Geo-Economics of Connectivity
June 29: Countries from five continents formally signed up to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a potential rival to the Washington-based World Bank. Australia was the first country to sign the articles of association creating the AIIB’s legal framework.
The Politics of Parlays
July 08: The first round of talks brokered by Pakistan between representatives of the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban concluded in Murree, with both parties agreeing to meet again. The participants were duly mandated by their respective leadership and expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region.
Gone to Blazes!
July 09: Shahidullah Shahid, a former chief spokesman of the TTP, who later defected to the self-styled Islamic State, was killed along with a deputy leader and several other militants in a drone strike close to Pakistan’s border in the eastern Nangrahar province of Afghanistan. The Afghan intelligence agency confirmed his death.
Changing Regional Apparatus
July 10: Pakistan gained full accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — a powerful regional security and development bloc — after the grouping’s Council of Heads of States approved the move. India was also accepted as a member state. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the decision to include both countries at the 15th SCO summit in Ufa, Russia.
Grexit Put on Hold!
July 13: After marathon talks in Brussels, Greece clinched a preliminary bailout agreement with its European creditors that will, if implemented, secure the country’s place in the euro. The deal with its creditors was reached after seventeen hours of talks with eurozone leaders.
The Historic fly-by
July 14: History was made when NASA’s New Horizons became the first spacecraft to successfully fly by the dwarf planet Pluto, the last unexplored world in the Solar System. New Horizons did this after travelling a distance of nearly 5 billion kilometres since its launch in January 2006. Getting as close as 12,500 km of the dwarf planet was hailed as an extraordinary achievement.
History is Created!
July 14: Iran and P5+1 clinched a historic deal aimed at ensuring that Iran does not obtain the nuclear bomb, opening up Tehran’s stricken economy and potentially ending decades of bad blood with the West. Reached in Austrian capital Vienna, the accord is aimed at resolving a 13-year stand-off over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Reorienting Middle East?
July 17: Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas, and other top officials from the Palestinian group met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and senior Saudi leaders. The meeting brought together top members of Hamas’ political wing with the Saudi king, crown prince and defence minister in a possible rapprochement between the conservative US-allied kingdom and the traditionally Iran-allied group.
Bravo Team Pakistan!
July 22: After winning first test series since 2006 against the Islanders on their home ground, Pakistan thrashed Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day match in Colombo to clinch the five-match series. The result kept alive Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying for the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy 2017, to be played in England.
Umpire’s Finger Raised
July 22: The three-member judicial commission headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk submitted its detailed report on alleged rigging in 2013 polls to the Ministry of Law whereby it rejected all the allegations levelled by the PTI. However, the commission opined that the PTI was justified in requesting the establishment of a body to inquire into its suspicions and allegations.