Pakistan Security Brief - August 9, 2012

Information minister says no clash between judiciary and parliament; Afghan High Peace Council head postpones visit to Pakistan; IMF calls on President Zardari to endorse “essential reforms” prior to receiving financial assistance; WHO urges Pakistani government to safeguard its polio vaccination teams; Pakistani authorities arrest Afghan nationals attempting to cross illegally into Iran; TTP to discuss whether PTI chair Imran Khan allowed to lead march in Waziristan protesting U.S. drone strikes; Army personnel arrest key TTP commander.   

Contempt of Court Notice and Domestic Politics

  • Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Wednesday that there was no clash between the judiciary and parliament and that the government respected the role of the judiciary. Kaira’s comments came in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday to issue a contempt of court notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for defying a court order to reopen old corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Kaira also expressed his hope that Ashraf’s fate would not be that of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was disqualified by the court for not complying with a similar order, and rejected the idea of holding early elections. Meanwhile, members of the Supreme Court Bar Association spoke out against the court’s contempt notice, saying it was based on political bias and strategy and undermined the institution itself. The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) agreed with the court’s decision, with leader Javed Hashmi observing that the PTI would “foil every anti-judiciary conspiracy” led by the government.[1]

International Relations

  • Salahuddin Rabbani, head of the Afghan High Peace Council, delayed his scheduled trip to Islamabad on Wednesday. Rabbani’s visit, aimed at starting negotiations with Taliban leaders based in Pakistan, is being postponed for two weeks. Although the delay was reportedly the result of Rabbani’s desire to make further preparations prior to the negotiations, Hameed Mubarez, another council member, said recent tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, resulting from incidents of cross-border shelling, made visits by Afghan officials to Pakistan politically difficult.[2]  

  • A draft report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls on Pakistani President Zardari to endorse “essential reforms” prior to receiving a new $11.3 billion loan from the IMF. More specifically, the report asks the Pakistani president to consider signing a letter of intent outlining the policies Pakistan intends to implement with the requested aid. Ordinarily, letters of intent are signed by a country’s finance minister, as was the case in 2008 when Pakistan last received IMF assistance. Pakistan’s failure to implement agreed-upon reforms then, however, led the IMF to withhold $3.4 billion in assistance. In recent weeks, an IMF delegation met with key Pakistani officials, including Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, to discuss a possible aid package, but the IMF is reportedly hesitant to provide financial assistance until Pakistan’s political situation is settled.[3]

  • On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the Pakistani government to ensure the safety of its polio vaccination teams and to reverse the Pakistani Taliban’s ban on vaccinations in Waziristan. At a meeting of the National Task Force for Polio Eradication in Pakistan, WHO regional director Dr. Ala Alwan praised Pakistan’s ongoing vaccination efforts but expressed concern that three areas—the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Quetta, and parts of Karachi—were vulnerable to a resurgence of the virus. Alwan also noted that Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts would be fruitless unless children in the Bara area of Khyber agency were vaccinated. Following the meeting, Alwan briefed President Zardari on the situation, encouraging him to make a greater financial contribution to the country’s Emergency Action Plan to eradicate polio.[4]    

  • On Wednesday, Levies forces arrested 13 Afghan nationals of Uzbek origin attempting to cross illegally into Iran through the Dalbandin area of Balochistan province. The suspects, who lacked travel documents, were taken into custody and transferred to a Levies station for further questioning.[5]

Militancy



[1] “PM won’t meet Gilani fate, hopes Kaira,” The News, August 8, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-62562-PM-Raja-won''t-meet-Gilani''s-fate,-hopes-Kaira
Mohammad Zafar and Qaiser Zulfiqar, “Disqualifying premier not in national interest: Yasin Azad,” Express Tribune, August 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/419484/disqualifying-premier-not-in-national-interest-yasin-azad/
“PTI to foil all anti-judiciary plots: Hashmi,” Geo News, August 8, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=62558
[2] “Pak-Afghan tensions: Afghan council chief’s visit delayed,” Express Tribune, August 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/419595/pak-afghan-tensions-afghan-council-chiefs-visit-delayed/
[3] “Shahbaz Rana, “IMF wants Pakistan president to endorse future bailouts,” Express Tribune, August 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/419515/imf-wants-pakistan-president-to-endorse-future-bailouts/
[4] “WHO urges for polio team security in meetings with PM, President,” Express Tribune, August 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/419259/who-urges-for-polio-team-security-in-meetings-with-pm-president/
[5] “13 Afghan nationals held in Dalbandin,” The News, August 9, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-125559-13-Afghan-nationals-held-in-Dalbandin
[6] Ishtiaq Masud, “Taliban to debate Pakistani cricket star’s protest,” AP, August 9, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/taliban-debate-pakistani-cricket-stars-protest-105639371.html
“Taliban to debate Imran Khan’s protest in Waziristan,” Express Tribune, August 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/419716/ttp-to-debate-imran-khans-protest-in-waziristan-report/
[7] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Mullah Fazlullah aide arrested from Nowshera,” Dawn, August 9, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/09/mullah-fazlullah-aide-arrested-from-nowshera/
[8] “Landmine explosion in Mohmand kills security personnel,” Dawn, August 9, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/09/landmine-explosion-in-mohmand-kills-security-personnel/
[9] “Blast in Peshawar, no lives lost,” Dawn, August 9, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/08/09/blast-in-peshawar-no-lives-lost/
“IDP shot dead at Jalozai camp,” Daily Times, August 9, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\09\story_9-8-2012_pg7_9
[10] “Five killed in separate acts of violence,” Daily Times, August 9, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\09\story_9-8-2012_pg12_7
[11] “Terrorism plot foiled in Quetta: Police recover explosive laden car,” Geo News, August 9, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=62636