JANUARY 2017

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- Suresh Jaura
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MORE SMOKE & MIRRORS

0712 flag pakistanSectarian violence in Karachi is just another chapter in Pakistan’s long history of violence against minorities, has afflicted Pakistan virtually from its moment of birth...

TRUMP'S FOREIGN POLICY

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AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN-USA

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PAKISTAN: News Briefs

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KP Government decides to divide Peshawar into four zones as a new anti-terror strategy: Following a series of attacks in Peshawar, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Government on September 29 devised a counter-terror strategy to ward off threats in the city. Secretary Interior Akthar Ali Shah said that two special task forces would be set up for the city to maintain peace and counter militant threats. One of the committee's will be headed by the Commissioner and the other will be under the Inspector-General (IG) of Police. Dawn, September 30, 2013.

61 civilians and five militants among 66 persons killed during the week in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:A car bomb blast killed at least 42 persons and injured 100 others on September 29 in the Kissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar (Peshawar District), the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

At least 19 persons were killed and 42 others injured when a bomb exploded on a bus carrying Government employees at Gulbela area on Charsadda Road of Peshawar on September 27.

The Security Forces killed five militants in a retaliatory fire after the militants attacked their camp with rockets in the Janni Khel area of Bannu District on September 25. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Central Asia Online, the Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, September 24-30, 2013.

Kenya mall attack mastermind studied in Pakistan, says The Washington Post report: The alleged Somali mastermind of the attack on a Kenyan mall connected with jihadists while studying in Pakistan and later fought in Afghanistan and Kashmir, The Washington Post report said. Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, known as Godane, earned a scholarship in the 1990s to study in Pakistan, where he "connected with jihadist circles", analysts were quoted as saying by The Washington Post. Godane then travelled to "Afghanistan to train and fight, as well as to Kashmir", the report added. Washington Post, September 27, 2013.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan should be allowed to open an office for peace talks, says PTI Chairman Imran Khan: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on September 25 said that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) should be allowed to open their office so that peace talks can progress. He argued that if the United States (US) could open offices for the Afghan Taliban in Qatar, why Pakistan shouldn't do the same. The PTI Chairman also said nine years ago there was only one group of Taliban, but now there are around 35 such groups. Tribune, September 26, 2013.

Afghan refugees repatriation will be completed by 2015, says Minister: Federal Minister for Borders and Northern areas Lieutenant General (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch said on September 15 that the Afghan refugees would voluntarily return to their country by 2015. He said the repatriation of Afghan refugees depends on the situation in Afghanistan and that they would happily return to their country if the situation improves. Tribune, September 24, 2013.

86 civilians and 14 militants among 102 persons killed during the week in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: As many as 81 persons were killed and 145 others injured when two suicide attackers blew themselves up at the end of Sunday service at All Saints Church near Qissa Khawani bazaar in Peshawar (Peshawar District), the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on September 22.

At least 12 militants were killed and two soldiers were injured in a shootout near the Pak-Afghan border in Lower Dir District on September 21.

Three persons were killed and 20 others injured in the night of September 19 in a hand grenade attack near a mosque in the Sarband area of Peshawar. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, September 17-23, 2013.

Afghan Taliban 'second-in-command' Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar awaits fate in Karachi safe house: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, former Afghan Taliban 'second-in-command' released from jail on September 21 is being kept in a 'safe house' in Karachi. The whereabouts of Baradar had been the subject of speculation since Pakistan announced he would be released. Tribune, September 23, 2013.

We will hold talks with the Government only when it gets the authority to take decisions, says TTP 'spokesman' Shahidullah Shahid: The Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants on September 28 accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for changing his mind and giving preconditions of weapon lay down for the All Parties Committee (APC)-backed peace talks with them. Nawaz Sharif during an interview with the Wall Street Journal in New York had said that militants must lay down their arms and follow the constitution. However, previously the Prime Minister did not give any preconditions for the talks. Dawn, September 21, 2013.

Federal Cabinet approves amendments to anti-terrorism laws: Federal Cabinet on September 20 approved a draft of amendments to anti-terrorism laws in an effort to further empowering law enforcement agencies for better handling of terror-related cases. The draft bill, which will later be presented before the Parliament for approval, is aimed at curbing the menace of terrorism and giving special powers to security forces. It also provides ensuring protection of witnesses in terrorism cases. Dawn, September 21, 2013.

Supreme Court orders law enforcers to arrest 1,500 suspected terrorists and 33,000 absconding criminals in Karachi: The Supreme Court during hearing of the suo motu case on September 20 on the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ordered the Police and Rangers to arrest 1,500 suspected terrorists and 33,000 absconding criminals still at large in Karachi. He asked the Federal and Provincial Governments to ensure the ongoing 'targeted operation' in Karachi continues to be effective - unlike operations in the past. Tribune, September 21, 2013.

