January 2019 finally witnessed a direct dialogue between the US and the Taliban. There was a six days long negotiation between the two in Doha, that has been termed positive.  Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy, was reported to have stated that the Doha meeting was more productive than the previous... Click here for more

An abridged version of this analysis was first published by the ICM. Click here   On 21 January 2019, Taliban attacked a National Directorate of Security (NDS) compound in Maidan Wardak province in Afghanistan. It is believed more than 100 were killed in the attack in which the Taliban used... Click here for more

The Dawn group in Pakistan, one of the leading newspapers not only in Pakistan, but also in the entire region considered Justice Mian Saqib Nisar as Pakistan’s man of the year – 2018.   The Chief Justice of Pakistan would be long remembered for his bold judgements including the... Click here for more

Ever since President Trump made a statement a few weeks earlier on withdrawing from Afghanistan, there has been a flurry of activities/statements from numerous actors in the region. The latest one has come from the Indian Army Chief that India should also consider opening a track with the Taliban. Pakistan... Click here for more

Trump has a great ability in foreign policy making. When the world deplores a Trump decision as his worst, his new one makes the earlier one less problematique. He is a disaster in progress. Withdrawal or significant reversals of the American approaches under Trump to the Paris process on Climate Change,... Click here for more

Contextualising Gilgit Baltistan First, Gilgit Baltistan within the larger J&K framework has been one of the ignored sub-regions – politically and academically. While many laments about the lack of literature and interest about Gilgit Baltistan, the same disinterest could be seen towards... Click here for more

Hundred days is short a period to evaluate the performance of a new government. However, the world over, the first hundred days of any government generates certain interest. In Imran Khan’s case, it was much more, as he himself had set a certain target for his first 100 days in power. Is Imran... Click here for more

Pakistan's newly elected members of the National Assembly have taken their oath in the Parliament. Despite requiring few more numbers in the Parliament, Imran Khan is all set to become the next Prime Minister. He has promised a Naya Pakistan. How new is the Naya Parliament?  One could identify... Click here for more

If the rise of the PTI in 2018 elections for the National and Provincial Assemblies is a significant development, the fall of regional parties such as the ANP, PkMAP and the MQM are substantial. For they have a crucial implication for the provincial politics, regional stability, and more importantly,... Click here for more

I Imran Khan & Indo-Pak: What has changed for India, and What hasn't? The debate between the Idealists, Pragmatists and the Praetorians There are three streams in India, as is the case in Pakistan looking at the other side:  the idealists, the pragmatists and the praetorians. For... Click here for more

While the rise of the PTI in 2018 elections has been widely discussed within and outside Pakistan as a new political wave, another significant one, which has not received adequate attention, is the rise of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). Though the number of seats that the TLP has won for the National... Click here for more

Are there significant trends that one could identify in the 2018 elections? Is Pakistan in the way to become a stable democracy with three elections since 2008 on a row since 2008? Or, does the 2018 elections raise a few questions as well on the future of democratic process?   One could... Click here for more

Will Imran Khan finally become the Prime Minister, and enable the PTI to form the government, after decades of political fight? Will Shahbaz Sharif be able to succeed in overcoming the recent reverses for the PML-N, including the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif and attempts to break the ranks of the... Click here for more

During the recent months, there have been numerous meetings the highest levels involving the military and political leaders between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The recent meeting between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Abbasi and the Afghan President Ghani in Kabul has raised a few expectations within... Click here for more

Early May 2018, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen Bajwa met the protesting Hazara community in Quetta. Separately, the Chief Justice of Pakistan taking Suo Motu notice of the Hazara violence stated:, again early this month “I have just met members of the Hazara community; they are so scared... Click here for more

No other girl would have divided the Pakistani society, as Malala has. While a section considers Malala as a hero and an inspiration, another views her as an opportunist and a western conspiracy.   Worse, a group has started a campaign “I’m not Malala”. It appears,... Click here for more

The last few months have been extremely violent for Afghanistan. A series of deadly attacks led by suicide bombers have been wrecking havoc not only in Kabul, but also in a few other provinces. Though the Taliban has been primarily blamed for the violence, there seems to another stream of violence... Click here for more

Last two weeks seem to be advantageous for the PML-N, despite the adversarial political environment. The judiciary passed a highly criticised judgement removing Nawaz Sharif from being the leader of his own faction of the PML. The learned courts were of the view that Nawaz Sharif is not eligible to... Click here for more

