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Lal Masjid cleric's interview in burqa still a mystery
[Dawn] Maulana Abdul Aziz removing his veil of his burqa on the state run PTV remains the defining image of the Lal Masjid crisis of 2007.

But nearly six years later, it is still not clear whose brainwave led to this spectacle. Both the federal secretary of information and the man managing PTV have little idea whose idea this was.

The Lal Masjid Commission grappled with the mystery on Friday in Islamabad.

A conflict between the Musharraf regime and the Lal Masjid administration provided a basis for the operation which started on July 3 and lasted till July 11, 2007.

The clampdown claimed lives of 103 persons, including 10 army personnel and one Ranger.

Maulana Aziz, the Khateeb of Lal Masjid, who was also the principal of Jamia Faridia was tossed in the calaboose
Please don't kill me!
by the law enforcement agencies on July 4, 2007 a day after the forces launched the operation.

Aziz who was 'caught' slipping out of the mosque in a burqa was presented on PTV on July 4, 2007.

The one man commission of Justice Shehzado Sheikh of Federal Shariat Court (FSC), however, remained firm that the issue was an important one as he felt that the orchestrated manoeuvre worsened an already tense situation.

The judge pointed out that the government had announced a general pardon and Rs5000 cash reward for the embattled students of Lal Masjid who were willing to come out and surrender.

But once Aziz was 'humiliated' thus in the 'drama on television, his infuriated followers stayed put and died in the subsequent operation.

Initially he was shown wearing burqa, the veil of which he then threw back from his face and the interview began.

Justice Sheikh began by asking MD PTV Mirza Yousaf Baig why he allowed the interview at that critical time.

Mr Baig surprised the judge as well as others when he said, "I never ordered the airing of the interview," adding that "I had expressed my reservations to then secretary information and told him that the interview would have serious implications."

a person who gets all wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package...
Baig added that "the secretary information asked me to air the interview and I passed on the instructions to the chief coordinator of the television."

He further revealed that he had no idea that Aziz would be interviewed while wearing the 'burqa', claiming that he found out about the 'disguise' once the interview had been recorded.

Mr Baig informed the court that the decision had taken "elsewhere".

the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits...
when the commission turned to then secretary information Anwar Mehmood, his answers were not any more enlightening. He said, "I was asked to telecast the interview".

Later when asked to explain what he meant, Mr Mehmood told Dawn, "After the arrest of Maulana Aziz, I received a call from an unknown number and the caller asked me to record and air the interview of the holy man."

When asked whether he tried to verify the identity of 'unknown caller', he replied "no because I was not in a position to trace the caller."

Recording his testimony before the commission, then federal minister for interior Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao also said that timing of the interview was terrible.

He, however, added that when the military started the operation, he was not in Pakistain, adding that the interior ministry had nothing to do with the operation though it tried to settle the issue peacefully.

He said that after the operation Maulana Aziz was not sent to Adiala Jail but was kept in house arrest along with his family members in a rest house near Simly Dam.

President Gen (retired) Pervez Perv Musharraf
... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ...
and then prime minister Shaukat Aziz had been summoned to appear before the commission on Friday, but both of them remained absent.

Islamic sendoff for Qazi Hussain Ahmed in Peshawar
Ululululululululu *deep breath* ulululululululu...
[Dawn] The funeral prayers of former Jamaati-e-Islami (JI) chief, Qazi Hussain Ahmed
...the absolutely humorless, xenophobic former head of the Pak Jamaat-e-Islami. He was also head of the MMA, a coalition of religious parties formed after 2001 that eventually collapsed under the weight of the holy egos involved. Qazi was the patron of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar during the Afghan mujaheddin's war against the Soviets. His sermons are described as fiery, which means they rely heavily on gospel and not at all on logic. Qazi once recommended drinking camel pee for good health, but that was before his kidneys went...
were held on motorway Ring Road in Beautiful Downtown Peshawar
...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
on Sunday, January 6, 2012, DawnNews reported.

