Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Tragedy repeats:Blast in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu area

I was alerted by a concerned friend about this incident. Here is the latest from Geo News’s website:

Blast at Jamia Naeemia; Dr Sarfraz martyred
 Updated at: 1514 PST,  Friday, June 12, 2009
 LAHORE: Jamia Naeemia principal Dr Sarfraz Naeemi was martyred and several others injured in a suicide blast at Jamia Naeemia situated in Garhi Shahu area of Lahore, Geo News reported Friday.The blast occurred after the Friday prayers when the people were making their way out of the mosque after offering the Friday prayers.

Jamia Naeemia principal Dr Sarfraz Naeemi was present at his office at the Jamia Naeemia at the time of blast, the eyewitnesses said.

The blast was so powerful that the outer walls of the Jamia Naeemia Masjid collapsed. The nearby buildings were harmed in the blast. The blast occurred when a lot of people were present in the mosque.

The personnel of the security forces cordoned off the area and started the relief operation.

The injured are being rushed to the Meo Hospital. Emergency has been declared in the hospitals of the Lahore.

The security forces are searching the building on the apprehension of another bmb.

There are reports that the blast was suicide attack; however, it was not confirmed by the government officials.

So far, 4 people have died and 8 have been injured. Do check up on your loved ones and Stay safe.

LUMS Students protest killing of their fellow

Early morning on April 20, at about 4:00 am, a group of three drunk men, driving in ecstasy through empty lanes of DHA Lahore, lost control of their Land Cruiser and crashed into a car on the other side of the road after knocking down a lamp-post and tumbling over the road divider. The incident happened at Club Chowk near H-Block Market and resulted in the sad demise of Waheeb Alam, an undergraduate student of 2010 batch at LUMS (Innalillah-e-wa-inna-ilaihe-rajioon). Waheeb and his two friends had been out driving their Cuore to have an early morning breakfast when a speeding four-wheeler in good speed slammed into their unfortunate vehicle.

Police controlling the protest

Police controlling the protest

Waheeb sccumbled to injuries, dying on the spot, while both of his friends were injured of whom one was in a serious condition. One of the accomplices driving the Cruiser fled the scene while the other two were held and later arrested by the Police. Considering the fact that the perpetrators had a very influential background, immediate steps in collection of evidence and registration of an initial FIR were delayed unnecessarily by the Police authorities. This led to a protest demonstration by hundreds of LUMS students who blocked the one-way road at Club Chowk to demand immediate filing of the FIR and securing original evidence without tempering.

Students praying for the deceased soul

Students praying for the deceased soul

Students were later joined by the LUMS Vice Chancellor, Mr. Ahmad Jan Durrani, Dean Suleman Dawood School of Business, Mr. Shaukat Brah and several other university faculty members. Negotiations with the authorities continued for about six hours during which students ignored continued requests by the Police officials to end the sit-in and move back to university campus until their demands were fulfilled.

A few important demand points included:

– An assurance by the Police that evidence should not be tempered or distorted

– Official blood sample reports of the accused be produced and shared with the students as soon as possible

– The third accomplice should be arrested within 24 hours of the incident

As the wait for blood sample reports prolonged, officials informed the protestors that the reports will be produced within two weeks time. Infuriated, the group of students peacefully moved from Club Chowk to the main Masjid Chowk blocking one-way lane in front of the masjid.

Sit-in continues at the Masjid Chowk, DHA

Sit-in continues at the Masjid Chowk, DHA

Later intervention of the higher authorities and visit of the PML (N) MNA from the constituency Khawaja Saad Rafiq paved way for the peaceful dispersing of the protesting crowd. The assurances made by Mr. Rafiq included a resolve to bring justice to the family of the deceased soul as soon as possible in the form of arrest of the third man, delivery of blood sample reports within an hour (at 5:00 pm) and transparency and urgency in the whole process.

PML (N) MNA, Khawaja Saad Rafiq at the spot

PML (N) MNA, Khawaja Saad Rafiq at the spot

Overall, students of this institution made sure to stand by Waheeb’s family in their hour of grief as they peacefully campaigned and protested to get the responsible party duly charged and arrested.

We pray for our fellow Waheeb Alam’s deceased soul (May Allah grant him peace and salvation), his family and for the speedy recovery of his injured friends. Please join us in condemning use of influence and power by those who cause innocent deaths and then easily escape from the grips of law.

