Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taliban torch 18 CD shops

Daily Times

Monday, December 15, 2008

By Saboor Khan

HANGU: Hundreds of armed Taliban attacked a bazaar in Tull tehsil of Hangu district late on Saturday and torched at least 18 shops, police said.

District Police Officer Sajjad Khan told Daily Times that Taliban had blown up two shops with explosives and set fire to 16 others. They also collected CDs and other inventory from eight shops and burnt them near Bannu Chowk, he added. He said the Taliban managed to escape after police opened fire on them.

Locals said Taliban attacked the bazaar from three directions and wreaked havoc for three hours. Blaming police negligence for the damage, they said they had promptly informed the police, which had failed to act in time.

Tull is surrounded by the Tribal Areas from all sides, with Kurram Agency to its west, North Waziristan Agency to the north, Bulandkel area of Orakzai Agency to the southwest, Lower Kurram Agency to the northwest and Palosin Wazir area of North Waziristan to its northeast.

Kurram Agency rivals swap 53 abductees

Tuesday, December 16, 2008, Zil Hajj 17, 1429 A.H

PESHAWAR: Kurram Agency rival tribesmen swapped each other�s yesterday 53 abductees, which included 41 women and children.

Sources said that yesterday some armed persons attacking a Kurram Agency vehicle near Hangu had killed one person and injured one, while three persons were abducted, which let loose a violent reaction to the incident during which the tribesmen kidnapped each other�s scores of persons.

Later, the Jirga members and Political officials brokered the release of the 53 abductees including 41 women and children. Jirga members said that talks were underway with the rival groups for the release of the remaining abductees also.

Man killed in Hangu shooting

Tuesday, December 16, 2008, Zil Hajj 17, 1429 A.H

Updated at: 1420 PST, Tuesday, December 16, 2008
PESHAWAR: Gunmen shot dead one person and injured another in Hangu.

According to police sources, a family of five members travelling from Kurram Agency to Peshawar when armed men opened fire at their jeep in Kotaki area in Hangu.

One person was killed and another injured in the firing whereas rival tribes have kidnapped more than 30 men of each other clan.

Police have cordoned off the area and start search operation for the recovery of abducted persons.

Peshawar blast

Friday, December 12, 2008
By Bureau report
PESHAWAR: The deadly bomb explosion in the heart of the Walled City here last Friday made dozens of families mourn the demise of their near and dear ones instead of celebrating Eidul Azha.

The shocking incidence took lives of more than 35 innocent people, injuring 140 as well as depriving many of their businesses, homes and shops. Those, who sustained injuries in the blast and admitted to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital, the major health facility of the Frontier province, never tired of narrating their ordeals.

Mohsin, a teenager hailing from Parachinar suffered head injury on and injuries on his chest also narrated his awful story. Talking about the incident, he said that he was staying at Pak Hotel as he had to leave for Parachinar early morning. “At the time of blast I was on second floor when I heard a big bang and I fell down,” Mohsin, the tailor by profession said.

Mohsin, who was complaining of backache, went on to say that he did not felt that he had suffered injuries while coming downstairs. “When I reached the main gate of the hotel I felt blood streaming out of my head. After that I became unconscious and fell on the stairs of the hotel.”

He appeared to be extremely critical about the role of the law-enforcing agencies, saying that a huge chunk of national exchequer was being spent on them, but they have absolutely failed to perform their duties by putting a leash on terrorists.

Syed Hussain, a daily-wager at a local teashop while narrating his sufferings, said that he was serving tea to a nearby shop when suddenly the blast occurred and the intensity was so high that he fell into the nearby drainage, fracturing his left leg. “It is altogether beyond my comprehension that what kind of Islam is this, in which innocent people are being targeted. They turned Eid, the Islamic festival, into a mourning for us,” he said.

He said that the militants should have at least differentiated between the combatants and non-combatants, adding, “I don’t know what purpose they have served by killing so many innocent people,” he said.

Slain principal laid to rest

Monday, December 08, 2008
By by Our correspondent
PARACHINAR: Syed Razi Hussain Shah, the slain principal of Government Elementary College, Jamrud, was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Shlozan village here on Sunday.

