Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Lawyers’ Deaths Spark Punjab Protests; Afghan Neighbors Meet in Islamabad


  • The death of two lawyers in Sialkot on Monday during a clash with police has sparked lawyers’ protests across Punjab on Tuesday, some involving further violent clashes with police. Regional diplomats gathered in Islamabad on Monday as part of the “Heart of Asia” diplomatic process, ahead of a ministerial-level meeting later this year. Prime Minister Sharif and Chief of Army Staff Sharif met on Monday to review internal and external security issues, most reportedly focused on alleged RAW support for Pakistani militant groups. The Afghan Taliban carried out multiple attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday, including an attack on Helmand’s Nawzad district that has as as 26 police and soldiers and cut off road access to the district. Pakistan’s cabinet approved a budget strategy paper in a meeting on Tuesday; the government is reportedly considering an income tax surcharge on higher income brackets for the next fiscal year.

Pakistan — Security

  • Security Review: Prime Minister Sharif and Chief of Army Staff Sharif met on Monday to discuss “matters relating to internal and external security”; the Express Tribune reports that the prime minister approved the launch of ground operations into the Shawal Valley region of North Waziristan, targeting what one source described as both Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Indian intelligence sanctuaries there. A separate report suggests that discussions focused on concerns over RAW support for terrorist groups in Karachi and Balochistan.
  • Karachi Operations: A suicide bomber detonated during a raid by the paramilitary Rangers on a house in Karachi’s Orangi Town neighborhood on Monday, killing as many as seven militants reported to be members of the TTP and destroying the building. [ET]
  • Quetta Attacks: Three members of the Quetta Hazara community were killed and nine people injured in multiple shooting incidents on Monday; another bystander was also reportedly killed. The Sunni sectarian terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility. Members of the Hazara community demonstrated against police negligence in the wake of the attacks. [Dawn]
  • FATA Attacks: Former FATA senator Malik Abdul Wahid survived an attack on his convoy in the Mohmand Agency on Monday; two separate roadside bombings targeted members of a pro-government militia, injuring at least three people.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Protests Following Lawyers’ Death: Lawyers organizations demonstrated across Punjab on Tuesday following the death of two lawyers in the Daska district of Sialkot on Monday. Violent clashes are reported with police in Daska, where the city police station was reportedly burnt down, and in other cities around the province. In Lahore, demonstrators attempted to breach the gate of the Punjab Assembly. [ET] [The Nation]
  • PTI Shakeup: A day after he was named to lead the reorganization of PTI party offices in Khyber Paktunkhwa, Yousuf Ayub Khan declined the position, citing personal reasons. Khan had previously been disqualified from holding elected office.

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • Budget Planning: A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sharif approved a budget strategy paper for the 2015-16 fiscal year on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Planning Ministry will consider an annual development spending bill of Rs 1.46 trillion (combined federal and provincial spending) during meetings on Tuesday. The Express Tribune reports the government will likely impose an income tax surcharge of as much as 5-10% on the taxes already owed by higher income brackets, which officials suggest is needed due to higher military operations costs. [ET] [ET]
  • LNG Import: During national assembly committee testimony on Monday, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi laid blame on WAPDA and the power sector for failing to provide letters of credit to finalize a long-term contract for the import of Qatari liquefied natural gas. Meanwhile, the Express Tribune reports that the winning bidder for a second LNG import terminal has been found to have falsified its creditworthiness certificate, among other problems. [ET] [Dawn]

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Arrests Reported in Attack on President’s Son [Dawn] [ET]
  • More Bail Orders, Court Hearings for Zulfikar Mirza [Dawn] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Axact Chief’s Protective Bail Petition Rejected [Dawn] [ET] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Judicial Commission Seeks ECP Response on Polling Data [Dawn] [ET] [Dawn]
  • PPP and MQM Meet on Karachi Water Crisis [Dawn] [ET]
  • Balochistan Assembly Members Call for Doubling of Federal Education Budget [ET]
  • Second Phase on Quetta Vaccination Campaign Suspended [Dawn]
  • Seven Death Row Convicts Hanged [Dawn] [Dawn]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Attacks and Operations: At least nineteen Afghan policemen and seven soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on the Nawzad district in Helmand on Tuesday; Taliban fighters have reportedly surrounded a district police compound and have cut off road access to the district. The district police chief tells the AP that they need “immediate response from the government” to reinforce their position. Elsewhere, eight police officers were killed in attacks in a Taliban ambush in Paktika, and at least two suicide bombers targeted a court building in the Wardak provincial capital of Maidan Shah, killing two police officers and wounding three civilians. The AP interviews Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar Shafi, who reports continued attacks surrounding the provincial capital; on Monday, the Ministry of Interior denied that it was arming militia groups in Kunduz and other areas. [AJE] [TOLO] [Khaama Press]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Regional Diplomacy: Pakistan hosted a meeting of senior officials in Islamabad as part of the ‘Heart of Asia’ diplomatic process, bringing together regional neighbors of Afghanistan; a ministerial-level conference is scheduled for later this year. Pakistani Foreign Advisor Sartaj Aziz reiterated support for peace and security in Afghanistan; Afghan deputy foreign minister Hekmat Karzai said that “growing insecurity in the region” would require collective response. [Pajhwok]
  • Government Criticism: Ahmad Wali Massoud, brother to the late commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, told an audience on Monday that the national unity government had “done little for the people” and said that an emergency loya jirga must be called to form a “real national unity government”.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Additional Reporting on Reported Xinjiang Talks [NYT]
  • Parliamentarians Call for Rejection of NDS-ISI Agreement [TOLO]
  • Minister of Mines Seeks to Clarify Hajigak Mine Controversy [TOLO]
  • Afghan Musicologist Survives Attacks to Continue Mission of Musical Education [Guardian]

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