Thursday, February 21, 2019

Comedy Video - Kamala Harris on Her 2020 Presidential Campaign and Trump’s Vanity Wall | The Daily Show

Comedy Video - The Most 'Bernie' Way To Kick Off A Campaign

Video Report - Protest turns violent as Catalan students occupy subway station in Barcelona

Video Report - Judge fires back at Roger Stone after controversial post

Video Report - The battle for truth: fake news v fact | The Economist

Music Video - Noor Jehan - Mein te mera dilbarjani.

Music Video - Dildar Sadqay Lakh'Waar Sadqay - Noor Jehan

Music Video - Lokan do do yaar banaye - Afshan Zebi

Video - #PPP - Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha,Ajj

Video - Chairman #PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Oxford

Shahrag, the #Pakistani town where boys aren't safe from men

Muhammad Akbar Notezai

Sometimes, in some places, wherever you look, you can only see wolves pretending to be human.
The town of Shahrag is one such place.
Situated in a valley in Harnai district in Balochistan, Shahrag boasts “300 to 400” coal mines that are mined by “over 30,000 men.” There are children working the mines, too, but an official count does not exist.
The district is predominantly populated by Pashtuns but a sizeable population of Marri Baloch are also scattered across its mountainous areas. Pashtuns own the majority of tribal lands in Shahrag and also live in great numbers in the town. The southern part of the Shahrag tehsil is where coal-laden mountains exist. And it is also here that the Marris live and work.
“In Shahrag,” in the words of a local Pashtun dweller, “one cannot remain jobless thanks to these mountains. If someone brings 200 men to me this very instant, I can appoint them straight away at the coal mines.”
This is why most workers here are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. There is also a chunk of workers who come from across the Afghanistan border. Together, these constitute about 80 percent of the workforce while the remaining 20 percent workers are locals and Baloch, especially from the Marri tribe.
Shahrag in Balochistan is known as a coal-mining town. But it also hides an ugly secret
On the face of it, Shahrag is a traditionally patriarchal society and fairly religious, too. Women hardly come out of their homes and men tend to rule the roost around here.
But Shahrag is also completely cut off from the rest of Balochistan. Nobody there quite knows what is happening in the rest of the country. Nobody in the rest of the country cares much for Shahrag either.
In this isolation, Shahrag has managed to hide its big, ugly secret: its boys are not safe from its men.

In the name of 'responsibility'

