The South Asia Channel
Daily brief: Pakistan continues investigation into bin Laden
Wonk Watch: Amarjeet Singh Dulat and Asad Durrani, "India-Pakistan: need for intelligence cooperation" (The Hindu, The News). The blame game Pakistan’s Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem testified before the tribunal investigating Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan Monday, telling the five-member commission that Pakistan’s army did not know about the U.S. ...
The blame game
Pakistan’s Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem testified before the tribunal investigating Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan Monday, telling the five-member commission that Pakistan’s army did not know about the U.S. operation against the slain al-Qaeda leader ahead of time, and that, "The U.S. acted in an environment of trust and the [Pakistani] Army was, therefore, taken by surprise," by the raid (ET, DT, The News, Dawn). In his last briefing as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen said Monday that ties between the American and Pakistani militaries are at a "very difficult" point, but that they would not be severed (Dawn, ET). In other news, the commission investigating the death of journalist Saleem Shahzad was told Tuesday that Shahzad’s phone records could not be found, as his blackberry password is not known (ET). And Indonesian counterterrorism official Tito Karnavian reportedly confirmed Monday that Bali bombing suspect Umar Patek, arrested in Abbottabad, Pakistan in January, will be deported to Indonesia to face trial (AFP, Sydney Morning Herald, The News).
At least six more people have been killed in ongoing violence in Karachi, as Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik blamed "elements" for the turmoil, including "suspects from different African countries" (DT, ET, ET, DT). And Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari said Monday that his son and chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, will return to Pakistan and stand for election in Lyari, a section of Karachi (Dawn, DT).
A soldier was killed Tuesday in South Waziristan by a roadside bomb, while fierce fighting between tribesmen and militants continues in the Kurram agency (Reuters, AFP). Meanwhile, Pakistan’s police are reportedly asking traditional village tax collectors to gather information on militants (Reuters, DT). And a senior Pakistani official told the country’s Supreme Court on Monday that between January 2008 and June 2010 Pakistan lost nearly Rs50 billion (approximately $580 million) from "duty and tax evasion" on the transport of goods by truck (Dawn).
Three items round out the day: Oxfam International warned Tuesday that Pakistan had not invested the necessary resources since last year’s devastating floods, and could suffer more inundations during this year’s monsoon season (BBC, AFP). The Karachi Electric Supply Company ended a nearly three-month dispute with its employees Tuesday, while Dawn reports that the price of diesel in Pakistan will likely be lowered as the Ramadan holiday approaches (ET, Dawn, Dawn). And Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir and Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao met Tuesday in New Delhi in preparation for tomorrow’s scheduled talks between the two countries’ foreign ministers (AP, AFP, ET).
Afghan president Hamid Karzai told a group of assembled security forces officers yesterday that they should be "thankful" for foreign assistance in securing Afghanistan, and that they face several difficult years as they move to replace NATO troops (AP). Jonathan Landay reports on continued concerns about the pullout of foreign forces as Afghanistan faces overlapping political, social, and economic crises (McClatchy). Alissa J. Rubin has a must-read on the jostling for power among Kandahar’s tribal and political leaders after the death of President Karzai’s half-brother and local powerbroker Ahmed Wali Karzai (NYT). And Kevin Sieff reports on the opposition faced by the nine women on Afghanistan’s High Peace Council from other Afghan women concerned about a peace deal with the Taliban (Post). Bonus read: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, "Fighting a 50 percent solution in Afghanistan" (FP).
Two Afghan soldiers and two civilians were reportedly wounded in an attack by insurgents today on the airbase at Jalalabad, while according to Pajhwok an airstrike by international forces killed three civilians in Kunar province (Pajhwok, Pajhwok). U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) yesterday requested information on accountability and oversight of U.S. aid to Afghanistan from senior officials (Pajhwok). And Afghanistan’s election crisis continues to percolate as nearly 50 former candidates and members of parliament on Monday appealed the decision of Afghanistan’s special election tribunal disqualifying them after last year’s contested parliamentary elections (Pajhwok).
On the catwalk
This past weekend Peshawar played host to a two-day fashion show, highlighting "historical and modern fashion" from Khyber-Puktunkhwa province (ET). The show featured both male and female models, demonstrating "local and cultural styles" from the 1950s until today.