Islamic conservatives, in the
tribal areas along the Afghan border, are becoming increasingly assertive.
Groups of these men are more frequently demanding that people adopt customs in
line with Islamic conservatism. That means women must cover up, men must wear
beards, and that there be no music or movies or booze. There are more and more
incidents of violence against those who do not comply.
March 18, 2007: In southwest Pakistan,
Baluchi separatists cut the rail line to the rest of the country. Explosives
blew up a portion of the track. A similar attack cut a natural gas
pipeline. In northwest Pakistan, Islamic radicals set off a bomb that
destroyed three shops selling music and movies.
March 17, 2007: Pakistan's capital has had
several days of demonstrations, mainly by lawyers and politicians, protesting
president Musharrafs removal of the Chief Justice on March 8th. Pakistan is, at
the moment, a military dictatorship trying to rule through a democratic
government. But the elected officials often oppose the orders of president
Musharraf. This is apparently why the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was
removed. Musharraf remains in power as long as he retains the loyalty of the
army and police. So far he has. But that limits how far he can go in fighting
Islamic conservatives and radicals. Many military and police officials are
March 16, 2007: In northeastern India, tribal
separatists are setting off bombs in market places. One wounded six people,
while another just killed its handler, when it went off prematurely.
March 15, 2007: In central India, a force of
several hundred Maoist rebels attacked a police camp at night, killing 55
policemen and getting away with over a hundred rifles and pistols. This is the
worst loss the police have ever suffered in over four decades of fighting Maoist
rebels. The government has brought dozens of additional battalions of
police, in the last year, to deal with the growing Maoist movement. This
attack, on an isolated camp in a rural area, is the Maoist response.
In northern Bangladesh, police commandos arrested
six Islamic terrorist suspects.
March 14, 2007: In southwest Pakistan, police
attacked a base of the Baluchistan Liberation Army, and arrested 18 rebels,
including a senior commander. A large quantity of weapons and ammo was seized
as well. In western India, farmers protesting expropriation of their
land clashed with police, leaving six dead and fifty wounded.