Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

PNS Mehran under siege in Karachi

Gunfire and explosions rocked Pakistan Navy’s PNS Mehran base in Karachi last night. Recent reports have confirmed at least 8 casualties and two aircrafts destroyed at the high security facility. P3 Orion aircrafts are operated by Pakistan Navy for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Navy has become the most targeted wing of the armed/security forces in Pakistan with four terrorist attacks spanning over the last two months. All four have taken place in Karachi targeting buses carrying Navy personnel and now an air-base. The first ever attack on naval interests in Pakistan during the current war on terror took place on March 4, 2008 when the Naval War College in Lahore was attacked by two suicide bombers killing at least 8 people.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the affected families and friends of our brave military men who’ve lost their lives in this incident. Inna lillahe wa inna illehe rajioon.

We all pray in unity for peace in Pakistan!

Repost – QnA: Lahore shootings – unanswered questions

BBC’s Shoaib Hasan pretty much summarizes the whole story…

A court in Pakistan has delayed a hearing to decide whether an American who shot dead two men in Lahore last month has diplomatic immunity. The arrest of Raymond Davis has severely damaged relations between the countries. Much of the detail in the case remains unclear – the BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan looks at some of the unanswered questions. A rally against Raymond Davis in Lahore
The killings threaten to derail US-Pakistan ties

Is Raymond Davis a diplomat?

If you are thinking of a suavely dressed man in a three-piece suit who holds meetings with local officials to further or broaden his country’s agenda, you would be wrong. Mr Davis was definitely not employed for his diplomatic skills – he is more a “hands-on” person, working in what the US embassy says is its “administrative and technical affairs section”. Reports from the US say he is a former special forces soldier who left the military in 2003 and is working for the US embassy in Pakistan. As such, the US insists he is covered by the Vienna Convention which guarantees immunity from prosecution for all diplomatic staff.

Could he be a spy?

Many Pakistanis believe he is – there seem few other credible explanations as to why he was going around Lahore with a Glock pistol in a car with local number plates without informing local authorities.

It is a requirement for embassy staff – especially those from Western embassies – to inform local police of their movements, simply because they are prime targets for militants in Pakistan.
Raymond Davis
Mr Davis insists he was acting in self-defence

Mr Davis’s department in the US embassy is widely seen in Pakistan as a cover for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations. Mr Davis himself said he was a consultant employed by the US government. Researchers in the US say that since leaving the military, Mr Davis worked for a security firm called Hyperion LLC. But subsequent investigations by the US media have now shown that Hyperion exists only as a website. The offices that the company says it has in Orlando have been vacant for several years and the numbers on its website are unlisted.

Can Mr Davis be convicted for the murders?

Maybe. It all depends on how eager the Pakistani authorities are to punish him. The fact that he is possibly a spy does not mean he is not covered by diplomatic immunity. It is common practice for intelligence services across the world to send operatives under the cover of assignments to embassies.

Both Pakistani and US “diplomats” have been caught in such situations – and every time have been asked to leave the host country immediately with no possibility of a return. That is the maximum punishment that has been levied in the overwhelming majority of cases in countries which have signed the Vienna Convention. However, in some countries there are exceptions for serious offences committed, such as murder. Pakistan is one of those countries. The matter is now in the hands of the judiciary. But it is important to remember that Mr Davis has been charged with murder – the maximum sentence here is the death penalty.

Should Mr Davis have been carrying a gun?

Legally speaking, only Pakistani citizens with licences issued by the interior ministry are allowed to carry arms. No foreigner is allowed to carry arms, except soldiers or guards within the premises of an embassy. Both Pakistani nationals and foreigners caught carrying arms can be charged under a Pakistani criminal law which stipulates a jail term of six months to two years in addition to a fine. Mr Davis has also been charged under this law.

Was he acting in self-defence?

That was the initial plea made by Mr Davis and the US embassy. However, subsequent investigations by the police, forensic labs and the local and international media suggest that the two men were driving away from Mr Davis when they were shot. In February Lahore’s police chief said that Mr Davis was guilty of “cold-blooded murder” – he said that no fingerprints had been uncovered on the triggers of the pistols found on the bodies of the two men.

Shumaila, widow of Mohammad Faheem, in hospital before her death
Matters were further inflamed by the suicide of the widow of one of the men killed by Mr Davis
Furthermore he said that tests had shown that the bullets remained in the magazines of their guns, not the chambers, suggesting they weren’t about to shoot him. On the face of it, this leaves Mr Davis’s claim that they were robbers – with one even apparently cocking a gun at his head – looking very thin.

In addition, police say ballistics evidence shows that the pair were shot in the back – which again suggests they were moving away from Mr Davis, rather than about to attack him.

