Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Music Video - Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga - Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

Video Report - Hundreds of people protest against crackdown in Turkey

Video - Students clash with police during protest in Turkey

Video Report - 110 journalists killed in 2015 | DW News

Thanks To Obama’s Executive Action 5 Million Workers Will Get A Raise In 2016

In June, President Obama signed an executive order that directed the Labor Department to chance the rules for overtime pay. In 2016, 5 million US workers are going to get the overtime pay that they deserve thanks to the President’s action.
According to the White House, the Labor Department’s proposal will:
– Raise the threshold under which most salaried workers are guaranteed overtime to equal the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers. As proposed, this would raise the salary threshold from $455 a week ($23,660 a year) – below the poverty threshold for a family of four – to a projected level of $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016.
– Extend overtime pay and the minimum wage to nearly 5 million workers within the first year of its implementation, of which 56 percent are women and 53 percent have at least a college degree.
– Provide greater clarity for millions more workers so they – and their employers – can determine more easily if they should be receiving overtime pay.
– Prevent a future erosion of overtime and ensure greater predictability by automatically updating the salary threshold based on inflation or wage growth over time.
In common sense English, what President Obama did was update a rule that had only been changed once since the 1970s to combat the practice of denying workers overtime pay by slapping a managerial title on their position. The practice of making employees “managers” to get around overtime pay rules is common in service industries.
The process for the new Labor Department rule should be done by June 2016, which means that millions of workers will get paid for all of the hours that work thanks to one action taken by the Obama administration. The fact that President Obama was able to help millions of Americans get paid what they deserve is a reminder that elections have real life consequences. Without President Obama tens of millions of Americans would not have healthcare. Obama has helped millions of workers and hundreds of millions of Americans during his time in office.No president is perfect, but Obama has had a net positive impact, and that is really all that the American people can ask from any president.
Barack Obama has had successes big and small, but one of his most overlooked achievements was making sure that 5 million workers get paid what they have earned.

Music Video - Hamdard Bashir - Maida Maida

په سیالکوټ کې د داعش وسله والو نیولو ادعا

دپنجاب صوبې د سیالکوټ ښار د ترهه ګرۍ مخنیوي ادارې په وینا چې د وسله والې ډلې داعش نهه تنه وسله وال یې نیولې دي.
د سیالکوټ د ترهه ګرۍ مخنیوي ادارې یو چارواکي د نوم نه ښودلو په شرط مشال راډیو سره په خبرو کې وویل چې شپږ د داعش وسله وال د سیالکوټ او درې د ګوجرانواله نه نیول شوې دي.
دې وسله والو خلاف د ترهه ګرۍ مقدمې د ګل په ورځ درج شوې دي.
د دغه چارواکي په وینا چې د وسله والو نه په موقع درې کلو بارودي مواد، وسله، لیپ ټاپونه او سي ډي ګانې هم نیول شوې دي.
دا وسله وال د پلټنو لپاره نامالومه ځای ته لېږدول شوي دي.
د سیالکوټ ترهه ګرۍ مخنیوي ادارې په وینا چې دې وسله والو په مهمو ودانیو د برید پلان لرلو.
د ذکر ده روانه میاشت په کراچې کې د ترهه ګرۍ د مخنیوي ادارې د وسله والې ډلې داعش درې ښځې نیولې وې.
 پر دې ښځو تور وو چې له شتمنو کورنیو د داعش لپاره یې چندې ټولولې.
وسله والو ډلو خلاف کاروایې په اړه د دفاعي چارو کار پوه او پخوانې بریګیډیر سید نذیر وایې د دې کاروایې نه معلومیږي چې د دې وسله والې ډلې څه نه څه نښې پاکستان کې شته.
د ده په وینا که پاکستان د اوس نه په دې کلک نظر و نه ساتلو او کاروایي یې د دې خلاف ونکړه نو د دې د خپریدو امکانات به زیات شي.
"داسي ډلو او تنظیمونو منخنیوي لپاره ښه طریقه کار دا دې چې استخباراتي اپریشنې وشي او د دې نه وړاندې چې هغې فعال شي او خپل هدفونه شروع کړې نو اوس دا وخت دې چې پاکستان په دې ژور او مضبوط نظر وساتي او د دوي چې کوم ځایونه دي یا که دوي جړې خوروي چې د هغې بیخ کني وشي"
یاده دې وي تیره میاشت د پاکستان د خارجه چارو وزارت ویاند ویلې وو چې پاکستان کې د وسله والې ډلې داعش وجود نشته او که څوک هم دې ډلې سره تړلي وي هغه به نه برداشت کیږي.

