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CrisisWatch Pakistan

Unchanged Situation

Fallout of 13 Jan extrajudicial killing by Karachi police of Naqeebullah Mehsud continued, with major sit-in by youth, civil society activists and supporters, mainly from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), in Islamabad, growing into broader movement for fundamental rights, particularly in FATA. Several hundred protesters convened in Islamabad 1 Feb protesting Mehsud’s killing, demanding superintendent allegedly involved be held responsible and wider investigation into extrajudicial killings in Karachi. Protest swelled in following days as hundreds more joined from around country; demands grew to include nationwide probe into extrajudicial killings, and in FATA recovery of missing persons, removal of landmines and end to coercive security measures. Sit-in ended 10 Feb after govt promised to hold accountable those involved in Mehsud’s murder. Following Jan diplomatic spat with U.S. over Pakistan’s alleged support for terrorist groups and visit by UN sanctions monitoring team to assess govt measures against terror groups, govt took several steps against militant groups: 9 Feb expanded list of banned terrorist groups to include groups sanctioned by UN Security Council, including anti-India group Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s (JuD, formerly Lashkar-e-Tayyaba) and its Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; 13 Feb approved measures to freeze bank accounts of banned terrorist groups; mid-Feb reportedly seized hundreds of properties and madrasas owned by JuD. U.S. welcomed steps but said more action needed; after reviewing Pakistani measures 18-20 Feb, Financial Action Task Force decided against placing Pakistan on its non-compliance list, giving it three-month reprieve. U.S. drone strike 8 Feb in FATA’s North Waziristan killed at least three suspected Haqqani Network militants; drone strike near Afghan border 8 Feb killed Pakistani Taliban’s deputy leader, Khan Saeed Mehsud alias “Sajna”. Pakistani Taliban claimed suicide bombing 3 Feb near army base in Swat district (north) that killed eleven soldiers; and 14 Feb attack in Balochistan provincial capital Quetta that killed four Frontier Corps soldiers. Suicide bomb attack near Quetta 28 Feb killed at least four Frontier Corps soldiers. Army 15 Feb said it would deploy “contingent” to Saudi Arabia on “training and advice mission”.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

23 Feb 2017
The recent wave of attacks within Pakistan is the result of Pakistan’s historical reliance on militant groups to promote its foreign policy agenda, which seems to be biting the country now. The World Weekly

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
25 Jul 2016
With the reestablishment of Afghanistan’s national air force, we’re seeing the Taliban being driven into the mountains more than previously. RFI

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Latest Updates

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.

Report / Asia

Winning the War on Polio in Pakistan

Pakistan remains the greatest impediment to a polio-free world. The link between the disease and Islamist anti-immunisation campaigns is clear but without an appropriate political response. The authorities must tackle extremist networks, step up health services, and make sure that health workers are safe.

Op-Ed / Asia

Update on Pakistan's Polio War: Some Ground Gained but Victory Not Yet in Sight

As the world marks Polio Day today, Pakistan remains the greatest impediment to a polio-free world.

Originally published in Lowy Interpreter

Report / Asia

Revisiting Counter-terrorism Strategies in Pakistan: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Pakistan’s six-month-old counter-terrorism strategy has failed to end the operations of violent jihadi groups, while military-led measures continue to undermine the civilian government. A winning strategy will have to include structural and governance reform, both to stop jihadis exploiting the absence of rule of law and to address the root causes of extremist violence.

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Zaib Barlas

Former Operations Manager, Pakistan