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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bashir Bilour killed in Peshawar suicide blast

Abida Hussain: 2:19 AM (9 hours ago) I first met Bashir Bilour (May his soul rest in Peace) for the first time in 1978 when Khan Abdul Wali Khan was released from Hyderabad jail. He was young and obliging and Nasim Bibi and Khan Abdul Wali Khan relied heavily on him,as did his elder brother Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. Bashir was the quintessential political worker,accessible and helpful and he earned his spurs as a representative and as Senior Minister in the current KPK Govt he worked with energy and dedication and did not flinch in the face of danger. His has been the most high profiled political asassination since that of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and does not bode well for peaceful conduct of elections, which are around the corner. Perhaps the ANP has not been given enough credit by the Pakistani public for their courage and resolve in combatting the forces of darknes that threaten to engulf us. Abida Hussain *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***
Nadia Mirza Indeed Basheer Bilour Shaheed was an iron man against the terrorism. Without dragging myself into political debate I must say he has sacrificed his life for peace and prosperity. He never been scared of threats he received. May Allah rest his soul in peace. Nadia Mirza. Tv Journalist. CNBC Pakistan . Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone provided by Ufone
Haroon Siddiqi Dunya TV: In my eyes, Bashir Balour was the only brother who had great respect amongst the political parties and the journalist community. It is a very sad demise, one thing was noted that in an official statement it said that "Bashir Bilour ke shahadut per afsos ka izhar" how can one be saddened over SHAHADAT? Shahadat is the best form of death. May ALLAH ALMIGHTY give the grieved family strength to over come a great loss and may his soul rest in peace. Regards,
APP: Foreign Desk The death of Bashir Bilour is no doubt a great loss not only to the Pukhtun community, ANP but to all those broadminded people who wanted to get the country out of the flames of militancy and extremism. Though Bashir Bilour (Shaheed) is no more with us in our march towards making Pakistan a modern social welfare state but as a resilient nation and sons of the soil we are determined to end this war to its logical conclusion and to get rid of these handful of militants and terrorists who has converted our peaceful land into a pile of explosives. The ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan has rightly said that " If extremists and terrorists can unit from Kabul to Karachi then why not the Pakistan nation stand united against these evil forces." The time has come for all Pakistanis to come forward and consider this war their own war and confront these elements of darkness from the front and eliminate them. May Allah Almighty rest the departed soul of Bashir Bilour in peace and grant courage to his family members to bear the loss with equanimity. Aameen. Mohammad Ilyas Kha...@gmail.com © Associated Press of Pakistan © NO UNAUTHORIZED USE, COPYING OR DISTRIBUTION Please cite APP as source - Plagiarism is a crime Foreign Desk Tel +92 51 2890662 Fax +92 51 2606091
Bashir Bilour killed in Peshawar suicide blast By Web Desk / Riaz Ahmad / AFP Published: December 22, 2012 Blast in Qissa Khawani Bazaar kills nine people and injures 17. Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility. PHOTO: FILE . PESHAWAR: A suicide blast in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar killed KP Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour along with eight others and injured at least 17 people on Saturday, reported Express News. Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack. The country will observe a day of mourning on Sunday, December 23. The national flag will fly at half mast. Bilour’s funeral will be held on Sunday afternoon at Sher Khan Stadium. Live updates have ended. 9:40pm PM Raja Pervez Ashraf has announced one-day mourning on Sunday across the country over the death Bilour, reported Radio Pakistan. KP government has announced three days of mourning with the flag standing on half mast in remembrance of Bashir Bilour. Funeral prayers for Bilour will be offered at 2:00 pm, December 23 at Sher Khan Stadium. 9:30pm Bomb squad experts said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives when the ANP meeting was at its peak. “The suicide bomber walked into the house where the meeting was taking place and detonated his vest,” Shafqat Malik, chief of the Bomb Disposal Squad, told AFP. Four policemen were among the wounded. 9:10pm The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, according to a spokesperson. ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan mourned Bilour’s death and said it was a great loss for the country. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira spoke of Bilour’s bravery and commended his efforts in the war against terrorism, as reported by Radio Pakistan. PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, MQM leader Altaf Hussain, and PTI leader Imran Khan offered their condolences and condemned the attack. 