British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan ten years after a deadly terror attack at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. The airline stopped Pakistan flights after 54 people including 6 British citizens were killed in the September 2008 attack. British Airways will become the only Western airline to service Pakistan beginning on June 2, 2019.
Armed separatists stormed the Chinese Consulate in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi on Friday, triggering an intense hour-long shootout during which two police officers and all three assailants were killed, Pakistani officials said. The brazen assault, claimed by a militant group from the southwestern province of Baluchistan, reflected the separatists’ attempt to strike at the heart of Pakistan’s close ties with major ally China.
A Pakistani Christian woman was freed from prison just a week after the Supreme Court overturned her conviction and death sentence for blasphemy against Islam. Asia Bibi is currently being held at a secure location to protect against possible attacks. Bibi’s husband pleaded for asylum with several countries offering to grant the request.
Protests continued for a third day in Pakistan on Friday as the ultra-Islamist party blocked roads to demonstrate against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. The political party claims talks with the government have been unsuccessful. Thousands of far-right protesters showed up for the demonstration.
ActionAid charity announced on Thursday that Pakistan ordered 18 international aid agencies to suspend operations and leave the country within 60 days. ActionAid’s Pakistan director said no explanation was provided for the decision. ActionAid was informed it could ‘reapply for registration’ in six months. The decision is Islamabad’s latest move targeting foreign-funded groups.
The US military announced it will cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s failure to take action against militant groups. The decision follows previous accusations by President Trump that Pakistan deceived the US while receiving aid. The funds will be allocated to other ‘urgent priorities.’ The move must be approved by the Congress.
Following Pakistan’s general election on Wednesday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) said it will reject results amid allegations, the military rigged ballots in favor of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Movement for Justice. The delay in announcement of results was due to a breakdown in Results Transmission Software, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Two weeks after a suicide bomber attacked a political rally, killing 151 people, another suicide bomber blew himself up near the car of a candidate on Sunday, killing Ikramullah Gandapur of the Pakistan Justice Movement. The latest attack raises concerns about public safety as elections approach on Wednesday to decide Pakistan’s new prime minister.
The ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam are set to return to Pakistan on Friday despite facing arrest and jail sentences for corruption. Sharif was convicted in an anti-corruption court last week over his family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London. Sharif faces ten years in prison.
The Trump administration announced, Thursday, the suspension of security assistance to Pakistani military until it takes ‘decisive action’ against Taliban and Haqqani militants who have been attacking United States forces in Afghanistan. The suspension will freeze the aid, as officials wait to see if Pakistan takes action. Pakistan responded to the decision, calling it ‘incomprehensible.’