Pakistan Security Brief - April 14, 2011

Bashir condemns recent drone strike; HRCP: 900 killed in drone strikes in 2010; Toner: U.S. military trainers in Pakistan on invitation; Eighteen militants killed in Mohmand; Five injured by bomb; Eight killed in Karachi in ‘target killings;’ Siddiqui to file appeal; Pakistani official shot in Nepal; CNN profiles Mohamed Imran.

Drone Strike Diplomacy

  • In a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir condemned Wednesday’s drone attack in South Waziristan. He was quoted as stating, “Pakistan strongly condemns the drone attack at Angoor Adda today. We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counter-productive and only contribute to strengthening the hands of terrorists.” An official statement released by the foreign office said that the drone strikes have become a “core irritant in the counter-terror campaign.” In a statement to the National Assembly, Prime Minister Gilani said that, “We admit we are against them. We were able to separate militants from local tribal people, and when drone attack takes place the local tribes get united with militants.” He furthermore said that his administration has been increasing diplomatic pressure on the U.S. to cease the drone strikes. Meanwhile, the Express Tribune reports that the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, “called drone attacks a grave crime which he believes are being carried out with the help of the government.”[i]

  • The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has issued its 2010 annual report, which claims that over 900 people were killed by drone strikes last year. In addition, the report states that 1,100 people were killed in terrorist attacks.[ii]

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • A spokesperson for the Department of State, Mark Toner, has said that U.S. military personnel who have been sent to Pakistan to train the Pakistani military are there on invitation from Islamabad. Toner said, “They’re there at the invitation of the government of Pakistan to support security systems [programs] … we want to work closely, we want to keep that [program] alive, we think it’s important.” He furthermore said that the level of U.S. military personnel was linked to “the amount and type of training and equipping required to meet the Pakistani government’s requests and requirements.”[iii]

FATA

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

‘Target Killings’ in Karachi

Aafia Siddiqui Filing Appeal

  • Lawyers for Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neurologist sentenced to eighty-six years in prison for attempting to kill U.S. military personnel, are preparing to file an appeal on April 15. Her court-appointed lawyer, Dawn Cardi, stated that the appeal will challenge the “court’s decision, the several legal issues with the trial, the introduction of evidence as well as how Siddiqui was allowed to testify given what we believe was her diminished capacity.” Siddiqui had fired her five lawyers a month after being sentenced and waived her right to the appeal. However, Cardi said that she is obligated to file an appeal.[vii]

Pakistani Official Shot in Nepal

Blasphemy Laws

  • CNN profiles Mohamed Imran, a Pakistani man accused of violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Imran was subsequently exonerated before being killed by vigilantes outside of Islamabad. In regards to the recent assassinations of Pakistani politicians who have supported changes to the blasphemy laws, the media outlet reports, “Some observers see their deaths and the climate of rage around the blasphemy laws as symptomatic of a broader rise in fundamentalist tendencies in Pakistan.”[ix]



[i] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Pakistan lodges protest against US attack,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/14/pakistan-lodges-protest-against-us-attack.html
[ii] “Over 900 killed in drone attacks: HRCP,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/14/over-900-killed-in-drone-attacks-hrcp.html
[iii] “Trainers in Pakistan on invitation, says US,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/14/trainers-in-pakistan-on-invitation-says-us.html
[v] “5 injured while defusing bomb,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/14/5-injured-while-defusing-bomb.html
[vi] Imran Ayub, “Eight gunned down in Karachi,” Dawn, April 14, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/14/eight-gunned-down-in-karachi.html
[vii] Saba Imtiaz, “Aafia’s kawyers to file appeal against sentence,” Express Tribune, April 14, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/149229/aafias-lawyers-to-file-appeal-against-sentence/
[viii] “Pakistan embassy official shot and wounded in Nepal,” AFP, April 14, 2011. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110414/wl_sthasia_afp/nepalpakistancrimediplomacy
[ix] Nick Paton Walsh, “Pakistan’s blasphemy vigilantes kill exonerated man,” CNN, April 14, 2011. Available at http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/04/13/pakistan.blasphemy.vigilantes/index.html