Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Sharif Highlights Kashmir as India Debates Uri Response; HIG Deal To Be Signed This Week

Topline

  • Indian officials are debating a response to the attack on an army base in Kashmir, seeking “clear evidence of Pakistan’s complicity” for presentation at international fora and stepping up patrols in the area. India accused Pakistan of a ceasefire violation along the Line of Control on Tuesday, and carried out a joint surface-to-air missile test with Israel. In New York, Prime Minister Sharif met with U.S. diplomats on Monday, highlighting India’s crackdown on protestors in Kashmir and calling for the U.S. and other UN Security Council members to intervene. A peace agreement with Hezb-e-Islami will reportedly be signed Wednesday or Thursday of this week; speaking at a Council of Ministers meeting on Monday, Chief Executive Abdullah indicated his acceptance of the deal, the details of which have not been disclosed.. A convoy of security guards for Vice President Dostum was attacked in Jawzjan on Tuesday, but no casualties were reported. PML-N activists held demonstrations on Monday, warning the PTI against continuing with their plans for a protest in Raiwind. Chief Executive Abdullah indicated Monday that he and Pres. Ghani had reached an agreement on electoral reforms; the Ministry of Justice said it was still waiting for a draft copy of Ghani’s most recent electoral decree. A Pakistani senate committee approved draft legislation that would void election results in areas with less than 10% female voter turnout. The Khyber Paktunkhwa provincial assembly has unanimously passed legislation outlawing interest on private loans. Afghanistan’s minister of refugees said that as many as 6,000 Afghans were returning to the country daily, most from Pakistan.

Pakistan – Security

  • NGO Crackdown: A meeting of the National Assembly Committee on Human Rights on Monday saw calls for further scrutiny of local and international NGOs operating in the country.
  • Sindh Operation: On Monday, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered a “vigorous operation” against gangs operating in the Sukkur and Larkana divisions.

Pakistan – Politics and Diplomacy

  • Tensions with India: Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif chaired a meeting of senior corps commanders in Rawalpindi on Monday, during which he noted a “hostile narrative being propagated by India” in the wake of the attack on the Uri army base in Kashmir the day prior. During a high-level security meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Modi reportedly sought “clear evidence of Pakistan’s complicity” in the attack to be presented in international forums, including the UN General Assembly taking place this week; anonymous sources told the Indian press that there would be no “knee-jerk reaction”, although proposals for cross-border retaliatory strikes by artillery or special forces have reportedly been debated. The Business Standard notes a lack of Indian interagency planning for a response. On Tuesday, India accused Pakistan of violating the ceasefire across the Line of Control; an exchange of small arms fire has been reported, but details are otherwise limited. Also on Tuesday, India test-fired a long range surface-to-air missile, in a test conducted jointly with Israel. On Monday, Balochistan separatist leader Brahamdagh Bugti announced that he was seeking asylum in India, and said he planned to file criminal cases against Pakistani leaders and China in the International Court of Justice. Meanwhile, the Pakistani foreign ministry announced on Monday that Prime Minister Sharif had written to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, calling on them to intervene to stop the Indian crackdown on protests in Kashmir and implement a plebiscite on the status of the disputed territory. PM Sharif met with Sec. Kerry in New York on Monday, calling on the US administration to “use [its] good offices to help in resolving bilateral issues between Pakistan and India”. Pakistani Kashmir officials announced plans to protest Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s remarks to the UN General Assembly on Sept 26. A meeting of the Organization of the Islamic conference on the sidelines of UNGA on Tuesday called for “immediate cessation of Indian atrocities” in Kashmir. [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn] [WAPO] [ET] [Dawn]
  • Elections and Other Political Activity: PML-N activists wielding batons staged demonstrations of support for Prime Minister Sharif in Lahore and other parts of Punjab on Monday, warning the PTI against moving forward with their planned protest march on Raiwind. In Sahiwal, a PML-N candidate won election to a vacant national assembly seat formerly held by the PTI, after the incumbent was disqualified for concealing his assets. The Senate Committee on Parliamentary Affairs approved draft legislation that would void the outcome of any election where women’s turnout was less than 10%. [ET] [ET] [ET] [Dawn] [ET]