Pakistanis debate ‘Saudi-isation’ amid terror concerns

By Farhan Bokhar

Dozens of students emerge from Karachi’s Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah Islamic madrassa on a sunny afternoon, dressed in the white, Arabian-style robe with long sleeves known as the thawb. Normal garb in the Gulf states, it is striking on the streets of Pakistan, where clothes tend to be more colourful and tailored in the south Asian manner.

Binoria is an Islamic school devoted to the Deobandi tenets of Sunni Islam, a conservative interpretation akin to the Wahhabi tradition practised in Saudi Arabia, and it is one of the institutions watched by western governments suspicious of links to Islamist violence and possible financial support from Saudi and other patrons in the Gulf.

Gul Khan, a rickshaw driver who routinely parks in search of passengers on the road leading to Binoria — which claims to provide mainstream education — sees the young students from the seminary as evidence of Pakistan’s “good relations with our Saudi brothers”. But some Pakistanis lament a four-decade trend they refer to as the “Saudi-isation of Pakistan”.

Saudi Arabia’s influence began to grow in Pakistan in the 1970s when Riyadh’s ultra-conservative ruling establishment teamed up with Pakistan’s military ruler, General Zia ul-Haq, and the US to aid the mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation of neighbouring Afghanistan.

After the Iranian revolution in 1979, the Saudis developed proxies in Pakistan to block the influence of Tehran. “Since Iran’s revolution, the Saudis have tried to build close ties with some political parties, the Islamic ones in particular, to expand their influence in Pakistan,” says a senior western diplomat in Islamabad.

Riyadh’s influence has been felt in mainstream Pakistani politics. The Saudis helped prime minister Nawaz Sharif after his arrest in a 1999 military coup. He was subsequently exiled to Saudi Arabia but returned to Pakistan seven years later and resumed his political career after the Saudi leadership intervened on his behalf with General Pervez Musharraf, the military leader at the time.

Pakistan’s policymakers recall the generous Saudi bailout following Islamabad’s maiden nuclear tests in 1998, when the kingdom sent them free oil for three years to counter punitive global sanctions.

An increasing drift towards Saudi-style Islam has accompanied the growing political influence. A former hotel manager in Karachi recalls his surprise in the 1980s to discover that increasingly pious visitors were washing their feet in the hotel handbasins as part of their daily ablutions — eventually prompting many five-star properties to post signs in their bathrooms prohibiting the practice. “As Pakistan began looking more like a Saudi country, such symbols also began spreading,” he says.

The more urgent concern for analysts and policymakers is what impact Saudi’s influence has had on Pakistan’s school’s — particularly a network of more than 30,000 madrassas that specialise in religious education.

The head of Binoria, Mufti Muhammad Naeem, insists the school has not received “even a single rupee” from Saudi Arabia. “The money we have received has all come from local supporters. In the past you have had students from Karachi University [a mainstream state funded university] go for jihad. There have also been acts of terror undertaken by people around the world who were not even Muslims. Why do you only focus on madrassa schools?”

Nonetheless, many analysts and diplomats see a Saudi hand behind Pakistan’s madrassas and their strict teachings. It is a source of pride for Sunni teachers and students to study in Saudi Arabia, says Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political commentator. “We know that such students going to Saudi Arabia are generally on a scholarship, and they take a lot of pride in getting an education in Saudi Arabia.”

A senior western diplomat in Pakistan agrees: “It seems the Saudis have actively used the madrassa connection to their advantage”, he says.

The possible role of a conservative Islamic education in promoting extremism came under the spotlight earlier this month after the fatal mass shootings in San Bernardino, California. A young couple — Syed Rizwan Farook, of Pakistani origin who was born and raised in the US, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, a more recent immigrant from Pakistan — carried out the carnage before being shot by police.

Ms Malik’s connections to Saudi Arabia, where her parents have been based for more than 20 years, and her attendance of religious classes in Pakistan at Al-Huda — part of a network of Islamic schools for women — may have radicalised her, western officials say.
Al-Huda denies radicalising students. It says it has seen more than 20,000 women graduate in the past two decades and that its credentials have never been questioned. “We only teach the Koran and other subjects of Islam. Our message promotes peace,” Al-Huda says.
A senior Pakistani official estimates that 80 per cent of the country’s madrassas are Deobandi, and as many as 2,000 “are involved in violent activities”.

