Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon investigation: FBI has identified suspect, authorities say no arrest has been made

Yahoo! News
Authorities have identified a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings and denied news reports that an arrest had been made in the attack. The Associated Press and the Boston Globe reported the suspect had been arrested and was en route to the Moakley Federal Courthouse in South Boston. But the Boston Police Department and the US Attorney's office in Boston denied those reports on Wednesday afternoon, saying no arrest had been made. CNN also reported no suspect was in custody, backtracking from its earlier report that a suspect had been nabbed.

Pakistan: Imran Khan and engaging delusion | PTI leaders behind boycott of Ahmadi-made products?

There was a moment last December when the mirage shimmered and briefly dissipated for many Imran Khan supporters. Amidst a tsunami of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) flags, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Vice President Ijaz Chaudhry thundered on stage at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) rally in Lahore. The special message that he delivered from his quaid, Imran Khan, touched the usual conspiracies and clichés about India, America and the Pakistani government. Yet, many PTI supporters were taken aback by their party rubbing shoulders with sectarian murderers and terrorists. Khan himself was questioned on sharing a platform with the likes of JuD and SSP. Unfazed, Khan simply said it was his duty to “engage” with everyone no matter how extreme. The mirage reconstructed itself. PTI acolytes parroted the party line. The PTI was not associating with terrorists. It was “engaging” fringe elements to wean them into the mainstream. This rhetoric is attractive without being accurate. Consider. In May 2011, PTI leaders attended a rally with JuD that condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden, and pronounced him –– a man who had declared war on Pakistan –– a “Martyr of Islam.” PTI leaders also attended rallies with JuD and other extremist organisations on January 30, 2011 and October 29, in favour of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, and to express admiration for Salman Taseer’s assassin. Khan’s message, delivered by Ijaz Chaudhry, was one of endorsement. He called Pakistan’s blasphemy laws “divine,” foreclosing any reform. Further, in April, 2011 Khan personally visited the Darul-Uloom Haqqania to seek support for his anti-drone dharnas – the campaign many see as a watershed in his rise. Popularly known as “the University of Jihad,” the Dar-ul-Uloom is accused by the Federal Investigation Agency of being the launching pad for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. It has schooled the Taliban’s top leadership, including the Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, who derives his name from his proud affiliation with his alma mater. And Khan’s “engagement” there? Extolling the virtues jihad as a mandatory obligation – the very ideology the would-be jihadis are indoctrinated with. The DPC’s anti-Ahmadi activities are well-documented. Less so are the PTI’s, which has attended events arranged by the Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nubuwwat to discuss “increasing anti-social activities by Qadianis [Ahmadis] destroying the country’s peace”. Little surprise, then, that PTI leaders were behind the bigoted boycott of Ahmadi-made products by the Lahore Bar Association. At DPC rallies PTI leaders are seen erupting in wild applause, encouraging the militancy, xenophobia and misogyny spouted by the likes of Ahmed Ludhianvi of the SSP and Hafiz Saeed of the JuD. In fact, PTI president Javed Hashmi recently named the UN-declared terrorist Hafiz Saeed to be a “preacher of peace” on the same day that Saeed was publicly calling for “holy war”. In this light, who is engaging whom? And where does engagement drift into naked endorsement? It appears that the PTI, instead of peeling away extremists, is pandering to the hateful agendas of Pakistan’s Islamist and hyper-nationalist lunatic fringe. Moreover, as these organisations gain a mainstream podium to disseminate their extreme views, they are gaining a veneer of legitimacy with mainstream voters and PTI supporters. Indeed, the terrorist SSP has undergone a resurgence since its outings with the DPC and PTI. Can one reasonably expect the nature of PTI’s “engagement” with the far-right to be substantially different when Imran Khan does not believe jihadist radicalisation to be a concern? Having opposed military operations against the Taliban and terrorist organisations, Khan has stated that in power he would cease any action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Recently he went so far as to state that “there is not a threat to Pakistan from Taliban ideology.” This is stunning given the backdrop of the spiralling persecution and slaughter of Pakistan’s beleaguered minorities, including Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians, by the Taliban and groups sharing their sectarian ideology –– among them PTI’s DPC partners. Khan’s position becomes positively morbid considering that a staggering 40,000 Pakistanis have been killed in militant and terrorist attacks since 2001. Whatever routine of blame-the-imperialist one engages in to explain the existence of these terrorists, the fact is their ideology –– unthreatening to Khan –– accommodates mass murder. Here, then, is the rub. Politics is about nurturing electoral constituencies and ensuring survival. If far-right politics and appeasing extremists successfully paves the way to power, then after years in the political wilderness Khan will have found his electoral niche. Those making excuses for this political opportunism are engaging only delusion.

