Friday, August 12, 2011

A black widow in Peshawar

The ‘piety’ of terrorism’s holy warriors has shown its true colours — the sanctity of the holy month of Ramzan seems irrelevant to them as evidenced by the latest attack against the citizens of Pakistan. On Thursday, two bomb blasts struck the police in Peshawar when, first, a police van was targeted by a remote controlled device (planted in a handcart) that went off when the van was passing through the Lahori Gate area. Five policemen were killed in the attack and many others wounded. A second blast took place in the same vicinity two hours later when bystanders, media crews and medical services thronged the site. It is obvious that the attacker was looking to maximise the damage and casualties by this second strike, possibly to include senior police and other officials, a tactic increasingly in use by the terrorists. Luckily, the suicide bomber was stopped at a check post a little distance from where the crowds had gathered and after throwing a grenade at the check post, exploded her suicide jacket just short of the first bomb blast site. The woman suicide bomber was killed and in all, 42 people, mostly policemen, were injured in both blasts.

It is interesting that the suicide bomber was a woman. The last time a female suicide bomber was employed was when a husband and wife duo blew themselves up near a World Food Programme centre in Bajaur in late June. Does this imply an emerging pattern of recruiting women as suicide bombers? It is no secret that women in our culture, especially in a conservative society like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are hardly ever frisked or searched when it comes to security checks. Where a woman in a burqa is concerned, any chances of being frisked by male police officers are reduced to nil. It seems that the very culture that the terrorists claim to uphold — of keeping a woman untouched by male hands and covered in a burqa as well — is exactly what these monsters are using against us. If women are the new lethal weapons against the citizens and the state then counter-measures must be drawn up to face this threat. Women, especially those in the baggy burqa, need to be searched without exception. For that, female police officers must be stationed at check posts and security stations throughout the country.

Pakistan is in the throes of a convulsion that is eating it up from the inside. The spectre of terrorism is a phenomenon that its perpetrators claim is a struggle in the name of Islam but is, in fact, a bloody stain on the faith it claims to uphold. These murderers will go to any lengths to achieve the mayhem they desire to overthrow the existing order in the country and replace it with an antediluvian return to a historically moribund idea of khilafat (caliphate). They make no distinction between men, women, or children, either as human bombs or victims. Apart from the emerging use of women, they recruit children as young as nine years old for suicide bombings and do not hesitate to attack in cold blood during the holy month. This is not a movement looking to impose a sacred way of life; it is a group bent on domination through terror and blood. The only way to effectively counter this threat is to increase the effectiveness of our intelligence work so that any attacks in the pipeline can hopefully be nipped in the bud. From infiltration into these terror groups to increased monitoring and surveillance, the entire range of intelligence methods and expertise can help slash, if not roll back, the incidence of these attacks

