Accessibility links

Breaking News


Pakistan Supreme Court To Hear Christian Woman's Blasphemy Case

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. (file photo)

Pakistan's Supreme Court has suspended the execution of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

Asia Bibi’s lawyer said the court will soon begin hearing an appeal against her conviction.

Bibi, a mother of five, was arrested in 2009.

She has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim woman.

Bibi's death sentence was confirmed in October 2014 by the high court in the eastern city of Lahore.

The case brought international criticism of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which were introduced in the 1980s.

Rights activists have urged Pakistan to repeal the legislation, arguing it is often used to settle personal disputes.

The issue is so sensitive that even unproven allegations can provoke mob violence.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa

U.S. Imam Allegedly Aided Al-Qaeda In Pakistan, Afghanistan

Al-Qaeda is believed to have orchestrated terrorist attacks across the globe from hideouts in Pakistan and Afghanistan

U.S. authorities are seeking to revoke the citizenship of an imam who they say tried to conceal past associations with radical Islamic groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, an imam in Oregon, raised money, recruited fighters, and provided training for insurgent groups battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Justice says in a complaint filed on July 20 in federal court.

Government lawyers say Kariye for a time "dealt directly" with Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, the founders of Al-Qaeda, and he recruited sympathizers in the United States and Pakistan for an Al-Qaeda precursor known as Maktab al-Khidamat.

Kariye is also accused of being a founding officer of the now-defunct Global Relief Foundation, which authorities say provided assistance to terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda and promoted radical jihad.

Federal authorities say Kariye failed to reveal those details in his application for citizenship, which was granted in 1998.

Kariye was one of 18 people who in 2010 sued the federal government for unfairly placing them on a no-fly list.

Based on reporting by AP and The Oregonian

Pakistan Accuses India Of More Cease-Fire Violations

An Indian villager holds part of a mortar shell after alleged live fire from the Pakistan side of the Kashmir border on 16 July.

Pakistan has accused India of what it calls a series of "unprovoked cease-fire violations" in the disputed Kashmir region, days after violence killed at least five people on both sides of the border.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Indian troops opened fire on July 18 in the Poonch sector of the Line of Control, the region's de facto border, using "small arms, rockets, mortars, and heavy machine gun fire."

The statement, issued late on July 18, didn't mention any casualties.

India insists the clash was initiated by Pakistan.

Troops on both sides have repeatedly exchanged gunfire and mortar shells in recent days.

On July 16, four civilians were killed in artillery fire that struck Pakistani villages near the eastern city of Sialkot. Islamabad blamed Indian troops for the incident.

India, meanwhile, blamed Pakistan for shooting at an Indian border post and for firing mortar shells that landed in a border village on July 15, killing one woman and wounding four people.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars since 1947 over their competing claims to the Himalayan region.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and

Suicide Bomber Kills Security Guard In Pakistan

Pakistan - map

A police officer said a suicide attacker detonated his explosive vest at the entrance of a Shi'ite neighborhood in southwestern Pakistan July 17, killing one security guard.

The attack, which struck on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, took place at Railway Colony in the city of Quetta.

Senior police officer Abdul Razzaq Cheema said the attacker, clad in female clothing, had attempted to sneak into the town. Guard Talib Hussain challenged the intruder, who then detonated his device, killing himself and the guard, Cheema said.

Cheema speculated that if the attacker had succeeded in entering the largely Shi'ite neighborhood, he would have attacked congregation members at dawn prayers on July 18.

No group claimed the attack, but Pakistan's Hazara Shi'ite minority has been a frequent target of the Al-Qaeda linked Lashker-e-Jhangvi militant group.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Five Civilians Killed, Drone 'Downed' Along India-Pakistan Border

A photo purportedly shows the wreckage of a small lightweight model drone of a type widely available for commercial purchase, lying on branches of wood near Bhimber, a district of Pakistani-administered Kashmir on July 15.

Five civilians have been reported killed as India and Pakistan exchanged fire in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Pakistan accuses India of unprovoked firing across the de facto border in the Sialkot region on July 15 in which four civilians died and five others were injured.

