Friday, June 29, 2012

Pakistan's Supreme Court sets collision course with new prime minister

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday demanded that the nation’s new prime minister follow an order to reopen a long-dormant corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, setting up the likelihood of a continuing constitutional crisis. The court last week disqualified from office Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s longest-serving prime minister, whom it convicted of contempt in April because he refused to follow the same order. The ruling party replaced Gilani with a former federal energy chief, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who has indicated that he will not comply with the order and faces his own set of corruption charges in a separate case before the high court. Some political and legal observers have accused the court, headed by populist, corruption-battling Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, of working to destabilize an already shaky civilian government. Ashraf and his predecessor maintain that Pakistan’s constitution grants the president immunity from prosecution, but the court has consistently ruled otherwise, saying no one is above the law. The legal and political upheaval has complicated U.S. efforts to broker a compromise with Pakistan to reopen vital NATO supply routes that pass into landlocked Afghanistan through Pakistani territory. The routes have been shut for more than seven months, creating a logistical headache not only for the Pentagon but also for other international forces, including France’s, that require access to Pakistan’s southern port to withdraw vast quantities of materiel from Afghanistan. Zardari has denied the corruption allegations, which date to the 1990s and involve Swiss bank accounts held by the president and his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister who was assassinated in 2007. Gilani for months refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities asking them to reopen graft and money-laundering cases against Zardari. The court on Wednesday gave the new prime minister until July 12 to respond to its directive and offer any arguments as to why he need not pursue the corruption charges. Some analysts predict that Ashraf will be in the job for only a few weeks — the time the court will take to consider his response and hand down a ruling that, observers say, will almost certainly require Ashraf to write the “Swiss letter.” “The new prime minister is facing the same situation” as Gilani, said S.M. Zafar, a longtime lawyer in Islamabad. “He could write the letter, or he could take some middle ground that is acceptable to the court as well. “But if that doesn’t happen, then I see a disaster in the coming days,” Zafar said. “The crisis would worsen further.” Other analysts said that the court’s respect for the rule of law is admirable but that it also can go too far. “There is a place for judicial activism in almost every country, particularly one in which the rule of law has all too often been conspicuous by its absence,” Mahir Ali, a columnist for the English-language newspaper Dawn, wrote Wednesday before the latest court ruling. “But the rule of law does not mean rule by the Supreme Court, which has no right to be a substitute for parliament.” The public view of government leaders here remains exceedingly negative; Zardari was rated unfavorably by 85 percent of Paki­stanis polled in a Pew Global Attitudes survey whose results were released Wednesday, and only 34 percent approved of Gilani. And not surprisingly, after a year of contentious dealings with the United States, about 74 percent of the respondents said they “consider the U.S. an enemy,” Pew said, up five points from last year’s survey. The public, which overwhelmingly opposes CIA drone strikes inside Pakistan, also offers dwindling support for joint efforts with the United States against Islamist extremists. “Moreover, roughly four-in-ten believe that American economic and military aid is actually having a negative impact on their country, while only about one-in-ten think the impact is positive,” Pew said. Pollsters said their sampling of 1,206 Pakistanis represented about 82 percent of the population. For security reasons, interviews were not conducted in several regions, including the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The military continues to rank as the nation’s highest-regarded national institution, with 77 percent saying it has “a good influence on the country,” the report said. Imran Khan, a cricket star turned politician who is pushing a fiery anti-corruption message in his campaign for prime minister, was again ranked most popular among national leaders. He was rated favorably by seven in 10 Pakistanis, essentially unchanged from last year.

