Posts Tagged ‘tribal areas’

Pakistan’s Tribal Areas Without Constitution, Administration

December 11, 2018
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has been operating in a legal and constitutional void and administrative vacuum for the past 10 days
The U.S. has long said that the Taliban could often be found here operating between Pakistan and Afghanistan
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Below from Dawn (Map supplied)
Fata has been operating in a legal and constitutional void and administrative vacuum for the past 10 days. — File photo
Fata has been operating in a legal and constitutional void and administrative vacuum for the past 10 days. — File photo

The blitzkrieg speed with which the 25th Amendment was pushed through the parliament on May 24 just over a week before the caretaker government was sworn in and the hurriedly drafted and promulgated Fata Interim Governance Regulation on May 29 spawned a complex set of problems that no one seems to have a ready and quick answer to.

Also read: The economics of mainstreaming Fata

The scrapping of Article 247, which could have provided constitutional cover to an interim arrangement in the erstwhile Fata for five years as originally recommended by the Sartaj Aziz committee till arrangements were made to establish courts and extend criminal and judicial system to the tribal districts, led to the ultimate unravelling of Fata Interim Governance Regulation (FIGR), according to the documents and officials. The FIGR replaced 1901 Frontier Crimes Regulation for the dispensation of justice.

The Fata merger: Towards a brave new world

The Peshawar High Court in its judgement on October 30, 2018 declared the FIGR as ultra vires of the Constitution, saying it violated the constitutionally binding principles of separation of the judiciary from the executive by allowing commissioners and deputy commissioners to act as judges and council of elders to decide civil and criminal cases.

Declaring Fata Interim Governance Regulation illegal, PHC had asked KP govt to separate executive from judiciary in tribal districts by Nov 30

Significantly, the PHC gave one month to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to establish a system for the administration of justice ensuring the separation of the executive from the judiciary for the erstwhile Fata. The one-month period given in the PHC judgement expired on November 30 resulting in an administrative, legal and constitutional vacuum.

The erstwhile political agents and assistant political agents in Fata renamed as deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners with judicial powers to adjudicate cases under the FIGR now stand stripped of any legal or administrative authority.

In the words of a senior administration official, “We are now operating largely on bluffs.

“We have no legal authority to entertain any criminal or civil complaint, make arrests, impose penalty or enforce law and order. It is squarely the goodwill of the nearly five million people in roughly 27, 000 square-kilometre area that the state authority is respected and upheld.”

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“Legal uncertainty, administrative vacuum and institutional incapacity”, a review petition filed by the KP government in the apex court warns, “could generate “public unrest” as had been seen in the recent history which “ultimately snowballed into uprising and militancy”.

Citing lack of huge funds and resources to establish institutions such as police, prosecution, judiciary and prison in the erstwhile Fata, the KP government is now seeking reprieve from the apex court for the continuation of FIGR for at least five years to remain in force in the area. Officials said the apex court accepted its plea for an early hearing of the appeal in view of the dire situation in the tribal districts and is likely to take up the case later this week.

At the root is not just lack of legal foresight to see through the issue while pushing the amendment through the parliament to do away with the previous status of Fata, resulting in a legal and administrative vacuum, but also the lack of leadership, vision and focus required to resolve some of the most complex issues facing the people in the region.

Who will bell the cat?

Resultantly, confusion abounds. Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted an 11-member task force on September 6 to identify impediments and facilitate the merger process. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Establishment Arbab Mohammad Shehzad, who was made convener of the task force, was replaced the very next day by KP Governor Shah Farman. The task force has had two meetings since then and has made little progress.

Adding to the confusion, the KP government came up with its own inter-ministerial committee on November 27. Mandated to “set strategic and policy level directions, reviewing PSDP and ADP projects, propose reform initiatives, liaise with the police and other law enforcement agencies and review local government initiatives, amongst others, the committee is now being dispensed with two weeks after its creation, according to KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai. Led by senior minister Atif Khan, the committee has yet to meet.

And then there is the apex committee comprising senior political and military leadership at the KP level. There has been back and forth on suggestions and recommendation between the apex committee and the provincial government but nothing so far seems to have materialised, according to officials familiar with the exchanges.