India says one woman was killed and three other civilians wounded when Pakistani soldiers fired shells that exploded in the Pargwal area.

Pakistan's army also said it shot down an Indian “spy drone" in Kashmir.

Pakistan summoned the Indian ambassador to hear a "strong protest over airspace violation," the AFP news agency reported.

Reports said India's army and air force denied that any of their drones had been shot down or crashed in Pakistan.

India and Pakistan often accuse each other of unprovoked firing along the disputed border.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

IS Audio Contradicts Reported Death Of IS Leader In Afghanistan

A video grab shows the Islamic State leader for the so-called Khorasan State, Hafez Saeed (C) at an undisclosed location at the Pakistani-Afghan border, undated.

By RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

The Islamic State (IS) group on July 13 released an audio recording it claims is the voice of the movement's leader for Afghanistan, contradicting reports he had been killed by a U.S. drone strike three days earlier.

The message, purportedly from leader Hafez Saeed, was posted to an IS website after the Afghan intelligence agency said he was killed.

The authenticity of the audio could not immediately be independently verified.

Saeed, a Pakistani, reportedly was killed in the Achin district of Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar on July 10.

Saeed switched allegiance in 2014 from the Taliban to IS.

IS figures have been targets for U.S drone strikes, which have killed three other IS commanders in the same area during the past week -- including Shahidullah Shahid and Gul Zaman.

IS fighters have fought battles against Afghan Taliban in several districts of Nangarhar Province during the past two months.

With reporting by Reuters

Malala Makes Plea For 'Books Not Bullets' On 18th Birthday

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai gives a speech on her 18th birthday, as she opens a new school in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley on July 12.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai marked her 18th birthday at a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and called for world leaders to "invest in books instead of bullets."

Malala was shot and nearly killed by the Taliban in her native Pakistan in 2012 for insisting girls have a right to be educated.

She said she will continue to campaign for the right of all children to have an education.

"Today, on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world's children, I demand of leaders -- we must invest in books instead of bullets," Malala said on July 12.

She said she decided to go to Lebanon because "the voices of Syrian refugees need to be heard and they have been ignored for so long."

Malala now lives in Britain, where she was treated after her shooting.

She was jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

Pakistani Troops Killed In Clashes With Militants

Afghanistan/Pakistan -- RFE/RL map, with Pashtun (Pashto) regions identified

The Pakistani Army says at least four government soldiers were killed in overnight clashes with militants in the volatile tribal areas.

A military statement on July 12 said that militants attacked an army checkpoint in the South Waziristan tribal region, along the border with Afghanistan, close to midnight.

Nine militants were also killed in the clashes, the statement said.

The military launched a large-scale offensive in the region last year.

The current fighting is the last phase of the military action by government security forces.

The Waziristan region is a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP

After BRICS, Putin Hosts Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit In Ufa

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (L) speaks with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani in Ufa on July 9

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted regional leaders at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on July 10, a second day of meetings meant to show the West that Moscow has friends and influence elsewhere at a time when ties with the United States and EU are tense.

Putin criticized the NATO-led military contingent that ended its mission in Afghanistan last year during the meeting of the SCO, which brings together Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

He announced that the grouping was turning a new page as "the process of including Pakistan and India into the organization is being launched."

SCO leaders signed a document starting the procedure of accession for India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed South Asian rivals that currently have observer status in the SCO. Iran, Mongolia, and Afghanistan also have observer status.

Wrapping up the one-day summit, the leaders also signed a declaration on the results of the gathering, in which they reiterated their readiness to continue working on creation of a Development Bank and Development Fund within the SCO and supported China's proposal to create a Silk Road economic belt across the SCO member-states.

The document also called for establishing peace in Ukraine through implementation of the Minsk agreement, a February deal on a cease-fire and steps toward a political solution to the conflict between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

Putin said the SCO members had agreed to add Belarus to the list of observer states and that "Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, and Nepal are joining the SCO family as dialogue partners."

Putin has used the SCO and other regional groupings in an effort to increase Russia's clout in the former Soviet Union and beyond and establish counterweights to the European Union and NATO.

