Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Abdullah Rejects Vote Results; PML-N and PTI Negotiators Stuck on PM’s Resignation

Topline

  • In a speech on Monday, Abdullah Abdullah reiterated that he would not accept the outcome of the election audit process, insisting that he had won the second round; he appealed for supporters to remain peaceful, however, and gave little clear signal as to his next move. At celebrations commemorating the late Ahmad Shah Masood on Tuesday, Pres. Karzai called on Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani to reach an agreement and form a new government. The Independent Election Commission has indicated that it will release the final results of the June run-off, potentially as soon as mid-week. The PML-N and PTI have reached agreement on all but two “core issues,” negotiators said Monday; in a WSJ interview, Imran Khan professes confidence that he will eventually triumph over Nawaz Sharif in their standoff. Relief efforts continue in southern Punjab as flood waters remain high; the death toll has now surpassed 200 people nationwide. The Pakistani Navy announced Monday that it had repelled an attack on the Karachi Naval Dockyards on Saturday evening, killing two militants and arresting four; the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday.

Pakistan — Security

  • Attack on Karachi Naval Dockyard: Pakistani Navy officials announced on Monday that one sailor and two militants had been killed in a previously un-reported attack on the Karachi Naval Dockyard on Saturday evening. Four other attackers, all of whom were armed with “rocket launchers, assault rifles, and hand grenades”, were detained; seven other Naval personnel were injured. Investigations afterwards led to arrests of an unspecified number of people and the seizure of a cache of weapons and explosives. On Tuesday, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the attack, and alleged that it had received support from navy insiders. [Dawn]
  • Waziristan Operations: In statements on Monday and Tuesday, the Pakistani military claimed to have killed sixteen militant suspects in North Waziristan in helicopter gunship strikes and a clash with ground forces in Datta Khel, respectively. A group of internally displaced persons led by the PTI’s FATA chapter protested in Peshawar on Monday, calling for more assistance and for their repatriation. IDPs complain that they have received no cash assistance for the past two months, despite government pledges; anonymous provincial officials say the release of funds has been held up by Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak’s absence for the protests in Islamabad.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Protestor Negotiations Continue: In a WSJ interview and in his speech to supporters on Monday, Imran Khan professed that his winning in the standoff with the government is “a matter of time”, suggesting that Nawaz Sharif will eventually make “one last blunder” in handling the protests. Khan also criticized the government’s response to the ongoing flood crisis, and touted the PTI’s win in Dera Ismail Khan by-elections held on Monday. In a BBC report, Pakistan Awami Tehreek activists say they were initially being paid to attend the protest rallies and are now being blocked from leaving; PAT officials denied the report. Another round of talks between PTI and PML-N negotiators was held on Monday; the PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters afterwards that disagreement remained on “two core issues”; Finance Minister Ishaq Dar agreed but said that “one of them” – believed to be the resignation of the prime minister for the duration of a judicial commission investigation into fraud allegations – was “not negotiable for us”. Talks with the PAT were resumed on Monday. The joint session of parliament resumed on Tuesday, with the prime minister in attendance; the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, whose tenure officially expires October 23, has yet to make significant headway in proposing new legislation. [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn] [Reuters] [Dawn] [Dawn]

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Flood Toll Rises: The death toll in Pakistan from monsoon rains and heavy flooding has passed 200 people; several thousand have been displaced by flooding around the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, and relief operations are ongoing. In an exchange of letters, Prime Minister Sharif thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his offer of assistance in relief efforts; Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s Hafiz Saeed, however, has accused India of “water aggression” and deliberately allowing floodwaters to travel downstream into Pakistan. The Punjab provincial government is considering a Rs 1.6 million compensation package for each death caused by the flooding; chief minister Shahbaz Sharif visited Jhang on Tuesday, urging residents to evacuate their homes in anticipation of a water level rise there. Khyber Paktunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak met with Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif on Tuesday and reportedly pledged Rs 100 million towards relief efforts. Flood coordination agencies met in Islamabad on Monday, although Dawn reports that the discussions primarily focused on laying blame for failing to anticipate the scale of the flooding. [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET] [BBC] [AJE] [Reuters]

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Indian Foreign Minister Lays Blame on Pakistan for Halt to Talks, But Says ‘No Full Stop’ in Diplomacy [Dawn] [ET]
  • PPP Senator Proposes Closed-Door ‘Civil-Military Dialogue’ [Dawn]
  • Chief Justice Stresses Constitutional Protection in Speech at Opening of Judicial Year [Dawn] [ET]
  • Rebuilt Government Girls’ School Destroyed in Bajaur [Dawn]
  • Polio Campaign Postponed in Rawalpindi [Dawn] [ET]
  • MQM Sindh Assembly Member Irum Azeem Farooque Quits Party, Assembly [Dawn]
  • Court Reiterates Order for Musharraf Appearance in Bugti Trial [ET]
  • Amended Tax Treaty with Switzerland to Allow Investigations into Swiss Banking [ET]
  • Commentary: Pakistan’s Dueling Military Cultures – “Two new books published in quick succession have expanded the debate and provide new insights into the workings of the Pakistani military.” [Raza Rumi, South Asia Channel]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Abdullah Rejects Disputed Vote: In a speech to supporters on Monday, Abdullah Abdullah reiterated that he would not accept the outcome of the presidential runoff election audit, saying that “not even for a single day will we accept a government based on fraudulent votes.” Abdullah insisted that he had won the second round run-off, but gave no clear indication of what his next move would be, saying that the process had reached a “deadlock” and suggesting that “the people would decide what is next”. He stopped short of calls for a parallel government, which have been made by his supporters. Abdullah called on his supporters to remain peaceful, particularly as Afghanistan marks the death anniversary of former Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Masood on Tuesday; in his remarks Monday, Abdullah said that supporters should not “mix these two issues”. In an address commemorating Masood on Tuesday, attended by both Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, Pres. Karzai stressed that the country needed a resolution to the electoral process, urging the crowds to demand the two sides reach an agreement. Pro-Abdullah crowds shouted down Sebghatullah Muajdidi, a Ghani supporter, at the conference. At a separate press conference, the Independent Election Commission said that it would release the final results of the second round, which Abdullah supporters have opposed, regardless of whether or not an agreement was reached between the two candidates; the results of the audit process may reportedly be complete by Wednesday. In deliberations over 2,300 ballot boxes on Monday, the IEC invalidated votes from 94 polling stations and ordered recounts on another 224. [AP] [Reuters] [AJE] [Khaama Press] [Khaama Press]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Helmand Police Chief Alleges Pakistan Paying Taliban Fighters 4,000 Afs Daily [TOLO]
  • Former Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad Under Investigation for Money Laundering [NYT] [AP]
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