Boston bombing suspect arrested

Authorities have arrested a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings based on security video that showed a man depositing a bag at the scene before the blasts, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. and Boston law enforcement sources. A U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters that a suspect had been identified and that a formal announcement would be made later in the day. The developments are the biggest publicly-disclosed breaks since Monday's blast at the marathon finish line killed three people and injured 176 others. Investigators were searching through thousands of pieces of evidence from cell phone pictures to shrapnel shards pulled from victims' legs. Based on shards of metal, fabric, wires and a battery recovered at the scene, the focus turned to whoever may have made bombs in pressure cooker pots and taken them in heavy black nylon bags to the finish line of the world-famous race watched by crowds of spectators. A stretch of Boston's Boylston Street almost a mile long and blocks around it remained closed as investigators searched for clues in the worst attack on U.S. soil since the hijacked plane strikes of September 11, 2001. Cities across the United States were on edge after Monday's blasts in Boston. Adding to the nervousness was the announcement that mail containing a suspicious substance addressed to a lawmaker and to President Barack Obama. The FBI said, however, that agents had found no link the attack in Boston. The blasts at the finish line of Monday's race injured 176 people and killed three: an 8-year old boy, Martin Richard, a 29-year-old woman, Krystle Campbell and a Boston University graduate student who was a Chinese citizen. Boston University identified the student as Lu Lingzi. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. "Whether it's homegrown, or foreign, we just don't know yet. And so I'm not going to contribute to any speculation on that," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who until January was Massachusetts' senior senator. "It's just hard to believe that a Patriots' Day holiday, which is normally such time of festivities, turned into bloody mayhem." FBI ASKS WITNESSES FOR PHOTOS The FBI was leading the investigation and asking witnesses to submit any photos of the blast site -- which was crowded with tens of thousands of spectators, race staff and volunteers and runners. Many of them have turned in thousands of images, authorities said. "Probably one of the best ways to get a lead is to go through those images and track down people coming and going with backpacks," said Randy Law, an associate professor of history at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama and author of "Terrorism: A History." "It's the needle in the haystack but when you have the resources that the local and federal authorities have, they can go through what I'm sure will be thousands and thousands of photos and hours of videos. You can find something occasionally," Law said. The head of trauma surgery at Boston Medical Center, which was still treating 19 victims on Wednesday, said his hospital was collecting the shards of metal, plastic, wood and concrete they had pulled from the injured to save for law enforcement inspectors. Other hospitals were doing the same. "We've taken on large quantities of pieces," Dr. Peter Burke of Boston Medical Center told reporters "We send them to the pathologists and they are available to the police." NYLON FRAGMENTS, BALL BEARINGS AND NAILS Bomb scene pictures produced by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force and released on Tuesday show the remains of an explosive device including twisted pieces of a metal container, wires, a battery and what appears to be a small circuit board. One picture shows a few inches of charred wire attached to a small box, and another depicts a half-inch nail and a zipper head stained with blood. Another shows a Tenergy-brand battery attached to black and red wires through a broken plastic cap. Several photos show a twisted metal lid with bolts. The nickel metal hydride battery typically is used by remote-controlled car enthusiasts, said Benjamin Mull, a vice president at Tenergy Corp. The batteries, made in Shenzhen, China, are sold on the internet and in hundreds of outlets. People at the company "were shocked and appalled" when they learned their battery had been used in the blast, he said. Security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said instructions for building pressure-cooker bombs similar to the ones used in Boston can be found on the Internet and are relatively primitive. Pressure cookers had also been discovered in numerous foiled attack plots in both the U.S. and overseas in recent years, including the failed Times Square bombing attempt on May 1, 2010, the officials said.

