Pakistan Security Brief - April 23, 2012

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency foils two terrorist plots involving militant groups in Pakistan; Cross-border skirmishes occur between Pakistani and U.S. troops; Pakistan Army commander worries about giving Taliban impression of victory; Police conduct raids in Karachi and arrest two dozen suspects; President Zardari forms committee to monitor law and order situation in Karachi; World Bank allocates $1.8 billion for Pakistan; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia discuss “strengthening trade and economic ties;” 143 escaped prisoners back in Bannu jail; Sectarian violence against Hazaras continues in Quetta; Beheaded body of religious cleric found in Khyber agency; Private airlines to undergo new mandatory inspection; TAPI gas transit fee finalized; Pakistan to import electricity from India.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said Saturday that it had foiled two terrorist plots in Kabul involving militant groups in Pakistan. The first plot involved a plan to assassinate Afghanistan’s second vice president, Karim Khalil, while the second plot involved a plan to smuggle 11 tons of explosives into Afghanistan in a truck filled with potato sacks. The militants from the failed assassination plot confessed that they had been trained by Arab and Pakistani trainers in Miram Shah, North Waziristan, which is the headquarters for the Pakistani-based Haqqani Network. According to the Afghan intelligence agency, the explosives mission was organized by members of the Pakistani Taliban.[1]  

  • U.S. soldiers have fired into Pakistani territory about four times in the previous ten months in cross-border skirmishes. U.S. officials said that the firing incidents were in response to shelling from inside Pakistan, and although they try to communicate with the Pakistani military first, it does not always happen. Afghan Army Commander Masoud Karimi told CNN that Pakistani soldiers had fired at him and his men as recently as April 14.[2]

  • Lieutenant-General Khalid Rabbani, commander of Pakistan’s troops in the northwest region, told Reuters about his worries that the exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan could give the Afghan Taliban a “notion of success.” Rabbani said that if the Taliban is given an impression of victory, it could prove disastrous for Pakistan, because it would embolden the Pakistani Taliban to step up its efforts to topple the Pakistani government.[3]

Energy

  • Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dr. Asim Hussain announced on Friday that Pakistan, India and Afghanistan had agreed to a “transit fee rate of 49.5 cents per Million British Thermal Units (mmbtu)” for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, and that the final round of negotiations will occur in Turkmenistan on May 24.[4]

  • According to Federal Secretary for the Ministry of Water and Power Qazi Imtiaz Ahmed, Pakistan is planning to import 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity from India. Once a formal agreement on the project is reached, a “45-kilometer-long, 220 [kilovolts] line will be constructed,” and Pakistan will ask Indian power supply companies to help implement the project. Meanwhile, a delegation from the ministry will visit Tehran in the next few weeks to “negotiate terms and conditions for the import of 1,000MW of electricity from Iran.”[5]

Karachi Violence

Economy

Bannu Jailbreak

Militancy

Private Airlines

  • The Pakistani government has ordered all planes operated by private airlines to undergo a new mandatory inspection to determine whether they are safe to fly. The mandate was announced in response to two incidents over the weekend involving private airlines. In the first incident on Friday, a Bhoja Airlines plane crashed due to bad weather, killing all 127 passengers onboard, and in the second incident on Sunday, a Shaheen Airlines plane almost crashed when its left tire burst upon landing.[15]

    

 

 


[1] Alissa J. Rubin, “Afghanistan’s Spy Agency Says It Thwarted 2 Attacks,” New York Times, April 21, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/world/asia/afghan-spy-agency-says-it-thwarts-2-attacks.html?_r=2
[2] Nick Paton Walsh, “Officials: U.S. troops have fired from base inside Afghanistan at Pakistan 4 times,” CNN, April 23, 2012. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/23/world/asia/afghanistan-border-clashes/index.html
[3] Qasim Nauman, “Perceptions of Afghan Taliban victory dangerous: Pakistan general,” Reuters, April 20, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/20/us-pakistan-military-northwest-idUSBRE83J0TZ20120420
[4] Zafar Bhutta, “Unanimous decision: TAPI gas transit fee finalized,” Express Tribune, April 21, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/367624/unanimous-decision-tapi-gas-transit-fee-finalised/
[5] Qaiser Butt, “Knocking on neighbours’ doors: Energy-starved Pakistan looks to India for electricity,” Express Tribune, April 22, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368215/knocking-on-neighbours-doors-energy-starved-pakistan-looks-to-india-for-electricity/
[6] “Karachi violence: Police arrest two dozen suspects during raids,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368716/karachi-violence-police-arrest-two-dozens-suspects-during-raids/
[7] “Karachi violence: Committee to monitor law and order situation,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368738/karachi-violence-committee-to-monitor-law-and-order-situation/
[8] “World Bank allocates $1.8b for Pakistan this year,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368644/world-bank-allocates-1-8b-for-pakistan-this-year/
[9] “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia pledge to expand ties,” Dawn, April 23, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/23/pakistan-and-saudi-arabia-pledge-to-expand-ties/
[10] “143 Bannu jail escapees back to prison,” Dawn, April 22, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/22/143-bannu-jail-escapees-back-to-prison/
[11] Shehzad Baloch, “Two suspects killed, police official injured in exchange of fire,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368736/two-suspects-killed-police-official-injured-in-exchange-of-fire/
[12] Shehzad Baloch, “Sectarian Violence: Two more Hazaras shot dead in Quetta,” Express Tribune, April 22, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368211/sectarian-violence-two-more-hazaras-shot-dead-in-quetta/
“Targeted attack: Hazara man injured in shooting,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368631/targeted-attack-hazara-man-injured-in-shooting/
[13] “Restive frontier: Militants butcher cleric in Khyber,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368634/restive-frontier-militants-butcher-cleric-in-khyber/
[14] “Balochistan violence: Landmine blasts, shooting claim six lives,” Express Tribune, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368643/balochistan-violence-landmine-blasts-shooting-claim-six-lives/
[15] “Pakistan orders new inspection after crash,” AP, April 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/368211/sectarian-violence-two-more-hazaras-shot-dead-in-quetta/