Archive for the ‘Peshawar’ Category

American Aid Worker Slain in Pakistan

November 12, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An American aid worker involved in a U. S. government program to bring development to a lawless tribal region of Pakistan was assassinated in his car Tuesday morning as he went to work in the provincial capital, Peshawar.

The American, Steve Vance, and his Pakistani driver, were shot as their car approached the house in Peshawar where Mr. Vance ran a project to bring small-scale projects and jobs to the Federally Administered Tribal Area, a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, his associates said.

Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in ... 
Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in September. Gunmen shot dead a US aid worker and his driver in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar on Wednesday, the US embassy and police said.(AFP/Pool/File/Aamir Qureshi)

The United States Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that an American citizen and his driver were killed in an attack in Peshawar. The embassy was coordinating with local law enforcement agencies to determine what happened, a spokesman, Wes Robertson, said.

By Jane Perlez
The New York Times

Pakistani officials in Peshawar said they did not know who was responsible for the shooting at around 8 a.m. in a residential area of the city known as University Town. The killings came after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded sports stadium in the center of Peshawar Monday night, moments after leading politicians of the city had left the arena.

The umbrella Taliban group, Tehrik-i-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the stadium attack.

Mr. Vance worked for part of an ambitious program run by the United States Agency for International Development to bring $750 million of development projects to the tribal region over five years, according to his associates who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the incident.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/world/asia/13pstan.html

Pakistan Faces Crucial Elections Today

February 18, 2008

By Paul Wiseman and Zafar M. Sheikh
USAToday
February 18, 2008

The Peshawar shopkeeper, 35, put up posters and went door to door for Islamic fundamentalists who promised to bring honest, competent and pious government to Pakistan’s backward North West Frontier province.

Never again. Aslam has abandoned the clerics after watching what happened when they grabbed power here five years ago.

“They promised to give us justice,” Aslam says. “They gave us nothing.” He’ll vote in parliamentary elections today for the non-religious Awami National Party (ANP).

Read the rest:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-02-17-pakistan_N.htm?csp=34

Al Qaeda’a al Libi Felt Safe, Secure in Pakistan

February 4, 2008

 

By Imtiaz Ali and Craig Whitlock

Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, February 4, 2008; Page A01

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Feb. 3 — A Libyan al-Qaeda commander who was killed last week in northwestern Pakistan had lived there for years and, despite a $200,000 U.S. bounty on his head, felt secure enough to meet officials and visit hospitals, according to officials and residents of this city.

As he organized suicide bombings and other attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi found a comfortable refuge in Pakistan’s border region, the sources said in interviews. He met openly with a Pakistani politician and a Libyan diplomat and called on foreign fighters recovering from their wounds.

The Pakistani government contends it has been doing everything possible to capture al-Qaeda figures within its borders. But Libi, who was killed in a missile attack last week, moved unchallenged around the heart of Peshawar, a city of about 1.2 million people, underscoring how freely he and other al-Qaeda leaders have been able to operate in Pakistan.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/03/AR2008020303147.html?hpid=topnews

Pakistan Sends More Troops Against Taliban

October 24, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: (AP) The Pakistan army has sent 2,500 troops into a remote valley in the country’s northwest to combat followers of a militant cleric calling for Taliban-style rule, a spokesman said Wednesday.

But the cleric appeared to be unruffled, and thousands of his supporters gathered to hear him speak just a few miles from where the soldiers deployed.The paramilitary troops deployed Tuesday and were setting up checkpoints across Swat, a mountain valley popular with tourists until violence flared there this summer, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said.

Militants responded by detonating a remote-controlled bomb….

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/10/24/asia/AS-GEN-Pakistan-Violence.php?WT.mc_id=rssfrontpage

“Big Bang” In Pakistan

September 15, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

A few days ago I have told you that the people of Pakistan have been waiting for a ‘big bang’ as the government has almost been losing the control of the country. Now some parts of that big news has stared happening.

Attack on the commandoes in Tarbela Ghazi has jolted the whole country. Terrorists have intisified their campaign as they have been making last-ditch efforts to assert themselves.

Today a news of killing of religious leader in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province has created great terror and fear. According to reports, leader of JUI (F) and noted non-controversial religious scholar Maulana Hassan Jan was gunned down by unknown assailants in Wazir Bagh area after Iftari on Saturday in the jurisdiction of Yakkatoot Police Station. Maulana had gone to the residence of a colleague in Wazir Bagh for solemnizing a Nikah.

However, after Iftari as he left for offering Maghrib prayer, he was shot dead on way by 
the armed assailants. The killers managed to flee from the scene. The critically injured Maulana was rushed to Lady Reading Hospital but he succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital. The killing of Maulana Hassan Jan led to protest by his followers in and around the Lady Reading Hospital.