Dept. Store Surveillance Cam ID's Suspect in Boston Bombing

BREAKING: CNN: Dept. Store Surveillance Cam ID's Suspect in Boston Bombing

Bahrain opposition calls for big protests ahead of F1 race

The main opposition society in Bahrain has called for a major demonstration ahead of Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix race in the Gulf kingdom. Khalil al Marzooq, a senior Al Wefaq leader, told the BBC that the protest would take place along a major motorway, Budaiya Highway on Friday. But he said the society will not call for protests on the day of the race. Activists have demanded the race be cancelled due to the country's poor human rights record. Mr Marzooq also urged all protests to be peaceful. "We do not support any violence either from security forces or protesters," he said. The F1 race is taking place against a backdrop of tension as unrest continues in the island kingdom. On Tuesday, police fired tear gas and clashed with students in a raid on a secondary school in the capital, Manama. Officers stormed the Jabreya school for boys after students staged a protest demanding the release of a colleague arrested on Monday, activists say. Wefaq says more than 100 people have been arrested this month, many from villages close to the site of the race. And Amnesty International has condemned what it called a "crackdown" on protests ahead of the race. In a statement on Wednesday, the organisation's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: "The authorities are trying to use the Grand Prix as a platform to show progress, with claims that the human rights situation has improved, whilst stepping up repression in order to ensure nothing disturbs their public image." However Citizens for Bahrain, an organisation that supports the race, rejected criticism from human rights groups. In a statement sent to journalists it argued that "the race unites people, despite political differences, after a period of unrest and sectarian tension". But Mr Marzook told the BBC that the tension is ongoing and that a dialogue aimed at finding solutions was "stalemated". "The government wants the world to believe the situation is normal. Bahrain is not normal. The only thing that is normal is the repression." The country has been rocked by anti-government protests since early 2011. On Sunday a car bomb blew up in the heart of the financial district in the capital Manama, though without causing injuries. An opposition group calling itself the February 14 movement has said it was behind the blast. While Wefaq and other opposition groups repeat their calls for peaceful protest, angry youths are ignoring them and routinely taking to the streets armed with Molotov cocktails. They have set up roadblocks with burning tyres and have fought running battles with the police. There have been almost daily clashes in Bahrain since security forces used birdshot and tear gas to quash a three-day-old peaceful protest at Manama's Pearl Roundabout on 17 February 2011. As violence escalated 35 people, including five police officers, were killed, and hundreds more were hurt and jailed in February and March 2011. Since then, opposition and human rights activists say more than 50 people have died, a figure which the government disputes.

Bilour urges interim govt, leaders to find solution to militancy

Less than 24 hours after he escaped a suicide blast on his convoy, senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said that despite severe threats to his life, he will not step back from contesting elections. At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the venue of an ANP meeting in the Yakatot area of Peshawar on Tuesday. Bilour, the former federal minister for railways and the ANP candidate for NA-I constituency, was the chief guest at the meeting. The blast had injured the senior ANP leader, but was meant for his nephew, son of his slain brother Bashir Bilour. Bilour, while addressing a press conference in Peshawar, said that an FIR will be lodged against the President of Pakistan, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Chief of Army Staff, Chief Election Commissioner and the leaders of all those political parties who did not condemn terrorists if any member of Bilour’s family or party was targeted henceforth. Bilour called yesterday’s attack a cowardly act of terrorism and added that if CJSC, COAS, Chairman ECP and President of Pakistan sit together and try, they will arrive at a solution to deal with the threat of terrorism. “We are fighting a war for the sovereignty and integrity of the country; we do not have personal enmity with anyone,” he said, posing the question, “why ANP activists and leaders are particularly being targeted by the terrorists?” The former minister further urged the public to come forward and openly denounce terrorist acts in which innocent people have lost their lives. He stated that those cannot be true Muslims killing other Muslims without any cause. “Ulema should come forward and need to collectively issue a Fatwa against terrorism. Whereas other political parties should also come forward and defend ANP because we are neither non-Muslims nor non-believers; we believe on humanity and have the same faith of Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani and Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad,” he said. I do not care for my life, Bilour valiantly declared, while adding that that terrorists attempts to deter ANP political workers from their path are futile and that the party will continue denouncing terrorists and their activities. Bilour though finds himself in a peculiar quandry after the Taliban apologised to him for the injuries sustained in the attack, claiming they were unaware the senior leader would be at the gathering. “We apologise to Ghulam Bilour because we announced an amnesty for him,” Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan had told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location hours after the blast. “Our target was Haroon Bilour.”

