Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Sharif Meets with Security Officials; Afghan Taliban Threaten Jirga Participants

Topline

  • Prime Minister Sharif received security briefings from top military officials on Monday, as debate continues over national counterterrorism strategy and the response to U.S. drone strikes in the wake of Hakimullah Mehsud’s death. There is more speculation but little detail on the assassination of Haqqani network financier Nasiruddin Haqqani yesterday. The Afghan Taliban have threatened to carry out attacks on participants at the upcoming jirga to review the prospective U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement. The Election Commission of Pakistan has sought a two- to three-month delay for local elections in Sindh and Punjab. The Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission says it may extended the review period for complaints past the November 16 deadline for the release of a final candidate list.

Pakistan — Security

  • Sharif Meets with Security Officials: Prime Minister Sharif visited the military’s general headquarters on Tuesday, where he held memorial services for military martyrs and then received briefings by Gen. Kayani and other top officers. Speaking before parliament on Monday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the government’s plans to initiate peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban were effectively stalled after Hakimullah Mehsud’s death and said that “we have to review the situation for the next three to four weeks” before making a decision on next steps. Also speaking before parliament, PTI leader Imran Khan said that he was disappointed that the government’s failure to “show a strong reaction to America” had resulted in a “divided nation”. The JUI-S has joined the PTI’s calls for a blockade of NATO supplies through Khyber Paktunkhwa beginning November 20. Criticism against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Munawar Hassan for describing Mehsud as a ‘martyr’ after his death earlier this month continues; the Sindh Assembly passed a unanimous resolution censuring Hassan on Monday, and a PPP lawyer has filed a legal notice with the Supreme Court seeking action on the issue. [ET] [ET] [ET]
  • Haqqani Leader’s Death: There is additional analysis but little in the way of confirmation on the culprits behind the assassination of Haqqani network financier Nasiruddin Haqqani in Islamabad on Monday. Pakistani security officials and analysts have speculated that the attack was carried out by Afghan intelligence; the Pakistani Taliban, still recovering from the death of its leader, has accused the Pakistani state itself of carrying out the attack; some Afghan sources suggest a possible intra-family conflict. [Reuters] [AP]

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Local Elections: On Monday, Election Commission officials reiterated their request to the Supreme Court to allow for a postponement of local government elections in Punjab and Sindh by two to three months. In the absence of court approval at this stage, ECP officials have approved a short-term delay in the conduct of Sindh elections, pushing the polling date from November 27 to December 7. Tuesday is the final day to file candidate nominations in both provinces. In Balochistan, nineteen candidates have been elected unopposed after the close of nominations on Sunday. Two election returns offices were attacked in the towns of Pasni and Wadh in Balochistan on Monday, in one case by the Baloch Liberation Front and the other by candidates protesting the local returning officer’s absence; no precise injury figures were available. [ET]
  • Musharraf Seeks Freedom to Travel: Following his release on bail last week, lawyers for former Pres. Musharraf have filed to have his name removed from the country’s Exit Control List, saying that he was seeking to visit his elderly mother in Dubai.

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Syria Polio Outbreak Linked to Pakistan: World Health Organization officials say that a recent polio outbreak found in at least 22 children in Syria — the first cases in the country since 1999 — have been linked to a strain originating in Pakistan, where the virus is endemic.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Contempt Petition Against Prime Minister Sharif Over Musharraf Treason Case Investigations [Dawn]
  • US Pushes TAPI Pipeline as Iran Pipeline Alternative [ET]
  • Curfew Imposed in Miram Shah After Checkpost Attack [Dawn]
  • Sharif Approves Youth Business Loan Plan [APP]
  • Commentary: The Iran-Pakistan Pipeline: Finding the Win-Win for Pakistan – “Instead of provoking Iran’s anger by scrapping the gas pipeline deal without offering anything against it, Pakistan should replace it with another contract to import more Iranian-produced electricity. “ [Abdullah Khurram, Dawn]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Taliban Threaten Jirga: The Taliban issued a statement on Monday threatening attacks on participants in the upcoming jirga called by Pres. Karzai to debate the prospective U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement, describing it as a “document that will be signed between master and slave.” The WSJ reports that jirga organizers are holding talks with the armed faction of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin and may include their representatives, as well as representatives from a large gathering organized in Kabul over the weekend to protest the agreement. [TOLO] [TOLO]
  • British Assistance: British defense secretary Phillip Hammond visited Kabul for the formal inauguration of a new UK-supported officer training academy, where he warned that British trainers would only be able to continue their mission there after 2014 if they received assurances of immunity from prosecution under Afghan law.

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Election Preparations: Electoral Complaints Commission officials said Monday that they were prepared to extend the review period for complaints by candidates previously disqualified by the Independent Election Commission; the final list is officially scheduled to be released on November 16. ECC officials said they had heard more than fifty percent of the complaints.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Report: Reluctant Interventionists: ISAF’s Influence on Local Power Structures in Kunduz and Badakshan – “The focus of the German, and later, the US forces, on the official and most powerful strongmen failed to significantly challenge the distribution of power and instead contributed to even further entrench existing power brokers in this part of the country.” [Philipp Munch, AAN]
  • Commentary: The Counter-Jirga: 3000 Delegates Condemn the US, the Afghan Government and the BSA – “One of the largest anti-American events witnessed over the past years has taken place in Kabul with 3000 politicians, mullahs and students coming together from across Afganistan to voice their adamant opposition to Afghanistan signing a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States.” [Borhan Osman, AAN]
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