The latest

Classes were cancelled at LUMS today. Death has struck this institution again, barely a year after a student took his own life, and at least one student’s life has been taken right outside the gates of the university.

Here are the bare facts. Early this morning, around the time of Fajr, three students of LUMS, in their junior year, walked out of the gates for a trip. A drunk driver in a Pajero crashed into all three of them and took off. One student has passed away (Inna lillahi a inna ilaihi’ raji’oon), another is critically injured, and another suffered ‘relatively minor injuries’ according to the mail.

One last piece of information: the student that is critically injured is at the hospital right now and they are refusing to treat him, as it’s a ‘police case’, whatever that is supposed to mean. I don’t know the hospital’s name right now, but student and teacher protestors have been staging a protest against this and against the person who committed this act. The drunk driver is a very influential person; hence it will be very difficult to launch a case against him.

I have nothing else to say, except to ask for your prayers and to spread the word so that at least something can be done to help the people that are still living.

 

Punjab Police given much deserved relief

In an unprecedented move, the Punjab Government has substantially increased the pay and allowances of all cadres of policemen and officers in the Punjab Police Department. Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, announced this landmark decision while addressing jawans at Lahore’s Qila Gujjar Singh Police Lines.

The new package includes a risk allowance equal to the policemen’s existing pay, a ration allowance and compensation and guaranteed employment for families of the martyred men.

Making the remuneration package of the Punjab Police equivalent to that of the prestigious Motorway Police, is a highly appreciable decision. For a Police constable earning Rs.6,000/- as base salary, it will be a blessing and a matter of survival for his/her family members.

Police forces in most of the developed countries are highly funded as they are responsible for protection of the people and their possessions. In Pakistan, however, abnormally low pay levels have fueled bribery, corruption and inefficiences in the Police department.

This much needed move will help provide financial security to thousands of men and women serving in the Provincial force who mainly belong to lower-class urban and rural families. It will also help curb corruption, contain the menance of bribery and will surely increase the morale and motivation levels. All of this will result in a Police force that is mentally and moraly better prepared to perform and protect the citizens in the current insecure times.

How?

How can this
attack-pics1
Happen in a city of this
madhu-lal1
madhu-lal2
madhu-lal4

(The attack on the police training school at Manawan in Lahore took place on the last and final day of the Mela Chiraghan)

How much must we lose?

The Long March is imminent now; this country knows no peace in any sector. But never will we stop celebrating, will we?

 

I live in a neighborhood that apparently has a lot of people who have these programmes to celebrate every single festival on earth. Plus, they make sure that every house for miles around will hear every singer they put on their stages. No matter what time it is; if these people have a mind to do so, they will not let us sleep till the wee hours of the morning, and will not let us study during the day. No escaping their music or their qawwali, not a chance. And right now, what I’m listening to is someone shouting at the top of his lungs into a microphone ‘Basant Mubarak! Welcome Basant!’, while I’m sitting in my own house.

 

What’s wrong with us? I ponder on his thought every day, and I get so many answers it disturbs me even more. What is sickening us so much that we just don’t care about anything but our own frivolous, impermanent, and dangerous fun?

 

The boards on the Liberty roundabout are not even partially old yet. They still strike a pang to our hearts and we still crane our necks to see the pictures of the men that died in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The story of the death of one particular guard on that day is still fresh in my mind. He was lying on the road, trying to make the gunmen think that he was dead, and when they were just leaving, he raised his head. And then they came back especially to kill him. How can someone be so cruel and so hard so as to kill a person who never did him any harm? How can someone come back especially to kill that person?

 

But then, how can a government be so cruel as to allow Basant to take place; an event that kills so many innocent children every year? How can they condone the death of so many people in such a horrible manner; by having strings dipped in powdered glass cut them on the neck?

Forget the government. Why do people do it? Why is there no pressure to stop this event?

We cannot deny that hundreds die on Basant every year. No one can deny that people will use powdered glass and even wires to fly their kites.

 

Most of all, we cannot deny that the frivolous pleasure that people get from it is so blatantly disrespectful of the events in this country, in this very city. Bomb blasts. Price hikes. Unemployment. Attacks on the cricket team. The death of seven young security guards who were only doing the best job they could.

 

One last thing. Has anyone noticed the decency displayed by the Sri Lankan cricketers?

I shudder to think what would have happened if (God forbid) an American cricket team had deigned to come to Pakistan for a tour, and the same thing happened. If some eyebrows are raised at the mention of America playing cricket, it may be well to mention here that the States were very interested in cricket at the time of the last World Cup. So it might have been a possibility. But if what the Sri Lankan cricketers went through had been experienced by most other cricket teams of the world, the result would have been much more disastrous in its impact on Pakistan in general.

