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Massive blackout disrupts up to 80% of Pakistan

Officials in Pakistan are rushing to restore power after a massive blackout hit the country earlier this morning.

Up to 80% of Pakistan was without power, but by mid-morning power had been restored to about half of the country.

A militant attack in the southwestern Baluchistan province caused the blackout, according to Zafaryab Khan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Water and Power.

Pakistan army chief welcomes returning pupils

The head of the Pakistani army General Raheel Sharif met returning pupils outside the school gate in Peshawar this morning.

Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif shakes students' hands as they arrive Credit: RTV

"The army chief didn't make a speech but individually met the parents and assured them they would eliminate the terrorists from the country," a security official said.

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Pakistani students return to school amid high security

Students in Pakistan began streaming back to school today for the first day of the new term.

For most, it is their first day back since the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar last month in which 150 pupils and teachers lost their lives.

Girls ride on a motorcycle while heading to school after it reopened in Peshawar Credit: REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

At the Army Public School in Peshawar, survivors of the attack returned to their studies amid tight security with staff checking their bags at the entrance.

Students get their bags checked by school security staff at a school Credit: REUTERS/Khuram Parvez

Officials told Reuters news agency that eight-feet high walls were being built around public schools in Peshawar as part of enhanced security.

Schoolchildren walk past a traffic policeman as they cross the road while heading to school in Peshawar Credit: REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

Pakistani school reopens after Taliban massacre

150 schoolchildren and teachers were killed on December 16, last year. Credit: REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

The school that was the scene of a brutal Taliban massacre reopened today.

Pakistani children and their parents returned to the Army Public School in Peshawar where Taliban gunmen killed 150 of their classmates and teachers - one of the worst attacks the country has ever endured.

Most schools across the country have been shut for an extended winter break in the aftermath of the December 16 attack.

Bus crash in Pakistan kills at least 57 people

Credit: PA Images

A crash involving a passenger bus and a petrol tanker in southern Pakistan has killed at least 57 people.

Dr Seemi Jamali, who heads the emergency section at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre in Karachi, said they had received 57 bodies.

She said the bodies were so charred that they would have to do DNA tests to identify the victims.

The minister of transportation for Sindh Province, Mir Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani, says the crash happened when the passenger bus hit the petrol tanker about 31 miles outside of Karachi.

Such horrific traffic accidents are not uncommon in Pakistan due to reckless, untrained drivers and poor roads.

US drone attack in Pakistan kills suspected militants

A drone attack by US forces has killed at least six suspected militants in north west Pakistan, intelligence officials have said.

The strike hit compounds in Lawara Mandi, near the border with Afghanistan, killing between six and nine suspected militants.

It comes as Pakistani officials debate plans to intensify a crackdown on Taliban insurgents behind the massacre of 132 schoolchildren last month.

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Teacher learned son was dead as she identified staff bodies

A teacher whose son was among the 132 children massacred by the Taliban at a school in Pakistan has told ITV News she learned of his death after being asked to identify the bodies of her colleagues.

Parents have tentatively returned their children to other schools in the area, three days after the killings in Peshawar that shocked the world.

Pakistan has meanwhile executed two convicted militants, the country's first state killings in years, after the government reinstated the death penalty following the massacre that killed 148 people.

ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar reports from Peshawar.

Taliban 'vow to attack more schools and civilians'

The Taliban ringleader of the Peshawar school massacre has vowed to hit more children and civilian targets in a newly-released video, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Khalifa Omar Mansoor said the group would strike in revenge for Pakistani military operations in the country's Northern Waziristan province, on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This is something we cannot accept anymore, and if you continue to target our women and children, then your children will not be safe anymore. We announce that we will not discriminate in our attacks any longer, and will be as unconcerned as you are. I want to tell the Pakistan government, and the directors, teachers and students of the army’s affiliated institutions, that you are the ones strengthening this un-Islamic democratic system.

– Khalifa Omar Mansoor
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