News from South Asia, Thursday 18th April 2013

Pakistan:

Guardian: Former president Pervez Musharraf has been rushed out of court following the denial of his bail. “Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf has sped away from a court in the country’s capital to avoid arrest after his bail was revoked, police have said.

Officers were deployed at the high court in Islamabad on Thursday, but Musharraf’s security team rushed him out of the building and drove him away before he could be detained.”

Telegraph: Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party, has had his home attacked by members of his own political party. “Mr Khan, 60, whose party is poised to make a breakthrough, told The Daily Telegraph that his brother-in-law was beaten in the attack.

‘They managed to break through the gates. There were only two measly guards, who had no communications,’ he said. ‘This gang could have done anything.’

The crowd only dispersed when Mr Khan emerged to talk to them.”

Dawn: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has claimed that terrorist attacks on politicians are a risk in terms of derailing the democratic process. “‘The Commission expresses sincere condolences to the bereaved families and the parties concerned. These attacks point to an increasing trend of violence which, if not quickly curtailed, will certainly sabotage the election process.The climate of fear and intimidation surrounding the election campaign has a direct and adverse bearing on free and fair elections,’ said a statement issued Wednesday.

While it recognized that all parties face a threat from extremist elements, it said there is clear evidence to suggest that some face considerably greater danger than others.

‘The Commission finds the situation in regard to the ANP as particularly alarming. The ANP has been the victim and target of a vicious and consistent campaign of terrorism. Over the past few days ANP candidates and workers have been attacked in Swat, Shabqadar and several other places.’”

Afghanistan:

BBC: Twenty-four people have been killed across Afghanistan in the deadliest day of 2013 thus far. “Some of the worst incidents took place in the west, where seven people were killed and three injured after a roadside bomb hit a civilian truck.

Afghan police have blamed the Taliban for the attack in Herat province.

The civilians were travelling to the town of Shindand when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device on Wednesday morning.

Women and children were among the casualties, provincial government spokesman Mohidin Noori said.”

Dawn: The Taliban have promised to exact revenge on US troops in Afghanistan following the decision of Guantanamo prison guards to fire non-lethal rounds during prison unrest. “Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his insurgent group would avenge the incident by attacking American troops in Afghanistan.

‘The Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate… vow to avenge these wronged prisoners by targeting the American invaders in Afghanistan with all might at their disposal, Allah willing,’ Mujahid said in the statement.

The spokesman also called on rights groups to condemn ‘such cowardly actions of America and take a firm stance against it based upon evident humane principles.’”

India:

BBC News: Sixteen people  have been injured in an explosion near the office of a political party in the southern Indian city of Bangalore yesterday.

“Police said the blast could have originated from a motorcycle parked near an office of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The blast happened in the Malleshwaram area of Bangalore. It took place weeks ahead of key elections in Karnataka state. The BJP runs the government of the state of Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital.

TV pictures showed a few destroyed vehicles at the site of the explosion. Eyewitnesses said it was a ‘big explosion which shook some nearby buildings’. ‘Due to the blast, 16 people are injured – eight policemen on duty and eight civilians. Nobody is critically injured. All are being treated at hospital’ Karnataka police chief Lalrokhuma Pachau was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India news agency.”

The Times of India: Government officials have indicated a possible “Indian Mujahideen signature” in yesterday’s Bangalore blasts.

“Echoing the assessment that Wednesday’s Bangalore blast was a terror strike, the Union home ministry pointed to an Indian Mujahideen (IM) signature in targeting crowds gathered at the BJP office for ticket distribution ahead of May 5th Karnataka election.

The similarities with earlier terror blasts carried out by IM like IEDs strapped to two-wheelers as well as suspected use of nitrate-based explosives and shrapnel point to how the homegrown terror outfit remains a thorn in India’s flesh. In fact, the Central security establishment are suspecting that the IM operatives on the run and also wanted for the 7/11 Mumbai and Hyderabad blasts – Yasin Bhatkal, Waqas, Tabrez and Bada Sajid – could be behind the latest Bangalore strike as well.”

Zee News: The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is allegedly planning to strengthen itself by developing partnerships with insurgent groups in the northeast of the country.

“A letter sent to 13 states, including Jharkhand, by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Maoist efforts to expand to new areas said that they planned to strengthen their Eastern Regional Bureau which was guiding the movement in all the states of the eastern region. It noted that the CPI-Maoist had developed close relationship with the Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army, which was not only in a position to procure weapons from foreign sources, but had also provided training to Maoist cadres. The NSCN (I/M) also appeared to have been used for training to the rebels, it said. The letter, however, said it would not be easy for the Maoists to establish themselves in the Northeast abounding in ethnicity based militias, but they could use their ‘theoretical support’ to ‘nationalities’ and to gain a foothold in the region and forge relationships with ethnic militant groups.”

Bangladesh:

Gulf Times: The editor of a pro-opposition newspaper in Bangladesh has been jailed following his arrest last week.

“After completion of his seven-day remand yesterday, the editor of a Bangladesh’s pro-opposition newspaper was sent to jail in connection with a case filed over publication of a report on the Skype conversation. Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of the Bengali language daily Amar Desh and one of the government’s most vocal critics, was detained on April 11 from his office in Dhaka’ s Qbusy Karwanbazaar commercial district where he had been staying since the case against him was filed on December 14, 2012 to evade arrest.

Quoting the case statement, a senior police officer had earlier said the charges brought against him include attempt of hindering the proceedings of the International War Crime Tribunal (ICT) dealing with the cases filed for committing war crimes against humanity during the nine-month war in 1971.

He said the charges brought against Rahman also include sedition and computer system hacking which the newspaper denied, saying it had collected the records of the conversation between a former judge of Bangladesh’s ICT and Ahmed Ziauddin, a Bengali citizen who resides in Belgium, from a source abroad.”

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