Wonk Watch: Nancy Birdsall, Milan Vaishnav, and Daniel Cutherell, "More Money, More Problems: A 2012 Assessment of the US Approach to Development in Pakistan" (CGD).
Pakistan and the United States on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) governing the shipment of NATO supplies through Pakistani territory effective until December 31, 2015, as part of Pakistan's review of its ties with the United States following a NATO airstrike on two Pakistani border posts last November (AFP, ET, The News, AP). The MOU continues a ban on the shipment of arms and ammunition through Pakistan. The United States was not the only party to welcome the opening of the NATO supply routes, though; the Taliban in Afghanistan receive payments from Afghan security forces if they refrain from attacking the supply trucks (AP). "Earnings dropped down pretty badly" when the supply routes were closed, a Taliban commander in Ghazni Province told the Associated Press.
Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik said at a news conference in Dubai on Monday that Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) chief Zaheerul Islam "will push for no drones" when he meets with CIA director David Petraeus this week in Washington (Reuters). Malik called for "a common strategy" and greater "intelligence-sharing," as well as technology from the United States, by which he is believed to mean armed drones.
The relationship between the United States and Pakistan looks to be improving slowly, but stumbling blocks remain, including in particular the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network, which the U.S. government contends is supported by elements of the Pakistani state (NYT). The Haqqani Network has launched high-profile attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan, and officials in the Obama administration say that the United States is "one major attack" away from taking diplomatic and potentially even military action against Pakistan.
Freedom to worship
The U.S. State Department on Monday released its annual assessment of religious freedom around the world, which found that these freedoms are critically low in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where extremist attacks on religious minorities have gone uninvestigated, blasphemy laws carry the death penalty, and Islamic law can be interpreted to punish non-Muslims for practicing their faith (AP).
The LA Times' Laura King reported Monday on the attempted assassination this month of several different high-level Afghan officials, a worrying trend as NATO forces transition out of Afghanistan and hand responsibilities over to the Afghans (LAT). In just four days in mid-July, four government officials were targeted and killed, and three others barely escaped attempts on their lives.
Super hip hopper
Sanki King is one of Pakistan's first and premier graffiti artists, having learned his trade in New York City as part of the graffiti group Beyond Mankind Krew (BMK) (ET). Now, he graffitis and sells sneakers, and has been named the only "super hip hopper" in Pakistan.
-- Jennifer Rowland