U.S. denies report alleging drone strikes kill 160 kids in Pakistan

A senior U.S. official is dismissing a report that says covert American drone strikes in Pakistan have killed 385 civilians, nearly half of them children, saying the findings by the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism are faulty and uncorroborated.
The response by the official late Thursday follows a report released this week by the nonprofit group, which includes British and Pakistani journalists, that found CIA covert drone strikes since 2004 killed at least 2,292 people. Of those killed in the strikes, the group said it had credible reports of at least 385 civilians, including 160 children.
"The numbers cited by this organization are way off the mark," the official told CNN. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the drone program.
According to the senior U.S. official, an estimated 2,000 militants and 50 civilians have been killed in strikes since 2001. Since May 2010, the strikes have killed 600 militants, the official said.
"In that same period of time, we can't confirm any noncombatant casualties," the official said.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism defended its report in a statement to CNN on Friday, calling it "the most accurate public record yet of the CIA's drone strikes."
"All of our sources are credible and transparent, and where contradictory information exists, we make that clear," its editor, Iain Overton, said. "It is unfortunate that instead of engaging with our work, the CIA sees fit to smear it."
2010: Pakistan drone victims sue U.S. Deadly bombs jolt northwest Pakistan
Drone Attacks
The U.S. official's figures echo similar ones cited in June by White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan.
American drone strikes in Pakistan have inflamed tensions between the two countries, especially after attacks in which civilians were killed.
A drone strike March 17 reportedly hit a community council meeting in North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan. It killed 44 people -- mostly civilians, two Pakistani sources have said. That strike prompted protests in Pakistan, and the United States temporarily suspended its drone attacks.
U.S. officials rarely discuss publicly the CIA's drone program in Pakistan, though privately, officials have said the covert strikes are legal and an effective tactic in the fights against extremists.
But the allegations by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism spurred reaction from U.S. officials, who are mindful of often violent reaction in the region to allegations of civilian casualties.
The State Department also disputed the group's findings, saying the United States goes to "enormous lengths to avoid killing or injuring innocent civilians."
"To that end, President (Barack) Obama has directed that we be exceptionally precise and surgical in addressing the terrorist threat, relying both on rigorous review procedures and all of the technological tools at our disposal to ensure that innocent civilians are protected," said Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman.
"We try to ensure that we only use force against those individuals who threaten us."
The Bureau for Investigative Journalism findings are published in a 22,000-word database that lists details of each drone strike as compiled from news reports, researchers and lawyers examining drone attacks and leaked U.S. intelligence reports and diplomatic cables. Among the group's findings: More than 1,100 people were injured in the 291 drone strikes known to have taken place since 2004.
The group also reported that of the 291 drone attacks, at least 236 have been ordered since Obama was named president. Of the at least 2,292 people reported killed, at least 1,842 were killed in strikes since Obama took office.
Based on a count by CNN's Islamabad bureau, there have been at least 238 drone strikes since 2008 -- with 45 this year, 111 in 2010, 52 in 2009 and at least 30 in 2008.
Brennan, the counterterrorism adviser, has said the Obama administration wants to follow a strategy of drone strikes and targeted raids against terrorists to avoid prolonged wars.
But the senior U.S. official said the research was suspect in part because it relied on information from a questionable source.
"One of the loudest voices claiming all these civilian casualties is a Pakistani lawyer who's pushing a lawsuit to stop operations against some of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet," the official said.
"His evidence, if you can call it that, comes from a press release. His publicity is designed to put targets on the backs of Americans serving in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His agenda is crystal clear."
While the official did not name the Pakistani lawyer, it was believed to be Shahzad Akbar -- who is suing the CIA to stop the drone strikes. But the journalism organization called Akbar "a single source among many on only 10 strikes of some 291 the Bureau examines."
"Where Mr. Akbar's information is contradicted by other sources, we make that overtly clear in our research," Overton said. "To suggest, as U.S. counterterrorism officials are, that he is a 'major source' for our data is simply untrue."
Akbar told CNN on Friday that he met three times with one of the group's journalists, who reached out to him to cross-check statistics on drone strikes. He dismissed allegations that his work was suspect.
"My complaint is not against Americans serving in Pakistan and Afghanistan. My concern is that we must have some accountability for civilian deaths," Akbar said.
"I am not saying that drone strikes must stop. My complaint is that you have to be accountable for civilian deaths. There are no checks on how many civilians are killed. This is what concerns me and other Pakistanis who want to end fundamentalism in Pakistan. Civilian deaths in drone strikes are fueling extremism."
Akbar drew the ire of U.S. officials in December when he released the name of the CIA's station chief in Pakistan, part of his campaign to end the drone strikes.
"I didn't do anything wrong by naming the CIA station chief in Islamabad," Akbar told CNN. "I don't care that the Pakistani government gave him consent to come here. They don't have the authority to give them consent."

President Zardari signs FATA Political Parties Order 2002 extension

President Asif Ali Zardari signed the extension of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Political Parties Order 2002 in Islamabad on Friday.
The extension, which was signed at the President House, allows political parties to operate in the tribal regions.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, federal ministers, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Barrister Masood Kausar and FATA members of the parliament were present on the occasion.
The extension of the act binds all political parties in the tribal agencies to inform political agents at least seven days in advance before organising any meeting or inviting their central or provincial leaders to the areas.
The government has taken all major political parties into confidence over the extension of the order.

Clinton calls for countries to join US Syria sanctions

The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has called on other countries to join US sanctions against Syria, in response to the authority's continued crackdown on anti-government protesters.

