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Pakistan officials: Many killed in police center attack

پاکستانی شہر کوئٹہ میں دہشت گردی کی ایک کارروائی کے نتیجے میں کم ازکم انسٹھ افراد ہلاک جبکہ سو سے زائد زخمی ہو گئے ہیں۔ فوج کے مطابق اس مرتبہ نقاب پوش خود کش حملہ آوروں نے پولیس کی ایک تربیتی اکیڈمی کو نشانہ بنایا ہے۔ خبر رساں ادارے روئٹرز نے پاکستانی فوج کے حوالے سے بتایا ہے کہ اسلحے سے لیس خود کش حملہ آوروں نے کوئٹہ میں واقع پولیس کی تربیتی اکیڈمی پر دھاوا بولتے ہوئے کئی افراد کو یرغمال بھی بنا لیا تھا۔ بتایا گیا ہے کہ جب یہ حملہ کیا گیا، اس وقت اس اکیڈمی میں دو سو کے قریب کیڈٹس موجود تھے۔ پیر کی شام شروع ہونے والی حملہ آوروں کی یہ کارروائی پانچ گھنٹے تک جاری رہی، جس دوران حملہ آوروں نے کئی کیڈٹس کو یرغمال بھی بنا لیا تھا۔ بلوچستان میں کومبنگ آپریشن شروع، پچیس مشتبہ افراد گرفتار کوئٹہ حملہ، داعش کے بعد طالبان نے بھی ذمہ داری قبول کر لی بلوچستان میں تشدد کی نئی لہر، ’ہدف پاک چین اقتصادی راہداری‘ اس حملے میں زندہ بچ جانے والے ایک زیر تربیت پولیس اہلکار نے روئٹرز کو بتایا، ’’جنگجو سیدھے ہماری بیرک میں پہنچے اور انہوں نے اندھا دھند فائرنگ شروع کر دی۔ ہم چیختے چلاتے بیرک میں ادھر ادھر بھاگنے لگے۔‘‘ ابھی تک کسی گروہ نے اس حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول نہیں کی ہے۔ بلوچستان کے وزیر داخلہ سرفراز بگٹی نے میڈیا کو بتایا ہے کہ حملہ آوروں نے یہ کارروائی ایک ایسے وقت میں کی، جب اس تربیتی اکیڈمی میں کیڈٹس آرام کر رہے تھے یا سو رہے تھے، ’’دو حملہ آوروں نے خود کو دھماکا خیز مواد سے اڑا دیا جبکہ تیسرا حملہ آور سکیورٹی فورسز کی کارروائی میں ہلاک کر دیا گیا۔‘‘ انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ قبل ازیں ایسی اطلاعات تھیں کہ ان حملہ آوروں کی تعداد پانچ یا چھ تھی۔ روئٹرز نے بتایا ہے کہ جائے حادثہ پر ایک نو عمر لڑکے کی لاش کو ہستپال منتقل کیا گیا، جو مبینہ طور پر ایک حملہ آور تھا۔ یہ وہی حملہ آوار قرار دیا گیا ہے، جو سکیورٹی فورسز کی فائرنگ سے ہلاک ہوا۔ بتایا گیا ہے کہ وہ سر پر گولی لگنے سے مارا گیا۔ کوئٹہ میں ایک اعلیٰ فوجی اہلکار جنرل شیر افگن نے مقامی میڈیا کو بتایا ہے کہ گو کہ کسی نے اس کارروائی کا ذمہ داری قبول نہیں کی ہے لیکن ابتدائی تفتیش سے اندازہ ہوا ہے کہ ان حملہ آوروں کا تعلق سنی جنگجو گروہ ’لشکر جھنگوی‘ سے تھا۔ انہوں نے مزید کہا، ’’ہمیں معلوم ہوا ہے کہ یہ تینوں حملہ آور افغانستان سے ہدایات حاصل کر رہے تھے۔‘‘ انہوں نے کہا کہ ان حملہ آوروں کی کمیونیکشن کو انٹرسپٹ کرنے کے بعد یہ اندازہ لگایا گیا ہے۔ بلوچستان کے وزیر اعلیٰ نے مقامی میڈیا کو بتایا، ’’دو تین قبل ہمیں خفیہ معلومات موصول ہوئی تھیں کہ کوئٹہ شہر میں ممکنہ طور پر حملہ ہو سکتا ہے۔ اسی لیے سکیورٹی ہائی الرٹ تھی۔ لیکن انہوں (حملہ آوروں ) نے پولیس ٹریننگ کالج کو نشانہ بنایا۔‘‘