An edited version of this analysis was first published in the Hindu. See D. Suba Chandran, "In Pakistan, it’s advantage Sharifs", 9 March 2018. Finally, Shahbaz Sharif has been appointed as the PML-N. This is a landmark development within the PML-N and is likely to catapult the... Click here for more

For the last few months, there has been a struggle between the Judiciary and Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan. A series of verdicts, including the latest one on disqualifying Sharif from being the leader of PML-N and null the decisions (in retrospect) that he has taken as the leader of the party (nominating... Click here for more

The recent American drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region has rekindled the old debate. Pakistan has raised the question of sovereignty and collateral damage, whereas the Americans argue that the drones targeted a militant commander belonging to the Haqqani network.  Given... Click here for more

South Asia's Kasur Problem   The rape, killing and dumping of the body of Zainab - a seven-year-old girl in a dustbin in Kasur in Pakistan seems to have punched the societal conscience. Ever since, there have been spontaneous civil society protests not only in Kasur, but also in... Click here for more

NIAS Strategic Forecast # 21, January 2018   Trump’s New Year tweet on 01 January 2018 was almost an ultimatum asking Pakistan to take certain actions towards Afghanistan and the militants groups in the Af-Pak region.  The American threat of “do more”... Click here for more

The recent meeting in Bangkok between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan have raised a few expectations. The last few years, the bilateral relations have remained indifferent, with neither of the two countries taking any serious initiative towards a rapprochement. Will 2018 see an... Click here for more

No other visit by the Sharif brothers in the recent months has evoked as much interest as their recent one to Riyadh. Many within Pakistan, especially the opposition parties fear a deal is being silently (now not so silent) worked out by Saudi Arabia. Is there one?   Given the history... Click here for more

One could identify four sets of external challenges for Pakistan during 2018.  Pakistan's Immediate Neighbourhood: India, Afghanistan and Iran First one is in the immediate neighbourhood – both in the east and west relating to India, Afghanistan and Iran. Though Pakistan’s... Click here for more

It all started during the first week of November. A group of supporters belonging to the Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) occupied the Faizabad interchange – a strategic location linking Islamabad with Rawalpindi. In the next two weeks, thanks to the government’s inaction and TLY’s... Click here for more

As expected Hafiz Saeed, chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) will be freed from the house arrest. A three member judicial review board in Punjab has denied extending the detention of Hafiz Saeed any further and has ordered Punjab to release Hafiz Saeed, “if he is not required in any other case.”   The... Click here for more

Despite multiple incidents relating to violence in contemporary Balochistan including a series of suicide attacks, there is not much attention either in the national media, or a political debate within and outside the Parliament in Islamabad. In fact, the on going demonstration by the Labbaik in Islamabad... Click here for more

Last week, two parties with their primary support amongst the Mohajirs in Karachi - MQM-Pakistan and Pak Sarzameen Party came together to announce an alliance.  It caught everyone by surprise, as they have been bitterly fighting for the last many months. Led by Farooq Sattar and Mustafa Kamal... Click here for more

For Islamabad and Rawalpindi, it should be a déjà vu. This time, the culprit is the Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY), a radical group that supports the Blasphemy Law in Pakistan and became popular with their support for Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of Salman Taseer, the Governor of... Click here for more

Pakistan seems to be living in interesting times! Not a single week, during the recent past, has been uneventful. Last week, four significant developments took place – all relating to Pakistan’s politics. Though irrevocable proof would be difficult to provide, these four developments appear... Click here for more

The PML-N has made three major decisions in a recent meeting held in London early this week. Referred as the “London Plan” in the media, it revolves around the following: Projecting Shahbaz Sharif as the PML-N Prime Ministerial candidate for the next elections (to be held in 2018), return... Click here for more

The much-awaited Chabahar route for Indo-Afghan trade, has finally taken off. The first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan has left Kandla port for Chabahar port in Iran, and then through the land route via Iran into Afghanistan. This will catapult the Indo-Afghan bilateral relationship into another... Click here for more

Mumtaz Qadri is dead. But is he? Does the rise of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan and the performance of extreme right wing in the recent elections held in Peshwar (NA-04) and Lahore (NA-120) highlight an electoral entry of extreme Right in Pakistan? Taseer and Qadri: Story of a Martyr... Click here for more

The Quadrilateral Contact Group (QCG) involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China met during the second week of October 2017 in Muscat. In 2016, ever since its inception in January 2016, it had five meetings.  It came to in end in May 2016 with the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in... Click here for more