Federal Cabinet approves extraordinary powers for the Paramilitary Rangers to stamp out crimes from Karachi: On September 20, the Federal Cabinet approved 'extraordinary powers' for the Paramilitary Rangers in an effort to stamp out crimes from Karachi. The Paramilitary Force has already been mandated to carry out surgical operations against criminal gangs in the city. Tribune, September 21, 2013.

Federal Government's new list of proscribed outfits reaches 52, according to BBC Urdu report: The Federal Government on September 19 prepared a new list of 52 proscribed outfits involved in militancy and extremism, according to a BBC Urdu report quoting sources in the Interior Ministry. A previous list, prepared by the Interior Ministry under former ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had 23 such outfits. According to the sources, al Qaeda tops the new list. In the previous list, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) had secured the first place with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on the second spot. BBC Urdu, September 20, 2013.

Talks with TTP come to a standstill, says Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan:Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on September 19 told the National Assembly that a move for a peace dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had "come to a standstill" with a "serious blow" from September 15, 2013, attack in Upper Dir District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that killed a Major General Sanaullah. He said that the military and opposition would be consulted in reviewing the process. Dawn, September 20, 2013.

Major General among three Army personnel killed in IED explosion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Major General, Sanaullah Khan, and, lieutenant colonel, Tauseef, were killed along with a soldier, Irfan Sattar, in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in the Upper Dir District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa near Pak-Afghan Border on September 15. Major General Sanaullah was the general officer commanding Swat Division. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 'spokesman' Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the attack. Daily Times, September 16, 2013.

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak approves withdrawal of Army from Malakand Division: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on September 14 approved withdrawal of Army from from Shangla and Buner Districts of Malakand Division. The process will begin in October. In the second phase, troops would be pulled out from Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir Districts and other parts of Malakand Division. Malakand Division consists of seven Districts. Daily Times, September 15, 2013.

TTP sets preconditions for peace talks: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on September 15 set preconditions for peace talks. Shahidullah Shahid, 'spokesman' for the TTP, on September 15 said, "First of all, troops in the entire tribal area should go back to barracks and then our prisoners should be released. The Pakistan government must take steps which can develop an atmosphere of trust and can remove the doubts and suspicion. We cannot move forward unless the Government accepts these two demands."

The TTP handed over a list of 4,752 prisoners to the Government on September 13 who they want to be released. A TTP leader said that two of their 'commanders' met with Pakistani officials in the Sararogha area of South Waziristan Agency in FATA, and handed over the list in the initial step towards "negotiations and peace". "We have handed over the list of our colleagues imprisoned in different prisons of Pakistan including those on death row," he explained. Daily Times, September 16, 2013; Tribune, September 14, 2013.

592 mutilated bodies found in Balochistan since 2010: The Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Balochistan on September 11 revealed that 592 mutilated dead bodies have been found from different parts of Balochistan Province since 2010. Most of the dead bodies were found in Quetta, Khuzdar, Kalat and the volatile Mekran belt. "Most of the dead bodies are of Baloch political workers," the document said, adding that few of the victims belong to other ethnic groups as well. Dawn, September 12, 2013.

30 civilians and eight militants among 44 persons killed during the week in Sindh: Four persons were killed in separate incidents of violence and target killing in Karachi (Karachi District), the provincial capital of Sindh, on September 7.

Three persons including ANP leader shot dead in separate incidents of violence in Karachi on September 6.

Five persons including three TTP militants killed in separate incidents in Karachi on September 5.

As many as 14 people, including a naval officer and one Rangers personnel, were killed in Karachi on September 4.

Nine persons, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), killed in separate incidents of violence in Karachi on September 3.

Eight persons, including three militants, killed in separate incidents of violence in Karachi on September 2. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, September 3-9, 2013.

JuD Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed holds rally in Islamabad: Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) founder and Jama'at-ud-Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who has USD 10 million United States (US) bounty on his head, appeared openly at a rally in Islamabad on September 6, denouncing India as a 'terrorist state' as more than 10,000 of his supporters chanted for "holy war" against India. "The United States and India are very angry with us. This means God is happy with us," Saeed told the crowd as supporters chanted Jihad (Holy war) and 'War will continue until the liberation of Kashmir'. Daily Times, September 7, 2013.

Army not involved in any military operation in Balochistan, claims Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani:Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on September 6 denied the perception that a military operation is underway in Balochistan. He said that the troops are in barracks and not a single soldier is engaged in army operation in the province. Kayani said that Pakistan's defence lies in the strong and prosperous Balochistan. " It is not just a coincidence that I'm celebrating the National Defence Day in the Sui town of Balochistan, but it is a matter of importance and honour which the army keeps for Balochistan," he said during a passing-out parade of cadets at the Military College Sui (MCS). Daily Times, September 7, 2013.

MFN status will be given to India, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar assures to IMF: Pakistan on September 6 assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and move towards eliminating the negative list on trade with the neighbour as part of its overall trade policy. "We are moving forward with eliminating the negative list on trade with India and extending India MFN status, and shifting to 'sensitive list' under SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Arrangement) regime to facilitate increased regional trade," Finance Minister Ishaq Dar assured the IMF in writing during negotiations for recently approved USD 6.64 billion economic bailout package. Dawn, September 7, 2013.

Pakistan understands importance of nuclear-security, says US: The US State Department on September 4 said that Pakistan has a professional and dedicated Security Force that fully understands the importance of nuclear security. In a statement issued on September 4 evening, the Department's spokesperson Jen Psaki also welcomed Pakistan's reiteration of its commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation. "We welcome Pakistan's statement yesterday that it is fully committed to the objectives of disarmament and non-proliferation," Ms Psaki said. Dawn, September 6, 2013.

Tirah Valley in FATA cleared of terrorists, declares Army: Army on September 4 cleared Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants and restored the Government's writ after a successful operation that killed 104 militants and injured 64 others. At least eight soldiers, including an officer, were lost during the operation. Operational Commander Major General Humayun Aziz said the militants have fled to Afghanistan to avoid arrest or being killed by the forces. Daily Times, September 5, 2013.

Supreme Court refuses to rule on drone attacks issue: The Supreme Court on September 4 dismissed an appeal against the drone attacks in the tribal areas saying that judicial involvement in the matters relating to the drone hits might contravene the Constitution. A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and Justice Amir Hani Muslim dismissed the appeal and ruled that the issues, raised in the petition filed by Wukala Mahaz Barai Tahafuz Dastoor, were neither justiciable nor they fell within the judicial domain for interference under Article 199 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The News, September 5, 2013.

Talks with Government not initiated yet, says TTP: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on September 4 again denied initiating any kind of talks with the Government. The TTP 'spokesman', Shahidullah Shahid, told a private news channel from an undisclosed location that the TTP also supported reconciliation and some Ulema had also contacted the TTP for peace talks. He said internal consultations on holding or not holding talks with the Government were underway within the TTP. However, he said, no final decision had been made in this regard so far. The News, September 5, 2013.

Al Qaeda sets up anti-drone cells, says The Washington Post: Al Qaeda's leaders have set up cells of engineers to try to shoot down, disable or hijack US drones, The Washington Post reported on September 3 citing top-secret US intelligence documents. The al Qaeda leadership is "hoping to exploit the technological vulnerabilities of a weapons system that has inflicted huge losses against the terrorist network," The Washington Post said online. "Although there is no evidence that al Qaeda has forced a drone crash or successfully interfered with flight operations, US intelligence officials have closely tracked the group's persistent efforts to develop a counter-drone strategy since 2010," the report said, citing the secret documents. Washington Post, September 5, 2013.

Extortion complaints doubled this year, reveals CPLC official: A The Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) official on September 3said that the CPLC received 1,024 extortion complaints from traders in the first eight months of 2013 in comparison with 590 last year - almost double in number. He said, "There was a 100 percent increase in extortion complaints this year," adding, "These figures are alarming considering that many traders and other citizens don't lodge their complaints." The News, September 4, 2013.

Operations intensified in Balochistan to suppress voice of Baloch people, says BNP-M President Sardar Akhtar Mengal: The Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal on September 2 claimed that operations have been intensified in Balochistan to suppress the voice of Baloch people clamouring for their rights. Addressing a news conference at Quetta (provincial capital of Balochistan), Mengal said, "Operations have been intensified to stop Baloch people from seeking their legitimate national rights." He described the action as 'genocide' of the Baloch people. Tribune, September 3, 2013.

44 civilians and two SFs among 47 persons killed during the week in Sindh: Four persons were killed in separate incidents of violence across Karachi (Karachi District) on September 1.

Ten persons were killed in separate incidents of violence across Karachi on August 31.

Five persons were killed in separate incidents of violence across Karachi on August 30.

Seven persons, including two activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), were killed in separate incidents of violence across Karachi on August 29.

13 persons, including a political activist Farhan Sheikh, who was the target of the attack, were killed in separate incidents of violence across Karachi on August 28. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, August 27-September 2, 2013.

[Source: SATP]

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