Thursday, February 16, 2017

Security concerns prompt closure of Pak-Afghan border

The border will remain closed until further orders, says DG ISPR

Security concerns prompt closure of Pak-Afghan border

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been closed with immediate effect due to security reasons, the Inter Services Public Relations, hours after a bomb ripped through a shrine in interior Sindh leaving at least 80 people dead.

At least 80 people were martyred Thursday when a suicide bomber attacked the crowded Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, injuring up to 250 others, hospital and senior police officials said.

The powerful blast took place inside the premises of the shrine as a dhamaal was taking place, with a large number of women and children said to be among the casualties.

The Pak-Afghan border has been closed with immediate effect due to security reasons, said DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, in a tweet. The border will remain closed until further orders.

Read: 'Nation's blood to be revenged immediately'

The move comes amid a wave of terrorist attacks in the country.

Thursday's attack in Sehwan was also part of the same wave in the country, and the fifth blast in less than a week targeting innocent people.

On February 12, a cameraman, Taimur from Samaa News was killed when the channel’s DSNG van was attacked.

On February 13, a suicide attack in Lahore killed 14 people and wounded over 60 others.

On February 15, three suicide bombers targeted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the adjoining tribal areas leaving around seven people dead.

One of the incidents occurred in Peshawar where a suicide bomber riding a motorbike hit a vehicle carrying civil judges, while two other suicide bombers blew themselves up at separate locations in Mohmand Agency.

Terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan

Pakistani diplomatic officials on Wednesday summoned the Afghan deputy head of mission to the Foreign Office to convey their concerns over continuing attacks by terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Ahrar from its sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.

Read full story here: Pakistan raises concern over attacks from terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan

According to a Foreign Office press statement, Afghan Deputy Head of Mission Syed Abdul Nasir Yousafi was called in to the Foreign Office on Tuesday by the Additional Secretary.

"[The] attention of the DHM was also drawn to earlier actionable intelligence shared by our authorities with the Afghan side. Afghanistan was urged to take urgent measures to eliminate the terrorists and their sanctuaries, financiers, and handlers operating from its territory," said the press release.

The Foreign Office said an aide-memoire containing details of the terrorist attacks and supporting information was also shared with the Afghan deputy head of mission.