Pakistan / by Alistair Galloway

India put the upcoming Indus Water talks on hold claiming that it needs more time to have further discussions about the technicalities involved in redesigning further hydropower projects before it is ready to discuss the issue. Pakistan’s former Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif was appointed as head of a Saudi-led military coalition. Pakistan resumed the repatriation of Afghan refugees sending back nearly 1200 people, some of whom have lived in Pakistan for over 25 years. The Pakistani military announced that the construction of a fence along the entire border with Afghanistan is coming along well. The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that there was insufficient evidence to remove Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office as part of the ‘Panama Papers Leaks Case’. Four missiles fired by a militant group from Afghanistan destroyed a mosque and a shop in Kurram Agency leaving no one injured. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Lahore that left five soldiers and two civilians dead. Four soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb detonated on the Iranian border with no militant group claiming responsibility. A roadside bomb was remotely detonated in Kurram Agency, killing 14 people. Pakistani counter-terrorism officers were ambushed by the Pakistan Taliban resulting in 10 of the militants dying. Military and paramilitary forces raided a militant hideout in Dera Ghazi Khan district resulting in 10 militants and three soldiers dying. Clashes between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) continued in April with five instances being reported of mortar fire, larger artillery fire, and small arms fire being exchanged indiscriminately. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed its Article IV mission stating that the country is in a good position to build of reforms to further improve economic growth. Pakistani government announced it will miss its deficit reduction target of 3.8 per cent this year, with the deficit expected to be 4.1 per cent instead. The central banks of Pakistan and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a trade settlement mechanism for exports and importers in both countries.China further increased its investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to $62 billion. China also provided $1.2 billion in loans to Pakistan to help it pay back older loans made in foreign currencies. Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves have been largely depleted in recent months and will feel greater strain as the country pays the contractors and suppliers involved in CPEC.