The police have cordoned off the area for the arrest of the killers. Khateeb Darvesh Mosque Peshawar Cantt Maulana Hassan Jan was Vice President of Wifaqul Maadaris and rose to eminence in the 1988 general elections when he defeated late ANP rehber Khan Abdul Wali Khan in his hometown District Charsadda and elected member national assembly. It merits a mention here that Khan Abdul Wali Khan had quit politics after losing election to Maulana Hassan Jan.

Maulana Hassan Jan was highly regarded by the people belonging to all walks of life and use to approach him for seeking religious decrees. Chairman Senate Mianmuhammad Soomro, Governor NWFP Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, Chief Minister NWFP
 Akram Khan Durrani, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Ijaz ul Haq, Senator Sahibzada Khalid Jan, Law Minister Malik Zafar Azam and Deputy Convener Rabta Committee MQM Dr. Farooq Sattar have condemned the brutal killing of Maulana Hassan Jan.

Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao has ordered early arrest of the killers involved in the murder of Maulana Hassan Jan. Maulana Hassan Jan was born in village Parang in District Charsadda in 1938.

He is survived by four sons and a daughter.

On the one hand the terrorists have been killing the people, but on the other hand the government has been making deal with them in the tribal areas. Mohmand Agency political administration and the Safi tribesmen have inked an agreement for peace, in which, the Safi tribesmen have agreed on not providing any sanctuary to the foreigners.Sources told that the Safi tribesmen and the political administration singed the agreement during the Jirga at  the Agency Headquarter Ghalanai.

The elders of the Safi tribesmens’ four subsidiary branches—Shinwari, Garbuz, Masood and Kandhari, while from the government side, the Upper Mohmand’s Assistant Political agent, Syed Ahmad Jan and the Tehsildar of Safi area inked the agreement.

Mohmand agency Political Agent, Dr. Kazim Niaz also addressed the Jirga. The agreement envisages that the tribesmen would neither be giving safe haven to the foreigners nor would allow subversive and terrorist activities, while the roads would be made safe, government properties would be protected besides the government personnel would be allowed freely to move in the area with full protection. Dear Sir, situation is very critical in the country. I do not know why the government has been showing lethergy in taking decisive action against the terrorists. The United States is also silent. If immediate steps are not taken the terrorists may make more horrible terrorist attacks.

Thank you very much,

Yours  sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Car Bomb Kills 9 at Pakistani Bus Depot

August 5, 2007

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Aug. 4 (AP) — A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb at a busy bus station in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least nine people and wounding 35 others, officials said.

Elsewhere in the region, four soldiers and 10 militants were killed in a checkpoint shootout.

The attacker rammed an explosive-laden car into another vehicle near a bus packed with passengers in Parachinar, a town in North-West Frontier Province, said Muhammad Kamal, a local police official.

Read the rest:

Pakistan: Dramatic Eyewitness Report

July 19, 2007

Dear John E. Carey,
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,Today I am really happy when I saw you in action in your blog. During the whole week I remained very disturbed as I was very worry about you. I have continued praying for your well-being.

I do not know why, but I have developed a special relation with you. You have been great deal of help to us.  Great. I am glad we are still working the same effort.

Situation in our areas is very tense as the terrorists and Taliban have been trying to assert themselves. Now they have been making desperate moves.

Several suicide attacks were carried out in parts of Pakistan and tribal areas in which hundreds of people have been killed. I think President Musharraf has now been showing some seriousness in war on terrorism. It is because of you that now Musharraf government has changed its attitude towards terrorists and Taliban.

But there are still some officials who have been providing support to Taliban and terrorists. Today the NWFP Governor Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, who also the controlling authority of the tribal areas has called Taliban leaders to Governor’s House situated in Peshawar for a meeting.

The governor during the meeting with Taliban asked them not to break up the deal made with him some two years ago.

On the one President Musharraf has been saying that no deal will be made with Taliban, but on his governor has begging to Taliban for peace.

I think Pakistan leaders are incapable to face the Taliban in the fighting and this is the reason that they have been begging to Taliban and terrorists. I think they have still been playing the double game. Taliban have already announced the breaking up of deal made with the government of Pakistan. The fighting is still going in North and South Wazirisitan tribal region.

The attack on rally on the defuct chief justice has shocked the whole country. But the leaders have still been playing the politics. A newspaper commentator stated that asuicide-bomber has blown up a PPP stall outside a lawyers’ venue in Islamabad and killed 16 and wounded 63. The lawyers insist that the bomber had come to kill the chief justice of Pakistan, Mr Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was to address them, and broadly suggested that it might be the government which wanted to get rid of the fired judge. But the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Ms Benazir Bhutto, says the bomber targeted the PPP stall and blamed the terrorists that the government is no longer able to control.