Several militants stormed a police academy in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 60 people and injuring more than 120. Authorities blamed a militant group affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban for the attack. Gunmen wearing explosive vests raided a police training college near the southwestern city of Quetta late on Monday, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 120, ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Edhi: A ‘failed state’ and a ‘messiah’

جہاں پاکستان کی ریاست اور حکومتیں عوام کی جانب اپنی ذمے داریاں پوری کرنے میں ناکام ہوئیں، وہاں فلاحی کارکن عبدالستار ایدھی نے چھ دہائیوں تک لوگوں کی خدمت کر کے اس خلا کو پُر کیا۔ ڈی ڈبلیو کی کشور مصطفیٰ کا تبصرہ۔ پاکستان ایک ایسا ملک ہے جہاں شہری اور عسکری بیوروکریسی انتہائی وسیع ہے۔ ملک میں بے شمار سرکاری شعبے ہیں، وزارتیں ہیں اور لاتعداد وزیر بھی ہیں۔ پاکستان کے سن انیس سو سینتالیس میں انگریز حکم رانوں سے آزادی کے باوجود اب تک ریاست اپنے شہریوں کو بنیادی سہولیات فراہم کرنے سے قاصر رہی ہے۔ 'پاکستان کے مدر ٹیریسا‘ کہلائے جانے والے عبدالستار ایدھی نہ سیاست دان تھے اور نہ ہی امیر بزنس مین، مگر عوامی فلاح و بہبود کے لیے ان کی لگن اور ان تھک محنت نے پاکستان کے غریب افراد کو وہ کچھ دیا جو ریاست نہ دے سکی۔ جب ایدھی کو یہ اندازہ ہوا کہ ریاست اپنی ذمے داریاں پوری نہیں کر رہی تو انہوں نے اپنے طور پر عوام کی فلاح کا بیڑا اٹھا لیا اور ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن کو قائم کیا۔ ابتدا میں یہ صرف لوگوں کو عارضی مدد فراہم کرنے والا ادارہ تھا، تاہم جب پاکستان میں انیس سو اسی اور انیسی سو نوے کی دہائیوں میں سکیورٹی کی حالت ابتر ہوتی گئی تو ایدھی نے اپنے مشن کو وسیع کرتے ہوئے دہشت گردی کا نشانہ بننے والے افراد کی بھی مدد کرنا شروع کی۔ ایدھی ایک بہت مشکل کام حکومت کی کسی بھی مدد کے بغیر کر رہے تھے۔ اور انہوں نے یہ کام اس قدر عاجزی اور سنجیدگی کے ساتھ کیا کہ پاکستان کے عوام نے اس کی مثال اس سے پہلے کبھی نہیں دیکھی تھی۔ انہوں نے اپنی زندگی سادگی سے گزاری اور اپنی زندگی میں ہی ان کو ایک ’درویش‘ کا درجہ حاصل ہو گیا۔ آج ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن کے پاس جنوبی ایشیا میں ایمبولینسوں کا سب سے بڑا نیٹ ورک ہے۔ وہ ’عوامی باورچی خانے‘ بھی چلاتی ہے جہاں سے ہر روز ہزاروں بھوکے افراد کو کھانا ملتا ہے۔ ایدھی کا فلاحی ادارہ ’دارالاطفال‘ بھی چلاتا ہے، جہاں وہ بچے لائے جاتے ہیں جن کا کوئی کفیل نہیں ہوتا۔ اسی طرح ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن گھریلو تشدد کا شکار خواتین کے لیے درالامان بھی چلاتی ہے۔ عبدالستار ایدھی کی زندگی، ان کی جدوجہد اور ان کا فلسفہء حیات ان لوگوں کو متاثر کرتا رہے گا جو انسانیت کی خدمت کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔ ان کی وراثت ثابت کرتی ہے کہ انسانیت کسی بھی قومی، لسانی اور مذہبی وابستگی سے بالاتر ہے۔ لاکھوں کی تعداد میں غریب افراد ایدھی صاحب کے بنائے ان اداروں سے مستفید ہوتے رہیں گے۔ اس عظیم فلاحی کارکن کو نو جولائی کو پاکستانی ریاست کی جانب سے پورے اعزازات کے ساتھ دفنا دیا گیا۔ فوجی اور سویلین قیادت نے ایدھی کی سماج کے لیے خدمات پر انہیں سیلوٹ بھی پیش کیا۔ تاہم ایدھی کو کسی ریاستی اعزاز کی ضرورت نہیں تھی۔ ان کی جدوجہد اس بات کو ظاہر کرتی تھی کہ ریاستی رہنما اپنی ذمے داری پوری نہیں کر رہے تھے۔ جو محبت اور عزت انہیں پاکستان کے عوام سے ملی وہی ان کے لیے سب سے بڑا اعزاز تھا۔

