Daily brief: Pakistani politician murdered in London
Stabbed in exile Imran Farooq, a founding leader of the Pakistani political party the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which represents much of Karachi’s Urdu-speaking population, was stabbed to death outside his home in northwest London, where he has been living in exile since the 1990s (BBC, AFP, ET, Geo, Tel, Dawn, Guardian, Sky, CNN). The ...
Stabbed in exile
Stabbed in exile
Imran Farooq, a founding leader of the Pakistani political party the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which represents much of Karachi’s Urdu-speaking population, was stabbed to death outside his home in northwest London, where he has been living in exile since the 1990s (BBC, AFP, ET, Geo, Tel, Dawn, Guardian, Sky, CNN). The MQM has announced a 10 day mourning period in Karachi, which has come to a standstill, though there are reports of some vehicles and shops being burned and shots fired (BBC, AP, ET, AP). There have been no claims of responsibility yet, and British authorities are reportedly working off the assumption that the murder was politically motivated (BBC). Last month, another MQM leader, Raza Haider, was killed in Karachi, triggering violence in which dozens were killed (Tel, Dawn).
In an unrelated incident, an activist for the rival Awami National Party, which represents most of Karachi’s Pashtun population, was killed yesterday in the southern Pakistani city (Dawn, Daily Times).
Pakistan’s Express Tribune reports that Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus met earlier today in Islamabad to discuss Taliban reconciliation and regional security (ET). Karzai assured Pakistani leaders that Pakistan would have a role in the talks, and met separately with Gen. Kayani (Dawn, Hindu, The News).
Flood watch: The EU has agreed to waive tariffs on Pakistani exports as part of a flood relief package, which could be worth millions of dollars (FT, BBC). Obama administration envoy Amb. Richard Holbrooke said the United States will continue to add to the $261 million in flood aid it has already provided, though cautioned, "The international community is not going to be able to raise tens of billions of dollars. You have to find a way to raise the money" (NYT, Dawn/Reuters).
Hundreds of Kashmiris continue to defy curfews in towns across Indian-administered Kashmir, where India has reportedly deployed soldiers to crack down on separatist demonstrations, and two Muslim protesters have reportedly been killed by Indian forces (AP, PTI). Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has urged protesters to stage sit-ins in front of police and army camps beginning early next week (Dawn< /a>). The Indian government is sending a delegation to the area on Monday to scope out the situation (Hindu).
The Taliban have reportedly kidnapped at least two candidates in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, eight officials with the Independent Election Commission, and 10 campaign workers in Laghman, Badghis, and Herat (Pajhwok, AFP, AJE, AFP, Reuters). Some 40 private hospitals in Kabul have agreed to provide free emergency medical services during tomorrow’s elections, and around 300,000 Afghan police and soldiers have been dispatched around the country to help with security during the vote (Pajhwok, LAT, Tolo, McClatchy).
Concerns about security, fraud, and turnout are high in the runup to election day; more than 2,500 candidates are running for 249 seats in Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, and incumbents are expected to do well (AJE, AP, WSJ, Times, NYT). Haroun Mir, the director of a Kabul think tank commented, "We don’t expect a fair and transparent election. What we expect is an acceptable election," and the U.N. representative to Kabul, Staffan de Mistura, emphasized, "We are not in Switzerland, we are in Afghanistan" (AP, AJE, AFP). Al Jazeera has today’s must-clicks, a pair of interactive maps showing the density of Afghanistan’s polling stations, measured by the number of people per polling center, and recent incidents of electoral violence and intimidation (AJE, AJE).
Bonus reads: AfPak Channel assessments of what to look for in tomorrow’s contests (FP).
And the NYT zeroes in on the once-wary relationship between Gen. Petraeus and U.S. President Barack Obama, noting that the "two men appear to be meshing well" (NYT).
An Army of One
GQ profiles the Osama bin Laden hunter Gary Faulker, who went in search of the al-Qaeda leader in northwest Pakistan armed with "little more than a sword he’d bought on a home-shopping network, a pair of night-vision goggles, and the blessing of a vengeful Christian God" (GQ). His latest excursion to Pakistan was his 11th attempt to find bin Laden.
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