The South Asia Channel

Prosecutor in Bhutto murder case and Mumbai terror attacks slain in Islamabad

Political violence continues Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Chaudhry Zulfikar, the lead prosecutor investigating the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as he drove to work on Friday in Islamabad (AP, ET/Reuters, Dawn, NYT). In addition to the Bhutto murder case, in which former President Pervez Musharraf has been accused of involvement, Zulfikar was ...

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images
FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

Political violence continues

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Chaudhry Zulfikar, the lead prosecutor investigating the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as he drove to work on Friday in Islamabad (AP, ET/Reuters, Dawn, NYT). In addition to the Bhutto murder case, in which former President Pervez Musharraf has been accused of involvement, Zulfikar was in charge of prosecuting militants linked to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

In Karachi on Friday, Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Sadiq Zaman Khattak was shot and killed along with his four-year-old son as he left a mosque (ET, Dawn). Authorities decided to postpone elections in Khattak’s constituency following the shooting. Members of the Taliban posted fliers on public buildings in Peshawar warning people not to vote in next week’s elections, saying that democracy is against the teachings of Islam (ET). And militants attacked a Pakistani military checkpost in South Waziristan on Friday, killing one security officer and prompting a retaliation that killed four militants (Dawn).

Just a day after an Indian man died from wounds suffered during an attack at the Pakistani prison where he was being held, a Pakistani man has been attacked in an Indian prison in Jammu, receiving severe head wounds and putting him in intensive care (Dawn, Reuters). Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry called the attack "obvious retaliation to the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh"

Tensions on high

Afghan security forces said Thursday that they had overrun and burned a Pakistani-held border crossing – which President Hamid Karzai complained earlier this year had been built without Afghanistan’s permission — during a clash with Pakistani troops on Wednesday night, and also took back five Afghan police posts that had been occupied by Pakistani forces (NYT, Pajhwok, Pajhwok). Meanwhile, the funeral procession for the Afghan border policeman killed in Wednesday night’s clash turned into a nationalist demonstration, with Afghans pouring out onto the streets to show their support, and many declaring the clash a victory over Pakistan.

President Karzai on Thursday urged the United States to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and release all Afghan nationals being held there (AP, AFP). President Barack Obama spoke earlier this week about renewing his efforts to work with Congress and make good on his campaign promise to close the prison, as reports from Guantanamo indicate that the number of prisoners on hunger strike continues to rise (NYT). Some detainees have been on a hunger strike for months, and prison doctors are now using nasal feeding tubes just to keep them alive, which has raised questions about the ethics of forced feeding (Post).

A confidential assessment of the Afghan government’s finances by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has found that even reaching the modest target of covering less than half of its own bills this year appears to have become a major challenge for the government of Afghanistan (NYT). The report attributes this difficulty to widespread tax evasion that is supported by government officials, the increased skimming of customs revenue by provincial governors, and faltering economic growth.

Finally, eight Afghan Local Police personnel were killed Thursday night by a roadside bomb in central Logar Province (Pajhwok).

— Jennifer Rowland

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