7 militants killed in Kamra airbase attack: PAF officialsATTOCK: Seven heavily armed militants stormed the Pakistan Air Force’s(PAF)Minhas Airbase at Kamra during the early hours of Thursday, sparking an intense gun battle lasting almost five hours, DawnNews reported.
The militants were said to be armed with automatic weapons, grenades and suicide vests. Intense exchange of fire between militants and security forces ensued after the attackers infiltrated the base, located in Attock, Punjab.
PAF officials confirmed that all seven attackers have been killed. One Pakistani soldier also lost his life in the attack, confirmed officials.
It was not immediately clear how the attackers managed to enter the sprawling base this time.
Although the attack took place at about 2 am, it is likely many of the soldiers on the base were awake for prayers or breakfast during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Faheemullah Khan, a civilian who lives near the base, said he was at a mosque praying when he heard gunfire and explosions which he thought were military exercises.
“Then we came to a restaurant, which is next to the main entrance to the base, and heard a louder explosion,” he said.
“We saw six police vans rush in, and realised something was wrong.”
Several squadrons of fighters and surveillance planes are believed to be housed there.
“One body of a suicide bomber strapped with explosives has been found close to the impact area,” said an air force statement.
Base commander, Air Commodore Muhammad Azam, who led the operation against the attackers, was wounded, but is in stable condition, said the spokesman.
“Security personnel are now in the process of scanning the entire area to check for the presence of any other miscreant,” said the spokesman.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt has ordered investigations of the incident.
Air Chief Marshal summoned a meeting today at Air headquarter Islamabad to analyse the situation after the attack and to mull over the initial intelligence reports. The meeting would be attended by top leadership of Pakistan Air Force.
Chief of Kamra aeronautical complex and Base Commander will brief the meeting.
Officials also said that one of aircraft at the base was damaged in the attack, which appeared to have been targeted at the PAF’s fighter jets parked at the Minhas base. Air Force officials confirmed that over 30 planes parked, including state-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder fighter jets.
Three to four of the militants wore military uniforms, officials said, adding that the attackers were between 19 to 33 years of age. It was also reported earlier that some of the militants wore suicide vests.
A joint search operation of security forces and police inside and outside the base was launched. PAC Hospital Kamra was also put on high alert following the attack.
The militants were reported to have attacked the base from Pind Salman Makhan village at around 2:30 am, sources said. When security officials at the check-post attempted to halt them, the militants opened fire. An intense gun battle lasting hours followed. Commandos of the Army and PAF were engaged in the operation against the attackers.
Tehrik-iTaliban (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan declined to comment on the incident whereas no other group has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.
Kamra is located about 70 kms from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The Minhas airbase is a heavily guarded compound with the Pakistan Air Force’s Kamra Aeronautical Complex in its vicinity, where Pakistan assembles and overhauls JF-17 Thunder fighter jets in collaboration with China. According to reports, at least 11 Chinese engineers were working at the Kamra Aeronautical Complex.
All Chinese and others foreign engineers and technicians involved in co-production of Chinese and Pakistan JF-17 Thunder aircraft project were shifted to a high profile secure location, sources told Dawn.com, adding that the engineers were not present near the attack area. Sources confirmed that at least 30 aircraft were on the base.
The government and military’s top leadership, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaque Pervez Kayani and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf were notified of the attack, and the operation was being closely monitored by the army chief.
In recent weeks, military intelligence had warned of the possibility of such an attack on military installations. However, there was no specific information about an attack being targeted at the Kamra base.
This is not the first time that Kamra has been the target of a militant attack. On Oct 23, 2009, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra. Two security officers and six other people were killed in the attack.
Last year, six Taliban gunmen attacked a naval base in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. At least 10 military personnel were killed and 20 wounded in the 16-hour assault.
PM not answerable to court for performance of functions: AGISLAMABAD: Attorney General Irfan Qadir contended before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Prime Minister was not answerable to any court for the performance of his functions.
He said: “The Court could not issue direction to the PM in matters which fall in the domain of his functions in view of clear cut provisions or clear cut words of Article 248 (1). As the PM is not answerable to any court in the exercise of his functions, the court’s issuance of any direction become meaningless.”
The Attorney General was arguing before a special bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Athar Saeed over a review moved by the Federation seeking review of the court’s interim order of July 12 in the NRO implementation case.
The SC’s July 12 order asks the prime minister to write to Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Pleading the court to revisit its judgement in NRO case, the AG cited Chief Justice’s restoration and Tikka Iqbal’s cases which were revisited by it.
“Neither the Court can interfere into the domain of chief executive of the country nor issue any direction as the constitution has given him discretion and protection for his actions,” he added.
Justice Khosa questioned him to suggest any solution as the NRO decision had attained finality and the review plea also stood dismissed.
In response, the AG suggested that the court could revisit it to get out of the stalemate and that no further embarrassment was caused to anyone as it was neither an issue of ego for the government nor for the court.
The bench disagreed with his arguments and remarked that such constitutional provision did not make anyone above the law.
Qadir also pleaded to the court for the formation of a larger bench to hear the appeal, however, the apex court rejected the request.
He moreover said that the bench that issues the order should be the one reviewing it, adding that, the court should wait until all five judges become available.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that “all four judges who had announced the July 12 order are present in the court.”
Qadir moreover requested the court to adjourn the hearing until after Eidul Fitr.
The prime minister is above the judiciary, Qadir said, adding that the premier could interpret the Constitution. He said that the judiciary could not interfere in the domain of the executive.
The attorney general said that indicting the former prime minister was the judiciary’s mistake, adding that, the courts could neither make the prime minister party to the case nor give directions to the premier.
Qadir said that the constitution did not give immunity to the prime minister but provided protection to the executive post.
Justice Usmani remarked that the Constitution demanded that the prime minister obey the court’s orders.
The attorney general said that it was not a matter of anyone’s ego and that implementation on Article 248-(1) was necessary for the rule of law and for supremacy of the constitution.
The attorney general said that the government was confused whether to implement the verdict of the seven-member bench or that of the 17-member bench.
Justice Khosa remarked that the government should accept the decision of either of the bench.
The attorney general said that the government would accept the verdict of 17-member bench.
Justice Khosa asked as to how much more time the government needed to implement the NRO verdict despite the fact that three years had already passed.
Qadir said that the apex court should not give rulings which it could not directly implement. To which, Justice Khosa replied that the courts could give their verdicts but did not have the power to execute them.
The case was subsequently adjourned until Thursday.
The appeal against the apex court’s order was filed by the attorney general on behalf of the government last week.
The appeal, filed on Wednesday Aug8, requested the court to review its order in which Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had been directed to submit an implementation report with respect to writing the contentious letter to Swiss authorities.
It was filed in the backdrop of the issuing of a show-cause notice for contempt of court to Prime Minister Ashraf over his failure to implement the court’s directive of writing the letter.
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