Afghans face mass deportation from Pakistan

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans face the threat of deportation back to their war-torn country from Pakistan once a deadline expires Saturday, but Kabul is crying foul over the move. Pakistan is home to 1.7 million refugees and hundreds of thousands more unregistered migrants from its neighbour, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But Islamabad says it cannot be expected to tolerate illegal migrants, and 400,000 undocumented Afghans in Pakistan’s northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the bulk of the Afghan community live, face the imminent prospect of removal. The UNHCR describes the situation of Afghans in Pakistan as the “largest and most protracted refugee crisis in the world” and warned that the question of how to deal with it was becoming “increasingly politicised”. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s information minister, said law enforcement agencies have been told to compile lists of illegal Afghans and once the June 30 deadline passes, orders will be issued for their arrest, appearance in court and subsequent deportation to Afghanistan. “No country allows illegal immigrants, how it is possible to legalise something which is illegal?” Hussain said. “We have been accommodating Afghan immigrants for 32 years. The provincial government cannot take their burden any more. They should go back to their country.” But Afghans are nervous about welcoming home so many jobless, impoverished people to a country where returnees have in the past struggled to find work and roofs over their heads. The government in Kabul denied the expulsions would take place. Afghan refugee ministry spokesman Islamuddin Jurat conceded there was a “small problem” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but said the two sides had agreed to solve the issue and give the Afghans “some legal status to stay there”. The Afghan-Pakistani border is notoriously porous and even if the deportations were to go into effect there would be little to stop returnees going back to Pakistan. Pakistan, where the economy is also depressed, says it cannot be expected to tolerate illegal migrants. Hussain claimed that illegal Afghans were involved in crime, although experts have dismissed such accusations as an excuse to rid the country of the immigrants. At the heart of the problem is deep distrust between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each country blames the other for militancy, with both sides accusing the other of sheltering Taliban insurgents on either side of the border. Pakistan has already carried out some deportations, albeit on a much smaller scale. Between December 2010 and February 2011, some 1,400 Afghan families were sent home from Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt, according to the International Organisation for Migration. It said Afghan and Pakistani officials had agreed to offer “safe and dignified repatriation” to 7,200 families, or around 50,000 people, from Pakistan, if funding can be found. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, in Kabul this month for a conference on Afghanistan’s future, stressed that Pakistan favoured voluntary returns of refugees. “At the Chicago summit, we heard how the situation is improving in Afghanistan. If that is the case, then voluntary return should be natural,” said Khar. But the prospects for Afghans returning home are grim. Apart from the 10-year Taliban insurgency, they face trying to support themselves in a weak economy that is likely to suffer further when Nato forces leave by the end of 2014. “Afghanistan doesn’t have the capacity to absorb so many people. It doesn’t have the resources in terms of schools, clinics and especially jobs,” said IOM spokeswoman Aanchal Khuranaa. Since the US-led invasion in 2001, around 5.7 million Afghan refugees have returned to their home country, many living in destitution. Afghanistan remains the world’s biggest producer of refugees, the UNHCR said last week, putting their number at 2.7 million. “The gradual return of an estimated 2.4 million undocumented Afghans from Iran and Pakistan will pose serious challenges,” said IOM Afghanistan country director Marco Boasso. The UNHCR’s strategy for Afghan refugees in 2002 was the biggest mistake the organisation ever made, Peter Nicolaus, the body’s head in Afghanistan admitted in December. He said the international community had failed to help returnees find a means of earning a living and therefore reintegrating into society.

Human being not money making machine, Yunus

Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus Friday said human beings are not the machine of making money. They entitled creative entity. They have to take creative initiatives by using the power. He came up with the evaluation while addressing a program titled ‘Social Business Forum-2012’ at North South University’s Bashudhara campus. The day-long program was jointly organized by the university and Yunus Centre. Addressing to youths, Dr. Yunus said, “You would not turn into a machine of earning money. You would go forward to solve social problem.” He said, “There are some problems in our business method. All do business for attaining profit. But, profit is not main purpose of business. So, many problems remained in the society.” Pointing to youths, Yunus said, “We have to go forward with new business concept to solve different social problems including health, education, nutrition, environment, energy and communications. The entrepreneurs would not get profit of his investment. Only he or she gets back his/her investment and profit will be invested in the business. The promoter of the social business inspired young generations saying that we did not think before 20 years ago that most of the people hold mobile phone set. But it is the fact now. So, you have to initiate social fictions that visualize the destination of society after 20 or 30 years. Through it, you have to fix your plan. With NSU vice-chancellor Hafiz GA Siddique in the chair, the program was also addressed by Commerce Minister GM Qauder, NSU Trusty Board Chairman MA Hashem and Business Studies Faculty Dean Dr. Abdul Hannan Chowdhury. Among others, senior officials of different corporate houses and students of the university are attending the program.

