Pakistan Security Brief – April 13, 2012

Parliament unanimously approves recommendations on U.S.-Pakistan relations; U.S. diplomat says end to drone strikes is “highly unlikely;” Prime Minister Gilani tells parliament he will implement its recommendations in “letter and spirit;” Fresh onslaught of violence erupts in Lyari; Three members of Hazara community killed in Quetta; Pakistanis calling for end to territorial dispute between Pakistan and India; India “to allow foreign direct investments from Pakistan;” Prime Minister Gilani’s son denies involvement in drug scandal; UNHCR says 181,000 people displaced in northwest Pakistan.

 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, parliament unanimously approved new recommendations for the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations. In its recommendations, parliament specified that NATO supply routes could not be used to transport arms and ammunition, and called for an end to U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. The resolution did not specifically state whether or not the supply routes would be reopened, instead leaving that decision up to the government. The resolution also called for an “unconditional” and public apology from the U.S. for the NATO air strikes which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, and demanded that “those responsible for the air strikes be brought to justice.” Additional parliamentary recommendations called for barring the use of Pakistani territory for attacks on other countries, restricting the presence of foreign military troops and bases in the country, and ceasing to enter into verbal agreements regarding national security. Parliament also stated that it would no longer allow “overt or covert operations” inside Pakistan.[1]

  • In response to the parliamentary declaration, U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that the U.S. respects the seriousness of the parliamentary review of U.S.-Pakistan relations, and seeks an “enduring, strategic, and more clearly defined” relationship with Pakistan. According to the Express Tribune, an anonymous U.S. diplomat stated that it is “highly unlikely” that the Obama Administration would end the drone campaign in Pakistan because it views the program as a “vital tool” to combating al Qaeda. The diplomat also added that the U.S. is “likely to offer a public apology” for the NATO airstrikes, and that he expects the NATO supply routes to be reopened because coalition forces “do not use Pakistani land routes for the supply of weapons and other ammunition.”[2]

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called the resolution proof that Pakistan stands “united when it comes to national interests.” He told parliament that the government would implement the recommendations in “letter and spirit,” and congratulated parliament for bringing “real and substantive oversight and democratic accountability to [Pakistan’s] foreign and security policy.” Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan responded to the recommendations by calling them “guidelines and principles,” stating that the “appropriate position” on the reopening of NATO supply routes will be left up to “the will of the people.”[3]

  • Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) chairman Maulana Samiul Haq announced that the DPC will stand firm against the reopening NATO supply routes. At a press conference, Haq said that the supply routes would only feed the U.S., allowing it to grow stronger.  DPC will hold its next rally in Peshawar on April 15. Haq added that the rally is especially important because Peshawar “is an area that is directly affected by the [NATO] supply line.”[4]

Karachi Violence

  • A fresh onslaught of violence erupted in Karachi’s Lyari area on Friday, and three people were killed in separate incidents involving rockets, hand grenades and firing. Protesters burned tires and forced shops to close down as they protested against raids and operations by law enforcement agencies.[5]

Militancy

Avalanche

  • Hundreds of rescue workers, including foreign rescue teams from the U.S., Switzerland and Germany, have been using detection dogs, earthmovers and shovels to try and find the 135 people who were buried alive in the avalanche. No survivors or bodies have been found, and the Pakistani military has acknowledged that the 135 missing soldiers and civilians are probably dead. McClatchy reported that since Saturday’s avalanche at the Siachen Glacier in northern Kashmir, Pakistanis have been calling for an end to the longstanding territorial disputes between Pakistan and India. Since 1984, 6,200 Pakistani and Indian troops have died on the glacier, and 90 percent of those deaths were due to the severe climate conditions.[7]

International Relations

  • India’s Trade Minister said on Friday that India has decided “to allow foreign direct investments from Pakistan.” Late on Friday, India and Pakistan will open a border trade post at Wagah, between Lahore and Amritsar, which is expected to bring trade up to “$8 billion annually from the current level of $2.6 billion.”[8]

