Night Watch

Pakistan: Gunmen fired on a Pakistan International Airlines plane as it was landing in Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday night. The firing killed a woman passenger and injured three crew members.

Comment: No group has claimed responsibility. This was the second incident involving lax airport security this month.

Musharraf grounded again. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the Sindh High Court's (SHC) decision to remove former president Musharraf's name from the exit control list (ECL) and allow him to leave the country.

Following the SHC ruling on the 12th, the federal government appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, arguing that Musharraf would not return for trial once he left.

Today, the Supreme Court suspended the SHC's ruling and docketed a hearing of Musharraf's case in four weeks.

Comment: This is an example of dueling jurisdictions between a provincial supreme court and the federal Supreme Court. Support for Musharraf was strong in Sindh Province. The most serious charge against him is treason, a federal crime. Plus, Supreme Court justices still want justice for his unlawful detention of some of them in 2007.

The federal government had the option to not appeal the provincial court's ruling and thereby avoid a political showdown with the Pakistan Army over the trial of a former Chief of Army Staff. Today's Court ruling will stoke tension between the army and the government again. The Court has given it four weeks to build.

Iraq: Open sources reported one significant change in the security situation. ISIL or Sunni militants captured the town of Nukhayb, which is the last Iraqi town before the Saudi Arabian border, heading southwest from Baghdad. It is on the route that Iraqi pilgrims use to travel to Mecca. Its capture would complete the government's loss of key towns on the periphery of Anbar Governate.

From the Saudi border, the road through Nukhayb runs northeast through Karbala before reaching Baghdad. Karbala is one of the most revered centers of Shiite observances. ISIL fighters have destroyed Shiite images in every town in which they have found them. Shiites probably will judge that control of Nukhayb by ISIL fighters poses a threat to Karbala. It is the closest that the ultra-extremists have come to the Shiite south.

Night Watch

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