Mansoor Ijaz naked wrestling: SC to hear Memogate case

Dunya TV
Supreme Court has issued notices to all respondents in the memo case. A nine-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will hear the memo case. The memo commission had already submitted its report in this regard. The commission in its report stated that memorandum was real and was authored by Ex-Ambassador Husain Haqqani. It stated that he had violated the Constitution just to prove that the civil government in Islamabad was (and still is) USA’s friend and that it can help Washington in its non-proliferation efforts. The case subjecting to the memo controversy will be heard on July 12 for which notices have been served to all respondents.

Pakistan: Cameron Munter discusses US interest in Pakistan

The United States Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Thursday said that stability and peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan. Talking to Pakistan Television, he said that Pakistan had played its role for peace and war on terror. Further more, he said that the Salala check post incident was very unfortunate. Moreover, he said that there was a need to support Pakistan at economic, industrial and energy level. He stressed the need for avoiding misunderstanding between the two sides. The ambassador said that there is a need to have people-to-people contacts. He said that a plan is being prepared to help Pakistan in different sectors including energy, health and Bhasha dam.

U.S. Why Roberts saved Obama's healthcare law

In the end, it all came down to Chief Justice John Roberts, the sphinx in the center chair, who in a stunning decision wove together competing rationales to uphold President Barack Obama's healthcare plan. Roberts' action instantly upended the conventional wisdom that he would vote with his four fellow conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and undercut the agenda of a Democratic president, who as a senator in 2005 had opposed Roberts' appointment to the bench. But Thursday's extraordinary conclusion to the bitterly fought healthcare battle was quite ordinary in some ways. Roberts hewed to a traditional Supreme Court principle that if the justices can find any constitutional grounds on which to uphold a law, they should do so. The 57-year-old chief justice also followed a stated principle of his own: narrowly deciding cases and trying to preserve the integrity of the judiciary in polarized Washington. While he has voted consistently with the conservative bloc on social issues, such as abortion rights and racial policies, Roberts in his public remarks has suggested that he seeks, as chief, to transcend an ideological label. He routinely refers to the court's place in history and has bristled at polls and public commentary that suggest the high court acts in the same political realm as the two elected branches of government. Indeed, in his comments during oral arguments in the healthcare case, Roberts hinted that he could be open to siding with the government. He expressed concern that the court over which he presides might be seen as ignoring more than 75 years of precedent and rolling back U.S. law to the New Deal era. The last time the Supreme Court struck down a major act of Congress was in 1936, when the court invalidated a federal law that limited work hours and prescribed minimum wages for coal workers. "He is positioning the court as the one, competent, principled institution in Washington," said Pamela Karlan, a Stanford University law professor. "The chief justice's opinion is designed to appear thoughtful, measured. He is in this for the long haul." DEFYING HISTORY As the lone conservative standing with four liberals, Roberts defied recent history, most people's expectations, and the deepest held hopes of the right-wing and Tea Party opponents of the law. He also rejected the prevailing view of Republican politicians, who had been his strongest backers when President George W. Bush nominated him five years ago. "The court avoided, despite an enormous amount of pressure to invalidate this law, staining itself as excessively partisan," said Bradley Joondeph, a law professor at Santa Clara University. "Think of the people who supported Chief Justice Roberts, who put him on the court, who were rooting for him." On the Roberts court, the swing-vote role has often been played by Justice Anthony Kennedy, not the chief himself. For example, Kennedy, a conservative appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, was crucial to its 1992 decision to uphold the right to abortion. Thursday's case marked the first time that Roberts joined the liberal bloc as the deciding fifth vote in a major case. On Thursday, Kennedy fell in with the conservatives and read their joint dissent. In it, he took a swipe at Roberts' claim that the court was acting cautiously. "The court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty," Kennedy wrote. "It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching." A PYRRHIC VICTORY Roberts did hand the conservatives a pyrrhic victory. He rejected the Obama administration's main argument that the core of the law, a mandate that requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty, was covered by Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. Roberts said that power, while broad, does not extend to "inactivity," such as the choice not to buy insurance. Whether this apparent limiting of the Commerce Clause will hinder Congressional power in the future remains to be seen. In their briefs and arguments, both sides characterized the health insurance mandate as distinctive, and it is unclear whether another Congressional regulation could be struck down under the Roberts "inactivity" rationale. Roberts' judgment on the Commerce Clause issue was endorsed by fellow conservatives Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. But in turning to another constitutional ground on which to uphold the mandate, Congress' taxation power, Roberts embraced the Obama administration's secondary argument - and delivered a victory to the President. Roberts reasoned that even though Congress had shied away from calling the penalty for not buying insurance a "tax," it effectively is one. Roberts stressed that the court was not endorsing the administration's approach. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass on its wisdom or fairness," he said. As he read excerpts from the momentous decision Thursday, Roberts seemed to downplay the drama of the morning. His voice was steady and even. He kept to his script. There were few rhetorical flourishes. He occasionally looked out at the spectators. Among them was Justice John Paul Stevens, a liberal who had served with Roberts until he retired two years ago at the age of 90. Following the usual decorum in the white-marble and crimson-draped room, the nearly 300 people listening to the chief justice gave no audible response. Roberts then named the justices who had joined him in various parts of the decision, and those who had not. All told, it took about 20 minutes.

