Pakistan Security Brief - August 14, 2013

Clashes along LoC continue, Pakistani civilian shot dead; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calls for restraint and responsibility regarding LoC dispute; NA condemns Indian aggression across the border; Al Qaeda strength shifting from Pakistan to Yemen, claim experts; Government to execute militants as planned, despite threats; 2 killed, 42 injured in grenade attack in Karachi; APC to determine scope of military action against extremism, claims Interior Minister; Political leaders extol Pakistan’s strength, solidarity on Independence Day;  Security forces kill 6 militants in Bolan, Balochistan; IMF calls for increased interest rates in Pakistan; 7 arrested in connection with DI Khan jailbreak; Jail warders in Punjab to be trained by Pakistan Rangers

Line of Control Clashes

  • Skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC) continued on Wednesday as Indian forces reportedly shot and killed one civilian, and injured a child while firing across Battal Sector. The Pakistan Army responded to the firing.  Indian forces on Wednesday also claimed that they detected and fired upon Pakistani militants attempting to infiltrate the border in Keran sector, killing two of the militants and forcing the others to flee.[1]

  • During Tuesday’s border clashes between Indian and Pakistani forces, a member of the Chenab Rangers was injured by Indian small arms fire near Charwah sector. According to Pakistani officials, Indian forces have been targeting the nearby Ashraf Shaheed Post.[2]   

  • In a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to respond with “restraint and responsibility” to Indian military activity along the LoC. Sharif noted that Pakistan’s goal is to maintain peace along the border. Sharif also responded to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s Tuesday statements encouraging a hard line approach to Indian aggression on the LoC, noting that they do not reflect the policies of his administration. [3] 

  • In an interview with Geo News on Wednesday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz noted that Pakistan is in a weaker negotiating position with India than it was in 1999. Aziz also noted the he “is not optimistic” about the likelihood of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s proposed meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the U.N. General Assembly in September.[4]

  • On Tuesday, the National Assembly passed a unanimous motion condemning Indian aggression across the LoC. Citing protests outside Pakistan’s high commission and threats to Pakistan International Airlines offices in New Delhi, as well as the recent border clashes between the neighboring countries, the National Assembly claimed that India is failing to honor the 2003 ceasefire agreement.[5]

  • According to a Wednesday article in the Express Tribune, both Pakistan and India have missed billions of dollars of trade opportunities by failing to normalize trade with one another. According to a World Trade Advisor survey, Pakistan and India can quadruple their current $2.6 billion annual trade.[6]

  • On Wednesday, while speaking to the media for Pakistan’s Independence Day, Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi Salman Bashir unequivocally announced that the Pakistan Army had no involvement in the killing of five Indian soldiers at the LoC on August 6.[7]

  • On Tuesday, in comments to The News, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin noted that “we need an environment free of violence and terror” to begin higher-level talks with Pakistan. According to The News report, India has toned down its rhetoric with regards to Pakistan, which had initially been inflamed by the August 6 death of 5 Indian soldiers.[8]

Militancy    

  • According to an Associated Press report released on Wednesday, the center of gravity of al Qaeda has shifted from Pakistan to Yemen, as recent threats by al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula indicate. According to Rahimullah Yusufazai, a terrorism expert, “By and large, the plans are not coming from Zawahiri.” However, Pakistani author Imtiaz Gul has termed Ayman al Zawahiri an “inspirational force” for extremism.[9]   

  • In the aftermath of the July 29 prison break at Dera Ismail Khan, Punjab Prisons Department officials on Wednesday told Dawn that they are attempting to obtain Punjab Assembly approval to provide jail warders throughout the province with three months of Pakistan Rangers training, in addition to their Punjab Prison Training Course.[10]  

  • Despite warnings of a full-scale war from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) if the government executes its members on death row, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told Dawn on Wednesday, “we will continue the process to implement the execution orders so that the law may take its course.”[11]

  • During an Independence Day speech at a military parade in Kakul late Tuesday evening, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani called for a “national consensus” on counter terrorism policy. Kayani also noted, “terrorists will never succeed in their purpose because this nation, which has faced [the] worst form of terrorism for a decade has not allowed fear and terror to dictate them, terrorism as a strategy can never succeed.” Kayani also noted that the military is “standing shoulder to shoulder with the nation.”[12]  

  •  Muttahida Quami Movement leader Dr. Farooq Sattar announced on Tuesday that the MQM is releasing an eight-point parallel National Counter Terrorism Policy, which will be announced at the All Parties Conference focusing on counter terrorism, scheduled for later in the month. The policy is reportedly 12 pages long and is aimed at “controlling and wiping out terrorism from its roots and restoring peace and putting the country on the road to progress and prosperity.” [13]

