Pakistan Arrests al Qaeda Financer; IEC: Afghan Election Reforms Disastrous; India Supreme Court Refuses to Ban Meat
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Editor's Note: Craving more Foreign Policy news and updates? Look no further! FP Podcasts, launched last week, provide analysis of today’s most important issues in global affairs. Check out our two newest programs, The E.R. –for a looke at American power at a crossroads--and Global Thinkers-for a conversation with Malala. Listen and subscribe here: http://atfp.co/1N5rv3Z
Editor’s Note: Craving more Foreign Policy news and updates? Look no further! FP Podcasts, launched last week, provide analysis of today’s most important issues in global affairs. Check out our two newest programs, The E.R. –for a looke at American power at a crossroads–and Global Thinkers-for a conversation with Malala. Listen and subscribe here: http://atfp.co/1N5rv3Z
Bonus read: “Why Pakistan is struggling to heal young heart patients,” Shaimaa Khalil (BBC)
Pakistan arrests al Qaeda financer
On Wednesday, Pakistani police announced the arrest of arrested Syed Sheaba Ahmad, a former air force pilot, in Karachi for allegedly helping finance the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda’s South Asia affiliate (RFE/RL). Counterterrorism official Naveed Khawaja said Ahmad was a businessman with two chemical companies in Karachi and Iran who financed militant groups “on a large scale.” Khawaja has accused Ahmad of providing financial support for the May bus attack on the Ismaili community that killed 50. Khawaja added that authorities have found “Daesh messages” on Ahmad’s computer and are now investigating his possible links to the Islamic State.
AfPak trade deal stalls
Trade deals between Afghanistan and Pakistan that was formed shortly after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took office last year has stalled (Reuters). The trade deals included reduced tariffs and the granting of preferential trade status, and were supposed to boost Afghanistan-Pakistan trade from $1.6 billion to $5 billion by 2017. “There has been no progress or further meetings for months since those agreements were signed,” said Musafer Qoqandi, the Afghan Commerce Ministry’s spokesperson. The key point of dispute is whether Pakistan will allow trade from India to cross its territory.
More nuclear energy in Pakistan by 2050
At the 59th Annual International Atomic Energy Association General Conference this week in Vienna, the chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Muhammad Naeem, said Pakistan set the goal of 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity under its Nuclear Energy Vision 2050 (Dawn). Naeem added that that the PAEC has a plan to generate 8,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power to help alleviate Pakistan’s energy crisis. PAEC also supplies nuclear technology to 18 oncology hospitals that treat 80 percent of the country’s cancer patients, and plans to set up more nuclear medical centers in the future.
Bonus read: “Plastic Surgeon Takes From Rich to Help the Poor,” (Reuters)
IEC: Afghan election reforms disastrous
The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday spoke out against the recommended reforms to the electoral system (TOLO News). “We think…changes to the election law under the current situation will be disastrous to the people,” deputy IEC chief Abdul Rahman Hotaki said. Instead, Hotaki said the government should “let the next elections be held under the same law” as the previous election. The government has dismissed these concerns: “No election can be held prior to reforms,” said Javed Faisal, CEO Abdullah Abdullah’s deputy spokesperson.
80 percent of girls in Nuristan not in school
According to officials at the women affairs and education directorate in Nuristan province, at least 80 percent of girls in Nuristan province are being denied education (TOLO News). Only a few schools in Parun, the provincial capital, and a few other districts are open to girls. Officials attributed the lack of education to insecurity and local customs.
Supreme Court in India refuses to ban meat in Mumbai
The Supreme Court of India on Thursday rejected a plea to overturn an earlier stay order from the Mumbai High Court that prevented a ban on the sale of meat and slaughter in Mumbai during the Jain festival of forgiveness called Paryurshan (PTI, Hindu, HT, NDTV). The plea filed by a Jain community organization argued that the ban was an expression of “compassion towards the animals”, but the court noted that “compassion is not something that should be reserved only for festival periods.” Expressing concerns about implementation of such a ban in the face of the thousands of people who do businesses involving meat products, the court said the ban cannot be “shoved down someone’s throat.” Numerous states in India have recently banned the sale of meat during certain religious festivals related to the Hindu faith during the year.
Saudi diplomat accused of rape leaves India
Indian foreign ministry on announced on Wednesday night that a Saudi Arabian diplomat First Secretary Majed Hassan Ashoor, “who is allegedly accused of abusing two Nepali maids has left India” (BBC, WP, Guardian, NYT). Last week Delhi police rescued two Nepali women from Ashoor’s home. The women alleged that they were hired as domestic help but were then detained without their consent while Ashoor and his family members starved and sexually abused them, over a period of several months. Last week the women returned to Nepal. The Saudi diplomat’s departure seems to have resolved a complicated diplomatic tangle for India, where Prime Minister Modi is trying to improve relations with the northern neighbor Nepal and Saudi Arabia is home to hundreds of thousands of Indian laborers. The Nepalese ambassador in New Delhi, Deep Upadhyay, told reporters on Thursday that the case should be pursued even if the diplomat had left the country and “the victims must get justice.”
— Courtney Schuster and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images
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