Pakistan Security Brief - August 13, 2013

Initial draft of National Counter Terrorism policy released; Border crisis, clashes continue as India, Pakistan fire across border at one another; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calls for a reset in relations with India; UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon offers to serve as arbitrator between India, Pakistan;  New general promoted to command of X Corps; Ban Ki-moon claims U.S. drone strikes should be subject to international laws, says drones to be used only for information gathering; Nawaz Sharif instructs Chief Minister of Balochistan to begin talks with armed groups in Balochistan;  APC meeting to take place in late August, says Interior Minister; Police arrest “RAW agent” in Karachi ; Punjabi Taliban threatens war if militants are executed; 11 killed in Karachi; FC personnel kill four militants in Bolan, Balochistan; IMF increases bailout to $6.6 billion; Residents reportedly leaving FC Peshawar due to militancy

 National Counter Terrorism Policy

  • An initial draft of the National Counter Terrorism and Extremism Policy of 2013, as prepared by the Ministry of Interior, was leaked by the Express Tribune on Tuesday. The five-tiered policy reportedly seeks to dismantle extremist groups, contain and prevent terrorism, and educate and re-integrate extremists into society. In particular, the new policy will use counterinsurgency and intelligence means to locate and dismantle all extremist networks in Pakistan. The report will reportedly propose wide reforms in the police and judiciary, intelligence-sharing and cooperation among law-enforcement and military agencies, and also seeks to revisit Pakistan’s foreign policy, and its effect on driving extremism.[1]

  • On Tuesday during a visit to the Interior Ministry, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif noted that terrorism remains an issue across all of Pakistan, and will require a “concerted effort” to combat. During the visit, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan briefed Sharif on the initial drafts of the national counter-terrorism policy set to be released later today in the National Assembly.[2]

Line of Control Crisis

  • According to a Tuesday Associated Press report, both Indian and Pakistani forces accused each other of firing across the Line of Control (LoC) on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. According to Indian officials, Pakistani troops used small arms fire to target Indian forces along the Mendhar sector of the border. On the other hand, Pakistani officials claim that their military posts in Naykal sector were attacked first by Indian firing late on Monday. Both sides claim to have returned fire during the alleged attacks.[3]    

  • In the midst of continued tensions between Pakistan and India, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday called for a reset in relations between the neighboring countries.  Sharif stated, “Let us make a new beginning. Let us sit together to resolve all outstanding issues in a friendly manner and in a peaceful atmosphere.”[4]

  • According to Indian press reports cited in The News on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is considering reducing Pakistan’s staff in its New Delhi embassy, after various threats have been made on the lives of its employees and India has allegedly “failed provide proper security to diplomatic missions.”[5]

  • According to a Tuesday Reuters article, intelligence sources within India believe that the August 3 assault against the Indian consulate in Islamabad may indicate that a surge of attacks by militants across the border will begin in the coming months.   A former official from India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) recently expressed concern that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will decrease constraints on Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, leading to increased activity against India by militant and terrorist organizations.  In a statement to Reuters, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members have pledged to “take the fight to India once again.” Furthermore, Hafiz Said, the founder of LeT recently stated, “full-scale armed Jihad (holy war) will begin soon in Kashmir after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan.”[6]

  • During his visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will sit down with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss the ongoing LoC dispute between Pakistan and India. In an interview with Dawn, Ban Ki-moon also reportedly offered to serve as an arbitrator between the two nations.[7]

  • In response to a question on possible connections between al Qaeda-related terrorism in South Asia and the Kashmir border dispute, U.S. State Department spokesman Marie Harf on Tuesday emphasized the distinction between Pakistan and India’s current border dispute and extremism in the region, noting that “these are two separate issues and our views on both are well-known.” Harf also called for bilateral discussions between the two nations.[8]   

  • According to a Tuesday The News report, trade between Pakistan and India has been completely cut off along the Chakoti border in response to the flare-up in tensions between the two countries.[9]

  • In an interview with The News on Monday, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan indicated that he does not believe an immediate outbreak of war will occur between Pakistan and India, despite ongoing firing across the border.[10]

  • On Monday, the Punjab Assembly unanimously condemned Indian aggression along the LoC and labeled Indian claims of Pakistani involvement in the death of five Indian soldiers a “false allegation.”[11]

