The South Asia Channel
Kidnapped Son of Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Recovered in Ghazni; Pakistani PM to Address Parliament Over Panama Papers Leak; Modi’s Educational Record Made Public After Allegations
Afghanistan Bonus Read: “Spring on the Afghan Front Lines,” by Danielle Moylan (NYT) Kidnapped son of ex-Pakistani prime minister recovered in Ghazni Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani who was kidnapped in 2013 from his hometown of Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was rescued by a joint U.S.-Afghan ...
Bonus Read: “Spring on the Afghan Front Lines,” by Danielle Moylan (NYT)
Kidnapped son of ex-Pakistani prime minister recovered in Ghazni
Ali Haider Gilani, the son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani who was kidnapped in 2013 from his hometown of Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was rescued by a joint U.S.-Afghan forces operation in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province (BBC, Guardian). Ali Haider Gilani’s rescue was confirmed on a phone call between Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s national security adviser, and Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs adviser to the Pakistani prime minister. Gilani, now aged 30, was abducted while he was campaigning for a seat in the Punjab provincial assembly. Armed men fired on the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) gathering, killed two guards, and dragged Gilani into a van. This rescue operation comes after Shahbaz Taseer, the son of the murdered former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, was recovered in March in Balochistan after being kidnapped in Lahore in 2011. The Pakistani Taliban is believed to be responsible for Gilani’s kidnapping.
Taliban kill 15 Afghan policemen in Helmand attack
A checkpoint in Gereshk, a town on the main highway in Afghanistan’s Helmand province and just north of the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, and another in nearby Nad Ali were overrun on Tuesday by Taliban insurgents. 15 policemen were killed (Reuters). Fighting in Helmand has picked back up after a lull due to the opium harvest season. Helmand is Afghanistan’s biggest source of the heroin-producing opium crop. A senior provincial security official said, “The situation is very critical near Lashkar Gah. If the government does not act soon, there will be a disaster.”
Afghan Interior Ministry says Haqqani network is commanding the Taliban
According to Afghan government officials, the Pakistan-based and al Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network has taken over command of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan (VOA). Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said, “The Taliban are currently being commanded by [the] Haqqani [network]. We believe Haqqani and al Qaeda are two different names for the same terrorist organization.” U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, deputy chief of staff for communications for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, noted, “Siraj Haqqani, has been named the number two for the Taliban. And we think that he is increasing really, his day-to-day role in terms of conducting Taliban military operations.” The Haqqani network has allegedly had ties with Pakistan’s military-intelligence community and been provided safe haven in Pakistan – a claim the Pakistani government denies.
Pakistani PM to address parliament over Panama Papers leak
According to Pakistani Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will address parliament on Friday of this week regarding his family’s off-shore financial assets that were disclosed in the Panama Papers leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca (Reuters). Nawaz’s sons Hassan and Hussain and his daughter Maryam reportedly own three holding companies based in the British Virgin Islands. Nawaz and his family maintain they’ve done nothing wrong. Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in Pakistan’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, said, “We don’t want any confrontation, but the PM should clear his position and take parliament into confidence on his assets and tax details.”
Bomb at Balochistan University kills two policemen, wounds five others
A bomb outside the gate of Quetta’s Balochistan University exploded on Tuesday afternoon, killed two policemen, and wounded five others, according to Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti’s statement to DawnNews (Dawn, Post/AP). No one has yet taken responsibility for the attack.
Bonus Read: “An Indian teen was raped by her father. Village elders had her whipped,” by Annie Gowen (Post)
Modi’s educational record made public after allegations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday released Modi’s university degree certificates in an attempt to rebuke allegations from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that the prime minister had fabricated his qualifications (Reuters). Addressing a news conference in New Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah stated that Modi has a Bachelor of Arts from Delhi University and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Gujarat University. Spokesmen for the two universities declined to comment on whether Modi’s degree certificates were genuine. On many occasions, Modi has referenced his humble beginnings as a tea vendor’s son and the journey that made him a national leader as a story of success and determination.
Congress claims victory in Uttarkhand
Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Uttarkhand Harish Rawat won a vote of confidence from the state legislature on Tuesday, according to party leadership (NDTV, Hindu, LiveMint). The vote was administered under the authority of the Supreme Court of India and the results are to be presented to the court on Wednesday for official declaration. Previously, the Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Uttarkhand High Court to dismiss President’s Rule – direct rule of the state by the federal government – in the state, ordering a floor test in the legislature. Uttarkhand High Court had said that the federal government acted in “blatant falsehood” and the speaker of the state assembly had “double standards” with regards to dismissing nine Congress members on disciplinary grounds.
Inflation expected to be up to 5 percent in April
According to a poll by Reuters, India’s annual inflation rose to 5.0 percent in April from 4.83 percent in March due to higher food and fuel prices (Reuters). The official inflation data for April is expected to be released on Thursday. A rise in inflation will mean that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will find it difficult to decrease interest rates quickly. Last month, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan cut the policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.50 percent, the lowest since 2011. The latest poll also showed industrial output grew 2.5 percent in March, faster than 2.0 percent the month before.
–Albert Ford and Shuja Malik
Edited by Peter Bergen
SS MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images