As the Pakistani state failed to fulfill its responsibilities towards its people, the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi filled the vacuum and helped the destitute for over six decades. What legacy does he leave behind? Pakistan is a country with a huge civilian and military bureaucracy, many state departments and ministries and countless ministers. Yet, the state has failed to deliver ... Read More »

Rescuers race to find survivors in Afghanistan-Pakistan quake

Islamabad mobilized the military to begin a rescue mission for survivors of a massive earthquake that has killed hundreds. Roads destroyed in the disaster made it difficult to reach the remote regions most affected. The search area for victims of a deadly earthquake along the Afghan-Pakistani border was widened on Tuesday as authorities increased the death toll to upwards of 260. That figure is expected to rise further. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the Hindu Kush mountain range, near Afghanistan's borders with Pakistan and Tajikistan. The region's already weak infrastructure took a beating in the quake, blocking roads and cutting off the most remote areas in need of help. The epicenter of Monday's earthquake was in the rural Badakhsan province, vast swathes of which are still controlled by the Taliban. Authorities in Afghanistan were still able to estimate, however, that around 63 people were killed in the disaster and hundreds injured. Schoolgirls killed in panicked stampede Around a dozen of the dead in Afghanistan were a group of schoolgirls, all under 16, who were trampled in a crush to escape their swaying school building in the remote province Takhar. "When the relatives of the dead students came to collect their bodies, they were so distressed that they could not even talk to authorities to record their names," said Hafizullah Safai, leader of the Takhar health department. Pakistan sees most of the casualties Early estimates put the death toll in Pakistan higher, with more than 200 people believed perished and more than 1,800 injured, disaster management authorities said. Islamabad immediately mobilized its army and put all military hospitals on high alert, with the air force ready to assist in search and rescue missions. The quake lasted about one minute and sent shockwaves that were felt as far away as India and Uzbekistan. Traffic in Kabul came to a standstill as terrified people abandoned their cars as they waited for the quake to stop. The disaster prompted an outpouring of sympathy from around the world. Even Pakistan's bitter rival, India, offered its condolences, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeting words of consolation. The Hindu Kush range is frequently hit by earthquakes. In 2005, a 7.6 magnitude quake that struck there killed more than 75,000 people and displaced a further 3.5 million.

Islamabad mobilized the military to begin a rescue mission for survivors of a massive earthquake that has killed hundreds. Roads destroyed in the disaster made it difficult to reach the remote regions most affected. The search area for victims of a deadly earthquake along the Afghan-Pakistani border was widened on Tuesday as authorities increased the death toll to upwards of ... Read More »

Pakistani provincial minister killed in suicide attack

پاکستانی صوبہ پنجاب کے وزیر داخلہ شجاع خانزادہ کے ڈیرے پر اتوار کے روز ہونے والے ایک بم حملے میں خانزادہ سمیت کم از کم دس افراد جاں بحق ہو گئے ہیں۔ خانزادہ کی ہلاکت کی تصدیق ڈسٹرکٹ ایمرجنسی آفیسر ڈاکٹر اشفاق نے بھی کر دی ہے۔ اطلاعات کے مطابق اس بم دھماکے سے ڈیرے کی یہ عمارت مکمل طور پر تباہ ہو گئی، جب کہ 20 افراد اس کے ملبے تلے دفن ہو گئے۔ یہ بھی بتایا گیا ہے کہ اٹک میں وزیر داخلہ کے اس ڈیرے پر یہ حملہ ایک ایسے وقت پر کیا گیا جب وہاں 20 تا 30 افراد موجود تھے۔ ریسکیو ورکرز کے مطابق اب تک دس افراد کی لاشیں برآمد کی جا چکی ہیں۔

