The South Asia Channel

Militants storm ISI headquarters in Sukkur, killing 4 and wounding 40

Militants storm ISI headquarters in Sukkur, killing 4 and wounding 40

Bonus read: "Obama Needs to Explain Why We’re Breaking Up with Afghanistan," Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (DefenseOne).

Unprecedented attack

At least four security officials died and 40 more people were injured in the town of Sukkur in Sindh province on Wednesday night when militants stormed the local headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency (AP, BBC, Dawn, ET, Reuters, RFE/RL).  According to multiple reports, at least five attackers broke in to the heavily guarded compound and detonated four bombs before seizing control of a government building and exchanging gunfire with security personnel; all five militants were among the dead.  While many government officials are attributing the attack to the Pakistani Taliban, no one has claimed responsibility for the assault.

During his weekly press briefing on Thursday, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, the spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign office, said the Afghan Taliban’s political office in Doha would reopen soon, but he provided no information to support that claim (Dawn).  Chaudhry also said the dates for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Pakistan would be decided shortly, and that the CIA drone campaign would be addressed with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he visits Islamabad next week.

An unidentified police official in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province told Pakistan’s Express Tribune on Thursday that 116 female constables have been deployed to staff the female complaint units they established in 56 police stations across the province (ET).  In addition to the units set up in various police stations, complaint desks have also been created in a number of hospitals to further assist women requiring police help.  The official added that the women will work in two shifts, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, and that they are currently looking for additional recruits.

Rehmat Ullah and Dr. Naveed Iqbal became the first Pakistanis to summit the Muztagh Ata peak in China on Wednesday morning, reaching the 24,757-foot summit about seven hours after they left their base camp (Dawn, ET).  The two men were part of the Pak-China Friendship Expedition, which was created to pay tribute to the two Chinese mountaineers who died in the terrorist attack on a Nanga Parbat base camp in Pakistan on June 22. 

Asian peace prize

Habiba Sarabi, the governor of Bamyan province and Afghanistan’s only female provincial chief, was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award on Thursday in recognition of her service and good governance (Pajhwok).  The award, considered Asia’s Nobel Prize, was established in 1957 to honor former Philippine President Magsaysay’s "example of integrity in government, services to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society."  Sarabi was selected for the award because of her work promoting environmental protection and girls’ education.

At least four people were killed and 12 others were injured on Thursday in two separate explosions in Jawzjan and Kunduz provinces (Pajhwok).  According to Jawzjan district chief, Asadullah Bahrami, an explosives-laden rickshaw was detonated next to a police vehicle, killing a police officer and a civilian, and wounding four more officers and six more civilians.  The cause of the explosion in Kunduz is still under investigation.  And in Ghor province, five people were killed, two were wounded, and six were taken hostage in a clash between two illegal armed commanders (Pajhwok).  Col. Dilawar Shah, the provincial police chief, said that police had been sent to the area to quell the fighting, but added that more policemen and troops were on their way. 

In Badghis province, which is also awash in unlicensed weapons, Miwais Mirzakwal, the governor’s spokesman, announced a plan on Thursday to disarm the 21 illegal groups operating across the province in multiple phases (Pajhwok).  According to Mirzakwal, each group is made up of at least 15 gunmen and together they pose an important security challenge to the region.  He went on to say that the groups would be asked to surrender their weapons and then forcibly disarmed if they refuse. 

Burka Avenger 

In Pakistan’s first animated series, The Burka Avenger, set to air on GeoTV this August, a burka-clad schoolteacher will fight local thugs seeking to shut down the girls’ school where she works (AP).  While the show’s backstory is "ripped from the headlines," the teacher’s burka is a sleeker, more ninja-like version of the traditional robe and provides her with a cape of sorts.  The Urdu language show was created by Aaron Haroon Rashid, one of Pakistan’s biggest pop stars, and is designed to emphasize the importance of girls’ education and other lessons, such as not discriminating against others.  The website, trailer, and iPhone game for the show can be found here.

— Bailey Cahall