Pakistan Security Brief – April 5, 2012

State Department says bounty on Hafiz Saeed is for information that leads to arrest, not location; Former Director General of ISI testifies before “memogate” commission; Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief walks out of PCNS meeting; Prime Minister Gilani convinces Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to end boycott of PCNS proceedings; TTP suicide bomber targets senior policeman in Karachi; Hizb-e-Islami to hold peace talks with Afghan and U.S. officials; Three policemen killed in Karachi; Pakistan’s Finance Ministry calculates expected cost of withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan; U.S. Deputy Secretary of State holds meetings with senior Pakistani officials; Quarter of a million Pakistanis displaced in Khyber agency; Joint session of Parliament may shift focus to spike in petroleum prices.

 

Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed

  • At Wednesday’s press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner explained why the department placed a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the founder of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), stating that it is not for information about his location, but for “information that leads to an arrest or conviction.” Earlier in the day, Saeed mocked the State Department for issuing the bounty, announcing that “America can contact [him] whenever it wants to.” Also on Wednesday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry announced that it would need “concrete evidence” before undertaking any move to arrest Saeed. Despite the State Department’s claim that the bounty on Saeed was delayed for over three years due to the “bureaucratic process,” former senior National Security Council official Bruce Riedel speculated that the bounty was recently issued due to “new information about Saeed's links to al Qaeda” obtained from bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout.[1]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides had meetings this week in Pakistan with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Prime Minister Gilani and President Zardari. On Wednesday, both sides agreed to introduce a “new framework” that will cover military compensation for Pakistani troops, the price to be charged for NATO containers passing through Pakistan, and the cost of pulling out heavy equipment when coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. Formal negotiations on the new framework will begin once Pakistan’s Parliament completes its review of U.S.-Pakistan ties. Nides expressed his belief that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship could take a “balanced approach” that “respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and interests,” but also represents U.S. national security concerns. During Nides’ meeting with President Zardari, the president said that the democratic process may appear to be “long and noisy,” but is valuable due to its “lasting and fruitful” effects.[2]

Domestic Politics

  • Former Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate Lt. Gen. (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha testified before the “memogate” commission on Thursday. Pasha testified that contrary to the allegations in the memo, there was no military coup planned after the Osama bin Laden raid in May, because “had it been planned ISI would have known.” He informed the commission about the details of his meeting with Pakistani American businessman and key witness in the case Mansoor Ijaz. Pasha said that he had tried to inform the president and prime minister about the memo, but they had been unable to meet with Pasha because of their busy schedules, and although he had been unable to obtain their written permissions to meet with Ijaz, he had received verbal permission from the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. According to Pasha, President Asif Ali Zardari was notified about the memo on October 23, and Gen. Kayani was notified on November 18.[3]

  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief  Fazlur Rehman walked out of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) meeting on Thursday, saying that he, his party, and the entire “religious right” are firmly against reopening Pakistan’s NATO supply routes. He said that if the government goes ahead with restoring the routes, then the reaction will be “worse than expected.” Rehman and other committee members also expressed their concern over the U.S. bounty on Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Saeed, and said the U.S. still has no respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty. Members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) attended the meeting after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani convinced PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday to end his boycott of the PCNS proceedings.[4]

  • The joint session of Parliament may shift its focus from U.S.-Pakistan relations to petroleum prices, in light of the recent spike in prices. According to the deputy information secretary of the PLM-N, parliamentary leaders, including those from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement MQM, will “protest against the increase in prices of petroleum products in the joint session.”[5]

  • Pakistan’s Finance Ministry is calculating the expected costs to the country’s infrastructure when foreign troops begin withdrawing from Afghanistan. Officials say the cost of withdrawal to Pakistan will probably be high, depending on the level of withdrawal activity. According to estimates, “one container will leave Afghanistan every seven minutes,” and if 50 percent of these containers pass through the Pakistani supply route, then Pakistan will be receiving “a container every 15 minutes” at its border.[6] 

Militancy

  • On Thursday, four people were killed and at least 12 were injured when a suicide bomber crashed his bomb-laden motorcycle into Senior Superintendent of Police Malir Rao Anwar’s armored personnel carrier in the Malir Halt area of Karachi. Anwar was unhurt and claimed that “unknown terrorists” had been threatening him for the past month. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that Anwar had been targeted in retaliation for the “torture” the police “inflict upon [the TTP’s] comrades in custody.”[7]