US Offers Aid as Iran Quake Kills 40 in Balochistan

The Baloch Hal
Troops scrambled in Balochistan Wednesday to aid the remote victims of an earthquake centred in nearby Iran, as the United States offered assistance and a strong aftershock jolted the region. The epicentre of Tuesday’s 7.8 magnitude quake lay in southeast Iran but all 40 deaths reported so far have been in Balochistan, where hundreds of mud-built homes suffered damage. The powerful tremor shook the ground and caused panic as far afield as Kuwait and the Indian capital New Delhi. Thousands of people evacuated towering residential and office buildings in Dubai. A new aftershock early Wednesday frayed nerves on the Iran-Pakistan border. The US Geological Survey measured its magnitude at 5.7. In Pakistan, officials said that regular army and paramilitary forces had deployed to help the relief effort after Tuesday’s quake brought down homes in the Mashkail area of Balochistan. Military helicopters carrying medical teams have been sent to the area while paramilitary troops are supplementing the relief efforts, they said. “The death toll is estimated at more than 40, including women and children,” Major Attiq Minhas of the paramilitary Frontier Corps Baluchistan told AFP at Dalbandin airport, around 250 kilometres from Mashkail. He said 650 personnel were involved in the rescue operation in Mashkail town and that so far medical staff had received 23 wounded people. Abdul Bari, a 32-year-old tailor who broke his leg, told AFP that his wife and children were fine, but feared that dozens of people from his neighbourhood had been killed or wounded. “I was on my way home from my tailoring shop when the earth started shaking and soon found myself on the ground with the wall of a house on me,” he told AFP in Dalbandin, after travelling for five and a half hours by taxi for help. “When I felt the tremors, I saw within seconds houses razed to the ground. It was like doomsday,” he said, while waiting for an army helicopter ambulance. “I saw three small children taken out from the debris of a collapsed wall by local people. Two were slightly injured while one seemed serious,” he added. UN chief Ban Ki-moon also expressed condolences after Tuesday’s disaster and said the “United Nations stands ready to help as necessary if asked to do so”. The quake struck in the afternoon with its epicentre around 80 kilometres east of the city of Khash, in the Iranian province of Sistan Balochistan, the USGS said. A local health official in Iran told the Fars news agency that more than 20 villages were probably “severely damaged”, based on initial reports. At least 27 people were hurt in Iran, according to a local governor speaking to the IRNA news agency, but there was no immediate confirmation of any deaths. The quake came a week after another struck near Iran’s Gulf port city of Bushehr, killing at least 30 people. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the latest quake had caused no damage to Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr or any other nuclear facilities. David Rothery, who chairs the volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis course at Britain’s Open University, said the depth of Tuesday’s quake – 82 kilometres underground – would have lessened its impact. But he added that the area “is mountainous, and damage can be expected from landslides as well as because of poorly constructed buildings”.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect reportedly identified
Law enforcement officials in Boston tell reporters that they may have identified the suspect thought responsible for Monday’s deadly bombing that has so far claimed three lives. Just after 1 p.m. local time on Wednesday, CNN reported that a suspect has apparently been identified, but no other details have been released at this time. It is unknown as to whether or not the suspect has been detained, and his name and identify have not been made public as of this time. According to CNN’s sources, surveillance video from a department store and a local television station are believed to have helped authorities identify the person sought responsible for Monday’s incident, which US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday is being investigated as an act of terror. CNN’s John King reports from Boston that the video footage helped police narrow in on a person being considered a suspect in the attack “to such detail, I’m told, that they believe they have a clear identification, including a facial image of a suspect.”

