All Posts (38)

Developments in Afghanistan

Peace and Reconciliation

In a trilateral meeting held in early September, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan agreed that there was a need for a comprehensive peace deal through an inclusive Afghan led and Afghan owned reconciliation process and condemned the recent Taliban backed terror attacks in Afghanistan. They agreed to further deepen their cooperation, including advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative and recognized the need for continuing their…

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Developments in Pakistan

Opposition Parties

The number of opposition leaders arrested in the name of accountability continued to grow with another prominent name- Syed Khursheed Shah of PPP- added to the list. He was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on charges of acquiring assets worth millions of rupees through ill-gotten money. However, there was some relief in store for those already under arrest. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) dismissed a plea filed by…

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Overview - September 2019

Pakistan:

• Opposition Parties
• Pakistan-India
• Pakistan-China
• Pakistan-US
• Pakistan-Afghanistan

  • No move to recognize Israel
  • Pakistan-Saudi Arabia

Afghanistan:

• Peace and Reconciliation

• Presidential election
• UNSC Renews mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

September 30,…

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Developments in Afghanistan

Peace and Reconciliation moves

A meeting of US, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani representatives held in Beijing on July 10 and 11 urged immediate commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue among the Taliban, Afghan government and other Afghans. They asserted that peace negotiations should be Afghan led and Afghan owned. They called for a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans. They welcomed Pakistan to the consultations and…

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Overview - August 2019

Pakistan:

• Government's hounding of opposition continues
• Economy
• Army Chief's tenure extended
• Pakistan's troubles at FATF continue
• Pakistan-India
• Pakistan-US

Afghanistan:

• Peace and Reconciliation moves
• Uncertainty concerning the Presidential Election

August 30, 2019

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Developments in Pakistan

Government's hounding of opposition continues

The Imran Khan government continued to target major opposition leaders through the accountability process. Releasing a secretly recorded video at a press conference, PML (N) leader Maryam Nawaz alleged that the accountability judge, who convicted and sentenced Nawaz Sharif to imprisonment, had admitted to an acquaintance that he had been blackmailed into giving the verdict. PML (N) leaders insinuated that the…

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Developments in Pakistan

Economy and budget

The government presented its budget for the financial year 2019-20 in the Parliament on June 12 in the midst of a precarious economic situation. From the conditions of the staff level agreement signed between the IMF and Pakistan in May, it was clear that the budget would entail belt tightening all around and bring hardship to the common people. With an eye on such impending measures, the Pakistan army, which corners a large part of the…

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Developments in Afghanistan

Peace and Reconciliation moves

The US Special Representative, Zalmay Khalilzad embarked upon a trip to various countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Germany, Belgium and the UAE, at the beginning of June in the run up to the seventh round of his talks with the Taliban due to begin in Qatar later in the month. In his Eid message, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, head of the Afghan Taliban said that no one should expect them to end Jihad or…

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Overview - July 2019

Pakistan:

• Economy and Budget
• Judiciary
• Opposition unity
• New DG ISI appointed
• FATF censures Pakistan again
• Pakistan-India
• Pakistan-US
• PM Imran Khan at the SCO summit

Afghanistan:

• Peace and Reconciliation moves
• President Ghani visits Pakistan
• President Ghani at the SCO summit

July 15,…

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Developments in Afghanistan

Peace and Reconciliation moves

A new round of talks between the Taliban and the US started in Qatar on May 1. At the commencement of talks, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that it was absolutely vital that two key points of the agenda- full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from harming others be finalized, thereby confirming that the Taliban focus remained on withdrawal of foreign forces.…

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Overview - June 2019

Pakistan:

• Terrorism
• PTM in the crosshairs of the Pakistan army
• Opposition parties 
• Senior army officers convicted of espionage
• IMF bailout
• Pakistan-India
• Mega CPEC projects inaugurated
• Pakistan-Iran

 
Afghanistan:

• Peace and Reconciliation moves
• Extension of President Ghani’s term…

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Developments in Pakistan

Terrorism

An explosion triggered by a suicide bomber on May 8 close to an Elite Force van, stationed near the Sufi shrine Data Darbar at Lahore for its security, killed 11 persons, including security personnel and injured many more. The shrine has been witness to terror attacks earlier also. A few days later, on May 12, the Pearl Continental hotel at Quetta came under a terror attack. Security forces managed to save the hotel guests, but four hotel employees and a…