Take India, for example. I hate doing this, because I’ve got some very close Indian friends of my own, but the way we are being treated by India now, there probably wouldn’t have been a shred of the decency that Sri Lankans have shown about this incident. For India, we’re the ultimate bombers. They have no terrorists of their own; at least not according to the mass media hype we hear and read about. At the least, I speculate that the airspace restrictions would have been put on again. And if any Americans were there, well, a few more drones, perhaps?

It’s not to say that what has happened is not such a huge deal after all; not to say that it is an incident that should be tolerated, but I merely point out the real gentlemen in the game here. Maybe we’re just not used to be treated politely anymore, but I was extremely surprised to hear that the bus driver who survived the attack has been called by the Sri Lankans for a tour with his family. Additionally, as soon as the cricketers landed and were interviewed in their home country, many of the first comments I read were praising the driver who saved their lives. Not one of them uttered a disparaging comment on the security provided, even though they had every right to do so. On the televised interviews, even though the reporters were trying to squeeze such comments out of them, the most these men would do would be to excuse themselves with a polite ‘thank you’.

 

Decency, people. Just simple decency. Something that we call in Urdu sharafat. That’s what is there in these cricketers who suffered so much at the hands of our country, and still do not say anything. Maybe they respect the deaths of the people who were protecting them. Maybe they’re just decent people overall, which comes to the same thing.

 

One thing I know; they’re showing more decency than our own people. For everyone here, a soon as something like Basant rolls around, nothing matters anymore. Not killing someone. Not feeling guilt for what our guests went through when they tried to save one of our biggest sports. Not mourning the mindless deaths of the countrymen who tried to protect them

All that matters, at the end of the day, is flying kites. But I’m going to skip the sarcastic ending for now and I’m going to plead with you. Anyone who is reading this; out of respect, out of decency, out of your own humanity, do not celebrate Basant. We have no excuse for celebrating anything; if we want to cheer ourselves up and not feel anything about what has been happening recently, we have means other than those which kill even more people. Try to convince your families and friends that such a celebration will be disgraceful behavior, to say the least. We owe our guests and our own people at least that much.

Citizens pay respects to the Liberty martyrs

At the Liberty Roundabout, which was the scene of a bloody ambush of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team on March03, it has become a daily feature for passers by to stop and pay respects to the memory of the martyred policemen.

Six of the men guarding Sri Lankan Team’s convoy lost their lives while battling about twelve very heavily armed militants right in the heart of Lahore in broad daylight.

People paying their respects at the Memorial

People paying their respects at the Memorial

Lahorites are proudly commemorating the bravery of these men who sacrificed their lives to save what is left of this country’s international image. It was due to the cover provided by deterrence of these men lasting 25 minutes against the terrorists that the bus carrying the Sri Lankans was able to escape to safety of the Qadaffi Stadium. Would they have not fought bravely enough, the whole Sri Lankan team might have been taken hostage or in a worse scenario; killed!

A tribute!

A tribute!

As you do a roundabout at Liberty, you can see stacks of flowers and bouquets coupled with hand written charts, banners, posters and candles adorning the small memorial erected in the grounds. The most prominent feature of the memorial is the official banners with pictures of the martyrs on them.

Martyred Policemen of 3/3 Attacks

Martyred Policemen of the Punjab Elite Force

Liberty Memorial for Heroes of 3/3

Liberty Memorial for Heroes of 3/3

We owe a lot to the ‘Shuhada of 3/3’ namely:

– Zafar Iqbal, Constable Elite Force
– Faisal Rasheed Butt, Head Constable Elite Force
– Mudassar Nadeem, Constable Elite Force
– Muhammad Sultan, Constable/Driver Elite Force
– Tipu Farid, Constable Mujahid Squad
– Tanveer Iqbal, Traffic Warden

We pray that may God grant peace to their loved ones and bless their souls by honoring them with the highest ranks in heaven. Amen!

More Pictures: Liberty Memorial at Flickr

Chris Broad’s criticism of security arrangements

One of the targets of yesterday’s shootout at Liberty was a van carrying Pakistani fourth umpire Ahsan Raza and ICC official Chris Broad. Just as the bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers quickly drove out of danger,  thanks to their heroic Pakistani driver, an ambulance, a police escort vehicle and the white van carrying these two officials were left behind.