Eyewitnesses were agreed that the blast was caused by a suicide-bomber and that it was not a time-device, as claimed by the lawyers.

Islamabad officials were reluctant to concede that the PPP alone was targeted. They tended to include the PMLN stall in the target, but eyewitnesses insisted that the bomber avoided the PMLN stall and specifically entered the PPP tent. Curiously, the two tents were adjacent to each other, which had caused the two parties to fling hostile slogans at each other, and some office-bearers had stood in the middle to prevent a clash. The police stated that the head of the bomber had been found and that bits of the suicide jacket he used had also been collected.

The interior minister, Mr Aftab Sherpao, clearly held elements in Waziristan responsible for the blast.There is no doubt that Al Qaeda has targeted the PPP once again. Ms Bhutto referred to the statement issued by the Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri the day following the Lal Masjid operation, vowing revenge.

The target was obvious: the PPP had approved of the military operation while all the political opposition in Pakistan had challenged it. Earlier, at the all parties-conference (APC) in London, the PPP had stood aside from the opposition consensus by not consorting with the religious parties that tended to dominate the event, prompting Imran Khan of Tehreek Insaf to say that Ms Bhutto had committed political suicide.

It may be recalled that years ago, Al Qaeda had tried to kill Ms Bhutto through its bomber Ramzi Yusuf, and there were credible reports in the 1990s that Osama bin Laden had funded political efforts in Pakistan to prevent the PPP from coming to power.In a chapter added to her book, Daughter of the East, Ms Bhutto explains her 1990 defeat at the polls:“I believe that the age of the terrorist war actually coincided with the conclusion of the Pakistani elections in 1990 and the formation of the Nawaz regime.

The ISI, she writes, chose Ramzi Yusuf, who planned the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, to assassinate her during her election campaign that year. He failed, and“was extradited, on my order, to the United States. That was after Benazir was elected prime minister for the second time that year, and found herself, she says, taking on the extremists again.This time the man targeting her party is Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan.

He stands at the head of an assortment of Talibanised fighters that form the foreign legion of Al Qaeda and has all the resources he needs to run South Waziristan as a separate state. He collects taxes and provides services, including salaries for fighters who take orders from him.

The institution of the political agent has come to an end and the Pakistan army and security forces have withdrawn from his territory after unsuccessful attempts to tame him and extend the writ of the state in South Waziristan.

In 2005, when the army found the going tough, it began to pay off the local warlords. It allegedly paid Rs 17 crore to them so that that they could return the money they had received from Al Qaeda prior to changing their loyalties.

But it now appears that they pocketed both the payments.When ARY TV (28 July 2005) interviewed the corps commander of Peshawar he denied paying off the local warlords including Baitullah Mehsud and declared that Baitullah Mehsud used to have 800 people with him; “now there are none.

But in two years, it seems, Baitullah Mehsud has accumulated the power to challenge the state from South Waziristan. After the Lal Masjid affair he called a council of his warriors and swore revenge. His Taliban influence extends to many parts of the tribal areas including the Malakand-Swat-Dir region, where a horse-riding Maulana Fazlullah has formed his own mini-state with millions of dollars at his disposal.

The head of the Swat jirga interviewed on TV-ONE on Tuesday clearly stated that the Taliban state had taken over, while the Peshawar government was reluctant to take on the outlaw and was more inclined to blame the agencies. More significantly, the PPP may be targeted for falling outside the opposition consensus led by the religious parties.

This means that the PPP party workers and supporters may be hit in the coming days in the run-up to the 2007 elections, and during the election campaign, when Ms Bhutto will presumably be back in Pakistan. This will give the party a difficult and uneven playing field while the other parties will have a clear advantage by not opposing “extremism” in the country. Is it time for an all-parties conference by President Musharraf? Probably not.

Given Mr Nawaz Sharif’s APCDM consensus, the preconditions set by the opposition will simply demand his ouster before the elections. As for the PPP’s stance on an APC, Ms Bhutto said Tuesday that her party would consider it within the ARD if the proposal was put up.In this situation of “no quarters given, there is talk of an emergency.

But General Musharraf has categorically rejected such talk and said there will be no “emergency” or anything like that and that he will proceed according to his old plan to hold his own presidential elections from the current assemblies and follow up later with the general elections. More significantly, General Musharraf told senior editors yesterday that he would settle the issue of his uniform with the next parliament.

He also appreciated the argument that he needs to enlarge his political support base with like-minded moderate parties and groups in order to take up the challenge of religious extremism. This is good news.

Again thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

[Muhammad is a professional journalist in the tribal areas, Pakistan.]