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Developments in Afghanistan

Peace and Reconciliation

The US Special Representative Khalilzad held consultations with the Afghan government in Kabul at the beginning of April. After his meetings, he tweeted on April 1, “We discussed the urgency of making progress on intra-Afghan dialogue.” Speaking to Radio Liberty, he said, “There is a chance that the Afghans may not reach an agreement including the Taliban and the non-Taliban, then preparations will also be needed for the…

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Overview - May 2019

Pakistan:

• Economy
• Cabinet reshuffle- Finance Minister resigns
• Terror attacks
• State targets Pashtun Tahafuz Movement
• Pakistan-India relations
• Pakistan-China relations
• Pakistan-Iran relations

Afghanistan:

• Peace and Reconciliation
• Taliban announce spring offensive…

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Developments in Pakistan

Economic turmoil continues

In its World Economic Outlook, the IMF has projected that in the absence of further adjustment policies, growth in Pakistan would remain subdued at about 2.5% till 2024, with continued external and fiscal imbalances weighing on confidence. It forecast Pakistan’s growth rate at 2.9% and 2.8% for the current and next fiscal years respectively as against World Bank’s forecast of 3.6% and 2.7% respectively for the two years. The Fund…

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Developments in Pakistan

Economic uncertainty continues

Taking note of deterioration in Pakistan’s economic outlook and external position, Standard & Poor Global Ratings lowered Pakistan’s sovereign credit rating from “B” to “B-“. The agency cited diminished growth prospects as well as elevated external and fiscal stresses. However, it maintained the rating outlook at “stable” in the expectation that Pakistan would secure sufficient funding to meet its external financing…

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Developments in Afghanistan

Peace and Reconciliation Moves

In a sign of divisions within Afghanistan, a number of Afghan leaders, including former President Karzai participated in a Russia-engineered meeting in Moscow with the Taliban in early February, which was organized by the “Council of the Afghan Diaspora in Russia” and was dubbed as political drama by the Afghan foreign ministry. It would be recalled that the Taliban have strongly resisted the American demand for a dialogue with the…

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Overview - April 2019

Pakistan:

• Economy
• Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force
• No consensus on continuation of military courts
• Pakistan India relations worsen
• Pakistan-China relations
• Pakistan-Saudi Arabia
• Pakistan-Iran

Afghanistan:

• Peace and reconciliation moves
• SIGAR report on…

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The Indo-Pak relationship that has remained in free fall over the last few years reached a crisis point when in one of the worst terror attacks on February 14, at least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and many injured in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. A vehicle laden with explosives rammed into one of the buses in a CRPF convoy that was carrying troops from Jammu to Srinagar. Pakistan…

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India received widespread support of the international community in the condemnation of the Pulwama attack, with some influential countries calling upon Pakistan to take action against terror groups.  Barring the Chinese call to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and a proforma condemnation of the Balakot strike by the OIC Contact Group, Pakistan received no…

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About the Author

Ambassador Sharat Sabharwal

Former Indian Ambassador to Pakistan and Uzbekistan and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Mr Sharat Sabharwal joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1975. After serving in various positions in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva and the Indian Missions in Madagascar, France and Mauritius, he was Director/Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi from 1990 to 1995. The positions held by him subsequently have been Deputy High Commissioner of India in Pakistan (1995-99), Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the UN in Geneva (1999-2002), Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan (2002-2005) and Additional Secretary/Special Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (September 2005-March 2009).

Mr. Sabharwal was High Commissioner of India to Pakistan from April 2009 to June 2013.

He was appointed Central Information Commissioner in November, 2013 and served in this position till September, 2017.
Mr. Sabharwal has been Deputy leader/member of the Indian delegations to the UN General Assembly, the erstwhile UN Commission on Human Rights, International Labour Conference and World Health Assembly. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Indian delegation to the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held in Geneva in October 1999 and member of the Indian delegation to the World Conference against Racism, held in Durban in September 2001.

Mr. Sabharwal holds a post graduate degree in Political Science. He speaks English and French besides Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.

Mr. Sabharwal has been an author at the Indian Express, The Hindu, India Today, The Tribune and The Wire.