Pakistan Security Brief - December 16, 2011

Pakistani officials condemn NATO attack; Congress passes Defense Authorization Bill freezing $700 million in aid to Pakistan; Supreme Court inquiry into “memogate” scandal set to resume December 19; ANP MNA calls for Pasha’s resignation; Sindh High Court calls for release of MQM-Haqiqi chief; Zardari recovering in Dubai, presidential staff flown to Dubai; Militants target Pakistan Army convoy in Upper Orakzai agency, killing one soldier and injuring 25; Two security officers wounded and one militant killed in Kohat search operation.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • During a Pakistani Embassy news conference on Thursday, officials condemned the November 26 NATO airstrike on Pakistani border posts that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, calling the incident “unprovoked and inexplicable.” While the Pakistani officials did not specifically say that the U.S. attack intentionally targeted Pakistani soldiers, they emphasized that NATO forces did not utilize available channels to communicate with the Pakistani border posts.  One official questioned the duration of the attack, adding that nearly an hour into the incident “the entire (U.S.) chain of command knew something had gone wrong. If there was any doubt before, there was none after.” U.S. military officials are expected to release the details of their investigation into the attack next week.  One new detail exposed in the news conference was an alleged apology offered by a NATO officer to his Pakistani border liaison counterpart.  According to Pakistani officials, the NATO officer apologized for providing incorrect coordinates for the planned NATO attack which rendered the Pakistanis unable to alert NATO forces and their own troops of the impeding friendly fire.[1]

  • Congress passed the Defense Authorization Bill on Thursday, which will place a hold on $700 million in the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund pending greater Pakistani cooperation in countering the proliferation of improvised explosion devices (IED) and IED components.  Once signed into law by President Obama, the legislation will require that the “Secretary of Defense submit a report that would include a strategy for enhancing Pakistan’s efforts to counter [IEDs] and information on whether Pakistan is making significant efforts to implement a strategy to counter IEDs” before the aid freeze can be lifted. At a press conference on Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland emphasized that the bill would not cut funding to Pakistan, but instead would add certification requirements that must be met before the aid can be distributed.[2]

Pakistani Politics

Zardari’s Health

FATA

Khyber-Pakthunkhwa



[1] Pamela Constable, “At Pakistani Embassy, officials decry NATO airstrike,” Washington Post, December 15, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-officials-decry-nato-air-attack/2011/12/15/gIQAi6dgwO_story.html?wprss=rss_asia-pacific
“Pakistani officials: NATO apologized as it fired,” CBS News, December 15, 2011. Available at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501706_162-57343695/pakistani-officials-nato-apologized-as-it-fired/
[2] Huma Imtiaz and Kamran Yousaf,  “Defence budget: US Congress clears Pakistan aid freeze bill,” Express Tribune, December 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/307487/us-senate-clears-bill-to-block-aid-to-pakistan/
[3] “Memogate: No reply from Zardari, says Attorney General,” Express Tribune, December 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/307554/memogate-no-reply-from-zardari-says-attorney-general/
Faisal Shakeel, “President snubs SC deadline; govt says no need for case,” Express Tribune, December 16, 2011. Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/307430/military-govt-standoff-in-the-making-president-snubs-sc-deadline-govt-says-no-need-for-case/
“Kayani, Pasha submit memogate replies in SC,” Dawn, December 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/15/kayani-pasha-submit-memogate-replies-in-sc.html
“Memo exists, say Kayani, Pasha,” Dawn, December 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/16/memo-exists-say-kayani-pasha.html
“Army Says Coup Memo Attempt to Hurt Pakistan-Reports,” Reuters, December 16, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/12/16/world/asia/international-us-pakistan-military-memo.html?_r=1
[4] Zia Khan, “Military coup charges: ISI chief should resign, face inquiry, says Gohar,” Express Tribune, December 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/307431/military-coup-charges-isi-chief-should-resign-face-inquiry-says-gohar/  
“Gen Pasha visited Arab states to discuss coup: Ijaz,” Dawn, December 15, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/15/gen-pasha-visited-arab-states-to-discuss-coup-ijaz.html
[5] “SHC declares Afaq Ahmed's MPO detention 'illegal,'” Express Tribune, December 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/307552/shc-declares-afaq-ahmeds-mpo-detention-illegal/
[6] “President Zardari fit, resuming duties next week: Shamsul Hassan,” Express Tribune, December 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/307533/president-zardari-fit-resuming-duties-next-week-shamsul-hassan/
“More presidency staff sent to Dubai,” Dawn, December 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/16/more-presidency-staff-sent-to-dubai.html
[7] “Insurgents set off bomb near Pakistan army convoy; 1 soldier, 20 militants die in clashes,” Washington Post, December 16, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/insurgents-set-off-bomb-near-pakistan-army-convoy-1-soldier-20-militants-die-in-clashes/2011/12/16/gIQAXL5mxO_story.html?wprss=rss_asia-pacific
[8] “Militants target forces with hand grenades,” Dawn, December 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/16/militants-target-forces-with-hand-grenades.html