The summit in Ufa, capital of Russia's Bashkortostan region, came a day after a summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa -- in the same city.

Putin told the SCO meeting that a priority is maintaining security within member states and along their borders. He expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistan -- which borders Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and China -- and said that illegal drug production and the influence of militants associated with the extremist group Islamic State (IS) is increasing.

The presence of the international military contingent that entered Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States "did not substantially improve the situation there," Putin said in a dig at Washington and NATO.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also stressed the importance of assisting Afghanistan in strengthening security.

"We have to play a bigger role in the process of national reconciliation and economic restoration in Afghanistan," Xi said.

The SCO is dominated by China and Russia, which are vying for influence in Central Asia even as they draw closer amid severe tension between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

Xi said that the accession of other countries such as India and Pakistan would boost cooperation within the group.

He proposed simplified visa issuance for Chinese tourists visiting SCO member-states.

"We are ready to share China's enormous tourism opportunities with all SCO member states. We hope that simplified visa issuance procedures will be introduced for Chinese tourists," Xi said.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev called on member states to expedite creation of a Development Bank within the organization.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon expressed his hope that joint measures to stand against illegal drug trafficking across the SCO member-states would intensify.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who heads the most populous Central Asian state and has often displayed wariness about Russian influence -- called on his counterparts not to turn the SCO into a "military and political alliance."

Karimov said it is necessary "to rule out any kind of bloc mentality and not turn the SCO into a military and political alliance," Karimov said, adding that the group's "immutable course that rules out any activities against other countries must be preserved and strengthened."

Karimov said the next SCO summit will be held in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, in September 2016.

With reporting by TASS, RIA and Interfax

India, Pakistan To Join Regional Group Led By Russia, China

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) greets Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summit in Ufa on July 10.

India and Pakistan will join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security group led by Russia and China and also including Central Asian republics, the organization said in a statement on July 10.

The group also offered the dialogue partner status to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, and Nepal, the statement said.

It also said Belarus would obtain observer status, joining Afghanistan, Iran, and Mongolia.

The statement was released during a SCO summit in the Russian city of Ufa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the group's expansion as "a new stage in SCO development."

Russia sees the organization as a counterweight to Western alliances.

A day earlier, Ufa hosted a summit of BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The summits are widely seen as an attempt by Moscow to show it is not isolated despite its standoff with the West over Russia's role in Ukraine's conflict.

Moscow has deepened its ties with BRICS since being hit by Western sanctions over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

Rivals Pakistan, India Agree To Hold Security Meeting

ndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) greets Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ahead of a meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS emerging economies summit in Ufa on July 10.

India and Pakistan, the two South Asian rival nations, have agreed to hold a meeting of their national security advisers in New Delhi to discuss terrorism, India said on July 10.

The announcement by India's foreign secretary came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a rare meeting on the sidelines of a regional security summit in Russia.

The two leaders also agreed to help expedite the trial of the 2008 Mumbai attack blamed on Pakistan-based gunmen, for long a stumbling block in ties, Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar said.

He said Modi also accepted Sharif's invitation to attend a regional summit in Islamabad in 2016, in what would be Modi's first official visit to Pakistan.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over Kashmir, divided between them since British colonialists left in 1947.

India accuses Pakistan of arming Kashmiri insurgents who seek independence or a merger with Pakistan. Islamabad denies the charge.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Pakistan, Indian PMs Hold Rare Meeting In Russia

BRICS and SCO leaders pose for a photo at the BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia, on July 9.

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan, the leaders of two rival South Asian nations, held a rare meeting on the sidelines of a summit in Russia on July 10.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, met at Congress Hall in the Russian city of Ufa, where they are attending the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS trade group.

Pakistan said they will discuss a range of issues.

Pakistan and India have long tried to mend their differences without much success.

Earlier this week, an Indian soldier was killed when the two sides exchanged fire at a border town near the Pakistani city of Sialkot.

Last summer, India called off talks after Islamabad's ambassador in New Delhi met with Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The two countries have fought two wars over Kashmir, which has been divided between them since British colonialists left in 1947.

