Pakistan Security Brief - August 2, 2013

Leaked correspondence indicates Save the Children, CIA, had indirect access to Abbottabad Commission proceedings; Bureau of Investigative Journalism report claims field research supports allegations U.S. targeted first responders in drone strikes; Secretary of State John Kerry promises to end drone strikes in near future, State Department spokesman contradicts; Pakistan, U.S. to collaborate on civil nuclear power; Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins to continue talks with Pakistan; Senior officials say militants, terrorists, among prison escapees; Taliban claims kidnapped son of slain Punjab Governor killed in drone strike; Taliban allegedly using kidnap victims as human shields in areas frequented by drone attacks; Pakistan discusses Iran pipeline with Kerry; Unidentified gunmen kill Shia Council Division President and his son; Government will relax curfew in Bara sub-district of Khyber agency; Zardari asks U.S. for “Marshall Plan”; Russian company to provides $1 billion to Pakistan Steel Mills; Nawaz Sharif visits Saudi Arabia; Indian Army kills 12 militants crossing from Pakistan-administered Kashmir; Pakistan has reportedly paid off all of its $4.7 billion circular debt; Imran Khan appears before Supreme Court over contempt of court; Nawaz Sharif encourages inter-party unity

John Kerry’s Visit to Pakistan

  • In an interview in Pakistan on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry promised to end drone strikes in Pakistan in the near future, noting that “the program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it.” However, while Kerry also noted that President Obama has a definite timetable for the end of strikes in Pakistan, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki contradicted Kerry’s remarks, noting that “there is no exact timeline to provide,” and that drone strikes will continue to be used.[1] 

  • Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif announced in a press conference with John Kerry on Thursday that the U.S. and Pakistan are attempting to cooperate on civil nuclear programs to combat Pakistan’s current energy crisis. According to Asif, “the whole world is focusing on the war on terror, which is a local issue for Pakistan, while our biggest threat is the energy crisis which is causing a loss of Rs1,000 billion each year.”[2]   

  • According to a Friday Express Tribune report, John Kerry also discussed the planned Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline with Pakistani officials during his visit to Islamabad. According to Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry, “Our energy requirements warrant that we explore all possible options, including the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project.”[3]

  • During a meeting with John Kerry on Thursday, President Asif Ali Zardari called for a “Marshall plan” for Pakistan, noting that the country has suffered substantial economic loss in its efforts in the war on terror. Zardari specifically asked the international community for, “massive economic assistance, energy development and greater market access.”[4]

  • According to Jamiat Ulema-Islam-Fazl Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday, John Kerry’s visit to Pakistan has not solved the ongoing debate over U.S. drone attacks, nor will it delay the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. Rehman also labeled the drone strikes “counter-productive,” claiming that they encourage militancy, rather than eliminate it.[5]    

  • At a press briefing today, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf announced that Special U.S. Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins will continue to engage with Pakistani officials following U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s departure.  Dobbins met with Kerry in Islamabad.[6]

 Abbottabad Commission

  • Leaked internal correspondence of Save the Children indicates the NGO had direct contact with an informal member of the Abbottabad Commission, Lt. General (retd) Nadeem Ahmed.  Ahmed functioned as an unofficial representative for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Army.  Ahmed allegedly briefed Save the Children officials about the Commissioners’ viewpoints during the inquiry and gave the NGO access to the report before it was distributed to the Prime Minister.  Save the Children came under scrutiny during the investigation because of its ties to Dr. Shakil Afridi, currently imprisoned in Pakistan for collaborating with the U.S. in preparation for the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.  The Abbottabad Commission suggested that Save the Children either willingly collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or had been unwittingly penetrated by the CIA, leading to fears that this leaked correspondence indicates the CIA itself had direct access to the then-secret Abbottabad Commission report.[7] 

Drone Strikes

  • According to a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, field research has confirmed the Central Intelligence Agency briefly targeted rescue workers responding to the aftermath of drone strikes.  The report claims to have found evidence of at least five repeat strikes in mid-2012 that killed 53 people and injured 57 more.[8]

Militancy

  • Government officials claim that at least 30 of the escapees from the Central Prison in Dera Ismail Khan earlier this week are dangerous militants or terrorists.  The list included four alleged Taliban commanders: Abdul Hakim, Abdur Rasheed, Haji Ilyas and Mamoor.  Another fugitive, alleged TTP-linked Walid Akba, was arrested in connection with last year’s attack against the Ashura procession in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province[9]

  • According to a Friday Associated Press report, the Indian army intercepted several militants crossing from Pakistan into India in the Kashmir region between this past Monday and  Friday, and killed 12 of the militants during skirmishes.[10]

  • According to a report in the Frontier Post on Friday, unidentified Taliban sources have claimed Shahbaz Taseer, son of now-deceased former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, died in a drone strike in North Waziristan agency in 2012.  Prior to his death, militants kidnapped Shahbaz from Lahore.  The Frontier Post report also alleged that the Taliban intends to use kidnap victims as human shields in areas threatened by drone attacks.[11]