A suicide bomber has killed a Pakistani provincial minister and at least nine other people. Shuja Khanzada was very active in crackdowns on militants and Taliban insurgents. Shuja Khanzada, Home Minister of Punjab, was killed after the blast brought down the roof of a building where he was holding a meeting in Shadi Khan in the Attock district, local officials ... Read More »

Mugabe condemns killing of Cecil the lion

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lashed out at US amateur hunter Walter Palmer for killing Cecil, saying the country's wildlife belongs to its people. He also blamed foreign tourists for destroying local resources. In a speech to mark Zimbabwe's Heroes' Day, aging president Robert Mugabe condemned the killing of Cecil the lion on Monday, blaming foreign visitors for destroying the nation's wildlife and natural resources. "Our wildlife, all our animals, belong to us. They should not be shot with a gun or with an arrow," the president, who has often come under fire for his human rights record in his decades-long tenure, told the thousands who gathered at a shrine on the outskirts of the capital Harare for the day's celebrations. "Even Cecil the lion is yours. He is dead. He was yours to protect and he [was] there to protect you," Mugabe said, referring to the early July incident where the popular lion, beloved of visitors to Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer. Walter Palmer the target of global ire Cecil's death sparked worldwide outrage when it was discovered that Palmer had paid a local safari company $55,000 (50,000 euros) to hunt and kill the lion with a bow and arrow. Palmer and his local guides allegedly lured Cecil, who was wearing a tracking collar as part of an Oxford University research project, outside the park grounds in order to kill him. Local tracker Theo Bronkhurst was subsequently arrested and charged with failure to prevent an illegal hunt. He has been temporarily freed on bail pending his September 28 trial. Palmer, a seasoned trophy hunter, and his dental practice became the targets of often vicious online fury and has gone into hiding following demonstrations outside his offices in suburban Minnesota. He has apologized for killing the lion, but blamed his local guides for the incident, saying they misled him as to the legality of the hunt. Mugabe took the opportunity Monday to lash out at international tourists who is his view, have come to "vandalize" Zimbabwe. "There are vandals who come from all over. Of course some may be just ordinary visitors but others want to vandalize, to irregularly and illegally acquire part of these resources." The authorities in Zimbabwe have launched a massive crackdown on poaching and illegal hunting in response to the international outcry over Cecil's death.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lashed out at US amateur hunter Walter Palmer for killing Cecil, saying the country’s wildlife belongs to its people. He also blamed foreign tourists for destroying local resources. In a speech to mark Zimbabwe’s Heroes’ Day, aging president Robert Mugabe condemned the killing of Cecil the lion on Monday, blaming foreign visitors for destroying the nation’s ... Read More »

Deadliest, week-long Pakistan heatwave kills 1,233 in Karachi

Tens of thousands of people have been treated for heatstroke in Pakistan's southern port of Karachi. The heatwave, the worst on record, has already killed 1,233 people, local authorities say. About 65,000 heatstroke patients have been treated by doctors at Karachi's hospitals since June 20 according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. The heatwave has affected Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital. Temperatures have reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degress Fahrenheit). Operations director Nazar Mohammad Bozdar said that 1,923 patients with heat-related ailments were still being treated. There have been power outages and many people have spent nights outdoors in cooler air. "The government quickly responded by making arrangements for the treatment of heatstroke patients and the situation has improved now," he said. Pakistan's deadliest heatwave on record has taken place at the same time as the holy month of Ramadan, when the Muslim community fast from dawn to dusk. Salma Kausar Ali of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation said that temperatures in Pakistan's most populated city have started to come down, towards 36 and 37 degrees Celsius. There are 20 million people living in Karachi. Kausar Ali said that most of the victims of the heatwave were people aged more than 60 years or people who worked out of doors.