When 13-year-old Kaleem* reached the coal mines from Dir earlier this year, he didn’t expect much fanfare upon his arrival. But a colony of miners was waiting for that day to arrive.
And as soon as he set foot on the Al-Gilani branch of the mountain, where some eight coal mines are situated, the excitement became tangible. News that Dir’s coal miners had brought in a new guy to the mines spread like wildfire. He became the talk of the town and even miners from other coal mines arrived to take a look at the new boy. Kaleem wasn’t quite the new bride but quickly became the new boy that many men were lusting after.
Nestled in the mountains are cottages housing miners. ─ Photo by author
Nestled in the mountains are cottages housing miners. ─ Photo by author
I left Shahrag city to head to the mountains early one day to meet Kaleem who I had been told about by locals. Along with about 20 others, including two boys around his age, Kaleem is housed in a mud-and-stone cottage at the top of a mountain. There are only two bedrooms and one kitchen. In the room where we sit down for a chat, there is no light other than whatever little comes from the burning stove.
Kaleem is wearing a black shalwar kameez over a yellow sports shirt. Fortunately, he is alone in the house at the time, around 3pm, because his elder colleagues are working “probably 1,700 feet below surface inside the coal pit.”
There is a big, black teapot on the stove filled with water which is boiling. He tells us that, over the last week, the weather has become frigid in Shahrag. Sitting alone next to the stove, he looks neat and clean, his black hair combed through the middle. After welcoming us, he does not utter a single word; instead, he goes out to wash two cups. Without saying a word, he pours black tea to serve us.
Kaleem is quite shy. He evades almost all questions put to him. After a series of monosyllabic answers, he blurts: “I do not have a father. I have come here to work to financially support my family back in Dir.”
What kind of work?
“I am a cook here,” he replies with a grim smile.
[Parents] turn a deaf ear to any complaints on the basis that these children are earning money ... This is why Shahrag’s children have “friendships” with people as old as their parents.
Kaleem has come to Shahrag to replace his brother. They are four brothers. According to him, they belong to a very poor family. He studied till primary back home but had to leave school because the family was reeling in poverty.
“All children, including me, work here because we either do not have elders [parents, uncles] or they are disabled and senile,” Kaleem adds. “I am paid 10,000 rupees monthly.”
Herein lies the ugly reality of Shahrag’s coal mines.
Children such as Kaleem are brought here from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even from Afghanistan for the sole purpose of sexually abusing them. They are used as sexual partners by mature coal miners — these boys are either unable to say no to unwanted advances or need the cash offered in exchange for providing sexual services.
At first, even Kaleem does not want to talk about his situation. When asked if his body is used for sexual services, he does not reply. He simply leaves the room.
Miners return from their shift. ─ Photo by author
Miners return from their shift. ─ Photo by author
The first shift at the mines ends just after 3pm and the miners begin to emerge. All of them come to sit with us and we quickly change the discussion. The talk is now about the vulnerability felt by the coal miners in the mines. As we are about to leave, I spot Kaleem sitting on a big rock and chatting with a tall man.
“He [Kaleem] is their special guy,” relates a local miner accompanying me. “The monthly payment he is given is remuneration for satisfying their lust, not to work. They do not let him in the coal mine because he will get blackened.”
Such treatment is not meted out to Shah Farman*, a 16-year-old who arrived from Swat in 2017. Since then, he has been working as a coal cutter against a monthly salary of 35,000 rupees. But while he is at the mines, he has been routinely raped by adult men. Nobody bats an eyelid at what happens to Shah Farman almost every day. They tell me, “It’s all normal.”

Abuse as a way of life

Sexual abusers come in all forms and sizes. But they present themselves as ordinary human beings with an ordinary lifestyle.
For example, take Saqib*, a local coal miner in his early 40s. He is a tall man. There are white patches in his black beard and moustache. On the day we meet him, he wears a white cap and an old chador with which he has wrapped himself up. He has been in the mining business for the last 15 years.
Saqib meets us at a playground situated away from Shahrag city, near the Harnai road.
“The information you want to extract from me is strange,” he shouts when I ask him the question. “How can I tell you that we sexually abuse boys?”
But once he has settled down, he begins talking.
“Yes, I have had sex with boys in coal mines and even outside,” says Saqib. “This is not new. Swatis and other Afghans have chhothus [young sidekicks] who are their sexual partners. I do not have one because I am a local. I cannot afford that.”
The coal mines are approximately up to 6,000 feet deep. According to Saqib, children are also not spared there.
“We do have two to three children working inside the coal mines with us,” discloses Saqib, “At the time of coal cutting, deep inside the coal mines, we, the elder coal miners, have had sex with them, too. And [all this] is routine.”
He pauses to stare into the distance.
“The more you work inside the coal mine, the more you start hating it.”
He seems to imply that abuse is a form of escape.

