Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Pakistan Navy Blocks Indian Submarine from Coastal Waters; Germany Plans Afghan Deportations

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Topline

  • Pakistan’s Navy announced Friday that it had “blocked an Indian submarine from entering Pakistani waters” south of Pakistan’s coast earlier this week. As many as 13 Afghan police officers were killed in an attack in Farah province’s Bakwa district over Thursday night. Germany may deport as many as 12,500 Afghan nationals whose asylum applications have been rejected back to Afghanistan; only 27 have been deported so far this year. The PTI’s lead lawyer in the Panama Papers case before the Supreme Court might withdraw at the next hearing after being criticized by the bench during hearings on Thursday. Students and parents held protests around the country on Thursday and Friday against the deportation of Turkish teaching staff at the PakTurk schools network. The draft text for the ‘Lapis Lazuli Route’ transit trade agreement was finalized earlier this week, Afghanistan’s foreign ministry announced.

Pakistan – Security

  • Tensions with India: In a statement on Friday, the Pakistan Navy announced that it had “detect[ed] and block[ed] an Indian submarine from entering Pakistani waters” south of the Pakistan coast on Nov 16 after discovering and tracking the vessel. On Friday, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution condemning Indian firing across the Line of Control. [Dawn]
  • Counterterrorism Response: A new “City Patrol Force” of around 160 officers established by the Khyber Paktunkhwa police in Peshawar will be tasked with monitoring the activities of approximately 450 “Fourth Schedule” suspects living in the city, the majority of them members of the Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
  • Pakistan – Politics and DiplomacyPanama Papers Investigation: Dawn and the Express Tribune have additional courtroom reporting from Thursdays Supreme Court hearings on the Panama Papers. PTI sources tell the Express Tribune that Hamid Khan, the lead PTI lawyer in the case, may withdraw from the case at the next hearing; his re-reading of several speeches by the prime minister during Thursday’s hearings earned him a rebuke from the bench. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Imran Khan professed “complete satisfaction” with the court proceedings and optimism that the court would rule against the prime minister and his family. [ET]
  • Protests Over Turkish School Deportations: Students and parents held protest rallies in Karachi and Peshawar on Thursday and Islamabad on Friday against the government’s move to deport the Turkish teaching staff of the PakTurk school network. After the Islamabad High Court rejected a petition to stay the deportation order, one school official tells Dawn that most will not return to Turkey, where the government has cracked down on organizations linked to exile leader Fethullah Gulen. [Dawn]
  • MQM Under Pressure: On Thursday, the Sindh High Court dismissed an appeal by the Sindh Rangers challenging the release on bail of MQM leader Amir Khan, who was freed in June. Police registered a case on Thursday against 40 MQM-London activists who were arrested following a clash with MQM-Pakistan rivals in Karachi on Wednesday evening. [ET] [Dawn] [Dawn]
  • Other Political Activity: Speaking at a press conference in Lahore on Thursday, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reiterated warnings that the party could press for Prime Minister Sharif’s ouster if the party’s demands were not met by Dec 27. ANP vice president Haji Adeel passed away from a heart attack on Friday morning in Peshawar. [ET] [ET]

Pakistan – Remainders

  • Peshawar High Court Hears Military Court Sentence Appeal [ET]
  • Supreme Court Orders Date Set for Census [Dawn]
  • Supreme Court Orders Medical Board for Schizophrenic Death Row Prisoner [Dawn] [ET]
  • Pakistan Projects $150M from Direct-to-Home Broadcast License Bidding [Dawn]
  • Railways Ministry Acquires 71 Acres in Gwadar [Dawn]

Afghanistan – Security

  • Attacks and Operations: As many as 13 Afghan police officers were killed in a Taliban attack on the police headquarters in Farah province’s Bakwa district over Thursday night, local security officials report; TOLO reports that the Taliban also breached a number of government buildings in the district, damaging the facilities. [AP] [TOLO]

Afghanistan – Politics and Diplomacy

  • Refugee Repatriation: Germany will deport approximately 12,500 Afghan nationals whose asylum applications have been rejected, the German press reports. Only 27 Afghans have been deported so far this year, and only nine in 2015, out of approximately 247,000 migrants and refugees; the acceptance rate for asylum applications has reportedly declined to 52.4%, however.
  • Electoral Reforms: Pres. Ghani met with a group of political opposition leaders at the presidential palace on Thursday to discuss electoral reforms and appointments to the Independent Election Commission and Electoral Complains Commission.

Afghanistan – Economics and Development

  • Text Finalized for Lapis Lazuli Route: On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that technical staff from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey had finalized draft text on a “Lapis Lazuli Route” transit trade agreement, setting the stage for its signature by government officials; no date has been announced for the signing.

Afghanistan – Remainders

  • ISIS in Afghanistan: ‘Their Peak is Over, But They Are Not Finished’ [Guardian]
  • UN General Assembly Passes Resolution in Support of Afghanistan [UN]
  • Watchdog Warns of Poor Mine Management [TOLO]
  • Commentary: One Step Closer to War Crime Trials? – “With its new report, the ICC may be one step closer, but it is still many steps away, from bringing Americans or Afghans accused of committing war crimes in Afghanistan to trial.” [Kate Clark and Ehsan Qaane, AAN]
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