8:50pm Doctors said Bashir Bilour had severe injuries on his chest and stomach and was on the ventilator as doctors tried their best to save him. Bilour was brought in to Lady Reading Hospital in serious condition as he did not have a pulse and was not even breathing, a hospital official told Express News. The official added that when he was brought in he was in a state of shock and doctors and specialists tried for 1.5 hours to resuscitate him, but he succumbed to his injuries. Haji Noor, his personal secretary, also died in the blast. 8:30pm Federal Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Bashir Bilour’s elder brother, spoke to Express News and said, “We live in a Pakistan where Maulana Maududi, Maulana Abdul Haq Haqqani had signed on the constitution. We don’t know who is a sinner and who is on the right. Were those who signed on the constitution were they Muslims or are these [terrorists] muslims? We just don’t know!” He added that Bashir never fussed much about security, but he was always accompanied by one or two guards. Ghulam commended Bashir for his bravery. Bashir Bilour’s funeral arrangements will be finalised after his sons return, according to Ghulam. 8:05pm KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, while talking to Express News, said that he salutes Bashir Bilour. “He sacrificed himself for the country and he fought against militants,” Hussain added. Hussain reports that he and Bilour used to get 3-4 threats every day. The KP minister demands a tripartite commission between the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan to solve this crisis. 7:40pm Bashir Bilour died from his injuries while being treated at Lady Reading Hospital. Two motorcycles and a car were also destroyed in the attack. This was the third time Bilour had been targeted by terrorists and was on their hit list. 7:30pm Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed that Bashir Bilour’s condition is critical. President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf and Interior Minster Rehman Malik have condemned the attack while Malik also demanded a report from IG Police, KP, reported Radio Pakistan. 7:17pm Provinicial MPA Bashir Bilour is in critical condition after being injured. Doctors are currently operating on him at Lady Reading Hospital. Three of the injured are in critical condition and are in the ICU. Bomb Disposal Squad has determined that this was a suicide blast. 6:40pm Kabli police station SHO Sattar Khan was killed in the blast, along with four others. Police officials reported that the blast went off during an Awami National Party (ANP) rally. Bomb Disposal Squad and more police officials are en route to the scene of the blast. The injured have been moved to Lady Reading Hospital. =============== Enough is enough: ANP to push for political consensus on N Waziristan operation By Kamran Yousaf Published: December 24, 2012
“We have already wasted a lot of time and we strongly believe that terrorist sanctuaries, wherever they exist, must be eliminated,” says Gohar.
ISLAMABAD: In the wake of its leader Bashir Bilour’s assassination, the Awami National Party (ANP) will push for a full-scale military offensive against Taliban insurgents based in the North Waziristan tribal region – believed to be a stronghold of Haqqani Network and their tribal cohorts. According to sources in the ANP, the party plans to propose either an all-party conference or a special sitting of Parliament to evolve a consensus on a strong response to growing militancy in the country. A special meeting of the party’s central decision-making body will be convened tomorrow (Tuesday) in Peshawar to discuss both proposals. Most ANP leaders believe it is high time for a military operation in North Waziristan, sources said. ANP’s central information secretary confirmed that his party will seek a consensus among all political parties for a united front against terrorism. “This is not ANP’s war. This is a battle for survival for all of us … if militants are not willing to reconcile then we have no other option except the use of force,” Senator Zahid Khan told The Express Tribune. He insisted that certain political parties will have to review their “dual policy” and come up with a clear stance against militancy. ANP lawmaker Bushra Gohar, however, was more candid. “We have already wasted a lot of time and we strongly believe that terrorist sanctuaries, wherever they exist, must be eliminated,” she said. When asked, a senior military official said an operation in North Waziristan was not possible without political ownership. He added that the government would have to take the final decision on whether or not to go for an all-out offensive. Despite US pressure, Pakistan has been reluctant to launch a military operation in North Waziristan for a host of reasons. In the past, the military has indicated its willingness to take on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – which is based in neighbouring South Waziristan Agency – it has never shown any commitment for a possible action against the Haqqani Network. One reason security officials cite for this policy is that the Haqqani Network pose no immediate threat to Pakistan’s interests. However, some observers disagree with this approach. They insist that while all these groups may operate independently, they complement each other’s actions at the same time. Senior ANP leader and K-P Information Minister Mian Iftikhar also warned against differentiating between “good or bad Taliban”. “All of them (Taliban) are the same so they have to be dealt with accordingly,” he told a private news channel. Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2012. ==================== 40 dead in a week: Violence across Pakistan raises fears for elections By AFP Published: December 24, 2012 "Taliban are on a major onslaught to destabilise the country and create chaos to shake people's faith in the state." PHOTO: REUTERS?FILE ISLAMABAD: A surge of violence in northwest Pakistan culminating in the assassination of a senior provincial minister has raised fears of a renewed Taliban campaign that could threaten national elections, analysts say. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the adjacent Federally-Administered Tribal Areas, which border Afghanistan, are on the frontline of the country’s battle against Islamist militancy and are no strangers to violence. But the past week has seen a noticeable rise in bloodshed, with more than 40 people killed in near-daily attacks. These culminated in Saturday’s suicide bombing at a meeting of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Peshawar, the province’s main city. The blast, which killed nine including provincial number two Bashir Bilour, was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, who said the minister was targeted in revenge for the death of one of the movement’s “elders”. The surge of violence began on December 15 with a spectacular commando-style Taliban attack on Peshawar airport and also featured a car bomb near a local government office in Khyber tribal district that killed 21 people. “The spate of attacks in recent days indicates the Taliban are on a major onslaught to destabilise the country and create chaos to shake people’s faith in the state apparatus,” political analyst and author Hasan Askari told AFP. “It’s part of their broader agenda to undermine the credibility of government and prove that the state apparatus is crumbling.” For the Taliban, killing a high-profile and outspoken critic such as Bilour has a double effect, Askari said: silencing an experienced and fearless adversary and striking fear into those who might think of following in his footsteps. The coalition government led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — which also includes the ANP — will complete its five-year term in March and insists elections will be held on time. But no date has yet been announced for polls and there are rumours the ballot could be postponed if the security situation is deemed too precarious. Retired Lieutenant General Talat Masood, a security and political analyst, said the Taliban were stepping up their assaults on political and military targets precisely to create this kind of anarchy. “They will try to disrupt elections because they can flourish when the state is weak — there is a political vacuum and then people lose confidence in the government,” he told AFP. If elections go ahead successfully it will be the first time in Pakistan’s turbulent history that an elected civilian government has completed a five-year term. Both Askari and Masood said the government would find it difficult to delay the vote, paving the way for a bloody campaign period. Thursday is the fifth anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, killed in a gun and suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi after addressing an election rally. Brigadier Saad Khan, a former officer with the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, warned the Taliban may continue their campaign with an attack on events marking the anniversary. These include a major speech by her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP chairman. Khan described the security situation as grave, saying the militants were “waging a war for Peshawar”. He compared it to the state of affairs before a major military offensive against militant hideouts and training camps in South Waziristan in 2009. “The militants are moving with a plan (of) how and where to attack. They put pressure at one place and move to another,” he said. “It is a dynamic enemy and we are static. We are reactive they are proactive.” He criticised the current strategy for dealing with the militants as “half-hearted” and urged a more concerted effort to defeat them. =========== aw and order challenge: Agencies fear ‘violence’ in poll By Kamran Yousaf Published: December 25, 2012 Terrorist attacks have claimed more than 40 lives in the past week, raising fears of a possible delay in elections. PHOTO: FILE ISLAMABAD: While the government insists the next parliamentary election will be held on time, intelligence agencies have warned that it could be riddled by large-scale violence hitherto unseen in the country’s poll history, The Express Tribune has learnt. The ominous warning came in the backdrop of a recent upsurge in terrorist attacks, including the assassination of prominent Awami National Party (ANP) politician Bashir Ahmed Bilour and the abortive attack on Peshawar airbase. The parliamentary elections are scheduled for early next year after the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government completes its five-year constitutional term. However, in their assessment shared with the concerned authorities, intelligence agencies said that maintaining law and order during the elections would be a huge challenge, sources told The Express Tribune. According to them, insurgents were plotting attacks