Political Tides Shift in Pakistan: Legal Victories for PTI and Emerging Alliances
During the past week, Pakistan experienced a surge in militant activities, with 14 reported attacks resulting in 15 fatalities and 10 injuries. The attacks were distributed across former FATA, Balochistan, and KPK, involving various tactics such as IED explosions, guerrilla assaults, targeted attacks, and a grenade attack. Security forces conducted six operations, resulting in the death of 11 suspected militants and the apprehension of five others. Notable incidents included an attack on a contractor in Bajaur, an IED attack in North Waziristan resulting in a soldier’s death, and the targeted killing of tribal elder Aslam Noor and others in South Waziristan. Balochistan saw incidents like a grenade attack on a police mobile and an armed assault on a check post. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), a policeman was killed in Bannu, while the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) released an updated list of 152 TTP terrorists with head money, despite flaws and inaccuracies. In Punjab, the CTD arrested a banned-outfit militant in Sahiwal, and in Sindh, four suspected Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants were apprehended in Karachi during a security forces operation.
In Pakistan, recent legal developments have provided relief to PTI chief Imran Khan, overturning proceedings against him and Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Amidst criticism of biased actions, the caretaker government contemplates placing key figures on the Exit Control List. International envoys from the UK and the US engage with political leaders, fostering speculation but indicating efforts for fair elections. PML-N and JUI-F alliances in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa position PML-N as a leading contender. Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek re-emerges, adding complexity.
Potential tensions brew between the judiciary and military establishment, marked by Senate protests and caretaker governments’ appeals. The Supreme Court’s stance on Gen Pervez Musharraf’s case adds to the complexity, with implications for the military. The coming months leading to the February elections anticipate legal battles, political maneuvering, and potential confrontations between institutions.
Enforced disappearances gain prominence, with VBMP protests and the Islamabad High Court’s directive to recover missing students. International concerns spotlight Pakistan’s human rights challenges, likely escalating the issue to the Supreme Court.
Protests at the Chaman border against Pakistan’s visa regime halt trade with Afghanistan. Despite pressure, Pakistan suspends new visa rules temporarily, reflecting diplomatic challenges.
Engagement between Army Chief Gen Asim Munir and religious leaders aims to bridge trust gaps and counter extremism. The US announces initiatives to enhance law enforcement capabilities in Pakistan, signaling a shift in policy towards a long-term approach.
Pakistan and Russia pledge cooperation in combating terror financing and terrorism, emphasizing shared strategies and experiences. As the nation approaches the February 2024 elections, the intricate dynamics of politics, judiciary, and diplomacy will shape Pakistan’s evolving landscape.
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(17 Nov – 23 Nov)