India accuses Pakistan of arming Kashmiri insurgents who seek independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Pakistan denies the charge.

Based on reporting by AP and

Air Strike Kills IS Leader In Afghanistan

A video grab shows the TTP's former spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, at an undisclosed location at the Pakistani-Afghan border; undated.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security says a former spokesman for Pakistan’s Taliban who declared loyalty to the Islamist State militant group has been killed by an air strike in eastern Afghanistan.

Afghan officials say Mawlavi Shahidullah Shahid was killed on July 7 by the air strike in the Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province.

Shahid was sacked as the spokesman for Pakistan’s Taliban in October 2014 after he became the first militant in the area to publicly declare allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Shahid then became an IS leader for an area that the militant group calls the Khorasan region, which comprises Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of neighboring countries.

Afghan officials say the head of IS military operations in Afghanistan, Gul Zamn Fateh, was also killed in the air strike along with his deputy, Jahadyar.

Based on reports by The Express Tribune and dpa

Putin Arrives In Ufa To Host Summits Of BRICS, SCO

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi arrive for their meeting in Ufa on July 8.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 8 arrived in Ufa, the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, to host summits of the BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Putin’s schedule on July 8 includes bilateral meetings with foreign leaders -- including the presidents of China, Belarus, India, Tajikistan, and South Africa.

On July 9, Putin is scheduled to meet with other heads of state from the BRICS group, which is comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Later on July 9, Putin plans to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani for talks on Iran’s nuclear program as well as a proposal to boost cooperation in trade and military technology.

He also is scheduled to meet for trilateral talks with the leaders of China and Mongolia.

The agenda of the SCO summit on July 10 includes the start of procedures for India and Pakistan to join the group.

After the SCO summit, Putin is scheduled to meet separately on July 10 with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS

Drone Strikes In Eastern Afghanistan Kill Militants Loyal To IS

An image made from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) on 27 January 2015 purportedly showing Hafiz Said Khan (C) head of the IS branch in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Two drone strikes targeted militants loyal to Islamic State in Afghanistan on July 7 -- killing between 25 and 49 insurgents, according to differing estimates by Afghan and foreign officials.

An increasing number of militants are pledging allegiance to Islamic State in Afghanistan, making them a target of deadly strikes there by the U.S. unmanned aircraft.

Many are Central Asian extremists who’ve fled a Pakistani military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Those militants also have found themselves at odds with rival factions of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the Nangarhar Province governor, said 49 militants were killed by drone attacks in the village of Mamd Dara in the Achin district.

But a foreign official, who asked not to be named, said the number of dead was closer to 25.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

Afghan, Taliban To Hold Talks In Pakistan

Michael Koch Germany Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hekmat Khalil Karzai (C) Deputy Afghan Foreign minister in Political Affairs and Daniel F. Feldman U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Afghan government has sent a delegation to Pakistan in the latest bid to start peace talks with the Taliban.

Afghan officials told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal on July 7 that Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai and Taliban representative Mullah Jalil are in Islamabad to discuss peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The meeting could be a step toward starting a formal peace process with the insurgent group that was ousted from power by a U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

The talks come as Taliban's annual offensive is in full swing, with gunmen storming a building and a suicide car bomber targeting a convoy of NATO forces in Kabul on July 7.

In recent months, there have been several informal meetings between Afghan officials and the Taliban at venues outside Afghanistan, but little concrete progress appears to have been made.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

Pakistan Roadside Bomb Kills At Least Three Soldiers

File photo of a bomb attack in northwestern Pakistan.

A roadside bomb attack has killed at least three Pakistani soldiers and injured six others in the country's lawless tribal areas.

The bomb detonated as a military convoy drove through the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan tribal agency on July 5.

The injured soldiers were taken to a nearby hospital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Pakistani security forces are conducting an operation to root out militants from North Waziristan, a breeding group for Pakistani Taliban militants and other Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border have served for decades as safe haven for local and foreign militants who operate on both sides of the border.

