- Imran Khan continues to insist that talks with the government will not be resolved without Prime Minister Sharif’s resignation, although Dawn reports further division within the PTI on whether to hold to that stance. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani are also deadlocked in their negotiations; Abdullah reportedly proposed a “new plan” for the formation of a unity government on Thursday, the details of which were not released. Disaster management authorities are preparing to breach embankments around Multan in order to save the city from flooding; more than 125 villages in the surrounding area have already been affected. The PML-N government’s failure to impose electricity tariff hikes means the IMF executive board will not meet to consider the release of a $550 million loan tranche later this month, the Express Tribune reports. The new Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent affiliate claimed responsibility for the past weekend’s attack on Karachi naval facilities. Pres. Karzai attended a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Tajikistan.
Pakistan — Security
- Al Qaeda Group Claims Attacks: In an Urdu-language statement issued on Thursday, the recently-announced Al Qaeda in South Asia affiliate claimed responsibility for this past weekend’s attack on the Karachi Naval Dockyards, claiming to have targeted a “US supply ship”. There has been no confirmation of any American presence at the port at the time of the attack; the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan previously issued a claim of responsibility. Dawn reports that three Pakistani naval officials, of unspecified rank, were arrested in Quetta on Thursday while trying to flee to Afghanistan, and are being held on suspicion of working to assist to the attack.
Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- Protests Continue: Speaking to supporters on Thursday, Imran Khan reiterated that no matter how many rounds of talks were held between the government and the protestors, “the sit-in will not end without resignation of the PM”, which PML-N officials continue to rule out. Khan claimed that on Saturday, the thirtieth day of the protests, he would identify the murderers of MQM legislator Tahira Asif and National Party legislator Hendry Masih, who were killed in separate shootings in Lahore and Quetta in June, an apparent implication against government officials. At a press conference on Thursday, Jamaat-e-Islami and PPP mediators said that they had offered the “best possible formula” to the opposing sides to end the standoff, but offered no details. Anonymous PTI sources continue to express concern over the party’s inflexible stance, with an “overwhelming” number of party leaders, save Imran Khan, said to be willing to accept commitments to electoral reform with the prime minister’s resignation. The NYT notes the strain the continued protests have placed on Islamabad residents, and the protestors; Pakistan Awami Tehreek activists participating in the protests say their organizers took their identity cards to prevent them from leaving, while others confirm they are being paid to attend, which PAT officials deny. On early Friday morning, Islamabad police arrested DJ Butt, the main musical act at the PTI rallies; the PTI alleges other party workers have also been detained, and has demanded his release. A spokesman for the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen party said nine of its party members were also arrested on Friday, which police officials deny; the party, which has been allied with the PAT, said it would break off attendance in talks with the government until its members are released. [Dawn] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET]
Pakistan — Economics and Development
- Flooding Alert: Disaster management authorities are reportedly considering breaching embankments near two major railway bridges, which would likely indundate areas in the Multan district with floodwaters but largely spare the city. As many as 125 villages around Multan have already reportedly been submerged; most residents are said to have been evacuated, with the army reporting that it has rescued nearly 30,000 people with helicopters and boats. Flood warnings are now being issued for cities further south. Prime Minister Sharif visited Pakistani-administered Kashmir on Thursday, pledging assistance. On Friday, the National Disaster Management Authority formally requested UN assistance in assessing damages caused by the floods. [Dawn] [Dawn]
- IMF Talks: The government has failed to impose a previously agreed-to 7% increase in electricity prices, concerned over the blowback from the ongoing protests in Islamabad. Finance ministry officials suggest an increase could be implemented next month, although it has been delayed since July; the IMF is said to have set the tariff increase as a precondition for the release of the next $550 million loan tranche payment to Pakistan, and the IMF executive board will therefore reportedly not meet later this month to consider disbursal.
- Polio Crisis: Three more polio cases were registered in the Khyber Agency of FATA on Friday, bringing the national total to 147 cases so far this year; officials are concerned that cases will spike further, as September normally represents a high transmission season. [ET]
Pakistan — Remainders
- Federal Investigation Agency Holds Musharraf ‘Wholly Responsible’ for 2007 Emergency [ET] [Dawn]
- Foreign Office Rejects Indian Report of Sri Lankan Citizen Arrested on Charge of Spying for Pakistan [Dawn] [ET] [ET]
- Hospitals Underfunded as Waziristan IDPs Strain System [Dawn]
- MQM ‘Unofficially’ Dissolves Karachi Tanzeemi Committee [ET]
- MQM Refutes Connection to Sectarian Killings [Dawn]
- Acting Sindh Inspector General of Police Confirmed in Role [The Nation]
- Protesting Teachers and Police Clash in Karachi [ET]
- Cabinet Economic Coordination Committee Approves Use of LNG for CNG Sector [ET]
Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- Election Deadlock: Negotiators for Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani met on Thursday but failed to resolve their deadlock over the formation of a national unity government, with the Abdullah team reportedly offering a “new plan,” which was not publicly detailed. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Deputy Secretary General, visited and met with both Abdullah and Ghani on Thursday, urging them to reach an agreement; both reportedly reaffirmed their commitment to do so. The head of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani, said Thursday that final results would be announced next week, although he did not specify when; the IEC will hold its final round of audit review and adjudication on Friday, to be followed by a 48-hour complaint period. [Khaama Press] [TOLO] [TOLO]
- Karzai Attends SCO Summit: Pres. Karzai traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Thursday to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, accompanied by foreign minister Zarar Ahmad Osmai and national security advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta. Karzai will also hold bilateral meetings with Tajikistan officials and a trilateral meeting with Iran and Tajikistan. In his address to the summit on Friday, Karzai reiterated the contention that havens for terrorism “are located outside Afghanistan” and the need for regional support for Afghanistan, calling for cooperation between the SCO and SAARC.
Afghanistan — Remainders
- US-Turkish Construction Firm Accused of “Escaping” the Country with Work Incomplete [Khaama Press]