The Red Cat and the mutkuli children

Central to most activity in Shahrag is a bus stop — those bringing coal from the mountains into the town or those leaving the town all tend to make a stopover at the adda for tea and refreshments.
We are seated at a restaurant in the adda. Around us are dozens of trucks, big and small. Some have already made the trip to the mines while others are about to embark on the journey. Amidst the bustle, we are waiting for a man known as Sira Pishi or ‘Red Cat’.
Boys volunteer their services at the Shahrag bus stop. ─ Photo by author
Boys volunteer their services at the Shahrag bus stop. ─ Photo by author
Sira Pishi is actually a 56-year-old man who is a notorious child abuser in the area. In the adda, he is known as Red Cat because he is red-skinned and has a red beard and moustache. He emerges out of a corner, wearing a black chador, a red Afghani cap and a beige coat. He greets us and then says nothing. I put my cup of tea in front of him which he refuses. Instead, he retrieves a few almonds from his kameez pocket, breaks their shells one by one with a stone, and starts munching on them.
“Do you think I am a lunatic that I will speak to a man holding a pen and notebook?”
Sira Pishi kept on eating his almonds as he waited for me to put the pen and notebook back into my bag. Eventually, like Saqib, he too confesses to having sexually abused children.
“Sometimes children come themselves,” claims Sira Pishi. “If not, then I can smell which children can be lured [into having sex.]”
Although children, by and large, get some kind of work at the adda, but when they don’t, sex work is always available as their fallback option.
A teenager is the centre of attention for adult miners. ─ Photo by author
A teenager is the centre of attention for adult miners. ─ Photo by author
His line catches me off guard. There are scores of children at the adda. As we find out later, most are aged between seven and 18 years. How many of them are vulnerable?
If Sira Pishi is to be believed, almost all these children have been sexually abused by someone or the other. One of his victims is nine-year-old Zulfiqar, who works as a mutkuli separating clay, sand and stone from the coal. He has been working since he was six years.
“This [sexual abuse] is nothing new,” Zulfiqar waves the question of abuse away. “Because all that we want is money. Our parents send us here to earn money, no matter what it costs.”
Zulfiqar has four brothers and one sister. His father is unable to work in his old age.
And he ended up at the adda because his mother wanted him to start earning a wage as soon as possible.
“My mother once saw a neighbour’s children going out to work,” describes the nine-year-old. “She saw that these kids would hand their mother money for whatever work they could find at the adda. And so she also started sending me to work.”
Zulfiqar’s main job is to help load trucks — everyday, he carries at least 60 kg of coal on his little shoulders.
“I do so all on my own. Sometimes, I load four trucks along with other children,” he claims, while wrapping himself up with a chador to save himself from the cold.
“There are four children required for each and every truck. Against it, we are paid 400 rupees per day.”
But such jobs require the boys to mingle with the men. In most cases, they are supposed to work with mature men. This often means that they give up their agency over their body as the men tend to inappropriately touch them and spank them. This is the least of it; the more extreme form is rape.
“I want to become a truck driver,” shares Zulfiqar, “not more than that.”
More probing into the whys of this dream reveals an uglier reality: truck drivers tend to travel with a young sidekick who they can molest and abuse at will. Twelve-year-old Faqir*, for example. All day long, he sits in the driver’s seat of a truck and is only used as a sexual partner by the men. He gets 400 rupees per day as compensation.
Although children, by and large, get some kind of work at the adda, but when they don’t, sex work is always available as their fallback option. Sira Pishi claims there are children who come to him themselves because they know he will pay. Interviews with about 20 of these boys also suggest that due to the fear of returning home empty-handed, they agree to get raped. In some cases, children are shown greener pastures or given the promise of a gift. ‘Red Cat’ claims he regularly ‘used’ a boy in exchange for a cell phone. Other incentives for these boys include drugs.
Background interviews with Shahrag’s children suggest that their parents, in most cases, are aware of their children’s sexual exploitation. But they turn a deaf ear to any complaints on the basis that these children are earning money. And they desperately need this money to make ends meet. This is why Shahrag’s children have “friendships” with people as old as their parents.
Meanwhile, Sira Pishi tells us he accosts children standing near trucks. One boy is his favourite; he invites him over often during the afternoon. Intercourse takes place in the confines of Sira Pishi’s home where the boy can be made “to feel special.”