Take the issue of Fata secretariat as an example. Prime Minister Khan directed its abolition and merger with KP civil secretariat for smooth administrative transition, overruling the concept of a truncated secretariat. After a lot of debate and exhortation by KP’s legal advisers the federal cabinet agreed that the decision to merge rested with the KP cabinet. But the cabinet decision, too, it later transpired, was not final and that it was to be decided by the inter-ministerial committee to discuss its pros and cons.

Mr Yousafzai, however, told Dawn on Monday that since PM Khan had already directed the secretariat merger with KP, there was no need for the inter-ministerial committee to do any further deliberations on the matter and was hence being dispensed with.

The power struggle

Those who are familiar with the situation say this could be the result of a tug of war between KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and two of his cabinet colleagues. Both sides are jostling for space and power. To add to the CM’s woes is Governor Shah Farman, who is stripped of his constitutional powers to oversee the affairs in the erstwhile Fata, but is still trying to retain some sort of control.

“There is free rolling and no discipline,” commented one such source. “Police are out on a solo flight in the tribal district, suspecting the bureaucracy is out to undermine them, while the bureaucracy is miffed that the civil armed force unilateral ambitious plans could lead to more potential problems vis-à-vis the resistance from the tribal people.”

“This [current situation] is because you have a weak leadership,” said sources aware of the development. “CM Mahmood is either unable to or is incapable to assert himself. It is not very different from what is being seen in the Punjab. The CM’s main area of interest is transfer and postings. Some of the good initiatives undertaken in the last PTI government now seem to be going down the drain,” commented one such source. “There is no sense of urgency when it comes to the tribal districts.”

Meanwhile, the promised Rs100 billion annual development fund for the tribal districts for the next 10 years is nowhere in sight, pending a meeting and approval of the National Finance Commission. It was only last week the federal government informed KP government that it could prepare an ADP. Also, it was indicated that the federal government would continue to pick up the tab for the salaries of its employees in the erstwhile Fata till the NFC made its decision on the matter.

This means that not only the tribal districts would have to wait for the promised fund to better the lives of the people, the local government system and anything related to the extension of civil and criminal justice system, police and other institutions would also have to wait until then. With the fate of khasadars and levies hanging in the balance, no one knows what happens next.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1450739/uncertainty-prevails-in-tribal-districts-without-legal-cover

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Pakistani leader Imran Khan tells the U.S.: We’re not your ‘hired gun’ anymore

December 10, 2018

The U.S. has consistently said publicly that Pakistan remains the key to convincing the Taliban to make peace in Afghanistan — while at the same time privately complaining that the Pakistan government only pays lip service ending the Taliban’s safe havens on its soil. In an interview with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth, Pakistan’s new prime minister, and former cricket star,Imran Khan pushes back on the allegations, while insisting his country won’t be America’s “hired gun.”


Imran Khan addresses a campaign rally in July. (Anjum Naveed/AP)

“When I came into power, I got a complete briefing from the security forces. They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, ‘Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?’ There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan,” Khan told the Post. “But where are these people? Our border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has the greatest amount of surveillance. The U.S. has satellites and drones. These people crossing would be seen.”

That said, Khan says he agrees peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. “We will do everything … We will try our best. Putting pressure on the Taliban is easier said than done. Bear in mind that about 40 percent of Afghanistan is now out of the government’s hands.” And he insisted he does not want the Americans to leave Afghanistan in a hurry like they did in 1989. “I talked for years about how there was no military solution in Afghanistan, and they called me ‘Taliban Khan.’ If you did not agree with the U.S. policy, you were [thought to be] anti-American. Now I’m happy that everyone realizes there is only a political solution.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/milley-could-have-extended-period-as-joint-chiefs-chair-in-waiting

See also:

Pakistani leader to the U.S.: We’re not your ‘hired gun’ anymore

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/pakistani-leader-to-the-us-were-not-your-hired-gun-anymore/2018/12/06/e138790c-f8a5-11e8-863c-9e2f864d47e7_story.html?utm_term=.dbe6fe343251

Related:

Pakistan sees talks on US financial aid restoration

December 10, 2018
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says there are chances of restoration of dialogue with the US government for the restoration of American financial assistance to Pakistan. ─ AFP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says there are chances of restoration of dialogue with the US government for the restoration of American financial assistance to Pakistan. ─ AFP/File

He said that political leadership of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had no objection to the creation of south Punjab province, however a `small segment’ in Sindh and Punjab had some reservations.

