New Post: Javid Ahmad, "Afghanistan's political crisis: A short-term solution" (FP).
Exceptions to the rules
A bill that would exempt the Pakistani president, prime minister, federal and provincial ministers and governors from receiving contempt of court charges passed the National Assembly late Monday night, but was challenged in court on Tuesday as a violation of the Constitution (ET, AP, Dawn). Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was removed from his post last month after being convicted on contempt of court charges.
Pakistan's Supreme Court continues to press security forces on the whereabouts of missing persons from Balochistan, whose disappearances are being blamed on the paramilitary Frontier Corps (ET, Dawn). The Frontier Corps deny that they have any more missing persons in their custody. Pakistani police on Tuesday night demolished six minarets of an Ahmadi place of worship in Kharian, Punjab Province at the request of a local religious organization (ET). Pakistan has a law prohibiting members of the Ahmadi religious sect from acting or looking like Muslims, as well as calling their place of worship a "mosque."
Pakistan has begun work expanding the capacity of the border crossing into Afghanistan at Torkham, in an effort to speed up the transport of backlogged NATO supplies (AFP). Pakistani authorities are also stepping up security against Taliban attacks at the border crossing, which is located at the Khyber Pass in Pakistan's restive northwest.
View from within
The Times and the Guardian on Wednesday both ran quotes from an exclusive interview by former E.U. diplomat Michael Semple with a man he describes as a "veteran Taliban commander," who explains the Taliban's future political goals, and assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan (NYT, Guardian). The full interview will be released Thursday in the British magazine The New Statesman.
Afghan women's rights activists demonstrated in Kabul on Wednesday against the recent public execution of a 22-year-old woman accused of adultery, a video of which has surfaced and caused international outrage (AFP). And the family of a U.S. soldier killed by an Afghan national in March 2011 is suing a Canadian military contractor for rehiring the Afghan as a security guard after he threatened to attack U.S. troops (AP).
Trailer videos for a soon-to-be released Bollywood film entitled Ek Tha Tiger have been banned in Pakistan for purportedly depicting the country's intelligence agency in a bad light (ET). The movie tells the story of an Indian scientist suspected of selling missile secrets to Pakistan, and the secret agent (Salman Khan) who is sent to investigate his activities.
-- Jennifer Rowland