2016 proved to be a tumultuous year for Pakistan. While the nation mourned the hundreds killed across the country in separate incidents over the year, in came news of the tragic PK-661 crash.
The nation united in grief for Abdul Sattar Edhi while it was left shaken to the core with the deaths of social media starlet Qandeel Baloch and legendary qawwal Amjad Sabri. Popular COAS Raheel Sharif retired upon the completion of his tenure as relations with India frayed.
Pakistan in Pictures 2015
Not all was lost however. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy gave Pakistan its second Oscar while historic movement was made on eradicating rape and gender-based violence. In a first, Pakistan rose to the first spot in ICC Test rankings and its very own chai wala made headlines the world over.
As we bid adieu to 2016, here’s a look at Pakistan through the lens.
Bacha Khan University attack
At least 21 people died when gunmen armed with grenades and Kalashnikovs attacked a university in Charsadda, as security forces moved in under thick fog to halt the bloodshed.
The militants, using the cover of thick, wintry fog, scaled the walls of the Bacha Khan University before entering buildings and opening fire on students and teachers in classrooms and hostels. Read more here.
Sharmeen Obaid wins Pakistan’s second Oscar
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on Sunday became the first Pakistani to win two Oscar awards. Sharmeen won in the Best Documentary Short Subject for A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness in the 88th Academy awards. The documentary which sheds light on honour killings in Pakistan follows the story of a teenage girl shot in the face by her own family. Read more here.
Mumtaz Qadri executed at Adiala Jail
Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer convicted of killing former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, was executed at the Adiala Jail in February.
Qadri, a former police commando, assassinated Taseer in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, 2011 for his support to a blasphemy accused. An Anti-Terrorism Court convicted and condemned him to death – a ruling also upheld by the Islamabad High Court and Supreme Court. Read more here.
Suicide blast targeting Christians in Lahore park
At least 72 people were killed and more than 233 injured when a suicide bomb ripped through the parking space of a crowded park in Lahore where Christians were celebrating Easter Sunday.
Many women and children were among the dead and wounded in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, situated near Allama Iqbal Town. Read more here.
Shahbaz Taseer recovered
Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain governor Punjab Salman Taseer, was released with concerted efforts of law enforcers in Kuchlak area of Balochistan.
He was abducted from the Gulberg area of Lahore on August 26, 2011. Shahbaz left his house from Cavalry Ground in his silver Mercedes Kompressor (LZT-1) for his office around 10:15am. His car was intercepted by a black SUV and motorbike around 600 yards from the office and up to three men dragged Taseer out of the car and took him away. Read more here.
Amjad Sabri murdered in Karachi
Acclaimed Sufi singer and qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri was shot dead by motorcycle-borne gunmen in a central Karachi neighbourhood, triggering an outpouring of grief nationwide.
The targeted killing came two days after masked men kidnapped the son of Sindh’s top judge from outside a supermarket in broad daylight in an upscale locality of the city. Read more here.
Pakistan’s most endearing person, Abdul Sattar Edhi, passed away
Leading humanitarian and the most endearing person in the country Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away at the age of 88. Edhi had been suffering from kidney failure since 2013 and was on dialysis.
Edhi’s funeral was one of the biggest in Pakistan’s history. The last time Pakistan held a state funeral was for military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in 1988. Read more here.
Qandeel Baloch murdered
Internet sensation Qandeel Baloch was murdered by her brother in Multan. The 25-year-old social media starlet’s parents confirmed she was strangled to death. Qandeel’s father Azeem said his daughter was brave and he would not forget or forgive her brutal murder. Read more here.
Quetta lawyers attack
At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded when a suicide bomber targeted a court in Mardan city of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The attacker lobbed a hand grenade at the entrance of the court before exploding himself at the main gate of Mardan district courts. The Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack. Read more here.
Parliament passes bills against rape, honour killings
As part of pro-women legislation, the Parliament unanimously passed the anti-honour and anti-rape bills.
Under the new law, relatives of the victim would only be able to pardon the killer of capital punishment, but they would still face a mandatory life sentence of twelve-and-a-half years. Read more here.
Arshad Khan ‘Chai wala’ gains international recognition
Arshad Khan’s famous picture took the internet by storm after being shared across social media hundreds of thousands of times this year.
The photo in which the man with big green eyes is seen preparing fresh tea, gave all the ladies – and men – something to talk about. Khan has since landed a modelling contract and is all set to leave for Dubai and London for the shooting of his first film. Read more here.
Gen Raheel Sharif retires
Gen Raheel was the first army chief in last two decades who retired on time. In his three-year tenure, he was credited with initiating a decisive push against the militant outfits. The army, under his command, for the first time ventured into the North Waziristan Agency, once considered a hotbed of local and foreign militant groups.
Gen Raheel Sharif said it was a matter of great pride for him to have commanded the most battle hardened army in the world for three years. Read more here.
Islamabad-bound PIA aircraft crashes
Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-661 carrying 48 people, crashed near Abbottabad while en route to Islamabad. Among those on board was Junaid Jamshed, a former pop star turned evangelical Muslim, two Austrians and one Chinese. Read more here.
APS attack two-year anniversary
Several events were held around the country to pay tribute to the students and staff of Army Public School in Peshawar who were killed in a terrorist attack two years ago. On December 16, 2014, seven terrorists stormed the APS in Peshawar and massacred 141 students, teachers and staff. Read more here.