America has already announced sanctions on Syria's largest commercial bank and biggest mobile phone operator, in a bid to hit President Assad's financial resources.

Opposition activists in Syria say the security forces killed at least 12 civilians on Thursday.

UK's Cameron under pressure over cuts after riots

Prime Minister David Cameron risks his government's austerity drive, particularly its plans to cut police funding, becoming the focus of Britons' fears about the future after the worst looting and rioting in decades hit English cities this week.

The Conservative party leader took a hardline approach to the violence on Thursday, vowing "the lawless minority" would be hunted down and punished, and blaming the police for their initial response.

Now that the violence has died down, Cameron is under growing pressure to abandon plans to cut police numbers after trouble spread from the capital to several other cities over four chaotic nights, severely stretching police resources.

The country is divided over what caused the looting and arson, but many fear the reductions in police numbers implicit in the government's deep public spending cuts could leave the country exposed if more trouble erupts.

Community leaders and some commentators say poverty, unemployment and a bitter sense of exclusion among many young people cannot be ignored, and public sector cuts are likely to hit the poorest in society hardest.

Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labor party, took care not to blame the government's planned cuts directly for the violence, but told the BBC: "The cuts that are being made are very bad for our society."

Cameron blamed the violence on a minority of opportunistic criminals and on society's failings. "When you have deep moral failures you don't hit them with a wall of money," he told parliament in an emergency debate.

Police chiefs were unimpressed with Cameron's criticism of their officers' initial response. "The police faced an unprecedented situation, unique circumstances," said Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Orde said "honest conversations" were needed with the government about its spending plans. "It's the 20 percent cuts in the present spending period that will lead to less police officers, we should be very clear about that."

Cameron's center-right Conservatives took power in May 2010 in coalition with the smaller, centrist Liberal Democrats, promising to cut spending to reduce a budget deficit that peaked at more than 10 percent of gross domestic product.

Finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday that Britain's deficit reduction measures were an example to the rest of Europe, but many fear job losses, benefit cuts and reduced services.

Labor, in power for 13 years until May 2010 under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, have repeatedly said the coalition's planned cuts are too big, too soon, and will stunt the economy.

"The events of the last few days have been a stark reminder to us all that police on our streets make our communities safer and make the public feel safer," Miliband told parliament.


Britons were appalled at the scenes on their streets, from the televised mugging of a badly beaten Malaysian teenager by people pretending to help him, to a Polish woman photographed leaping from a burning building.

The scale and ferocity of the rioting -- not only in inner-city areas but also in some middle-class suburbs -- battered Britain's image as a civilized and peaceful society.

Footage of looters kicking in shop windows and stealing everything from baby clothes to food and large television sets was repeated for days on rolling news channels around the world.

The unrest flared first in north London after police shot dead a black man and refused to give his relatives information about the incident. A local protest then developed into widespread looting and violence.

But social strains have been growing in Britain for some time, with the economy struggling to clamber out of an 18-month recession, one in five young people out of work and high inflation squeezing incomes and hitting the poor hardest.

Some of the looters spoke of taking a stand against "the system" and picked out the recent scandal of lawmakers' fraudulent expenses claims and huge bonuses paid to bankers.

Morale in London's police force has been dented by the loss of its leader and other senior figures in recent weeks in the fallout from the phone-hacking and bribery allegations at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers.

As courts stayed open through the night to deal with the hundreds of people charged over the violence, police flooded the streets to maintain an uneasy peace.

Steve Kavanagh, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said 16,000 officers would remain on duty in the capital on Friday. That is their biggest peacetime deployment and compares with a normal figure of around 2,500.

"London has remained calm for the last two nights and I certainly hope and pray it stays that way," he said in a statement on Thursday evening.

British unrest: Police ignited,Analyst

Amid the worsening and spreading unrest throughout Britain, an analyst says the incident was sparked by police forces that were heavily armed.

The whole incident was "sparked by the police carrying fire arms" that they never used to carry in the past across Britain, said Ian Williams, of Foreign Policy in Focus, in a Wednesday interview with Press TV.

"The fact that they had the fire arms and they were prepared to use them, in very dubious circumstances, shows the reduction in the civility of British life over the last few decades,” he underlined.

