The South Asia Channel
India Cancels Chinese Dissident Leader’s Visa; Pakistan Arrests Six in the Murder of Sikh Lawmaker; Afghan President Threatens Pakistan With UN Complaint; “Killed Professor Was Not an Atheist,” Daughter Claims
India India cancels Chinese dissident leader’s visa Officials confirmed on Monday that the Indian government canceled the visa of Chinese dissident leader and Uighur activist Dolkun Isa on April 23 after pressure from Beijing (Reuters, Time, BBC). Isa is the chairman of the Germany-based World Uighur Congress and was due to attend a conference next ...
India cancels Chinese dissident leader’s visa
Officials confirmed on Monday that the Indian government canceled the visa of Chinese dissident leader and Uighur activist Dolkun Isa on April 23 after pressure from Beijing (Reuters, Time, BBC). Isa is the chairman of the Germany-based World Uighur Congress and was due to attend a conference next week in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala. Uighurs are an ethnic minority community from China’s western Xinjiang region and have a long history of discord with Beijing. They are Muslims and regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. Chinese authorities consider Isa as a terrorist and criticized India when the visa was issued. Previous media reports indicated that Delhi granted Isa a visa after China blocked India’s bid to get the UN to put Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar on its terrorist list.
Chief Justice of India asks for more judges
Speaking at a conference in the Indian capital New Delhi on Sunday, Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur made an emotional plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recruit more judges to handle an “avalanche” of backlogged cases in the country (BBC, Hindu). Thakur reportedly broke down on multiple occasions in his half an hour long speech at which Modi was present. India currently has 21,000 judges and Thakur asked for the government to raise the number to at least 40,000 to “cope with tens of millions cases pending.” He said a judge at India’s Supreme Court dealt with about 2,600 cases a year, compared with just 81 in the United States. India has a notoriously slow legal system, and court hearings can go for years or even decades.
Pakistan arrests six in the murder of prominent Sikh lawmaker
Pakistani police have arrested six suspects in its investigation of the murder of Sardar Suran Singh, a Sikh lawmaker shot and killed on Friday (NYT). Singh, a provincial adviser on minority affairs in northwestern Pakistan, was gunned down outside his home in an attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban (NYT). However, Azad Khan, police chief in the Malakand district where the shooting occurred, rejected this claim as false. Khan believes the murder is related to a political dispute. “Soran Singh reportedly refused a party ticket to Buldev Singh, which enraged him and he hired assassins to kill Soran Singh,” said Khan. Soran Singh was a senior member of Imran Khan’s opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. “We arrested six people, including a member of the Sikh community, Buldev Singh,” Azad Khan told Pakistani reporters.
Tainted baked goods kill at least 23 in Pakistan
At least 23 people have died and dozens of others have become sick in a wave of deaths believed to be caused by baked goods tainted with pesticides (RFE/RL). According to Pakistani authorities, the deaths began when a resident of Punjab province on April 17 bought sweets to distribute to friends and family after the birth of his grandson. Ten people who ate the sweets died that day. Two brothers who own the bakery and a worker have been arrested in the investigation of the deaths.
Afghan president threatens Pakistan with UN complaint
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani threatened to lodge a formal complaint against Pakistan on Monday in an address to a joint session of Afghanistan’s two houses of parliament (NYT). In his address, Ghani called on Pakistan to forego attempts to bring the Taliban to negotiations and take military action against the militant group (NYT). “I want to make it clear that we do not expect Pakistan to bring the Taliban to talks,” said Ghani. The Afghan president threatened, “If we do not see a change, despite our hopes and efforts for regional cooperation, we will be forced to turn to the U.N. Security Council and launch serious diplomatic efforts.” According to Ghani, Pakistan formally pledged “in writing” to go after Taliban leaders who refused to engage in the peace process involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, and China. Despite this agreement, negotiations have stalled and deadly attacks in Afghanistan have increased as the Taliban carries out its spring offensive.
“Killed professor was not an atheist,” daughter claims
The daughter of Bangladeshi professor Rezaul Karim who was murdered on Saturday says he was not an atheist (WSJ, BBC, Deccan Chronicle). The 58 year old Karim was an english professor and was killed by machetes in the northwestern city of Rajshahi as he left his home to go to work. Islamic State (IS) claimed the responsibility for this attack. Bangladeshi authorities have rejected IS’s claim to that attack, saying the organization does not exist in the country. Siddique is the fourth professor at the university to have been killed in recent years by suspected Islamists.
This attack is the latest in series of murders of secular bloggers/activists by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh. Last year in May, blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed by masked men with machetes in the northeastern city of Sylhet. In March, another blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was killed in Dhaka. Blogger Avijit Roy, who courted controversy by championing atheism and also tackling issues such as homosexuality, was killed in Dhaka in February. Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government is indifferent to attacks on bloggers by Islamist militants.
–Alyssa Sims and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
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