More than 50 dead in floods
Flooding in a remote part of the north has claimed more than 50 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes, a provincial official said yesterday. Lieutenant Fazel Rahman, the police chief in the Guzirga i-Nur district of Baghlan Province, said 54 bodies have been recovered, including the remains of women and children, but many others are still missing. He said the death toll could climb to 100 and called for emergency assistance from the federal government. “So far no one has come to help us. People are trying to find their missing family members,” Rahman said, adding that the district’s police force was overstretched by the scale of the disaster. Jawed Basharat, the spokesman for the Baghlan provincial police, said they were aware of the flooding, but that it would take eight to nine hours for them to reach the remote and mountainous area.
Teen shot, thrown in canal
Police say an 18-year-old woman has “miraculously survived” after being shot and thrown into a canal by her father for marrying against the family’s wishes. Local police officer Ali Akbar said yesterday the girl’s father attacked her in Hafizabad, a city 200km southeast of the capital, Islamabad. The assault on Wednesday came days after a 25-year-old woman was beaten and stoned to death by her family for marrying against their wishes. Akbar says Saba Maqsood, married a man last week, but her father Ahmed brought her back to his home, promising she would not be harmed. The next day Ahmed took her to a deserted area and tried to kill her, he said.
Bombs kill two soldiers
Two soldiers were killed yesterday in separate bomb blasts in a restive tribal region near the Afghan border, the military said. The explosions took place in Bajaur, one of the seven tribal regions, where troops have been battling Taliban and Islamist militants. “Two soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom] in Bajur yesterday in two different improvised explosive device blasts planted by terrorists along road side in Bara Kamangara area and near a Pakistani post on Pak-Afghan border respectively,” the military said in a statement. Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but roadside bombs are often used by the Pakistani Taliban, who launched their insurgency in 2007.
Fans vote for AKB48 leader
Thousands of fans of girl group AKB48 gathered yesterday for the results of a ballot on which member will lead the band for the next year amid tight security after two members were attacked by a man wielding a saw. Organizers were to announce results of the popularity vote late yesterday at a football stadium in Tokyo in which 300 members ran for the top spot in one of the world’s highest grossing acts. Fans finished voting on Friday for the girl they want to lead the collective for the next year, using ballot slips only available with the purchase of their latest single. The annual vote was overshadowed by last month’s attack on two teenage members at one of the band’s regular meet-the-fans events in Iwate. Rina Kawaei, 19, and Anna Iriyama, 18, both suffered broken bones in their right hands and received cuts on their arms and heads after a 24-year-old man attacked them with the 50cm saw. Kawaei and Iriyama are running for the top spot, but may not show up at the venue as they are still under treatment, news reports said.