Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Continued Firing Along Kashmir Border; Helmand Officials Seek NATO Air Support

Topline

  • Cross-border artillery fire continues along the Line of Control in Kashmir, killing two more people on Thursday and injuring as many as a dozen. Prime Minister Sharif will chair a meeting of the National Security Committee on Friday to assess the situation. The fifth Predator strike in as many days hit North Waziristan on Thursday, killing as many as four unidentified militant suspects. International night flights into Peshawar have been suspended after the latest aircraft shooting attempt there. Officials in Helmand say they will request foreign air support for operations against the Taliban there. Afghan provincial council election results remain delayed. The World Bank estimates that Pakistan’s economy will grow 4.4% in 2015, the second-slowest rate in the region after Afghanistan. A bodyguard for former Prime Minister Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani is accused of killing a motorcyclist in Lahore on Wednesday.

Pakistan — Security

  • Border Clashes with India Continue: Two more people were reportedly killed and as many as a dozen injured on the Pakistani side on Thursday in continuing cross-border artillery exchanges along the Line of Control in Kashmir. These exchanges have primarily taken place along more heavily populated areas of the border; Pakistani border forces accuse India of deliberately targeting the civilin population during Eid. At least nineteen people have been killed in the past week, dozens injured, and thousands have fled their homes. Both sides blame the other for initiating the firing; Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley warned that “if Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make cost of this adventurism unaffordable for it”. Prime Minister Sharif will chair a meeting of the Pakistani National Security Committee on Friday to review the situation; on Wednesday, Imran Khan blamed Sharif for being “silent on the Indian aggression”. [NYT] [WSJ] [BBC] [ET] [ET]
  • Drone Strikes Continue: A Predator drone strike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Thursday reportedly killed as many as four people, making it the fifth reported strike in as many days. No details have been reported about the identity of the targets. [Dawn]
  • Sharif Visits North Waziristan: Accompanied by senior military and civilian officials, Prime Minister Sharif visited Miram Shah in North Waziristan on Thursday, the first prime minister to do so. He met with field commanders and afterwards praised their efforts as part of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
  • Peshawar Night Flights Suspended: International night flights into Peshawar have been suspended due to recent firing incidents targeting planes landing at the airport, the Director General of the Civil Aviation Agency reported on Thursday. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Gilani Son Charged with Murder: On Wednesday evening, a member of former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani’s bodyguard is alleged to have shot and killed a young man on a motorcycle in Lahore. The incident is reported to have stemmed from a traffic dispute. Abdul Qadir Gilani and five of his guards have been charged by police, and one has reportedly been arrested.
  • Zardari Meets with PPP Activists: In meetings with PPP officials in Lahore on Wednesday, Pres. Zardari suggested that the party would benefit from the conflict between the PML-N and PTI, and said that recent forays into mediation between the two sides were mean to protect democracy, not Nawaz Sharif. Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari will relocate to Lahore, PPP sources tell Dawn, in order to focus on party reorganization there; he will address a rally of supporters on October 18.

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Growth Estimates: A new World Bank report on South Asian regional economies estimates that Pakistan’s GDP will grow by 4.4% in the 2015 fiscal year, the second lowest in the region after Afghanistan. Preliminary estimates of the cost of political turmoil in the country this year are estimated at as much as 2.1% of GDP in short-term losses.
  • US Backs Diamer Bhasha Dam: Speaking at a conference for investors in Washington on Wednesday, USAID and State Department officials offered support for the proposed Diamer Bhasha hydroelectric dam, saying that it represented the “smartest choice for Pakistan”. [APP]

Pakistan — Remainders

  • India Warns Against Fake Polio Vaccination Certificates [Dawn] [ET]
  • Political Favorites Vying for National Accountability Bureau Prosecutor’s Job [Dawn]
  • Election Commission Expected to Testify on Election Administration Irregularities [Dawn]
  • Private Sector Credit Contracts [ET]
  • Delegation in Paris for Reko Diq Dispute Settlement Talks [ET]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Joint Helmand Operations: The head of Helmand provincial security, Juma Gul Hemat, tells TOLO that local and national leaders have agreed on the need to request foreign air support for operations against the Taliban in the province.

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Provincial Council Results Delayed: Electoral Complaints Commission spokesofficials tell TOLO that the long-delayed provincial council election results could be shared with the Independent Election Commission by today, with final announcements by next week; they were due to be announced four months ago.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Five Afghan Men Hanged in Paghman Rape Case [NYT] [WSJ] [Reuters]
  • Air Force Anticipates 62 More Helicopters from US [Khaama Press]
  • NDS Disrupts Car Bombing Plot in Kabul [Khaama Press]
  • Bond Set for One of Three Afghan Asylum Seekers who Fled Boston-Area Training [AP]
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