  • Indian Foreign Office spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Tuesday announced that India will not hold talks with Pakistan until the current clashes along the LoC are resolved. Akbaruddin also noted that Pakistan should detain Hafiz Said, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai bombings.[12] 

  • On Monday in Karachi, police arrested an alleged RAW agent, recovering fake identification cards, an Indian passport and a computer. The suspect claimed to be merely selling aphrodisiacs in Lyari.[13]

  • On Tuesday, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed Commander of the Pakistan Army’s X Corps in Rawalpindi, which is also partially responsible for activity along the LoC. Bajwa replaces retiring commander Lieutenant General Khalid Nawaz.[14]

U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan

  • In a visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the United States drone strike program is “subject to long-standing international law, including international humanitarian law.” In this light, according to Ban Ki-moon, drones should only be used to gather information. Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to meet with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday to discuss drone strikes, as well as relations with India.[15]  

Militancy

  • On Monday, the “Punjabi Taliban” faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) distributed pamphlets throughout southern Punjab and North Waziristan, and South Waziristan agencies threatening to begin a war with the government and majority Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party if it executes four convicts on death row, two of whom are confirmed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members. The prisoners are scheduled to be executed on August 20, 21 and 22. In the same pamphlet, the Punjabi Taliban also noted that the issue of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan will need to be resolved to bring peace to Pakistan.  Separately, the TTP has threatened to attack government facilities, including the District Police Officer’s office, on August 14.  The threats have prompted increased security in Tank district, Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province.[16]

  •  Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan noted on Tuesday that the All Parties Conference to discuss a new national security and counter terrorism policy will take place towards the end of August. Khan also noted that a joint intelligence secretariat and counter terrorism rapid deployment force will be formed at the federal level as part of the policy.[17]

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif instructed Chief Minister of Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch to begin holding talks with armed groups in Balochistan. The government will reportedly form a “reconciliation and negotiation committee” to spur the talks; a Balochistan assembly meeting to address the province’s deteriorating law and order situation is also in the works.[18]

  • On Tuesday in a statement in Lahore, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif declared that a special force will be developed to protect foreigners in Punjab from terrorists. Sharif also announced the recruitment of 4,000 more policemen.[19]     

  • In a video message released on Monday, TTP commander Abu Zar Azzam claimed the Taliban supported women’s education within the boundaries of proper Islamic conduct, such as the seclusion of women from their male counterparts.  His remarks follow TTP commander Adnan Rashid’s public address to childhood education activist Malala Yousafzai last month, in which he counseled her to return to her hometown and pursue Islamic studies.  Rashid said that the Taliban attacked her because she was slandering them by insisting the group did not support education for girls.[20]

  • In the midst of proposed peace talks with theTTP, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman noted on Tuesday that he encouraged TTP talks with the government, but can give no guarantee that they will occur.[21]

  • Unidentified gunmen opened fire on several men walking on Davis Road in Lahore, killing one and wounding three others.[22]

  • A Karachi-bound train was evacuated at Ghotki railway station, Sindh after an anonymous bomb threat was called in regarding the train. The train was searched and no explosives were found.[23]

  • Five people were killed throughout Karachi on Tuesday, while another man was wounded, in separate acts of violence throughout the city.[24]

  • Six people were killed in Karachi on Monday in separate firing incidents.[25]  

  • On Monday, a Karachi anti-terrorism court remanded a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi member wounded in a premature bomb explosion on July 20 in Karachi for seven days.[26]

  • On Monday in Sukkur, Sindh, a man was shot and killed and his brother was injured when unknown gunmen fired upon them.[27]  

  • In search operations in Khajoori, Bolan district, Balochistan, Frontier Corps personnel carried out search operations and raids, killing four suspected militants and arresting 10 others. Explosives and small arms were also found in the raids.[28]

  • In Quetta on Monday evening, a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, killing one person and wounding on other.[29]  

  • Levies personnel found a dead body in an open area in Shaharag, Harnai district, Balochistan on Monday.[30]  

  • In Sro Kallay, Charsadda district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, security forces on Monday morning defused a roadside IED and searched the immediate area for perpetrators. No arrests have been recorded in the incident.[31]   

