Category - Pakistan

Massive earthquake shakes South Asia

Dozens reported dead in Afghanistan and Pakistan as powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocks South Asia.

A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake has struck in northern Afghanistan and has been felt in a large area from northern India to Pakistan with scores of people killed across the region.

The US Geological Survey put the epicentre of Monday’s quake near Jarm in Afghanistan’s northeast, 250km from the capital Kabul and at a depth of 213km.

The total death toll stood at about 111 with at least 85 people killed in Pakistan and at least 26 more in Afghanistan, according to official reports from the two countries.

Hikmat Fasi, a resident of Parwan Province in northern Afghanistan, said the quake caused a lot of damage in the area.

“We are safe but I saw a lot of buildings collapse,” Hikmat Fasi said. “It [earthquake] caused severe damage to our area. We are just praying.”

The Guardian: Live Blog

Pakistan heat wave claims hundreds of lives

CNN, By Ralph Ellis & Sophia Saifi, June 23

Islamabad – Hundreds of people have died in a three-day heat wave affecting Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, according to local media reports.

A spokesperson from the Sindh province Ministry of Health told CNN that 323 people had died in Karachi as a result of the heatwave.

The ministry also told CNN that the number of patients treated for heat stroke in Jinnah hospital, the largest in the city, is 2.360.

Others, unable to make it to a hospital, may have died at home. At least one city morgue, CNN affiliate has reported, has been overwhelmed with the numbers of dead.

Death tolls in local media reports vary.

Pakistan to execute 500 militants after moratorium lifted

RTÉ, December 22

Pakistan has announced plans to execute around 500 militants in coming weeks, after the government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases following a Taliban school massacre.

Six militants have been hanged since Friday amid rising public anger over an attack last Tuesday’s which left 149 people dead including 133 children.

The attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistani history, leading to the ending of the six-year moratorium on the death penalty.

A senior government official said the interior ministry has finalised the case of 500 convicts who have exhausted all avenues of appeal.

US boycotts UN human rights conference with drone resolution looming

Russia Today, March 20

Pakistani leaders hope to convince the United Nations Human Rights Council to pass a resolution that would force US drone strikes to adhere to international law – a request that inspired the US to boycott the talks altogether, according to a new report.

The draft of a Pakistani resolution, first reported by Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy, proposes that nations “ensure transparency” when discussing drone strikes and “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.”

While official numbers are nonexistent, experts have suggested that anywhere from 200 to nearly 1,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed by US drone strikes, with as many as 200 children possibly among that total.

The issue of drone strikes, while remaining largely out of US headlines, has become one of the most polarizing in Pakistan. While previous reports have made it clear that Pakistani leaders have authorized at least some drone strikes, they publicly maintain that that unmanned American aerial vehicles constantly buzzing in the skies undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Pakistan-Taliban peace talks under way

BBC, February 6

The first formal meeting between the Pakistan government and a Taliban-nominated team has begun at an “undisclosed location”, officials say.

They are due to start charting a “roadmap” for peace talks to end a decade-long insurgency.

The government side has entered the talks “wholeheartedly”, the interior ministry tells the BBC.

Militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been waging an insurgency inside Pakistan since 2007.

Pakistan Ex-President Musharraf Will Be Put on Trial for Treason

TIME – Pakistan’s government will request the Supreme Court to try former President Pervez Musharraf for treason, the Interior Minister said Sunday.

Government officials are accusing Musharraf of treason for declaring a state of emergency and suspending the constitution while he was in power, the Associated Press reports. Musharraf rose to power after a 1999 military coup, one of three in Pakistan’s 66 years of existence, and ruled the country until he was ousted in 2008.