Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Murad Ali Shah Named Sindh Chief Minister; Hanif Atmar Discusses Helicopter Provision in Russia

Topline

  • The PPP confirmed on Tuesday that it will nominate Sindh finance minister Murad Ali Shah as the party’s replacement for Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. The PML-N has nominated Raja Farooq Haider as prime minister for Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The four newly appointed Election Commission members took the oath of office on Wednesday; PTI spokesman Naeem ul Haque reversed earlier criticism from the party, saying the PTI would not oppose their appointment. Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar held talks with Russian officials on the provisions of more attack helicopters to supplement Afghanistan’s existing fleet. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two soldiers in Karachi on Tuesday. U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani military officials held trilateral talks in Kabul on border security on Tuesday. Pres. Ghani issued an order cancelling three dam projects on Wednesday, but approved a contract for the long-delayed installation of a second turbine at the Kajaki Dam.

Pakistan – Security

Pakistan – Politics and Diplomacy

  • Murad Ali Shah Named New Sindh Chief Minister: Following several hours of meetings with party leaders in Karachi, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced on Tuesday that the party would nominate Sindh finance minister Murad Ali Shah to replace Qaim Ali Shah as chief minister of Sindh. Murad Ali Shah told reporters that he would take the oath of office on Friday; the Express Tribune offers a profile. Details of a broader cabinet shakeup have not been announced; Dawn reports that lawmaker Nisar Kuhro may be named as the new home minister. [ET] [Dawn]
  • Other Political Activity: The four newly appointed Election Commission members took the oath of office in a ceremony in Islamabad on Wednesday; despite earlier complaints from other party members, PTI spokesman Naeem ul Haque said the party would not oppose the ECP appointments, and denied disputes with the PPP over the nominees. Imran Khan appointed four regional presidents for the PTI in Punjab to coordinate the party’s planned protest campaign in August. On Wednesday, the PML-N formally nominated Raja Farooq Haider as prime minister for Azad Jammu and Kashmir. [Dawn] [ET] [Dawn] [ET] [ET]
  • External Relations: Prime Minister Sharif spoke by phone with new UK Prime Minister Teresa May on Tuesday, who reportedly assured him that “there will be no adverse effects on the bilateral relations after Great Britain exits the EU”. Secretary Kerry met with foreign advisor Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Laos on Tuesday, and suggested he may visit Pakistan “in the near future”. [Dawn] [Dawn]
  • Cybercrimes Legislation Passes Senate Committee: The Senate committee on information technology passed draft legislation on “cybercrime” on Tuesday, amending the version of the bill that passed the national assembly to require a court warrant for data collection and to impose penalties for child pornography. The bill now goes to the full senate, and must then be reapproved by the national assembly.

Pakistan – Remainders

  • Chief of Army Staff Meets Egypt’s President Sisi [Dawn]
  • Shahbaz Sharif Continues China Visit [ET]
  • Peshawar High Court Hears Military Court Convict’s Appeal [Dawn]
  • Lahore High Court Gives Two-Month Deadline to Complete Five New Provincial Jails [ET]
  • Cabinet Approves Tax Breaks for Two CPEC Projects [ET]

Afghanistan – Security

  • Russian Assistance: Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar held meetings with Russian military and diplomatic officials in Moscow on Tuesday, seeking the provision of additional helicopter gunships and parts for Afghanistan’s existing helicopter fleet; in interviews with the Russian press, Atmar emphasized that Afghanistan faced a “common enemy with Russia and other countries of the region”. [TOLO]
  • Border Security: During a trilateral meeting on border security issues between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the U.S., the Afghan side emphasized the need for Pakistan to crack down on Daesh-affiliated fighters operating across the border area, according to a readout from the Afghan defense ministry. Details of the meetings are otherwise limited. [Dawn] [TOLO]
  • Attacks and Operations: On Tuesday, the Ministry of Interior reported that a group of 260 Taliban fighters had surrendered after 11 days of military operations in Samangan province’s Dara-e-Suf district. On Wednesday, the NDS announced the arrest in Nangarhar of a Daesh-affiliated explosives expert. The Taliban claimed to have shot down a ScanEagle reconnaissance drone in Kandahar’s Maiwand district. [TOLO] [TOLO]

Afghanistan – Economics and Development

  • Ghani Cancels Three Dams: Pres. Ghani’s office announced Wednesday that he had cancelled three dam projects, citing issues with the quality of work and implementation progress. The National Procurement Commission, which Ghani chairs, approved six new contracts, including the installation of a second turbine at the Kajaki Dam.

Afghanistan – Remainders

  • Attorney General Promises Impartial Probe into Kabul Rally Attack [TOLO]
  • Two Turkish Generals Serving in Afghanistan Arrested in UAE Following Failed Turkish Coup [Khaama Press]
  • Commentary: The Islamic State in ‘Khorasan’: How it Began and Where it Stands Now in Nangarhar – “In terms of taking over territory, [the Islamic State in Khorasan’s] attempts to expand beyond Nangarhar have failed miserably.” [Borhan Osman, AAN]
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