Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: PML-N Sweeps Majority of Seats in Kashmir Elections; Fighting Continues in Kunduz Districts

Topline

  • Unofficial results indicate the PML-N has swept the legislative assembly elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, winning as many as 40 out of the 53 seats. Fighting continues in at least two Kunduz districts, with contradictory reports over the degree to which the Taliban have gained control. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan spoke with the head of the Sindh Rangers on Thursday and reportedly suggested that the federal government might unilaterally authorized an extension of the Rangers’ policing authority in Sindh. An associate of the Sindh Home Minister, Asad Kharal, was reportedly handed over to Rangers’ custody on Thursday, after his arrest and then released by the Sindh police prompted a showdown between the Rangers and the provincial government. Prime Minister Sharif chaired a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday, which reiterated condemnations of Indian crackdowns in Kashmir. Four more A-29 light attack airplanes were transferred to the Afghan Air Force in a ceremony on Friday. China’s ambassador to Pakistan told journalists on Thursday that China is “satisfied with the pace of implementation” of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Pakistan – Security

  • Security Review: After arriving in Islamabad on Thursday, Prime Minister Sharif chaired a meeting of top civilian aides and military officials on Friday to review internal and external security concerns; Sharif met separately with Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif beforehand. Official readouts of the meeting reiterated condemnations of Indian crackdowns in Kashmir; in a statement on Thursday, India’s foreign ministry called on Pakistan to “stop inciting and supporting violence and terrorism in any part” of India. Speaking in the senate on Thursday, foreign advisor Sartaj Aziz said that a joint session of parliament would be called on the issue. [ET] [Dawn] [ET] [ET]
  • Pakistan – Politics and DiplomacyPreliminary Results Suggest PML-N Win in Azad Jammu and Kashmir: Unofficial results from the legislative assembly elections held in Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the at-large national constituencies for Kashmiri refugees indicate that the PML-N is set to win as many as 40 of the 53 seats, defeating rivals from the PPP, PTI, and Muslim Conference. Overall voter turnout was reported at around 40-50; there were only a few reports of limited violence at the polls, with a heavy security presence in place. [Reuters] [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn]
  • Karachi Crackdown: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan spoke with the head of the Sindh Rangers on Thursday and directed him to withdraw VIP security details from top Sindh politicians, criticizing the Sindh provincial government’s delay in authorizing an extension of the Rangers’ policing powers and suggesting that the federal government might issue such an extension unilaterally. In a separate statement, the Rangers touted 533 arrests made elsewhere in Sindh outside Karachi since 2013. On Thursday evening, Asad Kharal, the associate for Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal whose arrest by the Sindh Rangers and then release by the Sindh police has sparked a renewed confrontation, reportedly surrendered himself to police and was transferred to the Rangers’ custody late Thursday evening. Separately, the Sindh High Court dismissed a bail application from Pakistan Sarzameen Party president and former MQM leader Anis Kaimkhani. [ET] [ET]
  • Honor Killing Amendment Passes Committee: A joint parliamentary committee unanimously approved two bills on Thursday that would bar the family of a victim of an “honor killing” from pardoning the murdered, and require the use of DNA tests in rape cases, setting the stage for a vote in the full parliament within the coming two weeks. [ET] [Dawn]
  • Other Political Activity: No agreement was reached between government and opposition representatives on nominees for vacant Election Commission members during a meeting on Thursday, causing the issue to be referred to a twelve-member joint committee to decide. The proposed nominees have not been announced, but no consensus appears to have been reached on the pool of potential candidates. A constitutional deadline of 45 days to fill the vacant appointments will expire on July 25.

Pakistan – Economics and Development

  • CPEC Control: A former Chinese foreign ministry official tells the Financial Times that internal debate in Pakistan over who should oversee the implementation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project is delaying the project; the article suggests that China favors military control, but does not directly cite sources expressing that view. China’s ambassador to Pakistan told journalists on Thursday that “China is satisfied with the pace of implementation of the CPEC project. CPEC is under smooth implementation, and will deliver mutual benefits to both countries and peoples of the whole region”.
  • Real Estate Taxes: Finance Minister Dar presided over a meeting between Federal Board of Revenue and industry leaders on Thursday that agreed to negotiate real estate valuation tables for 18 cities, from which to set new property tax collections. [ET]

Pakistan – Remainders

  • Khyber Paktunkhwa Residents Seek to Take Control of Properties Vacated by Afghan Refugees [ET]
  • Senate IT Committee Cuts Short Debate on “Cybercrime” Bill [Dawn]
  • Supreme Court Rejects Karachi Police Report on Awais Shah Kidnapping [Dawn] [ET]
  • Balochistan to Raise Water Dispute with Sindh to Council on Common Interests [ET]
  • Surveillance Cameras Planned for Lahore [ET]
  • Supreme Court Orders Report on PEMRA Actions Against TV Channels ‘Maligning Judiciary’ [Dawn]

Afghanistan – Security

  • Attacks and Operations: A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense rejected reports that the Taliban had taken control of the Qala-e-Zal district in Kunduz on Thursday; a Ministry of Interior spokesman claimed that Afghan forces had retaken control of the district. Provincial officials reported that most of the district was under Taliban control and that fighting was ongoing there and in the Dasht-e-Archi district. Elsewhere, seven people were injured when a bomb planted on an ALP truck detonated in Laghman’s Alishing district on Friday, and two people were killed and four injured in a roadside bombing in Faryab’s Almar district. The LAT interviews new Afghan army recruits going through training in Kabul. [TOLO]
  • Air Force Receives More Planes: Four more A-29 light attack airplanes were transferred to the Afghan Air Force in a ceremony on Friday in Mazar-e-Sharif. [TOLO]

Afghanistan – Remainders

  • Rollout of National ID Cards Remains Stalled [TOLO]
  • Afghan Brothers Launch Mine-Hunting Drone [AFP]
  • Ghani Pledges Counternarcotics Efforts [TOLO]
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