Pakistan Security Brief - April 24, 2012

Supreme Court to announce verdict in Gilani contempt case on April 26; Three killed and over 30 injured in explosion at Lahore railway station; Supreme Court refers Hussain Haqqani’s video link petition to “memogate” commission; President Zardari orders Sindh government to “cleanse” Lyari of criminal elements before general elections; Anti-Narcotics Force includes 11 more pharmaceutical companies in ephedrine investigation; Marine Corps Gen. John Allen says he gets no support from Pakistani military; Pakistan asks UN Security Council to take action against Israel; Unveiling of Pakistan’ first attack craft; Karachi police claim to have arrested serial killer.

Domestic Politics

  • On Tuesday, the Supreme Court stated that it would announce its verdict on April 26 regarding Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s contempt charges for his refusal to obey a court order to reopen a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari. The court asked Gilani’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, to ensure that the prime minister is in court that day. If Gilani is found guilty, he could be forced to step down or to spend six months in prison. Ahsan told reporters he was hopeful that Gilani would be acquitted. According to the Associated Press, Gilani’s removal from office might not have a very significant political impact, since the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party has a majority in parliament and could elect a new prime minister.[1]

  • On Tuesday, the Supreme Court referred Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani’s petition to record his testimony via video link to the “memogate” commission and stated that the commission was free to rule on the petition however it saw fit.[2]

  • During a meeting chaired by President Zardari at Bilawal House on Tuesday, Zardari ordered the Chief Minister of Sindh and members of the national and provincial assemblies from Karachi’s Lyari area to “cleanse” Lyari of all criminal elements before the general elections.[3]

  • The prime minister’s house arranged a media briefing on Monday to assert that the ephedrine import case involving the prime minister’s son, Ali Musa Gilani, was “fabricated.” Ali’s lawyer said that there was no “concrete proof” against his client, and that as the son of the prime minister, Ali was an easy target for “forces that wanted to destabilise the government.” On Tuesday, the Anti-Narcotics Force included 11 more pharmaceutical companies in its investigation of the ephedrine case and summoned the companies’ owners on April 25 and 26.[4]

  • The first session of the National Assembly’s fifth and final parliamentary year will begin on April 25. The main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, told the Express Tribune that it is eager to “have a go at the government” regarding several issues including the law and order situation in Balochistan and Karachi, the Bhoja Airlines crash, the ephedrine drug scandal, and the hike in petroleum prices.[5]

Railway Station Blast

International Relations

  • Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said on Monday that he has had no support from the Pakistani military’s divisions that are stationed near the border, where the Afghan Taliban’s headquarters are located. Allen said that drugs are going out of Afghanistan through Pakistan and “lethal aid is coming in on a regular basis,” but he does not have the support of the Pakistan army to be able to conduct regular patrols and limit movement across the border.[7]

  • Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, the acting Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, asked the Security Council to take action against Israel for its continual defiance of international law. Tarar said that Israel’s “continuation of illegal settlement activity, continued persecution of Palestinians and reluctance to accept the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations,” are “roadblocks to peace,” and the Security Council should hold Israel accountable for these actions and restart the peace process.[8]

Navy

  • Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila spoke at the commissioning ceremony of PNS Azmat, “Pakistan’s first fast attack craft (missile)” at the Xingang Shipyard in Tianjin, China on Monday. Sandila said the event was a “milestone in defence and strategic cooperation between Pakistan and China,” and that the attack craft’s “immense firepower” and “stealthy features” would make the Pakistan Navy much more “versatile.”[9]

      



[1] “PM contempt: SC to announce verdict on April 26,” AFP, April 24, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/369201/pm-contempt-no-contempt-of-court-law-present-in-pakistan-says-ag/
“Pakistan's Top Court to Deliver Verdict in PM Case,” AP, April 24, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/04/24/world/asia/ap-as-pakistan.html?_r=1
[2] “Commission free to record Haqqani’s testimony via video: SC,” Dawn, April 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/24/commission-free-to-record-haqqanis-testimony-via-video-sc/
[3] “Cleanse Lyari of criminal elements before elections, orders Zardari,” Dawn, April 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/24/cleanse-lyari-of-criminal-elements-before-elections-orders-zardari/
[4] Tanveer Ahmed, “‘No evidence to link Musa Gilani to ephedrine scandal,’” Daily Times, April 24, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C04%5C24%5Cstory_24-4-2012_pg7_4
“ANF includes 11 more companies in ephedrine case investigation,” Dawn, April 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/24/anf-includes-11-more-companies-in-ephedrine-case-investigation/
[5] Qamar Zaman, “National Assembly: Opposition brings out ammo before parliament session,” Express Tribune, April 24, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/369074/national-assembly-opposition-brings-out-ammo-before-parliament-session/
[6] “2 killed, 30 injured in Lahore railway station blast,” Express Tribune, April 24, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/369243/blast-at-lahore-railway-station/
[7] Kristina Wong, “U.S. commander gets no help from Pakistan in defeating insurgents,” The Washington Times, April 23, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/23/us-commander-gets-no-help-from-pakistan-in-defeati/
[8] “Pakistan asks UNSC to hold Israel accountable for defying peace bids,” APP, April 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/04/24/pakistan-asks-unsc-to-hold-israel-accountable-for-defying-mideast-peace-bids/
[9] “Sino-Pak defence cooperation: Pakistan Navy inducts first fast attack craft,” Express Tribune, April 24, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/369112/sino-pak-defence-cooperation-pakistan-navy-inducts-first-fast-attack-craft/