The funeral prayers were led by JI Chief Syed Munawar Hassan
... The funny-looking Amir of the Pak Jamaat-e-Islami. He joined the National Students Federation (NSF), a lefty student body, and was elected its President in 1959. He came into contact with the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) Pakistan and studied the writings of Mawlana Syed Abul Ala Maududi, The Great Apostasizer. As a result, he joined IJT in 1960 and soon he was elected as President of its University of Karachi Unit and member of the Central Executive Council. He was Assistant Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistain in 1992-93, and became Secretary General in 1993. After years of holding Qazi's camel he was named Amir when the old man stepped down in 2009...
, and were attended by a large number of political and religious leaders including Central Amir of Jamaat e Ulema Islam (JUI-F) Fazlur Rehman, Chairman Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Pakistain Tehrik-e-Insaf
...a political party in Pakistan. PTI was founded by former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist Imran Khan. The party's slogan is Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem, each of which is open to widely divergent interpretations....
President, Javed Hashmi, JUI-F leader, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, JI leader Liaquat Baloch, Former Senior Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
Minister, Siraj Ul Haq, JUI-Sami Chief, Maulana Samiul Haq
...the Godfather of the Taliban, leader of his own faction of the JUI. Known as Mullah Sandwich for his habit of having two young boys at a time...
, Professor Khurshid Ahmed, former MNA Shabeer Ahmed Khan, senators, members of the parliament, officials, ex-local government representatives, and a large number of workers of JI.

After the prayers, his body was shifted to Ziarat Kaka Sahib in Nowshera district where he was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard.

Earlier today, Ahmed's body was brought from Islamabad to his residence in Peshawar.

Many party workers and supporters from all over the country were traveling to Peshawar to attend the funeral.

President of Pakistain Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Federal Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor and Chief Minister offered condolences over the death of the veteran politician and called it a great loss.

Pakistain Mohammedan league- Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif
... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf...
, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Muttahida Qaumi Movement
...English: United National Movement, generally known as MQM, is the 3rd largest political party and the largest secular political party in Pakistain with particular strength in Sindh. From 1992 to 1999, the MQM was the target of the Pak Army's Operation Cleanup leaving thousands of urdu speaking civilians dead...
(MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and Religious scholar and Minhaj-ul-Koran International chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, among others, also offered condolences over the demise of the former JI chief.

The 74-year-old religious scholar had died in Islamabad of cardiac illness.

Ahmed was suffering from cardiac disease for quite some time and turned critical three days ago.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed, 74, was also a prominent religious scholar, Islamic theologian, Islamic democracy advocate.

Qazi joined JI in 1978 and was elected as the party's ameer (chief) in 1987, a position he would be re-elected to on two more occassions before finally stepping down in 2009. He served as the party's ameer for 22 years.

Last November, he escaped an attack unhurt when a jacket wallah detonated explosives near his convoy in the Mohmand tribal agency.

Karachi situation: Ruling parties blaming Taliban to hide own failings: Sherpao
[Dawn] Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao has blamed the ruling parties for the deteriorating law and order situation in Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
Both Awami National Party and Mutahidda Qaumi Movement were exploiting people for their ulterior motives by using the name of Taliban, he told a presser at his residence in Hayatabad here on Thursday.

A number of tribal elders belonging to South Wazoo and Orakzai agencies and Dera Ismail Khan
... the Pearl of Pashtunistan ...
announced joining QWP during the presser.

Mr Sherpao alleged that ruling parties including Pakistain People's Party were using the name of Taliban to get more space in Bloody Karachi and hide their weaknesses and mysterious activities.

He said that ultimate sufferers would be Pakhtuns if an operation was launched in Bloody Karachi or in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
and tribal areas. He said that law and order problem was created for political motives and it should be resolved on political basis.

The QWP chief stressed the need for devising an effective strategy for security of the region if NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis....
forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014. He said that rulers had failed to give proper attention to the post-2014 scenario in the region.