Afghanistan: Education under attack
Certain reports are doing rounds in media that Nangarhar University hostel has become a tryst for the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami (HIA) political activits who are becoming a threat to the smooth learning environment of the university. Universities and education centers are supposed to be cradles of change—the change that’s real in essence and everlasting in nature. But unfortunately our universities are becoming political centers instead of imparting modern education. During the past three decades Afghanistan has found itself mired in number of challenges, and the more it tries to get out of these challenges the more it sinks into them. Its education is under attack as hundreds of schools have been blown up by militants, so far. While certain invisible hands have also vitiated the peaceful and conducive learning environments of universities. Moreover, the same reeking mindset of civil war era is gradually creeping into universities where you will hear too much about politics, ethnic prides and identities, but less about the changes taking place globally. Afghanistan’s population is extremely young, with a noted youth bulge, but unfortunately the youth is standing at the crossroad. If they fall prey to the mindset of warlords, the country will face yet another decade of hardships and challenges. Most of the youngsters have not seen the civil war era personally, which is good, but most of the time they hear about it from their elders, who knowingly or unknowingly are doing a bad job to their children, and eventually to the nation. Unfortunately children of the nation receive heavy doses of repugnance-capsules at home by their elders. Since their elders have seen the civil war times, which is why they speak ill about it and usually take sides and blame those who is not from their own ethnic group. Such talks leave indelible imprints on their children’s nascent minds. It also shows that how much we have become morally corrupt as no one has the courage to own it as a national problem as one ethnic group says that it is because of another group and vice versa. In a sense the repercussions of the bloody civil war are still dogging us. Moreover, universities and colleges are the places where students come across different lingual or ethnic groups and instead of transforming a new society—a society where there is no talk about ethnic identities and prides, they unfortunately have fallen victim to a disease of hate-speech, intolerance and ethnic rifts. 2012 was riddled with such tensions in education centers. In Kabul University there was bloodshed and the university remained shut for weeks. Now once again certain reports are afloat in media that Nangarhar University’s hostel has become a preferred place for night-time political gatherings. Its hostel has become a tryst for anti and pro-government students. This is too unfortunate. However, more unfortunate is the silence of the government over it as all it is going under the very nose of the government. Though a few students were arrested by security forces but the issue is still going on. Besides that their political and apolitical activities badly affect the conducive learning environment for those students who come purely for education purposes. It has become evident that most of the students have started campaigns for the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami of Afghanistan (HIA).And if the issue goes unaddressed by the government the day is not so far that it will become a new serpentine challenge.

Pakistan: Taxes and politicians

The tax returns filed by those intending to contest the 2013 election have once again highlighted the fact that the ruling elite, engaged in conspicuous consumption, nonetheless pays income taxes that are simply not proportionate to their wealth. Much has been said in the media about the appallingly low taxes paid by several prominent senior politicians notably former prime ministers Gilani and Ashraf as well as the heads of various parties including PML (N), the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, the MQM, the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (F) and Awami National Party. The general perception supported by recent research does indicate that the majority of Pakistani politicians in both the provincial and national assemblies, hailing mainly from the rich farm sector, exempt from the payment of income tax to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as the constitution stipulates that farm income tax is a provincial subject, pay a very small percentage to the provincial kitty. The reason is the option allowed by provincial governments to the farm sector: either pay provincial farm income tax which has a tax code similar to the federal tax code or else pay taxes on farm income computed on the basis of acreage under cultivation. The rich farmers in all provinces, almost exclusively, opt to pay tax on the basis of acreage under cultivation which is a much smaller amount relative to the tax on income payable to the provincial kitty. This is supported by the fact that total tax collections under this head for all provinces have been very low. The provincial governments did achieve enhanced financial autonomy after the agreement on the 7th National Finance Commission award which envisaged 56 percent to be assigned to the provinces in 2010-11 and fifty-seven and a half percent from 2011-12 onwards. In addition, the 18th Constitutional Amendment devolved several ministries notably education and health to the provinces which, it was argued, could be funded from the provincial exchequer with the rise in their financial resources from the divisible pool. Be that as it may, the onus of increasing their own revenues to enable them to implement projects in the devolved social sectors with a view to ensuring access to all in the province now falls on provincial governments, which has led many to argue that provinces must also seek to further supplement their income. That unfortunately has not happened. One way to increase provincial revenue would be for the provincial governments to withdraw the two options available to rich farmers and compel them to pay income tax at the same rate as that levied by the FBR on incomes of the salaried class. Poor tax collections in Pakistan with an appallingly low tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio has received much attention not only from the local media but several major donor governments have expressed anger against the continued failure of the government to compel the 'elite' to pay taxes. Hillary Clinton as the then Secretary of State consistently and legitimately maintained that the government of Pakistan must not rely on the US taxpayers to provide support for the economy when Pakistani elite were not paying taxes. This view was also expressed by the German Foreign Minister - Germany is one of the top four countries providing assistance to Pakistan - with the most recent such argument presented by a British select committee of parliament. Given the global recession and the need for Western governments to implement politically challenging austerity measures on their own people not only has overall development assistance declined world-wide but the West has also begun to link aid to performance. Pakistan would therefore have to implement reforms in the tax and power sectors before we can hope to access external assistance. Levy of a farm income tax by provincial governments at the same rate as dictated by the FBR would be a positive step in this direction.

