Pakistan Security Brief - April 3, 2012

U.S. places $10 million bounty on Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, JuD calls move stunt to please India; Secretary of Defense Panetta says no direct links between Pakistani leadership and bin Laden; India to give Pakistan dossier on Mumbai attacks; Karachi violence abates as President calls for strong action against troublemakers, Sindh police to get new weapons to tackle terrorists, inquiry into Lyari violence to be launched, Abbottabad commission summons ministers for testimony; 13 killed in sectarian violence in northern Pakistan; Bomb wounds 16 in Kurram; Pushback against stifling security measures in Islamabad.

Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed

  • The U.S. government has placed a $10 million bounty on the head of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the head of LeT’s charity front Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The announcement was made by U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman during a visit to India. Indian officials welcomed the announcement as they hold Saeed responsible for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks among others. Indian jubilation prompted Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to chide India for cheering what he termed “external interference in Pakistan.” The bounty is the same amount being offered for Taliban leader Mullah Omar and second only to the amount being offered for al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri. LeT deputy and Saeed’s brother-in-law Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki was also added to the U.S. Rewards for Justice list with a bounty of $2.5 million. JuD reacted strongly to the announcement, protesting Saeed’s innocence and releasing an announcement terming the move a stunt to “please India.”[1]

  • According to Geo News, India is planning on handing over a 700-page dossier to Pakistan “soon” cataloguing the case of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The dossier reportedly contains post-mortem reports, the confession of the attack’s lone surviving gunman and the case diary.[2]

Violence in Karachi

  • Violence in Karachi abated somewhat on Tuesday as the situation began to return to normal following days of killings across the city. Lyari, a PPP-stronghold in Karachi, was worst hit by the violence. Deployment of the police and frontier constabulary as well as patrolling by the paramilitary Rangers force reportedly helped control the volatile situation. At least seven people were killed in various targeted killings across the city on Monday. The Sindh government has called for an inquiry into the killing of a Lyari gangster on Sunday that fanned the violence in the city. President Zardari was briefed on the prevailing situation and called for stern action to be taken against criminals in “areas other than Lyari as well.” During the meeting, Zardari also called for the Sindh police to be allocated Rs. 2.5 billion ($27.5 million) in order to purchase new weapons and equipment with which to “help them fight terrorists.” Karachi police, meanwhile, arrested four “target killers” and 13 other suspects in operations across Karachi.[3]

  • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Tuesday expressed his displeasure with the prevailing law and order situations in Karachi and Balochistan and the government responses to them. Chaudhry blamed the continuing violence on the government’s failure to carry out previous directives to “de-weaponize” Karachi.[4]

Osama bin Laden and Pakistan

  • In an interview on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated that the U.S. has no evidence to suggest any direct links between “Pakistani authorities and Osama bin Laden’s ability to live and operate” deep inside Pakistan. Speaking further, Panetta said “the leadership within Pakistan is obviously not aware of certain things and yet people lower down in the military establishment know it very well….They’ve been aware of it.  But the bottom line is that we have not had evidence that provides that direct link.” The Associated Press, meanwhile, locates and reports on one of bin Laden’s safe houses in Haripur, in which he spent a year before moving to his final hideout in Abbottabad.[5]

  • The Abbottabad commission investigating the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden is reportedly near completion, and the committee has summoned the foreign and defence ministers and the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province to give testimony on the proceedings when it meets from April 18 to 20. The commission has also summoned a number of retired senior military officers including former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. (Retd) Nadeem Taj and former head of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) Brig. (retd) Ijaz Shah.[6]

Militancy

  • At least 13 people were killed in incidents of sectarian violence in northern Pakistan on Tuesday. In Gilgit, a Sunni Islamist group was observing a strike when unknown assailants attacked a public square with hand grenades. The attack sparked additional clashes leaving four dead and 45 wounded. In Chillas, armed men stopped a bus, offloaded Shia travelers and then opened fire on them, killing nine. The violence prompted the army to be called in to control the situation.[7]

  • Two soldiers were among 16 people wounded when a bomb exploded at a bus terminal in Sadda, Kurram agency on Monday. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack. In neighboring Hangu district, a suspected militant was shot dead by unknown gunmen travelling on a motorcycle. The dead man was believed to be affiliated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.[8]

  • A Frontier Corps helicopter was attacked on Tuesday forcing the aircraft to conduct an emergency landing. The TTP claimed it carried out the attack using an anti-aircraft gun. No casualties were reported.[9]

Nuclear Weapons

  • Lt. Gen. Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, the Director General of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD), the army command tasked with overseeing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons force, on Monday said a new Special Response Force would be given the responsibility to protect the country’s “national strategic assets.” Kidwai was speaking at the graduation ceremony for the first batch of the newly raised Special Response Force, a component of the SPD.[10]

Security

  • The Washington Post reports on the stifling security measures that have enveloped the Pakistani capital of Islamabad since the bombing of the Marriott hotel there in 2008 and the resulting pushback from locals and city authorities.[11]      



[1] Richard Leiby and Rama Lakshmi, “U.S. puts $10 million bounty on Pakistan terror group’s leader,” Washington Post, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-puts-10-million-bounty-on-pakistan-terror-groups-leader/2012/04/03/gIQAx9NjsS_print.html
“Bounty on Hafiz Saeed and act to ‘please India,’ says JuD” Dawn, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/03/us-offers-10-million-for-hafiz-saeed.html
[2] “India to hand over dossier on Mumbai attacks to Pakistan,” Geo, April 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42663
[3] “Lyari situation improved,” Geo, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42721
“Inquiry ordered into Lyari killing,” The News, April 2, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-42584-Inquiry-ordered-over-Lyari-gangster-killing
“President briefed on Lyari situation,” Dawn, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/03/president-briefed-on-lyari-operation.html
“Sindh police to be given Rs2.5 billion to fight terrorist,” Geo, April 2, 2012.Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42633
“Police arrest four ‘target killers,’” Geo, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42770
[4] “CJ displeased with authorities over Karachi and Balochistan,” Dawn, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/03/cj-displeased-with-authorities-over-karachi-and-balochistan.html
[5] Huma Imtiaz, “No direct link between Pakistan authorities and OBL: Panetta,” Express Tribune, April 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/358972/no-direct-link-between-pakistan-authorities-and-obl-panetta/
[6] “Abbottabad commission to quiz defence and foreign ministers, KP CM,” The News, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-100939-Abbottabad-commission-to-quiz-defence-and-foreign-ministers,-KP-CM
[7] “13 killed in Gilgit and Chillas; Army summoned,” Geo, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42738
[8] “Two soldiers among 16 injured in Kurram blasts,” The News, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-100939-Abbottabad-commission-to-quiz-defence-and-foreign-ministers,-KP-CM
“‘Militant’ shot dead in Hangu,” The News, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-100924-Militant-shot-dead-in-Hangu
[9] “FC helicopters attacked, TTP claims responsibility,” Dawn, April 3, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/03/fc-helicopter-attacked-ttp-claims-responsibilty.html
[10] “Special Response Force to protect National Strategic Assets,” Geo, April 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42651
[11] “In Islamabad, some call for city to let down its guard,” Washington Post, April 2, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-islamabad-some-call-for-city-to-let-down-its-guard/2012/04/02/gIQAumgzqS_story.html?wprss=rss_asia-pacific