Army Deployed to Gujrat After Riots; Court Issues Arrest Warrants for PPP Leader, Former PM; Pakistan Embassy in Afghanistan Limits Movement
India Bonus Read: “As China slows, India has what it takes provided it strengthens defences,” by Pranjul Bhandari (Reuters) Gujrat tense after two days of rioting, army deployed to maintain peace The government imposed curfew and deployed the army to maintain peace in the western state of Gujrat late Wednesday evening after two days of ...
Bonus Read: “As China slows, India has what it takes provided it strengthens defences,” by Pranjul Bhandari (Reuters)
Gujrat tense after two days of rioting, army deployed to maintain peace
The government imposed curfew and deployed the army to maintain peace in the western state of Gujrat late Wednesday evening after two days of caste related rioting in different cities (BBC, Reuters). Violence broke out in the state capital Ahmedabad after a few protesters at a Patel community rally with tens of thousands of attendees were briefly detained by police. Eight people have been killed including a policeman and at least ten policemen have been severely injured. Sources say 40 police stations and 70 buses have been set ablaze. The rally participants were demanding special quotas for the Patel community in government jobs and educational institutions, in line with being classified as a “backward class” in India.
Government announces list of 98 cities to be turned in Smart Cities
The federal government in India on Thursday announced a project to turn 98 cities in the country to smart cities (PTI, LiveMint, IBT). Turning a city into a smart city involves developing communication and transportation infrastructure equipped with latest IT technologies and using renewable energy resources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had released the guidelines for the 100 smart cities project in June, a flagship program of the National Democratic Alliance government. According to the government news agency PTI, 24 cities are state capitals, another 24 are business and industrial centers, 18 are of cultural and tourism importance, five are port cities, and three are education and health care hubs. Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu while releasing the list said that the total population of these proposed 98 Smart Cities is about 120 million accounting for 35 percent of country’s total urban population as per the 2011 census.
Indian media gripped by sensational murder in Mumbai elite
Indian media has been abuzz with speculation after police in Mumbai announced that they arrested Indrani Mukerjea, the CEO of a media company and wife of well-known TV executive Peter Mukerjea, in connection with the murder of her sister Sheena Bora (BBC, Guardian). The media frenzy is caused by the fact that Mukherjea, after her arrest, confessed that Bora was not her sister but rather her daughter. Police are investigating the motive for the murder and made more arrests on Wednesday morning. The Mukherjea family is known to be a permanent fixture among the social elite of Mumbai.
— Shuja Malik
Court issues arrest warrants for PPP leader, former PM
On Thursday, an anti-corruption court in Karachi issued arrest warrants for former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as well as Makhdoom Amin Fahim, both leaders in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) (ET, Dawn). The judge ordered the two men to be arrested by Sept. 10. Former Prime Minister Gilani commented: “I will appear in court on August 31 instead of September 10,” adding, “A few months back, the court also issued arrest warrants for me and I was released without bail.” The two men are accused of fraudulently providing subsidies to fake companies. The warrants come as Asim Hussain, a former federal minister and aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, was arrested in the first major action against the PPP during the Karachi operation.
Pakistan could soon have world’s 3rd largest nuclear stockpile
Pakistan could have the world’s third largest nuclear stockpile within a decade according to a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Stimson Center set to be released today (Post, ET). Pakistan is believed to have 120 nuclear warheads at the moment and according to the report may reach 350 within five to ten years surpassing all other countries except the United States and Russia. The report reads: “The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices.” Some, however, have questioned its conclusions. Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, called the report “overblown” saying Pakistan can at most develop 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.
Pakistan embassy limits movement amid harassment
Pakistani embassy staff in Afghanistan have restricted their movements in the country following a kidnapping attempt and increased harassment according to a report in Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper on Thursday (ET). Unidentified men reportedly tried to abduct an embassy official in the Shehr-e-Nau area of Kabul on Tuesday. Sources also cited people taking video of the embassy and the stopping of a senior Pakistani embassy official at a checkpoint by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security.
130 schools in Laghman without buildings
On Wednesday, Education Director Mohammad Hazrat Mujaddedi stated that 130 schools in Laghman province lack buildings while a further 230 schools lack boundary walls (Pajhwok). The lack of funding has stalled the construction of new schools. Mujaddedi stated: “In our development plans for 2014 and the current year, we have approved the creation of 23 new schools, but work could not be initiated on these projects due to non-availability of funds. But in line with this year’s plan, we are going to complete boundary walls for 29 schools.”
Afghanistan signs trade agreements with Turkmenistan
On Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan signing five accords at the Presidential Palace in Kabul (TOLO News, Pajhwok). Among the projects discussed at the meeting was the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway line, which Ghani said will be complete by February. The railway will stretch 400 kilometers (249 miles) and cost $1.5 to 2 billion. In addition, Berdimuhamedow agreed to increase Turkmenistan’s electricity supply to Afghanistan five-fold.
— David Sterman
Edited by Peter Bergen
SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images
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