Pakistan: Dozens Killed In Karachi, Peshawar Attacks

Four policemen were shot dead on Friday in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and financial capital.

According to police sources, the policemen were observing the ‘iftar’ meal to break the daily Ramadan fast when three masked men on a motorbike shot them at close range and fled.

The incident brought the death toll of terrorist attacks across the country to 44 on a day when the Muslim-majority country was observing Jumatul Wida, the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

“Three unidentified men on two motorcycles attacked them with 9 mm pistols and killed them. These four personnel of ours were eating ‘iftar’ (breaking of fast). They belonged to the SITE area police station and were on duty,” the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Zulfikar Larek, said.
Earlier on Friday, a suicide car bomber killed 13 in the southwestern city of Quetta, with subsequent blasts claiming another 27 lives in the northwestern town of Parachinar.

Taliban Group Claims Lahore Park Attack

Pakistan crisisPakistani authorities hunted on Monday for breakaway Taliban militants who once declared loyalty to Islamic State (ISIS) after the group claimed responsibility for an Easter suicide bomb targeting Christians, that killed at least 70 people.

The attack on Sunday evening in a busy park in the eastern city of Lahore, the powerbase of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, killed mostly women and children enjoying an Easter weekend outing.

Pakistan is a majority-Muslim state but has a Christian population of more than two million.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said it had targeted Christians celebrating Easter, though police have said they are still investigating the claim.

There were scenes of carnage, as parents searched for children amid the debris.

Pakistan’s President condemned the attack, and the regional government has announced three days of mourning.

At least 300 people were injured, with officials saying they expected the death toll to rise.

Lahore is the capital of Pakistan’s richest province, Punjab, and is seen as the country’s political and cultural heartland.

The bombing of the amusement park on Easter Sunday was the bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan since the 2013 Peshawar church bombing that killed more than 80 people.

But many believe there may be a wider context to the latest attack – 27 March was the deadline set by an alliance of more than 30 religious groups for the provincial government of Punjab to withdraw a new women’s rights law they oppose.

Northern Afghanistan Hit By Magnitude Earthquake

Afghanistan earthquakeA powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake has struck northern Afghanistan, with tremors felt as far away as India.

According to the US geological survey, the quake’s epicentre was in the northern province of Badakhshan, close to the Pakistani and Tajik borders.

It is not clear if there were any casualties in the area itself, but at least 17 people were injured in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

Hundreds were killed by a quake in the same area on October the 26th.

Residents in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, were reported to have run into the streets after feeling the impact of the quake.

The region has a history of powerful earthquakes caused by the northward collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates.

In 2005, a magnitude 7.6 quake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir left more than 75,000 people dead.

In April this year, Nepal suffered its worst earthquake on record with 9,000 people killed and about 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

Malala Condemns Donald Trump Call For Muslim Ban In US

Malala YousafzaiMalala Yousafzai has condemned Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

The Nobel Prize winner said that Trump’s comments were “full of hatred” and that blaming Muslims for terrorism would only “radicalise more terrorists”.

Malala was speaking at an event to mark one year since a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan left more than 140 people, mostly children, dead.

Pakistan’s President, Prime Minister and Chief of Army were among several top leaders who attended a commemoration ceremony at the Army Public School, where the massacre happened.

Malala also reiterated her call for quality education around the world to “defeat the mindset of terrorism mentality and of hatred” that led to events such as the Peshawar attack.

Other speakers at the event include survivors of the attack, including a 16-year-old, who lost his younger brother, and a 13-year-old who was paralysed from the waist down from gunshot wounds.

Schools and colleges in some provinces in Pakistan were closed on Wednesday to mark the one year anniversary.
In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban.

Pakistan In National Mourning As Peshawar Buries School Children

PakistanThe city of Peshawar, Pakistan is in mourning as 132 children and nine staff are being buried,  following a Tabliban attack on a school.

Gunmen had walked from class to class shooting students in what has been described as the Pakistani Taliban’s worst attack in history.

Flags are flying at half-mast across Pakistan as the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif has declared three days of mourning over the massacre, which has sparked national outrage.

Sharif has also called a multi-party conference in Peshawar on Wednesday to discuss the state’s response to the attack, the worst in Pakistan’s recent history, which will be attended by leaders across the political spectrum.

He also announced an end to the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases.

In its defense, the Pakistani Taliban, which had claimed responsibility for the attack, issued a statement saying only the adult sons of military personnel and members of the military had been killed in the raid, noting that the raid was a revenge on children who been killed during military operations in tribal areas.

According to the army, Tuesday’s attack was carried out by seven Taliban attackers, all wearing bomb vests.
They cut through a wire fence to enter the school from the rear and attacked an auditorium where children were taking exams.

Most of the younger pupils escaped, as the older students were deliberately targeted in the attack.

126 Dead As Taliban Storms Pakistan Army School

photo-courtesy-of-khuram-parvez-reutersPakistani military officials say at least 126 people, mostly children, have been killed in a Taliban assault on an army-run school in the city of Peshawar,

Hours after the attack, the Pakistani military was still exchanging gunfire with the militants inside the Army Public School and Degree College, in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the country’s capital, Islamabad.

The army says most of the school’s 500 students have been evacuated. It is not clear how many are being held hostage.

The attack is seen as one of the worst yet in Pakistan

The hardline Islamist Taliban movement immediately claimed responsibility.

The Pakistani military said it had pushed the attackers to four blocks of the school, and killed all six.

The death toll has steadily risen, and officials fear it will climb higher. The number of injured was upwards of 100.

Most of those who died were between the ages of 12 and 16, said Pervez Khattak, chief minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is located.

The attack started at 10:00 local time (05:00 GMT). Mudassir Awan, a worker at the school, said he saw six people scaling the walls of the school.

“We thought it must be the children playing some game,” he told Reuters news agency. “But then we saw a lot of firearms with them.

“As soon as the firing started, we ran to our classrooms,” he said. “They were entering every class and they were killing the children.”

A school worker and a student interviewed by the local Geo TV station said the attackers had entered the Army Public School’s auditorium, where a military team was conducting first-aid training for students.

Locals said they also heard the screams of students and teachers. The dead are said to include teachers, as well as a paramilitary soldier.

Mohammed Khurrassani, the TTP spokesman, told CNN the attack was revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency — all restive regions along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

For the past few months, the Pakistan military has been conducting a ground offensive aimed at clearing out militants in these areas. The campaign has displaced tens of thousands of people.

Northwestern Pakistan is home to loosely governed tribal areas. It’s also a base for foreign fighters and a refuge for members of the Taliban and other militant groups.