“A small segment in Sindh thinks that the creation of south Punjab may pave the way for the demand for the division of Sindh which is totally baseless as no one is demanding the division of Sindh,” he said.

He said that the PTI government was sincere for the creation of south Punjab. “Right now we are trying to create a consensus among political parties.”

He said initially a sub-secretariat (of south Punjab) would be established in Multan for which funds would be allocated in next fiscal. Qureshi said he was not aware of changes to be made in the ministries.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1450530/foreign-minister-sees-talks-on-us-financial-aid-restoration

US envoy on Afghan peace in Pakistan for talks about Taliban

December 4, 2018

The US special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 17-year old war has arrived in Islamabad for meeting with the country’s political and military leadership about bringing the Taliban to peace talks.

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Tuesday’s visit comes a day after the President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking his cooperation.

The US special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 17-year old war has arrived in Islamabad. (AP/Rafiq Maqbool)

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US envoy Zalmay will also travel to Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in a stepped-up effort to find a peaceful end to the Afghan war.

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The United States and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye to the Taliban, whose leadership is based in Pakistan.

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Islamabad says it has little influence on the Taliban but it will play role for peace in Afghanistan.

Associated Press

Related:

Trump tells Pakistan Taliban talks help fundamental to ‘enduring’ ties

December 4, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked for Pakistan’s help with faltering Afghan peace talks in a letter to new Prime Minister Imran Khan in which he made clear that Islamabad’s assistance was “fundamental” to the health of the two countries’ strained relationship, a senior Trump administration official said.

The U.S. president wants to end the 17-year-old conflict between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, who are fighting to drive out international forces and reestablish their version of strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster.

The administration official, who did not want to be identified, said on Monday that Trump requested “Pakistan’s full support” for the U.S. effort to advance the Afghan peace process and for U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad’s trip to the region.

Image result for Zalmay Khalilzad, cnn, photos

Zalmay Khalilzad

Trump also said in the letter to Khan that he “recognizes that Pakistan has the ability to deny the Taliban sanctuary on its territory,” the official said.”The letter also makes clear that Pakistan’s assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring U.S.-Pakistan partnership,” the official said.

The Pakistani foreign ministry had a different take on the letter, saying Trump asked for its “support and facilitation” in negotiating an end to the war, and offered to renew bilateral ties.

Officially allies in fighting terrorism, Pakistan and the United States have a complicated relationship, bound by Washington’s dependence on Pakistan to supply its troops in Afghanistan, where the United States still has 14,000 troops, but plagued by accusations Islamabad is playing a double game.

U.S. officials have long been pushing Pakistan to lean on Taliban leaders, who Washington says are based inside Pakistan, to bring them to the negotiating table. Pakistani officials deny offering safe havens to the Afghan Taliban and say their influence on the group has waned over the years.

Trump appointed Afghan-born U.S. diplomat Khalilzad as special envoy tasked with pushing through peace talks.

Khalilzad said last month he hoped a deal would be reached by April 2019.

But Afghan Taliban militants said they had not accepted any deadline and said a three-day meeting in Qatar between their leaders and Khalilzad ended with no agreement.

Khalilzad on Sunday began an eight-country tour, including Pakistan, Russia and Qatar, to promote peace and convince the Taliban to join negotiations.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday that the war in Afghanistan had gone on for long enough.

“We are looking for every responsible nation to support peace in the subcontinent and across this war in Afghanistan,” Mattis told reporters. “It is time for everyone to get on board.”

Trump has been clear that he wants to bring home U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support and a separate counter-terrorism mission aimed against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“President Trump has also acknowledged that the war had cost both USA and Pakistan. He has emphasized that Pakistan and USA should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It added that Pakistan was committed to playing “a facilitation role in good faith”.

Last month, Trump said Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the United States despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid.

He defended cutting aid to Islamabad and also suggested Pakistani authorities knew Osama bin Laden’s location prior to his killing by U.S. troops in a raid inside Pakistan in 2011.

Khan hit back by saying the United States should not blame Pakistan for its failings in Afghanistan.

Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had formed a 12-strong team to negotiate peace with the Taliban but implementation of any deal would take at least five years.

