The South Asia Channel
Gunbattle for Police Station in Punjab Continues; Attack on Afghan Wedding Party Kills at Least 20; Two Convicts Hanged Following Ramadan in Pakistan
India Gunbattle continues as “militants” storm police station in Punjab, 5 killed Indian security forces are battling gunmen who stormed a police station in in Gurdaspur district in northern state Punjab, close to the border with Pakistan (BBC, Guardian, WSJ). Five people, including two policemen, have been killed and at least six wounded in the ...
Gunbattle continues as “militants” storm police station in Punjab, 5 killed
Indian security forces are battling gunmen who stormed a police station in in Gurdaspur district in northern state Punjab, close to the border with Pakistan (BBC, Guardian, WSJ). Five people, including two policemen, have been killed and at least six wounded in the firefight which is currently underway. Police officials said the attackers first hijacked a car, then opened fire at a bus station before entering a police station. Police believe that the attackers are from Indian-administered Kashmir. Such assaults are common in disputed Kashmir, but attacks in neighbouring Punjab are extremely rare. The dead include Punjab’s Superintendent of Police Baljit Singh.
Jaitley tries to calm investors as Sensex falls nearly 2 percent
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said investors do need not to fear any “knee-jerk” reaction from the government based upon the findings of the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team, which had recommended tough measures to check investment flows through Participatory Notes (PTI, Reuters, LiveMint). Participatory Notes (P-Notes) are used by large number of foreign investors to invest in equity markets without disclosing their identity to the market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India. Earlier reacting to the report and weakness across Asian markets, the market benchmark BSE Sensex (Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index) fell 1.96 percent, marking its biggest single-day fall since June 2. Talking to reporters in his Parliament House Office, Jaitley assured investors that the government will not take any action that may jeopardise investment climate.
Supreme Court agrees to hear petitions challenging Jayalalithaa acquittal
The Indian Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa regarding petitions challenging her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case (Hindu, TOI). A bench headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose agreed to hear petitions challenging Karnataka High Court’s verdict in May 2015 acquitting Jayalalithaa and her associates in the case. Earlier a trial court had sentenced her to four years in jail in the matter. The petitioners contended that the High Court had undervalued properties owned by the Tamil Nadu chief minister and committed a mathematical error while calculating her income from her various business ventures. Jayalalithaa was the first serving chief minister in India to be disqualified from holding office, after the guilty verdict in September 2014. After Karnataka High Court overturned the verdict, she returned to office in May 2015.
At least 20 killed in attack on Afghan wedding party
At least twenty people were killed when a group of gunmen opened fire on a large wedding party in northern Afghanistan Sunday night (NYT). The shooting began as the band played for nearly 500 guests in a village in the mountains, according to a senator from the province, Samay Faisal. According to Faisal, the gunmen had been dispatched to the party by a local commander who learned that one of his rivals was at the wedding. Some men who were armed at the wedding returned fire and killed at least two of the attackers. The area of Baghlan province where the shooting occurred is outside of Taliban control but has a history of personal vendettas and violent family disputes.
Taliban capture Afghan police base
Taliban militants captured a large police base in northeast Afghanistan on Saturday, forcing the surrender of more than a hundred policemen and pushed closer to a strategic pass at the border with Pakistan (Reuters, WSJ). The Taliban were able to gather enough food, weapons, and ammunition from the surrendered the base in Badakhshan province “to fight for a long time,” according to provincial governor Shah Waliullah Adib. Although the policemen who surrendered the base were released after local elders negotiated with the Taliban, the base was still under Taliban control as of Monday (Pajhwok). The capture of the base is perhaps the Taliban’s greatest advance in Badakhshan province since they were ousted from power in 2001, according to a Western security report.
Bonus Read: “Living Like a Fugitive: Pakistan’s Hamid Mir” (Post)
Two convicts hanged following Ramadan
Two murder convicts were hanged in Multan on Monday as executions resumed following a one-month break during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ended last week (ET). “Two prisoners, Farooq alias Farooqa and Karim Nawaz, who had been awarded capital punishment, have been hanged in central jail in Multan today,” Chaudhry Arshad Saeed, a senior government adviser for prisons in the Punjab province told AFP. With these two most recent hangings, there have been 176 people executed since December, when Pakistan ended a six-year moratorium on the death penalty, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Bonus Read: “In Pakistan, Detainees are Vanishing in Covert Jails,” Taha Siddiqui and Declan Walsh (NYT).
Gunmen kill local US Embassy employee
Policy said on Sunday gunmen killed a local employee of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, although a motive for the attack is still unknown (AP). The employee, who was identified as Iqbal Baig, worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Police say he was killed early Sunday morning in his home.
— Emily Schneider and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen