Bomb explosion: Office of NGO targeted in Hayatabad




A bomb weighing six kilogrammes went off outside the office of Sawera, destroying the building used by the NGO along with furniture and a vehicle. PHOTO: INP

PESHAWARAfter the brutal killing of its executive director last year, Sawera – an NGO working to promote women’s rights – once again came under attack on Saturday.

A bomb was planted by unidentified militants near the gate of the NGO’s office in Hayatabad Phase-I. The device, weighing six kilogrammes, rendered heavy losses to the building, furniture and a vehicle used by the organisation, but no loss of life was reported. “The blast also damaged two other houses in the area,” said a police official.

Sawera’s technical advisor Lal Jan Afridi said the NGO, which stands for Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas, is presently working on voters’ education and mobilisation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). He added they are also providing livelihood to displaced persons not residing in refugee camps.

Jan said despite the murder of their colleague in Jamrud, Khyber Agency on July 4, 2012, they have continued with their operations fearlessly.

Sawera’s Executive Director Farida Afridi was shot dead while she was on her way to office from her house in Hayatabad, Peshawar. “She was a great loss for us, but that didn’t deter us from working for the welfare of poor people,” Jan told The Express Tribune.

He added they had not received any prior warnings of an attack on them, saying it was “sudden and tragic.”

Jan claimed they have now been compelled to suspend operations as their office has been completely destroyed. He said they will talk to donors to provide funds to compensate for the losses they have sustained. “We will do everything we can to ensure the organisation keeps running.”

He said the lives of the NGO’s employees were at stake and appealed to the government to provide them security. “We have 15 staff members, most of whom are females. They are gripped with fear after this blast.”

Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) Coordinator Idrees Kamal strongly condemned the attack.

“The terrorists are targeting these people because they don’t want the residents to come out from the clutches of darkness. We demand the government to compensate the organisation,” he said in a statement.

“The lukewarm response of Pakistani forces and their constant failure to catch the culprits are providing a safe haven for terrorists in tribal areas. These attacks are now happening on a daily basis. The caretaker government should chalk out a proper strategy to rid Pakistani soil of these militants,” he added.

Kamal said a PCNS delegation will soon meet the K-P chief minister and governor to discuss the issue. “We asked the previous government to provide jobs to the family members of the Swabi blast victims, but the demand was not fulfilled in their tenure. We now request the present government to compensate them.”

Girls’ teacher killed in Taliban shooting victim ‘Malala-style’ attack



A teacher in Pakistan has been murdered in an attack similar to that on Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl blogger.

Shahnaz Nazli was shot dead in Shahkas, near the town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district, between the north-western city of Peshawar and the Afghan border.

Reports said the 41-year-old was hit in what as described as a drive-by shooting.

According to the AFP news agency, the teacher was on her way to the government girls’ primary school in Shahkas when gunmen fired at her about 200 metres from the school and then fled the scene.

“The teacher was killed after unknown gunmen on a motorbike shot her and fled,” said a local government official, Asmatullah Wazir.

No groups have so far claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, though the Taliban has previously been behind numerous attacks on girls’ schools and teachers. Hundreds of schools have been bombed and destroyed in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Last year, the Taliban shot and seriously wounded Malala Yousafzai, a teenager who campaigned for girls’ education.

Islam is coming back The West needs to understand it is inevitable – Tariq Suwaidan