Razi Shah’s body was recovered from Ghundi area of Khyber Agency on Saturday after unidentified people kidnapped him a week back.

Touching scenes were witnessed when his body was brought to the village where a large number of people had gathered to receive it. Eyewitnesses said that thousands of people attended the funeral.

Speaking on the occasion, the area elders condemned the killing and demanded of the government to bring the culprits to justice forthwith.

Razi Shah was born in 1949 at Shlozan village of Parachinar in Kurram Agency. He started his career as a teacher and remained head master of the local schools.

Later, he served as the controller of examinations, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Peshawar; deputy director of education, Fata, and regional director education, Dera Ismail Khan. The late academician also served as agency education officer in Khyber and Bajaur agencies. He had also the credit of being the principal of a school in UAE.

He authored a book titled ‘Lutf-i-Sohen’ in which he shed light on his past life. He fathered five sons and two daughters.

Peshawar blast’s legacy

Monday, December 08, 2008
By by Tauseef-ur-Rahman
PESHAWAR: The horrible details of the Koocha Risaldar tragedy continue to unfold as the miseries and agonies of the victims are increasing with every passing day due to their complex injuries and trauma. Various wards of the Lady Reading Hospital, the biggest public sector hospital, gave the look of gloom, despair and trauma because the victims were writhing in agony in beds and their grief-stricken families gathered around them. Syed Hussain Ali Shah, 38, hailing from Parachinar, was lying unconscious in the Surgical Ward of the hospital. He suffered multiple injuries to his head, chest and legs. The ill-fated Ali had his flight to Qatar on Saturday last and was staying at the Pak Hotel, situated near the blast site. His cousin Arif Husain informed this scribe that he (Ali) was leaving for Qatar. He said that he spent over seven lakh rupees to obtain the visa. A driver by profession, Ali had four minor children. Arif said Ali was very happy and eager to go abroad and had drawn up long plans for himself as well as for his family. He expressed satisfaction at the facilities provided by the hospital authorities. The nurses and doctors generally cooperate, however, sometime paramedical staff members do not attend to our complaints, he added. Another victim, Mohsin, 16, was severely injured in the blast. A resident of Nisataa, Charsadda district, the boy was whitewashing the Orakzai Hotel when the blast went off. His throat, face and abdomen were badly damaged by pieces of windowpanes. Though he had regained senses, still pain is writ large on his face. His shell-shocked brother, Mehran, who was quite worried about his brother’s condition, said he was busy in doing work at Al-Ain Hotel while his brother Mohsin was busy whitewashing the Orakzai Hotel-the most damaged hotel in the blast. “I was standing on scaffolding, doing whitewash and after the bang of the blast I fell down,” he recalled, adding, “Soon after that I rushed to the other hotel to inquire about my brother,” he said. The scene of the blast was horrible. People were crying for help while other where shouting names of their relatives in a desperate bid to get a response, he added. Mehran went on to say that till midnight he could not find his brother, nevertheless, at early hours of Saturday a friend informed him that his brother was lying in the Trauma Centre of the LRH. About the condition of his brother, he said that Mohsin spent a very restless night, as he could not breathe properly due to his wounded throat. As his upper respiratory system was badly damaged, the doctors fixed an artificial tube to ensure his smooth breathing. When asked whom he saw behind such brutal attacks, Mehran said, “I don’t know but I am sure they are not Muslims. How can a Muslim be so cruel and heartless?” Another person, Mushtaq Hussain of Parachinar, who had come to the hospital to inquire after his friends, said he was a taxi driver and had come from Parachinar after hired by the customers. He said that he had gone to a nearby hotel to bring luggage of customers and the moment he reached the hotel the blast occurred. Mushtaq said the blast plunged the entire area into darkness. “I personally took out four charred bodies from a plastic utensil shop,” he said.

Kidnapped principal killed

Sunday, December 07, 2008
By by Our correspondent
LANDIKOTAL: The body of Syed Razi Shah, Principal, Government Elementary College, Jamrud, who was kidnapped on November 29, was found in the Ghundi area of Jamrud tehsil on Saturday.

