The South Asia Channel

Daily brief: Senior Indonesian terrorist arrested in Pakistan

Long-distance arrest News agencies reported yesterday that earlier this month a senior figure in the al Qaeda-linked Indonesian militant group Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI), Umar Patek, was arrested in Pakistan, though his location, conditions of his detention, and reasons for being in Pakistan remain unknown (WSJ, BBC, AP, AJE, AFP, Reuters). Indonesia has sent officials to ...

DARMA/AFP/Getty Images
DARMA/AFP/Getty Images

Long-distance arrest

News agencies reported yesterday that earlier this month a senior figure in the al Qaeda-linked Indonesian militant group Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI), Umar Patek, was arrested in Pakistan, though his location, conditions of his detention, and reasons for being in Pakistan remain unknown (WSJ, BBC, AP, AJE, AFP, Reuters). Indonesia has sent officials to identify and possibly take home Patek, who allegedly spent time in training camps in Afghanistan during the 1980s and 1990s, and is believed to have played an important role in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that left 202 dead, including seven Americans (NYT, AP).

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a police checkpoint in Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, killing 13 near a planned rally for politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of the Islamist Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F) party, who may have been the attack’s target (Guardian, CNN, AFP, ET). The Los Angeles Times yesterday looked at the growing militancy and radicalism seeping into different sectors of Pakistani society even as the security forces battle extremists in the country’s northwest (LAT). And bloodshed continued in Karachi as three men were shot dead there yesterday (Daily Times).

Declan Walsh has today’s must-read, an exposé of Pakistan’s "dirty little war" against separatist insurgents in Baluchistan, a war that has since last July resulted in over 100 bodies that have mysteriously appeared throughout the province bearing signs of torture (Guardian). Bonus read: Baluchistan: Pakistan’s other war (FP).  

Mohali madness

Pakistanis and Indians are gathered around televisions across South Asia and the world this morning to watch the semifinal match between their countries in the Cricket World Cup, as Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared a government half-day to allow people to watch the match, and India and Pakistan’s stock exchanges closed for the occasion (Daily Times, ET, Dawn, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Reuters, LAT, Guardian, Bloomberg). Gilani stood side-by-side with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the match began, as analysts described the "cricket diplomacy" that may take place in the stands between the two leaders and behind the scenes of long-planned bilateral talks taking place this week (NYT, Reuters, CNN, LAT, ET, AFP). Bonus read: "a more important Final Four match" and "changing the subject, from war to cricket" (FP, FP).  

Lahore police yesterday arrested six purported members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan who were allegedly involved in the 2009 attack against Sri Lanka’s cricket team during a tour in Pakistan, an attack that killed six police officers and two civilians and helped keep international cricket from returning to the country (AFP, ET).

Catch and release

Confusion abounded in Kabul yesterday as authorities briefly detained — some sources say arrested — a senior economic adviser to Afghan president Hamid Karzai and former governor of the Central Bank, Noorullah Delawari, as part of a corruption investigation into an aviation consulting contract (Reuters, AP, AFP). While Delawari insists he was merely taken in for questioning, the New York Times reports that Afghan officials say Delawari was arrested before Afghan attorney general Mohammed Ishaq Aloko was ordered by Karzai to release Delawari two hours later (NYT).

Karzai this morning also spoke out for the first time about pictures of an American "kill team" that allegedly killed Afghan civilians for sport, condemning the soldiers’ actions and saying, "They killed our youth for entertainment, they killed our elders for entertainment" (NYT). And the police chief in Nuristan province, Gen. Shamshur Rahman, told the Post that Afghan forces would move "in the coming days" to retake a district seized yesterday by Taliban forces (Post).

25 acres for a wicket?

The chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, has promised 25 acres of "fertile" land to each member of the Pakistani cricket team if they beat India in today’s match (NDTV). Sharif also said he was "praying" for the team’s success.

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