The South Asia Channel

U.S. Finds Pakistani Action Against Haqqani Network Inadequate; RBI Pressured to Cut Rates; Pakistan Summons Afghan Envoy

Pakistan U.S. finds action against Haqqani Network inadequate The United States has told Pakistan that it will not certify to Congress that Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations in North Waziristan have damaged the Haqqani Network thereby blocking the disbursement of money from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), according to a report in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper on Thursday ...

This photograph taken on July 9, 2014 shows Pakistani soldiers patrol during a military operation against Taliban militants, in the main town of Miranshah in North Waziristan.   Pakistan's military says its anti-militant offensive in a northwestern tribal area has now taken control of 80 percent of a strategic town, as a US drone strike on July 10 killed six suspected insurgents. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI        (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)
This photograph taken on July 9, 2014 shows Pakistani soldiers patrol during a military operation against Taliban militants, in the main town of Miranshah in North Waziristan. Pakistan's military says its anti-militant offensive in a northwestern tribal area has now taken control of 80 percent of a strategic town, as a US drone strike on July 10 killed six suspected insurgents. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

U.S. finds action against Haqqani Network inadequate

The United States has told Pakistan that it will not certify to Congress that Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations in North Waziristan have damaged the Haqqani Network thereby blocking the disbursement of money from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), according to a report in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper on Thursday (Dawn). The refusal comes amid increased tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as in advance of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s scheduled visit to the White House in October. The CSF arrangement was scheduled to expire in December 2014, but was extended for a year with the requirement that the U.S. defense secretary certify a number of conditions to Congress including that the military operation in North Waziristan has significantly damaged the Haqqani Network.

Prime Minister inaugurates K-2 power plant

On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the K-2 power project at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant during a visit to Karachi (ET, Dawn). The K-2 powerplant is expected to produce 1,000 MW of electricity and is being built by the China National Nuclear Corporation. Prime Minister Sharif called the inauguration an “important day in Pakistan’s history” and stated: “The construction of K-2 and K-3 power plants will further strengthen the steadfast friendship between the two nations.”

Aziz to meet Hurriyat leaders

On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office confirmed that Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s national security adviser, would meet with leaders of Hurriyat, a group of Kashmiri separatist parties (ET). Foreign office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah stated: “National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz will meet the Hurriyat conference leaders in New Delhi.” The meeting comes as India and Pakistan prepare for national security adviser level negotiations on Aug. 23. According to various reports, India will not call off the negotiations over Pakistani meetings with separatists.

— David Sterman

India

Government increases pressure on RBI to cut rates

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is increasing pressure on the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates as the Indian economy struggles and price rises slowly (Reuters).

After another weak quarter of corporate earnings and July inflation that undershot the central bank’s medium-term target, Jaitley has made direct, public calls for faster easing, clashing with far more cautious comments from a conservative Reserve Bank of India governor, Raghuram Rajan (LiveMint). Officials in Jaitley’s ministry, meanwhile, are encouraging economists and newspapers to lobby directly for further easing, senior government officials told Reuters. The public stand-off between the finance ministry and the RBI comes at a time when the two sides are already at odds over key changes to the way India takes monetary policy decisions.

The RBI has already cut 75 basis points since January. The ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday cut its forecast for India’s economic growth to 7 percent this year from 7.5 percent because of “lower-than-expected rainfalls in the ongoing monsoon season.”

India releases Kashmiri separatist leaders after three hours of house arrest

Top Kashmiri separatist leaders, placed under house arrest on Thursday morning, ahead of their meeting with Pakistan’s national security advisor Sartaj Aziz over the weekend, have been released (HT, Hindu, NDTV).

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and Shabir Shah were among those expected in Delhi over the weekend to meet Aziz. On Wednesday, India had voiced resentment after the Pakistani High Commission’s invitation to the separatist leaders to meet, and put the three leaders under house arrest the following morning for three hours. India has been of the view of that talks should be held between India and Pakistan without any third party or country in the middle.

Senior police official critical of Modi fired

A senior police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in the anti-Muslim Gujarat riots in 2002 has been fired (BBC). Bhatt was suspended in 2011 and briefly jailed before being given bail. He claims Modi, who was the Gujarat chief minister in 2002, told a meeting that Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger. Modi denies the charge. The state authorities accuse Bhatt of fabricating evidence to implicate Modi.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed when riots erupted after 60 Hindu pilgrims died in a train fire. The cause of the blaze was never clearly established. Hindu groups allege the fire was started by Muslim protesters, but an earlier inquiry said the fire was an accident. Bhatt was a senior police officer in the Gujarat intelligence bureau at the time of the riots.

— Shuja Malik

Afghanistan

Pakistan summons Afghan envoy over blame game

On Wednesday, Pakistan summoned Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Mosazai to a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry regarding Pakistan’s concern over comments by Afghan officials blaming Pakistan for a recent wave of violence in Afghanistan (Pajhwok, TOLO News). A statement from the Pakistani foreign ministry read: “The Foreign Secretary stressed that such allegations undercut mutual confidence and affect the environment of bilateral relations that both countries had been working hard to improve. Pakistan has been acting with maximum restraint and avoiding any blame-game.”

— David Sterman

Edited by Peter Bergen

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

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