- Former Pres. Musharraf has been ordered to appear before the special treason court on January 16; the court will rule on a defense petition to transfer the case to a military court tomorrow. Pakistan’s Privatization Commission has formally approved the sale of ownership stakes in Pakistan International Airlines and two other state-owned firms. A new SIGAR audit warns that the Afghan Central Bank lacks regulatory capacity to oversee the domestic banking sector. Pakistan’s attorney general, Muneer Malik, has submitted his resignation.
Pakistan — Security
- Waziristan Clashes: A group of militants staged an attack on a military checkpost in South Waziristan on Wednesday; military officials say ten of the attackers and three soldiers were killed; there was no independent verification of those figures. There has been no claim of responsibility.
Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- Musharraf Ordered to Appear Before Court: On Thursday, the special treason court hearing charges against former Pres. Musharraf ordered him to appear on January 16, overruling defense arguments that he is unfit for trial and might need medical treatment abroad. Separately, the court said that it would issue a ruling on Friday over a challenge over its jurisdiction from Musharraf’s lawyers, who have also maintained that his case should be transferred to a military court. [AP] [BBC] [ET] [ET]
- Attorney General Resigns: Attorney General Muneer Malik has submitted his resignation, effective the end of this week. A former leader of the lawyers’ movement and president of the Supreme Court bar association, Malik had been appointed in June. Dawn suggests that his resignation is linked with the Musharraf trial, without providing much detail, and speculates that Musharraf prosecutor Akram Sheikh could serve as a possible successor.
- US Strategic Dialogue: Foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz and Secretary of State Kerry will chair the next meeting of the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue in Washington, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed; a date has yet to be set. Working group level discussions on counterterrorism and defense cooperation have reportedly yet to take place. Speaking at a book event in Islamabad on Wednesday, Aziz reiterated Pakistan’s objections to U.S. drone strikes, and argued the U.S. was “fighting the wrong war with wrong methods against the wrong people” in FATA. [Dawn]
- Zardari Corruption Cases: Former Pres. Zardari briefly appeared before a National Accountability Bureau court in Islamabad on Thursday; his lawyers sought the dismissal of five cases against him, arguing that the evidence was minimal and the cases political in nature. He was reportedly only indicted in three of those cases; hearings have been set to resume January 18. [Dawn]
Pakistan — Economics and Development
- Privatization Approved: The Privatization Commission formally approved the divestment of a minimum 26% ownership share for state-owned Pakistan International Airlines, the National Power Construction Company, and the Heavy Electrical Complex. The board’s decision must go through parliamentary approval; the opposition PPP has previously vowed to block PIA’s privatization. The government plans to hire three financial advisors to manage the privatization bid by this March.
Pakistan — Remainders
- 209 Cases of ‘Missing’ Baloch Political Activists Reported [Dawn]
- Missed Polio Vaccination Targets in Punjab Raise Concerns [Dawn]
- Pakistan Lags on Millenium Development Goals [ET]
- Election Tribunal Overturns Results in PK-86 Swat Assembly Seat [ET]
- PPP and ‘PPP Parliamentarians’ to Merge [ET]
- Chinese Assistance on Transmission Line Improvements Sought [ET]
Afghanistan — Remainders
- Islamic Scholars Divided Over Bilateral Security Agreement [TOLO]
- ANP Train in IED Disposal [TOLO]
- Wolesi Jirga Summons Kabul Mayor on Land Theft Allegations [Pajhwok]
- Report: Afghan Central Bank Capacity to Regulate Commercial Banks Remains Weak – “Forensic audits of major commercial banks in Afghanistan have identified systemic weaknesses in many areas of banking governance and operations, including personnel capacity, internal controls, accounting, credit analysis, and compliance with regulations.” [SIGAR (pdf)]
- Commentary: A Mutual Interdependency? The BSA and Why the US Still Wants It – “For Obama, being seen as the president who imposed some degree of order and security in Afghanistan and by extension Central Asia may be enough to keep the Americans at the table a little longer, waiting for that signature.” [Gary Owen, AAN]
- Commentary: Obama, Gates, and the Trouble with the Afghanistan Blame Game – “It may be lost in the media din about Gates’ criticism, but Obama gave the generals almost everything they asked for.” [Spencer Ackerman, Guardian]