Pakistan Security Brief - August 4, 2010
Pakistan Security Brief – August 4, 2010
Chief of Frontier constabulary killed in TTP suicide attack in Peshawar; Pakistan experiencing a “humanitarian crisis” as flooding worsens in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, spreads into Sindh and Punjab; President Zardari arrives in Britain for talks with Prime Minister Cameron; death toll rises from violence throughout Karachi; suspects arrested in connection with assassination of Syed Raza Haider.
The chief of the Frontier Constabulary, Sifwat Ghayur, was killed along with two other security personnel when a suicide bomber attacked their vehicle in Peshawar. At least 14 others have also been wounded in the bombing. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq later phoned reporters to claim responsibility for the attack and warned that “all such officers who are active against us will suffer the same fate.”
The flooding in Pakistan continues to worsen as new figures estimate a total of more than 1,500 people killed and as many as 3.2 million affected in total in what the UN disaster coordinator for Pakistan is calling a “humanitarian disaster.” The country is also now facing a severe food crisis due to the destruction of crops, the closure of local shops and markets, and the inability of the government to provide sufficient relief services. Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain voiced his concern that people in Upper Dir, Shangla, and other nearby areas were at risk of starvation since aid workers “do not have access to these areas as roads and bridges have been washed away.” Thousands more have been stranded and dozens of villages destroyed as the flooding continues to sweep south into areas of Punjab and northern Sindh. On Tuesday, the United States military announced that it will dispatch four CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to aid in relief efforts for those affected by the flooding. 
The death toll from rioting and incidents of ethnic and sectarian violence in Karachi since Syed Raza Haider’s murder on Monday has risen to at least 62 with hospitals reporting more than 150 other peopled injured. Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Abdul Majid Haji Mohammad told reporters that the latest wave of violence caused the city to suffer a single-day economic loss of around Rs 10 billion.
Joint operations by local police and Rangers have resulted in the arrest of around 100 suspects from various areas of Karachi in connection with the murder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Syed Raza Haider and the multiple incidents of arson and violence which followed. Capital City Police Officer Waseem Ahmed indicated that 20 of the suspects had ties to banned militant groups and were currently being interrogated to establish their alleged role in Haider’s assassination. The remaining 80 suspects were arrested for “disturbing the law and order situation” throughout the city.
President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in London on Tuesday to confront Prime Minister David Cameron over his remarks about Pakistan’s alleged “export of terror.” Speaking to the BBC shortly before Zardari’s arrival, Cameron acknowledged Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism but said that the government needs to take a firmer stance against home grown extremists. Zardari is scheduled to meet with Cameron on Friday as part of his five-day visit to the country. Zardari is also facing harsh criticism at home for not cutting his U.K. trip short to Pakistan and lead the relief efforts following the country’s worst flooding in decades.
President Asif Ali Zardari has authorized Ambassador Hussain Haqqani to issue one-year visas to American diplomats visiting Pakistan. Previously, Haqqani only had the authority to grant three-month visas and was required to consult with the Foreign Office before doing so. According to reports, Haqqani is currently facilitating the entry of 652 Americans into Pakistan, as many as 400 of which are believed to be U.S. security personnel.
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met with the commander of U.S. Transportation Command General Duncan J. McNabb at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday where the two men discussed various professional matters.