Pakistan Security Brief - August 6, 2013

Pakistani officials probing al Qaeda ties in DI Khan prison break, TTP claims insiders in police involved in attack; TTP commanders plan attacks in Islamabad; Army Chief meets with senior Russian military official to discuss U.S. policy towards Afghanistan; U.S. blacklists Taliban militant Bahawal Khan; Pakistan denies India’s allegations Pakistan Army was involved in lethal cross-border attack; BLA rebels kidnap and kill 14 in Bolan district, Balochistan; Pakistan may pull out of Iran-Pakistan pipeline; Suspected Taliban commander arrested after DI Khan break; Militants attack PAF tankers, kill one in Balochistan; 3 high-ranking military, police officials killed in attack in Gilgit-Baltistan; No preconditions set for resumption of strategic dialogue between Pakistan and India; IMF agrees to increase bailout package from $5.3 billion to $6.6 billion; Former President Musharraf fails to appear in court again; Military and Rangers temporarily deployed to increase prison security; 8,000 cops deployed for Eid.

Taliban Jail Break and Terror Alert

  • On Tuesday, the Pakistan Army temporarily deployed troops to the Peshawar Central Jail and Haripur Jail amid security concerns in the wake of last week’s jailbreak at Dera Ismail Khan Central Prison in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.  According to an anonymous source, the military dispatched troops to provide additional security at the request of civilian officials.  Although all prisons in the region are on an increased security alert, Peshawar Central Prison and Haripur Prison house several notable Taliban militants.  Separately, Rangers have assumed temporary responsibility for security of the Central Jail in Rawalpindi, Punjab province.[1]

  • Unnamed security officials told the press on Monday that the government of Pakistan is investigating claims of al Qaeda’s involvement in last week’s Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took responsibility for the attack on Saturday, but Interpol suspects the attack is related to a number of high-profile prison breaks across the Middle East and North Africa involving al Qaeda.  Sources claim four Lebanese al Qaeda members escaped from DI Khan, potentially supporting allegations of the group’s participation.[2]

  • According to an anonymous Taliban commander in an interview with The News, insiders in the police and Dera Ismail Khan prison played a central role in the July 29 jailbreak. According to the commander, “without the cooperation of the police and jail employees, successful jailbreaks such as Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan would never have been possible.” The commander also noted that the Punjabi Taliban forces were essential in the success of the attack. [3]  

  • In a Tuesday Express Tribune report, intelligence officials provided further information on communications intercepted on Sunday between TTP commanders, which had prompted increases in security throughout Islamabad. Reportedly, TTP commander Waleed bin Talib was monitored saying, “we have achieved some of our objectives in the attack on DI Khan jail, but for achieving bigger objectives we need to take action where the ‘big bosses’ sit.”[4]   

  • On Monday, police near Dera Ismail Khan reportedly arrested a Punjabi Taliban commander—Mujahid Ahmed—a week after the July 29 jail break. Ahmed is reportedly injured, and has told officials that the attacks were planned in South Waziristan.[5]

  • According to The News on Tuesday, approximately 8,000 policemen have been deployed across the Punjab province to maintain law and order as Eid approaches. The policeman will focus specifically on exit and entry points into Lahore, as well as general patrolling.[6]

Indo-Pakistan Relations

  • A Foreign Office spokesman denied allegations today that the Pakistani military was involved in a cross-border attack in the Poonch region of Kashmir on Monday night that killed five Indian soldiers.  Media reports indicate that the attackers wore Pakistan Army uniforms during their assault on the checkpoint. Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony announced on Tuesday that the Indian government has filed a diplomatic protest with Pakistan regarding the possible involvement of Pakistani military personnel.[7]

  • In a press interview today, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said India has not set any preconditions for resumption of the composite dialogue.  Previous attempts at negotiation have been hindered by Pakistan’s refusal to accept India’s accusations that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[8]

