Dec 15- 19 (2014)

Story Highlights

Peshawar Massacre

Massacre of more than 140 children and teachers on December 16 in Peshawar remained the top news of the week with strong resonance around the world. Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan’s terrorists, equipped with heavy arms, attacked Army Public School on Warsak Road in Peshawar. According to media reports, six militants, wearing armed forces’ uniform, stormed into the school and killed children indiscriminately. Pak Army’s commandos killed the attackers after a shootout.

Spokesman of TTP Umar Khorasani claimed the responsibility, saying, “It’s revenge for the army’s offensive in North Waziristan.”

As soon as the news broke, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew to Peshawar and monitored the operation personally. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan also reached Peshawar. Prime Minister Sharif called an All Parties Conference to take all political parties into confidence on the second day of the incident where political leadership vowed to fight terrorism together. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif left for Kabul immediately after the conference to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and ISAF commander to seek custody of TTP Mullah Fazlullah, hiding in Afghanistan.

On the political scene, the incident led to end of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s 126 days long sit-in against the government in Islamabad. PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in his last address to the participants of sit-in, said that the country could not afford political tussle in testing times. As Pakistan mourns the incident, international condemnation kept pouring in including from the arch rival India where schools and Indian parliament observed two minutes of silence in solidarity. Other countries including China, US, UK and Turkey also condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Pakistan.

Another development that triggered a wave of panic amongst terrorists and pro-terrorists groups was Prime Minister Sharif’s decision of lifting ban on execution of death penalties after six years. Government is preparing for execution of terrorists in various jails of Pakistan. It might be a defining movement for terror-ridden Pakistan.

PTI and PML-N Tussle

After 126 days long sit-in in the capital against the government, Pakistan Tehreeke Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had launched his Plan C for countrywide protests in support of his demand of a fair audit of May 2013 elections. The series of protests started from Faisalabad, followed by Karachi and Lahore.

PTI showed strength in all three cities while incidents of violence occurred in Faisalabad and Lahore which are strongholds of the ruling PML-N.

PTI chairman had also said that his party would shut down the entire country on Dec 18th if the government did not announce the date for the formation of a judicial commission to probe into the rigging allegations. Government and PTI, finally, decided to have negotiations for formation of Judicial Commission but Peshawar school’s incident halted the talks between the two parties, and Khan called off his movement.

Lukhvi’s Bail

An anti-terrorism court in Islamabad granted bail to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks and top leader of the banned Lashkar e Lashkar e Tayyaba.

Government intends to challenge the decision in the upper courts. The decision came at a critical time when Pakistan faced the worst every incident of terrorism at a Peshawar’s school. Soon after the incident, Army Chief Raheel Sharif visited Afghanistan and demanded custody of Mullah Fazlullah from Afghanistan. Political leadership also vowed to crush terrorism at all levels. Lakhvi is also wanted by India.

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