Archive for the ‘Lahore’ Category

Muhammad Reports from Pakistan, March 13, 2008

March 12, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I am sorry for delay in establishing contact with you during last few days. Actually I was in Bajaur Agency, my home town, where terrorists and security forces have pounded each other positions.

The security forces used heavy weapons against terrorists. Mortor shells hit several houses in parts of the agency killing dozens of people. The whole areas remained closed. No one was allowed to enter the areas.

I also remained trapped in the cross firing. The bang bangs of canons have created great fear among the people. During the firing I run for a mile for saving myself.

Small children were also ranning with me. They were screaming.

The exact death toll is not availabale, but people say that dozens of people were killed. I think now the security forces have been showing seriousness, but there are still some officials, who have been supporting these terrorists. I want to bring in you kind notice that now the terrorists have been losing support of the tribesmen.

Situation in other parts of Pakistan is also critical. According to a report, suicide bombers have struck Lahore for the third time since January this year. The eight-story building of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been blown up, with many fatal casualties.

Pakistani lawyers offer funeral prayers in absentia for the ... 
Pakistani lawyers offer funeral prayers in absentia for the victims of suicide bomb blasts in Lahore, a day after the attacks. Mourners offered funeral prayers Wednesday for 27 people killed in two suicide blasts in Pakistan, as violence in the northwest of the country left another dozen people dead, officials said.(AFP/Arif Ali)
Another strike in Model Town by suicide-bombers riding a vehicle has killed four. One can say that the FIA bombing is a part of the series of attacks aimed at the security agencies of the country. The earlier two attacks were on policemen near the General Post Office and the Naval War College located in the city’s heart.

The second attack in Model Town is not clear in its intent. The place blown up by the bombers was near the house of an army officer and not too far from the houses owned by the PPP leader Mr Asif Ali Zardari. The message concealed in the second attack could be political, a link in the chain of events leading us to the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto in December last year.

Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of opposition Pakistan People's ...
Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of opposition Pakistan People’s Party addresses a news conference in Karachi March 3, 2008.REUTERS/Athar

A stupid interview given by Osama bin Laden’s son Umar in Egypt has the boy saying that his father was a “good friend” of Mr Nawaz Sharif, thus unwittingly queering the political pitch in Pakistan.

The war is between Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies on the one hand and the state of Pakistan on the other. Under the new army chief Pakistan has been able to counteract the inroads made in many parts of Pakistan by the soldiers of the terrorist organisation. But unfortunately the army is increasingly worried about the lack of sufficient support from the public at large so that it can face up to the terrorists.

An injured Pakistani man and others run after the bomb explosion ...
An injured Pakistani man and others run after the bomb explosion in front of a badly damaged building of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore. Mourners offered funeral prayers Wednesday for 27 people killed in two suicide blasts in Pakistan, which have piled pressure on the incoming government to tackle Islamic militancy.(AFP/Aameed Qureshi)
Political activism in Pakistan is focused on the restoration of the judiciary and the ouster of President Pervez Musharraf. What the politicians and the media are ignoring at great risk is the country’s response to the takeover of its territories and the virtual free run of the country that the suicide bombers have today.

To give just one example: a case unfolding in a court in Rawalpindi, where the boys who had formed the suicide squad to kill Ms Bhutto are under trial, has been totally ignored despite confessions on the part of the bombers.

Public reaction to the destruction of the FIA building yesterday came in the shape of a protest march by citizens — most of them flag-bearing members of the PPP — who raised slogans against the government of President Musharraf without uttering a word against the terrorists.

The misplaced assumption is that it is the state only which has the responsibility to protect the citizens and must be blamed for falling down on its job.

This draws our attention to the task of the democratically elected politicians to evolve a strategy against terrorism. So far their very rudimentary thoughts on the problem are encapsulated in three words: “talk to them.”

This of course is not enough. The people will expect the coalition government to take substantial steps to prevent the suicide-bombers from attacking at will.

Dear Sir, the people of tribal areas recognise your role in war against terrorism. Now the liberation of tribal areas from terrorists is imminent. We will never forget your kindness and love. Again thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Blasts push Pakistan toward new policy

March 11, 2008
By ASIF SHAHZAD, Associated Press Writer

LAHORE, Pakistan – The spread of terrorism across Pakistan Tuesday from its unruly tribal regions to the cultural capital of Lahore has added to pressure to rethink its U.S.-allied president’s approach to countering al-Qaida and the Taliban as a new government prepares to take office.

