ISLAMABAD:The Senate was informed on Wednesday that the government is taking measures to address sectarian violence in the country and legislation is also being tabled in this regard.
Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman told the House during question hour that 2,090 people have been killed in sectarian attacks since 2008. He said 173 people have been convicted in these sectarian attacks and killings.
He said 104 people were killed in Punjab in these incidents while 252 in Sindh, 22 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 737 in Balochistan, 867 in FATA, 103 in Gilgit Baltistan and five people were killed in Islamabad.
To a question, the minister said that the government is taking steps to control cybercrime in the country. He said Prevention of Cyber Crime Act has been prepared and submitted to the cabinet for approval. He said that it would be introduced in the House shortly and would address all the issues related to cybercrime.
At least 61 people have been killed in a bomb blast at a Shia mosque in southern Pakistan.
Dozens were wounded in the attack after Friday prayers in Shikarpur district of Sindh province, and the death toll is expected to rise.
Sunni militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack.
Local media reports suggest that the blast could have been a suicide attack, but police are investigating.
There has been rising sectarian violence in Pakistan in recent years. Sunni militant groups have targeted the Shia minority in the past.
Attacks against religious minorities have been on the rise in the country where radical Sunni Islamist groups often target mosques frequented by Shi'ites, whom they see as infidels.
Police said it was unclear what caused the explosion during Friday prayers at the mosque in the busy centre of Shikarpur, a city in Sindh.
"We are trying to ascertain the nature of the blast," said city police chief Saqib Ismail Memon. "A bomb disposal squad is examining the scene."
Part of the mosque collapsed after the explosion, burying some of the wounded under rubble. Bystanders pulled them out and piled them into cars for the journey to hospital.
Taliban gunmen launched the attack at a military-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar with at least 135 schoolchildren killed.
The devastating attack comes as the Taliban steps up its campaign of terror in the region.
More than 135 people have been confirmed dead, with more wounded.
The Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, a sprawling and volatile city not far from the Afghan border, said the hospital has received dozens of dead and injured, including schoolchildren and teachers.
It has called for blood donations as supplies are running short.
The Pakistani armed forces say five of the six militants have been killed.
Ten year-old boy watched two classmates shot dead by Taliban
A traumatised 10-year-old boy gave a harrowing account of how he watched two classmates shot dead.
One teacher was burned alive after petrol was poured over her and her terrified pupils were forced to watch the barbaric murder.
A source told NBC: “They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom. They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch.”
It was claimed a bomber blew himself up in a room of 60 children, decapitating many of them.
School boy Irfan Shah, 10, said: “Our teacher first told us a drill was going on and we need not worry. It was very intense firing. Then the sound came closer. Then we heard cries. One of our friends open the window of the class.
“He started weeping as there were several school fellows lying on the ground outside the class.
Military: Pakistani soldiers stand guard near the school following the killings
“Everybody was in panic. Two of our class fellows ran outside class in panic. They were shot in front of us.”
The teacher ordered the class of 33 to flee towards the back gate of the school.
He continued: “I tightly held the hand of my friend Daniyal and we both ran towards the back gate. We were weeping. I felt bullets passing by my head twice. It was so terrible.
“We reached back gate in a minute. As we stepped outside the gate, we started weeping again very loudly. “An aunt from a nearby house heard us and took us inside her house. We were shivering. She gave us water and comforted us. We stayed there for 15 minutes.
“Our van always parked a few hundred meters away from the school. We then went to our van. The van driver told us that our school fellows who have been murdered in the attack are martyrs and they would go to jannah (paradise).”
A six-year-old girl has been found dead in a garbage heap in Pakistan.
The girl was strangled after her killer allegedly tried to rape her, the police report said.
The victim, Sahar Batool, lived in Baluchistan's city of Quetta and belonged to the Hazara minority, composed mainly of Shiite Muslims.
"It is a heinous crime and police are making all out efforts to solve it," the Inspector General of Police for Baluchistan, Amlash Khan, said. He added that potential suspects were being questioned.
"There were a lot of bruises on the girl's body that shows that attempts were made to rape her," he continued.
Sahar's parents told AFP: "We have no enmity with anyone.
- Violent mobs attacked Shahzad Masih and his five months pregnant wife Shama after a Muslim co-worker at the brick kiln accused them of defiling the Holy Quran
- Murdered woman’s father says govt initiated FIR on its own, buried remains of the couple hastily at midnight ‘as if they were thieves’
PM orders Punjab CM to show no mercy to killers as police arrest 44 accused
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday directed Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to show no mercy to the murderers of a Christian couple accused of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan near Lahore, as police arrested at least 44 persons in connection with the incident which has shocked people in Pakistan and across the world.
Commanded from mosque loudspeakers, a violent Muslim mob killed the Christian couple on Tuesday after a Muslim co-worker at the brick kiln, where they both worked as bonded labourers, accused the pregnant wife of defiling the Holy Quran.
