Pakistan Security Brief – April 4, 2012

Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed condemns U.S. bounty on his head; Indian government welcomes announcement of bounty on Saeed; U.S. State Department denies that India had role in reward; Opposition continues boycott of Parliament’s proceedings; U.S. and Pakistan come to agreement on CSF disbursements; Pentagon says relationship between U.S. and Pakistan “settling;” Bomb rips through passenger van and kills six; Strict curfew imposed in Gilgit-Baltistan region; Four people killed in different areas of Karachi; Former Chief Minister of Punjab resigns; Hussain Haqqani fails to appear before “memogate” commission, citing health reasons.

Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed

  • During a press conference in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, Hafiz Saeed, the founder of banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), condemned the $10 million U.S. bounty on his head that was announced on Tuesday. Saeed mockingly stated that the U.S. should give him the reward money, and that he would “be in Lahore tomorrow,” and the U.S. could contact him whenever it chose.  Saeed claimed that the U.S. only announced the bounty because of his public demonstrations against reopening NATO supply routes, and said that “such rewards are usually for those who live in caves and mountains." Saeed’s party, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) said it will consult legal experts to determine if it can challenge the bounty in international court. The Indian government welcomed the announcement of the bounty against Saeed, stating that it reflected “the commitment of India and the U.S. to bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice.” When asked by reporters, U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland denied that India had any role in the reward being placed on Saeed, and said that the process was “internal.”[1]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) was scheduled to present a revised draft of its recommendations for U.S.-Pakistan relations to a joint session of Parliament on Thursday, but that has been indefinitely delayed due to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) continuing boycott of the proceedings. Opposition leaders who fear being seen as pro-American are demanding that the U.S. end its drone strikes in Pakistan as a precondition to reopening NATO supply routes in the country. An opposition lawmaker said that by linking the restoration of supply routes to a halt in drone strikes, the situation has become “unworkable,” because drone strikes will not stop and the supply lines will not open.[2]

  • According to the Express Tribune, the U.S. and Pakistan have reportedly come to an agreement over the reimbursement of Pakistan’s outstanding military expenses. Pakistan’s Joint Staff Headquarters has abandoned the voucher-based calculation of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and has given the U.S. two payment options: the equivalent of a UN peacekeeping force, which is $1,400 per soldier per day; or an amount matching international standards. The Express Tribune reported that the U.S. is likely to choose the second option. The CSF disbursements remain an ongoing issue whose ultimate resolution will depend on the reopening of NATO supply lines, said a Pakistani finance ministry official.[3]

  • At a news briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said that the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan was “settling,” and the Pentagon was hopeful that the NATO supply routes in Pakistan would be reopened soon.[4]

Militancy

  • A bomb ripped through a passenger van en route to Jamrud, Khyber agency on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding several others. Officials said the blast occurred due to a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) that exploded when the van drove over it.[5]

  • Authorities imposed a strict curfew in the Gilgit-Baltistan region after Tuesday’s incidents of sectarian violence, which killed 16 people and wounded over 50 others. In Gilgit, the Interior Ministry had cell phone services jammed, while the army and security forces patrolled the streets. In reaction to the Chillas incident where 10 Shias were killed, more than 20 Sunnis were reportedly kidnapped from Nagar Valley on Tuesday.[6]

  • Four people, including an Awami National Party (ANP) activist were killed on Wednesday in separate incidents of violence around Karachi.[7]

Domestic Politics

  • The Express Tribune reported on Wednesday that Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa, a PML-N member and former Chief Minister of Punjab, resigned from his position as Provincial Minister due to personal reasons.[8]

  • Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani excused himself from appearing before the “memogate” commission on April 5 due to health reasons. Haqqani reportedly filed a petition with the commission, claiming that he is unable to appear before the commission, because he has heart disease and is undergoing extensive medical tests in the U.S.[9]     

 

 

 


[1] Sebastian Abbot, “Pakistani militant leader thumbs nose at US bounty,” Associated Press, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/pakistani-militant-leader-thumbs-1406482.html
“Pakistan Lashkar-e-Taiba founder condemns US bounty,” BBC, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17607779
 Asad Kharal, Zia Khan and Aditi Phadnis, “For arrest and conviction: India hails, JuD mulls challenging bounty on Saeed,” Express Tribune, April 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359489/for-arrest-and-conviction-india-hails-jud-mulls-challenging-bounty-on-saeed/
Huma Imtiaz, “No India role in putting up bounty on Jamaatud Dawa head: US,” Express Tribune, April 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359480/no-india-role-in-putting-up-bounty-on-lashkar-e-taiba-head-us/
[2] Tanveer Ahmed, “PML-N continues PCNS boycott: Review of US ties hits snags,” Daily Times, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C04%5C04%5Cstory_4-4-2012_pg1_5
Chris Brummitt, “Anti-Americanism in Pakistan snarls war efforts,” Associated Press, April 3, 2012. Available at http://militarytimes.com/news/2012/04/ap-pakistan-anti-americanism-snarls-war-efforts-040312/
[3] Shahbaz Rana, “Coalition Support Fund: Alternatives for refund of war on terror bills,” Express Tribune, April 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359457/coalition-support-fund-alternatives-for-refund-of-war-on-terror-bills/
[4] Jeremy Herb, “Pentagon says US-Pakistan relationship ‘settling’ despite setbacks,” The Hill, April 3, 2012. Available at http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/219771-pentagon-says-us-pakistan-relationship-settling-despite-setbacks
[5] Iftikhar Firdous, “Six passengers killed, three injured in Jamrud blast,” Express Tribune, April 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359551/six-killed-seven-injured-in-jamrud-blast/
[6] Shabbir Mir, “Sectarian violence aftermath: Section 144 imposed in Skardu,” Express Tribune, April 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359561/sectarian-violence-aftermath-cellphone-services-jammed-in-gilgit/
[7] “Four more, including political activist, killed in Karachi violence,” Dawn, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/04/four-more-including-political-activist-killed-in-karachi-violence.html
[8] “Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa resigns,” Express Tribune, April 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359571/sardar-dost-muhammad-khosa-resigns/
[9] “Haqqani refuses to appear before memo commission,” Dawn, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/04/haqqani-refuses-to-appear-before-memo-commission.html