US pulls out diplomats from Lahore over terror threat
Lahore/Washington, Aug 9
The United States on Friday also issued a fresh travel advisory to Americans warning against visiting Pakistan. The State Department has issued an "ordered departure" for all diplomats in Lahore, except for a few emergency personnel. The diplomats were moved to Islamabad, officials said.
"Today, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency US Government personnel from our Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan. We are undertaking this drawdown due to concerns about credible threat information specific to the US Consulate in Lahore," a senior State Department official in Washington told
However, Omar Hameed Khan, spokesman for Pakistan's interior ministry, told CNN the Pakistan government was not aware of any security threat against the Lahore US consulate prior to America's decision to transfer the diplomats to Islamabad.
In New Delhi, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) warned of a possible terrorist strike in the national capital ahead of Independence Day, police sources said. The IB alerted the Delhi Police of the possible terror strike in the national capital after a speech delivered by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, chief of the banned group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a few months ago in Karachi calling for jihad.
"Saeed called for jihad across India and told LeT to strike in Delhi. Intelligence agencies quoted Saeed's speech in its alert to Delhi Police," said a source.
In Lahore, thousands offered Eid prayers with 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty on his head. Posters with Saeed's photo were pasted in several locations in the city ahead of the gathering.
In his tweet Saeed said, "Time is near when those oppressed in Kashmir, Palestine and Burma will celebrate 'Eid' in the air of Freedom - Insha'Allah. #EidMubarak." "So, we say Eid Mubarak to you in these testing times; soon world will say Eid Mubarak to you after your triumph. May ALLAH accept." "ALLAH will not waste your Sacrifices, Ummah will be glorified, Islam will be strengthened, that time is very near #kashmir," he tweeted from his account '@HafizSaeedJUD'.
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He has often been seen addressing anti-India rallies in Pakistan. Islamabad says it has no proof against him.
In Quetta, gunmen fired on the vehicle of a politician driving past worshippers leaving a mosque, killing nine people and wounding 27, police said. Quetta is capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, where several militant groups are active, including the Pakistani Taliban, who claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack that killed 30 people at a policeman's funeral on Thursday.
"There has been a threat from Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and its allied groups especially on forces and foreigners," a senior police official told PTI. "We are coordinating with other agencies to thwart terrorists' plans during Eid days." — Agencies
Youth Congress activists stop Delhi-Lahore bus
Amritsar, August 9
The incident occurred a day after Defence minister AK Antony’s statement in Parliament that the killings were a handiwork of special troops of the Pakistani Army.
Punjab Youth Congress president Vikramjit Singh Chaudhry and district president Vikas Soni led the protesters. They showed black flags to Pakistani passengers and raised slogans against the Pakistani government and its army.
The police and intelligence agencies were caught unawares as the Youth Congress activists stopped the bus just a few metres away from the India Gate police chowki and the Chheharta police station.
The Lahore-bound bus carrying 14 passengers remained stranded on the road for about 20 minutes.
Vikramjit Singh Chaudhry said all bilateral ties with Pakistan should be snapped immediately. “After the Union Defence Minister said special troops of the Pakistan army were involved in the killing of Indian soldiers, we decided to stop the bus to lodge our protest. The government should immediately stop the Delhi-Lahore bus, the rail service and the recently opened visa centre at the Attari integrated check post,” he said.
He said they would continue their protest and disrupt the Delhi-Lahore bus till the Pakistan government court martialled its army officials involved in the killing of Indian soldiers.
Amritsar rural SSP Manmohan Singh said about 29 Youth Congress workers, including Vikramjit and Vikas Soni (who led the protesters), had been taken into preventive custody.