Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Pakistan Amends Counterterrorism law; Kerry Visits Kabul for Security Agreement Talks

Topline

  • Pres. Hussain has issued an ordinance amending Pakistan’s counterterrorism laws, loosening rules of engagement and broadening powers of investigation, prosecution, and detention. Sec. Kerry has arrived in Kabul in an effort to break the deadlock on a bilateral security agreement, which U.S. officials are seeking to conclude before the end of this month. Former Pres. Musharraf has been arrested again, this time in connection to cases against him related to the 2007 Lal Masjid operation. A Rawalpindi accountability court has ordered five corruption cases against former Pres. Zardari reopened. The U.S. seized control of a Pakistani Taliban source from the Afghan intelligence service, sparking tensions, the Post reports.

Pakistan — Security

  • Counter-terrorism Law Amended: Pres. Hussain issued an ordinance on Thursday, effective immediately, that makes several amendments to the national counterterrorism law. Among other steps, the ordinance broadens the types of evidence that can be used in terror prosecutions, extends the period of “preventative detention” of terror suspects to three months, and allows for the transfer of prosecutions between jurisdictions. The ordinance also loosens the rules of engagement when security personnel come into conflict with terror suspects. The ordinance came as Prime Minister Sharif visited Peshawar to meet with provincial officials and the victims of a recent string of terror attacks there; he said afterwards that “the government is sincere about solving the issue of terrorism through talks with Taliban”. [APP]
  • Quetta Bombing: A bomb planted outside a police station in Quetta exploded on Thursday, killing six people and injuring 35 in a crowded market area. The AP quotes a spokesman for the United Baloch Liberation Army claiming responsibility, who said that the attack was carried out in retaliation for restrictions on earthquake aid to the Awaran area. [ET] [AJE] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Reports of Maulana Fazlullah’s Death Denied: A BBC report that Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah was killed in a clash with rival Afghan Taliban forces in Kunar province has been denied by Pakistani Taliban spokesmen.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Musharraf Re-Arrested: Following his release from house arrest on bail earlier this week and reports that he was preparing to leave the country for Dubai, former Pres. Musharraf has been arrested again in connection to his role in approving the 2007 siege of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad. Police officials said he would be brought before the court hearing the case on Friday. Musharraf was separately granted bail in cases related to the 2006 death of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti, the 2007 death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the 2007 detention of high court judges. On Thursday, Haroon Rasheed Ghazi, the son of slain Lal Masjid leader Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court seeking to bar Musharraf from leaving the country; that petition was rejected, but the courts again placed Musharraf under 14-day house arrest. [WSJ] [AJE] [BBC] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Court Orders Cases Against Zardari Reopened: A Rawalpindi accountability court has, on its own volition, ordered the reopening of five corruption cases against former Pres. Zardari, and has summoned Zardari and the National Accountability Bureau prosecutor general to appear in this regard on October 14. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • India MFN Unlikely to Proceed Before 2014: Speaking in Washington on Thursday, Finance Minister Dar said that meetings between India and Pakistan at the UN General Assembly last month had been “excellent,” but that tensions along the Line of Control in Kashmir had put most-favored nation trading status talks “on hold”. Dar said that further progress on those talks and the resumption of composite dialogue was unlikely until after India’s general elections in 2014. [APP]
  • Energy Crisis: Prime Minister Sharif will chair a meeting on Monday at the Ministry of Water and Power to review national energy policy and efforts to improve collections and control theft. The Nation reports that NEPRA regulators have approved a consumer electricity tariff hike that was temporarily suspended on procedural grounds earlier this month, and that a new notification could come as soon as today.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Malala Yousafzai Edged Out for Nobel Peace Prize [ET] [AFP] [AFP]
  • Pakistan Says One Killed in Cross-Border Indian Shelling [AFP]
  • Formal Notification of New NAB Chief’s Appointment Issued [ET]
  • MQM Challenges NADRA Report on NA-256 Voter Verification [Dawn] [ET]
  • Balochistan Governor Says Cabinet to Be Sworn in Monday [Dawn]
  • Columnist Kamran Shafi Under Consideration for UK Ambassadorship [ET] [Dawn]
  • PPP ‘Under Financial Crunch’ [The Nation]
  • Export and Remittance Growth Cuts Current Account Deficit in First Quarter [ET]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Kerry Arrives in Kabul to Talk Bilateral Security Agreement: The Post continues reports suggesting that the U.S. is “increasingly willing to abandon plans for a long-term, costly partnership with Afghanistan” if no deal is reached on a bilateral security agreement governing the terms of that partnership by the end of this month. The primary sticking points remain the role of U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism operations in the country, and Afghan demands for a security guarantee against interference by Pakistan. On Friday, Sec. Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on a previously unannounced visit, where he will reportedly hold “urgent talks” with Pres. Karzai on the security agreement. [TOLO] [AP]
  • Tensions Over Pakistani Taliban Commander’s Detention: The Post reports that U.S. personnel seized Latif Mehsud, a senior Pakistani Taliban commander, and took him into custody at Bagram. The seizure reportedly came as he was being escorted by the Afghan National Directorate of Security, who had been seeking to develop Mehsud as a source, prompting outrage on the Afghan side. U.S. officials confirmed his detention but provided no further details.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • UN Security Council Extends NATO Mandate [AP]
  • Two New York Men Charged Over Plan to Send Material Aid to Taliban [NYT]
  • Commentary: Here’s the Best Thing the U.S. Has Done in Afghanistan – “Afghanistan’s progress against mortality reflects the particular success of a way of doing aid in the health sector that differed dramatically from the amateurish, militarized, and externally imposed modus operandi of the bulk of American aid to Afghanistan during the war.” [Justin Sandefur, The Atlantic]

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