A federal government misstep – lifting a lockdown too soon – has placed Pakistan among the twelve countries hardest hit by coronavirus. Nor has the economy recovered as intended. Authorities should let provinces make more health decisions and focus on helping citizens in need.
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.
One year ago, India rescinded constitutional provisions giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed territory also claimed by Pakistan. Kashmiri militancy is growing, often with Pakistani encouragement. Allies should urge New Delhi to relax its clampdown and Islamabad to stop backing jihadist proxies.
Pakistan is moving to bring its Federally Administered Tribal Areas into the constitutional order. But rights remain severely restricted in the borderlands, threatening deeper popular alienation. To stop militants from stepping in, the government should lift its draconian interim regulations and deliver needed services.
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.
This report examines President Trump’s emerging counter-terrorism policies, the dilemmas his administration faces in battling ISIS and al-Qaeda across the Middle East and South Asia, and how to avoid deepening the disorder both groups exploit.
Ethnic, political and sectarian rivalries, jihadist groups, criminality and heavy-handed security policies are turning Pakistan's biggest city into a pressure cooker of tensions. Feuding politicians must set aside their conflicts or Karachi's law-and-order crisis may further worsen.
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].
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.
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.
Pakistan’s central government is all-in on CPEC. But at key points, local communities are resisting.
Originally published in The Diplomat
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.