Prime Minister #ImranKhan barely survived a no-confidence vote & a fierce opposition alliance this month; gets a breather thanks to opposition #PPP's decision not to rock the system in #Pakistan, for now. But his weak cabinet is a year overdue for a shakeup, saved by #COVID. /1
#PTIGovernment cabinet change was expected early 2020 but pandemic response+ economic situation delayed decision until autumn, when opposition alliance #PDM seized national narrative from the govt. Now, after Senate election, tough decisions are due. /2
The #PTI government could have kicked off its 5-year tenure on a strong footing had it made this decision 25 months ago. Better late than never but a lot of damage has been done. Tough task awaits a young capable minister. /3

The ministry of information (& its state-run #PTV) is one of the most unstable ministries in PM #ImranKhan's govt, a victim of turf wars between an army of govt spoxes. Worst timing considering historic moments in #Afghanistan/#Kashmir/#India. /4

Early assessments are that PM #ImranKhan's govt lost public goodwill by midterm faster than previous govts; surprising considering he remains popular. Bolstering his team & cabinet is one of the strongest cards he holds now. /5

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More from @_AhmedQuraishi

31 Mar
The numbers of #Zeynabiyoun brigade fighters in #Syria has substantially decreased after #Pakistan crackdown on covert #IRGC recruitment since 2016. Almost a cat & mouse game of busting recruitment cells, chasing new ones & methods of recruitment. /1

#Pakistan probably has been more effective in curbing #IRGC recruitment of fighters for #Syria than #Afghanistan, where officials and lawmakers were more vocal in criticizing #Iranian covert recruitment but not matched by a robust crackdown. /2…
#Israel+#Turkey indirectly helped #Pakistan's crackdown on #IRGC recruitment for #Syria through dozens (possibly hundreds) of strikes on #Zeynabiyoun positions. Pres #Erdogan reportedly informed Pak officials about targeting #Iran's Pak recruits. /3

Read 5 tweets
19 Mar
#Kuwait's young foreign minister @anmas71 is back in #Pakistan for the first time in 16 yrs (I met him back then). This interesting relationship spans military+strategic issues (#Afghanistan #Iran #Iraq #oil), & a forgotten attempt to save a Pakistani premier from execution. /1
#Kuwait helped #Pakistan withstand international sanctions after the 1998 nuclear tests (with KSA+UAE); was one of top 5 aid givers (with #SaudiArabia #UAE #US #EU) after #Kashmir earthquake 2005. And remains a key oil supplier (along with #KSA). /2…
Former #Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed (who passed a way in 2020) enjoyed a close relationship with former #Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and landed in #Rawalpindi in May 1977 to show support to embattled #Bhutto just before a military coup toppled him. /3
Read 9 tweets
16 Mar
With bated breath, the ruling #PTI of Prime Minister #ImranKhan in #Pakistan is watching a crucial meeting of the opposition #PDM alliance that will decide how to weaken or remove PM Khan from power. /1
The opposition #PDM has considerably weakened Prime Minister #ImranKhan's govt but today faces a deadlock on whether to resign from federal & local parliaments or stay and opt for protests, marches & parliamentary votes. /2
Prime Minister #ImranKhan and the ruling #PTI depend on internal bickering within the opposition #PDM alliance to ensure he and the party stay in power amid a weak cabinet and questions on PTI's governance and economic management. /3
Read 4 tweets
13 Mar
#Chabahar port in #Iran, with #India's investment, is a strange story. President #Trump reluctantly excluded it from #US sanctions, and it is the only #Indian-run port #Pakistan signed a sister-city agreement with. Some interesting updates. /1
#Trump was not sympathetic to #India's case on sanctions waivers for #Chabahar & the crude oil imports from #Iran, but he relented on the port only after pressure from #US diplomats, who said even #Pakistan did not object to the #Indian-#Iranian port. /2…
Iran spent years convincing #China & #Pakistan not to develop #Gwadar, instead reroute the economic corridor #CPEC to #Chabahar citing better security in #Iran compared to #Pakistan & its #Balochistan province. A top Iranian diplomat explains this: /3

Read 8 tweets
12 Mar
Political temperature in #Pakistan reaches unprecedented levels under embattled Prime Minister #ImranKhan. Deposed ex-PM releases a video holding army chief and two top spy officers responsible if anything happens to his daughter-politician @MaryamNSharif. /1
"You know your time is up. You know that it is over for you," @MaryamNSharif to PM @ImranKhanPTI. Maryam paints a scary picture of how the PM allegedly forced his #PTI lawmakers to vote for him, claiming he forced spy agencies to use dirty tactics. /2
Pakistanis were treated to a real feel of spy games yesterday as two senior lawmakers from the two largest opposition parties @pmln_org & @PPP_Org released pictures of alleged spy cameras inside @SenatePakistan supposedly installed by the govt to catch its turncoat lawmakers. /3
Read 4 tweets
5 Mar
A consecutive third 'Night of the Knives' in #Pakistan's capital, #Islamabad. The city truly outdoes itself in ruthless politics as a cornered & paranoid PM Imran Khan fights for political survival, scared of his own shadow & party, #PTI, which he built but can't trust now. /1
A cornered Prime Minister Imran Khan is now so paranoid & suspicious of his own party that he banned his lawmakers from leaving the city, forced them to have breakfast with him first thing today, & warned them in a letter published by opposition leader!/2

So bad is #PTI's ability to defend its prime minister on the eve of a vote of confidence in Parliament that opposition leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif embarrasses the PM by publishing an internal party letter that reeks of paranoia. Better media management could have preempted this./3
Read 9 tweets

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