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The South Asia Channel
Arrest Warrants Issued for Imran Khan, Tahir-ul Qadri; Ghani to Head to Pakistan; Modi Addresses East Asia Summit
Editor’s Note: New America’s International Security Program is looking for a Project Manager – UAVs and Development to join our team in Washington, D.C. to support our efforts to create a primer and a corresponding database on the development potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. For more information about this one-year contract position, as well as ...
Editor’s Note: New America’s International Security Program is looking for a Project Manager – UAVs and Development to join our team in Washington, D.C. to support our efforts to create a primer and a corresponding database on the development potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. For more information about this one-year contract position, as well as the application requirements, please check out the employment listing here
Arrest warrants issued for Imran Khan, Tahir-ul Qadri
A Pakistani court issued warrants for the arrest of protest leaders Imran Khan and Tahir-ul Qadri and several other critics of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday (NYT, VOA). The men are wanted by the antiterrorism court for an attack by the men’s supporters against the headquarters of the state-run television network on Sept. 1. Khan addressed his supporters outside Parliament, dared the authorities to arrest him, and then returned to his home outside Islamabad. Qadri was out of the country and gave no response.
Pakistan test fires ballistic missile
On Thursday Pakistan conducted a successful test firing of an intermediate-range Shaheen-II (or Haft-VI) ballistic missile (Washington Post, Dawn, ET). The Army conducted the launch as part of a field training exercise to ensure the readiness of the Strategic Missile Group and to recertify the missile’s design parameters. The missile that was test fired is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads up to 1,500 kilometers.
North Waziristan reconstruction to take two years
Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority Major General Mohammad Saeed Aleem said on Thursday that reconstructing the damage caused to North Waziristan by the ongoing military operation there will take two years and cost Rs 75 billion ($737 billion) (Dawn). Aleem told BBC Urdu reconstruction will take place in two phases: “In the first phase, the urban areas would be made hospitable, which includes construction of houses and markets and the repair of roads, schools and hospitals. Large-scale reconstruction of the region would take place in the second phase.” Aleem expects the first phase to take six months and the second phase to take 18 months.
Ghani to head to Pakistan
On Thursday it was confirmed that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will visit Pakistan on Nov. 13-14 for talks on the Taliban peace process, border issues, and trade, and to attend a cricket match between the two countries with Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif (RFE/RL, TOLO News, ET). Pakistan has sent three high-ranking officials to visit Ghani recently: Pakistani national security advisor Sartaj Aziz, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, and Inter-Services Intelligence chief General Rizwan Akhtar (Pajhwok).
Finance minister’s involvement in Kabul Bank questioned
As the Afghan appellate court advances on the Kabul Bank case, the current acting finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal, has been accused by the ex-CEO of Kabul Bank, Khalilullah Ferozi, as having been involved in the embezzlement scandal that collapsed the bank in 2010 (TOLO News). The court currently has a list of 227 individuals, including government officials, who have been accused by former Kabul Bank chairman Sherkhan Farnood of involvement in the crisis. Zakhilwal has rejected the accusation against him as baseless, adding that it is common in Afghanistan to make accusations against anybody.
USAID gave aid to Afghanistan
USAID gave $75 million in aid to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance so that the salary of government employees can be paid (TOLO News). The Afghan government had asked for $537 million in emergency aid several months ago. Many politicians in Afghanistan blame the budget deficit and the lack of international donors on the lack of transparency, incompetence, and wasteful spending within the Afghan government.
Modi addresses East Asia Summit
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the East Asia Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Thursday, and said that the world must reject any linkage between religion and terrorism (Indian Express, The Hindu). Modi said: “We support the East Asia Summit Declaration on the Islamic State (terror group). At the same time, comprehensive response against terrorism requires a genuinely international partnership against all terrorism. Those who believe in humanity must come together. We should also reject any linkage between religion and terrorism” (NDTV). The East Asia Summit is an annual forum held by 18 countries.
Modi further called for global partnerships on energy issues, and encouraged countries to work on solar energy initiatives. Modi also spoke about maritime disputes and said: “We need to follow global norms for peace in the South China Sea” (Times of India). Modi briefly met U.S. President Barack Obama at a gala dinner on Thursday (NDTV). Syed Akbaruddin, India’s external affairs ministry spokesman, tweeted: “Prez Obama greets PM @narendramodi at Gala dinner – ‘You are a man of action!” (Times of India). Modi also interacted with Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday, and is expected to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
Indian defense minister: Chinese intrusions not serious
The newly-appointed Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar called Chinese intrusions into Indian territory minor incidents on Wednesday, and said that the government is tackling them on day-to-day basis (Economic Times, The Hindu). Parrikar said: “Chinese intrusion is not a serious issue. It is a serious issue for media. The incidents of incursions by China are a small issue that is being tackled by the army chief or the concerned commander in that area” (NDTV). In September, India and China had their biggest military standoff this year, with both countries mobilizing troops along the border. Tensions between India and China flare up occasionally as both nations disagree over the demarcation of their shared border.
Parrikar further said that defense deals executed during the Congress-led government, were “stuck” because of vested interests, lobbying, and kickbacks. Parrikar also said that India needs to improve its defense capabilities over the next three years. He said: “I’ve been bestowed with the responsibility to take care of defense forces’ needs. I’ll make sure that all the defense deals, which are needed on priority, are fast-tracked” (Times of India). Earlier this month, Parrikar, former chief minister of the western state of Goa, took over the defense minister position previously held by Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Buffalo delays train and plane in Indian city
An Indian buffalo was hit by the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express train on Monday in Surat — located in the western state of Gujarat — delaying and damaging the train (Indian Express, Times of India). Even though the train slowed down, it dragged the carcass for a while. Last week, SpiceJet, an Indian aircraft hit a buffalo during take-off at the Surat airport. While no passengers were hurt, the buffalo was killed in the crash. After the accident, SpiceJet said the buffalo was “essentially invisible against a black background” (BBC).
Business Standard). The directorate general of civil aviation has compiled a list of 18 airports where “wildlife hazard” to air travel is the worst in India. According to reports, jackals, antelopes, dogs, snakes, monkeys, peacocks, foxes, and porcupines have strayed onto runways. In 2008, approximately 100 flights were disrupted in a day after numerous monitor lizards crawled onto the airport runway in New Delhi.
— Neeli Shah
Edited by Peter Bergen