Category Archives: Aviation

Afghan Refugees in Spotlight Amid Debate Over Sources of Unrest

WASHINGTON,ISLAMABAD, A security expert from the Afghan-Pakistan region said Pakistani officials are blaming unrest on Afghan refugees in a bid to divert attention from the real causes of militancy.

At a security conference in the German city of Munich Saturday, Pakistan’s chief of army staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said the repatriation of Afghan refugees could greatly help in curbing terrorism in the Pak-Afghan region.

“We still have nearly 2.7 million Afghan refugees in our country, whose concentrations are routinely used by TTA (The Afghan Taliban) and the Haqqani network to recruit, morph and melt (disappear into the refugee population). It is time for these refugees to be repatriated with dignity.It is the only way we can ensure that no one is misusing our hospitality and soil for mischief in Afghanistan,” Bajwa said.

But Said Alam, a security affairs expert based in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas that border Afghanistan told VOA that by pointing to the presence of Afghan refugees as a major cause, Bajwa tried to divert the world’s attention from Pakistan’s own “shortcomings” in taking effective steps against militant groups.

“Who are the foot soldiers of Jaish-e-Mohammad? Afghan refugees have nothing to do with the groups that are nurtured by [the] Pakistan army,” Alam said. Jaish-e-Mohammad is a militant group blamed for several attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Afghanistan and the United States said Pakistan offers safe haven to the terrorist groups that launch attacks inside Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

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Hamid Saeed, former chief of Pakistan’s military intelligence and a defense analyst, told VOA that Bajwa’s statement regarding the Afghan refugees should be seen in the right context.

“There is evidence that terrorists hiding among the Afghan refugees were behind most of the recent terrorist attacks. Terrorists cross into Pakistan and stay in the refugee camps, making it humanly impossible to carry out any sort of surveillance,” he added.

Saeed said the logical solution to terrorism was for Afghan refugees to go home. But Dr. Ijaz Khattak, an international affairs expert, told VOA that mixing the refugee issue with terrorism is a poor strategy.”This will further complicate the issue, and the international community is not going to buy this narrative,” he told VOA.

On Saturday, Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, pledged to bring back all refugees in Pakistan in “the next 24 months,” saying it will put an end to allegations the displaced community is a source of regional instability.

Pakistan hosts millions of Afghan refugees, half of them undocumented, and has been pressing for an early repatriation of the displaced population, saying their presence “helps Afghan terrorists to melt and morph among them.”

“In the next 24 months, my priority and goal is to bring back all Afghan refugees in Pakistan,” Ghani said in a televised speech Saturday. “We don’t want them [Pakistanis] to say refugees do this or do that. [We know] refugees are innocent. So, let us resolve to bring them back to solve this problem once and for all.”

Source: Voice of America

Pakistan Court Hands Down Four Death Sentences to Child Killer

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan gave four death sentences to a man it found guilty of raping and murdering a six-year old girl.

The victim, Zainab Fatima, was attacked last month in her native eastern city of Kasur in Punjab province. The news of the incident shocked the nation, sparking demands to swiftly bring the killer to justice.

A major manhunt in and around the city and DNA tests enabled police to arrest the man, identified as 24-year-old Imran Ali, who later confessed to his crime. He was tried in the special speedy court at a high-security prison in the provincial capital of Lahore and media was not allowed to attend the proceedings.

Police found Zainab’s body in a city garbage dumpster four days after she was reported missing.

Provincial prosecutor general Ehtisham Qadir Shah told reporters outside the court Saturday that Ali was given four death sentences after being convicted of rape, murder and terrorism charges.

Shah explained that the convict can appeal the sentence in 15 days, though he predicted no relief, citing irrefutable evidence police have gathered against Ali, including his personal confession.

This serial killer has raped a total of nine young girls [including Zainab]. Two of them are alive and seven have been murdered. The trials in other cases are expected to be concluded in about 15 days, the prosecutor general said.

Investigators say they have matched DNA from other girls’ bodies with Ali.

The girl’s mother, Nusrat Bibi, spoke to reporters shortly after the verdict was announced, and she repeated her demand for the death penalty in public.

