The South Asia Channel

Pakistani military, judiciary clash over roles

EVENT NOTICE: The New America Foundation is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for participants in our "South Asia 2020" conference to be held in Dubai from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, 2013, hosted by Steve Coll and Peter Bergen.

The conference will bring together a total of 30 "new voices" from Pakistan and India to discuss issues of common interest such as trade, business, IT, water, energy, microfinance, climate change, public health and media.

The intent of the conference is to encourage the collaboration of a new generation of experts from both nations in order to develop greater regional integration in South Asia.

TO APPLY: Please send your resume and a letter of intent describing how and what you could contribute to the conference to no later than Monday, November 26, 2012.

New America will cover economy airfare, as well as hotel costs and meals.

Clash of the titans

Pakistan's Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry released cryptically worded statements that appeared to direct criticism at one another's institutions on Monday, in a sign of growing tension as the rising power of the judiciary challenges the established power of the military (NYT, AP, ET, DT, DT, Dawn, The News). In his statement, Kayani said "any effort which wittingly or unwittingly draws a wedge between the people and the armed forces of Pakistan undermines the larger national interest," while Chaudhry's speech a couple of hours later included the phrase, "gone are the days when stability and security of the country was defined in terms of number of missiles and tanks."

The United Nations Security Council on Monday added the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network and its chief suicide attack planner Qari Zakir to its list of Afghan-Taliban terrorist groups and individuals, against which nations must impose sanctions (AFP). A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction and 86-year sentence of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui for shooting at FBI agents after her 2008 arrest in Afghanistan (Reuters).

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has requested an investigation into Pakistan's culling of 21,000 sheep imported from Australia last month because of disease concerns, graphic footage of which was aired on Australian television (AFP).

Details emerge

The pre-trial hearing of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales that began Monday offered new insight into what happened the night of March 11, when Bales attacked two villages near a U.S. base in southern Afghanistan, killing 16 Afghan civilians (NYT, AP, Guardian). Fellow soldiers testified that on the night of the attack they had watched a violent movie about revenge, drank whiskey, and spoke about a comrade who had lost a leg in an attack. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for if Bales is convicted, as those who saw him after the attack testified repeatedly that he was "lucid," admitted to the attack without remorse and said, "I thought I was doing the right thing" (Reuters, AFP, Post, LAT).

Love thy neighbor

Priest David Asghar's church in Mian Channu, Punjab Province did not hold Sunday services this week, following an incident on October 28 in which members of a nearby church attackes Asghar's congregation during a prayer service (ET ). Police do not yet know why eight members of Priest Iqbal Masih's congregation carried out the attack on Asghar's church.



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