Ahsan Raza @ Cricinfo.com

Ahsan Raza @ Cricinfo.com

Ahsan Raza was seriously injured after bullet shots and is still in critical condition at a hospital in Lahore while Chris Broad miraculously survived 25 minutes of targeted shooting unscathed.

In a press conference after reaching home safely, Broad has strongly criticized the security forces which left their van alone right in the middle of the roundabout with terrorists spread all around.

Broad‘s concerns and statements in this regard are very valid and justify his anger, however, we have to see what really happened as the attack continued.

When the bus carrying Sri Lankans moved on, other police vehicles might have followed hurriedly to provide cover for ‘the target’ against any further attacks on the stadium route. That might have left the remaining party vulnerable. On the other hand, it still is not clear how many escorts were initially with the convoy.

The Government seriously need to find some critical answers to these questions as soon as possible. Western media, on the other hand, is hailing the return of Broad as a ‘hero’s return’ while forgetting glorious sacrifices made by the policemen who laid their lives to cover the guests including him and his fellows. They surely owe their life to these ‘true’ heroes.

Meanwhile, we request everyone to please pray for Ahsan Raza‘s life and quick recovery of all others including policemen injured in this carnage.

Who was behind today’s attack on the Sri Lankan team?

Teeth Maestro is currently running a poll on his blog regarding people’s opinion on who do they think planned a terrorist activity of this magnitude and significance.

Who would you blame for the Lahore Attacks?

So far, only one option gets the majority votes. Go, vote and check for yourself…

Pakistanis shocked as Sri Lankan Cricket Team is ambushed in Lahore

An ambush targeting the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore earlier this morning has literally sent waves of disbelief and shock across Pakistan. Citizens of Lahore are specifically terrified at the extent of sophisticated weaponry used by terrorists in an incident that caused unprecedented damage to the country’s image and its cricketing future.

 

On its way to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium for the second test match in series, the convoy carrying Sri Lankan players in a bus was brutally attacked by almost twelve gunmen as it passed through the Liberty Roundabout. The bus was miraculously shielded from about two rocket attacks and serious damage was avoided as Police Security escorts forcefully retaliated twenty-five minutes of heavy gunfire. This, however, did not prevent seven precious lives, including those of five policemen, from being lost while four policemen, five Sri Lankan cricketers, their assistant coach, and a Pakistani umpire sustained injuries. During this mayhem, the team was immediately driven to safety at the Stadium put under heavy guard while two of the injured players were shifted to Services Hospital.

 

According to the police authorities, about twelve terrorists armed with very sophisticated weapons including rocket launchers, hand grenades, Kalashnikovs, mousers and suicide jackets arrived at the scene in rickshaws and attacked the convoy, exactly when it was turning from Main Boulevard to Gadaffi Stadium, from seven directions according to a highly planned strategy.

 

Television footage showed all attackers making an astonishing escape after committing this heinous activity, totally unscathed, from one of city’s most important commercial centers in broad daylight. Many analysts are calling it an unparallel security lapse on behalf of the intelligence agencies and local authorities.

 

The only good news is that all injured cricketers and their assistant coach are stable, out of danger and will be airlifted from Gadaffi Stadium by Pakistan Air Force helicopters to the airport from where they will be safely flown back to Colombo very soon. Sri Lankan foreign minister is on his way to Pakistan to analyze the situation on ground.

 

In 2008, due to the deteriorating security situation and political instability in the country, Australia was the first team to cancel its tour of Pakistan. Then security concerns with respect to safety of visiting players saw Pakistan’s hopes of hosting the second most prestigious cricketing event, Champions Trophy 2008, coming to an end followed by a consecutive cancellation of India’s highly awaited tour of Pakistan earlier this year. After today’s shocking events Pakistan may see its cricketing image plunging to extreme darkness as we might not have any visitors for quite a long time now.

 

Forces behind a crime of this magnitude cannot be taken easily as evidence from the sophistication of weaponry and planning used by the attackers suggests that these terrorists were no ordinary ones. There has to be a comprehensive investigation of a possible internal or external involvement and it has to be conducted as early as possible to prevent future recurrences.

 

We are waiting and watching how the unconcerned politicians are waging a war against the will of common man who does not want anything but security, justice, and only the bare necessities of life at affordable rates. They seem to have little concern with the damage and anarchy their confrontational politics can bring to the already suffering fabric of Pakistani society.

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