Who were the Pakistanis that Mr Davis shot?

In his initial statement, Mr Davis said they were robbers who were trying to steal his valuables. He and the US embassy have maintained this story. However, the men have no criminal records as such. Both have been identified as residents of Lahore by the police. The pair were carrying licensed pistols – a fact which led many to believe they might indeed have been robbers. However, security sources in Lahore say that they were part-time or low-level operatives for the local intelligence services. Although reports are sketchy about what they were doing in relation to Mr Davis, security officials believe it could be the case of a surveillance operation gone horribly wrong. Pakistani intelligence services routinely tail and monitor all embassy staff, Western or otherwise.

What about the second car and its victim?

A side event to the main drama concerning Mr Davis was the fact a third man was also killed during the incident. He was an innocent bystander run over by a US embassy vehicle, which was initially said to have arrived to rescue Mr Davis. The fact that an embassy vehicle was able to get to the spot so quickly was a source of astonishment to anyone who is even vaguely aware of the geography of Lahore. Given the incident was over within minutes, it seems incredible that anyone could negotiate the 12km (7.4-mile) 40-minute drive in peak traffic in less than five minutes.

The motorbike of the third man killed in the incident
A third man on his motorbike was killed in the incident by a mystery US car
But subsequent investigations have now shown that the second car – a Toyota Landcruiser – was with Mr Davis at the time of the incident. In fact, according to eyewitnesses, Mr Davis was leading and clearing the way for the Toyota when the incident took place.

In the light of what happened afterwards, it seems Mr Davis was in “protective mode” and opened fire to “secure” whoever or whatever was in the Toyota – the interior of this vehicle was not visible as its windows were tinted. It is evident in local TV footage that the second vehicle is going away from Mr Davis at the time of the incident. As it disappears into the dust, Mr Davis calmly pulls over and gives himself up. Pakistani authorities have asked for the Landcruiser and its driver to be handed over – a request with which the US has yet to comply.

What about behind-the-scenes negotiations?

As well as public pressure, US officials have also privately warned Pakistan’s government of far-reaching and severe consequences if Mr Davis is convicted. Unnamed US officials have also used the media to issue veiled warnings to Pakistan that diplomatic ties could be cut and all aid stopped. Despite Islamabad’s public stance on Mr Davis, Pakistani officials are said to have privately assured Washington that he will eventually be released. However, public pressure means that at the moment this could lead to a massive anti-government backlash. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has hinted that blood money could be paid to the families of the two men Mr Davis admits shooting, which could enable his release. There is speculation that US officials may try to establish contacts with the families in this regard. However, it is not clear that Mr Davis has been charged under laws which would allow blood money to be paid.

Source – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12491288

Governor Salman Taseer assassinated

UPDATE: Around 27 bullets have been removed from Salman Taseer’s dead body. One of his security guards, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, opened fire at him from a distance of 4-5 feet, as he was sitting in his car after having meal at a cafe.

Pakistan Peoples Party has cancelled all events celebrating Zulfiqar Bhutto’s birthday and declared two weeks of mourning. The Punjab Government has announced a local holiday for tomorrow across Punjab as things become tense in Lahore. All roads leading to the Governor’s House in Lahore have been sealed. There was extreme panic amongst people in Lahore and other cities as everyone closed down shops and rushed back home anticipating violent protests by PPP jayalas.

Salman Taseer’s body will be driven or flown back to Lahore tonight where his Namaz-e-Janaza will be said at the Governor’s House on Wednesday.

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Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer has just been assassinated in Islamabad. According to media reports, Taseer died of bullet wounds when his car was fired upon at the capital’s Kohsaar Market.

Considering the reputation and temper of PPP jayalas, it is very likely that there might be violent protests and demonstrations in the city. People in Lahore are highly advised to take extra precaution and preferably stay at home till things become clear.

From the bravest nation on Earth!

Around 30 people fell victim to another barbaric act of terrorism involving three bomb blasts on a Shia religious procession in Lahore yesterday. It was the day marking shahadat of Hazrat Ali (R.A.); one of the bravest and dearest companions of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Sadly, the beasts have no sanctity for Ramadan, Hazrat Ali (R.A) or even for simple humanity.

According to media reports, more than a 100 people are injured and being treated at different hospitals of the city. May the souls of the departed rest in eternal peace and may the injured recover as soon as possible – Amen!

Start counting the series and spats of bad news from my country and you won’t be able to reach a limit. Suicide bombings, super-floods, sectarian violence, corrupt politicians, goons in power, mass poverty, electricity crisis, gas shortage, inflation, banishment from the global community… You name it, we have it!

No wonder, we, the people of the Land of the Pure, are the bravest nation in the World!