I want him to be hanged publicly at the place where he took Zainab. He has not murdered just one young girl. He has killed many more and his public execution will deter others from committing such acts, Bibi said.

Prosecutor General Shah did not rule out the possibility of a public execution as has been requested by the victim’s family.

We are considering [it]. Since he [the convict] has been tried and charged under the special law of Anti-Terrorism Act, in which the government can think over it, the mode and manner [for carrying out the death penalty],” he said.

Shortly after the news of Zainab’s gruesome murder surfaced, protesters took to the streets in Kasur, where demonstrators stormed police stations and set fire to homes of local politicians for not taking action, despite repeated incidents of child rape and murder cases in the city.

Relatives have reported more than a dozen cases of rape and murder in and around Kasur in less than two years, but no serious action had been taken until Zainab’s case surfaced.

Source: Voice of America

Rare Insider Attack Kills 16 Afghan Intelligence Operatives in Helmand

ISLAMABAD Officials in Afghanistan say four operatives of the national intelligence agency have gunned down their 16 colleagues before fleeing to join the Taliban insurgency in the southern Helmand province.

The rare overnight insider attack took place at a facility linked to the National Directorate of Security or NDS in the Gerishk district, security sources told VOA Sunday.

Omar Zawak, the provincial government spokesman, confirmed the incident saying the Taliban also assaulted the NDS Center while the insider attack was under way, sparking fierce clashes with Afghan security guards.

Zawak said both sides suffered heavy casualties but would not give further details.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by three infiltrators who seized all weapons and equipment at the facility.

The slain Afghan personnel belonged to the Songaryan unit working for NDS in Helmand. The unit is named after a popular a Turkish television soap opera and has been playing a key role in gathering intelligence for NDS on the Taliban in volatile districts of Helmand.

Taliban sympathizers or infiltrators in Afghan army and police forces routinely carry out insider attacks, but such incidents are extremely rare at NDS-related installations in Afghanistan.

The insurgency controls or contests most of the 14 districts in Helmand, the largest Afghan province and one of the world’s major poppy producing regions.

The illegal narcotics trade funds 65 percent of insurgent activities, and the U.S. military has recently unleashed a new air campaign to destroy drug labs in a bid to disrupt Taliban financial resources in Helmand, which borders Pakistan.

Source: Voice of America

FWO starts upgradation of Skardu-Jaglot road

Frontier Works Organization has started upgradation and widening of Skardu-Jaglot road.

According to ISPR, the road is only link between Gilgit and Skardu.

The project encompasses 164 KM long road in most treacherous area all along Indus river.

The road design includes five tunnels one of which is eight kilometers long.

After completion in two years, the project will reduce Jaglot-Skardu traveling time from the present about eight hours to less than three hours.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Govt giving top priority to power sector: Hafeez

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister, Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman says the government is giving top priority to power sector to overcome its shortage.

In a statement, he said the sitting government added one hundred fifty eight megawatts electricity in the grid through hydle resources within two and half year.

Source: Radio Pakistan

PAKISTAN, INDONESIA AGREE TO BOOST BILATERAL TRADE, COOPERATION

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Pakistan and Indonesia signed, here, four memorandums of understanding (MoU), to boost their bilateral cooperation and trade, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The two sides inked four accords on Liquified Natural Gas imports, trade facilitation, an additional protocol to Preferential Trade Agreement, and an agreement of cooperation between their academic institutions.

The MoU’s were signed during Indonesian President, Joko Widodo’s two-day visit to Pakistan.

Widodo addressed the Pakistani parliament, calling for unity to maintain peace in the region, as conflicts and wars would benefit no one.

On Saturday, Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Widodo held a meeting, exchanging views on bilateral relations and agreed to strengthen defence and security cooperation, including bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation, the statement said.

Both leaders acknowledged, there is considerable untapped potential to expand trade, and agreed to improve the trade imbalance, under the existing mechanism of Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries.

Abbasi also briefed Widodo on Pakistan’s efforts to enhance regional connectivity and development, through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, encouraging Indonesian businessmen and investors, to invest in the projects.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK