The South Asia Channel

Indo-Pak Border Clashes Kill 9; Zardari Confidante Charged With Terrorism; Report: Afghan Government Responsible for 72% of Attacks on Journalists

India Border skirmishes between India and Pakistan kill at least 9, dozens injured On the day marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, cross border clashes erupted in the disputed border region of Kashmir between the two countries, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens (Reuters, LiveMint/AFP, PTI, Dawn). ...

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani Rangers man the Indo-Pak Joint Border Check post at Wagah on, May 20, 2008.  Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan held talks on May 20, 2008 aimed at kickstarting their slow-moving peace process, in the first such contact since a new civilian government took power in Islamabad.  AFP PHOTO /Narinder NANU (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani Rangers man the Indo-Pak Joint Border Check post at Wagah on, May 20, 2008. Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan held talks on May 20, 2008 aimed at kickstarting their slow-moving peace process, in the first such contact since a new civilian government took power in Islamabad. AFP PHOTO /Narinder NANU (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)

India

Border skirmishes between India and Pakistan kill at least 9, dozens injured

On the day marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, cross border clashes erupted in the disputed border region of Kashmir between the two countries, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens (Reuters, LiveMint/AFP, PTI, Dawn). Indian forces said that three civilians had been killed and 22 injured, while Pakistani military’s media wing confirmed six civilian deaths with 40 civilians being injured. Both sides have blamed each other for initiating the exchange, claims which cannot be verified independently. Tension has been running between the two nuclear armed neighbors after talks between national security advisors were cancelled last week over the issue of whether Kashmir dispute should be on the agenda or not.

An “All- Women” police station inaugurated in Gurgaon

An All-Women police station (staffed by female officers only) was inaugurated in the northern Indian state of Haryana on Friday with jurisdiction over crimes against women in all districts of the state (BBC). Gurgaon police commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk while talking to the media described it as a “one-stop shop” for women. The station will be led by Inspector Umesh Bala, a 30 year old veteran of the police service. Strongly patriarchal northern India’s has had a hard time changing attitudes towards women as gender and caste discrimination is quite common. Haryana, a state with a population of over 25 million, has repeatedly reported a high number of crimes against women, with 2014 data showing almost 9000 offenses targeting women, including almost 1400 rapes or attempted rapes.

While opening of the all women’s police station was celebrated, both Commission Virk and Inspector Bala pointed to a severe shortage of women police officers in the country as a major obstacle. Virk told the BBC that he needed a 1000 women police personnel in Gurgaon but only 350 were available.

— Shuja Malik

Pakistan

Bonus Read: “Can Soccer Bring Equality to Pakistan?” by Bina Shah (NYT)

Bonus Read: “Are Pakistan’s female medical students to be doctors or wives?” (BBC)

Zardari confidante charged with terrorism

On Thursday, terrorism charges were presented against Asim Hussain, the chairman of the Higher Education Council in Sindh and a close confidante of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari (ET). Hussain was initially arrested yesterday on corruption charges.

Military: India only external threat

On Thursday, the chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Rashad Mahmood, and his team briefed Pakistan’s Senate defense committee telling it that India is the only external threat the country faces (Dawn). Mahmood’s team briefed the committee that India had purchased $100 billion of new weapons over the past few years, 80 percent of which were Pakistan specific. The briefers also recommended the establishment of an Inter-Services Cyber Command.

Afghanistan

Report: government responsible for 72 percent of violence against journalists

A new study by the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee attributes 72 percent of violence against journalists in Afghanistan to the government TOLO News reported on Thursday (TOLO News). Violence against journalists was attributed to insurgents in only 12.5 percent of the cases. The study examined 39 cases of violence from January to June 2015 including one murder, four cases of assault, 19 beatings, two detentions, and 13 cases of threats against journalists.

U.S. conducts air strikes as forces seek to reclaim Musa Qala

On Thursday, the United States conducted air strikes in the Musa Qala district in Helmand province as Afghan forces sought to reclaim the district from Taliban forces (CNN). American officials represented the strikes as a force protection measure with a military spokesman stating they were conducted against “individuals threatening coalition and Afghan forces.” Meanwhile Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar, the deputy governor of Helmand, said that 150 members of the Taliban had been killed in the effort to expel the Taliban from the district (TOLO News, Pajhwok). Taliban commanders Mullah Abdul Razziq, Mullah Nasir, Mullah Inqilabi, and Mullah Rauf were reportedly among the casualties.

Taliban leave Kohistanat district

On Thursday, Afghan security forces retook the Kohistanat district of Sar-i-Pul province after Taliban forces left with no resistance (Pajhwok). The Taliban left as Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum entered Sar-i-Pul city, the provincial capital, with 2,000 troops on Thursday. Col. Inayatullah Habibi, a senior police official, said the Taliban left before having to face the forces.

Bangladesh

Two more suspects arrested in blogger murders

On Thursday, Bangladeshi police arrested two more individuals for involvement in the murder of atheist bloggers in the country (AP). The arrests follow the earlier arrest of Saad-al-Nahin and Masud Rana for killing 28-year-old blogger Niladri Chottopadhay Niloy. According to Dhaka Metropolitan police official Mahbub Alam, interrogations of al-Nahin and Rana led to the new arrests. The newly arrested men, Kausar Hossain Khan, 29, and Kamal Hossain Sardar, 29, had previously been accused of attempted murder in the attack on blogger Asif Mohiuddin two years ago.

Sri Lanka

U.S to support Sri Lanka war crime investigation

The United States will sponsor a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council next month supporting Sri Lanka’s plans for reconciliation and to hold initial investigations into war crime claims from the end of the country’s civil war according to a report in the New York Times on Wednesday (NYT). The support reverses the United States’ previous position in support of an international inquiry. Nisha Biswal, assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asian affairs, announced the decision after a two-day visit to Sri Lanka stating that a credible domestic inquiry would produce a more “durable outcome.”

— David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen

NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

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