Iran-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Tuesday Dawn report, Pakistan appears to be attempting to extricate itself from the agreed Iran-Pakistan pipeline, as it has not availed itself of the $500 million loan offered by Iran for the project. Pakistan’s change in policy may be linked to threats of U.S. sanctions, which were noted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday.[9]

Militancy

  • On Tuesday, the United States announced that it is black-listing Pakistani Taliban commander Bahawal Khan, as the State Department added Khan to its list of specially designated global terrorists. Khan reportedly heads the Commander Nazir Group, named after former Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Nazir who was killed in January 2013.[10]

  • Rebels from the Balochistan Liberation Army in Mach, Bolan district, Balochistan shot and killed 14 people, including a Frontier Corps official on Tuesday. The separatists reportedly set up a fake checkpoint, and detained a bus full of labourers before lining them up and executing them. The buses were reportedly bound for Punjab, indicating the attackers may have been targeting ethnic Punjabis. While pursuing the fleeing separatists, police officials were hit by a rocket, killing one FC officer. A total of 30 people were kidnapped on the bus, leaving 16 of the detained missing. While Dawn claims the deceased were primarily labors, Meerak Baloch, a spokesman for the Baloch Liberation Army, noted in a statement that the executed men were all army or security officials.[11] 

  • On Monday in Bolan district, Balochistan militants attacked two oil tankers which were transporting fuel from Sibi to Quetta. The fuel was reportedly intended for the Pakistan Air Force. A security official guarding the convoy was shot and killed in the attack; one of the tankers was also damaged.[12]

  • In Kalat district, Balochistan on Monday, gunmen on motorbikes injured the driver of a truck after they fired upon him while he was driving to Quetta.[13]

  • On Tuesday in Chilas, Gilgit-Baltistan, unknown gunmen attacked a government military convoy, killing three high ranking officials. The dead include a Pakistan Army colonel and captain, as well as the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Diamer. Two guards were also wounded in the assault.[14]

  • According to a Tuesday Express Tribune report, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) group has requested additional security in the wake of an attack on its leader, Maulana Aurangzaib Farooqui, in Karachi on Sunday. Farooqui’s security guards were able to fend off the attackers; the attack is reportedly the 5th attempt on Farooqui’s life.[15]  

  • A Tuesday The News report indicates that security agencies believe militant organizations are planning attacks on key Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) activists in Karachi, as well as suicide attacks in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad and other large cities in Pakistan. In response, Rangers personnel have been deployed throughout the country, and government officials have been advised to restrict their movements.[16]

  • According to a Tuesday The News report, police have increased security throughout shopping centers across Karachi as Eid-ul-Fitr approaches..[17]

  • On Monday evening in Masozai, Kurram agency, unknown gunmen shot and killed a tribal elder while he was leaving a mosque.[18]

  • Despite increases in security throughout Pakistan due to the Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak and the frequency of al Qaeda communications, cellular services in Pakistan will not be disabled on Wednesday for Eid-ul-Fitr, according to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.[19]

Russia-Pakistan Relations

  • Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met with Russia’s Colonel General Vladimir Chirkin in Rawalpindi on Monday to discuss U.S. strategy towards Afghanistan. Kayani and Chirkin reportedly said they do not support a permanent U.S. presence in Afghanistan and agreed on the necessity of a clear “roadmap” for the withdrawal of U.S. forces to maintain stability in the region.[20]

Domestic

  • Finance Minister Ishaq Dar confirmed on Monday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to increase Pakistan’s bailout package from $5.3 billion to $6.6 billion for the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).  The decision follows the government’s recent attempts to ensure fiscal responsibility, including raising energy taxes and submitting collection notices to tax defaulters.[21]

  • President-elect Mamnoon Hussain told Express Tribune on Tuesday that he supports Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s strategy of developing relations with Pakistan’s regional neighbors.  Hussain pledged to continue improving bilateral relations with Iran, India, Russia, and China to combat terrorism and improve the economy.[22]

