Stories by Asad Hashim of Al Jazeera

Pakistan's government bows to far-right pressure in forcing out adviser

Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photo: Muhhamad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Islamabad — Pakistan's government has asked a leading academic to step down as an economic adviser, the ruling PTI party announced Friday, after far-right groups objected to his appointment based on his faith.

Why it matters: Atif Mian, a renowned professor of economics at Princeton University who belongs to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam, had been appointed to the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) last week and has now agreed to resign. Pakistan is home to roughly half a million Ahmadis, a long-persecuted minority who are not allowed by Pakistani law to refer to themselves as Muslims, facing prison sentences for doing so. They are also frequently the targets of mob violence as well as targeted killings.

Shadow of military “engineering” hangs over Pakistan election

Supporters of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a Pakistani religious parties alliance, at a rally in Karachi. Photo: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

MASTUNG, PAKISTAN — Political leaders from multiple parties accuse Pakistan’s military of misconduct in the lead-up to the July 25 general election. Aslam Raisani, a politician from an impoverished rural district, tells Al Jazeera the military has intimidated voters and offered incentives to switch loyalties, from installing electricity transformers to offering to release relatives allegedly "disappeared" by the intelligence services.

The bigger picture: The military has ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its 70-year history, since independence from the British in 1947, and has been at the centre of allegations of "political engineering" before an election that would see the country's second civilian-to-civilian handover of power. The military denies any involvement in politics, saying it supports the democratic process.

Religious supremacists campaign in Pakistan's election

Ramzan Mengal, the Balochistan chief of the ASWJ, has been seen leading crowds chanting slogans demonizing Shia Muslims as apostates. Photo: Asad Hashim/Al Jazeera

QUETTA — A far-right religious group that declares members of Islam's Shia sect to be heretics, and has been banned by Pakistan as a "terrorist" organization, is running 150 candidates for National Assembly in Pakistan's July 25 election.

The bigger picture: Pakistan's election has been chaotic, and the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) is not the only group accused of links to armed groups taking part. But members of Quetta's Hazara community are not convinced that the ASWJ is disconnected from those who killed their family members.

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