Pakistan Security Brief - April 12, 2013

ANP member survives assassination; Senior ANP leader says government not helping protect threatened party; Army Chief meets president to discuss elections security, inaugurates new projects in NW Pakistan; U.S. to end counterinsurgency fund for Pakistan; Major reshuffle in ISI top brass; Police officer arrested for acting as Taliban mole; TTP announces ”conditional support” for polio campaign; Musharraf admits to drone deal with U.S.; Musharraf bail in treason case extended; Chinese ambassador calls on President Zardari; KP government to set up polling stations for IDPs at aid camps; Election Commission vows to implement overseas voting; Karachi stock exchange hub for money laundering; Karachi police arrest four TTP militants connected to major bombing; Gun battle in Peshawar kills five; IED defused in Karachi.

Militancy

  • On Thursday, the former KP Agriculture Minister, and a member of the Awami National Party (ANP), Arbab Ayub Jan, survived an assassination attempt by improvised explosive device (IED) in Peshawar. The driver of his vehicle was wounded in the attack. According to reports, Jan survived because the IED did not contain ball bearings.[1]

  • On Thursday, a police inspector in the Karachi police’s Anti Violent Crimes Cell, Rana Ishrat, was arrested on suspicion of being a more for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Ishrat was also reportedly accused of being responsible for the murders of other policemen. According to one of the arresting officers, Ishrat had been under watch since January, during which time “Ishrat went to…Khyber Agency twice where he arranged meetings with…TTP deputies and also brought in a sizeable amount of money to distribute among his associates in Karachi.”[2]

  • On Thursday, a TTP spokesman announced the group’s “conditional support” for ongoing anti-polio campaigns. The TTP’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said, “if [the polio vaccination teams] can convince us that these polio drops are Islamic and the spy agencies are not using it to kill our fighters, we would have no opposition to any vaccination drive which is in the public interest…. Our opposition and suspicion to the vaccination drives increased manifold after the Abbottabad incident.” The TTP denies any involvement in recent attacks on polio workers.[3]

  • On Friday, Karachi police arrested four TTP militants including the alleged “mastermind” of the massive Abbas Town blasts that targeted Shias last month. A large quantity of arms and explosives were reportedly recovered in the raid. One suspect, Ustad Aslam Mehsud is reportedly a “wing commander” of the TTP’s Khan Zaman Mehsud group that had planned attacks on Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement’s headquarters and the U.S. Consulate in Karachi.[4]

  • On Friday, four militants and a policeman were killed in a gun battle on the outskirts of Peshawar. The attack occurred as police attempted to stop the militants’ vehicle at checkpoint. 3 policemen were also wounded in the attack.[5]

  • Police in Karachi defused an IED near a mosque in Garden Area, Karachi on Friday.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a report on Friday, the U.S. is looking to wind down its Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF). The U.S. gave Pakistan $800 million under the PCCF in the fiscal year 2012-13. The U.S. will, however, retain assistance to Pakistan at the current $1.3 billion level for the next fiscal year. The money form the PCCF is likely to be shifted to the U.S.’s Foreign Military Financing program instead.[6]

Reshuffle at ISI

  • According to a report on Friday, there has been a “major reshuffle” in the senior command at Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). Reportedly, the most important change is the movement of Maj. Gen. Warraich, the former Director General (DG) Internal to command the 16th Infantry Division in Panu Aqil, Punjab. Several other two-star generals were also rotated in and out of the ISI, but Maj. Gen. Pataudi, the current DG Analysis, is reportedly remaining at his post.[7]

Drone Strikes

  • Former President Pervez Musharraf publicly admitted for the first time on Friday to signing a secret deal with U.S. on drone strikes during his tenure. He said, however, that permission was only given "only on a few occasions, when a target was absolutely isolated and no chance of collateral damage."[8]

Elections and Domestic Politics

  • On Thursday, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani met President Zardari following a biannual meeting of the Pakistan Army’s formation commanders, Corps Commanders and Principal Staff Officers. Plans for securing upcoming elections were reportedly discussed. As part of those plans, over 40,000 troops are to be assigned to guard polling stations on May 11.[9]