Pakistan – Economics and Development

  • Khyber Paktunkhwa Outlaws Interest: On Monday, the Khyber Paktunkhwa provincial assembly unanimously passed legislation that outlaws interest on private loans, imposing a Rs 1 million fine and a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

Pakistan – Remainders

  • Chief Justice Inaugurates New Judicial Year [Dawn] [ET]
  • Despite Pressure, Pak-Turk Schools Won’t Be Shut [ET]
  • Police Officer-Turned Novelist Shahid Hamid Returns to Duty [Dawn] [ET]
  • Sindh High Court Orders Senior Officials to Attend Missing Persons Hearing [ET]
  • Punjab Government Institutes Training Course for Security Guards [ET]
  • Supreme Court Stays Execution of Mentally Ill Man [AP]
  • Finance Minister Reviews FBR Revenue Collection [ET]
  • Pakistan-China Fiber Optic Cable Planned for Completion by June 2018 [ET]
  • Commentary: Pakistan and India: The Art of Peace – “Only a combination of Indian coercive and non-violent capabilities, paired with a willingness to bargain, can motivate Pakistan to remove the threat of violence.” [George Perkovich and Toby Dalton, Dawn]

Afghanistan – Security

  • Dostum Convoy Ambushed: A convoy of security guards for Vice President Dostum were ambushed in Jawzjan province’s Khwaja Dokoh district on Tuesday; no casualties were reported, and reporting does not indicate that Dostum himself was present at the time of the attack.
  • Other Attacks and Operations: The Ministry of Interior has appointed a delegation to investigate the errant U.S. airstrike that killed eight Afghan policemen in Tirin Kot on Sunday. Nangarhar provincial police officials claimed on Tuesday that 29 Islamic State-affiliated fighters were killed in separate airstrikes in the Haska Mina, Kot, and Achin districts. Five soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on a military checkpost in the Kekhi Kotal district of Kandahar on Monday, provincial government officials reported.
  • Transferred Prisoners Seek Reassessment of Cases: A group of 197 Afghan prisoners transferred from Iran to Herat in a prisoner swap last month have appealed to the government to reassess their cases, or to transfer them to prison facilities closer to their home provinces.

Afghanistan – Politics and Diplomacy

  • Hezb-e-Islami Peace Agreement: A member of the Afghan High Peace Council, Qazi Mohammad Amin Waqad, tells TOLO that a peace agreement between the government and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin will be signed this week; few details on the agreement have been disclosed, and Waqad indicated that Pres. Ghani would form a commission “to make preparations and decide whether Hekmatyar should come over land or by air and it also should decide about his house, office and security”. In remarks at the Council of Ministers meeting on Monday, Chief Executive Abdullah signaled acceptance of the agreement, saying he none of the agreement’s provisions were “against the national interests”. Hezb-e-Islami sources tell the Express Tribune that the agreement will be signed on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
  • Electoral Reforms: A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said it had not yet received a copy of the presidential decree on electoral reforms issued by Pres. Ghani, for review and publication in the official gazette; speaking on Monday, Chief Executive Abdullah suggested that he and Ghani had reached an agreement over reform issues. In a Facebook posting, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish indicated that the government had directed the Independent Electoral Commission to draw new constituency boundaries for single-member district elections.
  • Refugee Repatriation: Speaking at an inauguration ceremony for a new housing project in Kabul for refugee returnees, Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi said that around 6,000 Afghans were returning to the country on a daily basis, most of them from Pakistan. Speaking at the UN, Prime Minister Sharif insisted that Pakistan “supports the safe and dignified return of all Afghan refugees to their homeland, in a sustainable manner”.

Afghanistan – Remainders

  • MPs Question Finance Minister Over Economic Strategy Ahead of Brussels Summit [TOLO]
  • Afghanistan In Talks with UAE Companies for Infrastructure Investments [Khaama Press]
  • Large Fire Sweeps Kabul Fuel Market [Khaama Press]
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