New Post: Omar Samad, "Dismiss and shake up" (FP).
The United States Treasury Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on eight top members of the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, including Sajid Mir, who allegedly helped plan and direct the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people (AFP, ET, The News). Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities on Thursday arrested Malik Ishaq, the leader of the banned sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), who is accused of masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore (AFP, Tel, ET, Dawn, VOA, The News). He was presented in court on Friday and remanded into custody for two weeks.
India's foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai indicated Thursday that India may allow Pakistani investigators to cross-examine witnesses linked to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, a decision which would remove the reason Pakistani authorities have cited in their failure to prosecute seven alleged militants charged with masterminding the attack (WSJ). Mathai's statement came after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran (BBC, Dawn).
An Islamabad court on Friday ordered Rimsha Masih, the Christian girl accused of burning Islamic religious material, to remain in prison for another two weeks while police complete their investigation of the accusations against her, and decide whether or not to charge her (AP, AFP).
Two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) planes crash-landed on Friday, one at the Lahore airport that reportedly injured some of the passengers and flight staff, and another at the Quetta airport, in which no one on board was injured (ET, ET, Dawn). Initial reports attributed the emergency to a problem with the landing gear, but no further details were yet available.
Rockets fired by insurgents on Thursday killed five Afghan civilians while they were waiting for a bus on the side of the road in Logar Province (AP). The attackers appeared to be targeting a nearby Afghan Army base.
The Afghan Cabinet minister Asadullah Khalid, who President Hamid Karzai is expected to nominate for the position of chief of the country's intelligence agency the National Directorate of Security (NDS), was consistently accused of human rights violations while serving as governor of the restive southern province of Kandahar (McClatchy). Residents say Khalid abducted and tortured his personal and political opponents, though he has denied all such accusations.
Pakistan's cricket team failed to best Australia in the first one-day international (ODI) match on Tuesday, but face a must-win situation in Sharjah today in order to keep the three-match series going (ESPN). Pakistan hasn't beaten Australia in an ODI series since 2002, and the team hopes its spin bowling will stymie their opponents this time around.
-- Jennifer Rowland