  • According to a report today in Express Tribune, Pakistan’s budget deficit may have fallen below the anticipated total of Rs 2 trillion ($19.6 billion).  The report attributes the decrease in government expenditures to Rs 48 billion in savings by provincial governments and a ban on development spending ahead of the May elections.[23]

  • On Monday, a citizen filed a petition with the Supreme Court to prevent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from appointing a new Chief of Army Staff when the tenure of General Ashfaq Kayani ends later this year.  The petition seeks to delay appointment of a new army chief pending resolution of an earlier petition challenging Sharif’s policy of appointing senior military officials based on time served, rather than merit.[24]

  • On Monday, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak accused Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl chief (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rahman of disrupting the PTI’s attempts to negotiate with the Taliban.  Khattak claimed the JUI-F has joined with the Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to discredit the PTI and undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of Taliban officials.[25]

Musharraf Trial

  •  On Tuesday, former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf failed to appear in court to face charges for his alleged involvement in the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto.  Police officials claim that they have received “threat letters,” prompting Musharraf’s absence due to security concerns.  Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman once again adjourned the indictment, ordering Musharraf to appear in court on August 20 instead.[26] 

Imran Farooq Investigation

  • London Metropolitan Police revealed on Tuesday that they are currently investigating potential links between the murder of senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement member Imran Farooq and the assassinations of MQM leaders Haji Jalal and Liaquat Qureshi.  All three men had been suspended from their positions within MQM at the time of their deaths.[27]


