Daily brief: Confusion over fate of kidnapped American
Mistaken reports Police officials in Lahore reported this morning that American aid expert Warren Weinstein, kidnapped 12 days go from his home in the city, had been rescued, only to retract those reports shortly after (Reuters, BBC). Police had conducted a raid to free Weinstein in Khushab, 125 miles north of Lahore, only to come ...
Police officials in Lahore reported this morning that American aid expert Warren Weinstein, kidnapped 12 days go from his home in the city, had been rescued, only to retract those reports shortly after (Reuters, BBC). Police had conducted a raid to free Weinstein in Khushab, 125 miles north of Lahore, only to come up empty-handed (AP). And unnamed intelligence officials told the Tribune Thursday that the leader of the group that kidnapped Weinstein belongs to a "banned extremist organization," but did not say which (ET).
Pakistani authorities have reportedly arrested nearly 90 people in Karachi’s ongoing wave of violence, as police said they had recovered videos showing suspected killers torturing and mutilating their victims (Dawn, ET, Dawn, AFP, DT). The Sindh province chief minister has called for a meeting of Karachi’s major political groups Friday, as the province’s home minister met with Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the violence, and Pakistan’s Supreme Court prepares to investigate the security situation in the embattled city (ET, Dawn, ET, Dawn, DT). Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani arrived in Karachi Thursday, while Sindh’s information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon claimed Wednesday that some of those arrested for taking part in killings in the city had been trained in India (Dawn, Dawn, ET).
The AP visits Pakistan’s Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine outside of Rawalpindi, where soldiers who fought militants in the country’s west recover from sometimes grievous injuries, but receive little public attention (AP). The AFP, meanwhile, looks at widespread Pakistani doubts about al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks (AFP). In meetings with Chinese officials Wednesday, Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar denied that Pakistan had links to militant groups believed to have carried out a series of attacks in western China (ET, Dawn, VOA). And in Baluchistan, the province’s Frontier Corps inspector general Maj. Gen. Obaidullah Khan said that the government was in peace talks with rebels, while two people were killed when unidentified armed men opened fire on a bakery in Quetta (ET, ET).
Four stories finish off the day: the Sindh High Court will hold a hearing after seven men convicted of involvement in the killing of teenager Sarfaraz Shah filed motions arguing that their sentences are illegal (ET). At least 30 people are dead in flooding in northwest Pakistan (CNN). The world body UNESCO called on Pakistan’s government Wednesday to find and arrest those responsible for the killing of journalist Munir Shakir (Dawn). And officials in Punjab province have reported an outbreak of more than 750 cases of dengue fever (ET).
The Guardian and Times of London report that a dispute between Kabul police chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi and the head of the British Special Forces-trained Afghan commando group the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) delayed by four hours a raid to rescue three non-Afghans pinned down by insurgents attacking the Kabul office of the British Council last Friday (Guardian, Times). According to the accounts, the CRU arrived at the scene of the attack 20 minutes after it began, but were ordered back to their barracks by Salangi; by the time a raid could be organized by New Zealand Special Forces and the CRU, Taliban fighters had made several unsuccessful attempts to blast their way into a safe room where the three British Council employees were hiding.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Thursday approved the decision of the country’s Independent Election Council (IEC) to unseat nine parliamentarians, further exacerbating the ongoing conflict between Karzai and Afghanistan’s parliament, which voted Wednesday not to accept the IEC’s decision (AFP, Reuters, AFP).
And in other news, the Post profiles popular Afghan radio DJ Noor Jan Mangal, who broadcasts in Pashto from a U.S. army base as part of the military’s efforts to sway Afghans away from the Taliban (Post).
Persistent security threats in Peshawar have not been able to dampen traditional increases in market purchases as Pakistanis prepare to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan (ET). Popular items include henna and bangles.
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