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CrisisWatch Pakistan

Unchanged Situation

Authorities opened corruption investigations into opposition leadership amid heightened political tensions, while militant attacks continued and tensions grew with Afghanistan and U.S. govts. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) launched new investigations into opposition figures, filing corruption cases against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif 8 April and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari late March. Investigations come amid increased domestic criticism of govt: PPP strongly opposed govt’s 18 April appointment to interior minister of former Intelligence Bureau chief Ijaz Hussain Shah, accused by former PM Benazir Bhutto of conspiring to kill her. PM Khan 9 April announced push to seize 30,000 madrasas in compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions, reiterating govt stance against militant groups. Assurances coincide with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) govt’s attempts to garner opposition support for constitutional amendment to allow third two-year term to military anti-terrorism courts which expired 30 March. Karachi Union of Journalists 5 April expressed concern over criminal investigations by intelligence agencies into four journalists; Reporters Without Borders 16 April criticised intimidation of media by security agencies. Militant attacks continued. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, assailants 8 April killed World Health Organization polio worker, and unclaimed bomb attack 27 April killed three paramilitaries, while clashes between Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants and security forces in Peshawar 16 April killed six suspected militants and one police officer. In Balochistan province, explosive device killed nineteen in Quetta 12 April, including eight Shia Hazaras; TPP claimed collaboration with anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Islamic State (ISIS) also claimed responsibility; bomb blast targeted convoy in Chaman same day, killing one; gunmen 18 April shot dead fourteen bus passengers, eleven of them from security forces; three Baloch militant groups claimed responsibility. Afghan govt responded angrily to Khan’s 26 March call for “neutral interim govt” in Kabul to hold “free and fair elections”, recalling its ambassador, while U.S. Afghan envoy accused him of undermining negotiations with Taliban.

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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.