  • In Takht Bhai, Mardan district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, police found a body bearing signs of torture on Monday.[32]

  • In Dabkhot, Wana, South Waziristan on Monday, a bomb exploded outside a journalist’s home, damaging a wall of the structure. No casualties were reported in the incident. The journalist had recently published a report on alleged corruption by political figures in Wana.[33]  

  • An IED found in Mohmand agency was defused on Monday by bomb disposal squad officials.[34]

  • According to an article in the Express Tribune on Tuesday, residents are leaving Frontier Region Peshawar, FATA due to increased militant activity in the region. The Express Tribune has labeled the area a “battleground for security forces and anti-state elements for at least four years.”[35]

IMF Bailout

  • According to a Tuesday Dawn report, the International Monetary Fund has agreed to provide a $6.6 billion bailout to Pakistan. Initially, the IMF and Pakistan had agreed in July to a $5.3 billion bailout; upon Pakistan’s request to increase the amount to $7.2 billion, the two entities settled on $6.6 billion. The deal will reportedly be made official in early September.[36]

Domestic

  • Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan will address pro-PTI rallies in Islamabad on Tuesday to rally support for PTI candidate Asad Umar, who will face PML-N candidate Ashraf Gujar for the vacant NA-48 seat in Islamabad. The PTI has also alleged that pre-poll vote rigging prior to the by-elections on August 22 has already begun.[37]

  • Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervez Rashid told Dawn reporters on Monday that the PML-N government remains committed to its campaign promise of creating new provinces within Pakistan.  However, he revealed the PML-N intends to suspend the issue in favor of competing priorities, such as national security and the energy crisis.  Rashid said the government will readdress the issue after the party gains a majority in the Senate – expected to occur in 2015—so that it could approve required constitutional amendments necessary for the creation of the new provinces with less opposition.[38]      

 