Reporting by Steve Holland, David Brunnstrom, Alexandra Ulmer and Idrees Ali in Washington; additional reporting by Drazen Jorgic in Islamabad; Writing by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Sonya Hepinstall

Reuters

Local Taliban commander killed in shootout in Pakistan

December 1, 2018

Pakistan: Pakistani security forces say they have killed a local Taliban commander who had taken six people hostage in the country’s northwest.

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A military statement Saturday said security forces rescued all the hostages safely in an operation in the Daraban area of Dera Ismail Khan overnight.

Police surrounded the house after receiving information that a wanted man was holed up there. (File/AFP)

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It said four security men were wounded in a shootout that continued till morning.

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The military said the Taliban commander, Hakim Khan, was in possession of an assault rifle, ammunition and grenades.

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Senior police officer Zahoor Afridi said police surrounded the house after receiving information that a wanted man was holed up there.

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Dera Ismail Khan is near the South Waziristan tribal region.

Associated Press

Pakistan: Imran Khan Government Passes 100 Day Milestone

November 29, 2018

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is holding an event at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad, where it will share its government’s performance over the first 100 days in power.

Senator Faisal Javed formally opened the event with a brief intro before making way for recitation of the Holy Quran.

PM Khan and FM Qureshi at the Jinnah Convention Centr. — File
PM Khan and FM Qureshi at the Jinnah Convention Centr. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to make some important announcements during the ceremony, according to Radio Pakistan, and take the nation into confidence over the government’s achievements.

While opposition parties are terming the 100-day performance of the government as “unimpressive, ridiculous and full of lies and U-turns”, the ruling party leaders are boasting the period with “remarkable achievements”, claiming that the country has been put on the right track.

Some three months before the July 25 general elections, PTI chairman Imran Khan had unveiled his party’s ambitious “agenda” outlining the party’s commitments for starting work within the first 100 days of forming government after the polls.

Read: Jury out on PTI’s performance amid claims, counterclaims

The salient features of the agenda were expeditious merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bifurcation of Punjab and reconciliation with estranged Baloch leaders.

The 100-day agenda also contained a plan for introducing a development package for Karachi and a programme for alleviation of poverty, besides a number of steps for improvement of economy.

Presenting the salient points of the economic policy of the PTI government, Asad Umar, now finance minister, had promised that the government would create 10 million jobs, revive manufacturing, rapidly grow small and medium enterprises sector, facilitate private sector to build five million houses, reform tax administration and transform state-owned-enterprises.

Explore: Imran unveils ambitious agenda for first 100 days of govt

Later, speaking at the first formal press conference after the elections and before assuming the charge as finance minister, Umar had said that offering any relief or subsidy to the people during first 100 days was like giving lollipops. He said the first 100 days would also not see a decision that would change the destiny of the nation, but a clear direction on what “we promised and where we are headed for stock-taking”.

The opposition parties allege that the government has totally failed to deliver at almost all the fronts, particularly economy and law and order situation. According to the opposition, the government has not done its homework properly.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1448382/100-day-overview-pm-khan-to-take-nation-into-confidence-over-govts-performance

Imran Khan Says Karachi Attack Caused by Chinese Trade Deals

November 23, 2018

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Friday’s assault on China’s diplomatic mission in Karachi was due to trade deals signed between the two nations earlier this month.

Image result for Pakistan rice farmers, photos
More of Pakistan’s agriculture and food is being exported to China

“The failed attack against the Chinese Consulate was clearly a reaction to the unprecedented trade agreements that resulted from our trip to China,” Khan said on Twitter. “The attack was intended to scare Chinese investors — these terrorists will not succeed.”

Imran Khan

@ImranKhanPTI

The failed attack against the Chinese Consulate was clearly a reaction to the unprecedented trade agreements that resulted from our trip to China. The attack was intended to scare Chinese investors and undermine CPEC. These terrorists will not succeed.

3,933 people are talking about this

Separately, a bombing in northwestern Orakzai killed at least 25 people on Friday, local media reported. The former cricket star condemned both attacks and said they were “part of a planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper.”

The assault in Pakistan’s largest city and financial hub left seven people dead. The incident is the second major attack this year on Chinese officials in Karachi, a megacity of at least 15 million people in a country that is one of the key partners in China’s Belt and Road initiative. In February gunmen killed Chen Zhu, a shipping executive, in the city’s posh Zamzama district. The violence has raised concern in Beijing, which is financing infrastructure projects valued at about $60 billion across Pakistan.

