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