  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Shia Council Division President Sheikh Manzoor Hussain and his son on Friday in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab province.  Shia Council members orchestrated a rally to protest the killings.[12]

  • In Nawabshah, Sindh on Friday, Muhammad Yaqqob Quadri, a member of the Sunni Supreme Council and a provincial leader of the Nizam-e-Mustafa Party was shot and killed by unknown gunmen outside a bazaar. Two others were also wounded in the attack.[13]

  • Intelligence Bureau inspector Mazhar Ali Shah died on Thursday morning.  Shah was shot by unidentified gunmen at Sarki Gate in Peshawar on Wednesday, and died from his wounds several hours later.[14]

  • Unidentified gunmen attacked a police vehicle in Peshawar on Thursday night, killing two security officers.[15]

  • On Wednesday, police officials detained two terrorist suspects after seizing 100kg of explosives, 600 meters of detonator cord, and 800 detonators from their vehicle in Peshawar.[16]

  • Unidentified militants shot two oil tankers in Mastung district, Balochistan province, on Thursday.  One of the tankers caught on fire, but no casualties have been reported.[17]

  • Alleged Lashkar-e-Jhangvi member Imran was wounded on July 20 in Patel Para, Karachi, when the explosives he was preparing accidentally detonated and killed three of his associates.  On Thursday the Anti-Terrorism Court-III remanded Imran, who is still recovering from his injuries, to police custody for interrogation.[18]

  • Several people were killed in separate incidents around Karachi on Thursday.  Unidentified gunmen shot a police sub-inspector near the Korangi Industrial area; a second sub-inspector was killed while responding to the incident.  One police officer died and two more were injured in a firefight with unidentified gunmen in the Faqeera Goth area.  Two people were killed and three more wounded in a shooting near Joria Bazaar; one of the victims was an MQM activist.  Another MQM activist died and two of his associates were wounded in an incident at Gulistan-e-Jauhar.  A third MQM activist was shot to death in New Karachi.  Police also recovered the bullet-riddled body of a kidnap victim from Gulshan-e-Iqbal.[19]

  • Government officials in Khyber agency announced on Thursday that it will relax curfew in some regions of Bara sub-district for the first time in four years due to significant territorial gains by security officials against militants and terrorists.  Political Agent Muttahir Zeb revealed that the Bara-Peshawar Highway will re-open for a trial period on Saturday.  Provided the security situation continues to improve, the government anticipates lifting curfew throughout the rest of Bara.[20]

 Saudi-Pakistan Relations

  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening and will meet King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on Friday, along with Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan.[21]

Russia-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, Pakistan Steel Mills’ Board of Investment Chairman Muhammad Zubair announced that the Russian engineering company JSC Technopromexport will be providing $1 billion dollars in assistance to Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). The aid will reportedly initially rehabilitate and then improve the production quantity of PSM.[22]

Power Crisis  

  • On Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that the PML-N government has devised a 25-year plan that will address the energy crisis by generating an additional 50,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity.  The Council of Common Interests formally approved the plan on Wednesday.  Sharif made his announcement at the Pakistan Power Park, which will produce approximately 660 MW of power through eight separate projects.[23]

  •  On Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that Pakistan has paid off its entire Rs 480 billion ($4.7 million) circular debt and will be able to generate 1700 megawatts (MW) of extra power.[24] 

Domestic  

  • On Friday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chief Imran Khan appeared before the Supreme Court and submitted his written reply to charges for contempt of court, following court allegations that Khan implied judicial involvement in election inconsistencies in May and July. Khan noted in his reply that “he and the party strongly support the judiciary” and his criticism was directed to the Election Commission of Pakistan. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry called Khan’s reply “insufficient” and gave Khan until 11:30am Pakistan time to submit a new response.  Khan refused to apologize and said he is prepared to face incarceration.  According to a Friday report in the Express Tribune, the PTI will release a report next week detailing evidence of rigging and poll counts in various districts.[25]

  •  On Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with party leaders from the Muttahida Quami Movement and Pakistan Peoples Party to discuss inter-party unity, noting that solidarity among parties would be crucial in combating Pakistan’s ongoing troubles.[26] 

  • On Friday in an interview with the BBC, President-elect Mamnoon Hussain announced that his first priority upon entering office will be to improve the security of Karachi. Unusually, Hussain also announced that another priority of his was to visit the Taj Mahal.[27]

                