Tens of thousands of people have been treated for heatstroke in Pakistan’s southern port of Karachi. The heatwave, the worst on record, has already killed 1,233 people, local authorities say. About 65,000 heatstroke patients have been treated by doctors at Karachi’s hospitals since June 20 according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. The heatwave has affected Sindh province, of which ... Read More »

Gunmen kill dam workers in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province

پاکستان کے جنوب مغربی صوبے بلوچستان میں ایک زیر تعمیر ڈیم کی جگہ پر کیے گئے مسلح افراد کے ایک حملے میں کم از کم بیس افراد ہلاک ہو گئے ہیں۔ اس خونریزی کے بعد مسلح حملہ آور فرار ہونے میں کامیاب ہو گئے۔ حکام کے مطابق بلوچستان کے ضلع تربت کے علاقے گوبدان میں جمعے اور ہفتے کی درمیانی شب متعدد مسلح حملہ آوروں نے ایک زیر تعمیر ڈیم کے لیبر کیمپ میں داخل ہو کر پہلے وہاں موجود محافظوں کو اپنے قابو میں کر لیا اور پھر وہاں سوئے ہوئے مزدوروں کو اندھا دھند فائرنگ کا نشانہ بنایا۔ فی الحال کسی بھی مسلح گروہ نے اس حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول نہیں کی۔ تاہم خبر رساں ادارے ایسوسی ایٹڈ پریس کےمطابق تربت کے علاقے میں بلوچ علیحدگی پسند کافی سرگرم ہیں، جو گزشتہ کئی برسوں سے اپنی مسلح جدوجہد جاری رکھے ہوئے ہیں۔ اس کے علاوہ اس علاقے میں مسلمان شدت پسند بھی خاصے سرگرم ہیں۔ مکران ڈویژن کے کمشنر پسند خان بلیدی نے ایسوسی ایٹڈ پریس کو بتایا کہ مسلح حملہ آور بڑی تعداد میں اس کیمپ میں پہنچے اور اس کے آٹھ محافظوں کو انہوں نے اپنے قابو میں کر لیا۔ ’’پھر کیمپ میں سوئے ہوئے مزدوروں کا قتل عام شروع کر دیا گیا۔‘‘ انہوں نے بتایا کہ ہلاک شدگان میں سے 16 کا تعلق صوبہ پنجاب سے تھا اور چار کا صوبہ سندھ سے۔ ڈویژنل کمشنر بلیدی کے مطابق اس حملے میں تین دیگر افراد زخمی بھی ہوئے۔ بلوچستان کی صوبائی حکومت کے ترجمان جان محمد بلیدی نے اس حملے کی تصدیق کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ فرار ہو جانے والے حملہ آوروں کی تلاش شروع کر دی گئی ہے۔ انہوں نے ہلاک شدگان کے اہل خانہ کے لیے دس دس لاکھ روپے فی گھرانہ مالی مدد کا اعلان بھی کیا۔ ایسوسی ایٹڈ پریس کے مطابق بلوچستان میں گزشتہ کچھ عرصے کے دوران کیے گئے مسلح حملوں میں سے یہ تازہ واقعہ سب سے خونریز حملہ ہے۔ اس سے قبل ستمبر سن 2012ء میں خضدار کے علاقے میں ایک لیبر کیمپ پر مسلح افراد کے حملے میں دس مزدور اور پانچ قبائلی مارے گئے تھے۔

At least 20 people have been shot dead and another three wounded after gunmen attacked a dam construction site in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan. No group has claimed responsibility. The gunmen attacked a labor camp near the dam construction site in the Gobdan area of district Turbat at around 2 a.m. local time (2100 UTC, Friday), according government ... Read More »

Afghan officials make arrests in connection with Pakistan school massacre

Afghan authorities have arrested five men accused as accomplices in the December massacre at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. The Taliban carried out the strike, which killed almost 150 people, most of them children. The five men suspected of being involved in the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar were arrested in eastern Afghanistan, officials confirmed Saturday. The suspects, who according to the news agency dpa were from Pakistan, were being questioned in Afghanistan and due to be handed over to Pakistani authorities. According to dpa, a Pakistani security official said the arrests came after Pakistan supplied information to the Afghan government. News agents quoting anonymous diplomats and officials report that a prisoner exchange between the neighboring nations was being considered. On December 16, gunmen from the Pakistani Taliban stormed the school and killed some 150 people, most of them students, in an attack which shocked Pakistan. The Taliban said they were acting in revenge for a campaign by the country's military against them in the North Waziristan tribal region. In the wake of the school massacre, Pakistan has ended its moratorium on the death penalty and established military courts to try terror cases. Several convicted militants have been hanged in the weeks since.