  • During a meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that “terrorism must be eliminated at all costs” and that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that its people remain safe. Following the meeting, Khan noted that Pakistan will only enter a full-scale war against militants if the All Parties Conference, expected to take place later this month, reaches a consensus on military action against extremists. Khan also noted that the new counter-terrorism policy released at the APC will likely help revitalize the dormant National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and include the creation of a Counter Terrorism Rapid Deployment Force.[14]  

  • In a separate address to Pakistan for Independence Day on Wednesday, Sharif declared that Pakistan is united in its opposition to terrorism and pledged to bring an “absolute defeat to the terrorists.”[15]

  • As part of the newly proposed national counter-terrorism and extremism policy, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday noted that the proposed joint intelligence secretariat will initially include 500 personnel, which will eventually be raised to 2,000 and the quick reaction force proposed will be able to “act within minutes.”[16]  

  • Unknown militants tossed grenades into two Ismaili Shia prayer houses in Karimabad and Metroville in Karachi on Tuesday evening, killing two people and injuring another 42. The attacks were reportedly executed simultaneously. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet. The deceased included a woman and her four-year-old son.[17] 

  • Seven people, including a civilian clerk working for the Pakistan Army, were gunned down in separate firing incidents throughout Karachi on Tuesday.[18] 

  • One person was killed and three more were wounded on Tuesday in Hyderabad, Sindh after motorcyclists threw “cracker” bombs into a shoe shop in Hyder Chowk, along with several other shops in the area. Three people were also wounded during a separate firing in Hyderabad on Tuesday.[19] 

  • On Tuesday evening, Pakistani security forces killed six suspected militants during continued operations against militants in Dhadar, Bolan district, Balochistan. Two Frontier Corps members were wounded in an exchange of fire between the two parties. Operations in the region have continued since the Balochistan Liberation Army’s August 6 attack on a bus in Quetta, which killed 14 people.[20]  

  • Separate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exploded in Khuzdar, Turbat and Kharan, Balochistan on Tuesday evening. No casualties have been reported in the attacks.[21]  

  • Police conducted search operations throughout Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday evening, arresting seven suspects in connection with the DI Khan prison break on July 29. Police also found a cache of weapons and Afghan money in the raids.[22]

  • Two people were killed in a firefight in Faqir Killay, Peshawar on Tuesday. No other information on the groups involved in the incident is available at this time.[23]

  • In Toba Tek Singh, Punjab on Tuesday, a would-be kidnapper attempted to abduct a teenager at gunpoint and then fled after citizens in the area rushed to their home.[24]

  • Unknown gunmen fired upon a vehicle in Danyor, just outside of Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan on Monday evening. No casualties were reported in the incident.[25]  

  • Tribesmen detained and transferred two would-be kidnappers to police forces on Tuesday after they were caught attempting to kidnap a young child.[26]

Peace Talks with the Taliban

 IMF Talks

  • According to a Tuesday Express Tribune report, the International Monetary Fund’s $6.6 billion bailout comes with strings attached: the IMF want Pakistan to raise interest rates and pursue a “contractionary” monetary policy. The State Bank of Pakistan will reportedly come up with a definitive economic policy in the last two days of August.[28]

Independence Day

  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed the 66th annual flag hoisting ceremony for Pakistan’s Independence Day on Wednesday. During an address at the ceremony, Sharif declared that Pakistan remains the hub of economics in South-East Asia, but faces challenges with extremism and terrorism. Sharif called for accountability for all Pakistani citizens and claimed that Pakistan desires world peace.[29]

Domestic

  • On Wednesday, Provincial Assembly Speaker of Sindh Agha Siraj Durrani announced that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will take over the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) when he turns 25 later this year.[30]     

 