Mine to mine

Legend has it that 12-year-old Nasir was “attractive and handsome, as most Afghan boys are.” His family had fled from Afghanistan and sought refuge in Pakistan. To make ends meet, Nasir would sell everyday items to coal miners. According to some accounts, coal miners would try to sodomise him. He would refuse sexual favours but often had to go back to the same men to financially support his family.
Nasir’s worst nightmare came to pass one day.
He went to one of the mines on his own but on his way back, he was kidnapped, allegedly by two Afghan coal miners. After brutally raping him, they killed him out of fear of reprisals and the police. They buried him in a nearby mine so that the police and family members could not track him down. Before anyone could find his grave, the culprits had already fled to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and they could not be arrested.
The story is used by some locals to claim that most of the sexual abuse is happening in and around the mines and not in Shahrag town proper. Others explain this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Situated next to Harnai Road in Shahrag town is the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) office. On its website, the PMDC claims to have leased over 6,551 acres of land in Shahrag. Over a cup of black tea, young office assistant Shah Abbas Shah claims the department owns between 300 to 400 coals mines in the town but only just over 500 of workers are registered with them.
The school saving boys from sexual abuse. ─ Photo by author
The school saving boys from sexual abuse. ─ Photo by author
Although Shah tells Eos that they monitor safety measures in the mines on a daily basis, as well as look after the protection of children working at the coal mines, the reality in the mines is obviously different. One measure taken by the government is that it runs a school for coal miners’ children. Although it is a high school, it wears the look of a primary school in a dilapidated state. The building’s walls are cracked. It neither has water nor a bathroom (either for children or the teachers). Yet, it is a ray of hope for children — in large part due to the efforts of Islamiat teacher Hafiz Basheer.
Basheer wears a black waistcoat over white clothes and a white turban. Among his colleagues, he is known as a “principled” teacher. He goes to the coal mines and asks the parents to send the children to school, instead of sending them to work. Sometimes, the parents relent; at other times, he is shooed away.
“More than anything else,” says Basheer, “the sole purpose of his asking children of coal miners to come to the school is to protect them from social evils.” He acknowledges the fact that these children are routinely sexually exploited. This is what always perturbs him, too.
Shahrag is among the places in Balochistan where children seem to have been desensitised to the intimacy associated with sex. Intercourse seems to be something to profit off of or a source of employment to forget some other worry. And among the children, sexual exploitation has been normalised to the extent that boys themselves show the same desires of lust and rape. This is even before they have turned 16.
“When they first get admission here,” relates Basheer, “they arrive not knowing anything. They know nothing about the outside world or what is considered civilised. It is somewhat like living in the Stone Ages. Through education, we are trying to get them to understand right from wrong. We are trying to teach them their rights.”
The Government of Pakistan has also set up schools in Shahrag for both boys and girls. Other than these schools, there are also madressahs in the town. Having interviewed some parents about why they send their children to a madressah instead of a school, the near-unanimous response was that only religious education could help their children to heaven on the Day of Judgement. This is the foremost reason that their children seek education in madressahs, not in schools.
Basheer himself, despite being an Islamiat teacher, has been unable to convince parents to send their children to school instead. One major reason why parents are reluctant is the case of a student from Dir named Abid Siddique.
Siddique was a position holder in his school till 2008 and completed matriculation from there. Although his teachers had big dreams and expectations of him, he is now back at the same coal mine, in the Al-Gilani mountains, where he used to work as a child.
Between the lines, the teacher alludes to the psychological damage that has been dealt to boys in Shahrag. Those raised on abuse will abuse someone else, just as they were abused when they were children. There is ample research that suggests that child abuse will repeat itself from generation to generation. This cycle of abuse gravely impacts those who have been at the receiving end of prolonged abuse because, once grown up, they are likely to become the abusers and prey on children.
But there is no psychological or law-enforcement help at hand in Shahrag. In fact, Quetta-based Chief Inspector of Mines Engineer Iftikhar Ahmad Khan tells Eos that, “there are no children working at the coal mines in Shahrag.”
Without acknowledging that a crisis exists, how can there be any remedy?
Sexual abuse of boys and young men is not just a phenomenon particular to Shahrag. Sahil, an Islamabad-based NGO that works with child victims of abuse, notes in its 2018 report Cruel Numbers that as many as 3,445 children — 2,077 girls and 1,368 boys — were sexually abused in Pakistan in 2017. Balochistan reported only 139 cases of sexual abuse. These incidents were all reported in the press but the number of unreported cases might well be higher.
The report makes the claim that among reported cases, 467 cases were reported under rape, 366 under sodomy, 158 under gang rape, 180 under gang sodomy and 206 under attempted child sexual abuse. It also describes that 29 boys and 36 girls were murdered after being made victims of sexual abuse. Around 961 victims fell in the age bracket of 11 to 15 years while 640 cases of sexual abuse surfaced where the survivors were aged between six and 10 years. In the 16 to 18 age bracket, 351 cases were formally reported.
Perhaps what sets Shahrag apart is the normalisation of child abuse. Consider government records, for example. While the mines department has recorded the number of adult miners working in Shahrag, the figure is under-reported. These estimates have, in fact, not recorded the number of children working in the mines or those working as house help etc.
On the other hand, the law in Pakistan does provide some safeguards for children. The Pakistan Penal Code, for example, was amended back in April 2017 to include stipulations against crimes aimed at children. Section 292-A criminalises any exposure of children to seduction. Similarly, Section 328-A describes the offence of cruelty to a child and its punishment. Sections 377-A and 377-B are explicitly about the offence of child sexual abuse and its punishment.
The problem comes at the implemen­tation end.
Desolation and desperation are accepted in Shahrag as justifications for the practices of child labour and child abuse. The government neither keeps a record of children working at the mines nor as support staff. And any notion of child protection seems out of place because of the prevalence of the practice.
“Sometimes, as teachers, we also become hopeless,” laments Hafiz Basheer. “I thought Abid Siddique would be a role model for other children of coal miners and he would be an officer somewhere in a government sector. Contrary to expectations, he has started working again as a coal miner. This is why children of coal miners always give me his example when I request them to come to study in the school.”