Afghan authorities have arrested five men accused as accomplices in the December massacre at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. The Taliban carried out the strike, which killed almost 150 people, most of them children. The five men suspected of being involved in the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar were arrested in eastern Afghanistan, officials confirmed Saturday. The ... Read More »

Why Pakistan will remain a key US ally

Secretary of State John Kerry has said the US will boost its security and defense cooperation with Pakistan in its fight against militants. DW speaks to analyst Omar Hamid on the nature of the US-Pakistani military bond. Speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistan's national security adviser Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, Kerry praised the Pakistani military's ongoing operation against Islamist militants in the country's northwest. He also called on the South Asian nation to fight all militant groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and US interests. "We've been very clear with the highest levels of the Government of Pakistan that Pakistan has to target all militant groups, the Haqqani Network and others, which target US coalition and Afghan forces and people in Pakistan and elsewhere," Kerry said on Tuesday, January 13. Pakistan's military has vowed to avenge the December 16 Peshawar school massacre, in which some 150 people - mostly children - were killed. Since the Taliban assault, the army has intensified its ground and air strikes on Islamist militants in the restive Waziristan area. It is believed that some of the region's most feared militants use Waziristan as a launching pad for attacks within Pakistan as well as against NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes in South and North Waziristan since the start of the operation. Omar Hamid, Head of Asia Pacific Country Risk at IHS, says in a DW interview the Pakistani army's actions against the Haqqani network as well as its operations in Waziristan seem to have restored US confidence in Pakistan and led to an increasing level of cooperation between the two countries. DW: Pakistan's problems with the Taliban insurgency are not new. Why did the US Secretary of State pick this time to pledge support for Pakistan in its offensive against extremist militants? Omar Hamid: The past six months or so has seen increased efforts by Pakistan against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups. The Pakistani army has gone to great pains to show that their operations were even-handed against all Taliban-affiliated outfits, including groups such as the Haqqani network, which has been responsible for major attacks in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul. The country's military had been accused by the US and Afghan governments of protecting the Haqqani network in the past. These latest actions seem to have restored confidence and led to an increasing level of cooperation between Washington and Islamabad. Therefore, while Secretary of State Kerry's visit may be occurring only now in the aftermath of the Peshawar school attack on December 16, in fact there has been growing intelligence cooperation between the two countries before this, as evidenced by US drone strikes targeting TTP leaders in eastern Afghanistan, which have been occurring since November 2014. What kind of assistance is the US willing to offer Pakistan? Pakistan is primarily interested in greater US military aid. The government also needs support for the resettlement of internally displaced persons from the current operation in North Waziristan. However, the Kerry Lugar Bill made the US government focus more on civilian institutions than just giving more aid money to the military. The real issue here is that military and economic cooperation between Pakistan and the US has continued throughout this period, even despite some periods where the rhetoric on both sides had become more inflammatory. Given this inflammatory rhetoric, why does the US believe it is important to assist Pakistan? Pakistan remains a key US ally for two reasons: First, the army is the only force currently capable of flushing Islamist militant groups out of their sanctuaries in the tribal areas. Second, the US recognizes that they would need Pakistan to lean on the Afghan Taliban to initiate any kind of meaningful peace negotiations. You mentioned the offensive in North Waziristan. The US has carried out a series of drone strikes in the tribal regions since Islamabad resumed its own offensive there. Pakistani officials, however, denounce the drone attacks as a violation of sovereignty. Are the two militaries working together in the offensive? Despite their public denunciations, there is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence that supports the fact that these drone strikes are done in conjunction with, and at the behest of, the Pakistani military. Almost certainly there has been an increase over the past few months in coordination between the two militaries, with US drone strikes targeting the TTP leadership on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border at the same time that Pakistani forces pushed into the North Waziristan. US drones are also actively targeting Mullah Fazllullah, the head of the TTP, who is thought to be in Kunar, Afghanistan, and was recently added to Washington's official terrorism list. At least two drone strikes have attempted to kill him since November 2014. Nevertheless, some analysts believe Pakistan's security services see the Haqqanis as an "asset" and maintain close links with them. What is your view on this? Whatever the past relationship may have been, during the current operation the Pakistani army has made it a point to target the Haqqani network, with the result that the Haqqanis' offensive capabilities seem to have been greatly reduced in recent times. In his visit to Washington in November 2014, Pakistan's army chief Raheel Sharif received public praise from both the Pentagon leadership and other members of the US establishment for having not spared the Haqqani network during the present operations. How could Kerry's pledge of support for Pakistan help ease tensions with neighboring India? Pakistan has always desired direct US intervention to resolve the Kashmir dispute with India. While such direct support is unlikely, nonetheless, with Pakistani-US relations enjoying a high point, the Pakistani establishment will be content that in light of supportive comments from the US, India will be restrained from taking any kind of unilateral action that would raise war risks between the two countries. What leverage does Washington have on Islamabad to help decrease the violence along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan? The US has the considerable leverage in terms of its economic support for Pakistan, which it could potentially use to decrease LoC violence, but it also understands that any threats about the reduction of aid and/or economic support would also undermine Pakistani support for anti-terror operations, which is the US' primary interest in engaging with the country. Therefore, its own priorities would take precedence over what India would consider urgent. Omar Hamid is Head of Asia Pacific Country Risk at IHS.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said the US will boost its security and defense cooperation with Pakistan in its fight against militants. DW speaks to analyst Omar Hamid on the nature of the US-Pakistani military bond. Speaking at a joint press conference with Pakistan’s national security adviser Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, Kerry praised the Pakistani military’s ongoing operation against ... Read More »