[1]“Army Deployed at Peshawar Central Jail,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/587198/army-deployed-at-peshawar-central-jail/
Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Army Deployed at Peshawar, Haripur Jails,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1034537/army-deployed-at-peshawar-haripur-jails
“Rangers Deployed to Secure Adiala Jail, Airport,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24639-Rangers-deployed-to-secure-Adiala-Jail,-airport
[2]“DI Khan Jailbreak: Al Qaeda Link in Jailbreak Under Probe,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/587080/di-khan-jailbreak-al-qaeda-link-in-jailbreak-under-probe/
“Interpol Issues Global Alert Over al-Qaida-Linked Prison Breakouts,” The Guardian, August 4, 2013. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/03/interpol-alert-al-qaida-prison-breakouts
[3]Mushtaq Yusufzai, “Well-wishers in prison played key role, claim Taliban,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24637-Well-wishers-in-police,-prison-played-key-role,-claim-Taliban
[4]Arshad Shaheen, “Taliban threat: Islamabad security ramped up,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/587097/taliban-threat-capital-security-ramped-up/
[5]“DI Khan jailbreak: Police arrests suspected “Punjabi Taliban” commander,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034281/d-i-khan-jailbreak-police-arrests-suspected-punjabi-taliban-commander
[6]“8,000 cops deputed for Eid in Punjab,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194593-8,000-cops-deputed-for-Eid-in-Punjab
[7]“ISPR Rebuts Indian Allegation of Held Kashmir Checkpost Attack,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112598-Pakistan-refutes-Indian-allegation-of-attack-on-checkpost-in-held-Kashmir-
“FO Rejects Indian Allegations,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112627-FO-rejects-Indian-allegations-of-killing-soldiers
“Five Soldiers Killed by Pak Troops, Claims Indian Army,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112593-Indain-army-claims-five-soldiers-killed-by-Pak-troops
“India Lodges ‘Strong Protest’ with Pakistan over Kashmir Attack,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1034516/india-lodges-strong-protest-with-pakistan-over-kashmir-attack
[8]“India Attached No Strings on Talks with Pakistan: Sartaj,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112607-No-strings-attached-for-composite-dialogue%3a-Aziz-
Rama Lakshmi, “India-Pakistan Talks Remain Focused on Mumbai Attacks and Abu Jindal,” Washington Post, July 5, 2012.  Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/india-pakistan-talks-remain-focused-on-mumbai-attacks-and-abu-jindal/2012/07/05/gJQAntrYPW_blog.html
[9]Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Uncertainty over Iran pipeline project,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034420/uncertainty-over-iran-pipeline-project
[10]“US blacklists Pakistan-based insurgent leader,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034544/us-blacklists-pakistan-based-insurgent-leader
[11]“14, including three security officers, killed in Mach,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034513/14-including-three-security-officers-killed-in-mach 
“Pakistan gunmen ‘kill 13 bus passengers’,” BBC, August 6, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23585205 
“Bodies of 14 kidnapped passengers found in Balochistan,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/587158/bodies-of-14-kidnapped-passengers-found-in-balochistan/
[12]Syed Ali Shah, “One security man killed as militants attack oil tankers in Bolan,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034509/one-security-man-killed-as-militants-attack-oil-tankers-in-bolan
[13]“One hurt in Kalat firing,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194626-One-hurt-in-Kalat-firing
[14]“SSP, two army officers killed in Chilas firing incident,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1034434/ssp-two-army-officers-killed-in-chilas-firing-incident 
“SP, army colonel, captain killed in Gilgit-Baltistan ambush,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/587189/sp-army-colonel-captain-killed-in-gilgit-baltistan-ambush/
[15]“Security: ASWJ demands increased protection for its leaders,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586883/security-concerns-aswj-demands-increased-protection-for-its-leaders/
[16]Khursheed Abbasi, “Plot of terror attacks in Karachi revealed,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194621-Plot-of-terror-attacks-in-Karachi-revealed
[17]Salis bin Perwaiz, “Police go the extra mile for Eid shoppers’ security,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-194645-Police-go-the-extra-mile-for-Eid-shoppers-security
[18]“Gunned down: Tribal elder killed in central Kurram,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586879/gunned-down-tribal-elder-killed-in-central-kurram/
[19]“Cellular services not to be suspended for Eid,” Express Tribune, August 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/586773/cellular-services-not-to-be-suspended-on-eid/
[20]Kamran Yousaf, “Pak, Russia Army Chiefs Discuss US Exit in Afghanistan,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/587112/pak-russia-army-chiefs-discuss-us-exit-in-afghanistan/            
[21]Mehtab Haider, “IMF Confident to Lend Pakistan $6.6 Billion Under EEF,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24636-IMF-confident-to-lend-Pakistan-$6.6-billion-under-EFF
[22]Zahid Gishkori, “Mamnoon Seeks Better Ties with Country’s Neighbors,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/587095/presidential-commitment-mamnoon-seeks-better-ties-with-countrys-neighbours/
[23]Shahbaz Rana, “Austere Measures: Budget Deficit Stands Below Rs 2 Trillion Target,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/586959/austere-measures-budget-deficit-stands-below-rs2-trillion-target/
[24]Mudassir Raja, “Military Appointments: Petition Seeks Bar on PM from Naming COAS,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/587068/military-appointments-petition-seeks-bar-on-pm-from-naming-coas/
[25]Muhammad Irfan, “Growing Rivalry: Fazl Obstructing Dialogue Process with Taliban, says CM,” Express Tribune, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/587070/growing-rivalry-fazl-obstructing-dialogue-process-with-taliban-says-cm/
[26]“Musharraf Murder Charges Adjourned,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-112575-ATC-adjourns-Musharraf-indictment-until-August-20
Syed Raza Hassan, “Indictment of Pakistan’s Musharraf Adjourned Over Security Fear,” Reuters, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/06/us-pakistan-musharraf-idUSBRE97507J20130806
“Benazir Murder Case: Court Adjourns Musharraf’s Indictment to Aug 20,” Dawn, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1034510/benazir-murder-case-court-adjourns-musharrafs-indictment-to-aug-20
[27]Murtaza Ali Shah, “London Police Looking for Links Between Three Murders,” The News, August 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-194586-London-police-looking-for-links-between-three-murders