One western official who has regularly tracked militant activity in Pakistan sees a clear link between the schools and the country’s embrace of extremism.

“In the past 30 years, such institutions have emerged as the primary suppliers of human resource for militant causes in Afghanistan and India,” the official says. “Why should anyone be surprised if people are now taking a closer look at such connections?”


‘US and NATO operation in Afghanistan has failed’ – Russian president’s special envoy

The US and NATO mission in Afghanistan has been a complete failure, the Russian President’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told TASS, in evaluating the effectiveness of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) there.
“Assessing the results of the actions of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, it can be said that they have completely failed their mission,” Kabulov said in an interview to TASS, adding that the ultimate goal of the ISAF anti-terrorist campaign, which consisted in creating “a democratic centralized state” in Afghanistan, has not been achieved.
The special envoy stressed that, not only has the US-led coalition in Afghanistan failed to achieve its main goal, but “has not accomplished any of the tasks it had set before the operation,” as Afghanistan still lacks “strong and stable central authority.”
He also emphasized that, failing to defeat the Taliban by military means, the ISAF’s current policy of national reconciliation de-facto envisions their participation in the new political power structure of Afghanistan.

Kabulov drew attention to the fact that the ongoing “Decisive Support” training mission, which the US and their allies in Afghanistan are currently conducting, has also shown very little result. The program aims to improve the combat readiness of the Afghan army and police, enabling them to independently secure stability and order.

According to Kabulov, Afghan governmental forces “show inability to affect the situation due to a lack of arms and equipment, as well as an insufficient level of training and low morale.”
With the Taliban bearing down on different parts of the country, Western troops have been forced to directly engage in combat, leaving them less time to focus on training Afghan soldiers, Kabulov said.
Meanwhile, according to the Russian President’s special envoy, the situation in Afghanistan remains tense, with “high or extraordinary” security threats present in 27 of the 34 Afghan provinces, as Taliban militants intensify their activities in different parts of the country.
On December 11, the insurgents assaulted the Spanish embassy guesthouse in the Afghan capital. The militants also killed six US soldiers in a suicide bomb attack on the Bagram air base.
The Taliban has seized part of Afghan’s southeastern Helmand province and heavy clashes with government forces have already been taking place there for several weeks. British troops were redeployed to the province after the militants took control of the town of Sangin a year after NATO forces formally ended their combat operations in Afghanistan.
In October, militants seized two districts in Badakhshan Province and even held the large northern Afghan city of Kunduz for several days in late September before government forces managed to retake it with heavy air support from the US.
In the country’s north, the Taliban has created several bases and about 15,000 militants operating in the area pose a threat to several Afghan provinces, Kabulov warned.
In the meantime, despite being in open conflict with the Taliban, Islamic State is also trying to take hold in the country, posing additional threats to the region’s security.

Russia can be ‘flexible’ in case of sanctions against Taliban

At the same time, Kabulov stressed that Russia is ready to help Afghanistan cope with its security problems and“consistently lends comprehensive assistance” to it.
Russia supports the Afghan policy of national reconciliation and “is ready to be flexible over a potential easing of the UN Security Council’s sanctions regime against Taliban if it does not contradict the Afghan national interests,” Kabulov told TASS.
Additionally, Russia is expected to deliver 10,000 AK-47 assault rifles to the Afghan army along with accompanying ammunition in January 2016. This matter is almost settled, according to Kabulov. Russia is also holding talks with the Afghan authorities about helicopter shipments.
By late November, Russia had delivered 57 KAMAZ trucks, worth $2.5 million, to Afghanistan free of charge, Kabulov added.

Afghanistan: Aid workers pull out in the face of Isis and Taliban threat, turning a healthcare revolution into a crisis

Bilal Sarwary 

From dawn, the queues grow. Several thousand of the walking wounded wait patiently, hoping to flee for Pakistan, India and Iran. 
Among the few perceived success stories of the American and British invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was much-vaunted investment in health and education. But the long lines of Afghans outside embassies in Kabul this week paint a different picture, one of a nation in a healthcare crisis, rocked by a renewed Taliban threat. 
In the face of attacks from the Taliban in Helmand and Kunduz provinces, many aid workers who provided a lifeline for thousands of Afghans have withdrawn. In Kunduz, the city where a US air strike hit a clinic run by Médecins Sans Frontières in October, the United Nations said aid workers were pulling back from the front line.

