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PAKISTAN: News Briefs

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TTP joins Afghan Taliban to wage spring offensive: As the Afghan Taliban announced on April 27 the launching of annual spring offensive against the US-led Allied Forces in Afghanistan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has also joined them. The TTP has released a video which shows the TTP fighters belonging to the "Saad bin Abi Waqas Front" [which is named after a TTP commander] already carrying out military and suicide operations against the ISAF Forces in Logar Province of Afghanistan. The News, April 29, 2013.

36 civilians and 7 SFs among 44 persons killed during the week in Sindh: At least six people, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), were killed while a religious cleric was injured in separate acts of violence across the Karachi (Karachi District), the provincial capital of Sindh, on April 27.

At least 11 persons, including a minor, were killed and 45 others were injured in a bomb blast at an election gathering of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Orangi town of Karachi on April 26.Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the blast.

At least six persons were killed while around 13 persons were injured when a high intensity bomb shattered the election office of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) located in Nusrat Bhutto Colony of North Nazimabad area of Karachi on April 25. TTP 'spokesman' Ehsanullah Ehsan has reportedly claimed the responsibility for the blast. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, April 23-29, 2013.

Former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf arrested in Benazir murder case: Former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf was on April 26 formally arrested over the murder case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf will remain in his villa on the edge of Islamabad (Federal Capital) where he is already under a two-week house arrest over his decision to sack judges when he imposed emergency rule in November 2007. "Today FIA (Federal Investigative Agency) formally arrested General Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto case," said prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Azhar. Daily Times, April 27, 2013.

TTP plans to abduct former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf, warns intelligence agencies: The intelligence agencies have warned that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have made plans to abduct former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf, who is currently being held at his private residence, on the outskirts of Islamabad, after being arrested in several criminal cases. The intelligence agencies have issued an advisory that the TTP might attempt to abduct Musharraf while he is being taken from his farmhouse to court. Times of India, April 27, 2013.

Pakistan-trained three British nationals jailed in Britain: Three British nationals, including the ringleader of a terror cell trained in Pakistan, have been jailed for masterminding a plot to set off up to eight bombs in the United Kingdom (UK) that could have been more devastating than the 9/11 in the US and the July 7 attacks. Irfan Naseer (31) will have to serve a minimum of 18 years behind bars, while his accomplice Irfan Khalid (28) was jailed for 18 years and Ashik Ali was sentenced to 15 years. The three men had raised an estimated 39,000 pounds for terror training and to fund the UK attacks. Zee News, April 26, 2013.

Stay away from polls, warns TTP: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has distributed pamphlets in several Pakistani cities, including Peshawar (Peshawar District), the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi (Karachi District), the provincial capital of Sindh, warning people not to participate in next month's general election. Meanwhile, religious scholars and the members of the All Pakistan Ulema Council have issued a 40-page edict, which declares the non-casting of vote a sin, saying that casting vote is compulsory under Islamic injunctions. Times of India; Daily Times, April 25, 2013.

41 militants and 15 SFs among 70 persons killed during the week in FATA: A roadside bomb targeting a military convoy on April 21 killed four Army soldiers and injured four more in Mir Ali town of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on April 21.

A female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a hospital in Khar, the main town of Bajaur Agency, and killed at least four persons and injured four others on April 20.

At least five militants were killed in retaliatory action by Security Forces (SFs) when militants try to ambush security personnel in the Dabori area of Orakzai Agency on April 19. In addition, at least four persons were killed and eight others injured in a rocket attack on an election rally in Wana town of South Waziristan Agency (SWA).

At least nine militants, including five foreigners, were killed in a US drone attack in Bobar Samal area of SWA on April 17.

At least 11 militants and a soldier were killed in clashes at Kago Kamar locality of Dabori area in Orakzai Agency on April 16. Also, at least nine soldiers were killed and eight others injured in a suicide attack on a military vehicle and nearby roadside checkpoint in the Saidgai area of NWA.

At least nine militants and a soldier were killed in a clash between the SFs and militants in Dabori area of Orakzai Agency on April 15. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, April 16-22, 2013.

16 persons killed in suicide attack in Peshawar: 16 persons were killed and more than 35 injured when a suicide bomber targeted the senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and his nephew Haroon Bilour in Mundabheri area of Yakatut in Peshawar (Peshawar District), the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the evening of April 16. While Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, contesting from the NA-1, Peshawar, received minor injuries, Haroon Bilour, contesting from the PK-3, escaped unhurt. The News, April 17, 2013.

Terror safe havens in Pakistan threat to Afghan peace, says US General: The safe havens to terrorists in Pakistan pose a great challenge to peace and stability in Afghanistan, even as Afghanistan National Security Force (ANSF) has been making significant progress in war against terrorism, US General Joseph Dunford, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said on April 16. "Safe havens in Afghanistan and sanctuaries in Pakistan continue to provide Taliban senior leadership some freedom of movement and freedom of action, facilitating the training of fighters, and the planning of operations," the General said. Times of India, April 17, 2013.

