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senior Pakistani official says the Islamabad government will soon release Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in a bid to help the ongoing peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.

Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser on foreign affairs, told reporters that Islamabad was ready to release former Afghan Taliban second-in-command in an effort to help end nearly 12 years of war in neighboring war-ravaged country.

“In principle, we have agreed to release him. The timing is being discussed. It should be very soon… I think within this month,” media outlets quoted Aziz as saying.

Mullah Baradar was captured in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in 2010.

Baradar is one of the co-founders of the Taliban movement in 1994, and was reported to be a close aide of Mullah Omar, the chief of the Taliban.

Pakistan has released dozens of high-profile Afghan Taliban prisoners over the past few months.

Afghanistan is seeking help from its neighbor to open up a direct channel of communication with Taliban militants. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged Pakistan for several times to facilitate peace talks with the militant group.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also been an advocate of peace talks with Taliban militants since his election campaign, which ended in his May victory.

The Taliban have so far refused to contact the Afghan government because they consider Karzai a US puppet. The Afghan High Peace Council has been making efforts to initiate dialogue with discontented Afghans and militants who have engaged in warfare with the US-led forces and Kabul’s Western-backed government.

The relations between Kabul and Islamabad are traditionally mired in distrust. Afghanistan and Pakistan blame each other for the Taliban violence plaguing both countries.

Over a decade of the costly US-led war in Afghanistan has failed to end militancy in the country and the US which has thousands of troops on the ground in Afghanistan is now trying to sit down for talks with Taliban militants!!!!

Indian army soldiers display seized arms and ammunition at the army headquarters in Srinagar, India, August 16, 2013.

Pakistan has summoned India’s top diplomat to protest the killing of two of its soldiers on Thursday in what Islamabad condemned as “continued unprovoked” Indian fire along the disputed Kashmir border. Military officials say that such Indian attacks within the past 24 hours have left at least three Pakistani soldiers dead and wounded several others.

Tensions have been running high between the nuclear-armed rivals since early August, when India accused Pakistani troops of ambushing and killing five Indian soldiers in a remote Kashmir district.

Islamabad denies the charges and has since accused New Delhi of repeated violations of a mutually agreed to cease-fire in the disputed Himalayan territory.

Pakistani army officials allege the latest Indian “unprovoked” aggression took place Thursday evening in the “Hotspring” sector of Kashmir, killing at least one Pakistani soldier and wounding two others.

The incident came just hours after Pakistan announced the death of one of its soldiers in a similar Indian attack along the military line of control dividing Kashmir.

A Foreign Ministry statement says that the Indian high commissioner was summoned to protest the killings of Pakistani soldiers and to convey Islamabad’s “serious concerns over the continued and unwarranted cease-fire violations” by the Indian army.

It added that Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani also urged India to “desist from such acts,” warning they have the potential to further escalate the tension.

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, told a weekly news briefing that Islamabad is demonstrating restraint in the wake of unprovoked Indian fire and the policy “should not be construed as a weakness.”

He said India needs to reduce the Kashmir tension and engage in a dialogue with Pakistan to settle differences. The spokesman again rejected allegations that Pakistani troops were responsible for the killings of Indian troops.

“On our side we investigated and we found that none of Pakistani side was involved in it and we conveyed that to the Indian side,” he said. “It is for the Indian government to investigate as to what happened and how it happened.

Pakistan, which in itself has been suffering from terrorism, cannot be held responsible for any act of terrorism that may have happened on the other side of the Line of Control,” said Chaudhry.

New Delhi has long accused the Pakistani military of training and sending Islamist militants into the Indian-ruled portion of Kashmir to fuel a separatist insurgency there. Military leaders in India say that this year, there has been a spike in attempts by militants to infiltrate into Kashmir.

On Monday, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony warned in a statement that his country was running out of patience with what he called Pakistan army-backed transgressions across the disputed Kashmir border. He demanded Pakistan act against its troops involved in the killing of Indian soldiers in the latest incident as well as the killing of two troops back in January.

The alleged Indian hostilities also dominated affairs in the morning session of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Pakistani parliament, where lawmakers unanimously adopted an anti-India resolution moved by the federal minister for defense production, Rana Tanveer Hussain.

“This house condemns this act of aggression and also expresses its serious concern over the continued violations of the cease-fire across the LoC [Line of Control in Kashmir] by the India army and demands for a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement [with India]. The people of Pakistan fully stand behind their civil and military leadership to defend the territory of Pakistan,” said Hussain.

The clashes in Kashmir, many believe, have undermined a push by Pakistan’s newly-elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to normalize relations with India. In his first address to the nation earlier this week, Sharif emphasized that instead of fighting one another, Pakistan and India should jointly wage a war against poverty, illiteracy and backwardness plaguing their region.

Just days before the latest hostilities broke out in Kashmir, the two countries were about to resume their stalled wide-ranging peace dialogue to settle bilateral disputes that have long strained ties between India and Pakistan.

