Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Karzai Withdraws Objections Over House Raids in BSA Negotiations; Court Appointed for Musharraf Trial

Topline

  • Pres. Karzai spoke with Sec. Kerry on Tuesday and agreed to withdraw objections to any remaining American forces conducting searches of Afghan houses, which his spokesman said was the last outstanding issue in bilateral security agreement negotiations. In exchange, Pres. Obama will reportedly write a letter to the Afghan people apologizing for past civilian deaths. A special court to hear treason charges against former Pres. Musharraf was appointed on Tuesday. A TTP commander was killed in a suicide car bombing in North Waziristan on Tuesday. Presidential candidate Daoud Sultanzoy is rumored to have had his disqualification from contesting the vote overturned by the Electoral Complaints Commission, but the final list of candidates has not yet been announced.

Pakistan — Security

  • Sectarian Violence: The Kohat district commissioner held a jirga with community leaders on Tuesday after riots on Monday left three dead; a military curfew there was lifted on Wednesday, but restrictions on public assembly remain in place. In Rawalpindi, several senior police officials were removed from duty on grounds of negligence after the weekend’s Ashura clashes. Prime Minister Sharif will chair a briefing on the security situation and the Rawalpindi incident on Wednesday.
  • Waziristan Bombings: A group of seven militant suspects were killed near Mir Ali, North Waziristan, on Tuesday, after their vehicle was struck by a suicide car bomber. Qari Saifuddin, identified as a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan commander in the Frontier Region Bannu area, was reportedly among those killed. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack. On Wednesday, two security personnel were killed and seven injured in a suicide car bombing attack on a checkpost in North Waziristan; the group Ansarul Mujahadeen claimed responsibility.
  • Military Appointments: Pakistani army quartermaster general Lt. Gen. Sajjad Ghani was appointed as the Karachi Corps commander on Tuesday; outgoing corps commander Lt. Gen. Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry was appointed Inspector General Arms for the army’s general headquarters. The appointments come two weeks prior to Chief of Army Staff Kayani’s scheduled retirement; he will preside over a formation commanders’ conference on Wednesday.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Musharraf Court Appointed: A three-judge panel has been appointed to hear special treason charges against former Pres. Musharraf for his 2007 suspension of the constitution. Sindh High Court judge Faisal Arab will head the judicial bench. Attorney General Munir Malik told reporters that a decision in the case could be reached “very soon,” given the preponderance of evidence against him. PPP opposition leader Khurshid Shah told reporters that Musharraf should also be tried for his 1999 military coup. [ET] [ET]
  • Ashraf Corruption Case: Former Prime Minister Ashraf appeared briefly in court on Tuesday in connection to new National Accountability Bureau charges as part of the Rental Power Project case, in which he is accused of embezzling funds while serving as minister of water and power. The case will resume December 2. [ET]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • 3G Spectrum Auction: Pakistan Telecommunications Authority officials told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that they have received seven bids for technical consultants for the auction of 3G wireless spectrum in the country, and that bidding will be finalized by November 23.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Released from Bagram, Six Pakistanis Held in Incommunicado Detention, Lawyers Say [ET]
  • Missing Persons March Reaches Karachi after 24-Day March from Quetta [ET]
  • Three Construction Workers Killed in Turbat [Dawn]
  • Election Commission Rejects Requests for Further Delay of Local Elections [Dawn] [ET] [ET]
  • Supreme Court Orders Election Tribunals to Resolve Petitions Within 4 Months [ET]
  • Commentary: A Difference of Decibels – “The success of the religious right in this country has been outside conventional platforms of political power.” [Umair Javed, Dawn]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Bilateral Security Agreement Negotiations: A spokesman for Pres. Karzai announced that, following phone conversations with Sec. Kerry on Tuesday, Karzai was ready to proceed with the signature of the U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement, dropping last-minute objections to any American counterterrorism raids on Afghan homes. Operations will now be allowed in “exceptional circumstances.” Karzai’s spokesman characterized this as the final outstanding issue in negotiations with the U.S., and said that as part of the agreement, Pres. Obama would write a letter expressing apologies for past American military operations that had resulted in Afghan civilian casualties. U.S. officials have not confirmed the substance of Tuesday’s discussions, and say that the text of any letter has not yet been decided upon; a White House spokesman noted that “this agreement is not reached until it goes through the loya jirga” scheduled to open on Thursday. U.S. officials privately suggested that the ‘concession’ was likely intended to suggest a political victory for Karzai ahead of the jirga session. A full text of the security agreement has not yet been released, but MSNBC news has obtained a copy of an earlier draft from July, available here. On Tuesday, members of the Islamic Association of Students protested in Kabul against the security agreement. [WAPO] [AJE] [BBC] [AP] [TOLO] [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Election Preparations: Pajhwok reports that presidential candidate Daoud Sultanzoy’s disqualification by the Independent Election Commission was reversed by the Electoral Complaints Commission during its review of challenges and appeals. Sultanzoy is said to be the only presidential candidate who successfully overturned his disqualification; ECC officials have confirmed that 67 provincial council candidates were cleared to contest the polls. The IEC has yet to announce a final candidate list, despite the ECC’s transfer of its rulings earlier on Tuesday. [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Afghan and US Military Commanders Brace for Violent Winter [WSJ]
  • Report: Unwelcome Guests: Iran’s Violation of Afghan Refugee and Migrant RIghts – “These policies pose a serious risk to the rights and security of the almost one million Afghans whom Iran recognizes as refugees, and hundreds of thousands of others who have fled war and insecurity in Afghanistan.” [HRW]
  • Commentary: How is Hamid Karzai Still Standing? – “The man once dismissed as a powerless puppet, as only “the Mayor of Kabul,” learned to play his political enemies against one another and turn a range of tribes into his supporters.” [William Dalrymple, NYT]
  • Commentary: Kicking Afghanistan’s Opium Habit – “Afghanistan’s rampant drug trade, now at an all-time high, threatens to upend NATO’s decade of fragile progress and mixed successes.” [Robbie Gramer, AfPak Channel]
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