  • During a meeting on Thursday, the Economic Coordination Committee approved a draft of a gas sales purchase agreement (GSPA) with Turkmenistan for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and "endorsed the gas price at 70 [percent] of crude price," which is less expensive than the gas that will be purchased from Iran. The approval will pave the way for the signing of the GSPA next month.[9]

Smuggling

  • Speaking to the media from South Africa, Prime Minister Gilani’s son, Ali Musa Gilani, denied any involvement in a drug scandal involving the illegal import and sale of ephedrine in Pakistan. Ali Musa claimed that the authorities were unfairly “targeting” his family.[10]

Refugees

  • The office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated on Friday that over 181,000 people have been displaced by an ongoing security operation against militants in northwest Pakistan.[11]      

 


[1] Zia Khan and Zahid Gishkori, “In unison: Parliament passes foreign policy reboot,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364025/in-unison-parliament-passes-foreign-policy-reboot/
Sami Zubeiri, “Pakistan approves new guidelines for US ties,” AFP, April 13, 2012. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gM5S_YT4kHnnoS8PrPgMSYLttjuw?docId=CNG.82a75c2fc238d02b90046ac0b44ed38b.371
“Pakistan OKs guidelines for U.S. relationship,” Associated Press, April 13, 2012. Available at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2012/04/13/MN5J1O2ID6.DTL
Salman Masood and Declan Walsh, “Pakistan Gives U.S. a List of Demands, Including an End to C.I.A. Drone Strikes,” The New York Times, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/world/asia/pakistan-demands-an-end-to-cia-drone-strikes.html?_r=2
[2] “US seeks ‘clearly defined’ ties with Pakistan,” AFP, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364126/us-seeks-enduring-strategic-clearly-defined-ties-with-pakistan/
Kamran Yousaf, “Revisiting foreign policy: US ready to talk – but end to drone strikes unlikely,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364036/revisiting-foreign-policy-us-ready-to-talk--but-end-to-drone-strikes-unlikely/
[3] “PCNS proposals will be implemented in “letter and spirit”: Gilani,” Dawn, April 13, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/12/pcns-proposals-will-be-implemented-in-letter-and-spirit-gilani/
Sami Zubeiri, “Pakistan approves new guidelines for US ties,” AFP, April 13, 2012. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gM5S_YT4kHnnoS8PrPgMSYLttjuw?docId=CNG.82a75c2fc238d02b90046ac0b44ed38b.371
[4] “Nato supply routes: DPC chairman stands firm against reopening routes,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364015/nato-supply-routes-dpc-chairman-stands-firm-against-reopening-routes/
[5] “Violence erupts in Lyari, 4 dead,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364135/violence-erupts-in-lyari-school-teacher-shot-dead/
[6] Shehzad Baloch, “Sectarian attacks: Three Hazaras slain in Quetta attacks,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363959/sectarian-attacks-three-hazaras-slain-in-quetta-attacks/
“Shias rally against sectarianism across the country,” AFP, April 13, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/13/shias-rally-against-sectarianism-across-the-country/
[7] Tom Hussain, “After Himalayan avalanche, many in Pakistan call for patching ties with India,” McClatchy Newspapers, April 12, 2012. Available at http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/12/3550861/after-himalayan-avalanche-many.html
Sumera Khan, “Avalanche tragedy — Day 6: Foreign rescuers arrive in Giari in harsh weather,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364002/avalanche-tragedy--day-6-foreign-rescuers-arrive-in-giari-in-harsh-weather/
[8] Annie Bannerji, “India to allow investment from Pakistan, open border post,” Reuters, April 13, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/13/us-india-pakistan-trade-idUSBRE83C0EU20120413
[10] “Ephedrine quota scandal: It’s vendetta against the Gilanis, insists Ali Musa,” Express Tribune, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/363958/ephedrine-quota-scandal-its-vendetta-against-the-gilanis-insists-ali-musa/
[11] “Over 181,000 have fled recent NW Pakistan fighting: UNHCR,” AFP, April 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/364168/over-181000-have-fled-recent-nw-pakistan-fighting-unhcr/