The South Asia Channel

First Female Afghan Supreme Court Nominee; Pakistan to Buy Russian Helicopters; RBI Issues New 30 Year Bond

Afghanistan First female Afghan Supreme Court nominee For the first time ever, a female judge might serve as a Supreme Court High Council member (Pajhwok). On Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani introduced Anisa Rasooli as a nominee to the high court; the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) must give a vote of confidence before her tenure can ...

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a ceremony marking the start of the school year at Amani High School in Kabul on March 19, 2015.  President Ghani said deprivation of children from school and closure of schools are enmity against Islam and Afghanistan. Over 8 million Afghans are going to schools, and 42 percent of them are girls, a great achievement for Afghan girls as they were banned during the Taliban regime before 2001.   AFP PHOTO / WAKIL Kohsar        (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a ceremony marking the start of the school year at Amani High School in Kabul on March 19, 2015. President Ghani said deprivation of children from school and closure of schools are enmity against Islam and Afghanistan. Over 8 million Afghans are going to schools, and 42 percent of them are girls, a great achievement for Afghan girls as they were banned during the Taliban regime before 2001. AFP PHOTO / WAKIL Kohsar (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

First female Afghan Supreme Court nominee

For the first time ever, a female judge might serve as a Supreme Court High Council member (Pajhwok). On Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani introduced Anisa Rasooli as a nominee to the high court; the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) must give a vote of confidence before her tenure can begin. According to a presidential decree, under the constitution of Afghanistan, female judges with can be appointed if they have “higher education in law or in Islamic jurisprudence,” and sufficient experience. Supreme Court is comprised of nine members who serve ten-year terms. Rasooli, a graduate of Kabul University law school, has served as the head of the Afghan Women Judges Association and currently heads the Juvenile Appeals Court (Euro News).

Taliban burn down hospital

After clashing with Afghan forces in the Musa Qala district in southern Helmand province on Thursday, the Taliban set fire to the district hospital (Pahjwok). The entire facility was burned to ashes, destroying all the equipment and medicines inside and two ambulances, according to the public health director, Dr. Inayatullah Ghaffari. There is no word yet on the number of casualties.

Over the past 24 hours in clashes with the Taliban across Afghanistan, Afghan forces have killed 62 militants, according to the Ministry of Interior (TOLO News). In Helmand province, 20 soldiers have been killed and another 15 have been taken captive (TOLO News).

Pakistan

Pakistan to buy Russian helicopters

Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif visited Russia this week where he met with Russian civil and military leadership (VOA). The two countries now plan to hold their first ever joint military exercise, and Russia will sell four Mi-35M combat helicopters to Pakistan (ET, Dawn). Russia lifted its self-imposed arms embargo to Pakistan last year.

Pakistan has second highest refugee population

According to the recently released United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ annual report, Pakistan hosts the second largest refugee population in the world (ET). By the end of 2014, Pakistan had 1.51 million refugees; Turkey was first with 1.59 million refugees.

Men arrested over same-sex marriage

Police in Balochistan province arrested two men this week for marrying each other and the man who officiated the ceremony (Post). The men claim that the wedding was a joke, but after their arrest, the police forced the men to undergo medical exams that concluded the men had engaged in intercourse with each other. While homosexuality is a crime in Pakistan, its prosecution is rare. The men now face the possibility of life in prison.

India

Bonus read: “Indians pray at visa temples to go abroad” (BBC)

Reserve Bank of India issues a new 30 year bond

The Reserve Bank of India has issued a new 30-year bond on Thursday, with India Ratings saying that this bond could help the government for its long term infrastructure projects (ET). The agency said in a research report: “As has been the global experience, a long-tenor government security facilitates setting a benchmark for other issuers such as banks, financial institutions and corporates to access long-term funding through capital markets. Lack of a benchmark has often been sighted as a shortcoming, which prevents Indian institutions from raising much required long-term funding from capital markets.” However, India’s bond got less favorable ratings compared to its counterparts and is perceived on a par with Russian bonds. Brazil has got BBB ratings and an A+ rating while Russia has got a BBB rating. On the other hand the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany got AAA, AA+, and AAA respectively according to the Bloomberg data.

Majority of children who suffer from malnutrition are female

In a report published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation based on government data, 46 percent of Indian children under five are underweight and 48 percent are stunted (Reuters, HT, NDTV). Health workers told Reuters that the majority of these malnourished children are girls who are abandoned, neglected, or given less nutritious food than their male siblings, attributing it to patriarchal attitudes in the country. Ziaul Haque, medical activities manager for the charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) India in Dharbhanga district of the northern state Bihar, speaking about malnutrition said: “Girls constitute more than two-thirds of patients, who are admitted and also those who drop out before completing the treatment.” According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, child malnutrition is an underlying cause of death for 3 million children annually across the world — nearly half of all child deaths — with most dying from preventable illnesses like diarrhea due to weak immune systems. Research conducted by MSF India between February 2009 and September 2011 found that of the more than 8,000 children admitted to the Dharbhanga center, 62 percent were girls even though females younger than 5 years constitute only 47 percent of the local population.

Deposits held by Indian citizens in Swiss banks drops by 10 percent

According to the latest data released by the Zurich based Swiss National Bank, deposits held by Indian nationals in Swiss banks fell by more than 10 percent last year to 1.8 billion Swiss franc ($1.98 billion USD) (HT, ET). This decline has been attributed to an enhanced clampdown against the famed secrecy wall of Switzerland’s banking system by Indian and other governments. This is the second lowest amount of funds held by Indians in the Swiss banks and follows an increase of over 40 percent in the previous year, 2013. In contrast, the money held in Swiss banks by their foreign clients from across the world rose during 2014 to 1.5 trillion Swiss franc ($1.6 trillion USD).

–Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images

Courtney Schuster is a research associate with the International Security Program at New America and an assistant editor with the South Asia Channel.

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