Overview - August 2018

Pakistan: The national and provincial assembly elections on 25th July, their results and thereafter the process of post-election adding up of numbers and government formation have obviously predominated over all other narratives. The results, although less close than had been anticipated, nevertheless threw up usual surprises of the major victors and also losers. They are also revealing in terms of some long term trends howsoever speculative. The challenges before the new Prime Minister is now the next issue and here there appears to be a general consensus that the economy will by far be the most immediate priority but attending to it will also mean addressing the turbulence in relations with the United States, Afghanistan, India etc.

Afghanistan: Terrorist attacks and major Taliban campaigns dominated one set of narratives on Afghanistan raising questions on the security front and on the forthcoming Parliamentary elections scheduled after a three-and-a-half-year delay for October 2018. A trickle of reports regarding US officials meeting with the Taliban in different locations leading up to another Eid ceasefire offer by President Ghani formed the second set of narratives. A major Taliban offensive in Ghazni was defeated after considerable effort. It raised questions again about the involvement of Pakistan with the Taliban and has led to fresh turbulence in Pak Afghan ties.

 

August 24, 2018 

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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.