Based on reporting by AP and Xinhua

Death Toll Rises In Pakistani Train Crash

Security officials rescue passengers after train cars fell into a canal following the partial collapse of a bridge in Wazirabad in Punjab Province on July 2.

Pakistan's military said on July 3 the death toll from a suspicious train accident in the eastern Punjab Province has risen to 17.

The train, carrying more than 200 people -- including military personnel and their families -- fell into a canal after the partial collapse of a bridge on July 2.

The incident, which a government minister said might have involved sabotage, occurred near the town of Wazirabad.

The train was headed to the garrison town of Kharian.

The military said four carriages derailed as the train crossed Chanawan Bridge.

Pakistani army spokesman Asim Bajwa tweeted on July 3 that so far 17 bodies had been recovered and that the search for missing people was continuing.

The dead included the commander of a unit, his wife, and a daughter, the state-run TV said.

Bajwa said more than 80 people were saved by rescuers.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Police Stop Lynching Of Christians Accused Of Blasphemy In Pakistan


Police in Pakistan saved a Christian couple from a Muslim mob that was attempting to lynch them for allegedly committing blasphemy, a senior officer said July 2.

The incident, which took place in the village of Makki in Punjab Province, represents a rare successful intervention by authorities in a country where even unproven charges of blasphemy can result in a bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

Sohail Zafar Chattha, the district police chief, said the illiterate Christian couple had obtained an old advertisement awning containing slogans of various colleges and were using it as a mat to sleep on.

Arabic inscriptions from the Koran were among the slogans, leading clerics to accuse the couple of committing blasphemy.

"Muslims of the town gathered there and dragged the poor couple, who didn't know what they had done. They were being beaten to death," Chattha said.

"Police intervened in time and rescued the couple," he said, adding that they were later handed over to a Christian community in Lahore.

He said police have arrested a cleric in the incident.

Based on reporting by AFP and

Pakistan Army Officer, Dozen Others Killed In Suspicious Train Accident

Security officials rescue passengers after train cars fell into a canal following the partial collapse of a bridge in Wazirabad in Punjab Province on July 2.

At least 14 people, including a senior army officer, were killed July 2 when a train carrying more than 200 fell into a canal in Pakistan after the partial collapse of a bridge.

The incident, which a government minister said might have involved sabotage, occurred near the eastern town of Wazirabad in the country's most populous province, Punjab. The train was headed to the garrison town of Kharian.

The military said four carriages derailed as the train, which was carrying army troops and military hardware, crossed Chanawan Bridge.

Military spokesman Asim Bajwa said 14 bodies had been recovered, including that of the train driver, and the search for missing people continued.

Bajwa said "Lieutenant Colonel Amir," the commander of a unit, died in the accident.

Geo TV reported that an army officer's wife and two children were also killed.

More than 80 people were saved by rescuers, Bajwa said.

The rescue mission involved rubber dinghies, helicopters, and divers, live TV footage showed. Soldiers were seen breaking the windows of the train with hammers and pulling out passengers trapped inside.

Speaking to reporters, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the incident may not have been accidental.

"There appears to be some other hand or reason. Apparently it could be due to a blast or deliberate loosening of the fishplates," he said, adding a heavier train carrying hundreds of people had crossed the same bridge an hour earlier without a problem.

"This bridge was inspected in December and January and it had no issues," he said.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where tracks and bridges are often poorly maintained.

Pakistan inherited thousands of miles of track and trains from the former colonial power, Britain. But the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and under-investment.

Small separatist groups in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan also have been known to bomb railway tracks.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered an investigation.

Sharif expressed "deep grief and sorrow" over the accident and conveyed his condolences to families of "martyred" soldiers.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa

Pakistan Al-Qaeda Leader Reportedly Killed In Raid

File photo of a Pakistani security official standing guard near the site of a suicide bomb blast during an operation against militants in Lahore.

A Pakistani official says the head of Al-Qaeda in the country is among four militants killed in a police raid in the eastern province of Punjab.

Punjab's Home Minister Shuja Khanzada named the Al-Qaeda leader only as "Abdali" at a news conference on July 1.

Two more militants were injured in the June 29 raid on a house in the town of Ferozewala and arrested.

