The South Asia Channel

Peshawar Court Halts Military Court Death Sentence; Jundullah Leader Killed in Afghan Air Strike; Patels Demand “Other Backward Class” Classification

Pakistan Peshawar High Court halts military court death sentence On Tuesday, the Peshawar High Court stayed a death sentence imposed by a military court (ET, Dawn). The suspension will last until Sept. 8 and was issued by a two judge bench consisting of Justice Musarat Hilali and Justice Younis Thaheem. The case in question involves ...

Pakistani policemen stand guard as a police armored vehicle carrying arrested paramilitary soldiers leaves an anti-terrorist court after a hearing in Karachi on June 22, 2011.  Paramilitary Rangers shot dead Sarfaraz Shah, 22, in Karachi on June 8 after he was accused of robbery but his family has demanded justice, insisting he was an innocent student. The killing was filmed by a television cameraman. AFP PHOTO/ RIZWAN TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani policemen stand guard as a police armored vehicle carrying arrested paramilitary soldiers leaves an anti-terrorist court after a hearing in Karachi on June 22, 2011. Paramilitary Rangers shot dead Sarfaraz Shah, 22, in Karachi on June 8 after he was accused of robbery but his family has demanded justice, insisting he was an innocent student. The killing was filmed by a television cameraman. AFP PHOTO/ RIZWAN TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

Peshawar High Court halts military court death sentence

On Tuesday, the Peshawar High Court stayed a death sentence imposed by a military court (ET, Dawn). The suspension will last until Sept. 8 and was issued by a two judge bench consisting of Justice Musarat Hilali and Justice Younis Thaheem. The case in question involves Haider Ali, a 21-year old accused of terrorism, who was 14 when he was handed over to the 24th Unit of Baloch Regiment in Swat on September 21, 2009 by a local jirga and interned. His family challenged his death sentence on the grounds that he was a juvenile at the time of arrest. The suspension follows the Pakistani Supreme Court’s suspension of six other death sentences imposed by military courts in April.

MQM, Government to discuss forming grievance redressal committee

On Tuesday, a six member delegation from the MQM party met with government officials to discuss the formation of a Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) to address the grievances that led MQM lawmakers to resign their positions en masse (ET, Dawn). A source privy to the discussion told Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper: “Although it was agreed in an earlier meeting between both sides that the GRC will consist of political forces but the MQM delegation stressed for the inclusion of technocrats as well.” The MQM delegation was led by MQM parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar. The government’s delegation included Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and the Prime Minister’s Legal Adviser Ishtar Ausaf Ali. Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who had been appointed to mediate the negotiations did not attend the meeting. Rehman commented: “I have done my job and since both the parties are now on the dialogue table, therefore, they should try to resolve all the issues amicably.”

Pakistan to hang paraplegic

In the latest controversy to emerge surrounding Pakistan’s death penalty, Pakistan is expected to hang a 44-year-old paraplegic man in the coming days, perhaps hanging him in his wheelchair (Post). Pakistan has never before hanged a paraplegic, but that is what will occur if the courts do not intervene to stay the execution of Abdul Basit. Basit’s lawyers filed a petition to challenge the execution on Tuesday. Namra Gilani, a Justice Project Pakistan lawyer working on the case stated: “Our main argument is that, in the jail manual, it states a person has to walk to the gallows and has to stand on the scaffolding.” Basit was paralyzed after he developed meningitis in prison having been arrested for murder. The controversy follows an earlier execution of a man widely believed to have been 14 when convicted that sparked international outrage.

Afghanistan

Jundullah leader killed

The leader of the insurgent group Jundullah was killed along with four other militants in an Afghan airstrike on Monday according to the National Directorate of Security (TOLO News, RFE/RL). The airstrike in the Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province killed Jundullah’s leader Qari Ghulaam Hazrat and his deputy Amar. Jundullah split from the Pakistani Taliban in November pledging its allegiance to the Islamic State.

11 killed in gas fire

On Monday night, eleven people died and 18 were injured in a fire following a gas tanker explosion in Afghanistan’s Herat Province (Pajhwok, TOLO News). The explosion caused fires at a another five gas companies in the immediate area according to the local fire chief. The cause of the explosion is unknown.

Plot to attack Vice President Dostum foiled

On Tuesday, Junbish-i-Milli Islami (JMI) party deputy head Massoud Ahmad Massoud announced that a plot to kill Afghanistan’s First Vice President Abdul Dostum was foiled in Faryab province’s Qaisar district (Pajhwok). Three alleged would-be bombers were reportedly arrested. Last week, Dostum’s military convoy was attacked in the province.

— David Sterman

India

Patels demand classification as “Other Backward Class”

A rally held by the Patel community in Ahmedabad, the capital of the western state of Gujrat, attracted tens of thousands of attendees, demanding affirmative action for the Patel community with regards to jobs and education (BBC, HT). “Patel” used to refer to a caste of landowners and village elders in western India about two centuries ago, but now are mostly involved in running businesses in the region.

Patels make up 20 percent of the population of Gujrat, Prime Minister Modi’s home state, and are reputed to be economically influential in the state. Attendees at the rally, 300,000 according to one estimate, demanded  being classified as “Other Backward Classes” by the government so that they are entitled to quotas in state-run education centers and in government jobs.

Indian government will auction 20 iron ore mines, says senior official

A top government official, Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar, has said that the government intends to auction 20 major iron ore mines this year, in an attempt to revive the country’s mining industry (Reuters). This would be the first time the Indian government would be making such a move.

Kumar said that during the first phase he expects a total of 80 mines to be auctioned that will include lime stone, gold, and iron ore mines. India produced 136 million tonnes of iron ore in the last fiscal year that ended March 31.

India’s mining sector was badly affected by allegations of illegal allocations and quotas. India was the world’s third-biggest iron ore exporter, but the country now has to import the steelmaking ingredient due to a court-led crackdown on illegal mining.

Thirteen arrested in connection with a hate crime in Mangalore

Thirteen people have been arrested in connection with attacking a Muslim man after he was seen talking to a Hindu girl in the port city of Mangalore in the southern state of Karnataka on Monday (Hindu, TOI). Police say 28-year-old Shakir (only one name given) who works at a local supermarket was sitting in a car with a Hindu colleague of his, when locals attacked them. He was dragged out of the car, stripped and beaten to the point where he had to be hospitalized. Police apprehended four attackers from the scene, and City Police Commissioner S. Murugan told reporters that among others arrested are members of Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu organization.

— Shuja Malik

RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images

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