In the past week, Pakistan experienced a marginal reduction in militant attacks, with a total of 11 incidents resulting in nine fatalities and 19 injuries. Notably, the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group was identified as the perpetrator of violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), contributing to ongoing security concerns. Instances of violence in districts like Bannu and Lakki Marwat underscored the persistent challenges in maintaining law and order, prompting public outrage and a temporary strike in Lakki Marwat.
On the political front, internal dynamics within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) took center stage as incarcerated leader Imran Khan decided to step down from the chairman position race, nominating Barrister Gohar Ali Khan to retain the party’s election symbol. This move triggered internal divisions, raising questions about party unity. Concurrently, the Islamabad High Court acquitted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference, offering momentary relief for the PML-N. The prospect of general elections in February 2024 gained traction following the Election Commission’s publication of final constituency delimitation lists.
The issue of enforced disappearances drew attention, with the Islamabad High Court expressing frustration and issuing warnings of potential legal consequences for top officials if missing persons were not located. The interim government hinted at formation of yet another committee, skepticism remains regarding its effectiveness and the broader accountability framework.
Challenges persisted in the anti-polio drive, with a local Jirga in North Waziristan imposing fines on parents allowing vaccination, linking it to political demands. This complex scenario poses a significant obstacle to eradicating polio in the Af-Pak region.
Tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan continued, with Pakistan urging the extradition of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the mastermind behind a recent suicide attack. The involvement of Afghan nationals in anti-state violence raised concerns, and the Supreme Court is poised to decide on the legality of a petition against the caretaker government’s decision to deport illegal Afghan nationals, highlighting the intricacies of managing cross-border issues and international refugee laws.
A two-week multinational joint counter-terrorism exercise, Fajar Al Sharq-V, took place in Pabbi (KP), involving special forces from Pakistan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Kuwait. The exercise aimed to enhance joint employment, interoperability, and strengthen military-to-military relations among participating countries.
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(24 – 30 Nov 2023)