An explosive-laden vehicle was driven outside the Chinese consulate and in an exchange of fire two policemen guarding the building and all three assailants were killed, Amir Shaikh, a senior police official, told reporters in Karachi. Two civilians collecting visas also died. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi later told lawmakers in Islamabad that a suicide bomber had detonated explosives while trying to enter the building.

The raid will come as a shock to China and Pakistan’s armed forces, which have beefed up security across the South Asian nation after a number of military operations targeting terrorist groups since 2013. Pakistan’s army has also raised a 15,000 strong force to protect the Chinese projects and has curtailed the movement of workers at those sites who aren’t allowed outside without an armed escort.

Pakistani security personnel stand outside the Chinese consulate after an attack in Karachi on Nov. 23.

Photographer: Asif Hassan/AFP via Getty Images

Beijing has become increasingly vocal over the risks in Pakistan. In December last year, its embassy in Islamabad warned of imminent terror attacks on Chinese targets. That followed the Islamic State-claimed killings of two Chinese teachers in June 2017 in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan, where China is building a port.

“China has requested Pakistan to take measures to make sure the safety of Chinese citizens and organizations,” Geng Shuang, a foreign ministry spokesman, said at a daily briefing in Beijing on Friday. “China believes that Pakistan will take measures to make sure that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor proceeds smoothly,” he said, referring to the local branding of Belt and Road in Pakistan.

‘Similar Attacks’

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal told reporters in Islamabad that it is too early to know who is responsible. Reuters reported that the Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist movement in the restive province neighboring Karachi, claimed the attack.

“Similar attacks targeting Chinese engineers and businessmen happened in the past to force Pakistan’s government to back down from certain issues,” said Sun Shihai, director of the Institute of South Asia Studies in Sichuan University of China. “These individual attacks will only raise the awareness of Pakistan and China’s governments to put more emphasis on security.”

China’s influence has increased across Pakistan in recent years. Islamabad has also pivoted to Beijing as relations with the U.S. are increasing strained under President Donald Trump, who canceled military aid to Pakistan this year. Trump has repeatedly accused Pakistan of sheltering insurgent groups who operate in Afghanistan — a charge refuted by Pakistani government and military officials.

‘Debt Diplomacy’

Yet resentment toward the Chinese is also rising. Critics say Beijing is ensnaring Pakistan in so-called “debt diplomacy” by granting opaque loans that Islamabad will find difficult to repay as it faces a balance-of-payments crisis. Pakistan is currently negotiating a bailout with the International Monetary Fund.

Many Pakistani firms also grumble about the preferential treatment being meted out to Chinese businesses since 2015 when President Xi Jinping first launched the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Friday’s attack is “a very high profile attempt which failed but nevertheless it causes concerns” that there are people opposing China’s mega projects in Pakistan, said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based political analyst and former government official.

— With assistance by Faseeh Mangi, and Kamran Haider

Pakistan jolted by a deadly market bombing and an attack on the Chinese Consulate

November 23, 2018

A powerful bomb at an open-air food market in northwest Pakistan’s Tribal Areas killed 25 people, an attack just hours after armed separatists stormed the Chinese Consulate in the southern port city of Karachi.

Local police official Tahir Ali said the market attack took place in the town of Klaya, in the Orakzai region of the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.

He said most of the victims were minority Shiite Muslims. More than 50 were wounded in the attack, some critically, triggering fears the death toll could rise further,

Ali said the attack has prompted local authorities to declare an emergency at the region’s hospitals. Orakzai has been the scene of militant attacks in recent years, mostly claimed by Pakistani Sunni militants.

Also Friday, Pakistan’s foreign minister said security forces foiled an attempt by militants to spread terror by attacking the Chinese Consulate in Karachi.

Separatists attack Chinese consulate in Pakistan, killing 4
Pakistani troops move in the compound of Chinese Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. Pakistani police say gunmen have stormed the Chinese Consulate in the country’s southern port city of Karachi, triggering an intense shootout. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil) (Shakil Adil)

Shah Mahmood Quershi described the attack as a “conspiracy” against Pakistan and China, its longtime ally and friend. He blamed the “enemy of Pakistan” for the attack.

