Pakistan Security Brief – April 12, 2012

PCNS expected to submit final draft of recommendations on U.S.-Pakistan relations; PML-N requests that Pakistan seek end to drone strikes; Lashkar-e-Islam publicly executes seven of its members; Frontier Corps kill four suspected militants; New report says Pakistan spends $2.5 billion on nuclear arms operations; India says it’s willing to negotiate Kashmir dispute with Pakistan; Pakistan to launch trade fair in New Delhi; Armed men abduct ten laborers near Sui, Balochistan; Hussain Haqqani fails to appear at “memogate” hearing; Supreme Court resumes hearing prime minister’s contempt case.

 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) is expected to submit its final draft of recommendations regarding the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations, once it completes its deliberation on a clause that would compel the U.S. to stop drone strikes in Pakistan. The amended recommendations will include additional input from all opposition parties, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), which has protested the reopening of NATO supply routes. After a “series of negotiations” between JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the Pakistan Peoples Party, a conditional agreement was reached allowing JUI-F to submit a dissenting note with the final draft.[1]

  • On Wednesday, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif announced that his party asked the Pakistani government to “seek an end to drone strikes” in exchange for the reopening of NATO supply routes. According to the Express Tribune, the PML-N’s request to halt U.S. drone strikes is a “key roadblock” to passing the PCNS recommendations. Sharif suggested that Pakistani and U.S. officials should meet to discuss their concerns and reach an “amicable solution.”[2]

Nuclear Arms Report

  • According to a recent report by the Reaching Critical Will project of the Women’s International League for Peace and freedom, a nuclear disarmament advocacy group, Pakistan spends $2.5 billion annually on nuclear arms operations. This estimate is higher than the $2.2 billion estimate offered in March by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The new report also states that Pakistan is “shifting away from relying on only highly enriched uranium to fuel its warheads and is using more plutonium, which allows for production of smaller warheads.” According to the project, Pakistan is growing its ability to develop and produce nuclear weapons, and now possesses between 90 and 110 warheads, which is slightly more than India possesses.[3]

Militancy

Domestic Politics

  • The hearing of the “memogate” case resumed in the Islamabad High Court on Thursday, but despite repeated warnings from the judicial commission, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani failed to appear. According to the Express Tribune, the commission issued a final warning to Haqqani at the last hearing and said that if he did not attend Thursday’s hearing, a red warrant would be issued for his arrest. Haqqani’s attorney asked the commission to refrain from taking any action against Haqqani until the Supreme Court makes its final decision regarding Haqqani’s petition asking for permission to record his statement via video link. The commission rejected the request and adjourned the hearing until April 26.[7]

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appointed former Sindh High Court judge Yasmeen Abbasi as the new Law Secretary and former Law Secretary Irfan Qadir as the new Attorney General. On Wednesday, Gilani conferred the status of federal minister on Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman. She is the first ambassador in nearly 30 years to be given this status.[8]

  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court resumed the hearing of Prime Minister Gilani’s contempt case on Thursday. Gilani’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, once again argued that the judges presiding over the case had brought the case against Gilani, and so they were ineligible to hear it. The court directed Ahsan to finish submitting his evidence by April 18, and adjourned the hearing until Friday.[9]

  • During a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Gilani briefed the Cabinet members on the "malicious campaign" alleging that his son was involved in an illegal drug import scandal. The cabinet reportedly expressed its solidarity with Gilani.[10]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that India is “willing to talk” with Pakistan about the disputed territory of Kashmir in an effort to advance peace talks between the two countries. Mathai also said that Pakistan must take “serious action” against militants that use Pakistani territory to attack India.[11]

  • On Thursday, Pakistan will unveil a trade fair in New Dehli that will run until Saturday, and will feature a showcase of Pakistani goods as commercial ties between India and Pakistan begin to flourish. Tariq Puri, the organizer of the fair and head of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, told Reuters that the fair will give India a “soft image of Pakistan.” On Friday, India and Pakistan will open a border trade post in the Wagah area, between Lahore and Amritsar.[12]

  • Pakistan released 26 Indian fishermen on Thursday as a “goodwill gesture” to India following President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.[13]



[1] Zahid Gishkori, “Pak-US ties: PCNS struggles to finalise recommendations,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363566/pak-us-ties-pcns-struggles-to-finalise-recommendations/
“Fazl ‘conditionally’ agrees to attend PCNS meeting,” Dawn, April 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/11/fazl-conditionally-agrees-to-attend-pcns-meeting/
[2] Qamar Zaman, “End drone strikes, then we’ll discuss NATO routes,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363427/end-drone-strikes-then-well-discuss-nato-routes/
[3] “Pakistan Spending $2.5B Annually on Nuclear Arsenal, Report Says,” Global Security Newswire, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/new-report-offers-higher-estimate-pakistani-nuke-arsenal-spending/
[4] “Militants execute seven renegades in Khyber,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363431/militants-execute-seven-renegades-in-khyber/
[5] “Armed Ambush: Four militants killed in Dera Bugti,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363364/armed-ambush-four-militants-killed-in-dera-bugti/
[6] Shehzad Baloch, “10 labourers abucted from Dera Bugti-Sui road site,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363557/10-labourers-abucted-from-dera-bugti-sui-road-site/
[7] “Memogate scandal: Haqqani will not appear before commission,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363514/memogate-scandal-haqqani-will-not-appear-before-commission/
“Haqqani’s plea to prorogue memo case proceedings declined,” Geo, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=44088
[8] “Govt appoints new AG, Secretary Law,” The News, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-44070-Govt-appoints-new-AG,-Secretary-Law
“Pakistan ambassador to US Sherry given status of federal minister,” Geo, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=44035
[9] “PM Contempt Case: Aitzaz questions bench’s eligibility,” Geo, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=44091
“PM contempt: SC orders Aitzaz to complete evidence by April 18,” Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363519/pm-contempt-trial-contradicts-article-10-a-of-constitution/
[10] “Drug quota scandal: Premier takes Cabinet into confidence over son," Express Tribune, April 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363458/drug-quota-scandal-premier-takes-cabinet-into-confidence-over-son/
[11] Tom Wright and Matt Murray, “India Puts Kashmir on Table,” The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2012. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303624004577337713832062228.html
[12] Matthias Williams and Annie Banerji, “Pakistan reveals soft side to India with trade show,” Reuters, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/12/uk-india-pakistan-idUSLNE83B00L20120412
[13] “Twenty-six Indian fishermen released as ‘goodwill gesture,’” Dawn, April 12, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/12/twenty-six-indian-fishermen-released-as-goodwill-gesture/