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The South Asia Channel

Pakistan Will Talk to Kashmir; Taliban Now Focus Attacks on Cities; SC Removes CBI Director

Editor’s Note: New America 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, ...

RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: New America 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.

Bonus Read: "Why ISIS is spreading across Muslim world," Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider (CNN).

Pakistan

Pakistan will talk to Kashmir

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke at an Azad and Jammu Kashmir Council session in Muzzafarabad on Thursday (Dawn, ET). During his speech, Sharif said: "It is [Pakistan’s] fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue," and that, before working with India, Sharif has decided to engage in talks with Kashmiri leaders. Sharif added: "Blaming Pakistan’s agencies for involvement in extremism is an utter lie," continuing that Pakistan was "the biggest victim of terrorism." Sharif also said that the international community has a role in this process, and that is to help bring India to the table.

Pakistan targets all militants

Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif said on Wednesday at a reception hosted by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani, that Pakistan targets all militants in its military operation, Zarb-i-Azb, in North Waziristan (ET, Dawn). Sharif said: "I would like to openly say that this [operation] is against all hues and colors, and it is without any discrimination, whether it is Haqqani network or TTP [Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan] or anything," adding that the purpose of the operation is to defeat terrorism. Sharif, who is in the middle of a week-long visit to the United States, met with members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Armed Services committees, and met with National Security Advisor Susan Rice at the White House earlier in the day.

Russian Defense Minister in Pakistan

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Pakistan on Thursday to discuss bilateral defense cooperation with the Pakistani leadership, including Prime Minister Sharif and Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif (Dawn). Shoigu applauded Pakistan for its counter terrorism efforts. Russia and Pakistan are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation. Russia has approved the sale of MI-35 helicopters after Pakistan expressed interest in purchasing up to 20 of the helicopters.

Drought caused 300 children’s death

An extreme drought in Tharparkar has killed almost 300 children this year, according to official statements on Wednesday (ET). So far, in 2014, a total of 496 people, including 296 children, have died, 48 of the children dying since the beginning of October alone. The drought has exacerbated the area’s poverty and poor health infrastructure, leading to increased health issues amongst children, like pneumonia.

Afghanistan

Taliban now focus attacks on cities

According to a statement by the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) spokesman, Haseeb Sediqi, on Wednesday, the Taliban have increased attacks in Kabul and other major cities by 68 percent this year (TOLO News, Pajhwok). Sediqi added that while attacks in cities are increasing, the overall number of attacks by Taliban has decreased by 45 percent. Within the past 10 days alone, Kabul has had three suicide bombings, including an attack targeting a female lawmaker and an international housing compound (Pajhwok, TOLO News). The statements were made when the NDS announced it would be creating Afghanistan’s first national security strategy aimed at combating security threats.

Pakistani cleric’s comment enrages Afghan legislators

On Wednesday several members of Parliament denounced anti-Afghan remarks made by controversial Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlurrahman, who is associated with the Taliban, and have called for the Afghan Council of Religious Scholars to condemn the comments and criticized the Afghan government for not speaking out against the statement (TOLO News). Fazlurrahman said last week: "We believe that the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan is not permissible and defensive efforts will continue against it, we demand the internal security of Afghanistan." Fazlurrahman made his remarks to reporters just after meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while Ghani was in Pakistan last week; Fazlurrahman was a member of the Pakistani delegation who met with Ghani.

–Courtney Schuster

India

Bonus Read: "The Politics of PDA in India," Tanya Basu (The Atlantic).

Indian SC removes CBI director from 2G case

The Indian Supreme Court asked Ranjit Sinha, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier law enforcement agency, to recuse himself from the second-generation (2G) spectrum case probe on Thursday (NDTV, Livemint). In 2008, mobile telephone companies were undercharged for frequency allocation licenses, resulting in a multi-billion dollar scandal. The Court accused Sinha of trying to influence the findings of the probe, and said: "Prima facie it appears that there is credibility in the allegations levelled against Sinha" (Indian Express). The Court had been monitoring the CBI investigation since 2010, after Prashant Bhushan — a lawyer and activist — filed a petition. Bhushan accused Sinha of protecting some telecom executives that the CBI had charged with criminal conspiracy.

Sri Lanka releases Indian fishermen on death row

Sri Lanka released five Indians on Wednesday who were given the death sentence after being convicted of smuggling drugs into the country (NDTV, Livemint). The five men, all fishermen from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, were granted a pardon by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, and have been handed over to Indian officials in Colombo. The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka released an official statement, which thanked Rajapaksa for his "humanitarian gesture," and also referenced a telephone conversation between Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 9 that led to the release of these men (Indian Express). The fishermen were arrested in 2011.

Parents kill daughter in honor-killing

A 21-year-old Delhi University student was allegedly murdered by her parents and cremated after she secretly married her boyfriend against her parent’s wishes, according to news reports on Wednesday (IBNLive, Hindustan Times). Bhawna Yadav married Abhishek Seth, who was from a different caste, days before her parents had arranged her engagement with another man. After Yadav’s parents found out about the secret wedding, they took their daughter from her husband’s home, assuring Seth of a grand wedding. However, her parents strangled Yadav when she refused to divorce her husband.

After Seth received a call from Yadav’s relative that his wife was dead, he filed a police complaint. A police official said: "As the body has been disposed of, the exact methodology of how she was killed is being ascertained and further investigations are underway. It has emerged that she was strangled to death. Her parents during interrogation told us that they were getting a bad name in their community for their daughter’s step and that is why they eliminated her" (Indian Express).

–Neeli Shah

Edited by Peter Bergen

Courtney Schuster is a research associate with the International Security Program at New America and an assistant editor with the South Asia Channel.
Neeli Shah is a Washington D.C.-based economics, law, and policy professional. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Twitter: @neelishah

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