Archive for April, 2010

Afghans protest death of lawmaker’s relative in nighttime raid

KABUL: Hundreds of people shouting “Death to America!” protested in the streets of eastern Afghanistan on Thursday after a nighttime military raid resulted in the death of an Afghan lawmaker’s brother-in-law.

The military operation tapped into a well of resentment about raids by American and local troops that have been known to wound or kill civilians as well as insurgents. After a storm of complaints from Afghan people, NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan issued a directive earlier this year to avoid night raids when possible.

Safiya Sidiqi, the member of Parliament whose brother-in-law was killed, said family members told her that about 100 NATO soldiers stormed her home, near the city of Jalalabad, about 11:30 pm Wednesday.

NATO said Thursday that a joint operation with Afghan forces killed “one armed individual while pursuing a Taliban facilitator” on Wednesday night. The person killed ignored demands given in English and through an Afghan interpreter to lower his weapon, NATO said, without giving details on the person’s identity.

MP raid: US troops raided the home of a female member of the Afghan parliament and killed a neighbor who was one of her relatives, the MP said on Thursday, an incident that sparked angry protests in the east.

A spokesman for foreign forces in Afghanistan said Western and Afghan troops had raided a house in the area and shot dead an armed man but was not able to comment on whether the house belonged to a member of parliament.

Night-time raids by Western troops and civilian casualties are among the most incendiary issues in Afghanistan, and the targeting of a female parliamentarian would raise the political temperature at a time when NATO is preparing a large offensive.

Safia Sediqi, an outspoken member of parliament from eastern Nangarhar province, said scores of US soldiers raided her village home shortly before midnight. Inside the house, they broke furniture and tied up family members, including her brother, for hours, she said. Outside, they shot dead a neighbour, who was also a relative by marriage. agencies

April 30, 2010 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Hazara to have enhanced share in ADP, says Iftikhar

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Thursday announced that all genuine demands of the people of Hazara would be met and their share in the next Annual Development Programme (ADP) enhanced to remove sense of deprivation among them.

“The people of Hazara are our brethren and we will take steps to allay their concerns and their valuable suggestions would be considered,” Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain quoted Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti as having told the assembly members from Hazara division.

He was briefing reporters after the meeting of the elected representatives from Hazara division with the chief minister. Mufti Kifayatullah, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl member of the provincial assembly from Mansehra, Pakistan People’s Party MPAs from Haripur and Abbottabad Dr Faiza Rasheed and Sajida Tabbasum were also present on the occasion.

Mian Iftikhar said the unrest in Abbottabad and Haripur was not an issue between Pakhtuns and non-Pakhtuns. He said that nobody could divide them on linguistic or ethnic bases. He advised the media not to portray the trouble as a racial tension.

The minister said the protest was the constitutional and democratic right of the people of Hazara and the provincial government would not create any hurdle in their struggle. He, however, hastened to add that the protesters should remain within the ambit of law.

The minister said the judicial inquiry into the April 12 tragic incident was in final stages and exemplary punishment would be awarded to those found guilty. He said the provincial government had offered talks to Hazara Action Committee but there were no response from the latter.

“If the leaders of the committee did not negotiate with the provincial government, we would have no option but to resolve the issue through elected representatives of Hazara,” he stressed.

The minister said soon a meeting of the parliamentary leaders would be convened to discuss the agenda and timing for the assembly session to seek solution to the problem in Hazara. To a question, the minister said they would foil the nefarious designs of those who wanted to politicise the issue and exploit the situation.

Speaking on the occasion, Mufti Kifayatullah of JUI-F appreciated the gesture of the provincial government for providing constitutional path to the movement of Hazara province. He said the chief minister had assured that the matters of Hazara province and Abaseen division would be looked into separately.

April 30, 2010 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Gilani, Singh likely to meet in Bhutan

NEW DELHI: Prime ministers of India and Pakistan are likely to hold talks on the sidelines of the Saarc summit in Bhutan, a top Indian official said on Monday, indicating signs of a possible thaw between the two South Asian neighbours.

India’s External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said a meeting later this week between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, “could not be ruled out”, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

“All bilateral issues between India and Pakistan will be discussed as and when the prime ministers meet,” Krishna was quoted as saying.

Peace talks between India and Pakistan were stalled after a deadly terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008 in which 166 people had been killed. New Delhi blamed the attacks on Pakistan-based militants.

Since then India and Pakistan have been under pressure to resume dialogue despite New Delhi’s continued insistence that Pakistan had not done enough to rein in extremists operating in its territory.

Indian officials have not formally announced a meeting between Singh and Gilani in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Krishna’s comments were the first indication that such a meeting could be in the works. —AP

April 27, 2010 Posted Under: News update   Read More

Drone strike kills four suspected Pakistan militants

Missiles fired from a US drone have killed at least four suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan, officials say.

The missiles reportedly hit a compound in Khushali in the Toorkhel area, close to Miranshah, the district’s main town.

North Waziristan has been the focus of dozens of such airstrikes which have killed hundreds of people, including civilians, since August 2008.

Many al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters find shelter in North and South Waziristan.

The US has recently stepped up drone attacks in the region.

Over the past 18 months Pakistan has publicly criticised drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants, but observers say the authorities privately condone the strikes.

The American military does not routinely confirm drone operations, but analysts say the US is the only force capable of deploying such aircraft in the region.

April 27, 2010 Posted Under: News update   Read More