The South Asia Channel
Indian, Pakistani Border Officials Meet; Pakistan: No Talks without Kashmir Issue; Martyr Week in Afghanistan
Editor’s Note: Foreign Policy continues to launch FP Podcasts this week. The first episode of the Global Thinkers podcast is available now on foreignpolicy.com or on iTunes. 2013 Global Thinker and documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer and author David Rieff discuss whether society is desensitized to the realities of genocide. Listen and subscribe here: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI India Border agency officials from India and ...
Editor’s Note: Foreign Policy continues to launch FP Podcasts this week. The first episode of the Global Thinkers podcast is available now on foreignpolicy.com or on iTunes. 2013 Global Thinker and documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer and author David Rieff discuss whether society is desensitized to the realities of genocide. Listen and subscribe here: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI
Border agency officials from India and Pakistan meet in Delhi
High ranking delegations from the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers met each other on Thursday morning to begin three days of talks in Delhi, where sources from both sides have indicated that violations of the ceasefire agreement and cross border firing will be the top priority for discussion (Hindu, Indian Express, IBT). This is the first high-level interaction between the two countries after the national security adviser talks were cancelled last month, after the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi extended invitations to a few separatist Kashmiri leaders to meet with Pakistani National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz upon his arrival for the talks.
The Pakistani team arrived in Delhi yesterday and is led by DG Rangers Punjab Major General Umar Farooq Burki, while the Indian BSF team is headed by DG BSF Devendra Kumar Pathak. Talks between the two border agencies took place previously in December 2013 in Lahore.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court bans sale of beef
After hearing a public interest request from a local lawyer Parimoksh Seth, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday ordered officials in the northwestern state to impose a ban on sale of beef in the state and directed police to strictly implement the ruling (HT, IBT). Cows are considered a sacred animal in the Hindu religion and their slaughter is forbidden. Earlier in March, the Maharashtra government also passed a law banning the slaughter, sale, and import of beef in the state and a few days later, Rajasthan government ordered a three-day ban on sale of meat during Jain festivals.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court noted that cow slaughter “was rampant in the state despite being banned under section 298A of Ranbir Penal Code.” Ranbir Penal Code was instituted in 1862 by the then Dogra king of the state.
Pakistan: No talks with India without Kashmir issue
On Thursday, the Foreign Office spokesman, Syed Qazi Khalilullah, reiterated during a weekly news briefing Pakistan’s stance on talks with India: “Any formal talks with New Delhi would have Kashmir as part of the agenda” (Dawn, ET). He added: “Pakistan will also not accept any pre-conditions for talks with India.” Kahlilullah denied that there is a proposal under consideration for a meeting between the Indian and Pakistani national security advisers during the first U.N. General Assembly meeting of the new session, which is scheduled to open Sept. 15.
Fumigation hospitalizes 400 schoolgirls
At the Government Girls High School in the Attock district in Punjab province on Thursday, almost 400 schoolgirls have been hospitalized — and 30 are unconscious — after the Tehsil Municipal Administration fumigated the school while 700 students were present (Dawn). Parents are alleging that the government ignored necessary precautions when fumigating the school, such as waiting until 2 pm when the students would have left for the day and using spray that was past its expiration date. The anti-dengue fumigation was carried out in response to a rise in the dengue virus in Punjab and the insecticide can cause skin, eye, and respiratory problems and be fatal in extreme exposure.
Bonus Read: “Afghans See American General as Crucial to Country’s Defense,” (NYT)
Martyr Week begins, sparks isolated violence in Kabul
Wednesday began Martyr Week, a week-long celebration of Afghan national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud that coincides with the anniversary of his death. It is only one day into the celebration and several people have been killed or injured in Kabul by revelers (TOLO News). Men traveling in a truck fired guns into the air on Wednesday, which killed one member of the National Directorate of Security and injured one other member and two civilians. In a separate incident, armed celebrators took a man with a gunshot wound to a hospital and beat an emergency room doctor who told the men that he could not treat the injured man immediately. Massoud, who was celebrated for fighting off Soviet and Taliban forces, was killed on Sept. 9, 2001 by al Qaeda assassins.
US-China train Afghan diplomats
The fourth annual Afghan Diplomat Training Program kicked off in Washington on Wednesday (VOA, Pajhwok). The program is jointly sponsored by the United States and China and is aimed at helping early-career diplomats from Afghanistan develop diplomatic, communication, and management skills. The 15 trainees gathered at the U.S. State Department before beginning an extensive four-week program, half of which will be spent in the United States and the other half in China. Due to the success of this partnership, the program this year now includes Afghanistan’s agricultural and medical care personnel.
Afghan government loses control to militants in Badakhshan, Nangarhar
Over the past two days in the Raghistan district of Badakhshan province, at least 65 villages have fallen to the Taliban, according to District Governor Rustam Khan Raghi (TOLO News). Raghi said 25 additional troops have been sent into the district but no air support has been provided.
In the Achin district of Nangarhar province — where the Islamic State and Taliban have battled — the Islamic State is running private prisons (VOA). Achin Governor Haji Ghalib Mujahid told Voice of America: “They [the Islamic State] are holding 127 prisoners,” he said. “The prisoners include religious leaders, tribal elders. Most of the prisoners are members of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and the Afghan local police.”
— Shuja Malik and Courtney Schuster
Edited by Peter Bergen
NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images