Razi Shah, 50, was kidnapped from the college in broad daylight. The kidnappers overpowered personnel of the Khassadar force performing duty at the college gate and then snatched the principal. They then drove in their vehicle to an unknown destination.

Tribal sources said the beheaded body of Razi Shah was recovered from Ghundi area and was later sent to his native Kurram Agency.

The deceased had served as controller of examinations in the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education, Peshawar. He had also served as the agency education officer of Khyber Agency.

Authorities in Khyber Agency said they had advised Razi Shah to get himself transferred out of Jamrud as the place had become insecure due to the activities of militants and criminals. The authorities informed that Razi Shah being a Shia could become a target of some sectarian outfit.

Tribal and religious elders in Kurram Agency had formed a committee after Razi Shah’s kidnapping and contacted the government officials in Kurram Agency and Khyber Agency and influential tribesmen in Khyber to seek their assistance for his safe recovery.


Kurram Agency power supply restored after 4 months

Updated at: 1429 PST, Sunday, December 07, 2008
Kurram Agency power supply restored after 4 months PESHAWAR: Kurram Agency electricity supply has been restored after a lapse of four months.

Kurram Agency tribal skirmishes, which continued for about two years, had taken the toll of 1600 dead and over 5000 wounded. All sorts of traffic and the supply of goods remained suspended due to the fighting, while the electricity supply was disconnected for 118 days due to the devastation of the transmission line. Tribal Area Electricity Supply Company said that electricity supply has been restored now, following the completion of two weeks of repair works at a cost of over Rs3 million.

‘Peshawar blast conspiracy to spark sectarian violence’

Daily Times

Sunday, December 07, 2008

By Daud Khattak

PESHAWAR: Perpetrators of the Friday’s terrorist act in Peshawar failed to achieve their aim to ignite sectarian violence in the city, officials told Daily Times on Saturday.
“The target was well-chosen and the attack was part of the series of blasts carried out in Hashtnagri (Peshawar), Orakzai Agency and Dera Ismail Khan over the previous few days,” said the official who did not want to be named.
The time selected for the bomb blast revealed that it was not a simple terrorist strike, said the official, who believed the perpetrators chose evening hours when most of shops in the congested area are closed. He said common citizens were not the target of the terrorist bid.
“Had the explosion taken place in the morning or afternoon, which is the peak timings in that area, the death tally would have been a hundred or more,” said the official while pointing at the gravity of the blast.
The Jehangira Ward, the area where the explosion took place, consists of Koochi Bazaar, Kohati and Koocha Risaldar. There are 11 small and large imam bargahs in that area, and the Alamdar-e-Karbala Imam Bargah, outside which the explosion took place, is one of those.
The target was well-chosen as the area is mostly populated by people belonging to Shia sect and a brisk reaction against people of the opposite Sunni sect was expected, said the official.
He said mostly Shia people from Parachinar area of Kurram Agency, which has witnessed the worst-ever sectarian violence in the previous months, were living in that area.


Death toll from Peshawar blast 34, probe begins

Daily Times

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Staff Report

PESHAWAR: The death toll from Friday’s car bomb explosion outside an imambargah in Peshawar has risen to 34 as officials said police had launched an investigation into the attack.

Rescue workers retrieved nine more dead bodies from the debris on Saturday, SP Chaudary Asharf told Daily Times, but put the death toll at 29.

According to Lady Reading Hospital’s records, 165 victims of the blast were taken to the hospital and 34 of them were dead, while 131 were injured. Around 90 people – with 10 in critical condition – are now being treated at the hospital, the remaining have been discharged.

Twenty-one bodies have so far been identified, while 13 bodies burnt beyond recognition are being kept at the hospital’s morgue.

Most of those who died or were injured were residents of Parachinar in Kurram Agency. The imambargah, Alamdar Karbala, is also known as ‘the imambargah of Parachinar’.

Mohammad Asif, a resident of the area, told Daily Times his 12-year-old daughter died in the blast, and his house had been completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, a senior police official told Daily Times it was not yet clear whether a timed-device was placed in the car or a suicide bomber carried out the attack.

He said that the police had collected severed parts of around 10 bodies, and it was therefore difficult to say with certainty what method had been employed by the attackers.