Pakistan's Govt pledges no ‘radical steps’ in row with judiciary

The Express Tribune
In a unique move amidst festering political uncertainty, the government moved to placate nervous world capitals that it has no plans to take any “radical steps” which may exacerbate its ongoing row with the judiciary over the reopening of graft cases against the president. A rare briefing took place at the foreign ministry on Thursday for diplomats stationed in Pakistan, during which Law Minister Farook H Naek attempted to dispel the impression that the country was heading towards any major constitutional or political crisis – particularly in regards to a lingering controversy over the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case, sources revealed. The briefing – attended by envoys from the US, India, Afghanistan and other world capitals – came just a day after the Supreme Court gave newly inducted Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf two weeks to state whether he intends to write a letter to Swiss authorities or not. The briefing, it is believed, was arranged in light of growing concerns in major international capitals about the future of democracy in the face of a bruising civil-judicial faceoff in the country. Last week, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was ousted from power by the country’s top court in a similar case when he refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities regarding the reopening of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. The latest court direction has led to a flurry of speculations that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was considering several options to pre-empt the judiciary’s next move — including a constitutional amendment to curtail the Supreme Court’s powers to interpret constitutional issues, and set up a new federal judicial body to deal with such matters. Following the court’s fresh deadline, the new prime minister held emergency talks with Law Minister Naek and Attorney General Irfan Qadir on Wednesday to discuss all available options to deal with the situation. The government, it is believed, is also contemplating changing the law of contempt to provide immunity to both the offices of the president and the premier. However, a source, who attended Thursday’s briefing at the foreign office, said the law minister denied these speculations vehemently. “Pakistan is passing through a transition and every institution is trying to assert itself,” Naik was quoted as telling the diplomats. He insisted that all issues would be settled within the constitutional framework. An official statement said that the foreign ministry hosted a briefing for the heads of diplomatic missions on “foreign policy priorities of the government”. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar spoke about the smooth transition to a newly-elected prime minister, and the government’s abiding commitment to strengthening democracy, it said. The statement added that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was accompanied by Law Minister Naek, who, while briefing the diplomats, reiterated the government’s commitment to an “independent judicial system, and respect for rule of law”.

Shias killed in Quetta again. Reason? ; being Shias!