The Taliban is not the only threat. Isis, the jihadist group whose influence has extended beyond Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan, is now blocking government polio vaccinations across the country, telling residents that the Afghan government and the West are using health workers for “intelligence-gathering purposes”, or that the vaccine contains forbidden pork.
The Afghan ministry of health said that around 100,000 children had not been vaccinated in 14 eastern and southern provinces because of the group’s threats. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only nations where polio remains endemic.
Only eight cases have been confirmed this year, compared with 108 in Pakistan.But on Monday, two vaccination volunteers who were visiting a house in Kandahar – a woman and her teenage daughter – were shot dead. A local health official, Abdul Qayum Pukhla, told Reuters: “[It] was the last day of the campaign and as the workers were leaving a house, the gunmen opened fire and fled.”
Some of the most remote areas have been left with virtually no doctors, with healthcare workers unwilling to risk their safety for poor pay. 
“We have a district in  Badakhshan, Ragh, which is the reason Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rates in the world,” said Dr Nilofar Ibrahimi, a member of parliament from Badakhshan province and a gynaecologist.
“This is a crisis. We have another district, Tagab, where 20,000 people have only a nurse. There is not a doctor there. The problem is corruption of the past 14 years and a lack of a vision. And then you have to think about lack of support for doctors – from salaries to insurance.”
Last year, a British government report on the UK’s progress in Afghanistan lauded healthcare success. More than half of the population had access to primary healthcare, compared with 9 per cent in 2003, the report said. Maternal mortality had halved and life expectancy was at its “highest ever” level.
In Kijran, in Daykundi province, on the border of Helmand and Uruzgan, Bibi Khadijah, a mother of eight, was forced to travel for five hours by donkey to see a midwife when she gave birth to her youngest daughter. “I am one of the lucky ones,” she said. “For basic and simple diseases there are no doctors or medicine. When children have diarrhoea or chicken pox, we can’t get treatment.”
Security is only part of the problem in Afghanistan, and investment only part of the solution. “Investment in health has taken place. But this doesn’t help. Corruption was the reason for the problems in the health sector,” the chairman of the parliamentary health committee, Dr Enayat Ibrahimi, told The Independent: “There has been mismanagement in the past 14 years.”
An investigation by the US-based Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar) has questioned where $210m of US aid money to the Afghan ministry of public health has been spent, after co-ordinates provided by USAID for the location of health clinics turned out to be empty. 
Haji Baaz Mohammad, a 68-year-old farmer in the eastern province of Nuristan, where there are no government hospitals, despite funds being allocated for one in 2010, said: “There is only one surgeon in the entire province of at least half a million people. Our patients die on donkeys and mules on their way to Pakistan. Despite all the aid, people in Nuristan are dying because of lack of medicine and doctors.”
There are some success stories, however. Fatima Gailani, 61, has become a ray of hope for children, some of whom have less than six months to live. The children she helps suffer from a congenital heart defect, commonly referred to as a “hole in the heart”, and need surgery to survive. Their only hope is the money Ms Gailani and her team are trying to raise at the Afghan Red Crescent compound in the modest Kabul neighbourhood of Afshar-e-Silo.
“There is increasing incidence of the disease in Afghanistan,” Ms Gailani said. The daughter of a prominent Mujahideen leader, Ms Gailani spent much of her life in exile, and moved back to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. 
For her, the biggest challenge for the Afghan Red Crescent is raising funds. “There is this perception that people in Afghanistan are not willing to spend on a good cause. We wanted to change this perception,” she said, adding that the former President, Hamid Karzai, had called several prominent Afghan businessmen, asking them to donate. His successor, Ashraf Ghani has asked the Indian ambassador in Kabul to facilitate the treatment of Afghan children in his country.
“The Afghan Red Crescent has managed to fund the treatment of 3,320 children since 2008,” Ms Gailani said. “But there are 4,000 children still in need of care. Of these, 1,600 have six months or less to live if surgery is not carried out soon. We can’t afford delays. Afghanistan will have to help Afghanistan.”
Total casualty figures for Afghan security forces have not been published, but are said by Nato sources to be 28 per cent higher than in 2014, when the toll was around 5,000.
The Afghan forces have had a tough year on the battlefield, having to fight the insurgents alone for the first time, following the drawdown of international combat troops at the end of last year. The Taliban has used this to step up its offensives across the country.