Kerry urges Pakistan to step up fight against the Taliban

Secretary of state John Kerry arrived in Pakistan on Monday, to urge the government to step up its fight against terrorism. Kerry is reportedly set to visit the school where the Taliban killed 134 children last month. During his surprise two-day visit, Kerry is expected to press the Pakistani leadership to strengthen its efforts in combating militant groups, and eliminate safe havens for terrorists near the border with Afghanistan. A senior State Department official said Kerry would also lead the annual strategic talks between the United States and Pakistan during the visit, according to the AFP news agency. "The secretary's engagement will be very critical to advancing our shared fight against militant extremism," said the official who asked to remain anonymous. "It's obviously no secret that the US has pushed Pakistan to do far more on counter-terrorism." Pakistan has already intensified its operations against extremists in recent months, especially after the massacre in Peshawar, which left 150 people dead. Most of the victims in the attack on a military-run school on December 16 were children. However, the country has long been suspected of fostering certain militant groups in Afghanistan and India, while combating other fractions that target Pakistan itself. Some high-ranked state and army officials allegedly view the militants in the neighboring countries as strategic assets, which increase Pakistani influence. Pakistan's Taliban, blamed for the attack in Peshawar, are separate from the Afghan Taliban, but share the goals of overthrowing their governments and establishing a strict Islamist state in the region. Attacks continue Upon arrival, Kerry was welcomed by Pakistan's foreign affairs and security advisor Sartaj Aziz and headed directly into meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as well as Pakistan's army chief, General Raheel Sharif. "We heard you are planning to visit Peshawar and the school," advisor Sartaj Aziz told Kerry shortly after his arrival. There was no immediate State Department confirmation of Kerry's visit. Despite Pakistan's crackdown on terrorism, five people were killed in a suicide attack on Friday, outside a mosque in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad. Rivalry with India General Lloyd Austin, chief of the U.S. Central Command which oversees US military operations in the Middle East and South Asia, will also attend Kerry's meetings. Kerry is also expected to push for better trade connections between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as calming of tensions with India, after recent exchanges of gunfire along the border with the disputed Kashmir region.

Secretary of state John Kerry arrived in Pakistan on Monday, to urge the government to step up its fight against terrorism. Kerry is reportedly set to visit the school where the Taliban killed 134 children last month. During his surprise two-day visit, Kerry is expected to press the Pakistani leadership to strengthen its efforts in combating militant groups, and eliminate ... Read More »

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