Former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has urged the PTI-led Pakistan government to cooperate with Iran over the recent terror attack near Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan.
He advised so, responding to a query at a press conference in Islamabad yesterday. 

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) co-chairman Zardari said that situation arising after the terror attack is very dangerous.

“Iran is our neighbor and we should be mindful that it is a very large army so we should not have any problem with them,' said Asif Ali Zardari.

He said: 'We should cooperate with them to address their concerns.'

Understanding the Origins of the #Pulwama Attack Inside #Pakistan

The recent killing of more than 40 Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir by a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group in Kashmir’s Pulwama district has put Pakistan and India into another confrontation. In retaliation, India has not only withdrawn Most Favored Nation Status (MFN) from Pakistan, but has also announced that it will take important steps to completely isolate Pakistan internationally. Moreover, reportedly Indian “armed forces have been given a free hand to formulate appropriate retaliation strategies.” However, the subject of retaliation strategies is an approach that doesn’t necessarily call for an immediate military response and it can can take weeks and months to put in place a long-term plan to counter and deter such incidents.
Arguably, the most important takeaway from India’s response to the incident is that New Delhi has decided to ramp up escalation with Pakistan on the political front rather than going for the military option, at this point. There are a number of reasons why India may have decided to take this policy course rather than immediately hitting back militarily.
It is important to note that India is buzzing ahead of an election season. The government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is primarily focused on winning the next general election, which is scheduled to take place in the next few months. While military action against Pakistan at this point may win the BJP some electoral support domestically, it’s unclear what sort of military action can attain such a desired result and whether the government, which is uncertain about its own future in power, has the political will to follow-through.
About two years ago, India allegedly carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan in response to a militant attack that took place in Uri, in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan for its part never admitted that such a military strike was carried out by India. However, for India, the declaration of carrying out a surgical strike served the purpose of containing the ratcheting war rhetoric domestically while for Pakistan, the denial meant the strikes never took place. Hence, Islamabad didn’t need to respond militarily in return, which could have become necessary had Pakistan acknowledged that Indian troops had entered Pakistan’s territory and targeted some areas.
Arguably, if India’s alleged surgical strikes have not been able to deter terrorists from planning more attacks than the next military response from New Delhi has to be bigger than what happened two years ago. However, that’s an area which is filled with a lot of risks, miscalculations and escalations triggers and clearly, the government in India which is about to go to the polls doesn’t want to enter into a phase that could have blowback impact on its electoral gains. For now, by putting the blame for the incident on Pakistan, the government in India has already achieved some electoral mileage.
Even for Indian authorities, beyond the blame game and war rhetoric, it’s too early to confirm whether the bombing had any support from Pakistan at the state level. So far, India maintains that by not taking decisive action against the leadership of the JeM, Pakistan is actually fomenting terror in Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, it’s unclear whether the attack was solely the work of local Kashmiri militants that carried out an attack in association with JeM’s name.
Regardless, from Pakistan’s perspective, it doesn’t make sense why the country’s military and civilian leadershipwould want to undermine their own efforts of rapprochement with India. The argument that Pakistan’s security establishment doesn’t support the civilian government’s recent initiative to improve ties with India doesn’t stand for two reasons: One, it is Pakistan’s security establishment that is interested in developing a workable relationship with New Dehli and it has clearly owned the current government initiatives in this regard. Two, if Pakistan’s security establishment wants to undermine the elected government’s efforts of reaching out to India, the former doesn’t need to support an incident of such magnitude. Historically, firings across the Line of Control (LoC) have achieved such results when desired.
Moreover, the timing of the attack doesn’t make sense from Pakistan’s perspective. The tragic incident has taken place when the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Bin Salman, is visiting both India and Pakistan. The visit adds an interesting twist to a situation, which has the potential to escalate to a major crisis between the two regional powers. The last thing Islamabad would want to do is to undermine a state-level visit from a powerful figure who is bringing billions of dollars’ worth of investments to Pakistan. While the leadership in India is planning a response to the incident, both New Delhi and Islamabad are likely to consider the presence of the crown prince as a significant factor when they devise the response measures in the coming week.
If one takes away the argument of alleged state-level support from Pakistan, it cannot be denied that some elements that aim to undermine Pakistan and India’s ties are clearly at work. Addressing the same challenge, Pakistan’s current foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in a recent interview said that “there will be spoilers, there will be events that will scuttle [Pakistan-India] peace process but terrorism is a global phenomenon. Instead of getting to a blame game we have to cooperate more.”
If one is to go with what Pakistan’s foreign minister said recently then clearly there are elements in Pakistan that are acting on their own and are not in the state’s control. It’s undeniable that JeM leadership is based in Pakistan’s Punjab province and the Pulwama suicide bombing was claimed by the group. While JeM remains a banned group in Pakistan, the group’s leadership is not necessarily isolated in Pakistan when it comes to the outfits movement and networking in the country. While Islamabad has officially condemned the attack on Indian forces, New Delhi clearly blames Pakistan for the attack. If Pakistan’s government and military leadership are serious about improving ties with India, then some sort of action against the leadership of the JeM has to take place in Pakistan.
The attack in Pulwama doesn’t only appear to be an effort to undermine Pakistan’s ties with India, but also an effort to push the region into a dangerous phase. In any case, what is scary is that the region will become increasingly hostile in the coming months.

Pakistan: Anxious Peace In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Analysis

By Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
A tribal elder, Abbas Khan, was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in the Norak area of Mir Ali tehsil (revenue unit) in the North Waziristan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on February 13, 2019.Khan was on his way home when the IED hit his car.
At least four Policemen were killed and aStation House Office (SHO) was injured on February 12, 2019, in an ambush in the Maharah area of Parowa tehsil in the Dera Ismail Khan District of KP.The District Police Officer (DPO) disclosed that the Police party retaliated, but the terrorists managed to escape from the incident site.Two passers-by sustained injuries in the shootout. Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA), a splinter group of the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack.
On January 29, 2019, unidentified militants killed a Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) staffer in Qurishian Street in the jurisdiction of the City Police Station in Dera Ismail Khan. The assailantsmanaged to escape.
According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), KP has accounted for at least 11 terrorism-related fatalities in 2019, thus far (data till February 17, 2019). During the corresponding period of 2018, the Province had accounted for 19 terrorism-related fatalities (two civilians, 11 SF personnel, and six terrorists).
Through 2018, KP recorded a total of 181 fatalities (88 civilians, 52 SF personnel, and 41 terrorists) as against 124 such fatalities (42 civilians, 26 SF personnel and 56 terrorists) registered in 2017. KP had witnessed declining trendsin fatalities since 2013, till the renewed surge in 2018.
However, 96 of the fatalities in 2018 were reported from seven new Districts which became part of KP onMay 31, 2018, due to the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into the Province. These seven Districts were earlier part of FATA and were called Agencies. Between June 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018, KP (excluding the newly merged areas of FATA) recorded 57 fatalities, as against 55during the same period in 2017.  
Prior to the merger, KP had accounted for 28 fatalities (16 SF personnel, six civilians, and six militants) in the first five months of 2018 as against 69 fatalities (34 militants, 24 civilians, and 11 SF personnel) in the first five months of 2017. Thus, within the original jurisdiction of KP (excluding the subsequently merged FATA region) the declining trend established since 2013, was maintained in 2018.   
According to statistics released by KP Police on June 7, 2018, only 21 terrorist incidents took place in the first five months of 2018, compared to 53 incidents in 2107, 113 incidents in 2016, and 108 incidents in 2015. Similarly, incidents of target killings dropped across the Province, and only 10 were reported in first five months of 2018, as against 29 in 2017, 77 in 2016 and 55 in 2015. Only 10 cases of extortion were reported in the first five months of 2018, while the figure was 44 cases in the same period of 2017, 67 cases in 2016, 58 cases in 2014, and 113 cases in 2015. Similarly, only three incidents of kidnapping-for-ransom were reported from across the Province in the first five months of 2018, as compared to seven in 2017,16 in 2016, and 26 in 2015. [Comparisons are for the first five months of each year].
According to KPPolice, the Province (including the newly merged areas of erstwhile FATA) recorded a total of 28 targeted killing incidents in 2018, as against 29 such cases in 2017;36 extortion cases through 2018 as against 42 cases in 2017; and registered a decrease of 16.6 per cent in cases of kidnapping-for-ransom –with five casesreported in 2018 as compared to six cases in 2017.
The improvement in the security situation in the Province has been the result of counter offensive measures undertaken by the Pakistani Forces against domestically oriented terror formations across the tribal areas of Pakistan since the Army Public School (APS) attack of December 16, 2014, at Peshawar (the capital of KP), in which 135 school children, ten school staff members, including the Principal, and three soldiers, were killed.
Security analyst and former additional chief secretary for FATA, Brigadier (Retd.) Mehmood Shah, according to a January 1, 2019, report,attributed the drop in terrorism in the Province to the Army’s Operations Zarb-e-Azb(‘Sword of the Prophet’, also ‘sharp and cutting’) and Radd-ul-Fasaad (RuF, Elimination of Discord). Shah observed,