"In case the government fails to devise a plan for the post-withdrawal scenario (in Afghanistan) the result will be devastating for Pakhtuns," Mr Sherpao feared. He said that government had ignored tribal people because neither the president nor prime minister visited Fata during the last four years.

The QWP chief said that government had deliberately given up pursuing the peace policies initiated by him when he was interior minister. He said that Pak-Afghan Jirga had helped in minimising anti-Pakistain sentiments in Afghanistan.

That jirga was helpful in restoration of peace in the region but unfortunately the government did not implement the decisions taken during its different sessions, he said.

Mr Sherpao said that flawed policies of government and military operations in Fata resulted in displacement of about 0.8 million people, who were leading a miserable life.

"Military operations are not solution to the problem. The government must take all political parties and tribal elders on board before taking any decision regarding tribal areas," he said.

No Taliban presence in Karachi, claims Sherpao
[Dawn] President of Quami Wattan Party and former federal minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao on Thursday said that the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement
...English: United National Movement, generally known as MQM, is the 3rd largest political party and the largest secular political party in Pakistain with particular strength in Sindh. From 1992 to 1999, the MQM was the target of the Pak Army's Operation Cleanup leaving thousands of urdu speaking civilians dead...
(MQM) wanted an operation to take place in Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
on the pretext of the notion that the Taliban were present in the city, DawnNews reported.

Speaking at a presser in Beautiful Downtown Peshawar
...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
, the former interior minister claimed that there was no Taliban presence in Bloody Karachi, adding that, the issue in the city was one of law and order.

Sherpao further said that certain individuals and groups were using the name of the Taliban to take extortion money.

He added that the ANP and the MQM were using the Taliban's name to play politics.

Sherpao moreover demanded of the government to carry out a transparent census in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), adding that, the government should take steps for the resettlement of the 800,000 people who had been displaced in the wake of military operations in the tribal areas.

On the re-election of US President Barack Obama
, the former minister said that it would not bring any significant change with regards to the issues of peace and security in the region.

Opposition to put up united front for debate on US ties
[Dawn] In a significant development, major opposition parties announced on Saturday that they would adopt a 'unified stance' at the joint sitting of parliament which is deliberating on new terms of engagement with the United States.

They asked the government to finalise through 'consensus' fresh guidelines for Pakistain's relationship with the US and warned it against using parliament only to "endorse its premeditated actions".

The decision to adopt a unified stand was taken by leaders of the opposition parties during a meeting at the residence of Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam
...Assembly of Islamic Clergy, or JUI, is a Pak Deobandi (Hanafi) political party. There are two main branches, one led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, and one led by Maulana Samiul Haq. Fazl is active in Pak politix and Sami spends more time running his madrassah. Both branches sponsor branches of the Taliban, though with plausible deniability...
(JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman
Deobandi holy man, known as Mullah Diesel during the war against the Soviets, his sympathies for the Taliban have never been tempered by honesty ...
. It came two days before the opening of a debate on the 16-point recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on Pakistain-US relations. The recommendations focus on resumption of NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all....
supplies to Afghanistan through Pakistain.

The meeting was attended by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the Pakistain Mohammedan League-N, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, chief of his own faction of the Pakistain People's Party, and a number of key members of the JUI-F and PML (Likeminded).

The much-awaited report of the all-party PCNS, presented by its chairman Senator Raza Rabbani during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate on March 20, called upon the United States to "review its footprint" in Pakistain. It included calls for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan to pay charges for the transit of their supplies via Pakistain, an "unconditional" US apology for a deadly attack on Pak border posts in November and a halt to drone attacks in the country's tribal areas.

The presentation of the report set off speculations about whether the recommendations could be adopted unanimously as had happened on some domestic issues in the past.

Talking to news hounds after the meeting, Chaudhry Nisar said all opposition parties had decided to adopt a unified stance at the joint sitting of parliament and a strategy would be thrashed out at another meeting before start of Monday's session.