Pakistan: Militants force thousands to flee FR Peshawar

Thousands of people fled the semi-tribal Akakhel area and shifted to different localities of Peshawar after receiving threats from banned militant group Lashkar-i-Islam of Khyber Agency. A number of Akakhel people told Dawn on Tuesday that they had to leave their homes because Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) had warned them to support it or vacate the area. They said that about 5,000 people had left the area. However, police put the number of displaced Akakhel persons at 2,000. “We received many warnings in the past but did not pay any head to these, however, the latest warning was given directly by militants, who came on motorcycles and talked to our elders to leave the area or ready to die,” said Mohammadullah Khan, a resident of Akakhel in Frontier Region of Peshawar. He said that at least 5,000 people had reached Koh-i-Daman, a suburban area of Peshawar. He said that the displaced people were residing with their relatives and under the open sky. “Many of the displaced people have been accommodated by the residents of Matani, Badbher, Mashokhel, Maryamzai, Sherikera, Zangali, Sheikhan and other localities. We are in dire need of food, shelter and other daily use items but the government is yet to take notice of our miseries,” Mr Khan said. Mr Khan said that media didn’t highlight the miseries of those people, who walked on foot from Akakhel to reach safer places owing to non-availability of transport facility. “Usually the drivers of Datsun pick-up demand Rs500 to 1,000 from Peshawar to Akakhel but now they demand Rs4,000 for a single trip owing to the alarming law and order situation in the area,” he said.Mr Khan said that they left behind household items to save their lives. He said that most of the displaced Akakhel people belonged to Zawa, Margat and Hassankhel villages. He said that basic reason of their displacement was establishment of peace committees in the area. “The people of Akakhel supported the anti-Taliban lashkar and blocked entry of militants into Peshawar district. It infuriated militants and they started targeting our people. Many of our people were killed in targeted attacks, bomb blasts and even students of the area were killed in the recent past,” he said. The law enforcement agencies, he said, also asked people to save themselves as the situation was very alarming and they might face casualties if they remained in their homes. Mr Khan said that a government primary school in Ajab Talal village and houses of the leaders of some of the peace bodies were also blown up on Monday. He said that terrorists also attacked Zawa Levies checkpost on Tuesday night. Several persons were injured in the attack, he added. Haji Gul, another resident of the area, demanded of the government to register Akakhel people as internally displaced persons, provide essential commodities to them and arrange schooling for the students. He said that local people were offering cooked food to them but it was not a matter of a day or two. It was duty of the government to take steps for supporting them, he said. “We are also in dire need of drinking water,” Mr Gul said. Superintendent of Police (SP) Rural Circle Shafiullah Khan, when contacted, said that at least 1,500 Akakehl people were staying in Matani and over 200 families in Badbher and adjacent areas. “Security is our main concern and thus we have established checkpoints at different places and deployed police to conduct search of the luggage and bodies of the people entering Peshawar,” he added. The SP said that influx of Akakhel people started a few days ago when tribal people from Tirah valley were shifting to Peshawar owing to operation there. Despite repeated efforts officials of Provincial Disaster Management Authority could not be contacted by telephone.

US drone destroys 'Taliban base' in Pakistan

A US drone has fired two missiles into a Taliban training camp in Pakistan, destroying the compound and killing at least five people, local officials have said. Wednesday's strike took place in the Baber Ghar area of the South Waziristan tribal district on the Afghan border, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud where the faction runs several camps. One local security official, however, said the five killed were suspected al-Qaeda fighters. "The target was a base of Pakistani Taliban. Five militants have been killed and two injured," the official told AFP news agency. Another official in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, confirmed the attack and told AFP the drone targeted a base of Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan's umbrella Taliban faction. Pakistan repeatedly denounces US drone strikes, criticising them as a violation of sovereignty that inflame anti-Americanism despite leaked US diplomatic cables that showed leaders allegedly agreed to them in private. UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights envoy Ben Emmerson, who visited Islamabad last month as part of an investigation into civilian casualties caused by drone strikes, said the US drone attacks violated Pakistan's sovereignty. According to Britain's Bureau of Investigative Journalism, CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004, up to 884 of them civilians.