Pakistan / by Alistair Galloway

September marked a month of tragedy, success and tense relations for Pakistan. Relations with Afghanistan have been in free fall after President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistani backed militants of a terror attack in Kabul. Pakistan has however, refuted American and Afghan assertions that it is not doing enough to combat the Haqqani network, claiming it is in fact run from across the border in Afghanistan. A national census, last held 17 years ago, now seems unlikely to occur due to lack of funds, creating planning problems for a country with around 200 million people. The dual Hajj tragedies of a crane collapse followed by a stampede lead to the deaths of over 86 Pakistanis, causing a wave of mourning in the religiously conservative nation. The government attempted to forestall criticism of Saudi Arabia on TV channels in response to the tragedy, confirming the close relationship between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Saudi regime. The military claimed to have successfully used the locally developed Burraq drone to kill three suspected militants. Furthermore, airstrikes against the Taliban and other militant groups were claimed by military spokesmen to have resulted in the deaths of 31 insurgents. The government has allowed religious seminaries to open bank accounts, allowing for the financial transactions of these institutions, which are often accused of being dens of radicalisation, to be monitored. The Chief Justice has dealt a blow to elitist culture in Pakistan by ordering Urdu instead of English to be used for federal and provincial governmental work. The National Command Authority met and concluded that India was rapidly increasing its nuclear capacity without any recourse to peaceful dialogue, leading to their judgement that Pakistan must maintain the greatest deterrence capacity possible, which runs contrary to the international consensus that Pakistan has the world's fastest growing nuclear programme.