- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
Event Notice: Please join the New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program for a discussion with Patrick Tyler about his new book, Fortress Israel, TOMORROW, November 28, 2012, from 12:15pm – 1:45pm (NAF).
New Post: Beenish Ahmed, "Plight of Pakistan’s Shi’a Minority" (FP).
Prominent Pakistani journalist and talk show host Hamid Mir escaped an attempt on his life on Monday when police discovered and diffused a bomb placed under his car in the capital city of Islamabad (NYT, AP, Reuters, BBC, ET). Elsewhere in Pakistan, a remote-controlled bomb hidden in a cement block exploded in Karachi, killing one person. The Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the foiled plot to kill Hamid Mir, and Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said, "We will continue targeting journalists who propagate a secular agenda and side with the government" (CNN, AFP/ET).
Police in Lahore said Monday that at least 16 people had died there after consuming toxic cough syrup, and that they have opened a homicide investigation into the factory that produced the medicine (NYT, BBC AJE).
Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters in Lahore on Tuesday that the country’s national elections will be held in May, in the government’s first indication of a solid timeframe for the vote (AP).
Afghan Ponzi scheme
An audit of Afghanistan’s embattled Kabul Bank has found that far from being the nation’s first successful, Western-style financial institution, "From its very beginning, the bank was a well-concealed Ponzi scheme" (NYT). Portrayed by Afghan and American officials alike as a mechanism to extend banking services to people who had never opened a checking account, the bank really just allowed a small group of friends of President Hamid Karzai to commit hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud.
Pakistan’s finance ministry on Monday released its summary of operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012-2013, in which a total of Rs88.7 billion ($9.2 million) were described as a "statistical discrepancy" (ET). The sum represents almost 10% of total federal spending in the first quarter, and points either to massive corruption and/or serious mismanagement of funds.
– Jennifer Rowland