It appears, the Establishment’s plans of getting Nawaz Sharif rid of the PML-N has started working. Though there have been talks of a “Shahbaz League” during the last few weeks, for the first time, there is a formal request from within the PML-N asking Shahbaz Sharif to take over... Click here for more

  Three events were of importance during the last week: Violence in Balochistan; resumption of drone attacks, leading to the killing of Omar Khorasani, leader of the JuA; and the resumption of the Afghan Quadrilateral Group in Muscat. A link could be traced to all three, and certainly, they... Click here for more

The story of Joshua and Caitlan – a Canadian-American couple, who got kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan, and got released few days before in Pakistan has all the plot to feed into a next Hollywood movie from the region. They got kidnapped by the Huqqani group in 2012, gave birth to four children... Click here for more

Three major developments could be identified during the second week of October 2017 – a US delegation visiting Pakistan preparing for a high level visit later this month, securing of an American-Canadian family who were kidnapped by the Huqqani group in Afghanistan in 2012, and a new round of... Click here for more

Early October, the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in Kabul met a delegation from Pakistan led by its Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa. Both discussed a host of issues “including security in the region, bilateral relationship, peace and stability, anti-terror efforts, business and transit relationship,... Click here for more

There were five major developments in Pakistan during the first week of October 2017. The first two – attempts to repair the relations with Afghanistan and with the US are inter-linked. Repairing Pak-Afghan relations seems to be a strategy towards the second - repairing Pak-US relations. Pakistan... Click here for more

The much-anticipated election for the National Assembly Constituency NA-120 got over last week, with Begum Kulsoom, wife of Nawaz Sharif winning it. The PTI candidate, who was the real challenge to PML-N – Yasmin Rashid lost the election, though by a narrow margin. PPP came a distant sixth; its... Click here for more

An earlier commentary analysed the Trump surge on Afghanistan, looking at the rationale behind the new American approach. One expected that there would be more discussions and critiques of the new Afghan surge and whether it would address the challenges facing the Ghani government in Kabul. An offshoot... Click here for more

The much anticipated Trump administration’s Afghanistan review highlighting a road map for further American engagement is finally ready. Last week’s statement made by Donald Trump is his first major strategy towards South Asia. What does the Trump review entail? What it means... Click here for more

India and Pakistan just celebrated their seventy years of independence; during the occasion, there was an individual introspection of the last seven decades in both the countries. One wishes, that there is an introspection jointly of the last seventy years of our bilateral relations – what we... Click here for more

Undoubtedly Jirgas in our part of the world, especially in the Af-Pak cutting across the Durand Line has been a historical phenomenon. Some societies, even consider the jirga process as “cultural”; some even substantiate the process as religious – found mentioned in the hold books... Click here for more

Pakistan is trying to digest the Supreme Court ruling on disqualifying Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister. So is PML-N – trying to cope up with the situation and looking at alternatives. While Imran Khan is jubilant, other opposition political parties are guarded in their response. A section... Click here for more

The attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in J&K recently has revived the debate on the Kashmiriyat and how such violence in a Sufi society is unacceptable. During the recent years, there have been multiple inputs/debates on the Kashmiriyat and the attacks against it. While a section swears by it,... Click here for more

Not many outside Pakistan would have heard about the continuing violence in Parachinar – the headquarters of Kurram Agency in FATA. Ironically, even not many within Pakistan were aware of the extent of the problem. Until recently. But few individuals from Parachinar went on a dharna and made... Click here for more

The Panama Scandal trial in Pakistan seems to be taking a dangerous political path. Developments relating to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that has been asked to investigate is not inspiring and hints an institutional bias against Nawaz Sharif. With the JIT process politicized, and analysts questioning... Click here for more

During mid-June, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared in front of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), constituted as a part of the Supreme Court’s verdict on Panama scandal. The Court had asked the JIT to finalise its report in two months, and the latter has been interviewing... Click here for more

Are there new developments in Afghanistan and around, that demand a new push, with Kabul as the pivot? Is there an Afghan common ground in the region today – cutting across South Asia and Central Asia?  There have been numerous efforts and initiatives during the recent years to... Click here for more

Two diverging developments in South Asian’s western neighbourhoods – Gulf and Central Asia, calls for two different approaches especially by India and Pakistan. While South Asia should try to insulate itself from the ongoing crisis in the Gulf, we should try to integrate further with the... Click here for more

