Pakistan / by Lewis McKinnon

Officials from Pakistan and Iran met on 25 July to confront the threat from the Islamic State (IS). The leader of Tehreek-e-Insaf party, Imran Khan, spoke out against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and was accused of promoting a military coup against Sharif. Posters calling for a military takeover appeared in 13 different cities across Pakistan, resulting in two arrests. After Burhan Wani was killed in Kashmir, relations between India and Pakistan became tense. Farooq Haider Khan was elected Prime Minister of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir region. Officials from the United States (US) visited Pakistan and met with General Raheel Sharif to discuss border security and improving relations with Afghanistan. Tensions between the US and Pakistan rose this month after a US congressman gave a controversial presentation that questioned Pakistan’s loyalty. Pakistani Taliban leader Umar Narai was killed in an air strike in Afghanistan. The son of the Sindh High Court Chief Justice was rescued on 19 July. Four people were killed in supposed honour killings in July, inspiring the Pakistani Parliament to approve a new draft of legislation that closes a loophole for permissible honour killings. China’s People Liberation Army and Pakistan held a joint border patrol near Kashmir to display their joint security efforts and positive relations. A new gate at the Torkham crossing will open for traffic on 1 August. At least 16 civilians were killed in roadside bomb attacks, and 18 militants were killed and several terror attacks foiled throughout July. Flash floods have killed 82 people so far according to the Disaster Management Agency. Pakistan and China signed numerous trade and investment agreements. China’s foreign direct investment into Pakistan is constantly increasing in accordance with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that Pakistan’s currency is overvalued by as much as 20 per cent. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that foreign exchange reserves reached an all-time high of $23 billion. Pakistan announced plans to auction onshore oil and gas blocks later in the year. The Pakistan Stock Exchange was labelled the fifth-best performing stock globally. Oil and gas stocks fell at the end of July after global crude oil prices fell, but refinery stocks rose with investor interest.