Pakistan pledges security for Chinese after murders

July 9, 2007

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan promised on Monday to provide adequate security for Chinese citizens after three were shot dead by gunmen in an attack apparently linked to the siege of a mosque in Islamabad.

The statement came after Beijing’s ambassador to Islamabad condemned the killings by suspected Islamic militants of the Chinese workers at their home on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070709/wl_sthasia_
afp/pakistanunrestchina_070709113427

Former Pakistan PM to lead talks over besieged mosque

July 9, 2007

by Masroor Gilani

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Monday appointed a former prime minister to lead last-ditch talks with militant-led Islamists barricaded with women and children in an Islamabad mosque.

Security forces again fired tear gas and exchanged gunfire with the rebels at the Red Mosque, a group said to include foreign fighters and insurgents with links to Al-Qaeda. Twenty-four people have died since Tuesday.

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070709/
wl_asia_afp/pakistanreligionunrest_070709103624

Mosque Siege “Badly Affecting” People Across Pakistan

July 9, 2007

People who came with us fom Peace and Freedom to Peace and Freedom II may recognize the inputs of Muhammad.  Since we innaugurated Peace and Freedom on July 4, 2006, Muhammad has been a frequest contributor.  A professional journalist, Muhammad has been operating in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan between that country and Afghanistan.  He filed this report on July 9, 2007.

Filed by:
Muhammad Khurshid
Bajaur Agency, Tribal Areas, Pakistan
July 9, 2007

Dear John E. Carey,

Thank you very much for love and kindness with with me and poor people. You are really good.

Yesterday there was some problem in the net and this was the reason that I have not extablished contact with you. Today when I open my email inbox I have found five emails from you. Again thank you very much for your kindness.

I have been working on a very important story about the presence of terrorists in tribal areas, but situation has been worsening with each passing day. The Lal Masjid has been badly affecting the tribal areas and North West Frontier Province as the terrorists have sped up their activities.

According to a report, unidentified gunmen shot dead three Chinese workers in the city of Peshawar late on Sunday, police said.

Khazana police station Moharrir Ghaffar said that the four Chinese nationals had been attacked at around 9.30pm near the Landi Sarak area, where they were building three-wheeled Qinqi auto-rickshaws.

Capital City Police Officer Abdul Majeed Marwat confirmed that unidentified gunmen who had been riding in cars had killed three Chinese citizens. He said the man who was injured had been admitted to the Lady Reading Hospital here. Police have registered a case and started an investigation.Witnesses said several bearded men came to the house in a jeep and barged into the house that was serving as the Chinese men’s residence and auto-rickshaw factory.

“We do not know what was the motive behind the attack and an investigation is underway,” police officer Aslam Khan said.The wounded Chinese man said, “My son and two nephews were killed, everything is finished.” The incident comes in the wake of a spate of attacks in recent days on security forces in the region bordering Afghanistan.

The attacks have coincided with an ongoing confrontation between security forces and Lal Masjid. China on Thursday, voiced support for the Pakistani government’s crackdown on the mosque, but also urged Islamabad to do a better job of protecting Chinese nationals.In our own area, Bajaur Agency tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border the situation is very critical as the terrorists and Taliban have started patrolling the roads.

There is great terror in the area. Reports said militants blew up a Levies force vehicle by a remote controlled bomb on Sunday, killing one jawan and wounding seven others.The bomb was planted on a roadside at Yousufabad, around three kilometres north of Khar, the agency headquarters. The tribal policemen were on routine duty and were returning from Qazafi when the bomb exploded. Jawan Akhtar Zada died at the scene.

Subedar Sardar Khan and jawans Muhammad Ali Jan, Noor Wali, Fazl-e-Subhan, Zubair Ali, Muhammad Akram and Abdul Azeem were rushed to a hospital. On Saturday night, militants fired two rockets at the Warbano Levies checkpost in Nawagai tehsil and kidnapped Hawaldar Izzatullah, and jawans Bashir, Farhatullah and Sahibzada.

The militants snatched wireless sets and weapons from the Levies personnel.The political administration arrested Qalam Khan, a pro-Taliban tribesman, on Saturday and the rocket attack may have been a reaction to his arrest. The political administration has called a grand jirga of elders.I think the terrorists have been using the operation against Taliban in Islamabad in their favour.

Now they have been trying to create a state of terrorism in the tribal areas.

It is ironic that some of the officials have still been extending support to them.  I tnink urgent steps are required for elimination of terrorism. I have read the story, which was sent by your goodself. Compromises on various stages deteriorated the situation.

Dear Sir, now the time of compromises has gone. Now is the time of practical work.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid

Bajaur Agency, Tribal Areas, Pakistan