The South Asia Channel

Arrests Made in Pakistani Blasphemy Mob Attack; China Calls For Closer Counter-Terrorism Ties With India; UK Aid For Afghan Quake Victims

Pakistan Arrests made in Pakistani blasphemy mob attack Law enforcement agencies arrested over 40 individuals in night raids on Monday for their alleged involvement in a fire at an Ahmadi-owned factory (Dawn). On Friday, in Jhelum in northern Punjab, an allegation of blasphemy at a chipboard factory ignited a mob that torched 70 percent of ...

Pakistani rescue workers stand inside a burnt-out factory after it was torched by a mob in Jehlum on November 22, 2015. An angry mob in Pakistan's Punjab province torched a factory after one of its employees was accused of committing blasphemy, police officials said. Hundreds of people surrounded a chipboard factory in Jehlum city on November 20 and set the facility ablaze after reports surfaced that one employee had allegedly desecrated the Koran. AFP PHOTO / FAROOQ NAEEM        (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani rescue workers stand inside a burnt-out factory after it was torched by a mob in Jehlum on November 22, 2015. An angry mob in Pakistan's Punjab province torched a factory after one of its employees was accused of committing blasphemy, police officials said. Hundreds of people surrounded a chipboard factory in Jehlum city on November 20 and set the facility ablaze after reports surfaced that one employee had allegedly desecrated the Koran. AFP PHOTO / FAROOQ NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

Arrests made in Pakistani blasphemy mob attack

Law enforcement agencies arrested over 40 individuals in night raids on Monday for their alleged involvement in a fire at an Ahmadi-owned factory (Dawn). On Friday, in Jhelum in northern Punjab, an allegation of blasphemy at a chipboard factory ignited a mob that torched 70 percent of the factory (ET). An Ahmadi employee was accused of desecrating the Quran, and a police employee told the Express Tribune that the reported blasphemer has been arrested and a case against him has been filed. Jhelum police have filed a case against 85 suspects for the arson under the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act. Rangers continue to patrol the city, but a Jhelum district government official said the situation was now under control.

Pakistan will not allow Afghan trucks access to India

Pakistan is refusing to grant Afghan trucks a byway into India via the Wagah-Attari border crossing, a request made by Afghanistan in an effort to ease bottlenecks (ET). Citing security issues, Pakistan denied the request to permit Afghan trucks a throughway to Delhi and to load cargo as they returned from Wagah to Torkham, Afghanistan. In return, Afghanistan denied a Pakistani request for access to the Tajikistan border. This came during the ongoing tenth session of the Joint Economic Commission between the finance ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Islamabad. Afghan finance minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi later met with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who repeated the pledge to increase bilateral trade volume to $5 billion by 2018.

Female fighter pilot dies in training exercise

Marium Mukhtiar, one of Pakistan’s few female fighter pilots, died on Tuesday in a training exercise near Mianwali, 175 kilometers (109 miles) southwest of Islamabad (RFE/RL, Dawn). Flying Officer Mukhtiar and Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi were flying an FT-7PG aircraft and were in the final stages of a routine exercise when they encountered a “serious in-flight emergency” that forced them to eject, according to the Air Force. Both were injured and being treated at a military hospital when Mukhtiar succumbed to her injuries. She was 24 years old.

India

China calls for closer counter-terrorism ties with India

China called for closer security cooperation with India on Monday to combat terrorism as the two countries finalized a joint action plan for cooperation in law enforcement (NDTV). Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week to discuss increased cooperation in dealing with terrorism, which both countries view as a global menace. “Terrorism is a cancer that needs to be removed jointly by the international community,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson. Singh concluded his visit to Beijing on Monday after meeting with Guo Shengkun, state councilor of the ruling Communist Party and public security minister, and Meng Jianzhu, China’s security czar. The two countries agreed to form a ministerial committee and a joint secretary-level mechanism to periodically meet and review cooperation. The two home ministries also agreed to develop dedicated communications channels to exchange intelligence on terrorism and other security-related cross-border crimes.

PM Modi emphasizes reforms in Singapore

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a pitch to investors in Singapore on Tuesday, emphasizing his country’s recent economic reforms (ABCThe Hindu). Modi told an audience at an economic convention, with business representatives from over 300 companies in attendance, that India’s reforms have “successfully restored the credibility of India in the eyes of global players.” One of the major reforms undertaken by Modi’s government has been the easing of restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI), leading Modi to claim on Tuesday that India is “the most open economy in terms of FDI.” Modi is in Singapore for a two-day visit to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Singapore. He will conclude his visit later on Tuesday after attending a community event with Indian expatriates. Singapore is the second-largest source of FDI in India, and it is India’s 10th-largest trading partner.

India seeks Swiss help in investigation of former minister

Indian tax authorities have asked for Swiss help in an investigation into accounts held by former government minister Preneet Kaur and her son, Raninder Singh, Swiss officials said on Tuesday (The HinduNDTV). Kaur is a former minister in the previous Congress Party-led government and also the wife of the former chief minister of the northwestern state of Punjab, Amarinder Singh. Kaur and her son are being investigated by Indian authorities as a part of a broader probe of Indian nationals suspected of illegally storing “black money” in Swiss bank accounts. The Swiss Federal Tax Administration said that Kaur and her son have been asked to file an appeal of India’s request within 10 days in order to “exercise the right to be heard.”

Afghanistan

Bonus read: “The Pariahs of the Global Refugee Flood,” Priyali Sur (Foreign Policy)

UK aid to be delivered to Afghan quake victims

On Tuesday, the Presidential Palace in Afghanistan promised to deliver British aid to victims of the Oct. 26 earthquake that struck the north of the country (Pajhwok). In the 7.7 magnitude earthquake, 115 people were killed, 500 others were wounded, and 7,000 homes were destroyed. The aid money — 5 million pounds ($7.55 million) in emergency aid and 10 million pounds ($15.11 million) for rebuilding irrigation systems and agriculture development — will be delivered to families whose homes were destroyed. The British aid money follows Afghan efforts to distribute aid shortly after the quake hit.

Hundreds of Nangarhar University students linked to militant groups

A high-ranking government delegation visiting Nangarhar University this weekend found that almost 200 students were affiliated with the Islamic State, the Taliban, and Hezbi-e-Islami (TOLO News). Qamaruddin Shenwari, an advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and head of the delegation, said security forces arrested 27 students so far and others were under investigation. The delegation was sent to investigate the university after students held a rally several weeks ago where masked students raised the flags of the militant groups. The students were protesting corruption and poor management at the university and advocating for Islamic rule.

— Courtney Schuster and Udit Banerjea

Edited by Peter Bergen

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

Courtney Schuster is a research associate with the International Security Program at New America and an assistant editor with the South Asia Channel.

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