|TTP Warn Paks Not to Vote in Saturday Polls|
|[An Nahar] The Pak Taliban on Friday warned the country's 86 million electorate not to vote in Saturday's landmark elections, telling them to keep away to "save their lives."|
"Democracy is against Islam and is a system for infidels. Being a , it's our responsibility to reject this thinking and ideology and be a part of the struggle to enforce Islamic sharia," Ehsanullah Ehsan told Agence Presse.
"To revolt against this system, the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban) have planned several actions on May 11, so we appeal to the people to stay away from polling stations to save their lives," Ehsan added on the eve of the vote.
Attacks on politicians and political parties have killed more than 120 people since mid-April, according to an Agence Presse tally, and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistain said the elections were the most violent in the country's history.
The TTP have branded democracy unIslamic and have singled out the main outgoing parties for particular threat, drastically curtailing public campaigning for the Pakistain People's Party and its main allies.
|Taliban threaten polling day suicide attacks|
|[Pak Daily Times] The Taliban have sent s to mount election-day attacks on Pakistain's historic polls, a commander said on Thursday, following a bloody campaign which has claimed more than 100 lives.|
They have directly threatened the Pakistain People's Party (PPP) and its main partners in the outgoing government, seriously restricting their ability to campaign, and staged a series of attacks during the campaign.
The s' leader Hakimullah Mehsud had personally ordered s on polling day, said a in the northwest.
"The Taliban has dispatched several of fedayeen (suicide bombers) to carry attacks on election across Pakistain," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.
AFP saw a copy of a letter apparently sent from Mehsud to Taliban Ehsanullah Ehsan, mapping out the plan for bombings.
"You take care of attacks in Punjab and Sindh. I will take care of and ," it said in reference to Pakistain's four provinces.
"We don't accept the system of infidels which is called democracy," Mehsud said in the letter, dated May 1, and obtained by on Thursday.
Attacks on politicians and political parties, most of them claimed by the Taliban, have already killed 113 people since mid-April, according to an AFP tally.
Pakistain has said it will deploy more than 600,000 security personnel on polling day.
|Shutdown in Karachi over twin blasts on MQM|
|[BETA.DAWN] A complete shutdown was observed in and other cities of Sindh on Sunday (today) following a call to observe a 'day of mourning' by the (MQM) over twin s outside their election office in Azizabad on Saturday which killed three people and injured 40 others, DawnNews reported.|
A bomb planted near a park where the MQM had set up its election office for its unit in Karachi's Azizabad (Federal B. Area Block 8) went off around 9pm on Saturday.
The blast caused panic and fear in the densely populated and highly guarded neighbourhood as a number of MQM activists, volunteers, personnel of law enforcement agencies and media crew rushed to the place.
About 20 minutes later, another took place at almost the same place which was crowded by the party's activists, volunteers and security personnel. Police said apparently the MQM election office was the target.
"Both bombs were detonated either by remote control or a timer device," Karachi Central SSP Amir Farooqi said."The first attack appears to have been a trap to draw people to the place before the second . Tight security and surveillance prevented any major damage."
the Pak Taliban have of the attack. Speaking to Dawn.com via telephone from , Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) Ehsanullah Ehsan said the target was MQM and both bombings were carried out through planted devices.
The MQM, however, has vowed to not bow down to the terrorists. Speaking to DawnNews, the party's leader, Haider Abbas Rizvi said that MQM has been targeted by forces which do not wish to see it coming into power. "We will continue with our election campaign and no one can deter us from our fundamental right of partaking in polls," he said.
"It's sheer brutality," MQM chief Altaf Hussain said. "Our morale is high and we will not surrender to the evil forces of extremism and terror. It's so unfortunate that despite consistent attacks, no credible move has been witnessed against from the government, administration and security forces."
The outlawed TTP has vowed to target the secular political parties of the country, naming Pakistain People's Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and MQM in the run up to the coming general elections.
|ANP election candidate shot dead in Karachi|
|[Pak Daily Times] Awami National Party (ANP) candidate on NA-254 Sadiq Zaman Khattak was along with his 4-year-old son by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain in Bilal Colony on Friday.|
The ANP has given a call of mourning across the metropolis on Saturday.
Spokesperson of the outlawed TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan reportedly claimed the responsibility of killing the ANP candidate. As per details, four pillion riders shot Khattak and his son Ahmeal Sadiq dead near Rehmania Mosque located close to his residence in Bilal colony, Korangi. They were on their way home after offering Friday prayers. In the aftermath of the cowardly attack, panic spilled over in the vicinity, and people shutdown businesses and markets. Shahid Khattak, Muhammad Khalid, Islam Khan, Faisal Khan, Mansoor Rehman, Qayoomudin and two children were also in the attack. The victims were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where doctors pronounced Khattak and his son dead, and admitted the rest for treatment.
|Pre-poll bloodshed kills eleven|
|[Pak Daily Times] At least 11 people were killed across the country on Sunday, as continued to target political parties in a bid to disrupt the upcoming general election. |
Eight persons were killed and scores other injured in two s targeting independent candidates' elections offices in Kohat and districts, officials said.