"We will go to the session with an open mind, but will not allow the government or any of its officials to hijack (parliament)," he said, adding that the opposition was ready to cooperate with the government in "the larger national interest" if it wanted to seek guidance from parliament "in the real sense". Soon after presentation of the PCNS report in parliament, opposition parties criticised it and warned that they would not allow the government to get it approved in the same form. Chaudhry Nisar went to the extent of describing the report as a 'weak' document, although it carried the signatures of his own party representatives -- Ishaq Dar and Sardar Mahtab Ahmed Khan -- and members of other opposition parties.

In what appeared to be a face-saving move, the opposition members have now started using the term "working paper" for PCNS proposals.

Asked why opposition members, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Aftab Sherpao, had put their signatures on the PCNS report if they had any reservations, Chaudhry Nisar said parliamentary committees could not be a substitute for parliament itself.

President, PM condemn attack on Sherpao
[Dawn] President Asif Ali President Ten Percent Zardari
... sticky-fingered husband of the late Benazir Bhutto ...
and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
... Pakistain's erstwhile current prime minister, whose occasional feats of mental gymnastics can be awe-inspiring ...
on Saturday strongly condemned the suicide kaboom near the vehicle of PPP-S leader Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao after a public meeting in Charsadda.

Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and his son Sikandar Sherpao escaped the attack, in which a policeman was killed and eight people sustained injuries.

The President termed the incident a cowardly act of terrorism and said the government and people of Pakistain were committed to rid the country and society from this menace.
But not by changing anything they're doing now...
He prayed for the departed soul of the policeman killed in the attack and also directed the concerned authorities to ensure the provision of best medical treatment to the injured.

The prime minister has directed the Interior Minister Rehman Malik
Pak politician, current Interior Minister under the Gilani administration. Malik is a former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) intelligence officer who rose to head the FIA during Benazir Bhutto's second tenure. He later joined the Pak Peoples Party and was chief security officer to Bhutto. Malik was tossed from his FIA job in 1998 after documenting the breath-taking corruption of the Sharif family. By unhappy coincidence Nawaz Sharif became PM at just that moment and Malik moved to London one step ahead of the button men.
to immediately submit a report regarding this abhorrent act of terrorism.

Nato attack widely condemned in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
[Dawn] The leaders of various political parties on Saturday widely condemned the killing of Pak troops in an attack by NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions...
forces in Mohmand
... Named for the Mohmand clan of the Sarban Pahstuns, a truculent, quarrelsome lot. In Pakistain, the Mohmands infest their eponymous Agency, metastasizing as far as the plains of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar, Charsadda, and Mardan. Mohmands are also scattered throughout Pakistan in urban areas including Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta. In Afghanistan they are mainly found in Nangarhar and Kunar...
Agency and urged the government to dissociate itself from the US-led alliance at the earliest.

Pakistain Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan
... aka Taliban Khan, who who convinced himself that playing cricket qualified him to lead a nuclear-armed nation with severe personality problems...
said, in a statement issued here, that the attack on checkpost by the NATO forces was not pardonable act. He termed it an insane and immoral brutality.

Mr Khan said that such attacks reflected the hollowness and counter-productivity of country's involvement in the aimless war against terrorism. "Already, Pakistain has sacrificed 40,000 people and an equal number of people have been maimed.

Pakistain has also incurred a loss of over $75 billion in the bargain, yet it is being incessantly targeted by the forces of its so-called ally," he said.

MNA Khawaja Mohammad Khan Hoti also condemned attack by NATO forces on the checkpost. "It is a direct attack on the illusory sovereignty and integrity of the country" he added.

Talking to political activists at his residence in Hayatabad, he said that government should not remain silent on this tragic incident. The US should not consider Pakistain as Afghanistan or Iraq, he said.

He said that parliament and all parities conference had unanimously passed resolutions against the war against terrorism but the government was yet to implement them.

He asked all political parties to take firm stance against US drone attacks inside Pakistain.

He called for immediate implementation of resolution unanimously adopted by the parliament.

...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores...
deputy chief Sirajul Haq also condemned the killing of troops by NATO forces and urged the government to take serious notice of the bloody incident.

