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PAKISTAN: News Briefs

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Fatwa threatening media freedom re-issued: Fatwa (religious edict) naming certain Pakistani media and journalists as "enemies of the Mujahideen" was re-issued on October 19 in the form of a post on social networking site Twitter. "We condemn this explicit and targeted threat to journalists, which greatly increases the dangers to which they are already exposed," said Reporters without Borders on October 25. Dawn, October 26, 2013.

27 polio workers killed since 2012, reveals Prime Minister's Special Cell on polio report: According to an October 24 report by the Prime Minister's Special Cell on polio, militant attacks on Pakistan's polio workers have killed 27 vaccinators and Police guards during the past year and a half. The report, released in connection with World Polio Day (October 24, 2013), said 16 of those killed were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Central Asia Online, October 25, 2013.

Seven persons killed in IED explosion on train in Balochistan: At least seven persons, including two women - one civilian and one Police constable - were killed and another 16 were injured when militants triggered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion targeting the Jaffar Express train in the Notal area of Naseerabad District in Balochistan Province on October 21, 2013. Reports indicated that the train, which runs between Rawalpindi in Punjab Province and Quetta in Balochistan, was carrying hundreds of passengers. Dawn, October 22, 2013.

President promulgates Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: President Mamnoon Hussain on October 20 promulgated the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, which maintains that the writ of the state would be established at all costs. The ordinance states that the security and Law Enforcement Agencies would jointly investigate the incidents of terrorism, and the elements creating terror and fear would be considered as enemies of the state. The draft of the ordinance states that Pakistan and its people had been exposed to undeclared and thankless wars that proliferated from the country's neighbourhood since 1979. Daily Times, October 21, 2013.

722 terror suspects have rejoined terrorist groups after acquittal, says report: 722 terror suspects have rejoined terrorist groups from 1,964 alleged terrorists released by courts from 2007 till now, an official Government document said. Another 1,197 out of 1,964 are still actively involved in anti-state activities. Dawn, October 21, 2013.

At least 400 civilians killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan, says UN official: Pakistan has confirmed that of some 2,200 people killed by drone strikes in the past decade, at least 400 were civilians and an additional 200 victims were deemed "probable non-combatants," Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism said on October 18. He also urged the US to release its own data on the number of civilian casualties caused by its drone strikes. Times of India, October 19, 2013.

No evidence of Indian involvement in Balochistan's deteriorating law and order, says Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch on October 16 said that he had no evidence of Indian involvement in Balochistan's deteriorating law and order. However, he added that the federal government and federal agencies have such evidence. He also said that the law and order situation had improved in Quetta, therefore 50 per cent of checkposts set by Frontier Corps (FC) had been removed. The Nation, October 19, 2013.

10 people including provincial Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur killed in suicide attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: At least 10 people, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur, were killed and over 30 others were injured when a suicide bomber struck a festive gathering at the residence of Gandapur in the Kolachi area of Dera Ismail Khan District on October 16. Israrullah Gandapur was elected from PK-67 (DI Khan IV) as an independent candidate during the 2013 General Elections and later joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The News, October 17, 2013.

US troops capture senior TTP leader Latif Mehsud, says US official: US troops captured a senior leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in a military operation, US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said on October 11. "I can confirm that US forces did capture… terrorist leader Latif Mehsud in a military operation," Marie Harf said, describing the captive as a senior commander in the TTP. Harf gave no further details of the operation nor did she say where and when it took place, keeping a shroud on whether the operation was in Afghanistan or Pakistani territory. Tribune, October 12, 2013.

Government 'sincere' on talks with TTP, says PM Nawaz Sharif: Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif on October 10 said his Government was 'sincere' about holding peace talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), after TTP 'chief' Hakimullah Mehsud complained no serious steps had been taken to open a dialogue. Sharif said progress was being made on the issue of opening negotiations. Dawn, October 11, 2013.

TTP vows to attack Malala Yousafzai again: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on October 7 said schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had "no courage" and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance. Shahidullah Shahid, 'spokesman' of TTP, said, "She is not a brave girl and has no courage. We will target her again and attack whenever we have a chance." TTP had tried to kill Malala on October 9, 2012, but she survived after being shot in the head. Dawn, October 8, 2013.

Afghan Taliban financing militants in Pakistan, claims TTP: The Afghan Taliban is financially supporting the Pakistani militants and providing sanctuary to them in Afghanistan, the 'spokesman' for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Shahidullah Shahid has said on October 5. "The Afghan Taliban is our jihadi brothers. In the beginning, we were helping them, but now they are strong enough and they don't need our help, but they are now supporting us financially," he added. The Afghan Taliban was also providing sanctuary for a prominent TTP 'commander', Mullah Fazlullah, in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province, said Shahid. Pakistan has long been accused of pursuing a policy of differentiating between the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban as so-called 'good' and 'bad' militants. Dawn, October 7, 2013.

Government claims progress in Taliban peace talks: Federal Minister of Information Pervez Rashid said on October 6 that the dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was progressing. He, however, said that no timeframe could be given about the results for now. He added the Government is pursuing the option of talks with the TTP as proposed and endorsed by the All-Parties Conference. Daily Times, October 7, 2013.

17 militants killed in suicide attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: At least 17 militants were killed and several others were injured when a suicide bomber ran a vehicle full of explosives into the 'headquarters' of Mullah Nabi Hanfi group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Spin Tall area of Hangu District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on October 2. Mullah Nabi Hanfi was a 'commander' of the Hangu chapter of the TTP before switching sides and joining the Government's counter-insurgency efforts. Tribune, October 3, 2013.

Slain Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh's lawyer takes permanent refuge in Sweden, says report: Awais Sheikh, the counsel for Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who was murdered in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail in May 2013, has taken permanent refuge in Sweden. Sheikh took refuge in the Scandinavian country following his alleged abduction bid near Lahore a day before Singh's death. The lawyer claimed that his life was under constant threat in Pakistan from people and organisations "inimical to India-Pak friendship". Times of India, October 3, 2013.

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