Afghanistan + 1 more

Pakistan: Chronology of humanitarian and related developments in 2002

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ISLAMABAD, 16 January (IRIN)
JANUARY 12: President Musharraf bans two militant groups - Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad - and takes steps to curb religious extremism.

FEBRUARY 3: Pakistan decides to allow army officers to preside over anti-terrorist courts.

FEBRUARY 8: Afghanistan's interim authority chairman, Hamid Karzai, starts a crucial two-day official visit to Pakistan in a move described by experts as a significant step towards improving relations between the two neighbours.

FEBRUARY 12: The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) closes down the infamous Jalozai refugee camp in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

FEBRUARY 22: News of the death of US journalist of Danny Pearl, kidnapped in the southern port city of Karachi and held captive since January. A videotape showing scenes of Pearl's murder is received by US and Pakistani officials.

MARCH 10: UNHCR initiates its drive to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Afghans. While the original planning figure stood at 400,000, by year's end over 1.5 million had made the journey home.

MARCH 17: Grenade attack on a Protestant church in the diplomatic enclave of the capital, Islamabad, kills five people and wounded about 45 others, most of them foreigners.

MARCH 20: 16 Christians and one Muslim are massacred in a church in Bahawalpur in Punjab Province.

MARCH 27: Launch of the annual human rights report for 2001, published by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The report is particularly critical of the government's lack of resolve in addressing human rights issues.

APRIL 30: Millions of Pakistanis go to the polls to vote in a referendum to decide whether or not President Pervez Musharraf's term of office could be extended for five years.

MAY 8: A suspected suicide bomber kills 12 French citizens and at least two Pakistani nationals in Karachi.

JUNE 11: Pakistani rights activists hail the acquittal of Zafaran Bibi, a woman sentenced to death by stoning in the NWFP.

JUNE 14: New Government statistics say that poverty in Pakistan is steadily increasing from 28.2 percent in 1998-99 to 32.2 percent in 2000-01.

JUNE 25: USAID reopens its office in the capital, Islamabad, after remaining closed for nearly a decade.

JULY 2: News emerges of the gang-rape of a girl under a ruling by a tribal jirga, or village council, in Punjab Province, as a means of punishing her brother.

JULY 25: A private deal is struck between two families under which juvenile girls are married to old men as part of a compensation package to save four murder convicts on death row.

AUGUST 5: Gunmen assault a missionary school in the resort town of Murree, northeast of Islamabad, killing six Christians.

AUGUST 9: Three men hurl grenades at a group of nurses leaving a church at a Christian eye hospital in Taxila, 25 km northwest of Islamabad, killing four of them.

AUGUST 27: Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah announces the release of hundreds of pro-Taliban Pakistani prisoners of war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

SEPTEMBER 25: Seven Christians are killed when gunmen open fire on a welfare organisation in Karachi.

OCTOBER 10: General elections held, securing Musharraf another five years in office. And for the first time since independence, Muttahida Majlis-e Amal, or the United Council of Action (UCA), a coalition of six religious parties, takes control of Pakistan's two strategic provinces along the country's western border with Afghanistan.

NOVEMBER 23: Pakistan's new civilian prime minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, is sworn into office, marking the end of three years of direct military rule. But President Musharraf retains the power to sack the prime minister and dissolve national and provincial assemblies.

DECEMBER 24: Two young women and a girl die when two attackers throw grenades into a Christmas mass in the eastern Punjabi city of Sialkot.

[ENDS]

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