Awami National Party provincial chief Senator Afrasiab Khattak termed the attack terrorism by NATO forces. He paid rich tributes to the troops, who sacrificed their lives for the protection of the country and condemned the US-led NATO forces for the attack.

Pakistain People's Party-Sherpao chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour also condemned the attack.

...back at the sandwich shop, Caroline was experimenting with ingredients of increasing volatility...
Kohat chapter of ANP will stage a protest rally against the NATO attack on Sunday. ANP local leader Syed Saeed Shah Bokhari said that the violation of the illusory sovereignty of Pakistain had become habit of the NATO and Afghan forces that could not be tolerated.

He said that they would start from Martyrs Square at 11am and culminate at Shah Faisal Gate. He appealed to people to participate in the rally.

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl has also strongly condemned the attack.

JUI front man Abdul Jalil Jan said that his party, during a meeting, expressed grave concern over the frequent attacks by NATO forces. Meanwhile,
...back at the pound, Zebulon finally found just the friend he'd been looking for...
the rustics in North Wazoo Agency held a rally against the attack and strongly condemned the killing of Paks by NATO forces. They asked the government to stop NATO supplies to Afghanistan and take action against the drone attacks.

Arrest warrant issued for former minister in Bugti murder case
[Dawn] The judicial magistrate Quetta on Saturday issued an arrest warrant for former provincial home minister Shoaib Nowsherwani in the Nawab Akbar Bugti murder case, DawnNews reported.

Akbar Bugti's son and petitioner Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti had accused former president Pervez Perv Musharraf
... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ...
, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, former governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and former provincial home minister Shoaib Nowsherwani in the case.

The arrest warrant against Mr Nowsherwani had been received by the Crime Branch.

Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed during a military operation in Kohlu.

Inquiries into 21,741 stolen passports cases still going on
[Pak Daily Times] Inquiries into the cases of 21,741 passports stolen from the regional passport offices of the country since 1999 were still going on, Daily Times learnt on Saturday.

The international travelling documents had either been stolen or had gone missing from the various regional passport offices of the country, an official of the Interior Ministry revealed. According to the official, "Around 21,741 passports were either stolen or had gone missing from more than 12 regional passport offices of the country from April 1999 to June 2004." He said that hundreds of inquiries, on the orders of the high-ups of the Interior Ministry and the Immigration Department had been conducted without any proper result or headway. The official said that the Interior Ministry had also formed a number of inquiry committees to look into the matter but nothing concrete had been found out yet. The Passport and Immigration Wing in the Interior Ministry had information about the stolen or missing passports, which had been collected from different regional passport offices.

Although some investigative reports had suggested the Interior Ministry take action against the passport office officials who had been involved in the illegal activity but no action had been taken against the officials concerned yet. The National Assembly's (NA) Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had taken a serious notice of the matter on July 19 and had decided to form a special committee consisting of MNAs and senators to probe into the matter and answer the questions surrounding this mystery.

In 1999, around 500 passports had been either stolen or gone missing from the regional passport office of the Tribal Areas, which was under the control of a political agent appointed by the government. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly NWFP, aka Terrorism Central home secretary had conducted an inquiry into the matter but that investigation also produced no result. In another shocking development, 184 passports had gone missing from the regional passport office in Muzzaffarabad on April 12, 1999.

The local police had started the paperwork but haven't done much else against the suspects but no progress had been made in this inquiry as well. An investigation team from Islamabad headed by Passport Director Shahzad Anwar had conducted an inquiry into the matter but failed to achieve any result.

In August 1999, 1,960 passports had gone missing from the Dera Ismail Khan, Pearl of the Pashtun Lands regional passport office. As soon as this incident had taken place, Office Superintendent Abdul Aleem had proceeded on leave while Assistant Director Muhammad Anwar had been made the in-charge in his place. No inquiry had been carried out into the matter while both Aleem and Anwar were now enjoying their respective retired lives. In March 2000, 1,121 passports had been stolen from the Sialkot regional passport office but a departmental inquiry could not find any culprit in this regard.