Pakistan - Aseefa Bhutto to become women wing chief

Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians is likely to witness overhaul in the party structure after Asif Ali Zardari replaced PPPP President Makhdoom Amin Fahim.
Aseefa BhuttoZardari is also likely to be given a role in the party structure for the first time while Bilawal Bhutto would continue to lead it as its chairman. 
It is pertinent to mention here that Asif Ali Zardari had stated in a news conference that Bilawal Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto would play their role in politics while Bakhtawar would look after business. 
Sources privy to this development said an overhaul was expected within the PPP, including change of Sindh and Punjab presidents. 
“There is a suggestion that Qaim Ali Shah and Manzoor Wattoo be removed as the presidents of Sindh and Punjab, respectively, and replaced by Nisar Ahmed Khuhro in Sindh and Qamar Zaman Kaira in Punjab,” they said, adding the name of Faisal Saleh Hayat was also discussed at the meeting as the replacement of Punjab PPP president. But it was not considered as he had not so far joined the party. 
They further said Aseefa Bhutto Zardari would also likely to play an active role in politics and lead the youth wing of the party as its chairperson. 
“This overhaul is not only limited to changes in upper structure of the party, but also will go downward as changes at district level are also expected,” they said. 
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan People’s Party is not a political group and the party was registered with Election Commission of Pakistan as the PPP-Parliamentarians. 
“This issue of merger of both the parties, PPPP and PPP, was also discussed during a meeting between Asif Zardari and Farooq H Naek in Dubai,” they said, adding Naek opined there was no chance of merger owing to legal formalities. The sources further said suggestions of the CEC were also sent to President PPPP Asif Ali Zardari for approval.
Meanwhile, some political observers had also cited exclusion of Bilawal Bhutto from PPPP as an attempt by Asif Ali Zardari to completely control the party. 
Information Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi, however, said there was no chance of a new organizational setup of the party that has elected a new president replacing Makhdoom Amin Fahim after his death. 
The decision for the appointment of the new president was made at the Central Executive Committee of the PPP, presided over by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Garhi Khuda Bux. 
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan People’s Party had contested election from the platform of PPPP and, the party president has all the powers as per rules and regulations. 
Talking to The Nation, Faisal Karim Kundi said CEC had powers to make changes in the PPPP structure, but no such decision was taken during the meeting at Garhi Khuda Bux. 
“Except replacing the PPPP president and paying tribute to Benazir Bhutto, no other thing was discussed at the CEC meeting,” he said, adding now it was not possible to once again convene the meeting soon for the overhaul in organizational setup of the party.

One of the San Bernardino terrorists was from Pakistan. Does that country support extremist violence?

By Madiha Afzal

That Tashfeen Malik, one of the San Bernardino, Calif. attackers, was a Pakistani woman has renewed U.S. concern about that country. Many in Pakistan are embarrassed. After all, she had a degree in pharmacy from Bahauddin Zakariya University. That’s a mainstream public institution in Multan, a medium-sized city in Pakistan’s heartland. What does her act say about the country and its people?
Not a lot, it turns out.
As a whole, Pakistanis overwhelmingly condemn violent jihad
In the 2013 Pew Global Attitudes poll — a survey with 1,201 respondents, conducted countrywide except in the most insecure areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan — 91 percent of respondents said violent jihad was rarely or never justified. Only 4 percent said it was justified; 5 percent did not respond.
Most Pakistanis disapprove of violence in the name of jihad
The 2013 survey asked respondents about both the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban (the TTP, or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan). The TTP has killed thousands of Pakistanis over the last few years. It killed more than 130 schoolchildren in a single attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar a year ago.
The poll was conducted before the Islamic State became a known terror group, so respondents were not asked about it. And it was conducted more than a year before the Peshawar school attack last year that hardened Pakistani views against the Pakistan Taliban.
Even so, in 2013, a majority or near majority thought unfavorably of the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban – 56 percent and 47 percent respectively. Seventeen percent thought favorably of the Pakistan Taliban; 12 percent thought favorably of the Afghan Taliban. The rest refrained from answering the question (27 percent and 42 percent for the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban respectively) — typical with a sensitive survey question such as this.
These responses suggest more ambivalence than in views of violent jihad. Nevertheless, attitudes toward these groups are more negative than positive.
More education means more disapproval of the Taliban
My analysis of this data shows that more education is correlated with more negative views of the Taliban. With more education, a higher percentage of respondents think unfavorably of the Pakistan Taliban, and fewer decline to respond. That suggests that more educated people have more confidence or have stronger views, or are less fearful in reporting their views.
However, the proportion who view the Taliban favorably does not change much with more education.
So education does not eliminate support for militant groups, but does increase unfavorable views of them.
The chart immediately below shows that that women are the ones who fail to respond to the question. And their failure to respond takes away only from disapproval of the Taliban, not from approval.
As the two charts below show, at every level of education, men seem to be slightly more likely to view the Taliban favorably than women are. The least educated women are not at all confident about disapproving of the Taliban — but with more education, women become more confident about expressing negative views of the Taliban, although never as much as men.
But in general, for both women and men, the more their education, the more likely they are to state an opinion and to view the Taliban unfavorably — and education doesn’t boost the numbers of those who think well of the Taliban.
Where you live in Pakistan matters, too, as the chart below shows.

