Daily brief: tensions still high over Davis case
The fallout In the wake of the disclosure that Raymond Davis, the American who shot and killed two Pakistanis he said were attempting to rob him late last month in Lahore, worked with the CIA, Pakistan said yesterday that his employer status does not impact the fact that his case will be decided in a ...
In the wake of the disclosure that Raymond Davis, the American who shot and killed two Pakistanis he said were attempting to rob him late last month in Lahore, worked with the CIA, Pakistan said yesterday that his employer status does not impact the fact that his case will be decided in a Lahore court (Reuters). At the heart of the case is whether the 36 year old former Special Forces soldier has diplomatic immunity from prosecution under Pakistani laws: if he was listed as a technical staff member for the U.S. embassy’s diplomatic mission, he does and Pakistan can only expel him; if he was listed as a staff member of the Lahore consulate, he does not and can be tried in Pakistan (NYT). In his current role as "public enemy No. 1" in Pakistan, Karin Brulliard describes, Davis’s name "has become a byword for a presumed army of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of shadowy American operatives stalking Pakistani streets" (Post).
Punjab police were reportedly turned away from the American consulate in Lahore yesterday as they sought to arrest the men allegedly involved in the death of a third Pakistani man in connection with the Davis incident (Dawn). The AP notes that the case "could hardly have come at a worse time" for the ruling PPP, whose ministers have been removed as junior coalition partners from the Punjab government, run by the opposition PML-N (AP, Dawn, The News, Dawn). The PML-N’s 45 day deadline for the PPP to implement its 10 point agenda is tomorrow, and prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has emphasized that the reforms will take time (ET).
Yesterday in Karachi, an aide to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan founder, Baitullah Mehsud, was arrested (Daily Times). Also yesterday, rockets fired from Kurram agency in northwest Pakistan targeting a Pakistani Army checkpoint in Hangu killed as many as six people, including two women and two children, after the mortar shells landed on civilian homes (AFP, AFP/ET). Today, Pakistani security forces killed eight militants in an operation in central Kurram (ET). Bonus read: a Haqqani-brokered peace in Kurram? (FP).
The coalition has denied reported comments attributed to Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, suggesting that the general said that Afghan "children’s hands and feet were purposely burned by their families in order to create" a civilian casualty event following Afghan government claims of civilian casualties during coalition operations in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar (AP). A Karzai government spokesman called Petraeus’s alleged comments "outrageous, insulting and racist" and demanded an explanation. International forces reportedly detained three journalists coming from Ghaziabad, the site of the airstrike, for 24 hours (Pajhwok).
Al Jazeera reports that Taliban fighters have claimed some control of Zhari district outside of Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan, and plan to expand operations there this summer (AJE). The commander of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan said that the Afghan army’s annual attrition rate is 32 percent, and the police attrition rate is 23 percent, though recruitment rates are believed to be high enough to allow NATO to reach its goals for the size of Afghanistan’s security forces by October (AP).
And a meeting of a special committee to recommend a speaker for Afghanistan’s parliament reportedly ended in blows today as members traded barbs; after several weeks of votes, the parliament has been unable to decide on a speaker (Pajhwok).
The NYT spotlights the lack of elevators in Kabul, which has become more of a problem as the city develops a skyline and taller buildings (NYT). In Dari, the word for "elevator" is bala barenda, which roughly translates to people-lifting-thingie.
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