against prominent politicians in an effort to disrupt the election process. However, it is not clear whether or not security agencies have advised the government to delay the polls. “The assassination of Bashir Bilour could be the beginning of a new wave of terrorist attacks in the country,” said one intelligence source. Bilour, a senior minister in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, was assassinated by a Taliban suicide bomber in Peshawar on Saturday in an attack that also killed eight other people. The attack came days after 10 terrorists mounted an audacious attack on the Pakistan Air Force base, adjacent to Peshawar airport. Police and army commandos successfully fought off the attack and killed all the assailants. Terrorist attacks have claimed more than 40 lives in the past week, raising fears of a possible delay in elections. Though the government insists that the elections will be held on time, it has not announced the schedule as yet. The country’s main opposition party – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – says it would not accept any delay in the elections. “We don’t trust the government. They are just trying to find lame excuses. The best solution to the law and order problem is to have an early election,” said the PML-N spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan. In a recent television interview, senior PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also said that the government appeared to be seeking a delay in election on the pretext of the ongoing unrest in the country. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also says it would not brook any delay in the elections. “If elections could take place in Iran even when its parliament was bombed, then there is no reason for delaying polls in Pakistan,” said PTI Dr Israr Shah. “We want elections to be held within 90 days no matter what,” he told The Express Tribune. President of the Punjab chapter of PPP Mian Manzoor Wattoo said on Sunday that an interim government would be installed on March 17 to conduct the elections. Political observers say a strong caretaker set-up could ensure a peaceful election. “There is still time left in the polls and one hopes the situation will improve,” said Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, who heads an Islamabad-based think tank working for the strengthening of democracy in Pakistan. However, he warned that if militants continued to target high-profile leaders, this would certainly discourage people to come out for voting. If this happens, Mehboob argues, the whole election process will be considered as flawed. Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2012. =================== Chronicle of carnage: As elections beckon, political violence mounts By Peer Muhammad Published: December 26, 2012 Third week of December witnesses a slew of target killings, sectarian attacks. PHOTO: FILE ISLAMABAD: As the country heads towards the general elections, political violence is on the rise. This month, in the third week alone, 241 people were affected in 41 incidents across the country. Approximately 75 people died and 166 suffered injuries. Although a comparison of the second and third weeks of December reveal that the number of incidents went down from 52 to 41, more people were killed and wounded in the third week. This indicates a clear increase in the lethality of the occurrences. In the second week, 61 people were killed and 51 injured. According to a recent study conducted by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), 22 incidents were reported in Sindh, 10 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 6 in Balochistan, two in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), and one in Gilgit-Baltistan. No incident of political violence was reported in Punjab in this week, while the most casualties were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the week, target killings and sectarian attacks riddled the country. Furthermore, bomb blasts remained a prominent militant tactic, injuring 79 people across the country. The Khyber agency was the most violent area during the third week (19 killed, 71 injured), followed by Peshawar (five killed, 46 injured). Two high-profile attacks took place in Peshawar, one in which Provincial Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour lost his life. He was a key political figure, a voice against militancy in the region. Karachi claimed a spot as the third most violent city, witnessing 25 deaths, and a plethora of targeted attacks, sectarian conflict, and violence against health workers. ANP spokesperson Senator Zahid Khan commented on the rising political violence in the country and said his party has been the biggest victim. However, he added that the ANP still believes in democracy and will not allow the upcoming polls to be postponed. “We have been making sacrifices and will continue doing so for the sake of democracy,” he maintained. Khan also said that the writ of the government is crucial in managing the affairs of the state. According to him, some entities working for anti-state agendas want to postpone elections. He proposed that all political parties sit together and draw up an effective security policy, so that political violence can finally be curbed. Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2012. ===================

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