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PAKISTAN: News Briefs

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LeT key irritant in Pakistan-India relations, says US Intelligence Official James Clapper: Pakistan's provision of safe havens to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) will continue to be a key irritant in relations with India, Director of United States (US) National Intelligence James Clapper claimed in his testimony on "World Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community". He was presenting the report in a hearing of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee on February 26. Tribune, February 28, 2015.

LeJ mounting attacks to stop hangings, says Federal Ministry of Interior: The Federal Ministry of Interior on February 25 said that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) was carrying out terrorist activities across the country to get the hangings of its leaders and workers stopped and to secure their release or help them escape. According to the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) threat alert issued to the Provinces, militant groups like the LeJ and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may jointly carry out terrorist activities. According to a private television channel, the cell has dispatched a letter (threat alert) to the home secretaries of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan, Provincial Police Chiefs, the Inspector General (IG) Frontier Corps (FC) of KP and Balochistan and authorities in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the Gilgit Baltistan region. The News, February 26, 2015.

Afghanistan must share power with Taliban to block Indian influence to restore peace, says former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf: Former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published on February 25 said that Kabul must share power with the extremist group Taliban and block Indian influence if it wants peace in the country. He said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's September inauguration presented a new opportunity for reconciliation between the Government and Taliban and related insurgent groups. Dawn, February 26, 2015.

Special Intelligence Units planning 50 anti-terror operations across the country, reveal official sources: Sources in the security establishment on February 22 said that around four dozen major intelligence-led anti-terror operations are in the pipeline across the country to take out or neutralise enemies of the state, and that these Special Units would lead these operations with the backup of civilian Anti-Terror Task Forces. They informed that normally the secret services provide only information to the law enforcing agencies and paramilitary forces to launch action against the terrorists but their Special Units lead or directly supervise anti-terror operations when high profile targets are involved. Nation, February 23, 2015.

JuD seeks easing of UN sanction: A 'spokesperson' for Jama'at-ud-Dawa (JuD) on February 22 told the media that JuD 'chief' Hafiz Muhammad Saeed's counsel pleading innocence and claiming that the JuD has no link with al Qaeda, Taliban or the Mumbai 26/11 attacks requested the United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki-moon for lifting of the sanctions. He said attention of the UN was also sought towards some corrective measures which have been taken in light of the UN instructions. "We have also shown willingness for audit of our organisational activities," he added. Tribune, February 23, 2015.

Eight persons killed in suicide attack in Punjab: At least eight persons, including two Policemen, were killed and 23 others were injured in a suicide attack on Police headquarters near the main gate of Police Lines in Qila Gujjar Singh area of Lahore District on February 17. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan-Jama'at-ul-Ahrar (TTP-JuA) 'spokesperson' Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack. Dawn, February 18, 2015.

Over 600 'hardcore terrorists' arrested in seven weeks, claim Government: Government officials revealed on February 15 that over 600 hardcore terrorists have been arrested since the approval of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism. These terrorists were arrested in an ongoing countrywide crackdown over the past seven weeks, officials monitoring the NAP execution said. Tribune, February 17, 2015.

Karachi Police should be depoliticized for permanent peace, says CoAS General Raheel Sharif: Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif during a meeting of the Sindh Apex Committee chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 16 stressed the need to depoliticize the Police force in Karachi for permanent peace and said that action should be taken against all criminals without any distinctions based on political, religious or sectarian lines. He said that it was critical to depoliticize the Police force in Karachi, and that there should be no political interference in postings and transfers of Police officers. Daily Times, February 17, 2015.

35 militants and two civilians among 37 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least 15 suspected militants were killed as Security Force (SF) personnel repulsed a militant attack on the Shabuk security checkpost in the Kurram Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on February 14.

Seven suspected militants were killed and 15 others were injured in Pakistan Air Force (PAF) air strikes on militant hideouts in Dwa Thoe, Sarrai, Sheikh Kot, Tor Darra, Nangrosa and Speen Drand areas of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency on February 12.

At least 13 suspected militants were killed and their seven hideouts destroyed when the PAF fighter jets pounded Tor Darra, Sur Kas, Wachy Wanay, Dua Toey, Sra Khawra and Sra Wela areas of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency on February 9. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today;Pakistan Observer, February 10-16, 2015.

22 Shias killed as militants storm Peshawar Imambargah: At least 22 Shia persons were killed and another 50 were injured during a gun and bomb attack at an Imambargah (Shia place of worship) in Phase-5 locality of Hayatabad area in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), on February 13. The militants, dressed in police uniform, attacked the mosque when around 800 worshippers were offering Friday prayers. At least three suicide bombers attacked the Imambargah. One suicide bomber detonated his device, while another was shot dead. The third was arrested in an injured condition. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. Dawn, February 14, 2015.

ISI cultivated Taliban to counter Indian action, says former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf: Pervez Musharraf in an interview published on February 13 in The Guardian has said that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had given birth to the Taliban after 2001 because the then Afghan Government led by ex-President Hamid Karzai had an overwhelming number of non-Pashtuns and officials who were said to favour India. "Obviously, we were looking for some groups to counter this Indian action against Pakistan. That is where the intelligence work comes in. Intelligence being in contact with Taliban groups. Definitely they were in contact, and they should be," he asserted. Times of India, February 14, 2015.

Nearly 6,000 madrassas unregistered in Punjab, says Home Minister Colonel (retired) Shuja Khanzada: on The Provincial Home Minister Colonel (retired) Shuja Khanzada on February 13 said that of the estimated 12,000 madrassas in Punjab, nearly half of them are unregistered. He said that over 170 teams were working to document unregistered seminaries, in collaboration between the Counter-Terrorism Department and the Punjab Information Technology Board. Dawn, February 14, 2015.