 
[1] “John Kerry pledges early end to Pakistan drone strikes,” BBC, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23545221 
“Drone strikes to end ‘very, very soon’: John Kerry,” Express Tribune, August 1, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585365/drone-strikes-to-end-very-very-soon-john-kerry/
[2]“Energy crisis: Civil nuclear deal back on Pakistan, US agenda,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585436/energy-crisis-civil-nuclear-deal-back-on-pakistan-us-agenda/
[3] “Kerry presented ‘non-paper’ on Iran-Pakistan pipeline: Foreign office,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585577/pakistan-presented-non-paper-to-kerry-on-iran-pakistan-pipeline/
[4] “Pakistan needs Marshall Plan for economic revival: Zardari,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24536-Pakistan-needs-Marshall-Plan-for-economic-revival%3a-Zardari
[5]“Kerry fails to bridge Pak-US gap on drone attacks,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24551-Kerry-fails-to-bridge-Pak-US-gap-on-drone-attacks
[6]Anwar Iqbal, “Dialogue Will Continue: State Department: US, Pakistan to Stay Engaged Against Terrorism,” Dawn, August 2, 2013.  Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1033511/dialogue-will-continue-state-department-us-pakistan-to-stay-engaged-against-terrorism
[7]Umar Cheema, “Record Shows Abbottabad Commission was Penetrated by the CIA,”  The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24543-Record-shows-Abbottabad-Commission-was-penetrated-by-CIA
[8]“Research Shows US Drone Targeted Rescuers in Waziristan,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-193820-Research-shows-US-drones-targetted-rescuers-in-Wazirstan
[9] “4 Taliban Commanders, 1 Sectarian Terrorist, Criminals Among Escaped Prisoners,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-193819-4-Taliban-commanders,-1-sectarian-terrorist,-criminals-among-escaped-prisoners
[10] “Indian army says 12 militants killed near LoC,” Dawn, August 2, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1033614/indian-army-says-12-militants-killed-near-loc
[11]“Shahbaz Taseer Killed in Shawal in 2012: Taliban Sources,” Frontier Post, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/30939/
[12]Kashif Zafar, “Shia Leader, Son Killed in Rahim Yar Khan,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/585541/shia-leader-son-assassinated-in-rahim-yar-khan/
[13] “Leader of Sunni Supreme Council killed in firing,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-193854-Leader-of-Sunni-Supreme-Council-killed-in-firing
[14]Riaz Ahmad, “IB Inspector Succumbs to his Injuries,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/585153/ib-inspector-succumbs-to-injuries/
[15] “SHO Among 2 Cops Shot Dead,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112005-SHO-among-two-cops-shot-dead-in-Peshawar-
[16] “Police Display Seized Explosive Material,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-193858-Police-display-seized-explosive-material
[17]“Oil Tanker Attacked in Mastung,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-193866-Oil-tanker-attacked-in-Mastung
[18]“Injured LeJ Militant Remanded in Custody,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-193763-Injured-LeJ-militant-remanded-in-custody
[19]“Violence Continues: Two Police Officials, Three MQM Activists Among Dead,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/585245/violence-continues-two-police-officials-three-mqm-activists-among-eight-dead/  M. Waqar Bhatti, “Jodia Bazaar Shuts After Three Shot Dead,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-193744-Jodia-Bazaar-shuts-after-three-shot-dead
[20]“Curfew to be Relaxed in Bara After Four Years,” Geo News, August 2, 2013.  Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-112107-Curfew-to-be-relaxed-in-Bara-after-four-years-
[21] “PM Nawaz will also meet Shah Abdullah today,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112052-PM-Nawaz-to-perform-Umrah,-meet-Shah-Abdullah-today
[22] “Russia offers funds to revive Pakistan Steel Mills,” Express Tribune, August 1, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585216/russia-offers-funds-to-revive-pakistan-steel-mills/
[23]“25-Year Plan to Produce 50,000MW: Nawaz,” Dawn, August 2, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1033496/25-year-plan-to-produce-50000mw-nawaz  
Sumaira Khan and Zafar Bhutta, “Power to the Provinces: National Energy Policy Gets CCI Approval,” Express Tribune, July 31, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/584703/power-to-the-provinces-national-energy-policy-gets-cci-approval/
[24]“Energy crisis: Clearing circular debt reduced shortfall to 3,000 MW, PM,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585219/energy-crisis-clearing-circular-debt-reduced-shortfall-to-3000mw-pm/
[25] “Imran Khan’s reply ‘insufficient’ in the contempt of court case: SC,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585488/imran-khans-reply-insufficient-in-the-contempt-of-court-case-sc/  
“Contempt of court: Imran Khan gets time till 11:30 am to submit revised reply,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112049-PTI-chief-Imran-Khan-submits-reply-in-contempt-of-court-case  
“Imran Khan Refuses to Apologise in Contempt of Court Case,” Dawn, August 1, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1033431/imran-khan-refuses-to-apologise-in-contempt-of-court-case 
“PTI to issue white paper on May 11 rigging,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585579/pti-to-issue-white-paper-on-may-11-rigging/
[26]“Pakistan has become hub of problems: Nawaz,” The News, August 2, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24532-Pakistan-has-become-hub-of-problems%3a-Nawaz
[27]"Resolving issues: Peace in Karachi a priority, says Mamnoon,” Express Tribune, August 2, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/585405/resolving-issues-peace-in-karachi-a-priority-says-mamnoon/