Let Us Build Pakistan
A roadside bomb ripped through a bus in Pakistan Thursday, killing at least 20 Shia passengers and wounding 25 others, local media reported. The blast took place around 6.00 p.m. in Hazarganji area of Balochistan province, Xinhua quoted the Urdu channel AAJ TV as saying. About 50 Shia Muslims were aboard the Quetta-bound bus from Iran. Eyewitnesses said that the bus was carrying pilgrims from Taftan and it was targeted when it was passing near a fruit market in the Hazarganji area. The vehicle was completely destroyed. Authorities said about 50 kg of explosives were used for the blast. One of the two police vehicles providing security to the bus was also attacked, leaving at least one policeman dead and three others injured. Police are unsure whether the bus was hit by a car bomb or explosives buried next to the road, said Quetta police chief Mir Zubair Mahmood. The attack has all the hallmarks of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ, also known as LeJ or SSP) which is an affiliate Jihadi-sectarian organization of Al Qaeda and Taliban. The banned ASWJ-LeJ-SSP has been blamed for a series of attacks on Shias in Quetta and other parts of Pakistan since mid 1980s. Same organization is responsible for series of attacks on Sunni Barelvis and other moderate Sunnis, as well as on Ahmadis and Christians. It may be noted that attacks on Pakistan’s Shias, Balochs, Pashtuns, Sunni Barelvis, moderate Deobandis and Ahmadis have increased exponentially in the last five years, since November 2007 when Pakistan’s current army chief General Kayani assumed his duties as commander in chief of army and its various intelligence agencies. Due to General Kayani’s allegedly indirect role in massacres of Shias, Balochs, Pashtuns etc, he is known as Butcher Kayani in Pakistan. A similar attack took place on 18 June 2012 in Quetta, claiming the lives of four Shia students on a bus. While the ISI-influenced Pakistani media (see reports by Dawn, Pakistan Today etc) and lazy foreign correspondents (see reports by AFP, BBC etc) continue to misrepresent the ongoing attacks on Shia Muslims as a part of Sunni-Shia sectarian violence, there is now a growing perception in Pakistan that it is ISI-backed Jihadi-sectarian militants, not Sunnis, who are responsible for attacks on Shias. Footage on television showed the bus was reduced to a mangled heap of blackened metal. Rescue workers and local residents could be seen pulling bodies and injured out of the bus. Later, a crane was brought in to pry apart the twisted metal so that the injured could be removed. Sources are facing difficulties identifying the victims as several martyrs’ bodies are unrecognizable. Only 10 have been identified till now. 1. Baba Ali 2. Taswer Nisa 3. Hussain Ali 4. Ejaz Ali 5. Muhammad Ali 6. Shah Hussain 7. Amir Hussain 8. Ali Yawar 9. Roshan Ali (Police ASI) 10. Ghulam Rasool (Police Constable) Yet another incident where Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Sipah-e-Sahaba / Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat) will accept responsibility, government ministers will condemn, interior minister will blame foreign powers, relatives will grieve, mothers will wail after their lost sons and daughters, perpetrators will continue living a sheltered existence in a morally corrupt system and society. In the meanwhile, army will continue with fake attacks on prisons to secure release of their trained assets while the judiciary will continue to find inadequate evidence against Malik Ishaq to convict him. While Pakistan’s civilian government is asleep, military is securing release of arrested terrorists through prison breaks, judiciary is releasing self-confessed Jihadi-sectarian terrorists, media is either silent or misrepresenting ISI-sponsored Shia genocide as Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence of Hazara vs Baloch/Pashtun ethnic violence, it is important that all oppressed groups, Shias, Balochs, Pashtuns, Ahmadis, moderate Sunnis etc remain united against killers and their mentors and facilitators.

