Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: PIA Chairman Resigns; Western Diplomats Call for Investigation into Dostum Rival’s Detention

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Topline

  • PIA chairman Azam Saigol announced his resignation on Monday, as investigations continue into the PK-661 plane crash. The EU, US, Australia, Canada, and Norway have issued statements calling for investigations into the detention of Dostum rival and former Jawzjan governor Ahmad Eschi. Police and army personnel dispersed a mob attacking an Ahmadi mosque in Chakwal on Monday, but not before parts of the building were damaged or set fire to; Ahmadi community members report that one person died, of cardiac arrest, and six were injured. A Kunar border police commander and his bodyguard were killed when a bomb was planted on his vehicle on Monday evening. The IEC’s working agenda includes preparations for voter registration, setting the election calendar, and “reducing the number of electoral constituencies”, the IEC’s secretary said Monday, without providing further details. The World Bank announced that it was pausing two separate arbitration processes under the Indus Water Treaty on two disputed Indian dams on the Chenab River, calling for India and Pakistan to “consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty”.

Pakistan — Security

  • Mob Attacking Ahmadi Mosque Dispersed: Police and army personnel dispersed a mob of as many as a thousand people attacking a minority Ahmadi community mosque in Chakwal on Monday, but not before parts of the building were destroyed or set fire to. A spokesman for an Ahmadi community organization said that one person had died from cardiac arrest and six were injured, but police said there had been no casualties. The attack coincided with the Eid Miladun Nabi celebrations commemorating the Prophet’s birthday; the local community had requested additional security and warned of a possible attack. [AP]
  • Army Chief Visits Peshawar: Chief of Army Staff Bajwa visited the Peshawar Corps command on Monday for briefings on operations in the FATA; the military’s public relations arm quoted him saying that the “nexus between terrorists in remote areas and their facilitators in urban centres will be severed whatever the amount of effort and time”. [Dawn]
  • New ISI Chief: The Hindustan Time notes that new ISI chief Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar’s thesis paper while studying at the U.S. Army War College, completed five years ago, argues that “Pakistan needs to prevent the opening of another hostile front should Afghanistan emerge as a proxy for India” and “may take aggressive measures to undermine India’s efforts in this regard”.

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • PIA Chairman Resigns: On Monday, PIA chairman Azam Saigol announced his resignation, less than a week after the PK-661 plane crash. Saigol said the decision was made on “personal grounds” and did not link it to ongoing crash investigations. A team of investigators, including representatives from the aircraft manufacturer, visited the crash site on Tuesday. [Reuters] [AP]
  • Other Political Activity: Speaking at a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reiterated warnings to Prime Minister Sharif of “severe consequences” if the government did not accept the PPP’s demands related to legislation on the Panama Papers, CPEC, and the formation of a parliamentary committee on national security and appointment of a full-time foreign minister. A Senate session scheduled for Thursday will focus on the Panama Papers legislation and the status of “political prisoners”. The Sindh High Court cleared Mir Munawwar Ali Talpur, former Pres. Zardari’s brother-in-law and a national assembly member, to leave the country for medical treatment; he reportedly also faces pending NAB corruption investigations.

Pakistan — Economics and Development

  • World Bank Pauses Indus Water Dam Arbitration: On Monday, the World Bank announced that it was pausing two separate arbitration processes under the Indus Water Treaty on two disputed Indian dam projects on the Chenab River, asking India and Pakistan to “consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the Treaty”. [Dawn]

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Between Panic and Euophoria, Pakistan Tries to Figure Out Donald Trump [WAPO]
  • Nine Injured in Grenade Attack on National Party Offices in Turbat [Dawn]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Attacks and Operations: Abdul Wali Khan, the commander of a border police unit in Kunar, was killed in a bombing while on patrol in the Dangam district on Monday night, along with one of his bodyguards; provincial police officials say the bomb was planted magnetically on his vehicle. The Ministry of Defense reported that 14 militants were killed in an airstrike outside Lashkar Gah on Monday, and another 16 in another strike in the Gereshk district on Tuesday; the reports did not clarify whether Afghan or U.S. forces carried out the strikes. Nangarhar provincial officials say four Islamic State-affiliated fighters were killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Achin district on Tuesday. [AP]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Calls for Investigation Into Eschi Detention: In a statement on Tuesday, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and Norway called for a “fair and transparent investigation” into the detention of former Jawzjan governor Ahmad Eschi, which it described as “gross human rights violations and abuses”. The U.S. embassy also said that Eschi’s “unlawful detention and reported mistreatment” raises “serious concerns” and that “we would welcome the Afghan government’s move to swiftly investigate these allegations”.
  • Electoral Reforms: The Independent Election Commission’s secretary said on Monday that the commission had established a “working agenda” that included finalizing programming for voter lists, the election calendar, and “reducing the number of electoral constituencies”, without providing further details.
  • Violence Against Women: Minister of Women’s Affairs Dilbar Nazari reported at a conference on Monday that 87% of women in Afghanistan experience “instances of violence”. Speaking at a separate event, Sweden’s ambassador to Afghanistan and First Lady Rula Ghani both voiced support for women’s engagement in an Afghan peace process.

Afghanistan — Economics and Development

  • Budget Debate: TOLO suggests that Wolesi Jirga lawmakers will likely reject the government’s draft budget for the 2017 fiscal year, noting complaints over an $11 million allocation for upgrades to the presidential palace.

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Foreign Ministry Warns Against Regional Interference [TOLO]
  • Takhar Ulema Council Chief Sacked Over Comments on Women [TOLO] [Ariana News]
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