Pakistan Security Brief - August 17, 2010
Pakistan Security Brief – August 17, 2010
ISI assessment concludes Islamic militancy a bigger threat to Pakistan than India; flooding likely to increase in the Guddu-Sukkur region; Pakistan estimates rebuilding costs after the flooding to be as high as $15 billion; World Blank offers $900 million loan, UN says Pakistan still not receiving enough relief funding; World Health Organization begins diverting medical supplies intended for IDPs to flood victims at risk of disease.
- A recent assessment conducted by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has concluded that Islamic militancy poses a greater threat to Pakistan than India. The report says that militants have a two-thirds chance of posing a major threat to the country as opposed to a one-third chance of a major threat coming from India or elsewhere. This is the first time in Pakistan’s 63-year history that India has not been designated as the primary threat to the country. Although some experts view the ISI’s findings as “earth shattering” and called it a “remarkable change”, it’s difficult to determine whether the report’s conclusion will be accepted by the larger military establishment, the civilian government, or the Pakistani public. A recent Pew survey found that 53% of Pakistanis still see India as the greatest national security threat while only 23% said the Taliban presented the biggest danger to the country.
The Federal Flood Commission indicated on Monday that the Indus River in the Guddu-Sukkur region is likely to experience “exceptionally high flood levels” during the next two to three days and that Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, and other districts along the river can expect to see more flooding. Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mehdi Shah, said that the situation in the region is worsening and that “it is beyond the capacity of the Gilgit-Baltistan government to cope with the situation.”
On Monday, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said that reconstruction costs for the country’s flood damages could be as high as $15 billion and that the rebuilding process “will take at least five years.” The Pakistani government says that it is currently in the process of establishing a “credible national body comprising men of integrity” to oversee the collection, management, and distribution of relief funds to flood victims and to ensure transparency during the entire process.
The World Bank has offered Pakistan a $900 million loan to help it with its flood recovery efforts as UN officials indicated that millions of flood victims are still not receiving assistance. The UN says that 35% of its 460 million aid appeal has been fulfilled so far with countries such as Japan, Australia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia announcing aid commitments of more than $10 million each while Afghanistan announced on Tuesday that it would contribute $1 million for flood relief in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the shortfalls of relief funding from the international community have been a result of the media’s doubts about the Pakistani government’s reliability and transparency in distributing aid funds. Unicef’s Regional Director for South Asia, Daniel Toole, called upon the world community to extend aid to Pakistan after touring flood hit areas on Monday. Toole said that Unicef was “working with [the] Pakistan government and other partners to provide assistance to children and women” and that his organization would “mobilize support for millions of flood affected people of Pakistan.”
Acting upon the request of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Department, the World Health Organization has begun diverting its supplies of medicines originally intended for internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled militant conflicts in the FATA to aid the hundreds of thousands of flood victims who are at high risk for disease. The International Committee of the Red Cross said that explosive devices being carried by floodwaters pose a risk to people living in flood-affected areas adjacent to conflict zones in the FATA.
- According to Islamabad’s Inspector General of Police Syed Kaleem Imam, terrorists are planning to target judges, members of parliament, and top military officials in Islamabad. Imam said on Tuesday that “certain terrorist groups” have issued death threats to police and other government officials and that increased security measures have been implemented at “sensitive locations” throughout the city.
- Four more U.S. helicopters arrived in Pakistan on Monday while two C-130 aircraft began flying missions in the country to transport relief supplies to flood victims. The flights are expected to deliver 52,000 of supplies, mostly to Sukkur district of Sindh province. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that the U.S. has “continued to increase [its] level of support and commitment to the relief operations” in Pakistan.
- On Monday evening, a senior police officer and his driver were gunned down while on routine patrol in Karachi by two armed men riding a motorcycle. A doctor was also shot to death by motorcycle riding gunmen during a separate incident in Orangi Town. Another man was killed under similar circumstances in the Nazimabad area of the city, also on Monday night. On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a man while he was returning home from prayers.