Archive for July, 2009

16 killed in blast in Pak madrassa used as bomb-making factory

July 13, 2009

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Agencies Tags : Pak bomb blast, madrassa, Punjab province Posted: Monday , Jul 13, 2009 at 1623 hrs Islamabad: www.indianexpress.com

At least 16 people, including several children, were killed and 120 others injured on Monday when a powerful explosion in Mian Channu near Multan flattened a madrassa, which was being used to make bombs, officials said.

The blast, which occurred shortly before 10 am local time in the village near Mian Channu in southern Punjab, was caused by explosives stored in the home of madrassa teacher Riaz Ali, local residents said.

 Ali was a member of a banned religious group, officials said.

 Police and rescue service officials told reporters that 16 people, including several children, were killed in the blast, which also destroyed dozens of houses.

 Muhammad Yousuf Soomra, health officer of Khanewal district, said the toll could rise as more bodies were feared to be buried under the rubble of collapsed homes.

It was not immediately known what triggered the blast. Rescue workers found parts of shells and bombs, grenades, rockets and suicide jackets in the rubble of the madrassa.

Officials said the seminary was being used to make bombs.

Doctors in local hospitals said 120 injured people had been brought for treatment. Over 40 of them were admitted to hospitals while many were allowed to go home after being given first aid. An emergency was declared in all hospitals near Mian Channu.

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‘Jehadi’ material, including cassettes with militant propaganda and pamphlets of the Harkat-ul-Jehad al-Islami terrorist group, were also found in the debris of Ali’s house, Geo News channel reported.

 The blast created a crater 40 feet wide and eight feet deep. The explosion flattened about 25 structures, including a rural health centre and the madrassa, a police official said.

Rescue efforts were hampered by large crowds that gathered at the site of the blast. The lack of earth moving equipment also affected efforts by rescue workers to sift through the rubble.

 Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the blast and ordered authorities to launch an immediate inquiry into the incident so that the culprits could be brought to justice.

 

Pakistan created and nurtured terrorists, admits Zardari

July 13, 2009

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ISLAMABAD: For the first time, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari admitted that militants and extremists were “created and nurtured” in the country as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives. ( Watch )
But they began to haunt the country in the post-9/11 era, Zardari said in a candid admission during an interactive meeting with former senior civil servants at the presidency last night.

Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised, but because they “were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives,” he said.

“Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities,” Zardari said.

“The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryears until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well,” he added.

Labelling Pakistan as a frontline state in the war against terrorism, Zardari pledged to eliminate this scourge from society. “I have taken charge at a difficult time and will come up to the challenges the country is facing.”

His remarks came days after his comments in an interview that the Pakistan Army would even target militants it had backed in the past for use as a proxy force against India.

The army is currently engaged in a campaign against the Taliban in the northwestern Swat valley and is gearing up for a push against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud and his network in South Waziristan tribal region.

Zardari also stressed the need for greater national reconciliation, saying he intended to keep all political forces together because Pakistan cannot afford confrontation at this juncture.

“Dialogue is our most powerful weapon…we defeated a dictator through the power of dialogue and we intend to continue holding dialogue to resolve various issues confronting Pakistan,” he said.

“We are on the brink and we must realise that personal political games can no longer be played,” he added.

Responding to various suggestions by the former civil servants, Zardari said the government is taking several steps to improve governance, tackle militancy and extremism, improve law and order, agricultural output and power generation, strengthen institutions and devolve power.

 

Source Courtesy : PTI 9th July, 2oo9 n www.timesofindia.com