Analysts are worried the tensions could derail efforts on both sides to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, in New York next month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Freshly  Serial blasts kill five in Pakistan

A series of bomb attacks have ripped through a residential area near an intelligence agency’s office in the southern Pakistani city of Sukkur, killing at least five people and injuring more than two dozen others.

A senior police officer said on Wednesday at least four bomb explosions took place in an area where Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, the regular police and paramilitary forces are based.

“The blasts took place in a compound that houses the offices of senior police officials and an intelligence agency,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Javed Odho told reporters.

Pakistani media reports say the powerful explosions were followed by protracted gun battles in the troubled city, which is located around 500 kilometers from Karachi, the main city in Sindh Province.

At least 30 injured people have been moved to nearby hospitals for treatment.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. However, pro-Taliban militants frequently attack ISI personnel and other government security forces.

Militants have carried out numerous attacks against security forces as well as civilians, and managed to spread their influence in various regions of the country, despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered an alliance with the United States in the so-called “war on terror.”

Thousands more have also been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy in the country.

Pakistan denies Taliban base in Syria

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has rejected reports that pro-Taliban terrorists in Pakistan have joined the foreign-backed militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Azaz Ahmed Chaudhry said that “no militant has left the country.”

He said that Islamabad would never like terrorist groups to travel to other countries and take part in terrorist activities, adding that “Pakistani officials will never allow them to do so.”

Spokesman for Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, Umar Hameed also repudiated the reports, saying that Pakistan’s security forces are on the alert at all exit points of the country and nobody can travel abroad illegally.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s envoy in Damascus Wahid Ahmed refuted the reports, saying the embassy has not received any complaint concerning the presence or activity of pro-Taliban terrorists in the Arab country.

On Sunday, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders in Pakistan said they have set up camps and sent hundreds of militants to Syria.

“We have established our own camps in Syria. Some of our people go and then return after spending some time fighting there,” a Taliban commander said on condition of anonymity.
Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, since March 2011.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

On July 12, Mohammad Amin, a Taliban operative and “coordinator of the Syrian base,” said that the Taliban base was set up in Syria some six months ago. He added that it sends “information and feedback” on the situation in Syria.

Western powers and their regional allies including the Israeli regime, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are partners in supporting anti-Syria militant groups, such as al-Qaeda-linked terrorists, to destabilize Syria and overthrow the Syrian government.

Gunmen kill 4 Shia Muslims in Pakistan

gun have opened fire on a vehicle in the Pakistani city of Quetta, the capital of the southwestern Balochistan Province, killing four Shia Muslims, police say.

The shooting took place in the Masjid Road area of Quetta on Monday, AFP reported.

According to Fayyaz Sumbal, a senior police official in Quetta, all the four victims were Shias. He added that the assailants fled the scene after the shooting.

Another police official in Quetta, Rahim Khan, also confirmed the incident, saying that the gunmen riding in a car shot the victims travelling in a different vehicle.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the outlawed Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has often been behind a series of deadly attacks on Shia Muslims.

In recent months, violence has escalated against Shia Muslims in different parts of Pakistan.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 Shias were killed in Pakistan in 2012, which was the deadliest year on record for the Shia Muslim community.

Shias make up about a third of Pakistan’s population of over 180 million.

US terror drone attack kills 3 in Pakistan

An airstrike carried out by a US assassination drone has killed three people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area, which borders Afghanistan.

The drone fired two missiles — one into a compound and another at two people riding a motorcycle — in the village of Mossaki outside of Mir Ali, one of the main towns in North Waziristan, killing three people, the Pakistani television network Dunya News reported.

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the incident.

Saturday’s raid was the second drone strike in Pakistan this month.

On July 3, unmanned US aircraft fired four missiles at a house in the Sarai Darpa Khel area of North Waziristan, killing 17 people.

The United States says the CIA-run drone strikes primarily kill Taliban militants who threaten the US-led international forces in neighboring Afghanistan, although casualty figures show that Pakistani civilians are often the victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.

The slaughter of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, in US drone strikes has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, and Pakistani officials have complained to the US administration on numerous occasions.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the drone strikes are “simply unacceptable” and has asked Washington to end the attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas.

In September 2012, a report by the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law gave an alarming account of the effect that assassination drone strikes have on ordinary people in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“The number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — estimated at just 2 percent,” the report noted.

Attack on checkpoint kills 4 in Pakistan

Militants attack a paramilitary police checkpoint in the troubled northwestern tribal region of Pakistan, killing at least four security personnel and injuring seven others.

The attack happened in the tribal North Waziristan on Thursday and medical sources said the death toll is expected to rise.

Local security officials said tribal policemen cordoned off the area and launched an investigation into the deadly incident.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack although similar incidents are usually blamed on Taliban militants.

In another incident on Thursday, two key militant commanders of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed in a successful operation by security forces in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Peshawar and several other northwestern towns have experienced a fresh spate of violence and militancy over the past few months. Militant attacks and bomb explosions have killed hundreds of people in Peshawar so far this year.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001 when Pakistan entered an alliance with the US on the so-called war against terrorism, according to local media.

Thousands others have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy sweeping across the country.

Since late 2009, there has been a surge in militant attacks in Pakistan.

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