Former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf is out of the electoral race: An election tribunal on April 16 rejected the nomination papers of Former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf from the only constituency where his eligibility to contest May 11 polls was accepted earlier. Musharraf has already been disqualified from three other constituencies from where he had filed nomination papers. Musharraf's nomination papers were rejected following objections that he had subverted the Constitution by imposing emergency as Army Chief and had illegally placed judges under house arrest. Times of India, April 17, 2013.

137 militants and 32 Security Force Personnel among 171 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least four militants were killed by a US drone strike in the Manzarkhel area of Dattakhel town, 35 kilometers west of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on April 14.

The Security Forces (SFs) killed seven militants in the ongoing military operation in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on April 13.

19 persons, including nine soldiers, seven militants and two volunteers of Tawheedul Islam (TI), a pro-Government armed group, were killed during heavy fighting between troops and militants at a flashpoint near the Afghan border in Tirah Valley on April 11.

Thirteen soldiers and an unspecified number of militants were killed during heavy fighting between troops and militants at a flashpoint near the Afghan border in Tirah Valley on April 8. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, April 9-15, 2013.

TTP announces'conditional support' to anti-polio drives: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on April 12 announced supporting the anti-polio drives on a condition that such campaigns were not used by the United States as a cover for espionage. The TTP militants also placed the condition that their apprehensions about the vaccination campaigns being 'un-Islamic' be removed. Daily Times, April 13, 2013.

LeT one of the most potent terror groups in South Asia, says Commander of the US Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear: The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) remains one of the most potent terror group in South Asia, Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM), told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on April 9. "Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) remains one, if not the most operationally capable terrorist groups through all of South Asia," Locklear said. "LeT was responsible for the November 2008 attack in Mumbai, India that killed over 160 people, including six Americans, and has supported or executed a number of other attacks in South Asia in recent years," he added. Zee News, April 10, 2013.

US assistance to Pakistan help reduce terrorism, says US secretary of state John Kerry: The United States (US) assistance to Pakistan has helped in reducing the conditions that foment extremism in the country, US Secretary of State John Kerry said. "Our economic and military assistance to Pakistan helps reduce the conditions that enable extremism and its calling card - terrorism - to disrupt and destroy," said Kerry in an eight-page budget letter to the US Congress. "We are helping Pakistan to continue its development as a responsible and responsive international partner. For Pakistan we request USD 1.3 billion in financial year 2014 to fund civil and military assistance along with supporting the existing diplomatic platform," Kerry said. Times of India, April 10, 2013.

TTP terms democracy 'system of infidels': The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on April 7 described democracy as a "system of the infidels" and said it was striving for the establishment of Shariah in the country. "Democracy is the system of the infidels. We want the enforcement of Shariah in Pakistan and the Islamic countries. TTP didn't believe in democracy. If we believed in democracy, we would enter the political arena," TTP 'chief' Hakimullah Mehsud said in his latest videotape. The News, April 8, 2013.

46 militants and five civilians among 55 persons killed during the week in FATA:Ten militants were killed and five soldiers injured during the clashes between Security Forces (SFs) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militant in remote areas of Akkakhel in Tirah valley in Bara tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on April 7. In addition, seven militants were killed when SFs targeted their hideouts with gunship helicopters in Gowak and Mithari areas of Orakzai Agency.

At least 14 militants, four soldiers and three pro-government volunteers were killed in clashes that ensued after the Security Forces launched search operation against the LI in Akkakhel area of Tirah valley on April 5.

Eight militants were killed when Army fighter jets bombed suspected militant positions in the Kotkhel area of Orakzai Agency on April 4. Also, three militants were killed and some of their hideouts destroyed when fighter jets bombed their positions in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency. Further, four militants were killed and five others sustained injuries when militants across the border attacked Bhittai checkpost in Shabak area of Alizai sector in Kurram Agency. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, April 2-8, 2013.

38 percent of Pakistan youth prefer Sharia, says survey: According to a survey by the British Council a majority of respondents - 38 percent - said Islamic Sharia would be the best system for Pakistan while 32 percent backed military rule and only 29 percent favoured democracy. The survey covered over 5,200 youths across the country. 64 percent of male youths described themselves as conservative or religious while the figure for females was 75 percent. These are among the key findings that focused on youths between 18 and 29 years. More than 90 percent of the youth believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. Times of India, April 3, 2013.

43,000 people displaced from Tirah valley, says UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance: Around 43,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Maidan area of Tirah valley of Khyber Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) over the past two weeks because of escalation of hostilities between militant groups in the tribal region, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) said. Dawn, April 1, 2013.

Vast majority of LeT's fighters are recruited from Punjab, says report: According to a US military report titled, "The Fighters of Lashkar?e?Taiba: Recruitment, Training, Deployment and Death, published in April 2013, vast majority of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) fighters are recruited from Punjab province. While LeT's recruitment is diversified across the north, central and southern parts of the Punjab, the highest concentration of LeT fighters have come (in order of frequency) from the districts of Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sialkot, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, and Multan. The report also noted that there is considerable overlap among the districts that produce LeT militants and those that produce Pakistan army officers, a dynamic that raises a number of questions about potentially overlapping social networks between the army and LeT. Combating Terrorism Centre, April 1, 2013.

[Source: SATP]

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