Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Mamnoon Hussain Elected President of Pakistan; Dunford Calls for Post-2014 Afghan Military Support

Topline

  • PML-N candidate Mamnoon Hussain has been elected president of Pakistan. Dozens of prisoners have reportedly been freed in a Pakistani Taliban attack on the Dera Ismail Khan prison facility. Pres. Karzai has appointed nine commissioners to the Independent Election Commission. In a NYT interview, Gen. Dunford calls for a post-2014 military commitment to support the Afghan security forces. The withdrawal of U.S. military personnel has also forced a drawdown of civilian diplomats, limiting direct oversight of U.S.-funded projects. Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch has called for talks with militant groups in Balochistan after Eid.

Pakistan — Security

  • Dera Ismail Khan Prison Break: A team of 40 or more Pakistani Taliban militants wearing police uniforms and armed with guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and suicide vests stormed the central jail in Dera Ismail Khan on Monday evening, killing at least five policemen. The WSJ quotes the Pakistani Taliban spokesman as having claimed responsibility; spokesman Shahidullah Shahid also said that Shiite prisoners had been executed by the attackers, although other outlets have yet to confirm this. 250 or more prisoners are believed to have escaped, out of a general population of around 5,000; three commanders believed to have been a target of the rescue escape have been identified as Abdul Hakim, Haji Ilyas, and Waleed Akbar. A curfew has been imposed in the region as police seek to recover escapees. [AJE] [BBC] [Dawn]
  • Balochistan Talks: Speaking in the Balochistan Assembly on Monday, Chief Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch announced his intention to form a special committee after Eid that would be tasked with holding dialogue with “all militant groups operating in Balochistan… whether sectarian or Baloch group, we will hold talks with them”. A bombing attack at a shop in Gwadar on Monday injured eight people; it follows an attack on a Pakistani Coast Guard post over the weekend that killed seven. There was no claim of responsibility for the most recent attack. [ET]

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Presidential Elections Held: Pres. Zardar returned from a month-long trip to the UK on Monday in time for presidential elections, voting for which was held in parliament and the provincial assemblies on Tuesday. Preliminary tallies as of this writing indicate that as expected Mamnoon Hussain, the PML-N candidate and former Sindh governor, has won with 277 votes in the National Assembly and Senate and over a hundred from the provincial assemblies of Sindh, Khyber Paktunkhwa, and Balochistan; results from Punjab, where the PML-N holds a large majority, have yet to be announced. Zardari’s term in office expires in September. The PPP boycotted the election session in parliament and in Sindh, criticizing the Supreme Court verdict that changed the initial election schedule to today. Nawaz Sharif criticized the PPP for boycotting on “flimsy grounds”, and although Hussain pledged to be a “symbol of federation”, he also suggested that the PPP’s boycott was intended to “bring the judiciary under pressure”. [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET] [ET] [ET] [AJE]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Energy Crisis: Naeem Yahya Mir, the managing director of Pakistan State Oil, was fired on Monday amid an ongoing government investigation into PSO management. The Express Tribune notes that oil refineries have preferred to use special tax duties originally established to fund plant modernization to offset their operating losses, despite multiple government deadlines to upgrade. The Ministry of Water and Power is reportedly seeking to develop six new coal-fired power plants and the conversion of three existing independent power plants in an effort to save on fuel costs.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Kerry Visit Sets Stage for Pakistan Reset [WSJ]
  • India and Pakistan Seek to Resume Talks [WSJ]
  • Prime Minister Sharif to Visit Karachi on Thursday [ET]
  • Civil Society Groups Critique Punjab Local Government Law [ET]
  • Jamaat-e-Islami Withdraws Candidate from NA-48 Islamabad By-Election [ET]
  • Musharraf Assets Ordered Restored Before Hearing in Bhutto Murder Case [ET]
  • Planning Committee Fails to Meet Deadline to Review Public Sector Development Program [ET]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Transition Strategy: In a NYT interview, ISAF Commander Gen. Joseph Dunford argues that “our presence post-2014 is necessary for the gains we have made to date to be sustainable”. Dunford says he expects American forces to be necessary supporting elements for at least another three to four years. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Ambassador Cunningham said that the U.S. was not considering a “zero option” after 2014 but said that any continued presence would be contingent on the successful completion of the bilateral security agreement negotiations with the Afghan government, which remain on hold.

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Karzai Appoints IEC Commissioners: Pres. Karzai chose nine nominees to appoint to the Afghan Independent Election Commission on Monday; they will elect a chairman at the new commission’s first session. [Pajhwok]

Afghanistan — Economics and Development

  • Aid Oversight: The Post notes that the withdrawal of U.S. military forces has forced a withdrawal of State Department personnel in the country as well, forcing a reliance on private contractors and Afghan officials to oversee U.S.-funded development projects. An assessment by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction released Monday found that USAID spent $47 million on the ‘Stability in Key Areas’ program to fund workshops and training sessions, but had yet to issue a single community-level grant as the program was originally intended to do. USAID defended the program, saying that ““the quality of the engagements with communities and district entities are far more important than the total number of grants awarded.”

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • U.S. Funds Buy No Love at Nangahar University [WSJ]
  • 82nd Airborne Lieutenant Charged With Wrongful Death of Two Afghan Men in July 2012 Incident [Army Times]
  • Bird Hunters ‘Emptying Afghan Skies’ [BBC]

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