KPK, the province where the Taliban is mainly based, which has borne the brunt of the Taliban’s terror, has the largest proportion of unfavorable attitudes toward the Taliban. In Baluchistan, the province with a separatist insurgency being repressed by the state, the highest proportion of people fail to respond. Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and prosperous province, and where Tashfeen Malik was from, is the most favorable toward the Taliban, while Sindh and KPK have the lowest favorability toward the Taliban.
Do such views have anything to do with engaging in violence?
Even those people who view militant groups favorably are very unlikely to ever commit violence. But when a community thinks more sympathetically about militants, members of that community may be more susceptible to recruitment.
Even without a direct relationship with violence, favorable attitudes toward militant groups are dangerous in their own right because they give such groups legitimacy. Fortunately, in Pakistan, disapproval of militant groups is on an upward trend — it went up from 51 percent in 2010 to 56 percent in 2013, and has likely gone up further since then, although 2015 data is not yet available — because of the brutality of militant attacks there.

Pakistan Bombing Highlights IS Threat in Afghan-Pakistan Region

The suicide bombing Tuesday at a government office building in northwest Pakistan highlights the increasingly violent presence of the Islamic State militant group in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Jamaat ul-Ahrar, which is part of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella militant group and has reportedly joined forces with IS, has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Pakistani officials have consistently denied that IS has a presence in the country. But several recent attacks by IS-affiliates have kindled fears that the militant group has been successful in making inroads into a nation ripe for IS activities.

Pakistan's counterterrorism authorities on Tuesday told VOA that they arrested a group of 13 suspected militants operating a recruiting and training facility for IS in Punjab state. 

Underground training center

Security forces found "an underground training center and seized automatic weapons, communication equipment, bomb-making material, laptops, CDs containing IS propaganda material, and maps of the Pakistani military's bases and other facilities," said the officials, requesting anonymity.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said the suspects confessed that they pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. 
One of the detainees facilitated contact between the suspects and a Pakistani national who was in charge of recruiting Pakistani militants to Syria. The man helped nine suspected militants reach Syria through Turkey, Dawn said, citing official documents.
Turkish officials, meanwhile, revealed Tuesday that two Pakistanis, along with a Briton, were arrested last week in Istanbul for links to IS.  
Spike in Pakistan
Pakistan has recently seen a spike in IS-related activities inside the country.
A predominantly Punjab-based terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is touting increasing ties to IS, claimed responsibility for a bombing this month that killed 25 people at a used clothing market in a Pakistani tribal region. 
Authorities in Karachi last week discovered a network of women raising funds for IS.
IS activity in Pakistan is blending into the group's growing stronghold in neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan and Afghan authorities recently combined forces to shut down a mobile IS radio station that has been transmitting from the mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
IS fighters in Afghanistan are active in various districts of the eastern province of Nangarhar, including Achin.
Taking prisoners
IS is reportedly holding up to 300 prisoners at eight jails in rugged terrain in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, Afghan officials told VOA. 
Most IS prisoners are being held on charges of working for the Afghan government or supporting the rival Taliban. 
Achin's governor, Haji Ghalib, told VOA that IS militants have captured civilians and those who had risen up to confront the group. During the past two months, IS has arrested 300 local residents, Ghaleb told VOA.
Local residents in Achin told VOA that many tribal leaders are still missing after they were abducted by the militant group. 
"Many tribal elders have been taken away by IS militants and there is no information if they are dead or still alive," a local resident, who requested anonymity, told VOA. 
Afghan security forces launched operations against IS, but the area has not yet been cleared of the fighters — some of whom fled across the border into Pakistan, local officials said.