Police officials going through the debris found the engine of the car used in the attack, and said they were trying to locate the owner of the vehicle.

Teams from the Federal Investigation Agency’s Special Investigation Group visited the site on Saturday to collect evidence.

A bomb disposal squad official told Daily Times that the vehicle was carrying more than 80 kilogrammes of explosives.

22 killed in Peshawar blast

Online edition of India's National Newspaper

Saturday, Dec 06, 2008

Nirupama Subramanian

Firefighters at work after the blast in Peshawar on Friday.

ISLAMABAD: At least 22 people were killed and 70 injured in a massive explosion in a crowded market in Peshawar on Friday night.

The North-West Frontier Province Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti at once alleged a “foreign hand” in the bombing. He told Geo Television that “external forces were destabilising the region”.

Officials confirmed at least 22 people were killed and 70 wounded. Television channels were quoting hospital sources that at least 20 people were killed and nearly a hundred wounded.

The apparent car-bomb exploded near a Shia community centre behind the historical Qissa Khwani Bazaar. The Imambargah is owned by the Shia community of Parachinar in the Kurram tribal agency where Shias and Sunnis only recently declared a fragile truce.

The explosion led to an electricity blow-out, and a subsequent fire damaged several buildings. There was panic as people trapped tried to flee the area and were caught in a stampede.


Car bomb kills 22, injured 80 in City, involvement of foreign hands possible: CM

A powerful bomb planted in a van ripped through a crowded Kabari bazaar situated at the backyard of historical Qisakhwani bazaar here Friday night, killing at least 22 people and wounding over 80, Medical Superintendent Khazir Hayat and local police told APP. Twenty of the wounded are in critical condition.
The explosion occurred near Imam Bargah situated inside a hotel owned by Ajhle Tashi belonging to Kurram Agency. The explosive material was believed to have been dumped in a double cabin van parked along with other vehicles in thickly populated area, which exploded with a big bang.

Over a dozen vehicles were destroyed while three huge buildings caught fire, including plastic shops. The blaze also engulfed the nearby buildings and shopping markets.

The fire brigade rushed to the site and extinguished the fire after three hours hectic efforts. Black smoke engulfed the area as victims cried for help.

The IGP Malik Naveed Khan ruled out the possibility that its target was Imam Bargah. The IGP said that around 25 to 30 kilogram explosives were used in the attack.

The police chief said the explosion has created a deep crater in ground at the venue which does not happen in suicide attacks.

He said the main purpose of the elements involved in this heinous act was to disrupt law and order. “In the prevailing conditions there is

a very strong security check in the city but it is very difficult to have foolproof check on the activities of terrorists who mingle in the general population.

The explosion was so powerful that the windowpanes of nearby buildings were blown out and the whole area plunged into darkness.

The injured were immediately rushed to LRH, Hayat Shaheed and Hayatabad Medical Complex for treatment. Emergency has been declared in hospitals and doctors on leave were called in for duty.

Dr Khazir Hayat appealed to people of Peshawar and adjoining areas to donate blood as condition of several victims of the blast was very critical. “I appeal to the residents of Peshawar to donate blood in large quantity as the condition of 15‑20 victims brought to LRH is critical,” Khasir Hayat told APP.

He said that 22 bodies were brought to LRH while more than 80 persons were being treated. He said that emergency has been enforced in the hospital and doctors on leave were called in for duty. He said that situation was under control and all major operations were successfully conducted.

The Chief Minister NWFP Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, Health Minister Zahir Ali Shah and other official were present on the occasion. Speaking

on the occasion, he said that complete prevention of suicide explosion however is difficult but can be controlled with better intelligence.

He said that police are being strengthened to frustrate the nefarious designs of terrorists. The Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan

Hoti earlier said that foreign hand could be involved in the heinous acts of suicide and bomb blasts to destabilize the region.

The Chief Minister said some foreign elements wanted to destabilize Pakistan for their vested interests. However, he said

these elements would not succeed in their nefarious designs as the nation was united against them.

He said that the explosion was of severe nature and hectic efforts were being made to extinguish the fire that engulfed the three nearby buildings. The provincial capital has been made target of a worst kind of terrorist act, he added.