Pakistan Security Brief - August 23, 2012

Pakistan Army denies ISI colonel gave up bin Laden; New book by bin Laden raid team member to describe full operation; New intel reports presage fresh TTP attacks; Government tight-lipped about probe into Kamra base attack; former Pakistani ambassador calls for U.S. and Pakistan to “divorce;” Pakistan summons U.S. official to protest against drone attacks; President Karzai blames Pakistan for insider attacks on NATO troops; Christian girl blasphemy victim being denied legal counsel; Christians in Faisalabad riot after boy killed; India, Pakistan to exchange banking permits; fresh violence in Karachi, northwest.

Bin Laden Raid Revelations

  • The Pakistani military has denied claims made in a new book by journalist Richard Miniter that a top colonel in Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) gave the U.S. the location of Osama bin Laden’s hiding place in Abbottabad. Maj. Gen. Asif Saleem Bajwa, the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) arm, said the story was “fabricated” and “an attempt to malign Pakistan and [the] Pakistan Army.”[1]

  • A book detailing the raid to kill Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan written by one of the Navy SEAL Team Six members present during the raid is due to be released next month. The book is purported to give a blow-by-blow of the raid from start to finish and has reportedly caught military and government agencies off-guard; spokesmen for the Navy and the National Security Council both deny ever reviewing or receiving requests for approval for the book’s publishing.[2]

Fresh TTP Attacks Planned

  • A confidential report by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the interior ministry on Thursday claims that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is planning more terrorist activities in the country’s major cities of Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Bannu. The report claims that the TTP is seeking to kidnap serving and retired military officers and American citizens in order to negotiate for the release of its accomplices who are being held in jail. The TTP has also allowed its activists to rob banks and jewelry shops to help finance their activities. The TTP reportedly planned two months of militant activities during a recent meeting presided over by senior commander Qari Saifullah Moavia. According to the report, law enforcement agencies have been informed and security has been put on high alert across the country.[3]

  • The Pakistani government has so far remained silent over the findings of a committee established to investigate the TTP attack on the Pakistan Air Force base at Kamra. The team said it was too early to release findings to civilians, and that it needed a few more days to make any concrete discoveries. Committee officials have affirmed that the investigation is intended to find out who provided logistical support to the attackers. After a preliminary investigation, a senior official confirmed that four of the nine militants had stayed in Makhan Suleman, a village adjacent to the base, but refused to comment further.[4]

U.S. Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States recently issued a statement calling for the U.S. and Pakistan to “divorce as allies.” In a presentation at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C., Husain Haqqani argued that it would be best for both countries to extricate themselves from the dysfunctional U.S.-Pakistan relationship, as this would allow each country to sustain more realistic expectations of the other. Haqqani stated that it was unrealistic for Pakistan to believe the US would support it in a war against India; likewise, it was unrealistic for the U.S. to think that Pakistan would give up its nuclear weapons or cut ties with extremist groups. He further added that there was no way the relationship could improve until the “unhealthy dynamic” of giving US aid to Pakistan and then threatening to withhold it ended, commenting that “Pakistan ends up behaving like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel.” Haqqani also emphasized that the Pakistani government should account for how Osama bin Laden was able to remain undetected for so long in Abbottabad, and make clear who was assisting him.[5]

  • According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, a senior U.S. diplomat had been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest recent drone strikes in North Waziristan. Pakistani officials reportedly told the unidentified U.S. diplomat that such, “attacks were unacceptable, unlawful, and a violation of the country’s sovereignty.”[6]

  • Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political party, has blamed the U.S. and India for perpetuating violence in Balochistan. In a recent press conference, Ahmad warned that the U.S. and India “had an eye” on the province’s natural resources and that a separatist movement would leave the province vulnerable to foreign exploitation. Ahmad also accused the U.S. of perpetrating the recent attack on a Pakistani Air Force Base, saying that those who had claimed responsibility were enemies of Pakistan.[7]

Afghan-Pakistan Relations

  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday made a statement asserting that “foreign spy agencies” were responsible for the recent spate of “green-on-blue” attacks involving Afghan soldiers and policemen turning on their NATO counterparts. Karzai’s allusions to Pakistani spy agencies as having a role in most of the attacks conflicts with NATO assessments that only around one in ten such attacks are the result of enemy infiltration in the ranks. A Pakistani military official rebuked the assertion that Pakistani intelligence agencies were involved.[8]

Minority Persecution and Blasphemy Case

  • A lawyer for the young Christian girl accused of blasphemy was reportedly refused a meeting with his client. According to Shamaun Alfred Gill, a spokesman for All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), authorities of Adiala jail, where she is being held, have refused to allow lawyers to see or speak to her, telling them that they must first get permission from top officials. The young Christian girl is being held in the same jail as Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who last year gunned down Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out against Pakistan’s blasphemy law. The World Vision in Progress Foundation, an NGO, has placed a bail application before the Islamabad session court on behalf of the girl; the hearing is to begin on August 28.[9]

  • An influential Christian church organization, the World Council of Churches (WCC), will hold an international conference in Geneva next month on Pakistan’s blasphemy law. The conference is intended to give a global platform to religious minorities in Pakistan who are affected by the blasphemy law, which has frequently resulted in death penalties and “mob-instigated violence.” Pakistani diplomats were not invited to attend the conference.[10]

