Govt buildings, schools blown up in Buner
By Abdur Rehman Abid
Tuesday, 05 May, 2009 | 08:14 AM PST | http://www.dawn.com | updated by alertpak on Tuesday, 05 May, 2009
BUNER: Militants blew up several government buildings and schools in Buner district while security forces expanded their operation on Monday after securing Ambela.
People in the area are in panic and fleeing their homes. Hospitals are running short of essential drugs.
Militants are still controlling key positions along the main highway from Daggar to Pir Baba and the Gokand valley.
Reports reaching here said that higher secondary schools for girls and boys, tehsil administration buildings and a police station at Gagra were destroyed.
Sources said troops had moved from Daggar, the headquarters of Buner district, towards the Gagra subdivision, but were facing stiff resistance.
Fierce clashes have been reported from Kalpani, Tangoo Bridge and Dewana Baba. Local people said that troops backed by tanks faced resistance near the Kalpani village.
The sources said that after taking control of Gagra, troops would move towards the Gokand valley, considered a militant stronghold.
Pak troops kill 60 militants in Buner. Militants are trying to retake.
Posted: Saturday , May 02, 2009 at 0228 hrs IST
Backed by fighter jets and tanks, Pakistani forces killed at least 60 Taliban, including foreigners, in the Buner as they intensified operations against militants, who offered stiff resistance mounting counter-attacks and abducted 10 soldiers.
The militants were killed in fighting since Thursday in Buner, the military said. Also, two paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel were killed and eight injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a house filled with explosives in the region on Friday.
“The type of resistance the security forces have encountered during this operation and the weapons that are being used by the militants clearly negate the their earlier claims that they had left Buner,” chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said in Rawalpindi.
Taliban had claimed last month that they had pulled out of Buner under an agreement negotiated by Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi chief who also brokered a peace deal with the militants in Swat.
The militants also abducted 10 Dir Levies personnel from a checkpost on Friday, Abbas said.
About 130 militants stormed a Frontier Constabulary camp at Jawar on Thursday night and captured 40 personnel, who were freed unharmed after the rebels took away their weapons, Abbas said.
Abbas said security forces backed by helicopter gunships had destroyed about 10 explosives-laden cars and motorcycles that were to be used in suicide attacks. A suicide bomber was injured and captured in Ambela town.
A “few foreign fighters” were killed when the house of Taliban commander Ghazi in Buner was destroyed by the troops, he said. Troops moving from the strategic Malandhera area had linked up with security forces who had occupied Daggar, the main town in Buner.
Three days, 50 dead in Karachi ethnic violence
Karachi has a history of ethnic violence between mohajirs and ethnic Pashtuns.
Posted: Saturday , May 02, 2009 at 0212 hrs IST
Karachi: The ethnic bloodbath in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi has claimed at least 50 lives and left 80 injured in three days, with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday not ruling out the possible involvement of “foreign” elements in the widespread violence.
The Government was concerned about the violence and a detailed inquiry was being carried out to find out who was responsible for it, Gilani was quoted as saying by news channels. He said the Government could not rule out the involvement of a “foreign hand” in the violence.
His remarks came when reporters asked him at the Multan airport whether he sees a foreign hand behind the incidents of arson, loot and violence in Karachi. “It can’t be ruled out,” Gilani replied.
Media reports said 50 people had been killed and close to 80 injured in three days of violence, which has been blamed on ethnic clashes between supporters of Urdu-speaking Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement and Pashtun-speaking Awami National Party. The two are partners in the ruling coalition.
The violence that broke out on Tuesday saw protesters burn vehicles and shops, with peace returning to the city on Friday as the people stayed indoors due to the May Day public holiday.
Pakistani forces drive Taliban from key town
The military says it killed 50 militants in the operation, while one security officer was killed and three were wounded, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, a Pakistani military spokesperson told the press in Rawalpindi.
The operation freed 18 Frontier Corps personnel who had been abducted by militants, he said.
The military used helicopter gunships and coordinated with Pakistani police and the Frontier Corps.
Militants are using civilians as human shields, Abbas said, and have taken people in Buner hostage.
The operation may take a week, he added.
He said ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service which has historic links with the Taliban, was not supporting the militants.
Over the weekend, the military launched an offensive against suspected militants and their hideouts in Lower Dir, which neighbors the violence-plagued Swat area.
Airstrikes by Pakistani fighter jets killed 70 to 75 militants in the Dir district on Tuesday, and flushed out many more, Abbas told reporters.
It is part of the Pakistani army’s intensified drive against the Taliban in its restive tribal regions. The Pakistani government has been criticized for not cracking down on militants along its border with Afghanistan. As a result, the U.S. military has carried out drone attacks against militant targets in Pakistan, which have rankled relations between the two countries.
But Pakistan’s recent military crackdown has led to an exodus of civilians from the region. At least 33,000 residents have left their homes in the midst of the recent fighting, according to Amnesty International.
Civilians fleeing from Lower Dir in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province join more than 500,000 people already displaced by the fighting, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said.
The Pakistani military on Tuesday completed its operation to eliminate and expel militants in Dir, and is now focusing on the Buner district, Abbas said. About 300 militants entered Buner a few days ago, in violation of the Taliban’s recent agreement to leave the district, he said.
Buner is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Islamabad, but Abbas said the militants pose no threat of entering the capital. The fighter jets pounded targets in Buner and the Swat Valley in an effort to block the militants’ entry and exit points, according to Abbas.
Tags: Battle of mohajirs and ethnic Pashtuns, Buner, Ethnic clash in Karachi, Karachi violance, Muslim vs Muslim, Pak military, Pak success over Buner?, Pakistan in Transition, Taliban, Trail of Terrorism