Pakistan's Shia community:Another Tragedy in Hazar Ganji

The sectarian war in Balochistan is getting uglier by the day as Sunni militants continue to devise new strategies every day to target members of the Shia community. Despite religious motivations, these attacks frequently lead to attacks on Hazara ethnic community. Thus, one should not mince words in describing this phenomenon as a blatant religious and ethnic cleansing. The tragic killing of another 13 innocent Shia pilgrims on Thursday in Hazar Ganji once again increases the fears of the Shia community and calls into question the government’s commitment to protect the people’s lives. The attack on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Iran in Quetta took place just ten days after another gruesome episode in which a university bus was targeted in Jinnah Town (Quetta), killing at least five young students. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an underground Sunni militant group known for its connections with Pakistan’s security establishment, accepted responsibility for the attacks. There is little doubt that Thursday’s tragedy was also masterminded by the LeJ because it had clearly warned of more attacks. The LeJ has adopted a new strategy of mass murder in the recent times by brutally targeting buses carrying pilgrims or even students. The motivation behind such actions is to cause panic and fear among the Shias, Hazaras so that they are confined to their homes. In other words, the LeJ seems to be working on a policy of ”kill them wherever you see them”. The government’s continued failure to address the issue of sectarianism is heartbreaking. There are deeper issues involved in violence that is employed in the name of religion. There is a reason why we do not see hope at the end of the tunnel. The government and our society are unlikely to stand united to defeat the menace of terrorism. The government and public seem to have given in to religious fanatics. We have seen too little expression of official or public outrage over these killings. Why do we not see mass public protests against suicide bombers or the LeJ? Because our society still refuses to categorize them as ‘bad guys’. There seems to be some sympathy at the top official level for those who commit violence. The Shia and Hazara community have suffered enormously in the hands of religious fanatics. The victim communities truly deserve better treatment both from the government and neighboring communities in Balochistan. The sectarian incidents cause a general breakdown of law and order in Balochistan giving the authorities an excuse to divert attention from the ongoing Baloch nationalist movement. This also enables to the security forces to conduct fake search operations in Baloch communities to arrest innocent youths in order to increase problems for the Balochs. By and large, this situation benefits the Taliban and their proxies in the future. Thirdly, an increase in anti-Shia violence makes unemployed Baloch youths very vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups. The [articipation of Baloch youths in extremist movements drastically damages the Baloch interests. We once again call upon Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani to come forward before the Balochistan Assembly and the media to spell out his government’s policy on sectarian killings. The Shia and Hazara community must not be fooled every time with mere statements of condemnation and void assurances of arresting the culprits. It is the time for genuine action. The Shia, Hazara community has had enough and this must stop immediately. We do not endorse the government’s policy of dealing with the Baloch nationalists but what is comforting is the fact that the government at least does have a Baloch policy On the other hand, there is no official policy until now how to protect the Shia, Hazara community in Balochistan.The government has not been able to hunt down the top leadership of LeJ. Even if some leaders are detained (which is very rare), they are not convicted in the courts because of lack of evidence. It is almost impossible to rule out the possibility of official complicity in sectarian killings and bomb blasts given the widespread deployment of the Frontier Corps (FC) across Balochistan. The antidote to the current situation is unity among the people of Balochistan to fight a common enemy that is bent upon making the province a heaven for religious fanatics. There should be no room for religious fanatics in Balochistan as it is a land where persecution of people based on religion is what we desire the least.

Quetta observes shutter-down strike

The city wore a deserted look after Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) called to observe a complete shutter-down strike Friday to condemn the target killings and Hazar Gunji bomb blast in Quetta, Geo News reported. All the business activities in different areas including Alamdar Road, Hazara Town, Toghi Road, Gulistan Road, Liaquat Bazaar, Bacha Khan Chowk and in adjoining areas were suspended while traffic was also thin on the roads. While announcing to support today’s strike, different politico-religious parties including Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) strongly condemned the Hazar Gunji blast and demanded the government to provide security to the general public or else step down. On Thursday, a powerful remote-controlled car-bomb targeting a bus full of pilgrims claimed the lives of 13 people, including a cop, and injured 30 others in the Hazar Gunji area. Police officials said a passenger bus, escorted by a police van, carrying 40 pilgrims, was on its way from the Pak-Iran border at Taftan to Quetta. When the bus reached the Hazar Gunji area in the outskirts of the provincial capital, it was targeted by a remote-controlled car-bomb. The blast was so powerful that the bus turned into an unrecognizable wreck of metal and all 40 pilgrims and four policemen - in a patrolling vehicle escorting the passenger bus - were hit. Reports suggested that unidentified terrorists had parked a car loaded with explosives at Hazar Gunji. As the bus carrying the pilgrims approached the site at around 6:00pm, the explosive device went off with a big bang.