This Zarb-e-Azb, followed by RuF, was the turning point which proved to be successful as militants were rooted out from their sanctuaries. Intelligence-based operations (IBOs) proved to be successful since small pockets in Kurram and Khyber tribal districts where militants had taken shelter after Zarb-e-Azb, were being raided and militants could now only escape to Afghanistan.
Despite successful operations, however, the hope of a return to peace to the area dwindled with the major suicide attack ofNovember 23, 2018, in which 33 persons, including 22 Shias and three Sikhs, were killed and more than 51 were injured near an imambargah (Shia place of worship) in the Kalaya town of Lower Orakzai District. 
Moreover, while the general populace of KP has experienced a largely improved security situation, the Aman Lashkar(Peace Committee) members, who have been the frontrunners in the Government’s war against terrorism,have been under continuous targeted attacksby the terrorists. There was a spike in such incidents and resultant fatalities in 2018, after a noticeable decline observed in 2016 and 2017, in comparison to previous years. According to partial data compiled by SATP, there were fiveincidents targeting tribal elders, resulting in the death of sevenelders across Pakistan’s tribal areas (KP and FATA). During 2017, two tribal elderswere killed in three incidents of targeted attack in the tribal areas. Through 2016, there were two such deaths in two incidents. The tribal areasrecorded 11 such incidents, resulting in 14 killings through 2015.2019 has already accounted for the killing of two tribal elders. The first incident was reported on January 19, 2019, when unidentified militants shot dead KP peace committee chief Malik Mir Alam Afridiin the Hayatabad area of Peshawar, while he was travelling from Peshawar to Bara.The second was the killing of Abbas Khan in an IED explosion in the Norak area of Mir Ali tehsilin North Waziristan District on February 13, 2019 (mentioned above).
Moreover, Policemen, who are first in the line of defence,are also targeted systematically by the militants. A Superintendent of Police (SP, Peshawar, KP), Tahir Khan Dawar, was found dead in Afghanistan on November 13, 2018, around 18 days after he was abducted by unidentified militants and whisked away to Afghanistan. Dawar left his residence inIslamabad for an evening walk on October 27, 2018, but did not return.His abductors released a picture of him along with a letter from the Khurasani faction of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claiming responsibility for the abduction and killing.Shaukat Yusafzai, Information Minister of KP,observed that Dawar was ruthlessly killed by his abductors inAfghanistan. Out of 1,689 Policemen of KP who died with their boots on since 1970, at least 1,304 were killed during the last 13 years, after violence escalated in the Province, according to data compiled by the Central Police Office in Peshawar. The Police have been the prime victims of terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, blasts, ambushes, rocket and mortar barrages and target killingsacross Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2006.Those who died during the last 13 years included two Additional Inspectors General of Police (Ad IGs), two Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs), seven SPs and 19 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP).
Not only militancy, but governmental and departmental negligence, and corruption, have also proven fatal in the fight against militancy. The Secretary of Defence Production Lieutenant General (Retd.)Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry,on February 12, 2019, accepted that jackets purchased for the KP Police were not bulletproof, due to which many personnel had lost their lives.He made this revelation while addressing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence Production, presided over by the Committee Chairman LieutenantGeneral (Retd.) Abdul Qayyum. Chaudhry informed the panel that the jackets were purchased from private organisations, but heavy losses of life were incurred since they turned out not to be bulletproof. He disclosed, further, that the Inspector General (IG) of KP Police, Malik Naveed, has been arrested in this case.
While the province has been gathering the fruits of successful operations in terms of declining terrorism and related fatalities, irritants persists, with violence disrupting tranquillity at regular intervals.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Bilawal calls Rawalpindi ‘Karbala for Bhuttos’

