The South Asia Channel

AQIS Commanders Killed in Karachi Raid; Modi Woos German Companies; 5 Cabinet Nominees Address Wolsei Jirga

Pakistan Bonus Read: “Spotting Hope in Pakistan,” Kim Barker (NYT). AQIS commanders reportedly killed in Karachi raid On Monday, Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) carried out a raid in Karachi’s Orangi Town killing five militants including two Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub Continent commanders (ET). According to the CTD the commanders were AQIS’ Karachi chapter ...

Pakistani policemen take part in a train
Pakistani policemen take part in a training to combat anti-terrorism in Karachi on January 31, 2011. Around 200 policemen passed out commando training course, which is introduced by the local police as an additional skill for the policemen to be deployed to confront terrorism and extremism which is routinely on the rise in this South Asian nuclear-armed country. AFP PHOTO/Rizwan TABASSUM (Photo credit should read RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)


Bonus Read: “Spotting Hope in Pakistan,” Kim Barker (NYT).

AQIS commanders reportedly killed in Karachi raid

On Monday, Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) carried out a raid in Karachi’s Orangi Town killing five militants including two Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub Continent commanders (ET). According to the CTD the commanders were AQIS’ Karachi chapter chief Noorul Hassan and the AQIS deputy commander Usman – also known as Irfan or Abdullah. Raja Omar Khattab, a CTD official, stated the militants were using their hideout as a bomb factory and that the raid “recovered a huge cache of explosives, chemicals, detonators, as well as three suicide jackets, laptops and literature for making bombs from the place.” Khattab added: “They were also involved in several cases of terrorism and attacks on law enforces including the last month suicide attack on a Rangers’ vehicle in Karachi.”

MQM leader appears at London police station

On Tuesday, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain arrived at the central London police station to either be charged in an ongoing money laundering case or to be granted further bail (ET, Dawn). Hussain was arrested on June 3, 2014 as part of a money laundering investigation initiated in 2013. He has previously received two bail extensions the last of which expires today. Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reported that sources close to the case say Hussain will appeal for another bail extension.

Suspected swine flu death in Lahore

On Tuesday, a 57-year-old man died in Lahore after reportedly contracting swine flu (ET). Punjab Secretary Health Jawad Rafique Mulk stated: “A case has been registered against hospital authorities over a delay in issuing a report on his medical condition. It has been sent to the Department of International Health.” The suspected swine flu death comes after a major swine flu outbreak in India, where 700 people have died from the disease since December.

PM does Yemen damage control

Pakistani Prime Miniser Nawaz Sharif tried to conduct damage control on Monday in order to address Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s concerns regarding Pakistan’s refusal to join the intervention in Yemen (Dawn). Sharif stated: “Pakistan does not abandon friends and strategic partners, especially at a time when their security is under threat.” Sharif also condemned the overthrow of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and called the Houthis rebels.

— David Sterman


PM Modi woos German companies

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for his ‘Make in India’ campaign to German companies in Hanover on Monday (Economic Times, NDTV). Modi told German businessmen to “come and feel” the change in India’s regulatory environment, and said that the Indian government is focused on encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and research. Later on Monday, Modi spoke at an Indian community reception in Berlin, and said: “In the coming days, it is the need of the hour that India becomes a manufacturing hub. We can’t let this opportunity go” (NDTV). Modi also visited the Siemens Technical Academy in Berlin, where he interacted with students there.

India’s retail inflation rate slows down in March

India’s retail inflation eased to a three-month low in March despite the damage to crops following unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms in the month, according to news reports on Monday (Bloomberg, Reuters, Livemint, BBC). Inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index, fell to 5.17 percent in March from 5.37 percent in February. According to analysts, the easing of inflation rates increases the possibility that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may cut interest rates. Although, the RBI has cut interest rates twice this year during unscheduled meetings, it kept its key policy repo rate — the rate at which RBI lends funds to commercial banks — on hold last week.

Flipkart to use dabbawalas to make deliveries

Flipkart, India’s biggest e-commerce company, tied up with Mumbai’s dabbawalas (lunch box delivery men) to increase efficiency in delivering its packages (WSJ, Reuters, DNA). Dabbawalas are known to collect hot lunches from customers’ homes and deliver them to offices and schools across the city using bicycles and a complex delivery system comprising of colors, numbers, symbols, and letters. The infamous dabbawalas have also featured in a Harvard case study titled “The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery Every Time.” Under the tie up with Flipkart, the dabbawalas will drop off packages to customers while they are picking up hot lunches. Flipkart will also train dabbawalas to use apps and wearable technology. Neeraj Aggarwal, Flipkart’s senior director, said: “The dabbawalas of Mumbai are one of the most reliable and trusted brands in the city. Their unique delivery system has been smooth, reliable and has survived the test of time – even under extreme conditions” (BBC).

— Neeli Shah


5 cabinet nominees address Wolsei Jirga

On Monday, five cabinet nominees addressed Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, the Wolsei Jirga, and presented their proposed policy programs (Pajhwok, TOLO News). Those who presented before the Wolsei Jirga included the nominees for the ministries of agriculture, irrigation & livestock; energy and water; economy; commerce and industry; and communications and information technology. The nominees will each have to pass a vote of confidence by the legislature. The presentations come as several key cabinet positions remain unfilled months after the National Unity Government took office last September. Among the unfilled cabinet positions is the minister of defense, for which there is no current nominee. Of sixteen recent nominees for cabinet positions eleven have now presented before the Wolsei Jirga.

Beheadings in Badakhsan confirmed

On Monday, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok newspaper reported that Ahmad Nawid Frotan, a spokesman for the governor of Badakhshan province, confirmed that eight Afghan National Army soldiers had been beheaded after being captured during fighting in the province which killed at least 18 soldiers (Pajhwok). The confirmation followed the circulation of images of the beheading on social media. Exact numbers regarding the number of ANA personnel killed or beheaded remain unclear. Unconfirmed reports have said that 28 soldiers may have been beheaded, and the Taliban claim to have killed 49 ANA soldiers.

Iran offers joint counterterrorism operations

On Monday, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told reporters in Tehran that Iran was willing to “carry out joint operations against terrorists with Pakistan and Afghanistan inside their territory” (RFE/RL). Fazil also denied that Iran faces any “critical security problems” blaming occasional acts of violence on Pakistan and Afghanistan’s lack of control of territory neighboring the country.

— David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen


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. @neelishah
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