British analysts condemned Prime Minister David Cameron for authorizing the use of rubber bullets and water cannons to suppress the widespread protests, contrary to his earlier claims of being a strong defender of protesters all over the world, particularly in Libya and Syria.

The unprecedented protests and violence broke out last week when peaceful demonstrators took to the streets in Tottenham, London.

However, violent protests soon spread to other major cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, and Bristol, creating trouble for the British government and the Metropolitan Police. Protest outbreaks were also reported in Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, and Oxford.

Williams pointed out that many images of protesters posted on internet sites showed “people standing around talking.”

The main root of the problem to the unrest is the disappearing of skilled manual jobs and the increase in tuition fees and "there is nothing now between having a university degree and being a bank clerk.... the gates have slammed shut at them [the people] at every level,” he said.

The analyst noted that the UK police were not facing freedom fighters but a group of people marginalized “by government policies, by economic circumstances, and by the galloping greed of the ruling classes.”

“There has been a total deterioration of civil societies and living standards” in the country, he emphasized.

Fata province to be formally demanded today

The Fata Parliamentarians (MPs) are likely to formally recommend to President Zardari that provincial status be given to the tribal areas. The Fata or tribal province is proposed to be established in a phased programme so as to avoid complications and after getting input of its people, Fata MPs told The News.

“The MPs and the tribal leaders are to float the demand of a province after forming an elected council and then have their own assembly, chief minister, governor on the pattern of Gilgit-Baltistan, once Northern Areas (NAs).”

The MPs and the tribesmen, they added, are against the ANP’s demand for including Fata in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The MPs said, “Our funds are already being misused by the KP government because we come under KP governor’s administration.”

President Zardari, tribal MPs and two leaders from each agency will discuss Fata issues on Friday at an Iftar-cum-dinner at the Presidency.

To a question, they said that the thorny points related to implementation of Political Parties Act (PPA), and amendments in FCRs and alterations in recently promulgated regulation are key areas where the government agreed with the MPs and all matters are to be finalized.

“The MPs have no objection over the PPA’s extension to tribal belt, and, in the similar way, the government has incorporated in the FCRs our demands before formal issuance,” they said. Asked about difference in implementation and non-implementation of the PPA, the MPs explained that earlier all the election contestants were bound to submit before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) a declaration that they had no link with any political party. Now this restriction would stand lifted allowing the political parties to campaign and field their own candidates.

A high level meeting was also held between the governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the MPs plus tribal elders here on Thursday at the KP House to chalk out a strategy before meeting the president in the evening.

“Yes, we demand a province for the Fata areas just on the pattern of Northern Areas so that the elected members are part and parcel of each and every decision taking these areas towards a province,” endorsed Hamidullah Jan Afridi, a prominent Fata MNA and a former federal ministers, when The News contacted.

He elaborated that his parliamentary group, led by Munir Orakzai, wants an elected council to be set up immediately with Fata MNAs and senators as its members to look after the development work etc. “And then the council’s proposals should be followed till formally the tribal area is declared as a province.”

Pakistan’s first communications satellite launched in China

Pakistan’s first Communications Satellite PAKSAT-1R, as a part of Pakistan’s Space Programme-2040, was launched on Thursday at 2117 hrs on board China’s Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.
Besides others, launch was witnessed by Secretary Defence Lt Gen Syed Athar Ali (R), Secretary Foreign Affairs, Salman Bashir, Director General, Strategic Plans Division Lt Gen Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (r) and Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Muhammad Masood Khan, said a Press release issued here.
PAKSAT-1R has a total of 30 transponders, 12 in C-band and 18 in Ku-band. The satellite will be deployed at 380E in the eo-stationary orbit and it will replace the existing satellite PAKSAT-1.
PAKSAT-1R has a design life of 15 years and will provide TV broadcasting, Internet and data communication services across South and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, East Africa and the Far East. This satellite now enables extending of communication services to all areas of Pakistan.
It may be recalled that the National Command Authority (NCA) recently approved Pakistan’s Space Programme-2040 during its meeting at the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) on 14 July 2011.
Earlier, the contract for the development of PAKSAT-1R was signed between Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) in October 2008 during the visit of the President of Pakistan to China.
Pakistani engineers have worked closely with their Chinese counterparts during all stages of development of the satellite in China. Some experimental units developed at SUPARCO have also been integrated on the satellite for technology evaluation.
China and Pakistan have enjoyed more than 20 years of cooperation in Space Science, Technology and Applications.
The launch of Paksat-1R Satellite is a major milestone for both countries towards strengthening of this cooperation. SUPARCO will continue its efforts for launching of other satellites including Remote Sensing Satellites, to ensure that the space technology applications fully contribute to socio-economic development and national security in Pakistan.