Reacting to the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on Wednesday, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called Rawalpindi “Karbala for the Bhutto family”, demanding that all trials against his party be shifted back to Sindh.
Addressing a press conference in London, he said, “PPP workers say that Karbala is created for PPP in Pindi every time and there is history to it but we are not scared of Pindi; I demand that shift all other trials to Sindh and I am ready to face trial in Pindi; there cannot be two laws in Pakistan. If I can be tried in Rawalpindi than others should be tried in Sindh.”
He said that the fake accounts case, involving his father Asif Ali Zardari and his aunt, should not have been transferred from Sindh to Rawalpindi. He said that the alleged crime scene is in Sindh and the case should have been heard in Sindh but the Supreme Court rejected his petition asking the NAB to hold an inquiry into the fake accounts case in the twin cities.
The PPP leader, while quoting his party workers, said that Rawalpindi has never offered justice to his family. “As in the case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in the same city, and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in Rawalpindi in a bomb attack. And now the fake accounts case,” Bilawal said.
Bilawal alleged that double standards of justice were on full display as his family was being victimized while Imran Khan, his sister Aleema Khan and PTI leaders Jahangir Tareen and PTI’s allies were outside of the remit of accountability. He said that the transfer of fake accounts cases to Rawalpindi was violation of his rights as a citizen of Pakistan.
The PPP chairperson strongly condemned the arrest of Durrani, saying that the attack on the speaker is unacceptable and it is an undemocratic attempt to dislodge Sindh government.