Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Death Sentences Issued in Lynching Case; Pakistani Military Accuses India of Terror Sponsorship

Topline

  • A Kabul court issued four death sentences in the Farkhunda lynching case on Wednesday; the cases of nineteen police officers who were charged with dereliction of duty were split off, a ruling on which is now expected later this week. A statement from Tuesday’s meeting of Pakistani military corps commanders blamed the Indian intelligence service RAW for “whipping up terrorism in Pakistan,” without elaborating. Testifying before the Afghan senate on Tuesday, national security advisor Hanif Atmar suggested that Daesh presents a serious security threat in Afghanistan. Former Sindh home minister Zulfikar Mirza faced off against Sindh police on Tuesday, who eventually withdrew without making arrests; he accuses the police and former Pres. Zardari of planning to kill him. The PTI submitted documents and statements at Tuesday’s hearing of the special judicial commission on election rigging, most of which the PML-N and the Election Commission ruled were not properly admissible. The UAE has issued orders expelling as many as 600 Afghan investors, without offering explanation for the move.

Pakistan — Security

  • Corps Commanders Blame Indian Intelligence for Terrorism: A statement from Tuesday’s military corps commanders meeting said that the top military leadership had taken “serious notice of [Indian intelligence service] RAW’s involvement in whipping up terrorism in Pakistan.” No further details were disclosed. The statement follows the arrest by Karachi police last week of two MQM suspects who were accused of collaborating with RAW, charges the party denies; without mentioning Karachi by name or referring to those arrests, the conference readout also quoted Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif saying that “the surge against terrorists and criminals is apolitical, across the board and focused to achieve peace in the country”. [Reuters] [Dawn]
  • Balochistan Talk Cancelled: Karachi University has cancelled a planned seminar on missing persons in Balochistan; the organizer of the event, Dr Riaz Ahmed, says that he plans to proceed with the event, saying that the decision appears to be that of university administration rather than security agencies. Meanwhile, Sindh police have appealed for public tips in connection to the murder of Karachi rights activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was killed after hosting a similar forum in late April.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Mirza Standoff: Police and armed supporters of former Sindh home minister Zulfikar Mirza faced off at Mirza’s farmhouse home outside the city of Badin on Tuesday before later withdrawing without making any arrests; Mirza told reporters that he faced threats on his life from the police and that former Pres. Zardari “and his cronies are trying to stop me from revealing facts but I am determined to go to the judiciary and disclose everything I know.” Rival PPP activists meanwhile rallied in support of party leadership. Former national assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza accused the Sindh government of politicizing the police, demanded an investigation for the police presence, and told reporters that she feared for her husband’s life. [ET]
  • Election Complaints: The PTI submitted 522 documents on Tuesday to the special judicial commission investigating election rigging complaints, most of which appears to involve existing Election Commission documents and complaints filed with election tribunals. PML-N and Election Commission representatives challenged the PTI’s filing, saying that most of the evidence was not certified or had already been ruled on. [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Local Elections: On Tuesday, polling staff allotted election symbols to the roughly 40,000 candidates contesting the upcoming local elections in Khyber Paktunkhwa. The ANP is reportedly split over the issuance of party tickets in Peshawar district. [ET] [ET]

Pakistan — Remainders

  • After Years of Tension, Anti-American Sentiment Ebbs in Pakistan [WAPO]
  • Australian Foreign Minister Arrives for Two-Day Visit [Dawn]
  • Supreme Court Continues to Debate ‘Basic Structure’ of Constitution [Dawn] [ET]
  • Prime Minister Sharif Visits Quetta for Condolences for Jamhoori Watan Party Leader’s Death [Dawn]
  • Lahore High Court Forms Larger Bench to Hear Challenges Against Prime Minister [Dawn]
  • Senate Chairman Warns of Action Against Missing Ministers [Dawn]
  • Peshawar High Court Notes Delay in Appointing FATA Tribunal [ET]
  • Pakistan’s Maternal Mortality Rate Ranking Drops [Dawn]
  • President Hussain Criticizes Jirga Resistance to Polio Vaccines [Dawn]
  • Standard and Poor Upgrades Pakistan Credit Rating [Dawn] [ET]
  • Planning Ministry Approves Chinese-Financed Lahore Metro Train Project [ET]
  • Commentary: Pakistan Will Disappoint Saudi Arabia – “Faced with security concerns on its Indian and Afghan borders, Pakistan has no need for a contentious third border with Iran.” [Marvin Weinbaum, South Asia Channel]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Parliamentary Debate Over Security Threats: In testimony before the senate on Tuesday, national security advisor Hanif Atmar said that the government believed that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was a “serious threat to our national interests just like al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups”, suggesting that the group was seeking access to the Afghan drug market. Meanwhile, in debate in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday, members accused security officials of failing to preserve security in northern Afghanistan, and some lawmakers of alienating locals. [Khaama Press] [Pajhwok] [TOLO] [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Death Sentences Issued in Farkhunda Case: A judge issued death sentences for four men charged in the mob lynching of an Afghan woman in Kabul in mid-March, including the shrine caretaker with whom she clashed prior to her murder, and issued 16-year prison terms for another eight men. 18 civilian defendants were acquitted, and the cases of all 19 police officers charged with dereliction of duty in connection to the incident were split off for a parallel case, which the Post reports will be decided by Sunday. All of those convicted retain the right to appeal; family members of Farkhunda protested the sentences as insufficient. [NYT] [AJE] [BBC] [Guardian] [TOLO] [TOLO] [Khaama Press]
  • Taliban Talks: Following weekend talks in which unofficial representatives from the Taliban and the government agreed for the need for the creation of a Taliban office in Qatar, a spokesman for the Afghan foreign ministry tells the Express Tribune that the government’s position on the issue was “very clear” and that “it is one state and one legal government which enjoys the support of the people of Afghanistan who want a single state with one government.” A presidential spokesman tells TOLO that “the government is committed to transparency in the peace talks and people will be informed about them. The peace process will move forward in line with the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan — Economics and Development

  • UAE Expels Afghan Investors: The UAE has reportedly issued a two-week deadline for around 600 Afghan businessmen — some with long-standing presence — to vacate the country, cancelling their visas and work permits. No reason has been publicly disclosed for the move, which the Afghan ministry of foreign affairs confirmed awareness of; a government delegation is being appointed to hold talks with UAE officials. [Khaama Press]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • US Due to Stop Managing Afghan Airspace by End of June [AP]
  • Kandahar TV Satirist Beating Condemned by Afghanistan Journalists [Khaama Press]
  • One Dead, Three Injured in Kandahar Shooting [TOLO]
  • Special Operations Airmen to Receive Air Force Cross Awards for 2014 Helmand Battle [WAPO]
  • Report: Elections Observation Report 2014 – “This report includes the observation findings of FEFA from the voter registration process, candidates’ registration process, campaign periods, voting day, handling to the electoral complaints process, voting counting process of presidential and provincial council elections and audit of all votes casted in run-off.” [FEFA]
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