- Another group of bus passengers were kidnapped in Kunduz on Wednesday, the second such incident in the area in less than a week; in Ghazni, a group of twelve security personnel were killed after their vehicle was stopped Tuesday evening. Senior military and civilian officials met at the military’s headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday to review “issues related to external and internal security”. Government and opposition members remain deadlocked over the degree to which investigations into the Panama Papers will directly target Prime Minister Sharif’s family members; the parliamentary committee negotiating the issue will meet again on Friday. PTI sources suggest that Finance Minister Dar has agreed to withdraw a provision in the forthcoming budget that they say could be used to allow for an amnesty on overseas assets. The MQM protested a visit by Sindh Rangers personnel to the Karachi home of party leader Farooq Sattar on Tuesday; he was not present and the home was not searched. Pres. Ghani’s nominees for defense minister and head of the NDS were formally proposed for parliamentary confirmation on Wednesday. The Afghan interior ministry says it is deployed additional personnel to provide security at mining sites after reports that the Taliban and militia leaders were exploiting those sites; former defense minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi denied that he had benefited from illegal lapis lazuli mining in Badakhshan.
Pakistan — Security
- Security Huddle: Tuesday’s meeting of top military and civilian leaders at the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi focused on “issues related to external and internal security situation of the country, including CPEC,” according to a military spokesman. Finance Minister Dar led the government representatives in the prime minister’s continued absence; Dawn notes that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Nasser Janjua and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were not in attendance, and reports the meeting focused instead on the situation in Afghanistan. China’s ambassador to Pakistan met with Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif in a separate meeting afterwards. [APP] [Dawn]
- Quetta Shooting: Amanullah Achakzai, the principal of the University of Balochistan law college in Quetta, was killed in a driveby shooting on Wednesday. No claim of responsibility has been reported.
Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- Panama Papers Investigation: Government and opposition members of the parliamentary committee on the investigation into the Panama Papers reached no agreement on terms of reference for that agreement when they met on Tuesday, but will meet again on Friday to continue talks. Disagreement over the degree to which Prime Minister Sharif’s family members will be direct targets of an investigation remains the key point of deadlock.
- Rangers Surround MQM Leader’s Home: A delegation of Sindh Rangers blocked streets surrounding the Karachi home of MQM leader Farooq Sattar on Tuesday evening, but left without searching the home; Sattar was in Islamabad at the time. MQM leader Nadeem Nusrat described the operation as a “an attempt by the security agencies to terrorise and compel MQM leadership, making it to switch its loyalties”. The MQM issued a statement condemning the incident and announced plans to hold a protest on Wednesday, although Dawn reports few interruptions; Rangers Director General Maj. Gen. Bilal Akbar had called on citizens not to respond to the strike call. Earlier on Tuesday, the MQM protested restrictions on their collection of donations during Ramazan. [ET]
Pakistan — Economics and Development
- Budget Debate: Opposition members challenged the accuracy of government budget figures during parliamentary debate on Tuesday, and accused the government of seeking to cover up offshore tax evasion through new legislative amendments. PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that Finance Minister Dar had agreed to withdraw a measure that would bring foreign trusts under the Income Tax Ordinance of 2001, after which the government is assumed to be planning a tax amnesty. During senate finance committee review of the budget, opposition members called for greater hikes in government salaries and pensions, and greater allocations for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects along the CPEC’s “western route”. [Dawn] [Dawn]
Pakistan — Remainders
- Supreme Court Seeks Details of Missing NA-110 Election Records [Dawn] [ET]
- Council of Islamic Ideology’s Only Female Member Demands Greater Recognition [Dawn]
- ECP Member Withdraws Defamation Suit [ET]
- Anti-Ahmadi Campaigners Demand Rawalpindi Ramazan Bazaar’s Relocation [ET]
- Peshawar Faces Unscheduled Electricity Outages [ET]
Afghanistan — Security
- Kidnappings: At least twelve people were killed when their car was stopped by gunmen in Ghazni on Tuesday; a spokesman for the provincial governor said some of the victims were members of the security services, and an army spokesman said that the dead included seven policemen, three soldiers, and two members of the NDS. On Wednesday, a bus and car were stopped near Kunduz, with at least 47 passengers taken hostage. The kidnapping follows another incident last week in which at least twelve people were killed; eight reportedly remain captive from that attack. The Taliban have not issued statements in connection to any of the incidents. [TOLO] [Reuters]
- Other Attacks and Operations: TOLO reports that civilian casualties increased by 55% in May, with over 120 killed during the month. Judges who survived Sunday’s attack on the Logar court called on the government to provide greater security for the judiciary. A grenade attack on Enikas Radio in Jalalabad on Wednesday produced no casualties; no claim of responsibility has been reported. Ministry of Defense officials claim that a Taliban commander and five Al Qaeda-affiliated militants were killed in Afghan Air Force airstrikes in Wardak province’s Shashgaw area on Wednesday. [TOLO] [Khaama Press]
Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy
- Security Nominees Introduced for Confirmation: On Wednesday, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish formally introduced the nominations of Gen. Abdullah Khan as defense minister and Masoom Stanekzai as head of the NDS for a forthcoming parliamentary confirmation vote. [Pajhwok]
Afghanistan — Economics and Development
- Mining Revenue: Pres. Ghani reviewed reports on the income sources for the Taliban and the Islamic State at a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday and directed Afghanistan’s security institutions to crack down on those sources, a presidential spokesman said; a spokesman for the interior ministry said that more forces would be deployed to secure mining sites, one such source. Separately, former defense minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi denied allegations that he had personally profited from illegal lapis lazuli mining in Badakhshan. [TOLO]
Afghanistan — Remainders