The passport thefts had occurred when Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao were the country's interior ministers. Shakeel Ahmed, an affectee, appealed to President Asif Ali (Ten Percent) Zardari to look into the matter.

70 Pakistani VIPs on Taliban hit list
[Bangla Daily Star] Almost 70 Pakistani VIPs, including the current and former chief ministers of NWFP, leaders of political parties, sitting inspector generals of police and heads of paramilitary forces, are on the hit list of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), it has emerged.

"We have managed to get a new list of possible targets of TTP from a reliable source working closely with commander of Darra Adam Khel, Tariq Afridi. The militants affiliated with Afridi are mainly based in Feroze Khel, Dara Garhi and Mirbak areas," The Nation quoted sources, as saying.

The TTP hit-list includes: NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti, former chief minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, President Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali Khan, JUI-F Chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, MPA, Sikandar Sherpao, Inspector General of NWFP Police, Malik Naveed, Commandant Frontier Constabulary, Sifwat Ghayyur, DG FIA, Zafrullah Khan, Chief Secretary NWFP, Javed Iqbal, Additional Chief Secretary FATA, Habibullah Khan, and CCPO Liaquat Ali Khan.

The names of provincial ministers include: Senior Minister Bashir Bilour, Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Minister for Prisons Mian Nisar Gul kakakhel, and Labour Minister Sher Azam Wazir.

"Majority of those who are on the list belongs to NWFP but the names of important politicians as well as officials from Punjab and Sindh are also included in the list," an official said.

The development came amid heightened fears of more terror attacks on VIPs in the wake of the assassination of seven CIA operatives in Afghanistan's Khost province.

The bombing in Afghanistan has not only shocked many officials here but also was an open demonstration of TTP's ability to conduct operation in an area that was considered out of its reach, another official said.

NWFP IGP Malik Naveed said: "I have not received any threat but a lot of our officers have received threatening calls and letters written in Pashto and Urdu languages. We are taking every possible step to save valuable lives of common people and police officers who have frequently been targeted by the terrorists."

Mastermind of attacks on UN, IU offices nabbed
[Geo News] Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Wednesday reiterated the firm resolve of the government to weed out terrorism and appreciated the Security Forces' valour and sacrifices in the fight against terror.

"We are determined to curb terrorism. Whole the nation is united to rid this menace and I appreciate the success of Security Forces and law enforcing agencies," he said.

"We have arrested the masterminds of WFP and IIU suicide attacks and more arrests were made on their information," he informed the National Assembly.

Responding to points raised by Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, the Interior Minister said, "situation is different from the past. Today we have a focal point where information pours in from all intelligence agencies and action is proposed when and where needed."

He said 3 D policy of the Prime Minister has been effective and the forces are achieving successes against terrorists.

He said Taliban are following a destabilizing agenda but, "We shall never let them succeed in their ulterior and anti state motives. We shall continue striking these cruel and paid murderers."

"Whole the nations was united and we shall fight them out," he said.

Earlier, MNA Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao had recommended to the government not to close the doors for negotiations and evolve a homegrown strategy keeping in view the national interests.

"We should formulate our own policy learning from the experiences of other countries in fighting terrorism," he had proposed, also urging to be vigilant to kidnapping for ransom, robbery, car theft and other crimes.

He said 2009 has been the worst year in terms of suicide attacks with number rising to 80 wherein hundreds of people lost their lives.

He also urged the government to expedite efforts to providing relief to IDPs from FATA.

He mentioned to certain cases where the NWFP residents tried to shift elsewhere and purchase land but they were asked to get an NoC. "This situation would generate serious problems for the Federation."

Sherpao proposed such action that show presence of the government and demanded from Interior Minister to inform the House in detail about the measures.

He also mentioned to unanimous recommendations of a committee constituted on this issue and said, had these recommendations been implemented, the situation might have improved.

He said it was not the conventional war and intelligence information bore pivotal role and proposed a trained force to fight terrorism.

