Pak Christian Couple Killed by Mob; Pak Taliban Targets India; U.S. Army Division Ends Afghan Mission
Pakistan Bonus Read: "By the Numbers: Pakistan’s Perilous Religious Laws," by Knox Thames Christian couple killed by mob A Pakistani Christian couple was tortured and burned to death in Punjab Province on Tuesday for alleged blasphemy (NYT, RFE/RL, ET). The couple, both in the mid-20s, was accused of burning a Quran after burned pages of a ...
Bonus Read: "By the Numbers: Pakistan’s Perilous Religious Laws," by Knox Thames
Christian couple killed by mob
A Pakistani Christian couple was tortured and burned to death in Punjab Province on Tuesday for alleged blasphemy (NYT, RFE/RL, ET). The couple, both in the mid-20s, was accused of burning a Quran after burned pages of a Quran were reportedly found in their trash. According to Jawad Qamar, the local police chief, a criminal case has been filed against at least 460 people, and 48 people have been arrested so far.
Sharif sets six-month polio deadline
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the Steering Committee on Polio Eradication six months to make Pakistan polio-free on Wednesday (Dawn, ET). Sharif, addressing the chief ministers of Pakistan’s four provinces, said: "[the] polio epidemic will not be tolerated in the country…. I refuse to put the generations of Pakistan at stake." The chief ministers assured Nawaz that additional security measures were being taken to protect vaccination workers, who are often the victims of attack. On Tuesday Pakistan ordered the additional vaccination of 3 million children across the country by the end of November (RFE/RL).
Supreme Court heard case against Sharif
On Wednesday the Supreme Court of Pakistan heard a petition that sought to strip Prime Minister Sharif from his post for allegedly making false statements during a joint session of parliament over the army’s role in negotiations with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek to end their sit-ins (Dawn). The petition was filed by Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf leader Ishaq Khakwani and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. A three member bench was convened to hear the petition, filed under Article 62-f of the Constitution, and the hearing was adjourned to Nov. 10 without a ruling.
— Courtney Schuster
Pakistani Taliban targets PM Modi
The Pakistani Taliban group behind this week’s suicide bombing on the Indo-Pakistan border said on Wednesday that Indian targets might be next (Livemint, Indian Express). Prime Minister Narendra Modi was briefed by his security advisors of this threat. Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar, tweeted in Urdu: "This attack is an open message to both governments across the border," and also: "If we can attack this side, the other side could also be attacked" (NDTV). Ehsan further tweeted in English: "You (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi) are the killer of hundreds of Muslims. We wl take the revenge of innocent people of Kashmir and Gugrat (sic)." Modi was the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, when hundreds of Muslims were massacred during the 2002 riots.
India moves warships after terror alert
India withdrew two warships from the Kolkata port — located in the eastern state of West Bengal — on Tuesday after intelligence agencies warned of an attack at the port (Times of India, NDTV). The two warships, INS Khukri and INS Sumitra, were docked at the Kolkata port for Navy week and were scheduled to participate in the celebrations through Friday. Coast Guard Inspector General V.S.R. Murthy said: "All our ships and establishments are on high alerts and we have told our staff to be on high alert… There hasn’t been a specific warning as to what we can expect" (WSJ). However, a defense ministry press release stated that the two visiting warships sailed out "within hours of a recall to the sea for undisclosed ‘operational reasons’ on orders by Eastern Naval Command HQ today" (Indian Express).
Pentagon report: Pakistan uses terror proxies against India
The Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) on Tuesday welcomed a U.S. Pentagon report, which stated that Pakistan was using terrorists to counter the Indian Army (Economic Times). A MEA spokesperson said: "If the international community is saying Pakistan is using terrorists as proxies to counter Indian army then its welcoming. Issue of terrorism should not be segmented" (IBNLive). The U.S. Pentagon, in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan, told the U.S. Congress that "Afghan-and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military" (NDTV).
The report further talked about the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan prior to the swearing-in ceremony of the then newly elected prime minister, Modi, and said: "In June, the US Department of State announced that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attack. Following the attack, former Afghan President Karzai denounced the attack and made strong statements supporting relations with India" (Indian Express).
Indian village celebrates monkey wedding
More than 200 villagers in the Bettiah district — located in the northern state of Bihar — attended an elaborate Hindu wedding for two monkeys on Monday (Gulf Times). While Ramdulari, the bride, was dressed in an orange dress, Ramu, the groom, was wearing a yellow T-shirt. The married couple were taken in a procession on top of a car decked with flowers, and were accompanied by people dancing in the procession. Also, numerous villagers were lined along the streets to greet them. Udesh Mahto, a daily wage worker and owner of both the monkeys, said that Ramu was "like my eldest son." Talking about Ramu and Ramdulari, Mahto said: "Initially they didn’t get along well. But later they began liking each other, so I decided to marry them off" (BBC).
— Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan
U.S. Army division ends Afghan mission
The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army ended its mission in Afghanistan on Tuesday, 13 years after it arrived in the country (Washington Post). At the departing ceremony, Major General Stephen Townsend, 10th Mountain Division commander, said: "We were the first division here, and I think it’s fitting we’d be the last," (in a combat role).
Dozens of Taliban killed in fighting
Dozens of Taliban members have been killed in Uruzgan province, according to Haji Abdul Raziq, the Deh Rawud district police chief (Pajhwok). For the past three days, hundreds of Taliban in Uruzgan province have been fighting security forces, resulting in the deaths of Taliban and seven policemen, Raziq said. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi claimed that 17 policemen have been killed and denied any Taliban deaths.
The identity of a Taliban commander slain in fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in Faryab province on Monday has been released (Pajhwok). Mullah Ghulam Sakhi was killed by Afghan forces, and two additional commanders injured in the fighting have been identified as Qari Daud and Mullah Khairullah.
Ghani promises support for women’s rights
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addressed the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday where he urged the protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan. Ghani asked AIHRC for recommendations to improve human rights law in Afghanistan (Pajhwok).
On Tuesday, Ghani also told the husband that a group of men accused of gang raping his wife eight years ago would be arrested and brought to justice (BBC). Ghani made a phone call to the husband after six of the eight men accused of raping his wife were released because of their political connections.
— Courtney Schuster
Edited by Peter Bergen
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