The elected leaders of India and Pakistan agreed earlier this month that the 2003 ceasefire on border violence should be enforced. That has not worked out because Pakistani politicians are reluctant to take on their military leaders directly over this. The Pakistani generals still speak out against any attempts to calm things down on the Kashmir border. The generals blame India for any problems there and Pakistani media, fearful of retaliation or just eager for a cheap and effective headline, go along with the myth that India is the aggressor here. The Pakistani generals see peace with India as a threat, as for decades the military has justified their large budget, and affluence of the senior officers, by claiming that India is planning to invade Pakistan. The Pakistani politicians know better but are afraid of getting into public arguments with the generals. In the past, that sort of public dispute usually preceded a coup. India also accuses the Pakistani military of using some of this violence to distract Indian border guards in an effort to get as many Islamic terrorists across before snow closes many of the remote smuggling routes the terrorists use to get into Kashmir. The Pakistani generals dismiss all this as part of an Indian plot to weaken Pakistan. This sort of Pakistani aggression in Kashmir has been going on for three decades, ever since a Pakistani military government in the late 1970s decided to join forces with Islamic radicals to fight India. Pakistan continues to deny these government links to Islamic terrorists, even though it is an open secret inside Pakistan and a growing body of evidence confirms the continuing links and support. The Pakistani generals apparently feel that the presence of nuclear weapons makes Indian threats of war (to halt the growing border violence) meaningless.
The U.S. has quietly restored $1.6 billion worth of economic and military aid for Pakistan that had been blocked over the last 2 years. This aid had been quietly resumed over the last few months, as Pakistan allowed NATO truck traffic in and out of Afghanistan to resume. All this is an aftereffect of the 2011 American raid into Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden. The Pakistani military was particularly unhappy with how the raid made it clear that the military had been lying about not knowing where bin Laden was hiding and unable to detect or stop the American raid. Defending lies and incompetence is growing more difficult in Pakistan, but if you have enough guns and determination you can hang on for a long time.
China has offered to sell Pakistan 3,200 megawatts of electricity supply. Building the transmission lines would take 3 years. However, Pakistan is unsure if it could afford the cost. The Chinese are not giving the electricity away and expect to be paid market rates. Corruption and mismanagement have caused growing electricity shortages in Pakistan, which has put a lot of pressure on officials to do something about it.
In Pakistan senior Islamic scholars have issued a fatwa declaring that polio vaccinations are Islamic and not forbidden. In the Pakistani tribal territories (Waziristan) there has been another outbreak of polio with about three dozen cases so far this year and about a dozen in the rest of the country. A Taliban ban on polio vaccinations has left over 250,000 young children vulnerable to the disease and these are the ones getting infected. While the fatwa helps, years of Islamic radical clerics preaching that polio is un-Islamic has caused a growing number of parents who refuse the vaccinations even when there is no Islamic terrorist threat of retaliation. This year about 3 percent of children failed to get the vaccination, either because of Islamic terrorists or parents believing the anti-vaccination propaganda. Polio should have been eliminated entirely by now but there has been resistance from Islamic clergy in some countries, who insist the vaccinations are a Western plot to harm Moslem children. This has enabled polio to survive in some Moslem countries (especially Nigeria, Somalia, and Pakistan). The disease also survives in some very corrupt nations, like Kenya and India, because of the difficulty in getting vaccines to remote areas, tracking down nomad groups, and stopping corrupt officials from plundering the vaccination program (and causing many vaccinations to not happen).
October 24, 2013: India accused Pakistan of firing overnight on 50 Indian border posts along the LoC (Line of Control which separates Indian and Pakistani held Kashmir). 1 soldier was killed and 6 wounded. India called this the worst incident since the ceasefire was agreed on in 2003. So far this year India accuses Pakistan of violating the ceasefire over 200 times, more than all the other years since 2003 combined. Pakistan accuses India of firing up to 4,000 mortar shells and over 59,000 rounds of rifle and machine-gun fire at 27 Pakistani border posts since Monday and wounding 8 civilians in the process. Indian troops usually return fire, but the pattern of incidents on the LoC for the last 3 decades has been Pakistani troops starting the exchange of fire. Usually the Pakistanis just denied it, now they make a big deal of it all being an Indian ploy to start another war.
In the Pakistani tribal territories (South Waziristan) 9 civilians were wounded when at least a dozen mortar shells and rockets were fired at a village from Afghanistan. This was apparently a tribal feud that may have involved an Islamic terrorist group based in Afghanistan. There has been growing animosity and violence between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban groups. This is largely the result of Pakistani Taliban taking refuge inside Afghanistan and not getting along with the locals.
October 23, 2013: In southwest Pakistan (Karachi) a Taliban gunman attacked a police vehicle, killing 2 policemen and was himself killed as he tried to flee.
October 22, 2013: In Kashmir an Indian soldier was killed by a Pakistani mortar shell fired across the LoC.
In eastern India (Kolkata) police arrested a wanted Maoist leader.
October 21, 2013:
In Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan) a terrorist bomb derailed a passenger train, killing 7 people.
October 20, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Peshawar) gunmen from Afghanistan attacked a police checkpoint, killing 4 policemen.
October 18, 2013: Pakistan accused Indian troops of firing on a Pakistani border post on the LoC in Kashmir and killing a Pakistani border guard.
October 17, 2013: Pakistan accused Indian troops of firing on a Pakistani border post on the LoC in Kashmir and killing a Pakistani civilian and wounding 2 others. India accuses Pakistan of firing first, for the 9th time in 4 days.
In Pakistan police, in addition to the intelligence agencies, have been given access to all cell phone data. Given the high levels of corruption among police in some parts of the country, this means access to this data can be bought by criminals. But the public has been clamoring for something to be done about the growing number of kidnappings and the mayhem committed by organized crime organizations. These crimes depend a lot on cell phone use, and when the federal intelligence organizations (who have long had access to the cell phone data) were called in, catching the guilty was a lot easier. So now the local cops can quickly access cell phone data to seek clues and suspects.
In eastern India (Maharashtra and Bihar) two clashes with Maoists left 10 dead. In one attack 3 police commandoes were killed by a landmine while in another 7 civilians died because of a roadside bomb.
October 16, 2013: The U.S. has told Turkey that it cannot sell Turkish made T-129 helicopter gunships to Pakistan because the engines used on these aircraft are made in America and require U.S. permission for export as part of an aircraft built using them.
In the Pakistani tribal territories (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) a Taliban suicide bomber killed the chief legal officer outside his home. 7 others died as well. This is part of a long standing Taliban effort to assassinate government officials, so as to intimidate the local government into not opposing the Islamic radicals.