December 8, 2023

Gilgit-Baltistan Under Pressure: Security Issues and Chinese Projects

During the week under review, Pakistan experienced a decline in the number of militant
attacks, but a notable increase in their intensity. The country witnessed five attacks across
Balochistan, KPK, erstwhile FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Sindh, resulting in 12 fatalities and 31
injuries. A significant incident occurred in Gilgit-Baltistan, where a bus came under fire,
resulting in nine deaths and 21 injuries. Security forces conducted with nine operations, leading
to the death of one suspected militant and the apprehension of 26 others. Gilgit-Baltistan faced
heightened security concerns, particularly on the Karakoram Highway, necessitating increased
protection for Chinese projects.
On the political front, speculations regarding potential election delays persisted,
Concerns were raised by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman regarding the feasibility of holding
peaceful elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, given the deteriorating security
situation. Notably, political realignments continued as JUI-F and PML-N leaders pledged
collaboration for the upcoming polls, with the PML-N forming alliances in KP, Balochistan, and
Sindh, including seat adjustments with the divided PML-Q. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI)
elected Barrister Gohar Ali Khan as its new chairman through intra-party elections. However,
legal challenges persisted for Imran Khan, with a fresh NAB reference and an impending cipher
trial indictment.
The Supreme Court’s proactive approach was evident, with plans to revisit the trial
leading to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s hanging, signaling an intent to correct historical mistakes.
Tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan continued, with Pakistan expressing
disappointment over the Taliban’s response to counterterrorist actions and China urging
Afghanistan to implement political reforms and improve security for full diplomatic recognition.
Furthermore, reports emerged of the Afghan interim government apprehending TTP
commanders. The Army chief in Pakistan supported the interim government’s decision to
deport illegal foreigners, although UN experts warned against drawing unfounded linkages
between refugees and terrorism risks

To access the complete security assessment report
(1 Dec – 7 Dec 2023)

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