[1] “Renewed cross-border shelling as Pakistan, India trade blame,” Reuters, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590150/renewed-cross-border-shelling-as-pakistan-india-trade-blame/
[2] Abid Mehdi, “Ranger injured in firing near Sialkot,” Dawn, August 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035741/ranger-injured-in-firing-near-sialkot
[3] “Nawaz Sharif pledges restrain over Kashmir,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590140/nawaz-sharif-pledges-restraint-over-kashmir/  
Sumaira Khan, “Fighting terrorism: Nisar unveils plans for joint intelligence secretariat,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590039/fighting-terrorism-nisar-unveils-plans-for-joint-intelligence-secretariat/
[4] “Sartaj Aziz not optimistic about Nawaz, Manmohan meeting,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113596-PM-Adviser-Sartaj-Aziz-not-optimistic-about-Nawaz,Manmohan-meeting
[5] Qamar Zaman, “Ceasefire violations: National Assembly slams “’Indian aggression,’” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590028/ceasefire-violations-national-assembly-slams-indian-aggression/
[6] Farooq Baloch, “Pakistan, India: WTO blames politics for lack of progress in trade talks,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589894/pakistan-india-wto-blames-politics-for-lack-of-progress-in-trade-talks/
[7] “Pakistan wants to normalize situation at LoC: Salman Bashir,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113594-Pakistan-wants-to-normalize-situation-at-LoC%3a-Salman-Bashir
[8] Mariana Baabar, “Indians show some signs of scaling down rhetoric,” The News, August 14, 2013. The News, Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24777-Indians-show-some-signs-of-scaling-down-rhetoric
[9] “Al-Qaeda centre of gravity shifting from Pakistan: analysts,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590118/al-qaeda-centre-of-gravity-shifting-from-pakistan-analysts/ 
[10] Muhammad Faisal Ali, “Commando training for jail warders,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035546/commando-training-for-jail-warders
[11] Kalbe Ali, “Govt ignores TTP threat, to execute three militants,” Dawn, August 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035732/govt-ignores-ttp-threat-to-execute-three-militants
[12] “Army chief urges forming consensus, implementing one solution to terrorism,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590037/army-chief-urges-forming-consensus-implementing-one-solution-on-terrorism/ 
“Kayani urges national consensus against terrorism,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195805-Kayani-urges-national-consensus-against-terrorism
[13] “MQM launches National Counter Terrorism Policy,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24772-MQM-launches-National-Counter-Terrorism-Policy
[14] “Upon consensus govt to enter war against militancy vigorously: Nisar,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035668/upon-consensus-govt-to-enter-war-against-militancy-vigorously-nisar
[15] “Terrorism to be wiped out at all costs: Nawaz,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24769-Terrorism-to-be-wiped-out-at-all-costs%3a-Nawaz  
“PM vows to defeat terror, turn Pakistan into cradle of peace,” Dawn, August 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035845/pm-vows-to-defeat-terror-turn-pakistan-into-cradle-of-peace
[16] Sumaira Khan, “Fighting terrorism: Nisar unveils plans for joint intelligence secretariat,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/590039/fighting-terrorism-nisar-unveils-plans-for-joint-intelligence-secretariat/
[17] “Karachi grenade attacks targeting Ismailis leave 2 dead, 42 injured,” The News, August 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113506-Karachi%3a--2-killed,--42-injured-in-attacks-on-Aga-Khan-Prayer-Houses- 
“Mother, son killed, 30 injured as terrorists attack Ismails,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24770-Mother,-son-killed,-30-injured-as-terrorists-attack-Ismailis
[18] “Army clerk, ‘gangster’ among seven murdered,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-195749-Army-clerk,-gangster-among-seven-murdered
[19] “One killed in cracker attacks in Hyderabad, Nawabshah,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195808-One-killed-in-cracker-attacks-in-Hyderabad,-Nawabshah
[20] Syed Ali Shah, “Security forces kill six militants during operation in Bolan,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035675/security-forces-kill-six-militants-during-operation-in-bolan
[21] Syed Ali Shah, “Security forces kill six militants during operation in Bolan,” Dawn, August 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1035675/security-forces-kill-six-militants-during-operation-in-bolan
[22] “Seven held in DI Khan search operation,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195798-Seven-held-in-DI-Khan-search-operation
[23] “Two killed,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195802-Two-killed
[24] “Attempt to kidnap student foiled,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24785-Attempt-to-kidnap-student-foiled
[25] “Gun attack: Passengers escape ambush unhurt,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589871/gun-attack-passengers-escape-ambush-unhurt/
[26] “Bid to kidnap child foiled,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-195801-Bid-to-kidnap-child-foiled
[27] “TTP ready to hold talks with government if religious leaders involved,” Express Tribune, August 10, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/588678/ttp-ready-to-hold-talks-with-government-if-religious-leaders-involved/
[28] “Contractionary monetary policy: Govt dragging feet as IMF demands interest rate hike,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589886/contractionary-monetary-policy-govt-dragging-feet-as-imf-demands-interest-rate-hike/
[29] “PM Nawaz Sharif hoists Pak flag on the eve of Independence Day,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113566-PM-Nawaz-Sharif-performs-flag-hoisting-ceremony-on-eve-of-Independence-Day- 
“Any decision on fate of the region not possible sans Pak participation,” The News, August 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-113591-Any-decision-on-fate-of-the-region-not-possible-sans-Pak-participation-
[30] “Bilawal to lead PPP as soon as he turns 25 this year: Durrani,” Express Tribune, August 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/589929/bilawal-to-lead-ppp-as-soon-as-he-turns-25-this-year-durrani/