Four Pakistani soldiers killed in North Waziristan raids, LoC firing

Pakistani soldiers keep vigil from a post on top of a mountain in the former Taliban militants strong hold border area in Shawal valley North Waziristan on May 20, 2016. (AFP/File)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Four Pakistani soldiers killed in North Waziristan raids, LoC firing

  • Isolated militant attacks on troops have raised fears the Taliban are trying to regroup in Pakistan’s northwestern regions again
  • The country lost another soldier in the disputed Kashmir region after Indian troops opened cross-border fire

PESHAWAR/ MUZAFFARABAD: Four Pakistani soldiers lost their lives in separate incidents while performing their duties in different parts of the country, the military’s media wing, ISPR, said on Thursday. 

Security forces raided two militant hideouts in a former insurgent stronghold in Pakistan's northwest, triggering shootouts that left three soldiers and two insurgents dead. 

The separate raids took place in the North Waziristan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and one of the slain militants was a bomb-making expert, the military said in a statement. It provided no further details and the identity and nationality of the slain militants were not known. 

North Waziristan served as a headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban until the military secured it in 2015 with a series of operations. However, isolated militant attacks on troops have continued, raising fears the Taliban are regrouping in the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan. 

Pakistan also lost another soldier in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir after Indian troops opened fire across the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday, the military said. 

An official statement issued by the army condemned what was described as India's unprovoked violation of the 2003 cease-fire agreement along the LoC, which separates Kashmir between the two sides. The Pakistani troops returned fire, it added. 

There was no immediate comment from New Delhi but the two sides routinely accuse each other of unprovoked attacks in Kashmir, which is a split between them and claimed by both in its entirety. 

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from British rule in 1947. 

Pakistani man performs jaw-dropping stunts despite polio impairment

Updated 4 min 57 sec ago

Pakistani man performs jaw-dropping stunts despite polio impairment

  • Muhammad Usman was infected with polio when he was six years old which caused paralysis of his left leg
  • Not being able to walk properly has not deterred Usman from pursuing his dream of performing dangerous stunts at public festivals

QUETTA: Stuntman Muhammad Usman can jump over five cars on a motorcycle and pull a car with a chain tied to a sharp knife hung around his neck.
There are many showmen in Pakistan who can perform such stunts, but Usman, from Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, is special: his left leg was virtually paralyzed after he contracted polio aged six years. Now the 38-year-old leads an active life as a stuntman, saying he never allowed the crippling virus to keep him from pursuing his dreams.

Stuntman Muhammad Usman, a polio sufferer, pulls a car with a chain tied to a sharp knife hanging around his neck in Quetta, Pakistan, on January 17, 2021 (AN Photo by Saadullah Akhter)

“One day I went with my friends to the historic Sibi Mela where I saw various stuntmen performing in the festival,” Usman told Arab News in Quetta. “I asked a man whether I could perform these stunts but he looked at me and replied sarcastically: how can a disabled man become a stuntman.”
That day, Usman said, he resolved to prove his detractors wrong, joined the ‘Power Show Club’ in Quetta’s Nawa Killi neighborhood, and began training under stunt master Shaira Bangulzai.
Pakistan last week launched a nationwide vaccination campaign against polio amid tight security, hoping to eradicate the crippling children’s disease this year. Pakistan had hoped to eliminate polio back in 2018, when only 12 cases were reported. But in the years since there has been an uptick in new cases.
Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic, after Nigeria was last year declared free of the wild polio virus.
Usman said he never received polio drops as a child because his illiterate parents were unaware of the dangers posed by the virus.
“But I have been vaccinating my six children with polio drops during every single anti-polio campaign in Quetta,” the stuntman said.

Stuntman Muhammad Usman, a polio sufferer, pictured with his son in Quetta, Pakistan, on January 17, 2021 (AN Photo by Saadullah Akhter)

Bangulzai, who has been Usman’s teacher for around five years, said he had more than 190 students across Balochistan but Usman was the most “loyal and keen” among them. 
“When Usman joined my club and asked me to teach him, I couldn’t refuse him because I didn’t want to break his hopes,” the instructor told Arab News.
In one memorable instance in 2015, Bangulzai said Usman had to replace him at the Sibi Mela after he had to pull out of the event at the last minute to take care of an ailing relative.
“My student [Usman] performed ... with immense confidence and accuracy in what was his first public performance,” the teacher said.
Stunts is not all Usman does.
He is also the driver of a passenger coach and a rickshaw, a performing artist for TV and theater shows, and a comedian.
“What else could I wish from my god?” he said, expressing gratitude for the “full” life he had led despite being a polio sufferer.
Usman is now training his eldest son who at the age of sixteen is already performing at small festivals.

Stuntman Muhammad Usman, a polio sufferer, poses with his son in Quetta, Pakistan, on January 17, 2021 (AN Photo by Saadullah Akhter)

“I want my son to become a famous stuntman in Pakistan,” Usman said. “Because after my death, people will know him by my name.”