The South Asia Channel

Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Dies; Saudi Foreign Minister Visits Pakistan; Pentagon Identifies American Killed in Marjah

India Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Muhammad Sayeed dies at 79 The chief minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed died in New Delhi, early Thursday morning after complications due to a lung infection (BBC, WSJ). Sayeed was 79 years old. Sayeed was the founder of the predominantly-Muslim ...

Kashmiri supporters of The People's Democratic Party (PDP) listen to a speech of former Chief Minister of Indian Kashmir and patron of the PDP Mufti Muhammad Sayeed during a rally in Srinagar on February 26, 2011. Mufti called for a final and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue along with the release of prisoners, the revocation of The Armed Forces Special Powers Act and troop reductions from civilian areas.   AFP PHOTO/Rouf BHAT (Photo credit should read ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Kashmiri supporters of The People's Democratic Party (PDP) listen to a speech of former Chief Minister of Indian Kashmir and patron of the PDP Mufti Muhammad Sayeed during a rally in Srinagar on February 26, 2011. Mufti called for a final and lasting solution to the Kashmir issue along with the release of prisoners, the revocation of The Armed Forces Special Powers Act and troop reductions from civilian areas. AFP PHOTO/Rouf BHAT (Photo credit should read ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty Images)

India

Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Muhammad Sayeed dies at 79

The chief minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed died in New Delhi, early Thursday morning after complications due to a lung infection (BBC, WSJ). Sayeed was 79 years old.

Sayeed was the founder of the predominantly-Muslim People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and since last year, led a coalition government with Prime Minister Modi’s BJP in Kashmir. His daughter Mehbooba Mufti is the president of the PDP in Indian-administered Kashmir and is likely to take over her father’s position. Sayeed also served as the country’s first Muslim home minister in 1989.

India to remain the fastest growing economy

On Wednesday, the World Bank revised its global economic growth projections for 2016, forecasting India’s growth at 7.8 percent, making it the fastest growing large economy in the world (Reuters, TOI). This forecast is 0.1 percent lower than earlier estimates. Projections for other BRICS countries were significantly smaller due to weak performance of major emerging markets, notably the Chinese slowdown, and sluggish growth in developed economies like the United States. The Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report for 2016 projected the Chinese economy to grow at 6.7 percent and the world economy to grow at an overall rate of 2.9 percent.

Government to accept Congress’s demands on GST bill

India’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday that the BJP-led government is ready to accept opposition party Congress’s demands on the proposed goods and services tax bill (GST)  (Reuters, IBT). Naidu said he met with Congress leader Sonia Gandhi to convey the government’s intention but was yet to receive assurances of her party’s support. The BJP government introduced the GST bill in the last parliamentary session but failed to enact it as a law due to a political deadlock with opposition parties. The GST bill is the largest tax reform bill to be introduced in India’s history since its independence in 1947.

— Shuja Malik

Pakistan

Saudi foreign minister visits Pakistan

On Thursday, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir arrived in Pakistan to meet with senior Pakistani officials (Reuters, ET). Recent tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are expected to be a central topic of discussion with Pakistan eager to calm tensions between a historic ally of the country and its western neighbor. Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, stated: “Pakistan has called for resolution of differences through peaceful means in the larger interest of Muslim unity in these challenging times.” Al-Jubeir is also expected to share details of Saudi Arabia’s new anti-terrorism alliance, which according to initial reports included Pakistan without the knowledge of Pakistani officials.

Pakistan expels Bangladeshi diplomat

On Wednesday, Pakistan asked Bangladesh to withdraw Moushumi Rahman, one of its senior diplomats, from his posting in Islamabad within 48 hours (ABC, ET). Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque stated: “The political counsellor and head of chancery in Islamabad has been given till Thursday to leave the country.” The expulsion comes after Pakistan removed one of its diplomats from Bangladesh following accusations of spying and is believed to be tit for tat retaliation.

Netflix comes to Pakistan

Pakistanis will now be able to stream movies and television using the Internet streaming company Netflix, according to a statement from the company on Wednesday (ET). Netflix said it expanded its operations to 190 countries including Pakistan and India but not China. Netflix Pakistan’s services are offered at $7.99 a month according to its website.

Afghanistan

Pentagon identifies U.S. soldier killed in Marjah

On Thursday, the Pentagon released the name of the Army Special Forces soldier killed in fighting near Marjah in Helmand province earlier this week (Post, Army Times). The soldier was identified as Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock. McClintock was assigned to 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group and had been deployed to Afghanistan in July. He had previously been deployed there from August 2012 to May 2013. He joined the army in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq in 2007. He is survived by his wife, infant son, and his parents.

American charged in bombing attack in Afghanistan

On Wednesday, the United States filed a new indictment charging Muhanad Mahmoud al-Farekh, an American, with helping prepare explosives for a bombing attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan (ABC, RFE/RL, Pajhwok). The attack believed to be on Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost City on Jan. 19, 2009 – though the base is not named in the documents – involved two car bombs one of which exploded, and one of which was not detonated by the driver. Prosecutors allege that al-Farekh’s fingerprints were found on the undetonated bomb. Al-Farekh, who was born in Texas, had previously been charged with providing material support to al Qaeda and was brought from Pakistan to face charges in the United States in April. Prosecutors allege that al-Farekh traveled to Pakistan to join al Qaeda with two fellow students from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and that one of al-Farekh’s co-conspirators helped train the three men convicted of plotting an attack on New York City’s subway in 2009.

— David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen

ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty Images

 

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