Just few days after the horrific terror attack with a truck bomb (end May) in the heart of the city, Kabul witnessed further attacks on a subsequent funeral meeting. While the latest attack on a funeral claimed more than fifteen victims, the truck bomb earlier claimed more than ninety.  Few... Click here for more

For Pakistan, the ICJ verdict is bad news. India has asked the International Court of Justice for “immediate suspension of the sentence of death” to Kulbhushan Jadhav and the ICJ to restrain “Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court.” The... Click here for more

A recent commentary in the New York Times titled “The Wrong Enemy in Afghanistan” calls for the US focussing more on a peace deal with the Taliban than being obsessed with the Islamic State in Khorasan. Should the US or the countries in the region – especially Pakistan and Afghanistan... Click here for more

The recent meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Sajjan Jindal has raised a controversy inside Pakistan. While a section sees it as an unannounced back channel, others question the legality and protocol involved in terms of the Prime Minister engaging an Indian businessman at Murree.  With... Click here for more

Are we securitizing our rivers and water sharing in South Asia, and in the process complicating the existing problem even further? Are the new actors engaged in water discourse today usurping the process from those who have been involved in addressing issues relating to water sharing without politicizing... Click here for more

Both India and Pakistan seem to have caught in a dialogue trap. Despite numerous composite dialogues since the 1990s, both countries are dialoguing with each other in a cyclic pattern than in an unilinear upward trajectory. Terrorism and J&K seem to have become two crucial issues; Afghanistan and... Click here for more

Both Younis and Misbah are to retire shortly from Test Cricket. Icons in terms of their massive record besides their value and contribution to Pakistani cricket team. In particular, Younis Khan will be scoring 10,000 runs and be joining the elite club led by Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques... Click here for more

During the recent weeks, there have been numerous commentaries and talk shows on sharing of the Indus waters. So much space and time was spent in social, print and electronic media to discuss the Indo-Pak water “conflicts” and their fallouts. While issues relating to sharing the Indus and... Click here for more

Recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, Sehwan and Dhaka from Afghanistan to Bangladesh have been claimed by the Islamic State/Daesh. The region cannot be a mute witness to the emergence of the IS in South Asia, for it would lead to their consolidation further and subsequently their expansion. An early... Click here for more

In his recent commentary published in the Washington Post, Husain Huqqani former Pakistani Ambassador to the US during 2008-11 (Obama-Zardari period) has touched a raw nerve that is likely to echo within Pakistan and in the policy circles elsewhere in the next few weeks.  There is nothing... Click here for more

After a spate of horrific terror attacks in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan has launched a new counter-terrorism offensive – Raddul Fasaad. The scope of the new military operation is larger than the previous Zarb-e-Azb. Will it succeed where Zarb-e-Azb failed? Or, will the... Click here for more

Violence against women and abuse are not just physical. Wounds do not heal fast when a sinister remark or gesture is made, especially if it happens in public. Even if the perpetrator apologises, whether out of genuine remorse or due to pressure and to escape punishment or public censure, such an act... Click here for more


Flying with seven extra passengers “standing” in the aisle, the recent Pakistan International Airlines flight from Karachi to Madina has added further to the recent PIA controversies. Remember the sacrifice of goat on the tarmac in December 2016 in front of an ATR-42 aircraft asking for... Click here for more

Tehmina Janjua, when she takes over the Foreign Secretary in March 2017, will become Pakistan’s first woman Foreign Secretary. Her challenges are numerous – both within Pakistan (especially vis-a-vis foreign policy decision making structure) and outside – especially with big powers... Click here for more

Shahid Afridi announced his retirement in February 2017. Though a section ridiculed his announcement, for having retired numerous times, it was not a decision that he made, but forced upon him. It is unfortunate that a player with more than 11000 runs and 540 wickets at the international levels had... Click here for more

On 13 February 2017, the Islamabad High Court directed the Federal Ministry of Information and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to prohibit the “celebration of Valentine's Day in public spaces and government offices across the country with immediate effect.”... Click here for more

When the second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) was unveiled during early February with so much fan fare, none would have expected the shock in the first few days of the game. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) led by Najam Sethi has made a bold statement by provisionally suspending the two players... Click here for more

The decision to keep Hafiz Saeed under house arrest, without a proper FIR, came as a surprise. What did Hafiz do lately, which the Pakistani authorities were unaware in the recent years? Did the pressure from US, especially the Trump administration and the fear of a possible ban forced Pakistan to... Click here for more

