Nine Daesh militants killed in southwest Pakistan raid

Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb blast in Quetta on May 13, 2019. Security forces acted after a sudden surge in militant assaults across Pakistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, killing nine Daesh militants in Balochistan on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019
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Nine Daesh militants killed in southwest Pakistan raid

  • Security forces acted on intelligence reports of a Daesh hideout in the Mastung district
  • Several Islamist militant and separatist groups are fighting the country's central government in Balochistan

QUETTA: Pakistani security forces killed nine Daesh militants during an hours-long raid near Quetta in the restive southwest of the country that has been hit by repeated jihadist attacks this month, officials said on Thursday.
Four members of the security forces were wounded in the operation, which started early on Thursday morning in a mountainous area called Qabu Koh-e-Mehran in the Mastung district, 29 miles (47 km) from Quetta city.
“Nine bodies (of Daesh militants) have been brought to hospital from Mastung,” Waseem Baig, a spokesman for Civil Hospital Quetta, told Reuters.
Security forces acted after a sudden surge in militant assaults across Pakistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Five police were killed in the latest attack, on Monday night in Quetta, which was claimed by Daesh.
“We acted on intelligence reports of a Daesh hideout,” a senior official of the Counter Terrorism Department of Balochistan police told Reuters, requesting anonymity for security reasons.
“A sizable cache of arms and ammunition including rocket launchers, several suicide vests were also recovered during the raid.”
Various Islamist militant groups as well as separatists fighting the central government are active in mineral-rich Balochistan, with frequent attacks on gas and transport infrastructure and security posts.
On Saturday, the Balochistan Liberation Army, which seeks greater autonomy for Pakistan’s poorest province, claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel in the Indian Ocean port of Gwadar, one of the focal points of the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor.


British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

Updated 23 May 2019
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British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

  • BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad
  • BA will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

ISLAMABAD: British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.

BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.

Security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people, reviving Pakistan as a destination for tourist and investors.

“The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return ahead of the first flight on Sunday June 2,” British Airways said in a statement. It will launch a three-per-week service to London Heathrow, it said.

“We’re on board,” Pakistani Civil Aviation spokeswoman Farah Hussain said about the flights resumption.

BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its ageing fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.

Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.

Islamabad has been running international advertising campaigns to rejuvenate its tourism sector, which was wiped out by Islamist violence that destabilised the country following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

“We hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches,” Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, said in BA’s statement.

BA said there will be a halal meal option in every cabin and the airline would also ensure sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork.