Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Pakistani Politicians Praise IDPs in Eid Messages; Hashmat Karzai Assassinated in Kandahar

Topline

  • A suicide bomber has killed Hashmat Karzai, a cousin to the president and prominent Kandahar-area powerbroker; there has been no claim of responsibility reported. Pakistani political leaders issued Eid messages paying tribute to those displaced by fighting in North Waziristan, and pledging further assistance. Imran Khan reiterated his intentions to go forward with an August 14 rally in Islamabad yesterday; the PML-N is reportedly divided over its planned response of holding a monthlong celebration leading up to independence day, with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan opposed to the announced plans. A new SIGAR audit report found as many as 43% of the small arms transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces are not accounted for on two different tracking lists maintained by the U.S. military.

Pakistan — Security

  • Army Leadership: Four senior Pakistani military corps commanders are due to retire in October, the Express Tribune notes, as well as ISI Director General Zaheerul Islam, opening up an opportunity for Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif to appoint his own choices to the top military command.
  • Lower Dir Guesthouse Attack: Six people were killed and four injured when a jirga mediating a dispute between unidentified parties broke into fighting at a guesthouse belonging to former Khyber Paktunkhwa minister for labor Bakht Baidar Khan, of the Quami Watan Party, on Tuesday. Khan’s brother was among the dead.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Eid ul Fitr: Pakistani officials issued statements commemorating Eid ul Fitr and the end of the month of Ramazan on Monday; Prime Minister Sharif paid tribute to “all those martyrs, who have laid down their lives in defence of their country”. Chief of Army Staff Sharif visited forces in North Waziristan on Tuesday. Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch visited families displaced by the fighting, pledging assistance, and saying that “the displaced persons are our heroes and stars and facing this time of trial for peace and comfort of the entire nation”. Former Pres. Zardari also called on PPP party workers to “spend some time of the Eid with internally displaced persons as well as families of soldiers and law-enforcement agencies who are valiantly fighting extremists and militants to defend the motherland”.
  • Islamabad Protest Plans: Speaking with the Express Tribune while on a visit with IDPs in Bannu, Imran Khan reiterated his intention to go ahead with a protest rally in Islamabad on August 14, warning that “if the police or the army fire a bullet on any of the participants, the case will be registered against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”. PML-Q officials say they are working to forge an alliance between the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, which Khan has thus far avoided. The Express Tribune reports that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has opposed the PML-N government’s strategy of a monthlong celebration leading up to independence day as a means of diverting momentum away from the PTI, proposing that the party instead emphasize a commitment to austerity and to supporting Waziristan IDPs. [ET] [Dawn]
  • Bail Extended for MQM Chief: London police have extended MQM leader-in-exile Altaf Hussain’s bail in a money laundering investigation until December, two days before it was set to expire. Hussain had been due to appear at a police interview on July 31; it is unclear if that will take place. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Tax Revenues: Preliminary figures from the Federal Board of Revenue indicate that the government may miss its monthly tax collection target for July by around Rs 7 billion.
  • UK Bans PIA Cargo Service: The UK has imposed a temporary ban on Pakistan International Airlines cargo service, resulting in the suspension of deliveries across the European Union. PIA officials say they will contest the decision, the rationale for which was not reported.

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Former Chief Justice Chaudhry Hits Back at PTI Allegations [Dawn]
  • Quetta Passenger Train Narrowly Misses Bombing [Dawn]
  • Balochistan Officials Accuse Sindh of Withholding Water Share [Dawn]
  • Khyber Paktunkhwa Proposes Up to 1,000 New Community Primary Schools [Dawn]
  • Ministry of Industries and Petroleum Opposes Reallocation of Gas for New 50MW Power Plant [ET]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Karzai Cousin Killed by Suicide Bomber: Hashmat Karzai, a cousin of the president and powerful figure in Kandahari politics, was killed along with a bodyguard by a suicide bomber at his home on Tuesday. The attacker reportedly hid the bomb in his headgear, and had been admitted as a guest during Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations; he has not been identified, and the Taliban have not yet issued a claim of responsibility. Hashmat had backed Ashraf Ghani in the presidential election, serving as his campaign manager for the province. He had also engaged in high-profile feuds with other members of the Karzai family; his death follows the assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai, the president’s brother, in 2011. [AFP] [Reuters] [TOLO]
  • SIGAR Warns of Missing Small Arms: A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction released Tuesday warns that the U.S. military may have lost track of more than 43% of the more than 474,000 small arms supplied to the Afghan National Security Forces since 2004. Pentagon officials said that they were working to reconcile two weapons-tracking lists reviewed by SIGAR, which found multiple instances of missing, duplicate or incomplete serial numbers. [WAPO] [SIGAR Report (pdf)]
  • Nangarhar Attacks: A large force of as many as 500 Taliban fighters attacked Afghan security checkposts in Nangarhar’s Hesarak district on Tuesday; details are limited as fighting is ongoing, but officials tell Khaama Press that at least 12 security personnel and 50 Taliban fighters have been killed.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Karzai Defends Release of Taliban Prisoners [TOLO] [TOLO]
  • U.S. Paratroopers in Afghanistan Hope to Deal a Few Final Blows Against the Taliban [WAPO]
  • Eid, in One of Afghanistan’s Most Dangerous Provinces [WAPO]
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