No more can my heart feel,

as I bow down, before Him I kneel.

The gain of peace in my abode,

the pain of worry on life’s each node.

For it makes no sense of having to bear,

when you have all & everything to fear.

From death to fire; not that I desire,

after all, who likes to sink in such a mire.

My heart cries in silent despair,

for it has had more than its share.

Oh God, give us a sign of hope,

of love, of life and of a will to cope.

Help us raise our spirits again,

save us from insanity; let hope remain.

For it won’t be worth a cry,

if before death, a tear won’t dry…

Prayers,

Hasan Mubarak

Suicide attacks at Data Darbar

Three suicide bomb blasts have killed at least 30 people at the shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh in Lahore. More than 40 (some sources even quoting 80) people have been injured, some of them seriously, and taken to various hospitals in the city. Two of the blasts happened inside the compound while another one blew in the adjoining bazaar. Geo TV reports that even a hand grenade was found in the ablution area of the shrine. Thursdays are very busy days at Sufi shrines, especially Data Darbar, where thousands of Lahorities and people from across the country come to pay respects to the great Saint.

Lahore derives it’s Sufi heritage from dozens of saints and holy men out of which Data Sahib shines out the most. The city itself is lovingly known as ‘Data di Nagri’ (Data’s Town). An attack on this very symbol of harmony, humanity and peace, as well as at something more like our city’s identity, strikes at the very heart of every Lahori.

The news comes as a very sad and shocking reminder of the fact that these terrorists have no religion, faith or humanity left  in their hearts. These people are bloody killers who do not target minorities, Shias or Ahmedis only, rather, they would go to any extent in order to spread what they call ‘terror’. But they are badly mistaken for with every such incident, resolve of the people of this city against their twisted ideology becomes stronger and firmer.

We pray for the souls of the deceased – may all of them rest in peace. Amen!

(There is another rumor of an attack near Mizar of Bibi Pak Daman – the news has not been confirmed so far)

Jinnah Hospital attacked – at least 6 killed!

Continuing their brutal series of savage acts, 6 gunmen attacked Jinnah Hospital’s intensive care unit on June 01 early morning. Their prime motive was to rescue/kill an injured terrorist caught from the scene at Model Town Ahmadi worship place bombing, who was being treated at the hospital. The terrorists were dressed in police uniforms and reportedly headed straight to their target.

At least 6 people, including 3 constables, a sub-inspector, a security guard and other civilians fell victim to firing by terrorists who fled the scene after an unsuccessful attempt to rescue an accomplice. One of the terrorists is injured by retaliatory gunfire of the Police and may attempt to get medical treatment at other places.

Situation is reported to be under the control of security forces as senior officials, including the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Minister visited the scene of crime.

We salute the brave police jawans who lost their lives tonight and set a new example of resistance to terrorists’ will of creating violence and terror. May the souls of the deceased rest in peace. Amen!

A sigh, a cry and a prayer!

May 28, 2010 – Another dawn on Lahore brought one of the bloodiest massacres of innocent human life in the city’s recent history. As came time for Friday prayers, terrorists stormed two worship places of the minority Ahmadi community at Garhi Shahu and Model Town areas while opening fire indiscriminately at the gathered people. The result was all too sad – 82 innocent lives, including children, lost to terrorism!

Around seven militants showed highly coordinated planning as they opened indiscriminate and heavy gunfire using grenades, AK-47s while culminating the siege with suicide bombings.

As we cannot afford to lose hope, we can only pray for those who lost their lives this Friday and our condolences go to the relatives of innocent victims of May 28.

So far, responsibility of the horrendous attacks has been put on the Punjab-based factions of TTP while the Federal Government has claimed that they had intelligence reports on a possible attack on the Ahmadi community well in advance. The planning, coordination and the ever expanding civilian targets of these attacks raise alarming concerns for every Lahori and Pakistani in general. While there seems hardly any place safe from the terrorists, it is also a sad truth that some targets are too vulnerable to be ignored. Ironically, many of them fall out of the category for security installations, government institutions and senior officials.

Although, the security forces, specifically the Lahore Police, should be appreciated for ending the siege within four hours, however, the need for effective intelligence is desperately there in order to preempt the terrorists’ attempts. We need efforts like this instance where police caught 1,500 KG of explosives which were going to be used for all too obvious reasons.

Let’s hope for a tomorrow where every Pakistani will have a right to peacefully co-exist with people belonging to any caste, creed or religious affiliations. And be clear that Friday’s attacks were undertaken by the same who have killed innocent men, women and children all across the country, regardless of their sect. They are terrorists; deserve no leniency in front of the law and will soon face their pitiful end.

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