Islamabad probably knew slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's whereabouts, says former ISI Chief Lieutenant General Asad Durrani: Lieutenant General (retired) Asad Durrani, who served the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as Director-General from 1990-1992, in an interview with Al Jazeera on February 11 said that Pakistan probably knew about slain al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts leading up to his capture in Abbottabad on May 1-2, 2011. "I cannot say exactly what happened but my assessment […] was it is quite possible that they [the ISI] did not know but it was more probable that they did. And the idea was that at the right time, his location would be revealed," Durrani said, implying that Pakistan would have only exchanged knowledge of his location in a quid pro quo deal. Tribune, February 12, 2015.

We won't ban any group under US or Indian pressure, clarifies Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan: While briefing the National Assembly on the execution of the National Action Plan against terrorism on February 11 Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan clarified that the Government has not outlawed any group after the December 16, 2014, Army Public School (APS) Peshawar attack, and would not take such action under United States or Indian pressure. "Yes we are a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Charter and we will devise a policy on this topic [But] so far, we have only added 10 organisations - proscribed by the UN - to our watch list," he said.

Earlier, during a briefing on February 10 by the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) to Federal Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on the progress of National Action Plan (NAP), the Federal Ministry of Interior directed the Interior Secretary Shahid Khan to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and reconcile the national list of proscribed organisations under the recommendations set by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Tribune, February 11-12, 2015.

4,557 dead bodies were recovered from all over the country in the last five years, Supreme Court informed: The two-judge bench of Supreme Court (SC) headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja during a hearing on February 10 was told that 4,557 dead bodies were recovered from all over the country in the last five years and 266 of them were unidentified. After learning this, the SC directed the Federal and Provincial Governments to launch coordinated efforts for the recovery of missing persons as well as addressing the issue of unidentified dead bodies found dumped in different parts of the country. Tribune, February 11, 2015.

40 militants and 11 civilians among 55 persons killed during the week in FATA: Three members of the pro-government peace committee, Tauheedul Islam (TI), were killed and five others sustained injuries in an explosion in Nari Baba area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on February 8.

At least seven militants were killed in a clash with Security Forces (SFs) in Mohmand Agency on February 7.

Six unidentified bodies of suspected militants were recovered from Yaka Ghund area in Mohmand Agency.

At least 25 militants were killed in air strikes in the Sanzila area of South Waziristan Agency on February 4 as part of a major offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other insurgents.

At least four soldiers were killed in an explosion targeting a convoy of SFs in the Warmagai area of Kurram Agency on February 3. Following the blast, SFs and militants also clashed in Warmagai area, in which two TTP militants, including one key 'commander', Gul, and his accomplice, were killed.

Five TI activists were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Naray Baba area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency on February 3.

At least three peace volunteers were killed while two others were injured on February 2 in a bomb blast in Nari Baba area of Tirah Valley. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today;Pakistan Observer, February 3-9, 2015.

1,999 suspects arrested under National Action Plan in Punjab, reveal official statistics: While the National Action Plan (NAP) is being implemented across the country since December 17, 2014, Islamabad Police, in association with Law Enforcement agencies, have so far arrested 1,999 people and booked them in 1,610 cases in connection with four recently promulgated ordinances in provincial capital Lahore. However, 1,163 cases in four categories are pending with the courts. Dawn, February 4, 2015.

Dialogue with India minus Kashmir issue not acceptable, says Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz: Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on February 4 informed the National Assembly that Pakistan desired a meaningful and resulted oriented dialogue with India, however, the dialogue process minus the Kashmir issue would not be acceptable. The Advisor said that as per reports, United States (US) President Barack Obama during his recent visit to India stressed the need to resume the stalled dialogue process with Pakistan. He said that Pakistan, however, had not yet received any positive indication in this regard. The News, February 5, 2015.

107 militants killed during the week in FATA: At least seven militants were killed and one other was injured in a US drone strike in the Shawal area of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on January 28.

At least 53 militants, including 12 foreigners, were killed when jet fighters of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) conducted aerial strike on militants' hideout in the Kharh Tangi area of Dattakhel tehsil (revenue unit) in NWA on January 27.

In another strike in the same area later, 23 militants were killed.

16 militants were killed and 12 others injured when PAF planes pounded their hideouts in Therkho Kas, Wacha Wana, Sra Vella and Nakai areas of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency.

Eight suspected militants, including key 'commanders' of various outfits, were killed and several others sustained injuries when jet fighters of PAF blitzed their positions in various areas including Speen Drand, Tor Darra, Tarkhu Kas in Kukikhel, Nakai and other areas in Tirah Valley on January 26. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today;Pakistan Observer, January 27-February 2, 2015.

69 civilians and 18 militants among 88 persons killed during the week in Sindh: Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on February 1 claimed to have killed five gangsters in an encounter in the Salar Goth area of Malir Town in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh.

Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police on February 1 claimed to have killed four Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants in a shootout in the Manghopir area of Gadap Town and recovered weapons and explosive material from their possession.

At least 61 Shias were killed and 50 others were injured in a bomb explosion at Karbala Maula Imambargah (Shia place of commemoration) in the Lakhi Dar area of Shikarpur District on January 30.

Senior Superintended of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar Ahmed on January 28 claimed to have killed five militants in Nawab Goth area within the limits of Steel Town Police Station in Bin Qasim Town of Karachi.. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today;Pakistan Observer, January 27-February 2, 2015.

[Source: SATP]

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