  • On Thursday, the interim provincial government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province opted to set up polling stations for internally displaced persons (IPs) at 23 food aid distribution points across the province to facilitate their participation in the upcoming polls. Thousands have been displaced by ongoing fighting across the northwest and are living with relatives or in IDP camps outside their normal constituencies.[10]

  • On Friday, the Islamabad High Court extended the grant of transitory bail to former President Musharraf until April 18th and required his presence before the bench on that day. Musharraf is currently facing several cases relating to his conduct as President when he declared emergency and jailed several judges.[11]

  • Senior ANP leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour complained on Thursday of inadequate security being provided to his party by the government. He said the lack of security protection was preventing his party’s members from properly canvassing and campaigning ahead of upcoming polls. Several ANP leaders have been targeted by Taliban militants in the past weeks.[12]

  • On Thursday, the Election Commission of Pakistan told the Supreme Court that it will ensure voting for overseas Pakistanis in upcoming elections to be held on May 11, a change from its earlier stance when it was recommending not including overseas Pakistanis this time around.[13]

  • On Friday, Gen. Kayani visited Bajaur agency to inaugurate the opening of a new college and the Swat Valley to mark the completion of a new bridge project.[14]

Sino-Pak Relations

  • On Friday, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan called on President Asif Zardari. During the visit, Sino-Pak relations, the port at Gwadar and Zardari’s upcoming visit to China were reportedly discussed.[15]

Money Laundering in Pakistan

  • According to a recent report, Karachi’s stock exchange was one of the five best performing markets in the world in 2012 with over 49 percent returns, despite the violence that is plaguing the city. However, at least some of boom is attributed to laws that allow the KSE to function essentially as a laundering facility for black money—there is no scrutiny over the origin of money used to buy shares in the market.[16]


[1] “Former KP Minister escapes bomb attack, driver injured,” Dawn, April 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/11/former-kp-minister-escapes-bomb-attack-driver-injured/
[2] “Black sheep: AVCC inspector held for being TTP’s informant,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/534814/black-sheep-avcc-inspector-held-for-being-ttps-informant/
[3] “Taliban militants announce ‘conditional support’ for anti-polio drive,” Dawn, April 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/12/taliban-militants-announce-conditional-support-for-anti-polio-drive/
[4] “Abbas Town mastermind among four Taliban arrested in Karachi,” Dawn, April 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/13/abbas-town-blasts-mastermind-among-four-taliban-arrested-in-karachi/
[5] “Four militants, policeman, killed in gunbattle near Peshawar,” Dawn, April 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/12/four-militants-policeman-killed-in-gunbattle-near-peshawar/
[6] “US decides to end Pakistan counterinsurgency capability fund,” The News, April 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-96442-US-decides-to-end-Pak-counterinsurgency-capability-fund
[7] “Major reshuffle in ISI,” The News, April 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22215-Major-reshuffle-in-ISI
[8] “Ex-Pakistani president Musharraf admits secret deal with U.S. on drone strikes,” CNN, April 12, 2013. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/11/world/asia/pakistan-musharraf-drones/?hpt=ias_c2
[9] “General Kayani, President Zardari, discuss security situation,” The News, April 12, 2013. Availability of http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-96441-General-Kayani,-President-Zardari-discuss-security-situation-
[10] “IDPs to cast vote at food distribution points,” Dawn, April 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/12/idps-to-cast-vote-at-food-distribution-points-2/
[11] “IHC extends Musharraf’s transitory bail until April 18,” Dawn, April 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/12/ihc-approves-interim-bail-for-musharraf/
[12] “ANP complains of candidates’ poor security,” Dawn, April 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/04/12/anp-complains-of-candidates-poor-security/
[13] “Voting for overseas Pakistanis would be ensured, ECP tells SC,” Express Tribune, April 11, 2013. Available at ensure voting for overseas Pakistanis
[14] “COAS inaugurates projects in Bajaur, Swat,” The News, April 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-96443-COAS-inaugurates-projects-in-Bajaur,-Swat
[16] “Insight: Pakistan’s Booming Market no Black and White Matter,” Reuters, April 12, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/12/us-pakistan-stockmarket-insight-idUSBRE93813Z20130412