The South Asia Channel
Pakistan Defends Tactical Nuclear Weapons; NATO Nations to Stay in Afghanistan; Indian President Calls for Tolerance
Pakistan Bonus Read: “Climate change lessons take to the stage in rural Pakistan,” by Amir Saeed (Reuters) Foreign Office defends tactical nuclear weapon production On Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry defended Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapon production as an important means of deterring India (Dawn). Chaudhry stated: “Our nuclear programme is one dimensional: stopping Indian ...
Bonus Read: “Climate change lessons take to the stage in rural Pakistan,” by Amir Saeed (Reuters)
Foreign Office defends tactical nuclear weapon production
On Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry defended Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapon production as an important means of deterring India (Dawn). Chaudhry stated: “Our nuclear programme is one dimensional: stopping Indian aggression before it happens. It is not for starting a war. It is for deterrence.” He explained that tactical nuclear weapons would make it difficult for India to launch a war and keep it under the nuclear threshold. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are reportedly at the center of rumored negotiations over a nuclear deal between the United States, which would like to see them restrained, and Pakistan. However, Chaudhry denied that such a deal was being negotiated, stating: “We are not signing a nuclear deal. No deal, not of any kind.”
11 killed in Balochistan bus bombing
On Monday, a bomb killed 11 people on a bus in Quetta, the capital city of Pakistan’s Balochistan province (BBC, Reuters, NYT, Dawn). The bomb exploded as the bus entered the city’s suburbs carrying dozens of people to work, according to Abdul Waheed Khattak, a police official. Khattak said the bomb was likely planted on the bus’ roof and set off via timer. At least one child was among those killed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Council of Islamic Ideology: Women not required to cover up
Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology, an institution set up in 1962 to advise Pakistan’s parliament on issues of Islamic law, stated that women are not required to cover their faces, hands, or feet under Sharia law, on Tuesday (ET). Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani, the council chairman, however also “advised women to follow ethics and have a careful attitude in society,” encouraging them to “cover up their body parts to avoid threats or mischief.” The council’s rulings are non-binding.
— David Sterman
Bonus Read: “Staying in Afghanistan: The Ambassador’s View,” by H.E. Hamdullah Mohib (NYT)
NATO nations to keep presence in Afghanistan
Germany, Turkey, and Italy are prepared to keep their deployments in Afghanistan at current levels, according to statements by senior NATO officials on Monday (Reuters). While discussions of precise numbers continue, Gen. Phillip Breedlove, NATO’s senior commander in Europe, said, “Several of our largest contributors have already communicated with us that they will remain in their current posture,” but declined to specify nations. Another senior NATO official confirmed Germany, Turkey, and Italy were willing to sustain forces at current levels. NATO has not set an end date for Resolute Support, its training mission in Afghanistan. A formal decision will likely be announced in early December at NATO’s next meeting of its foreign ministers, according to a third official.
Taliban captures police chief of Ghormach and 17 officers
The district police chief of northern Faryab province and 17 of his officers went missing following the Taliban’s seizure of the remote Ghormach district on Monday (TOLO News, Pajhwok). The Taliban’s spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, confirmed the police chief’s capture along with 13 other police officers (Post). However, the district chief and 17 of his ministers have not been heard from since Monday, according to Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi. Sediqqi said reinforcements have been sent to the province, and First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum will coordinate operations.
20 Afghan refugees killed in Iran traffic accident
A reported 20 Afghan refugees were killed and ten injured in Qom City, Iran, on Monday when a minibus carrying them collided with a truck and another vehicle (TOLO News, Pajhwok). The Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) confirmed the incident as well as the death toll in a press release shortly after the incident took place (MoRR).
— Alyssa Sims
President Mukherjee calls for tolerance
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee called for adherence to India’s historic values of pluralism and tolerance in an address to the media on Tuesday (Asian Age, Indian Express). “Indian civilization has survived for 5,000 years because of its tolerance. It has always accepted dissent and differences. A large number of languages, 1,600 dialects and 7 religions coexist in India. We have a Constitution that accommodates all these differences,” said Mukherjee. The head of state’s comments came in response to a Muslim politician from the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir being assaulted with black ink for serving beef at a private party. Earlier this month, the same politician was physically attacked by a handful of Hindu lawmakers in the state assembly. This is the newest development in a recent string of troubling anti-Muslim incidents across India over the issue of the slaughter of cows, which are considered sacred by many Hindus.
Vehicle plunges into gorge, killing 14
At least 14 people were killed and 30 others injured when a mini-bus fell into a gorge in the northern mountainous state of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday (NDTV). Most of the passengers in the overcrowded vehicle were college students and government employees. The accident occurred in a particularly remote area, hindering rescue efforts, according to a police officer.
Rise in deadly lightning strikes in rural India
The number of annual reported deaths from lightning strikes in India has increased about 40 percent compared to ten years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (WSJ). Almost all lightning deaths in India occur in rural areas, where people often work in fields with no cover. In the small village of Turati in the western state of Maharashtra alone, four people out of a total population of 1,100 have been killed by lightning this year. Some scientists in India believe that rising global temperatures may play an important role in the increase. Other explanations include an increase in population and better reporting of lightning strikes.
Garment industry suffers from foreigner killings
International clothing retailers are increasingly postponing business trips to Bangladesh or requesting armed escorts upon visiting in the wake of a recent spate of killings of foreigners, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the separate murders of an Italian and a Japanese national in Bangladesh in recent weeks. Bangladeshi officials deny that the terrorist group has established itself in the country, but garment industry insiders have expressed concern. More than four million workers, mostly women, are employed by the garment industry in the country. The recent killings of foreigners follow a string of deadly attacks on secular and atheist bloggers by religious extremists earlier this year.
— Udit Banerjea
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Edited by Peter Bergen
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