  • Three policemen were killed when armed gunmen opened fire on a police vehicle conducting a routine patrol in Karachi’s PIB colony on Thursday.[8]

  • Addressing the media at the 44th founding anniversary of Islamist organization Hizb-e-Islami (HI) at the Shamshatu refugee camp on the outskirts of Peshawar on Thursday, HI’s Afghanistan political committee head Dr. Ghairat Baheer said that an HI delegation was on its way to Kabul to hold peace talks with U.S. and Afghan government officials. Baheer said HI wanted a “meaningful” and “transparent” dialogue that would lead to a “peaceful solution of the Afghan problem.” Baheer referred to the Taliban as “brethren,” and said that they were trying to coordinate a “joint strategy” with the Taliban to present a “united Afghan response.” Baheer added that HI could offer the U.S. “a face-saving solution and opportunity of a safe withdrawal from Afghanistan.”[9] 

Refugees

  • Save the Children, a leading humanitarian group, said on Wednesday that 250,000 Pakistanis have been displaced from their homes in Khyber agency due to military operations against the Pakistani Taliban, and they are “desperate for basic life-saving aid.” Hundreds of thousands of displaced people have flooded into the neighboring areas of Nowshera and Peshawar, and according to Save the Children, the biggest concern is that they lack food and clean water, which can then lead to disease and infection.[10]      



[1] Josh Rogin, “State Dept: Of course we know where Hafiz Mohammad Saeed,” Foreign Policy, April 4, 2012. Available at http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/04/state_dept_of_course_we_know_where_hafiz_mohammad_saeed_is
Ashish Kumar Sen, “Pakistan wants U.S. proof of extremist guilt,” The Washington Times, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/4/pakistan-wants-us-proof-extremists-guilt/
Mudassir Raja and Huma Imtiaz, “$10 million reward: Islamabad seeks ‘evidence’ as Hafiz Saeed mocks US bounty,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359883/10-million-reward-islamabad-seeks-evidence-as-hafiz-saeed-mocks-us-bounty/
“US wants Pakistan militant ‘behind bars,’” AFP, April 5, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/05/us-wants-pakistan-militant-behind-bars.html
[2] Kamran Yousaf and Shahbaz Rana, “NATO supplies, military bills: Pakistan, US agree on new framework,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359886/nato-supplies-military-bills-pakistan-us-agree-on-new-framework/
“Zardari, Nides meeting: Pak-US ties to be based on mutual respect, mutual interest,” APP, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359859/zardari-nides-meeting-pak-us-ties-to-be-based-on-mutual-respect-mutual-interest/
[3] “Memogate: No threat of military coup after May 2 raid, says Pasha,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/360024/shuja-pasha-yasin-malik-appear-before-memo-commission/
“Allegations of military coup after May 2 raid baseless: Pasha,” Dawn, April 5, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/05/memo-commission-meeting-continues.html
[4] Sumera Khan, “Pakistan-US ties: JUI-F adamant on not reopening Nato supplies,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/360076/pakistan-us-ties-jui-f-adamant-on-not-reopening-nato-supplies/
“Gilani convinces Nawaz to end PCNS boycott,” Dawn, April 5, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/04/gilani-convinces-nawaz-to-attend-pcns-meeting.html
[5] Qamar Zaman, “Joint session of Parliament: Fuel prices hike set to eclipse review,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359872/joint-session-of-parliament-fuel-price-hike-set-to-eclipse-review/
[6] Irfan Ghauri, “New questions for PCNS as PML-N ends boycott,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/359850/new-questions-for-pcns-as-pml-n-ends-boycott/ 
[7] Shaheryar Mirza, “Police targeted: Taliban claim responsibility for Karachi suicide attack,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/360034/two-dead-four-injured-in-karachi-blast/
Asif Shahzad, “Pakistan: Suicide bomber targeting police kills 2,” Associated Press, April 5, 2012. Available at http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2012/04/05/suspected_suicide_bomber_kills_2_in_pakistan/
[8] “Three policemen killed in Karachi attacks,” Dawn, April 5, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/04/05/three-policemen-killed-in-karachi-attacks.html
[9] Manzoor Ali, “Hizb-e-Islami peace delegation to hold talks with US, Afghan officials,” Express Tribune, April 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/360069/hizb-e-islami-peace-delegation-to-hold-talks-with-us-afghan-officials/
[10] Nita Bhalla, “Quarter of a million Pakistanis flee fighting in Khyber: group,” Reuters, April 4, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/04/us-pakistan-displacement-conflict-idUSBRE83313A20120404