Waziristan operation given go-ahead
[Dawn] The country's top civil and military command and most of the major opposition parties' leaders decided in principle on Friday to launch a military operation in South Waziristan, terming it 'imperative' to eliminating terrorism and extremism from the country.

According to sources, participants of a meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, agreed that a recent spate of suicide bombings in different parts of the country had roots in South Waziristan and suicide bombings and terrorist attacks could not be curbed without crushing terrorists' leaders hiding in tribal areas.

Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, gave a detailed briefing and the meeting is reported to have decided about the timing of the operation, but it was not officially disclosed to the media.

According to the sources, the operation might be launched within 24 hours. President Asif Ali Zardari did not attend, but he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Gilani shortly before the meeting.

Security sources said it was going to be a three-pronged operation supervised by the corps commander concerned with the aim to block all routes of militants present in the region, particularly the Mehsud area.

The operation will be supported by the air power, including helicopter gunships and jet bombers. The army has reportedly sent two divisions totalling 28,000 men and blocked different routes in the area.

Analysts said an immediate push would be needed with winter approaching. It was learnt that military authorities had completed all arrangements for the operation. Over 8,000 families of South Waziristan moved to Dera Ismail Khan on Friday to seek shelter.

There was no significant opposition to the operation in the meeting, except some concerns expressed by leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-N. A source quoted PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar as saying: 'We were invited to discuss the law and order situation, but the whole discussion focused on South Waziristan.'

The army chief said the situation had become so 'dangerous' because of terrorist activities being planned in South Waziristan that a military operation had become unavoidable.

Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha briefed the meeting about intelligence reports and said: 'You cannot imagine how many people are on the hit list of terrorists.
They are not only important personalities and politicians but some ordinary people in different professions.' Interior Minister Rehman Malik gave a separate briefing when Chaudhry Nisar asked why the operation had become necessary.

He presented an overall picture of militant organisations and their activities in South Waziristan and claimed that not only the current spate of terrorist attacks, but also those that took place in the past had links with Taliban in the region. The PML-Q supported the decision to launch the operation.

'We condemn slaughter of innocent people by terrorists and support any operation to be launched in South Waziristan,' said the party's chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

A PML-Q leader, Ameer Muqam, said the meeting had extended complete support to the army in the war against terror.

'Our forces are fighting against militancy and we know that there is no other way to deal with the situation.'

In reply to a question, he said the timing of the operation would depend on the government, its resources and the military authorities, 'but one clear message the political leadership gave in the meeting is that the entire nation is behind the army in this war'.

The meeting was attended by Awami National Party's Asfandyar Wali Khan, PML-N's Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Muttahida Qaumi Movement's Dr Farooq Sattar, Balochistan National Party-A's Senator Israrullah Zehri, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao of the Pakistan People's Party-S, Munir Khan Orakzai from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Mian Raza Rabbani of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Pir Sadruddin Shah of the PML-F, Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl), Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, Chief Minister Amir Haidar Khan Hoti, the chief of the Intelligence Bureau and other officials.

'It has always been our stand that whatever resources and economic support are required would be given in the war on terror,'

Senator Rabbani of the PPP said.The meeting decided that the writ of the government would never be compromised in any part of the country.

'There was consensus that all efforts to eradicate extremism and terrorism will be taken forward,' Rabbani said.

The army has spent months softening targets in the region with air strikes, but refuses to set a timeframe for a ground offensive.

A handout said the political leadership noted that there already existed an across-the-board consensus to root out extremism and restore the writ of the state.

The leadership acknowledged the army's successes in Malakand and Swat, condemned the recent upsurge of terror incidents and agreed that militancy posed a serious threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the state.

In the given circumstances, the national consensus was reaffirmed to establish and maintain the writ of the state and weed out those elements.

The sources said that the first draft of the statement was rejected on the suggestion of the army chief, who wanted some applause for the armed forces' personnel who had sacrificed their lives in the war on terror.

'The political leadership assembled together appreciated the sacrifices and the ongoing efforts of the Pakistan Army in this regard,' the handout said.

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