Pakistan Security Brief - April 11, 2012

PCNS to finalize new draft of recommendations for U.S.-Pakistan relations; Search operation for avalanche victims continues; Frontier Corps forces trained to counter IEDs to be deployed along Pak-Afghan border; Section 144 imposed liberally; Saudi Arabia offers to help Pakistan with energy crisis; Pakistan likely to attend NATO summit in Chicago; Hussain Haqqani asks BlackBerry company for conversations with Mansoor Ijaz; President Zardari appoints new Minister for Law and Justice; “Shutter-down strike” in Sindh province; Rangers conduct targeted operation in Karachi; Prime Minister Gilani’s son leaves Pakistan; Tsunami watch in Pakistan; Pakistani blogger-activists launch successful campaign against Internet censorship.

Domestic Politics

Avalanche

  • No one has been recovered dead or alive from Saturday’s avalanche at the Siachen Glacier in northern Kashmir, which buried a military complex along with 138 soldiers and civilians. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has demanded an inquiry into the conditions endured by Pakistani and Indian soldiers on the glacier, where more soldiers have died due to avalanches, crevasses and harsh weather conditions than due to enemy fire. According to environmental experts, the heavy military presence on Siachen is speeding up the melting of the glacier, while waste from the military camps is polluting the water system.[4]

Militancy

International Relations

Smuggling

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son left Pakistan before the Supreme Court could place his name on an Exit Control List for his alleged role in a case involving the illegal import and sale of Rs. 7 billion ($77 million) worth of ephedrine, a controlled medical substance. According to Ali Musa Gilani’s personal secretary, he left for a scheduled visit to South Africa and the UK and is expected to return on May 2.[10]

Protest

  • On Wednesday, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) and other nationalist parties observed a “shutter-down strike” in the interior Sindh region of Pakistan. They protested against the government’s delay in the examination of the body of JSQM leader Bashir Qureshi, who was allegedly poisoned to death on April 7. Protesters blocked roads and burned vehicles, and three people were killed in separate firing incidents in the Maripur, Khadda Market and Lyari areas of Karachi.[11]

Public Order

  • The Washington Post reported that Pakistan has been liberally imposing Section 144, a law that allows the government to “act immediately to halt any activity that poses a threat to health, safety or public order.” Last week, the government imposed Section 144 when sectarian violence broke out between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.  The law has also been cited when the Supreme Court banned kite flying after several reported injuries and deaths, and the law is also being imposed in Karachi to crack down on the public smoking of hookah pipes.[12]

Internet

  • Foreign Policy reported that several young Pakistani blogger-activists have successfully launched a campaign that has stopped the government’s plans for a national Internet censorship system. The activists are seeking a court injunction against the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority “for censoring the Internet in a manner that violates Pakistan's own laws and constitution.”[13]

 Tsunami

  • An 8.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami watch in Pakistan and other countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.[14]

     

 

 

 


[1] Zahid Gishkori, “Recrafting foreign policy: After weeks of impasse, panel makes headway,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/362846/recrafting-foreign-policy-after-weeks-of-impasse-panel-makes-headway/
Raja Asghar, “Consensus on US ties eludes parliament,” Dawn, April 10, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/11/consensus-on-us-ties-eludes-parliament/
[2] “Memogate scandal: Haqqani requests RIM for BlackBerry data,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/362992/memogate-scandal-haqqani-requests-rim-for-blackberry-data/
[3] “Farooq H Naek appointed new law minister,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363015/farooq-h-naek-appointed-new-law-minister/
[4] Rob Crilly, “Pakistan human rights campaigners demand Siachen inquiry after avalanche,” Telegraph, April 11, 2012. Available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9197258/Pakistan-human-rights-campaigners-demand-Siachen-inquiry-after-avalanche.html
Emmanuel Duparcq, “Siachen standoff taking heavy environmental toll,” AFP, April 11, 2012. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hE9s7WhGuoM4O4uK699zbPykdl6w?docId=CNG.4943cd1770a58779793fec47957b422e.2a1
[5] Irfan Ghauri, “Special forces to counter Taliban’s deadliest weapon,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/362779/special-forces-to-counter-talibans-deadliest-weapon/
[6] “Rangers operation in Karachi, five arrested,” Dawn, April 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/11/rangers-operation-in-karachi-five-arrested/
[7] “Seven bodies recovered from Khyber Agency,” Dawn, April 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/11/seven-bodies-recovered-from-khyber-agency/
[8] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “S. Arabia offers help to tide over energy crisis,” Dawn, April 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/11/move-to-keep-pakistan-off-iran-pipeline-s-arabia-offers-help-to-tide-over-energy-crisis/
[9] Qaiser Butt, “Afghan endgame: Pakistan likely to attend NATO summit in Chicago,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/362837/afghan-endgame-pakistan-likely-to-attend-nato-summit-in-chicago/
[10] Asad Kharal, “Pre-empting travel curbs: Premier’s son flies abroad,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/362845/pre-empting-travel-curbs-premiers-son-flies-abroad/
[11] “Violence erupts in various areas of Karachi,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363003/violence-erupts-in-various-areas-of-karachi/
[12] Michael Langevine Leiby, “In Pakistan, government takes license with ‘public order’ law,” Washington Post, April 10, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-pakistan-government-takes-license-with-public-order-law/2012/04/10/gIQAZCA77S_story.html
[13] Rebecca MacKinnon, “Fighting the Great Firewall of Pakistan,” Foreign Policy, April 10, 2012. Available at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/10/fighting_the_great_firewall_of_pakistan
[14] “Indonesia earthquake: Tsunami watch in effect for Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka,” Reuters, April 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/362990/quake-off-aceh-triggers-indian-ocean-tsunami-warning/