8 JuD members arrested after joining Islamic State in Pakistan

Eight Jammat-du-Dawah (JuD) members were arrested by intelligence agencies after they allegedly joined the dreaded Islamic State group, a leading Pakistan daily reported.
Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led JuD members were arrested following a raid at an IS hideout in country’s Punjab province.
“The arrested ISIS militants were earlier the activists of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawah,” Dawn newspaper reported, citing intelligence reports and officials.
A team of personnel from intelligence agencies and Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department raided a house on a tip off on the outskirts of Sialkot, some 120 kms from Lahore, on Monday and arrested eight members of the Islamic State which has yet to ‘openly’ declare its presence in Pakistan, officials said.
“The suspects could not offer any resistance as the commandos did not give them a chance,” a CTD source said. He said a good quantity of weapons and explosives, and hate literature have been recovered from the house.
The suspects - who belong to different parts of Punjab -got militant training and vowed to overthrow democracy and introduce Caliphate in Pakistan, officials said.
“The suspects had taken an oath to overthrow democracy and introduce Caliphate in Pakistan through armed struggle. Originally the suspects belonged to Jamaat-ud Dawah, but later joined hands with the IS. They used to communicate with one another through social media and Skype to avoid arrests,” an intelligence official was quoted as saying by the paper.
“The suspects were trying to extend their network to other parts of Punjab. Initial investigations reveal the suspects were also involved in recruitment and collection of funds for the group.
The suspects dislike democracy in Pakistan and hate police and Pakistan Army,” officials said.
“The prime objective of the IS men was to fan hatred against the country’s law enforcement agencies,” they said.
“The suspects had sworn allegiance to al-Baghdadi and joined IS in Daska tehsil of Sialkot district in June.”
One of the recruiters - Abu Akasha - had facilitated contacts between the suspects and Pakistan national Abu Muavia Salfi, who was in charge of Pakistani militants in Syria, according to the report.
They said Waqas aka Rizwan, also member of the IS from Sialkot, had been killed in clashes with the Syrian forces. Interrogations have revealed that IS chief Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi had appointed Hafiz Saeed Khan as the group’s Emir in ‘Khorasan’ (areas comprising Iran and some parts of Afghanistan) and proposed him as Emir for Pakistan too.
Earlier, there were reports that Saeed Khan got killed. JuD has denied the report of its members joining IS, saying it has no links with the Middle Eastern group and it was against the outfit’s philosophy.
“We strongly deny that any of our current or former member is associated with the IS. It seems to be conspiracy to link JuD with the IS,” JuD spokesperson Yahya Mujahid said.


Bombing Kills 24 in Pakistan

A bombing outside a government office in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday killed at least 24 people, officials said.A faction of the Pakistani Taliban, a group called Jamaat ul Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the early afternoon blast at the office, where national identity cards are produced, in the town of Mardan.
Saeed Wazir, a senior police officer, said that a suicide bomber tried to enter the compound of the local office of the National Database and Registration Authority, but he was stopped at the gate by a security guard and he detonated explosives there.
“Our investigation will find out who the bomber was,” said Mr. Wazir.
Offices of Nadra, which are in all districts of the country, tend to be busy with queues of people applying for identity cards.Abandoned shoes, pools of blood and shattered glass marked the scene of the blast, television footage showed.The 68 injured were treated at hospitals in Mardan and the provincial capital Peshawar, medical staff said.
The Pakistani Taliban faction said that Nadra, which maintains an extensive database covering most Pakistanis, was targeted because it helps security forces identifying their members.
“We are targeting all of Pakistan’s institutions because as part of the state, they are being used against us,” the group said.Pakistan launched a military operation in June 2014 against the stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas, an offensive that was given further impetus after the group massacred over 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar in December last year.
Authorities early Tuesday morning executed four militants over separate incidents. They were condemned to death by special military courts set up in the wake of the Peshawar attack to try terrorist suspects.
The offensive against the Pakistani Taliban has led to a reduction in the number of attacks in the country, with much of the group now based in neighboring Afghanistan.
As of Dec. 20, 905 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2015, compared with 1,781 last year, according to a tally maintained by the South Asia Terrorism Portal, a website that tracks the number.