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Pakistan suspicious over reports of Taliban leader death

Reports that Mullah Mohammad Omar have been met with scepticism in the Pakistan military ahead of with peace talks with the Afghan government.

Mullah Mohammad Omar went into hiding after 911 Credit: Reuters

A senior official from the Pakistani military, which historically has close ties to the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist militant groups in the region, said he could not confirm Omar's death.

"It is worth asking why this news has come out now, when we are two days away from the second round of peace talks," said the official.

"Especially in light of reports that he died two years ago... why is this news being released now? It raises questions about the intentions of people who don't want talks to go forward."


Magnitude 5.1 earthquake strikes near Islamabad

A map of Pakistan showing the epicentre of the 'quake. Credit: USGS

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck close to Pakistan's capital city Islamabad, the US Geological Survey has said.

The tremor struck in the early hours of the morning local time and its epicentre was only 16 km (10 miles) from the densely populated city.

There are currently no reports of damage or casualties.

Gunmen on motorcycles kill 41 on bus in Karachi

Gunmen on motorcycles have killed 41 people in a bus in the Pakistani city of Karachi, police say.

Security officials cordon off the area at the scene of an attack on a bus in Karachi. Credit: Reuters

Police said six attackers boarded the bus and opened fire on the passengers, who were from the Ismaili community, a minority Muslim sect in majority-Sunni Pakistan.

Local television pictures showed a pink bus covered in bullet holes.

"There were six attackers. They boarded the bus and carried out the shooting," police superintendent Najib Khan told Reuters.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan helicopter crash kills six - including diplomats

A military helicopter carrying foreign diplomats has crashed today, killing the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines, as well as the wives of the ambassadors of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Two Pakistani pilots were also killed in the crash, according to Military spokesman Asim Bajwa.

An MI-17 helicopter of the model which crashed in Pakistan Credit: REUTERS/Defense Technology Inc.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also travelling to the northern region of Gilgit in a separate aircraft when the accident happened. He returned to Islamabad when he got the news.

In total 11 foreigners and six Pakistanis were on board the MI-17, which crashed into a school. The ambassadors of Poland and the Netherlands were injured.


Pakistan to host Test cricket for first time since 2009

Pakistan are set for a return to hosting Test-playing nations after Zimbabwe confirmed a tour will take place in May.

Pakistan will host Zimbabawe on home soil. Credit: PA

No full Test member of the International Cricket Council has toured Pakistan since 2009, when a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus left six policemen and two civilians dead, with several players injured.

'Home' games for the 1992 World Cup winners have since been played in the United Arab Emirates, but things have slowly been looking up, with Afghanistan and Kenya undertaking tours to Pakistan over the last year or so.

And Zimbabwe will now be the first full Test nation to set foot in Pakistan, in a series comprising two Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals for late May.

In press conference statements published via their official Twitter feed, Zimbabwe cricket managing director Alistair Campbell said: "We are touring Pakistan as a measure of establishing bilateral relations between us and them.

"They will also come to Zimbabwe in August."

10 men jailed for 25 years in Pakistan for Malala attack

Nobel Prize laureate Malala Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has sentenced 10 men to 25 years in prison for the 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai.

Ms Yousafzai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2014 for her campaign for women's and children's rights, was shot in the head on her school bus in Swat when she was just 15.

Authorities say that the 10 men are all members of the Pakistani Taliban, though none of them were among the four or five men who actually carried out the attack.

"Judge Mohammad Amin Kundi in his verdict gave 25 years jail to all of these people," said a court official in Swat, which is in the northwest of the country.

Malala remains unable to return to Pakistan, due to Taliban threats on her and her family's lives.

Two hostages killed in US operation at Al-Qaeda compound

Two hostages, an Italian and an American, were killed in a US counter-terror operation at an Al Qaeda compound near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan in January, the White House has said.

The White House expressed sorrow over the deaths of American Dr Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto and said it previously had no reason to believe any hostages were at the building targeted.

In a statement, the White House added that an Ahmed Farouq, an American Al Qaeda leader, was also killed in the operation, while another US member of the militant group, Adam Gadahn, was killed in January.

Barack Obama is set to make a statement at 3pm BST

Mohammad Hafeez cleared to resume bowling

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is free to resume bowling in international cricket after remedial work and a re-test on his action.

Off-spinner Hafeez is free to resume bowling. Credit: Reuters

Off-spinner Hafeez, 34, was banned from bowling after being reported for a suspect action five months ago in the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and then failing an initial test on its legality.

He was therefore unable to be selected to bowl in the World Cup, but injured his calf anyway and was ruled out of the global tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Hafeez played as a specialist batsman in Pakistan's one-day international defeat against Bangladesh on Sunday, making a duck at number three in the defeat in Dhaka.

But after the International Cricket Council confirmed his action has been proven legal in Chennai this month, Hafeez can bowl again for his country.

Javeria Khan, an all-rounder in Pakistan's women's team, has also had her action cleared - almost five years after it was first reported and then failed an initial ICC test.

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