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Taliban anger over commander's 'house arrest' in Pakistan

Pakistan on Wednesday denied a Taliban claim that it had failed to free former rebel commander Abdul Ghani Baradar, whose release was meant to boost Afghanistan's peace process. Baradar, often described as the Taliban's former second-in-command, was supposedly set free last month, after months of negotiations between the two governments. "However, with great regret, he is still spending days and nights locked up behind bars in worrisome health conditions which are deteriorating by the day," the Taliban said in a statement on their website.

Taliban anger over commander's house arrest in Pakistan

The Taliban on Wednesday claimed Pakistan had failed to free Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former rebel commander whose release was meant to boost Afghanistan's peace process. Baradar, often described as the Taliban's former second-in-command, was supposedly set free last month, according to the Pakistan government, after months of negotiations between the two governments "However, with great regret, he is still spending days and nights locked up behind bars in worrisome health conditions which are deteriorating by the day," the Taliban said in a statement on their website.

Search is on for new Pakistan army chief

Five months on from a successful transition of power after general elections, Pakistan is poised to make a decision of arguably even greater importance -- the appointment of a new army chief. The incumbent, General Ashfaq Kayani, on Sunday confirmed he will step down as scheduled on November 29, scotching rumours he was to keep a hand on the reins in some new role. Four lieutenant generals are seen as in the hunt to lead the 600,000-strong army -- widely considered the most powerful job in Pakistan.

Pakistani journalist released after kidnap

Gunmen released a journalist Friday a day after he was kidnapped in one of Pakistan's tribal areas on the Afghan border, a relative said. "Armed men released Lal Wazir and dropped him near Azam Warsak Bazar today," his uncle Ibrahim Wazir told AFP. Lal Wazir, 38, who works for a local newspaper in the South Waziristan town of Azam Warsak, was taken from a shop by six masked gunmen on Thursday. "Lal is currently unable to speak to anybody but he arrived back home in safety," his uncle added.

Market bombing kill 33 in Pakistan's Peshawar: police

By Hamid Ullah Khan PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Twin blasts in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar killed 33 people and wounded 70 on Sunday, a week after bombings at a church there killed scores, police and hospital authorities said. Islamist violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent months, undermining Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to tame the insurgency by launching peace talks with the Taliban.

Death toll from Pakistan quake rises to 356

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rocked Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan on Tuesday has risen to 356, local media reported Thursday. Federal Interior Minister Chaudri Nisar Ali Khan said the death toll is likely to rise further, adding that helicopters delivering relief supplies are trying to reach the most affected areas in Balochistan's Awaran district.

Death toll from Pakistan quake rises to 327

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rocked Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan on Tuesday has risen to 327, a provincial government official said Wednesday. Abdul Rashid, the deputy commissioner of Awaran district in the province, said the magnitude 7.7 quake caused widespread devastation in the district, where over 285 people are confirmed dead.

Heavy toll feared as big quake hits Pakistan

A huge earthquake hit southwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 46 people, toppling scores of homes and sending people around the region rushing into the streets in panic. The 7.7-magnitude quake centred in Baluchistan province's Awaran district was felt as far afield as New Delhi and Dubai, residents said. Officials said the quake, which struck at at 4:29 p.m. (1129 GMT), demolished dozens of houses in Awaran, 350 kilometres (219 miles) southwest of the Baluchistan provincial capital Quetta. Its epicentre was 20 kilometres below ground.

Pakistan announces troop withdrawal from Malala's town

Pakistan is to start withdrawing troops from a troubled northwestern district where Taliban insurgents shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in the head, local officials said Sunday. The army in 2009 sent 30,000 troops to battle Taliban fighters controlled by cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who since 2007 had taken control of the scenic Swat valley and waged a campaign of beheadings, other violence and attacks on girls' schools.

Pakistan court takes action on bar on women voters

A high court in northwest Pakistan Thursday ordered the authorities to withhold bye-election results of two constituencies where women were not allowed to cast votes, an official said. The country held bye-elections after 42 seats became vacant after candidates in the May general elections held more than one seat and could keep only one. "The Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court has taken the suo moto notice of media reports that women were not allowed to cast their votes in two constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province," a court official told AFP.
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