Three gunmen stormed the consulate in Karachi, triggering an intense, hour-long shootout during which two police officers and all the assailants were killed, officials said.

All the Chinese diplomats and staff at the consulate were safe and were not harmed during the assault or the shootout, said senior police official Ameer Ahmad Sheikh.

The Baluch Liberation Army, a separatist group based in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, claimed responsibility for the attack and released photos of the three attackers. Karachi, the capital of neighboring Sindh province, has a militant presence, including Baluch separatists.

The attackers stormed the consulate shortly after 9 a.m., during business hours. They first opened fire at consulate guards and then managed to breach the main gate and enter the building, said Mohammad Ashfaq, a local police chief.

Pakistani security forces quickly surrounded the area. Local TV broadcast images showing smoke rising from the building, which also serves as the residence of Chinese diplomats and other staff.

Multiple blasts were heard soon afterward but Sheikh could not say what they were. After the shootout, which lasted for about an hour, the situation was brought under control.

“Because of a quick response of the guards and police, the terrorists could not” reach the Chinese diplomats, Sheikh said after the fighting ended. “We have completed the operation, and a search is still underway to trace and capture all suspects.”

Sheikh said one of the attackers was wearing a suicide vest. Authorities will try to identify the assailants through fingerprints.

Dr Seemi Jamali, a spokeswoman at the Jinnah Hospital, said the bodies of two police officers were brought to the hospital morgue and a wounded consulate guard is under treatment.

China is a longtime ally and has invested heavily in transport projects in Pakistan. The two countries have strengthened ties in recent years and China is currently building a network of roads and power plants under a project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC.

Associated Press

US should assess own failures in Afghanistan instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat: PM Khan

November 19, 2018
Prime Minister Imran Khan responds to US President Donald Trump's statements about Pakistan yesterday. ─ File photo
Prime Minister Imran Khan responds to US President Donald Trump’s statements about Pakistan yesterday. ─ File photo

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday clapped back at United States (US) President Donald Trump on Monday, suggesting that Washington assess its efficacy in the War on Terror in Afghanistan instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for its failures.

While speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Trump had attempted to justify his administration’s decision at the start of 2018 to pull “military aid” to Pakistan by linking it to Osama bin Laden being found in Pakistan in 2011. “They [Pakistan] don’t do a damn thing for us,” the US president had said.


November 19, 2018

Speaking of the compound in Abbottabad where bin Laden was found in 2011, Trump said the bin Ladens had been “living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there.”

However, contrary to Trump’s insinuations, former US president Barack Obama, the raid was carried out, had said last year: “We had no evidence that Pakistan was aware of his presence — that is something that we looked at.”

Trump also added that the US used to give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year, but doesn’t anymore. “I ended it because they don’t do anything for us.”

Read more: ‘Appeasement does not work with US’: Shireen Mazari claps back at Trump over tirade against Pakistan

PM Khan responded to Trump’s statements, saying that Islamabad had decided to “participate in the US War on Terror” although no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost,” he added, of which “US ‘aid’ was a miniscule $20bn”, the premier said.

In addition to economic losses, the PM highlighted the impact of the US war on Pakistan’s tribal areas. “Our tribal areas were devastated and millions of people were uprooted from their homes. The war drastically impacted the lives of ordinary Pakistanis,” he said.

“Pakistan continues to provide free lines of ground and air communications (GLOCs/ALOCs),” he added.

“Can Mr Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?” he asked.

“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 Nato troops, plus 250,000 Afghan troops and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” he suggested.

Earlier today, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also called Trump out over his remarks about Pakistan, saying: “@realDonaldTrump suffers conveniently from perpetual historic amnesia!”

Calling Trump’s tirade a lesson for Pakistani leaders “who kept appeasing the US esp after 9/11”, the minister added: “Whether China or Iran, US policies of containment and isolation do not coincide with Pakistan’s strategic interests.”

Relations between the United States and Pakistan, which began to strain in 2011, reached a new low in January when Trump suspended US security assistance to Islamabad over the alleged presence of Afghan militant groups in Fata. The government as well as the military had rejected the charge as incorrect.

The Inter-Services Public Relations had clarified at the time that that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1446580