.indented { padding-left: 20pt; padding-right: 20pt; } During the first week of January 2017, many in Pakistan were surprised, when the government allowed the earlier Parliamentary legislation on the military courts to elapse. The civil society in Pakistan, to a large extent, responded positively... Click here for more


During the last few years, there have been serious criticisms against Pakistan International Airlines. The recent one – an editorial in the Express Tribune dated 27 January 2017 was scathing. Commenting on the debt burden and the Aviation Division’s demand for 24 billion rupees, the editorial... Click here for more

Pakistan lost the fifth and final one day cricket match in Australia on 26 January 2016 at Adelaide. Australia had already won the five matches one day series (4-1), and white washed Pakistan in the three match test series held earlier between 15 December 2016 and 7 January 2017. Barring the single... Click here for more

  On 21 January 2017, a bomb in the vegetable market in Parachinar (headquarters of FATA’s Kurram Agency) killed around 25 people. Neither Parachinar nor the Kurram Agency is alien to terrorism. This is the first major attack after Gen Bajwa taking over as Pakistan’s Army Chief,... Click here for more

There is a general perception within Pakistan, that today, the nation does not differentiate between the “good” and “bad” Taliban, leading to a new paradigm involving the State, Society and Militants. What is this new paradigm? While many at the civil society level are keen... Click here for more

During the second week of November 2016, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) became operational. The Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and other senior officials along with few Chinese were in Gwadar, witnessing the first shipment from the port leaving, after reaching the town through different... Click here for more

The recent sectarian attacks all over Pakistan highlight the other ongoing war within Pakistan. Though there has been an inherent sectarian fault line, what is happening today is substantial and lethal than the earlier violence witnessed primarily in Punjab during the 1980s and 1990s.  There... Click here for more

One of the International Crisis Group (ICG) report on the Af-Pak region, asked a crucial question: Can Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan be reset? The report focused on three issues towards a reset:  political imperatives, economic opportunities and constraints, and finally, Afghan refugees... Click here for more

Pakistan government in 2016 constituted a committee to “upgrade the status” of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) either into a “constitutional province” or a “provisional province” of Pakistan. This perhaps is the second major step by Islamabad in the recent years, after creating... Click here for more

After many years of attempts, hopes and criticisms, the Pakistan Super League finally got kicked off in Qatar in 2016. Given the passion and madness associated with this particular game, not only in Pakistan, but all over the region (Nepal and Afghanistan being the new entrants), one would want the... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore For the first time in the last two decades, Pakistan’s Army Chief retired as per scheduled without any extension. Early... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore   Is Pakistan’s Middle East strategy, and its effort to identify more with its immediate West, especially the Gulf than... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore   There have been a spate of honour killings in Pakistan in the recent years. This is not the first time that is happening... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore   There is an international focus on the phenomenon of foreign fighters today; thanks to the unprecedented attraction that... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore Given the recent developments on both sides of the Durand Line, it is important to revisit the above question. And also to find out who among the... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore Hundreds of militants have been killed ever since the military in Pakistan launched an offensive against the Tehrik-i-Taliban... Click here for more

From the Archives: On the terrorist attack in Peshawar killing more than hundred students in 2014 Children are not only our soul and the most precious of our existence, but also our future – individual and collective. Children transcend all boundaries – social, political and... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore What are the linkages between the two Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan across the Durand Line? Is there a hierarchy or... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore   Declan Walsh published a story in the Newyork Times about a huge fake degree racket, with its base in Karachi. In the South... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore How should South Asia respond to the rise of China? Should China be seen as a threat, or as a competition or as an opportunity?... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore The Panama papers on offshore accounts by Pakistanis have created a political storm in the country. While in other countries,... Click here for more

D. Suba Chandran Professor International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore   The violent clashes resulting in casualties between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Torkham border crossing during 2016 seems... Click here for more

PR Editorials

PR Bookshelf

India and Pakistan:Neighbours at Odds

Avtar Bhasin
Delhi; Bloomsbury, 2018

Pakistan’s Jihadist Heartland: Southern Punjab

International Crisis Group
Report 279, May 2016

“This Crooked System”: Police Abuse and Reform in Pakistan

Human Rights Watch
September 2016

The State of Pakistan's Economy: First Quarterly Report 2016- 2017

State Bank of Pakistan
January 2017

PR Reviews

The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry

TV Paul ed
New York, Cambridge University Press, 2005