Balochistan: Story of continued neglect

BY:By: Azhar Masood
Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah loved Balochistan so much that he spent his last days at a beautiful residency of Ziarat - a hill resort of Baluchistan. It’s a common story how his remains were treated by his successors. Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan just paid no attention towards Balochistan.
Malik Feroz Khan Noon who became prime Minister of Pakistan on Dec 16, 1957 as 7th prime minister of Pakistan was concerned about Balochistan. Such a long neglect. Still Balochistan was not given the status of a Province of Pakistan.
Aminnuddin very famous for Lahore and a relative of Mian Salahuddin Salli became the agent to the Governor General of Pakistan. His son Usman Aminuddin having oil fame was federal petroleum minister during Pervez Musharraf’s era.
Many people have been critical of Feroz Khan Noon’s tenure in Foreign Office. Especially, during Suez crisis, he failed to sympathise Egypt against invasion of France, Britain and Israel’s combined forces. Mazhar Ali Khan, in an editorial of Pakistan Times (dated: November 14, 1956), titled ‘Darkness at High Noon’, wrote “it would appear from Mr Noon’s strange words and deeds, that he is still living in the dim past-the days when service to the British was accepted by men of his class as the high road to advancement”. Mazhar A Khan: Pakistan; The First Twelve Years. The Pakistan Times editorials of Mazahar Ali Khan (page 472-473).
During my third trip to Gwadar with other participants of the National Defence College in 2004, Malik Amjad Noon informed the participants, “It was Malik Feroz Khan Noon who bought back mushroom-shaped port city of Gawadar from Sultan of Oman”. Khan of Kalat Nawab Ahmad Yar Khan had gifted port of Gawadar to Sultan of Oman.
Many people from Turbat, Punjgur, Jeevni, Pasni and Gawadar hold double nationalities. They work in Oman and live in Balochistan.
Earlier in 2001, I had gone there to produce a documentary on oil exploration off Gawadar-Pasni shore by Ocean Energy-a giant US oil company which was represented in Pakistan by Kamil Lodhi – a brother of journalist-turned diplomat Maleeha Ladhi. As the Ocean Energy had hardly drilled two wells and tracked traces of hydro-carbon there, came 9/11 which qualitatively changed the entire scenario of the region. Ocean Energy packed up when US Naval Flotilla moved to Haft Lar near Balochistan’s coastal belt. I revisited Gwadar when it was formally inaugurated by military President Pervez Musharraf. “We will hold referendum in Pakistan”, Musharraf told curious media men in Gwadar for the first time. There I also came to know one Hamid Hamza who had established a beautiful motel. Hamid Hamza is son of first Baloch General Hamza.
The Gwadar deep-sea port project was announced in 2002, when former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf promised to transform Balochistan’s destiny by an equitable distribution of resources. Inaugurating it in March 2007, the autocratic leader not only ensured the timely completion of the mega project, but also got the Chinese government provide the financial resources and execute the development of the port’s facilities.
So far, an estimated Rs5 billion ($264 million) have been poured into the project for the construction of three multi-purpose berths with a capacity to handle ships of up to 50,000 deadweight tonnage. But when I visited the port, I saw the cranes lying idle and deserted. A port official informed me that the cargo handling cranes received a large fertiliser shipment some five months back. Nothing much has moved since. Instead, the harbour has become a hub of oil smuggling thanks to the absence of regulated petroleum products in the city. Launches from Iran arrive at the harbour loaded with cheap petrol and diesel.
The cheap Iranian oil provides livelihood to thousands of people who fetch the shipments from the Iranian border and dispatch it to other parts of Balochistan. This inferior oil’s popularity is soaring thanks to the increasing petroleum prices in Pakistan. According to Wasim (not his real name), an oil smuggler, the Pakistani Coast Guard, Pakistan Customs, Levies and other border control agencies are involved in the game. “All a smuggler needs to do is to grease the palms of the ‘law-enforcement’ officers to get their shipments smuggled anywhere without hassle,” he claimed, pointing out large yellow petroleum cans that were being off-loaded from a launch.
Most of the locals in the area are fishermen, but they face a two-pronged challenge: first, they have to deal with the smugglers who pollute the water by plying oil in their launches, and secondly they have to deal with poachers who trawl illegally in Pakistan’s maritime waters, denying local fishermen their catch. “The local fishermen are suffering terribly due to illegal foreign launches trawling in their waters and snatching away their livelihood,” says Qambar Nisar, a fisheries department officer. “We don’t have the means to defend our coast. Sometimes we carry fake weapons and limited fuel to ward off attacks by well-equipped invaders. We fear for our lives.” The mega development of Gwadar offered mega dreams on sale. Not long after the deep-sea port project was announced, the property market boomed with Gwadar’s prime land up for grabs.
Locals sold their land at throwaway prices to real estate developers who rebranded the estates and sold them to investors from other provinces at many times the original price.
The elite lined up to purchase acres of residential and commercial land in what was termed ‘Pakistan’s future Dubai’. People including Pir Sahib of Pagara, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, Musharraf, Saddaruddin Hashwani, elite of Karachi and Lahore purchased big chunks of land in Gawadar at control rates.
During falling days of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he had promised Gwadar Port to the former Soviet Union as Moscow’s next Naval Base in Arabian Sea. Bhutto could not live to see his promise fulfilled. Perhaps his flirtation with the USSR was one of the causes of his down fall.
Port of Gwadar today invites international players to upset the status quo in Mekran’s Coastal Belt. Peace loving people of Mekran with no agenda are if not supportive of Dr Allah Nazar ,an agent of RAW, are silently watching the game.
US having no more status the holder of triple A ratings at the New York Stock Exchange has made people realise in restive parts of Mekran Coast, ”flow of dollars could be stopped”. But the game is not yet finished. According to an important source the CIA has planned a game in Balochistan.–(To be continued)

