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A fragile democratic transition faces the dual challenges of political instability and poorly designed counter-terrorism strategies that sacrifice long-term peace for perceived short-term security goals, fuelling militancy in various parts of the country. Across the border, rival India accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and even sponsoring deadly attacks on Indian soil. There is no resolution in sight to the two countries’ dispute over Kashmir, which continues to claim soldiers’ and civilians’ lives along the Line of Control. Crisis Group monitors Pakistan’s domestic politics and security, with the aim of informing Pakistani leaders and international stakeholders about effective strategies for countering instability within the country and preventing its spillover abroad. 

CrisisWatch Pakistan

Unchanged Situation

Amid sustained militant violence, political tensions continued over govt’s use of anti-corruption National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against opposition. Sindh chapter of ruling-Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) 12 July announced it would report opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s Sindh provincial govt to NAB, alleging corruption in form of kickbacks from development schemes. NAB 14 July approved fresh inquiries into former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) PM Nawaz Sharif and PML-N chair Shahbaz Sharif in undisclosed cases. Supreme Court justice 20 July accused NAB of “trampling of fundamental rights” and being “reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide” in response to June 2019 denial of bail in case brought against former PML-N minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother; PML-N and PPP 21-22 July called for dissolution of NAB and development of new anti-corruption body. Unidentified armed men 21 July abducted journalist Matiullah Jan in capital Islamabad with some kidnappers reportedly in uniform; reporter released hours later; Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari same day described incident as “very disturbing”. Following deadly attack in June on Karachi stock exchange claimed by Baloch separatist group, police 18 July announced they prevented another attack in Karachi after arresting six militants from Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar, another separatist group; police claimed group operated from Afghanistan with Indian backing. Militant attacks continued, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province: militants 8 July killed senior police officer in Swabi district; 11 July killed two civilians and next day killed four soldiers while security forces killed four attackers in North Waziristan district; 23 July 16 persons injured in a bomb blast at a market in the predominantly Shia Kurram district’s capital, Parachinar. In Balochistan province, firefight 11 July injured two police officers in Mastung district; militant attack 14 July killed three soldiers in Panjgur district; 19 July Hindu local leader shot dead in Khuzdar district; 21 July one person killed in bomb blast at a local market in Turbat district; 25 July one soldier killed in clash with Baloch militants in Kech district; same day military killed an alleged Balochistan Liberation Army militant in another security operation in Kech.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

4 Mar 2019
I don’t believe that Pakistan has the capability to straight out make peace happen in Afghanistan, but they definitely have the capability to make peace not [happen]. Reuters

Laurel Miller

Program Director, Asia

Latest Updates

Q&A / Asia

Calming India and Pakistan’s Tit-for-Tat Escalation

Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years.

Q&A / Asia

Deadly Kashmir Suicide Bombing Ratchets up India-Pakistan Tensions

A 14 February suicide attack by Pakistan-based militants was their bloodiest strike in Indian-administered Kashmir in over three decades. In this Q&A, our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller warns that even a limited Indian retaliatory strike could spark a sharp escalation in conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours. 

Op-Ed / Asia

National Ambitions Meet Local Opposition Along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan’s central government is all-in on CPEC. But at key points, local communities are resisting.

Originally published in The Diplomat

Report / Asia

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Opportunities and Risks

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, opened in 2015, could bring needed jobs and investment to Pakistan. But many projects also risk widening social divides and heightening political tensions along the route. With Beijing’s support, Islamabad should seek the public’s input to ensure equity in economic gains.

Also available in 简体中文
Video / Asia

Addressing Security Concerns to Advance Gender Equality in Pakistan

Addressing security concerns in Pakistan is vital for creating a more gender equal society. In this video, Crisis Group's South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed highlights the need for measures geared toward enabling women to become more economically independent, such as safer public transport and a more gender-sensitive police force.