The blast also damaged some houses and vehicles, according to the local police.
Had the bomb gone off minutes later, it would have killed dozens, Nasir Khan told s, saying a political gathering was scheduled at the office. "The people behind this attack aim to sabotage the upcoming election," he said.
12 injured were . Two vehicles and windowpanes of nearby houses and shops were also damaged.
Soon after the blast, the Rescue 1122 officials and police reached the site and shifted the injured to Lady Ready Hospital. Emergency was imposed in the hospital.
The police and law enforcing agencies personnel cordoned off the area and started operation to trace the s. Nasir Khan is a former senator.
The independent candidate is said to be a fierce critic of in his Bara constituency, where paramilitary forces were fighting the Taliban for the last three years. The conflict has displaced hundreds of thousands of families, who are living in camps and rented homes.
five supporters of independent candidate Syed Noor Akbar for NA-39 (Orakzai) seat were killed when his election office was attacked in the morning, according to Kohat police chief Dilawar Khan.
"It was a remote-controlled blast in which five kilogrammes of explosives were used," the police official told local s. "The IED was planted outside the election office. At least five people have been killed and 22 injured," Noor Akbar is canvassing for votes among the numerous Orakzai residents forced to flee the district to Kohat by army operations against s.
Fazal Naeem, a police in Kohat, confirmed the attack and told AFP the had damaged shops and vehicles nearby and also hit an office of the Awami National Party (ANP), which has been targeted repeatedly by the Taliban. "The election office was open at the time and supporters of Noor Akbar were sitting inside. The may rise, the condition of some of the injured is critical," Tanveer Khan, another police official, told AFP.
Over in Swabi, a remote-controlled blast took place when people were leaving after attending the election rally of Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Ameer Rehman in the PK-32 constituency. Two people, including a seven-year-old, were killed in the attack, while 16 others . According to AFP, the bomb as Ameer Rehman drove past in a convoy of dozens of vehicles.
Separately, a deadly blast claimed the life of a child and reportedly left five others injured on Sariab Road of Quetta city. The electoral procession of Shams Mengal, an independent candidate for PB-5 Quetta seat, was the target.
Police sources said that unidentified assailant had planted a bomb on a bicycle in Faizabad area of Sariab, where the electoral procession of the Shams Mengal was underway.
Police and Frontier Corps personnel rushed to the site shortly after the incident and cordoned off the area.
and injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital Quetta. According to the Bomb Disposal Squad, around four kilogrammes of was used in the blast.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) group for Sunday's blasts, as well as attacks in in recent days.
Fear of attacks has meant there have been few large-scale political rallies so far, leading to a lacklustre election campaign.
The TTP said it was attacking political parties because of their "secular doctrine" and because they were behind military operations in the tribal regions.
A statement from TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan explained the s' stance with reference to European philosophers.
"Islamic laws and values are from Allah and secular doctrine is from Rousseau, Kant and Bentham," the statement said. "A man cannot be secular and at a time. These are two different doctrines in nature."
|Taliban attack on ANP meeting kills ten in Karachi|
|[Dawn] At least ten people, including a child, were killed and more than 40 others were in a s' attack on a secular political party in , DawnNews reported.|
The Pak Talibs targeted a corner meeting of Awami National Party (ANP) near Mominabad Police Station in Karachi's SITE area. The meeting was being attended, among others, by a local leader of ANP, Bashir Jan.
Jan, however, escaped the attack unhurt.
SSP Karachi West Asif Ijaz, while talking to Dawn.Com, has confirmed the number of dead and injured. He said the bomb was a planted device with at leat four kilograms of . Ball bearings and nuts and bolts, apparently used in the bomb, were also found from the site of the blast, he added.
The blast was heard several kilometres away and damaged nearby shops and houses, witnesses said.
Talking to a private news channel, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali condemned the cowardly act of the and vowed to not bow down to them.
"People know who is behind these barbaric acts....they want to keep us away from elections," he said. the ANP chief said that his party will not boycott the May 11 polls.
the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) has of the attack.
Speaking to Dawn.com via telephone from , Pak Taliban Ehsanullah Ehsan said they had carried out the attack on the ANP for their secular views.
"These secular parties want to bring the system of the infidel in Pakistain," said the Taliban , speaking about the MQM, ANP and PPP.
Speaking to Dawn, Additional IG Karachi Iqbal Mehmood said political parties were required to inform police authorities 72 hours in advance of holding rallies or public meetings.
According to rules set down by the the Election Commission, parties should inform police of routes and other details ahead of holding public meetings to ensure their safety, Mehmood said.
Day of mourning
The ANP has announced to observe a day of mourning in the city. Transport, businesses and educational institutions however will remain open on Saturday, said the party's chief of Sindh province, Shahi Syed.
Karachi, Pakistain's commercial capital, has witnessed a recent surge in violence.
The Pak Taliban had also for an attack on Thursday on the election office of the MQM in Karachi, the second attack on the party in the city in three days.
Earlier in the day, an ANP's National Assembly candidate from Karachi's Landhi area came under a cracker in Karachi whereas a convoy of -Fazl (JUI-F) candidate Hashim Shahwani came under gunfire attack in Mach area of 's Bolan district.
The spike in violence targeting political parties has raised concerns for law and order as the May 11 general elections draw closer.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistain also expressed its concerns at the continuing terrorist attacks on election candidates, activists and campaigns of certain political parties.
"If this targeted violence persists, it would render the elections meaningless and make the country hostage to fascist forces," the rights watchdog said in a statement released Friday.
|Pak Talibs attack Karachi MQM office|
|[BETA.DAWN] At least five people were killed and around ten others injured when a blast an election office of a political party in on Thursday night, officials told Dawn.Com.|
Initial reports suggest the bomb was planted in a near the election office of (MQM) in Karachi's Nusrat Bhutto Colony.
The damaged nearby buildings and vehicles. Police and security agencies have cordoned off the area and an initial investigation is underway.
Injured and dead are shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Sources said that three brothers are among the five deceased.
DIG west of Karachi police, Zafar Abbas Bukhari has confirmed the number of casualties. "Five people have been killed and ten injured. The bomb was planted in a motor-bike," he said.
Party Qamar Mansur said that the office was closed following a on Tuesday which killed five people and injured around 15 at People's Chowrangi in North Nazimabad.
"All the victims were standing outside the office when the bomb ," he said.
the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) has of the attack. Speaking to Dawn.Com over telephone from , TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan said the outfit has targeted the MQM as they vowed to do so in the past.
The Pak Taliban (TTP) had threatened to target the three secular parties -- Pakistain People's Party, Awami National Party and MQM -- in the wake of historic May 11 polls.
MQM chief Altaf Hussain, (JI) leaders Syed Munawar Hasan and Muhammad Hussain Mehanti and others including Caretaker CM Punjab Najam Sethi have condemned the devastating terrorist attack.
Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad has ordered a swift probe report of the incident from the authorities concerned.
MQM announces day of mourning
The party has announced to observe day of mourning across the Sindh province on Friday. The business, transport and educational authorities have said that they will support the protest call from MQM and will keep all activities closed on Friday.
|TTP distributes threatening pamphlets against elections|
|[BETA.DAWN] The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) organization distributed pamphlets in Buner, and different areas of warning citizens not to participate in upcoming elections, DawnNews reported.|
Leaflets were distributed in various areas of Karachi warning people against attending political rallies and casting their votes at polling stations.
Local administration and security officials were reportedly unaware of any such incident.
The pamphlets warned voters that they would themselves be responsible for their own lives.
Speaking to Dawn.com TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-islamic and was the agenda of secular forces in Pakistain due to which they were opposed to it.
He added that the organization would continue its fight against secular forces and governments which were backed by external secular countries.
Similar pamphlets were distributed in Peshawar's Badaber, Mattni and Adizai areas.
Earlier today, leaflets were received near a mosque in Shingrai in Shalbandi area of Buner warning residents against taking part in upcoming elections.
Local residents and security personnel confirmed that leaflets were distributed in the area, which had threatened of attacks similar to those taken place in the area during 2008 by-elections.
The pamphlets were issued by Talibs based in Malakand division's area.
Militants had earlier targeted the local population after taking control of the area, as the locals, who were opposed to militancy,resisted the takeover by raising their own lashkars and supporting government forces.
Militants had carried out a suicide in Buner during the by-elections held for NA-28 after the demise of a local leader, Abdul Mateen Khan in 2008.
At least 45 people had died and 150 were wunded in the attack.
The Taliban had earlier issued a threat to all secular political parties and till recently have carried out various attacks on leaders belonging to the , Pakistain Peoples Party and Awami National Party.
|Pakistani clerics proclaim voting is 'Islamic duty'|
|[BETA.DAWN] Pak s, belonging to different schools of thought of Islam, Thursday declared that casting votes during general elections is not un-Islamic at all but is a 'religious obligation' for all s, DawnNews reported.|
Speaking at a in Islamabad, Pakistain Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi said that feudal lords forbid women to cast their votes and not Islam. He said politics is not a 'forbidden fruit' in the religion.
