Pakistan Security Brief - December 21, 2012

U.S. drone strike kills four in North Waziristan; Pakistani drone crashes in South Waziristan; UK judge blocks case against drones; Polio vaccinators resume activities with police protection; militant commander among three killed in bomb blast in South Waziristan; Pakistani security agencies gain new eavesdropping powers; bomb defused in Karachi; Nuclear proliferator given one-year jail sentence; Turkish company to sue Pakistan over asset seizure.

Drone Strike, Drone Crash

  • A U.S. drone attack on Friday on a house in the Hassu Khel area of North Waziristan agency killed four suspected militants. The militants’ identities and affiliations are currently unknown.[1]

  • A Pakistani reconnaissance drone crashed in the Azam Warsak area of South Waziristan on Thursday night. Earlier reports claimed that a drone had crashed in the Kaza Panga area of the agency, but reports were unclear as to whether it was a U.S. or Pakistani drone. According to reports, Taliban militants surrounded the crash site and “took possession of the wreckage.” Pakistani intelligence officials countered that the wreckage was that of a Pakistani drone and that Pakistani security personnel had possession of the vehicle.[2]

  • On Friday, British judges blocked actions initiated by a Pakistani man against the U.K. government over allegations that British intelligence had collaborated with the U.S. in conducting drone strikes in Pakistan. The case was refused permission to be heard on the grounds that it involved sovereign foreign states in matters that “cannot not be determined in English courts.” The presiding judge dismissed the case as a veiled attempt to get the court to make a public denunciation of the U.S. drone program.[3]

Polio Vaccinations Resume After Attacks

  • About 6,000 Pakistani polio workers resumed vaccination activities in Lahore on Thursday under the protection of some 3,000 policemen after nine of their colleagues were killed by assassins across the country in the days before. The UN had halted immunization activities pending better security arrangements for its personnel. The Pakistani Taliban has denied responsibility for the killings.[4]

Militancy and Security

  • A militant commander and two other people were killed in a bomb blast in a vegetable market in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan agency on Friday. The bomb appeared to target the office of the brother of local militant commander Maulvi Abbas. Abbas and his son both died in the blast that also injured four other people. Maulvi Abbas reportedly maintained close links with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and was a confidant of the late Pakistani Taliban commander Nek Muhammad. He came under criticism for his close links to Central Asian militants and was driven out of South Waziristan for a period when Maulvi Nazir, the strongest Pakistani Taliban commander in South Waziristan, undertook to expel Uzbek militants from the region. Abbas returned to South Waziristan last year after coming to terms with Nazir who himself was recently wounded in a bomb attack.[5]

  • Pakistani security agencies won key additional powers when the Fair Trial Act of 2012 was passed by Pakistan’s parliament on Thursday. The controversial bill allows security agencies to conduct domestic electronic surveillance of individuals suspected of being involved in terrorism and to present evidence obtained by electronic eavesdropping in court. Critics of the bill fear that it gives powerful security agencies legal cover to abuse their power for political purposes.[6]

  • Bomb disposal personnel found and defused a 10 kilogram bomb studded with ball bearings and nails near Cheel Chowk in Karachi’s Lyari area on Friday. The bomb was reportedly planted inside a cement block. There are currently no reports on who planted the device.[7] 

Nuclear Proliferation

  • A judge in the U.S. gave a one year prison sentence to a woman found guilty of conspiring to ship embargoed nuclear materials to Pakistan. The woman, Xun Wang, was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. Wang, formerly of PPG Paints Trading Co. of Shanghai, in November 2011 admitted guilt in conspiring to ship, from the U.S. to Pakistan via China, three shipments of high-performance epoxy coatings without the appropriate licenses.[8]

Turkish-Pakistani Relations

  • A Turkish power firm, Karadeniz Holding, plans to sue Pakistan in a U.S. arbitration court for at least $600 million after two of its electricity generating ships were seized by Pakistani authorities in March. Pakistan signed a deal with the company in 2009 for offshore power generation but suspended supplying fuel to the ships after fuel prices rose. The company terminated the five year contract but Pakistan did not release the ships.[9]  

 


[1] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Drone attack kills four in North Waziristan: Sources,” Dawn, December 21, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/12/21/drone-attack-leaves-three-dead-in-north-waziristan/
[2] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Pakistan drone crashes in South Waziristan: sources,” Dawn, December 21, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/12/21/drone-crashes-in-s-waziristan/
[3] “UK judges block action over US drone attacks in Pakistan,” AFP, December 21, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/482477/uk-court-blocks-us-drone-case-raised-by-pakistani-petitioner/
[4] “Pakistani Polio Workers Get Police Protection,” AP, December 20, 2012. Available at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=167677629
[5] Militant commander, 2 others killed in Wana bomb blast,” AFP, December 21, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/482443/militant-commander-2-others-killed-in-wana-bomb-blast/
[6] Qamar Zaman, “Tracking terror suspects: Security agencies win eavesdropping powers,” Express Tribune, December 21, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/482367/tracking-terror-suspects-security-agencies-win-eavesdropping-powers/
[7] “Averting disaster: 10kg bomb found, defused in Lyari,” Express Tribune, December 21, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/482441/averting-disaster-10kg-bomb-found-defused-in-lyari/
[8] “Woman sentenced to 1 year for helping ship material to Pakistan for nuclear reactor,” AP, December 20, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/woman-sentenced-to-1-year-for-helping-ship-material-to-pakistan-for-nuclear-reactor/2012/12/20/b232070e-4adc-11e2-8758-b64a2997a921_story.html
[9] Turkish RPP firm to sue Pakistan at US arbitration court,” Reuters, December 21, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/12/21/turkish-rpp-firm-to-sue-pakistan-at-us-arbitration-court/