Twin blasts kill seven in Peshawar

Daily Times
At least seven persons were killed and 35 others wounded in twin blasts targeting Peshawar police on Thursday.

The dead included five policemen and the suicide bomber, who was a woman. The attacks occurred in the heart of old Peshawar city, officials said. In the first attack, a remote-controlled bomb, concealed in a handcart, went off when a police van carrying 20 policemen was passing through the Lahori Gate on Circular Road. The blast caused the death of four policemen on the spot while hours later a wounded cop died at hospital, city police chief Imtiaz Altaf told reporters.

AIG Bomb Disposal Squad Shafqat Malik said a female suicide bomber tried to target a police checkpost metres away from the site of the bomb blast. “She first lobbed a hand grenade and then tried to blow herself up in which she was half successful,” Shafqat told media after visiting the two sites. Police said the bomber appeared to be 25 years old and was wearing a suicide vest. A total of 42 people, mostly policemen, were injured in the two attacks, which took place within two hours of each other. The injured persons were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital. The suicide attack caused no loss of life as the bomber could not detonate the explosives fully, police said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the two attacks could be a reaction to Wednesday night operation in the suburbs of Peshawar in which a senior Taliban commander was reportedly wounded. SSP (Operations) Ijaz Khan said around eight kilogrammes of explosives were used in the first explosion.

The suicide bomber is believe to have been deployed to target senior police and government officials who were expected at the site of the first bomb explosion, Iftikhar said. Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, while saluting the police bravery, said that terrorists “planned” a major terrorist attack in Peshawar, which local police foiled. The failed suicide attack is the first since June 11 when twin bombings had killed 11 people, including two young journalists.

Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Provincial President Afrasiab Khattak strongly condemned the blasts and expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives. ANP leaders termed the blasts acts of cowardice, saying that terrorists were frustrated and browbeaten by the unity of people against their nefarious designs. staff report/agencies