  • In Faisalabad hundreds of Christians protested the recent killing of a 12 year old Christian boy. Protestors reportedly threw stones at shops and vehicles, with traffic suspended for over four hours. The boy allegedly had been kidnapped the night before Eid and was found dead earlier this week. It is reported that the boy’s body had several cuts and had been set on fire. An investigation team has been created to probe the case.[11]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • Indian media outlets reported on Thursday that Pakistan and India have agreed to issue each other complete banking licenses and open branches of two banks hosted in each other’s countries. The State Bank of India and Bank of India will open branches in Pakistan, whereas the National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Ltd will open branches in India.[12]

Militancy and Violence

  • Militants shot and killed three police officers in Hangu district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The incident occurred while the policemen conducted routine patrolling of the area. Although no one has taken responsibility thus far, the chief of police in Hangu affirmed Taliban militants were “responsible for the attack.”[13]

  • Four dead bodies were found in Karachi on Thursday, including a political activist affiliated with the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM). This brings the death toll in Karachi since Monday to eight people. Law enforcement agencies also claimed to have arrested two men from the TTP during a raid in Karachi’s Manghopir area. The suspects were found with a map of Karachi, hand grenades, and other weapons. Officials suspected the militants were planning to conduct an attack on Eid.[14]

  • Four people were injured and several houses damaged when Pakistani security forces fired heavy artillery at suspected militant hideouts in Bara, Khyber agency. Shah Faisal Afridi, head of Jamaat-e-Islami, Khyber Agency, condemned the destructive firing and requested the government do more to protect civilians.[15]

  • Bomb Disposal Squads were able to defuse two bombs, while a third bomb exploded in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Thursday. The first bomb was defused in Sheikhan village. The second bomb was defused in a house in Matani. The third bomb exploded near a house in Gulshanabad. No casualties were reported.[16]

  • A man who was injured in a suicide attack on a police convoy on in Karachi on April 5 succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. Police sources said he was unable to afford medical treatment and died at his residence in Malir.[17]

  • According to The News, police raided a house in Lakki town on Wednesday and arrested a militant there identified as Imtiaz.[18]

Monsoon Flooding



[1] Josh Rogin, “Pakistan military denies ISI colonel tipped off U.S. about bin Laden,” Foreign Policy, August 23, 2012. Available at http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/23/pakistan_military_denies_isi_colonel_tipped_off_us_about_bin_laden
[2] Julie Bosman, “Book Will Describe Raid That Killed Bin Laden,” New York Times, August 22, 2012. Available at http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/navy-seals-book-will-describe-raid-that-killed-bin-laden/?smid=tw-nytimesworld&seid=auto
[3] “TTP plans kidnappings robberies to generate funds,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/425001/ttp-plans-kidnappings-robberies-to-generate-funds/
[4] Zahid Gishkori, “Govt tight-lipped over probe findings,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/425045/govt-tight-lipped-over-kamra-probe-findings/.
[5] Josh Rogin, “Ex-envoy: Pakistan must account for bin Laden,” Foreign Policy, August 23, 2012. Available at: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/22/ex_envoy_pakistan_must_account_for_bin_laden
“US, Pakistan must divorce as allies,” Reuters, August 23, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/425111/us-pakistan-must-divorce-as-allies-haqqani/
[6] “Pakistan summons senior US diplomat over drone strikes,” Dawn, August 23, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/23/pakistan-summons-senior-us-diplomat-over-drone-strikes/
[7] “Qazi says US, India fanning violence in Balochistan,” The News, August 23, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-127683-Qazi-says-US,-India-fanning-violence-in-Balochistan.
[8] Graham Bowley and Richard A. Oppel Jr., “Afghanistan, Contradicting NATO, Blames Foreign Spies for Insider Attacks,” New York Times, August 22. 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/world/asia/afghanistan-blames-spies-for-insider-attacks-on-western-troops.html
[9] “Pakistan blasphemy suspect denied meeting lawyer,” AFP, August 23, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-blasphemy-suspect-denied-meeting-lawyer-143052549.html
Qaiser Zulfiqar, “Medical report says blasphemy-accused girl not mentally ill: Activist,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/425162/ngo-moves-bail-application-for-blasphemy-accused-girl/
[10] “Christian group to hold conference on Pakistan blasphemy law,” Reuters, August 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/425155/christian-group-to-hold-conference-on-pakistan-blasphemy-law/
[11] Shamsul Islam, “Kidnap, murder: Protest over killing of 12-year-old Christian boy,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/424783/kidnap-murder-protest-over-killing-of-12-year-old-christian-boy/
[12] “Pakistan-India to host each others bank branches, Indian Media,” Dawn, August 23, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/23/pakistan-india-to-host-each-others-bank-branches-indian-media/
[13] “Militants kill three policemen in Hangu,” AFP, August 23, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/23/militants-kill-three-policemen-in-hangu/
[14] “Political party activist among eight people shot dead,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/424788/political-party-activist-among-eight-people-shot-dead/
[15] “4 injured as shells hit houses in Bara,” The News International, August 23, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-127694-4-injured-as-shells-hit-houses-in-Bara
[16] “Militant threats, two bombs defused third explodes,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/424850/militant-threats-two-bombs-defused-third-explodes/
[17] “Man dies after being injured in suicide attack,” Express Tribune, August 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/424888/man-dies-after-being-injured-in-suicide-attack/
[18] “Militant Held,” The News, August 23, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-127678-Militant-held
[19] “Pakistan 26 die heavy rains flooding,” AP, August 23, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-26-die-heavy-rains-flooding-131917521.html