After two deadly suicide bombings in this normally peaceful eastern city, pressure grew for more dialogue with militants and less punitive military action, which President Pervez Musharraf‘s opponents say has only fueled the violence.

A Pakistani firefighter shouts in front of burning vehicles ...
A Pakistani firefighter shouts in front of burning vehicles after the bomb explosion beside the badly damaged building of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore. Suicide attackers detonated two huge truck bombs in Pakistan Tuesday, killing 26 people, partly demolishing a police building and deepening a security crisis facing the new government.(AFP/Sameed Qureshi)

At least 24 people were killed and more than 200 wounded Tuesday when massive explosions ripped through a police headquarters and a business located near a house belonging to the widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

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Pakistan: Explosion in Lahore; Aussies Cancel Cricket Tour

March 11, 2008

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Police in Pakistan say an explosion has hit an office of the federal police in the eastern city of Lahore. State media are reporting that several people have been wounded.

A wounded man is treated at a hospital in Peshawar, after a ... 

City police official Mohammed Khalid says the blast hit an office of the Federal Investigation Agency in downtown Lahore on Tuesday. He says it remains unclear what caused the explosion.

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Australia Cancels Cricket Trip to Pakistan

By Shahid Hashmi

KARACHI (AFP) – Australia have scrapped their upcoming cricket tour to Pakistan over security fears, their cricket boards said in a statement Tuesday, after bombs killed 20 people in the eastern city of Lahore.

“I  can confirm they have conveyed to us that they have cancelled the tour. We are disappointed and we are issuing a policy statement soon,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief operating officer Shafqat Nagmi told AFP.

The tour was due to begin on March 29 and Lahore was one of the venues where Australia were due to play.

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Muhammad Reports from Pakistan, March 5, 2008

March 5, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope that you and your team will be alright. Situation is Pakistan is critical as usual. Now the terrorists have increased their activities. The coming few days are very crucial.

Indications show the terrorists may make a life attempt on President Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf has also decided to postpone his foreign visit due to uncertain situation.

Formation of new government is also in the final stage.

Suicide attack in Lahore, which is being considered the heart of Pakistan, has increased terror and fear among the people. Situation in the tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is also very critical as these areas are directly being controlled by the terrorists. Terrorists sitting here have been planning more terrorist attacks in the world. They are also keeping eyes on the United States.

Like most of the tribesmen the US must show hurry in taking action against the terrorists living in the border areas.

A newspaper of Pakistan commented the suicide attack in Lahore. Once more, terrorists have struck right in the heart of a major city. This time, the target is the Naval War College, located at a prime spot along Lahore’s Mall Road.

The strike seems to have been particularly well planned, with initial reports stating one vehicle crashed through the gates of the college while another followed it in. With the entire area — that includes the lush green GOR colony, housing residences of superior court judges and senior bureaucrats and the prestigious Aitchison College for boys — cordoned off, and streets all around affected, ascertaining facts is hard in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

However, several blasts were heard, leading to speculation that the suicide bombing also triggered gas pipe or CNG cylinder explosions.

Six people have been reported dead, at least ten others injured and vehicles parked around the building damaged.

But in many ways, the finer details, the precise chain of events are less relevant than the fact that the terrorists have struck once more. Already, the year 2008 has seen at least 13 major terrorist attacks. The killers, it seems, are able to strike anywhere, at any time.

They have quite evidently succeeded in their main purpose — creating a sense of panic and challenging the writ of the state. The fear running through Lahore in the aftermath of the bombing is proof of this. The city has never known the sense of dread that now lurks everywhere. For the moment, it is these terrorists who hold the upper hand in the battle being fought out across the territory.

But this is not a state of affairs that can be permitted to continue.

The consequences are simply too horrendous to contemplate. It is clear the extremists believed to be behind these attacks have made symbols of state — the army, the police, the navy — their principle targets. They have in other words declared open war on the very institutions that stand for the safety and security of Pakistan itself.

By reaching into Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and other cities, the terrorists have shown how far they can reach out from the northern areas of the country that seem to be their main base. The question is how this rapidly accelerating war can be won. It seems that the stepped-up military action against extremists in FATA and other areas has not damaged their ability to strike in other parts of the country.

Also, those waging this most unholy of wars are obviously unwilling to grant any kind of honeymoon period to the new government. The destruction that suicide bombers are able to unleash represents a weapon that is extremely difficult to counter.