Family sources told Pakistan Today that the lives of Shama Bibi, 28, and her husband Shahzad Masih, 32, could have been saved if they had fled the kiln on Monday after the Quran desecration charges were made against them.
The couple lived and worked at a brick kiln owned by Chaudhry Yousuf Gujjar in Chak 59 village near Kot Radha Kishan, some 60 kilometres from Lahore. They had four children while Shama was five months pregnant.
MEMBERS of the Hindu community protest outside the Hyderabad Press Club on Wednesday over alleged forced conversion and marriage of a Hindu girl in Daharki a few days ago.
KARACHI: Taking refuge in the city after receiving threats by a powerful group in Daharki, the parents of a recently converted 12-year-old girl, Anjali Kumari Meghwar, met the Karachi police chief on Wednesday to speak about their daughter’s case.
Daharki, a city of Ghotki district, has been witnessing a wave of protests since Anjali was kidnapped from her home in Mustafa Abad Mohalla in broad daylight and converted within a day, according to her parents.
“Nobody listens to the poor. But to be from a lower caste on top of that, worsens the matters for our community,” said Kundan Mal Meghwar, father of the girl, while speaking to Dawn on Wednesday.
As was seen in most conversion cases in the past, the activities of the Bharchundi Shareef shrine in Daharki was once again questioned, with the parents alleging that their girl was converted and married off under the patronage of the shrine caretakers.
Soon after the incident, the caretakers came up with a statement that they had nothing to do with the kidnapping and forcible conversion of the girl. “We only facilitate their wish. We don’t impose our own will on them,” said a spokesperson for the shrine.
Kundan refused to admit that her daughter converted and married of her free will. For proof, he had with him documents issued by the National Database and Registration Authority and her school certifying that a girl had studied in there till class four, and at present, she was aged 12.
“Riaz Sial, the man Anjali was forcibly married to, is still roaming around the area and has not been arrested so far,” Kundan continued, “whereas my daughter was handed over to the police on Friday after we requested help from an influential man in the area.”
SUKKUR: Despite it being the weekend, Daharki’s civil court was abuzz with activity on Sunday morning as 12-year-old Anjali was produced before the civil judge to record a statement under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Anjali’s alleged forced conversion and marriage with a Muslim man has triggered protests from her community in Sukkur. Her parents believe that she was kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam.
According to sources at the court, Anjali, who adopted the name Salma after embracing Islam, was produced in the court of Hafiz Attaullah Shaikh, who decided to send her to a shelter house in Karachi for 10 days as the girl was unable to record a statement. Sources claim the minor was confused and could not utter a word despite repeated questions from the judge. She was escorted to Karachi by the police.
Several men and women from the Meghwar community and Dargah Bharchoondi were present at court, including the girl’s parents.
Sources claim that when Ajali walked into the courtroom, her mother ran to her and embraced her. The parents asked their daughter to come home with them but she refused and continued to walk ahead with the police.
The chief of the Meghwar community, Jaswant Meghwar, told The Express Tribune that a large number of people from Dargah Bharchoondi Sharif were present outside the courtroom and that might have frightened Anjali which is why she failed to record a statement before the court.
ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani policeman on Thursday shot and wounded a 70-year-old British man with a history of mental illness in the jail where he is on death row for blasphemy, his lawyers said.
An activist said a Christian pastor accused of the same offence was killed in the attack, but the pastor's sister said on Friday this was not true and that the police had got their facts wrong.
The Briton, Muslim Muhammad Asghar, from Edinburgh, was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to death in January after a tenant presented letters he had written saying he was a prophet .
A constable shot Asghar in jail in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, his lawyers said without elaborating.
This year has seen a record number of blasphemy accusations, according to an Islamabad-based think-tank, the Center for Research and Security Studies. Many analysts say the claims are increasingly used to settle scores or grab property.
Blasphemy charges, punishable by death in Muslim-majority Pakistan, are hard to fight because the law does not define what is blasphemous. Presenting the evidence can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.
IT should have been just another Sunday service at the All Saints Church in Peshawar a year ago. As it turned out, it was the prelude to a massacre, the worst attack against the Christian community in Pakistan, when twin suicide bombings at the end of the service claimed around 90 lives and injured over 100 people.
The carnage sparked a wave of revulsion among Pakistanis, and expressions of solidarity with the community were swift in coming. Although attacks on such scale along religious lines have not occurred since then, the war on minorities in this country grinds on relentlessly.
In fact, it could be said that it is expanding, claiming yet more victims and also from communities hitherto left comparatively unscathed by religious extremism.
In Peshawar itself, the small Sikh community has been repeatedly targeted this year. Five Sikhs have been killed in as many months, with two fatalities in the first week of September alone. In a remote corner of Balochistan, armed men attacked a group of Zikris in their place of worship, killing six and injuring several others. Although persecution of the Zikris — a little-known Islamic sect — had surfaced during Gen Zia’s time, when religious extremism was actively harnessed and patronised to further strategic objectives, this was the first direct attack in more than two decades on their lives.