[1] “Fighting terror: Draft policy aims to dismantle terror networks,” Express Tribune, Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589497/fighting-terror-draft-policy-aims-to-dismantle-terror-networks/
[2] “Concerted efforts needed to fight terrorism: PM,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035636/concerted-efforts-needed-to-fight-terrorism-pm
[3] “Face of accusations over border skirmishes continues,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035629/farce-of-accusations-over-border-skirmishes-continues 
“India accurse Pakistan of latest firing on LoC,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589566/india-accuses-pakistan-of-latest-firing-on-loc/ 
“Indian forces violate ceasefire 3rd time in a day at LoC,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113398-India-forces-continue-to-violate-ceasefire-at-LoC
[4] “Nawaz Sharif urges ‘new beginning’ with India,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589581/pakistan-pm-urges-new-beginning-with-india/
[5] “Pakistan mulls cutting mission staff in India,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113405-Pakistan-mulls-cutting-mission-staff-in-New-Delhi
[6] “Insight: As Afghanistan endgame looms, a deadly edge to India-Pakistan rivalry,” Reuters, August 13, 2013. Available at http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/08/13/india-pakistan-afghanistan-kashmir-loc-idINDEE97C04320130813
[7] “UN chief in Pakistan amid Kashmir tensions,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589568/un-chief-in-pakistan-amid-kashmir-tensions/ 
“Ban Ki-moon calls for Indo-Pak dialogue to resolve issues,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035446/ban-ki-moon-calls-for-indo-pak-dialogue-to-resolve-issues
[8] Anwar Iqbal, “US refuses to link Kashmir issue with  terrorism,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035453/us-refuses-to-link-kashmir-issue-with-terrorism
[9] “Pak-India trade impacted over LoC tension,” The News, Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113465-Pak-India-trade-impacted-over-LoC-tension-
[10] “Dr Raghavan rules out immediate Pak-India war,” The News, Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195694-Dr-Raghavan-rules-out-immediate-Pak-India-war
[11] Faizan Bangash, “PA condemns Indian aggression, Quetta attack,” The News, Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-5-195546-PA-condemns-Indian-aggression,-Quetta-attack
[12] “Cross border firing: India will not hold talks with Pakistan till matter resolved,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589598/cross-border-firing-india-will-not-hold-talks-with-pakistan-till-matter-resolved/
[13] “‘Raw agent” held in Karachi,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24763-RAW-agent-held-in-Karachi
[14] Shakil Shaikh, “Lt Gen Qamar Javed new Commander 10 Corps,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24746-Lt-Gen-Qamar-Javed-new-Commander-10-Corps
[15] “Drones should be subject to international law, urges UN chief,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035643/drones-should-be-subject-to-international-law-urges-un-chief 
“Drones should only be used to gather information: UN Sec General,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113459-Drone-should-only-be-used-to-gather-intel%3a-Ban
[16] “Taliban warns of reprisal if PML-N govt hangs militants,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035449/punjabi-taliban-warn-of-reprisal-if-pml-n-govt-hangs-militants 
“Executing prisoners tantamount to war: Punjabi Taliban.” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589484/warning-executing-prisoners-tantamount-to-war-says-punjabi-taliban/
[17] “APC likely to be scheduled later in August: Nisar,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589665/apc-likely-to-be-scheduled-later-in-august-nisar/
[18] Syed Ali Shah, “PM approves Balochistan govt dialogue with armed groups,” Dawn, August 8, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035665/pm-approves-balochistan-govt-dialogue-with-armed-groups
[19] “Special force to be set up for protection of foreigners: Shahbaz,” Reuters, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035623/special-force-to-be-set-up-for-protection-of-foreigners-shahbaz
[20] “TTP Commander Favors Conditional Female Education,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195680-TTP-commander-favours-conditional-female-education
“TTP Commander Wishes Malala Attack Never Happened,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1029732/ttp-commander-wishes-malala-attack-never-happened
[21] “Fazl says he can’t give guarantee for talks with TTP,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24756-Fazl-says-he-cant-give-guarantee-for-talks-with-TTP
[22] “Youth killed, three friends injured in Lahore attack,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24750-Youth-killed,-three-friends-injured-in-Lahore-attack
[23] “Bomb scare: Train evacuated in Ghotki after bomb threat,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589373/bomb-scare-train-evacuated-in-ghotki-after-bomb-threat/
[24] “Firing, violent incidents take five more lives in Karachi,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113432-Karachi%3a-Five-killed,-one-injured-in-firing,-violent-incidents
[25] “Crime roundup: Six people killed in separate acts of violence,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589372/crime-roundup-six-people-killed-in-separate-acts-of-violence/
[26] “’Bomb-maker’ remanded for seven days,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-195542-Bomb-maker-remanded-for-seven-days
[27] “One killed in Sukkur firing,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195688-One-killed-in-Sukkur-firing
[28] “Four miscreants killed, 10 arrested in Bolan,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24761-Four-miscreants-killed,-10-arrested-in-Bolan
[29] “Blast in Quetta: Explosion on Sariab Road kills two, injures another,” Express Tribune, August 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589261/quetta-explosion-targeting-security-forces-kills-two/
[30] “Body found in Harnai,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195691-Body-found-in-Harnai
[31] “Charsadda: Roadside bomb defused,” Express Tribune, August 12, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589276/charsadda-roadside-bomb-defused/
[32] “Eight killed in Takht Bhai incidents,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195686-Eight-killed-in-Takht-Bhai-incidents
[33] “Under threat: Journalist’s residence blown up in Wana,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589262/under-threat-journalists-residence-blown-up-in-wana/  
“Tribal journalist escapes unhurt in attack,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-195588-Tribal-journalist-escapes-unhurt-in-attack
[34] “Two IEDs defused,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195687-Two-IEDs-defused
[35] “Fleeing fighting: Residents of FR Peshawar evacuate homes in panic,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589263/fleeing-fighting-residents-of-fr-peshawar-evacuate-homes-in-panic/
[36] “IMF agrees Pakistan can seek $6.6 bn, says officials,” Dawn, August 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035445/imf-agrees-pakistan-can-seek-66-bn-say-officials  
“IMF agrees to seek $6.6 bn: Officials,” Express Tribune, August 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589461/imf-agrees-to-allow-pakistan-to-seek-6-6bn-officials/
[37] “Imran Khan to address rallies,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-195572-Imran-Khan-to-address-rallies  
“PTI alleges pre-poll rigging,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-5-195549-PTI-alleges-pre-poll-rigging
[38] Amir Wasim, “PML-N Shelves Issue of New Provinces,” Dawn, August 13, 2013.   Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1035491/pml-n-shelves-issue-of-new-provinces