dubbed “Little Wasim Akram” after the former Pakistani captain — who also saw videos of him on Twitter and insisted on tracking him down and meeting him.

                        The two children have been widely feted by Pakistani media, as the cricket-obsessed country celebrates the successful staging of the third Pakistan Super League final in Karachi — a hugely symbolic step towards bringing international teams back amid improving security.

                        Eli, who spoke to AFP at his home in Quetta, said he dreams of playing for Pakistan.

                        “I love cricket… I want to become a perfect leg-break bowler,” he said.

                        He said he enjoys the adulation he has received — particularly from legends such as Warne, who first tweeted encouragement to Eli after seeing one of his videos in March.

                        This week Warne retweeted another video of Eli, writing: “Absolutely fantastic, blown away on how good the ball comes out of your hand, especially at the age of only 6 — well done and keep up the great work. One tip — get that bowling arm a little higher!”

                        Eli, whose father and coach Abdullah Khan maintains his Twitter account, said he had been honoured by the tweet, adding: “I will definitely work on the given tip by Sir @ShaneWarne”.

                        Pakistani hopes lifted

                        Admiration of the two six-year-olds comes as Pakistan enjoys guarded optimism over the return of international cricket, driven from the country after a deadly militant attack targeting the Sri Lanka team in 2009.

                        Last weekend Karachi became the second major venue to host international matches after Lahore hosted five international matches against Zimbabwe in 2015, as well as the PSL final in March last year, three World XI matches in September and one against Sri Lanka a month later.

                        If Eli’s dream of playing for Pakistan bears fruit, he could be joined by fellow Twitter sensation Hasan, videos of whom drew Akram’s notice in late February.

                        “Where is this boy???” he said, retweeting one of the videos and calling for a “platform” to discover such talent in Pakistan.

                        On Monday, he tweeted images of himself with the six-year-old, who he called a “young sensation” with “unbelievable skills”.

                        “Really enjoyed myself spending quality time with Hasan,” he wrote, adding that the child’s knowledge is already “unreal”.

                        Hasan’s father Muhammad said that before he realised how talented his son was, he found the bowling habit “annoying”.

                        “Our home floor is made of mud and Hasan would break the surface bowling all day,” he told AFP by telephone from their village of Chichawatni, some 200 kilometres from Lahore.

                        One of Hasan’s seven older siblings posted the initial video of him, which the family did not know had gone viral until a cousin phoned to say it was playing on television and that news reporters were looking for him.

                        The meeting with Akram took place in Karachi, arranged by private broadcaster Geo, Hasan’s father said, adding that it was “beyond imagination”.

                        Hasan said Akram had been “very kind”, adding that other heroes include Pakistan’s Muhammad Aamir and Australia’s Mitchell Starc.

                        “We did not expect the amount of love and support he has shown to us,” Hasan’s father said. “He coached Hasan how to hold the ball properly, the importance of the run-up and how to deliver the ball and he insisted that Hasan should continue his studies.”

                        Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2018

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