Strategy against such an enemy is not easy to devise. But at this time, it is vital all political forces, all military experts and all institutions that can offer help and support put together their heads and devise a plan to save the country and its citizens — before it is too late to win the war against crazed men ready at any cost to claim lives and wreak havoc on fellow citizens.Dear Sir, your continued cooperation with me and people of tribal areas has been bringing some positive change.

We are grateful for your kindness and love.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Pakistanis Remake Their Political Landscape

February 20, 2008

 By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, February 20, 2008; Page A01

LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb. 19 — A new political era dawned in Pakistan on Tuesday as partial results from Monday’s parliamentary elections showed the opposition scoring a landslide win, the party allied with President Pervez Musharraf conceded defeat, and secular candidates ousted religious parties in the volatile northwest.

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22 killed in Pakistan suicide blast

January 10, 2008

By  K.M. CHAUDHRY, Associated Press Writer
0520 Eastern in the USA

LAHORE, Pakistan – A suicide bomber blew himself up among police officers outside a court in eastern Pakistan Thursday, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens of others minutes before a planned anti-government protest, officials and witnesses said.

Pakistani Police officers tend to their wounded colleagues in ...
Pakistani Police officers tend to their wounded colleagues in the aftermath of a suicide bomb explosion Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 in Lahore, Pakistan. A suicide bomber blew himself up among police guards deployed in front of a court in eastern Pakistan ahead of a planned protest by lawyers Thursday, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens more, officials and witnesses said.
(AP Photo/K.M. Choudary)

The blast in front of Lahore High Court was the latest in a wave of attacks targeting politicians and security forces ahead of Feb. 18 parliamentary elections. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion will likely fall on militants linked to Taliban and al-Qaida.

It came as Scotland Yard investigators visited forensic laboratories elsewhere in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, to examine….

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0520 Eastern in the USA

Bomb Blast Kills Several in Pakistani City of Lahore

January 10, 2008

Associated Press
Thursday, January 10, 2008; 2:11 AM Eastern USA

LAHORE, Pakistan – A powerful explosion went off at the high court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday and many police officers were wounded, officials said.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene said several people were killed.

Police official Mohammed Afzal said the explosion was a “powerful bomb blast” and many officers were being taken to a hospital.

Police officer Ahmed confirmed the blast. Dawn News TV said the explosion happened outside the court.

Pakistan: Troubled Yet Still Home

January 6, 2008

 By Hohsin Hamid
The Washington post
January 6, 2008; Page B01

LAHORE, Pakistan

During the winter holidays, much of the Pakistani diaspora makes its way back to the homeland. It is wedding season and — for those with the means and of a secular persuasion — party season as well. Flights are fully booked, airfares are astronomically high, and even circuitous itineraries via places such as Istanbul and Muscat are in great demand.

Middle-class families in Pakistan often tell a similar tale of numbers. Of my parents and their siblings, 13 people in total, 11 live in Pakistan. But of their 26 children — my generation — 15 of us reside abroad. Pakistan has become an increasingly unsettled place, and many of my peers have voted with their feet.

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Pakistan’s Tyranny Continues

December 23, 2007
December 23, 2007
Lahore, Pakistan

THE chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and his family have been detained in their house, barricaded in with barbed wire and surrounded by police officers in riot gear since Nov. 3. Phone lines have been cut and jammers have been installed all around the house to disable cellphones. And the United States doesn’t seem to care about any of that.

The chief justice is not the only person who has been detained. All of his colleagues who, having sworn to protect, uphold and defend the Constitution, refused to take a new oath prescribed by President Pervez Musharraf as chief of the army remain confined to their homes with their family members. The chief justice’s lawyers are also in detention, initially in such medieval conditions that two of them were hospitalized, one with renal failure.

As the chief justice’s lead counsel, I, too, was held without charge — first in solitary confinement for three weeks and subsequently under house arrest. Last Thursday morning, I was released to celebrate the Id holidays. But that evening, driving to Islamabad to say prayers at Faisal Mosque….

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In the Heart of Pakistan, a Deep Sense of Anxiety

November 7, 2007

By Emily Wax
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, November 7, 2007; Page A01

LAHORE, Pakistan, Nov. 6 — Three days after President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule, a deep sense of anxiety prevails among Pakistan’s students, rights activists and intellectuals, who say the mass arrests being carried out by the government mark an unprecedented assault on civil society.

When Musharraf suspended the constitution Saturday, he said he had been forced to act by rising extremism and judicial interference in his efforts to protect the country. But in Lahore, an ancient city that has long served as the cultural and intellectual heart of Pakistan, many government critics see a smoke screen being used to quash opposition.

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