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.


In Peshawar prison, women inmates share food and prayers in Ramadan

Updated 27 May 2019
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In Peshawar prison, women inmates share food and prayers in Ramadan

PESHAWAR: Located next to iconic landmarks like the Provincial Assembly and the High Court, the central prison in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar is a handsome old building bursting at the seams with over 1,800 prisoners. 38 of them are women.

The existing building was established in 1854 with an occupancy limit of 425 prisoners, but with the influx of thousands of inmates, a new block is now under construction and slated for completion by the end of the year. 

Inside the prison kitchens, convicted prisoners make round traditional bread and prepare Iftar meals for other inmates. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The prison department provides basic facilities and food to inmates still under trial and to those convicted in the male, female and juvenile sections. During the month of Ramadan, these facilities extend to include special meals at Iftar, like sweet rice, chicken and potatoes served with a side of milky hot tea. 

A female inmate cooks chicken gravy for herself and other prisoners in the prison barracks before Iftar. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“We get good food in this month (of Ramadan) and are free to offer our prayers and recite the Holy Quran at any time,” said Shahida, an inmate who has been in the prison for five years but was convicted for murder late last year. 

Acting superintendent of the prison releases prisoners after the court orders arrive. The inmates receive the good news right before Iftar time in Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The large hall of the women’s section has a scattering of beds, but most inmates sleep, eat and pray on quilts spread out on the floor. 

A police officer stands guard outside the entrance to the women’s section in Peshawar’s central jail. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

"Some of the women get sick often,” said Iffat Shaheen, assistant superintendent of the women’s prison section. “Right now we have two pregnancy cases and one case of HIV AIDS, so we try to give them good meals. A few prisoners have small children inside prison with them and they get milk as well.” 

A female inmate gives English lessons to some of the children at the Peshawar central prison. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

Another female inmate convicted for possession of drugs has been in prison for seven months. She declined to be identified but said they had a lot of free time in Ramadan that could be put to good use. 

Women in Peshawar’s central prison spend their days reading the Quran and reciting prayer beads during the month of Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“This is a helpful time for us to learn skills like handicrafts and sewing,” she said. “When we leave prison, perhaps these things will pave the way for a good, halal living.” 

A woman inmate at Peshawar’s central jail has decorated her hands with henna in anticipation of the holy festival of Eid, which will mark the end of Ramadan. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Rooh Afza, a popular indigenous drink made from herbs and flowers, is served around Peshawar’s central prison by the bucketfuls before Iftar. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Weekly menu written out for prisoners at Peshawar’s central jail in Urdu. May 25, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)