"After evolving a consensus among different muftis ( s), we issue this fatwa (edict) that casting vote is a Shariah obligation and it is prohibited not to do so," said Ashrafi.
Ruling out the perception that women are prohibited to use their voting rights, he said the religion does not discourage females to cast votes but feudal lords do.
The decree is issued in the wake of terrorist threats of sabotaging the historic May 11 polls -- the first transition between democratically elected governments in a country that has a history of military coups.
The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) also has distributed pamphlets on Thursday in Buner, and different areas of warning citizens not to participate in the upcoming elections.
Speaking to Dawn.com, Pak Taliban Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-Islamic and was the agenda of secular forces in the country due to which they were opposed to it.
|Pre-election blasts wreak havoc|
|[Pak Daily Times] A killed sixteen people and dozens more at an election campaign rally attended by former cabinet minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour in on Tuesday, officials said.|
Senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, who served as railways minister in the outgoing government, escaped the Peshawar bombing with cuts and bruises. He was shown on television footage with blood splattered on his trousers after the attack. "Six persons while others lost struggle for life while on their way to hospital or in hospital," a for the Lady Reading Hospital told media. The attack comes days after ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan wrote to the Election Commission of Pakistain protesting the withdrawal of security from s after completion of their government's constitutional term.
The Taliban quickly for the attack, but apologised for injuring Bilour, saying it had been targeting his nephew, Haroon. "We apologise to Ghulam Bilour because we announced an amnesty for him," Taliban Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from . Haroon is the son of slain ANP leader Bashir, the elder brother of Ghulam who was killed in a suicide attack at a political meeting in Peshawar on December 22.
The Taliban has directly threatened the ANP and its outgoing coalition partners, the PPP and the MQM which are perceived as secular. Up to six kilogrammes of explosives along with splinters and ball bearings were used in the bombing, officials said. "We have found the feet of the bomber," police official Malik added. In another election-related attack, as many as four people, including the son, brother and nephew of Pakistain League-N chapter President Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, were killed and 30 others injured when his convoy was attacked with a remote-controlled bomb in Zehri, on Tuesday.
Talking to this correspondent, a Levies official in Zehri said that Nawab Sanaullah Zehri was heading from Anjeera to Zehri as part of his election campaign in a convoy comprising as many as 30 to 35 vehicles. "When the motorcade reached Ghat Bulbul Tarsani, a remote-controlled bomb which was attached to an overpass went off," he said and, adding that it completely destroyed a vehicle and killed on the spot as many as four people -- the son of Sanaullah Zehri, Mir Sikandar Zehir, his nephew Mir Zaib Zehri and his younger brother Mehrullah Zehri and their gunman. Moreover, 30 people in the attack and five vehicles were damaged.
|TTP attack kills ANP leader in Swat, injures candidate in Charsadda|
|[Dawn] Awami National Party (ANP) local leader, Mukaram Shah, was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in Swat's Manglawar area on Sunday whereas ANP candidate Syed Masoom Shah was injured in a near the venue of a party rally in Charsadda.|
In the first attack in an apparently remotely-detonated bomb targeted the vehicle of ANP local leader and member of an anti-Taliban lashkar, Mukaram Shah, in Banjot village of Manglawar area in Swat. The vehicle was destroyed in the blast.
In the second incident an election candidate of the ANP from PK 21, Syed Masoom Shah, was injured along with three other people in a blast that occurred near the venue of an ANP rally held in Katozai village in Charsadda's Shabqadar tehsil.
The candidate was returning from the venue of an ANP rally when the blast occurred according to local police control room sources.
Masoom Shah was also earlier injured in an attack on an ANP rally in Feb 2008.
Proscribed organization Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) organization for both the remotely-detonated attacks. TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan told Dawn.com that the organization had targeted the candidates due to the secular views of the party.
The Pak Taliban had earlier warned of and conducted attacks against what it calls as 'secular parties' including the (MQM), Pakistain Peoples Party (PPP) and ANP.
A candidate belonging to the MQM was killed in Hyderabad last week in an attack claimed by the banned TTP organization.
Swat valley was ruled by the Pak Taliban during a 2007-9 insurgency was cleared out of militancy after the armed forces conducted an operation in the area.
More over two bombs weighing 20 pounds each were defused by security forces in the Bannu district near
In another incident, a bomb planted on a was defused near a Frontier Corps (FC) checkpost situated in the Chaman area near the Pak-Afghan border.
|TTP announce ‘conditional support’ to anti-polio drives|
|PESHAWAR: Banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has announced supporting the anti-polio drives on a condition that such campaigns were not used by the United States as a cover for espionage.|
Referring to the Abbottabad incident which led to the capture of Osama bin Laden, Ehsan said vaccination drives were being used by the CIA to hunt down its ‘Mujahideen’.
The Taliban spokesman also denied any involvement in previous attacks on polio workers.