- By Jennifer RowlandJennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.
A bomb exploded outside an election office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Karachi on Thursday evening, killing five in the latest Taliban-claimed attack on Pakistan’s secular political parties (AP, ET, Dawn). Responding to a call from the MQM for a citywide strike, Karachi’s schools, restaurants, and stores closed their doors on Friday to mourn those killed in the blast.
Pakistani officials announced Friday that they will seal the border with Afghanistan and restrict the movement of Afghan refugees inside Pakistan during the May 11 election, in an effort to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks on polling stations (AP, Dawn).
An antiterrorism court in Rawalpindi ordered former president Pervez Musharraf into custody for four days at his Chak Shahzad farmhouse on Friday, during which a team of investigators from the Federal Investigation Agency will interrogate him about his role in the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto (AJE, Dawn, ET). Musharraf is already under house arrest for allegedly jailing the country’s top judges while he was still in power in 2007.
Officials in the southern province of Helmand said Friday that 45 people had been killed when their bus collided with the burning wreckage of a truck set on fire in the middle of the road by the Taliban (Pajhwok, Dawn). And five Afghan Local Police officers were drugged and then killed Thursday night in the northern province of Kunduz (Pajhwok).
Human Rights Watch issued a report on Thursday urging the Afghan government to build separate, lockable toilets and changing rooms for Afghan policewomen to protect them from sexual harassment at work (AP). The spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, Sidiq Sidiqi, responded to the report by saying the government is working to fix the problem, but that it should also be commended for defying cultural norms and recruiting female police officers at all.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial Fisheries Department takes a new approach to its official responsibilities by noting its own failure to do anything about the fact that, "The main junction of the River Indus and River Kabul is heavily fished by people who use electricity produced by generators to catch fish. This practice goes on day and night while the river banks are also disturbed by dynamite" (ET). Of course, the department’s director notes that he hasn’t had a chance to check the department’s website because he only took charge six months ago.
– Jennifer Rowland