A huge cache of weapons -- including AK-47s, rocket launchers, and suicide vests -- was seized in the operation, police said.

Khanzada said the militants had all trained in Afghanistan in an Al-Qaeda camp for five months.

He added that the group was planning an attack on the offices of Pakistan's civilian intelligence agency.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Heat Wave Claims More Lives In Southern Pakistan

A man uses a hand-held fan to cool down his son, while waiting for their turn for a medical checkup, outside Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi on June 23.

Pakistani health officials say more than 25 people died from heatstroke in the southern province of Sindh on June 30.

The total death toll from a heat wave in Sindh now stands at 1,256, provincial health officials said on July 1.

Most of the deaths were reported from the provincial capital, Karachi.

The provincial government says the devastating heat wave has affected some 100,000 people in Karachi since it struck Sindh on June 20 with temperatures reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius.

Officials were criticized by residents and opposition parties for not doing enough to tackle the crisis.

Local residents say prolonged electric power cuts have made the matters worse.

The deadly heat wave coincided with the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when the country's Muslim majority observed a dawn-to-dusk fast.

With reporting by and AP

India Forces Greater Scrutiny On Pakistan's Antiterror Enforcement

Hafiz Saeed

Pakistan is under increased scrutiny for its enforcement of UN financial sanctions against terrorists after a move by India blocking China's bid to shield Pakistan.

The Financial Action Task Force will be closely monitoring Pakistan through the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering for its enforcement of freezes on the economic resources and properties of three terrorists on the UN's Al-Qaeda sanctions list: Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

At a meeting in Brisbane, Australia, on June 26, China attempted to intervene on Pakistan's behalf, saying Islamabad was not a member of the task force. But India, with U.S. backing, prevailed in ensuring Pakistan remains under pressure to comply with the asset freeze.

The United States and India said Pakistan lacks conviction in implementing antiterror sanctions, while China argued that Pakistan was doing enough, though it has only listed unnamed accounts in its reports to the monitoring group.

Hafiz Saeed roams freely in Pakistan, while Lakhvi was set free from a Rawalpindi jail last month. India says Dawood is also in Pakistan, though Islamabad denies it.

Based on reporting by Times of India, The Express Tribune, and IBNLive

U.S. Senators Question Pakistan's Handling Of Malala Trial

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) waves to the crowd after he announced his bid for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election race in April.

Two U.S. senators are demanding an accounting from Pakistan for the reported acquittal of suspects in the attempted murder of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

In a June 29 letter to Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani, senators Marco Rubio and Barbara Boxer expressed deep concern over the recent acquittal of eight out of 10 suspects.

“We urge the government of Pakistan to redouble its bring those responsible for this brutal attack to justice,” the two top members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.

In April, Pakistani officials announced that all 10 suspects were found guilty for their roles in shooting Malala in 2012 and were given 25-year prison sentences.

But more recently, media reports surfaced that eight of the 10 were actually acquitted of the charges.

News of the acquittals raises “significant concerns about the transparency and the accountability of the Pakistani judicial system,” the senators said.

The Taliban targeted Malala because she championed the cause of girls’ education. Her efforts later made her the youngest person in history to earn the Noble Peace Prize.

Based on reporting by Economic Times and

Four Suspected Militants Killed In Punjab Operation

Pakistan -- Pakistani police commandos cordon off a house on the outskirts of Lahore, June 29, 2015

Pakistani officials say security forces have raided an Islamist militant hideout near the eastern city of Lahore.

Punjab Home Minister Shujaa Khanzada said three Pakistani Taliban militants were shot and killed in the operation early on June 29 and that a fourth blew himself up.

Two others were wounded and captured during the raid, which took place in the town of Ferozwala in Punjab Province.

Khanzada said the group was planning “attacks on the offices of security forces and important political figures."

He added that police seized a cache of weapons, including AK-47s, rocket launchers, and suicide vests, during the raid.

Pakistan's military launched an offensive on the Pakistani Taliban’s main base in North Waziristan tribal district in June 2014. Officials say many militants have fled to other parts of the country.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

Load more