The South Asia Channel

Investigators Raid Fake Pakistani Diploma Company; Suicide Bombing Kills Four in Kabul; Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Expected to Return

Pakistan Investigators raid offices of fake diploma company Pakistani investigators raided the offices of Axact, a software firm in Karachi that has reportedly been running a network of fake online schools (NYT, BBC). Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered the investigation following a report by the New York Times that linked Axact to at ...

In this picture shows the building of Axact company after the raid by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Rawalpindi on May 19, 2015. Pakistani investigators Tuesday carried out raids on a firm accused of running a global fake degree empire, officials said, confiscating computers and holding employees for questioning as the scandal deepened. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM        (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture shows the building of Axact company after the raid by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Rawalpindi on May 19, 2015. Pakistani investigators Tuesday carried out raids on a firm accused of running a global fake degree empire, officials said, confiscating computers and holding employees for questioning as the scandal deepened. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

Investigators raid offices of fake diploma company

Pakistani investigators raided the offices of Axact, a software firm in Karachi that has reportedly been running a network of fake online schools (NYT, BBC). Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered the investigation following a report by the New York Times that linked Axact to at least 370 websites that purport to be online schools based in the United States. Police say computers and other records were seized and 30 people were detained at the company’s Islamabad offices, although no formal arrests have been made yet. Axact has denied any wrongdoing.

Pakistani Imam jailed for hate speech

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court sentenced an Imam to five years in prison for delivering hate speech at a public gathering (RFE/RL, Dawn). According to the prosecution, the cleric, Maulana Abubaker, was inciting people against the Shi’ia religious sect in February in Punjab Province’s Kasur district. According to an unidentified official speaking to Dawn, 21 people have been convicted this year of hate speech.

Afghanistan

Suicide bombing in Kabul kills 4, wounds dozens

A suicide bomber detonated explosives packed in a car in a Justice Ministry parking lot at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Kabul, killing at least four people (Post, NYT, Pajhwok). Mohammad Ismail Kawoosi, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, said that as many as 53 people were wounded in the attack and the death toll was expected to rise. The attack appears to have been timed to catch staff at the Justice Ministry as they left for the day. 

NUG appoints 8 provincial governors

The National Unity Government announced Tuesday evening that it had appointed eight provincial governors (TOLO). New governors were appointed in Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Bamyan, Paktika, Helmand, and Nimroz provinces. The appointments come at a time of increased public criticism aimed at the government for the delay in appointing the 32 provincial governors and a defense minister. Last week, two governors — one for Herat and one for Kandahar — were selected. Twenty-four governorship positions remain unfilled.

India

 

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister expected to return to post

Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party J. Jayalalithaa, is “likely” to return to her position as the head of the government in Tamil Nadu as early as Saturday, according to party sources (NDTV). Last year, corruption charges were brought against her forcing to step down from her third stint as chief minister. Earlier this month, Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa of the charges, and Monday she issued a statement indicating that she will chart her future plans according to the wishes of her cadres. She is expected to meet with 150 legislators from AIADMK on Friday who are likely to endorse her for the position of the chief minister. Although AIADMK is primarily a regional party, mostly influential in Tamil Nadu, it is also the third largest party in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament.

13 killed due to dust storms in Rajasthan

A sudden onset of dust storms carrying winds up to 60 mph in some parts of the northwestern state of Rajasthan resulted in the deaths of 13 people and injured 50 people on Tuesday (BBC). Local officials have said that communications have been badly affected with fallen trees blocking roads and railway lines at numerous places. Up to 1000 power transmission towers as well as hundreds of electrical transformers were damaged and power was disrupted in numerous towns. The state government announced compensation of INR 400,000 ($6300) each, for the families of the deceased.

Trade negotiations with Iran becoming tougher for the Indians

Sources privy to trade negotiations between India and Iran have said that due to the prospect of reaching a nuclear deal with the U.S. Iranian trade negotiators have become “more assertive” with their Indian counterparts (Reuters). India has enjoyed a special relationship with Iran for quite some time, by virtue of being one of the few countries willing to trade with Iran despite Western sanctions. But now with the possibility of Iran opening up to the world markets, Indian negotiators are being threatened with competition from countries. India revalued a $233 million transaction relating to steel exports for railway tracks to $217 million when according to sources, Iran told Indian negotiators that it had offers from other countries, including Turkey, to supply the equipment at a cheaper cost. One source said “Earlier they were standing in line to offer us deals. Now, they ask the Indians to “wait in line and wait your turn.” Similarly, government-owned National Iranian Oil Company intends to withdraw some of the discounts and free shipping it had been offering Indian refineries on crude sales to maintain its oil output.

— Emily Schneider and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

 

Emily Schneider is a program associate in the International Security Program at New America. She is also an assistant editor of the South Asia channel. @emilydsch

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