Pakistan Update

Dawn reports more round-ups of Afghan Taliban on suspicion of terrorism near the Iran border in Balochistan. This is further evidence that Iran is still playing a hand in Afghanistan, and futher that they might be trying to destabilize Pakistan from their border areas. After all, what quicker way for Ahmadinejad to gain nukes than to take over Pakistan? Large amounts of civil unrest and strife in Pakistan could give him the excuse to do so. This could have been Taliban crossing from Iran to Pakistan, or it could have been the other way — perhaps they were going to visit the Qods brigade factory and pick up some IED’s.

QUETTA, Nov 18: Law-enforcement agencies on Saturday arrested 120 Afghan nationals from Nushki and border area Tump at Pakistan-Iran border on suspicion of terrorism. A team of Frontier Corps raided a hidden place in Nushki, some 160km from here and taken 33 Afghan nationals who crossed into Pakistani area without legal documents. The team arrested another badge of 87 Afghan suspects from Tump a town at Pakistan-Iran border who arrived here with the aim of crossing into Iran illegally.


The other possibility besides creating unrest in Afghanistan or Pakistan would be for them to have been headed out to join the Islamic Courts in Somalia, or heading to Oman then up to Iraq.

In other news, this is not looking good in Peshawar, from the Frontier Post:

PESHAWAR (SANA): Law enforcement agencies in the NWFP have unearthed a vast network of suicidal attackers in the country. Official sources here said that investigations into Friday’s abortive suicidal attack, in which the attacker was killed and two policemen injured, had pointed a wider network of such attackers active in the province. They said that these attackers were planning more such attacks in the near future. Two suicidal attacks took place in the NWFP over the last couple of days. The first took place in Dargai, Malakand Agency, in which 40 recruits of Pakistan Army were martyred. In the second attack, the attacker was killed and two policemen injured in the provincial capital. The police, after the Friday incident, had taken the brother and father of the suicidal attacker Nadeem into custody. Besides, the Pesh Imam of the local mosque was also nabbed for questioning. The father of the slain attacker said that Nadeem used to remain absent from the houses for many days and nights. He said he was also out of the house on the night before the attack

New National Space Policy

For a lucid, detailed, and factual review of changes to our national space policy please see this article by Dwayne Day at Space Review. I will keep an eye out for his future articles, he definitely grabbed me with this first para:

Ever since the new National Space Policy was released on October 6, partisan pundits on both the right and the left have been commenting on it with limited degrees of knowledge or logic. After reading their work, one gets the sense that very few of the commentators actually bothered to read the ten-page policy. Rather, they read articles about the policy, and comments about it by people they dislike, and then fit it into their standard partisan model of good and bad. Because all politics are tribal these days, there is no need to actually think. All that matters is whether one is a Crip or a Blood, an Eloi or a Morlock, a Republican or a Democrat. Rather than analyze and discuss, the pundits reach for the nearest rock.

He also posts at great link at the end of the article to a PDF that compares the prior policy to the new.

Pakistan National Assembly Passes Women’s Protection Bill

Predictably, the Taliban supporting party from NWFP, MMA stalked out in a snit. From the Pakistan Observer:

Fazl and other Opposition members taking part in the debate, belonging to MMA and ARD criticized the Bill and described it in conflict with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and in violation of the constitution. They stressed the need that the rights of the women should be protected but the Bill under consideration is meant to weaken the family system. They were of the view that it will shatter the very basis of our values and norms. They demanded that the recommendations of the Ulema Committee should be incorporated in the Bill. Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman wanted that the consideration of the Bill should be delayed and members of the Ulema Committee consulted.

Under the previous law, if four males did not testify to the woman’s rape, then the woman was automatically guilty of adultry or other crime which could lead to stoning. A woman could not testify in her own behalf, meaning that a raped woman was better off not reporting a rape. The “hudood” laws are this way to match extreme fundamentalist views of sharia.

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