Pakistan Security Brief - February 14, 2011

Postponement of trilateral meeting; Police report deems Davis as guilty; TTP calls for government to execute Davis; Express Tribune: Haqqani growing in strength; Qadri formally charged with murder; Talks with Admadzai Wazir tribesmen inconclusive;  Eight insurgents killed in Orakzai; Militants hit roadside bomb in Khyber; NGO worker shot; Hand grenade in Khyber kills four; Clashes in Mohmand; Kidnapped reporter recovered; Reuters: Drone attacks hurting popular support;  Arrest warrant for former President Musharraf; Twelve militants killed in Malakand; Search operation in Bannu arrests ten; IED blast in Balochistan; Gas lines attacked in Dera Bugti; Railways damaged in Sindh; Gas pipelines in Hyderabad attacked; India to reduce paramilitary troops in Kashmir.

 
 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • The U.S. has postponed its upcoming trilateral meeting with Afghanistan and Pakistan, following diplomatic rows over the detention of the U.S. national accused of murder, Raymond Davis. The meeting between Secretary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan were originally scheduled for February 23 and 24, but were postponed “in light of the political changes in Pakistan,” according to a spokesman for the U.S. State Department. Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit released a statement that said, “We hope that the trilateral meeting would be rescheduled as soon as possible. Such meetings are important for peace and security in the region. We hope one person would not drive Pakistan-U.S. relations and we hope we would not be losing sight of the strategic imperative of our relations.” He also stated that, “any U.S. pressure on the issue of Raymond Davis will be counterproductive.” [i]
  • The Washington Post has obtained a copy of the police report filed on Raymond Davis, which deems Davis as guilty in the shootings. The report accuses Davis of “cold blooded murder,” in contrast to Davis’ argument of self-defense. The Post also reports that Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the former Pakistani foreign minister, alluded to a newspaper on Saturday that he had lost his job in the cabinet reshuffle last week because he did not think Davis qualified for diplomatic immunity.[ii]
  • The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has released a statement calling for the Pakistani government to execute Davis, or else hand him over to the TTP. Spokesman Azam Tariq designated Davis as a spy and declared, “He was here for spying. He is an American spy. We will kill all those people and will target them who will help him (Davis) or try to set him free. He is a killer, he has killed two innocent Pakistanis. We will take revenge for them."[iii]
 
 

Haqqani Network Grows in Strength

  • The Express Tribune has issued a report claiming that the Haqqani network has grown in strength, despite increased U.S. drone strikes which aim to restrict its movement. Unidentified officials have claimed that the group has recruited new militants from within various movements across Pakistan, contributing to an estimated 15,000- 25,000 active supporters.[iv]

 

Governor Taseer’s Assassination and Fallout

  • Mumtaz Qadri, the man accused of Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination last month, has been formally charged with murder. One of Qadri’s lawyers, Malik Mohammad Rafiq Khan, said that Qadri has pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism and murder. [v]
 
 

FATA

  • Talks between Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen in South Waziristan and senior military and government officials have failed to resolve differences over the ban on the display of arms in the area. The tribesmen had previously threatened to migrate to Afghanistan if the ban was not repealed by February 10, however, the deadline has since been extended to February 20. The government has also declared its intention to make additions to the 2007 peace accord in the area, which would require the Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen to impose a fine against those involved in terrorist acts. However, “the nine sub-tribes of Ahmadzai Wazir are reluctant to do so,” said a tribal elder, Malik Mohammad Ali. A pro-government Taliban commander, Maulvi Nazeer, also has publicly rejected additions to the accord.[vi]
  • Eight militants were killed in clashes in Orakzai Agency on Sunday, after the insurgents opened fire on security officers. Seven militants and two soldiers were also injured in the fighting at the Dewri area checkpoint.[vii]
  • Three militants in Khyber Agency were injured when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Bara sub-district. The vehicle reportedly belonged to the head of the militant group Amr Bil Maroof wa Nahi Anil Munkar, however he was not in the vehicle at the time of the explosion. Militants additionally shot and injured an NGO-employee in Bara sub-district on Sunday. Abdul Qayyum, an employee for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, was wounded when insurgents opened fire on him near his residence. He had previously been kidnapped by militants but released after paying a ransom. Elsewhere in Bara sub-district, TTP militants attacked the house of Said Karam, a commander of Lashkar-e-Islam (LI). However, Said Karam had reportedly abandoned the house in previous months.[viii]
  • A hand grenade detonated in Khyber Agency on Saturday killed four insurgents. A local militant commander and his three associates were fatally injured in the Bazaar Zakhakhel area after an unidentified person hurled the grenade in the direction of the militants.[ix]
  • A levies officer and a militant were killed in Mohmand Agency on Friday after exchanging fire at a security checkpoint in Prang Ghar. Levies personnel later arrested two insurgents involved in the clash. In a separate incident in Ambar sub-district, three volunteers and a tribal malik (elder) were killed after their vehicle hit a landmine. Meanwhile, security operations in Charsadda led to the arrest of twenty-three people, including six suspected militants.[x]
  • A local television reporter and his driver were recovered on Saturday after being kidnapped the previous evening. The men were kidnapped from the Bagan are of Kurram Agency on Friday by unidentified gunmen. The journalist was able to escape from the militants’ car and subsequently report the incident to the local authorities. [xi]
  • A report issued by Reuters details the effect of U.S. drone strikes on popular support for the Pakistani government. The article highlights civilian causalities and continued violations of sovereignty, which have reportedly undermined progress in winning the hearts and minds of the FATA population.[xii]
 
 

Warrant for Musharraf’s Arrest

  • On Saturday, a Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf in relation to his suspected involvement in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A special prosecutor has reported to the AFP that “a joint investigation team that had been formed to probe the assassination said in its report Musharraf had involvement in the case and was equally responsible.” He has been accused of having played a role in a "broad conspiracy" to have Bhutto assassinated prior to elections.[xiii]
 
 
 

Militant Deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

 
 
 

Blasts in Balochistan

  • Two people were killed in a blast in Killa Saifullah district. The improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated on a roadside in the Shamalzai area, fatally injuring two men walking through the locale.[xvi]
  • Militants blew up four gas lines in Dera Bugti on Saturday, resulting in a further suspension of gas supply in the area. According to police officials, explosives had been placed on lines running through the Sui and Peerkoh areas of Dera Bugti.[xvii] 
 
 
 

Railroad Attacks in Sindh

  • On Friday, ten low-intensity explosions damaged railway tracks around Karachi, Hyderabad, and Sukkur, affecting transport between Sindh and Punjab. Three people were injured by the blasts in Baloch Colony, Karachi. Pakistan Railway police in Sindh have recovered leaflets of the militant organization, Sindhu Desh (Sindhi Nation), from the blast sites, while a Hussinabad policeman reported that a “nationalist” party had asserted responsibility for the explosions. An additional attack on Saturday in Kotri was reported, though railway services have since resumed.[xviii]
  • Two gas pipelines in Hyderabad were attacked on Sunday after an attack from unidentified assailants. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[xix]
 
 
 

Troop Withdrawal in Kashmir

  • On Sunday, a top governmental official announced plans for India to withdraw 10,000 paramilitary troops from Kashmir in the next year. Home Secretary Gopal Pillai stated, “I think this year we can easily take out 10 battalions (10,000 personnel), if not more. There are more than adequate forces in Kashmir and it can do with less central forces. You have to start talking to other people and get fresh ideas so I think we have to reach out to the people of Kashmir.”[xx]
 
 
 
 
 
 


[i] Jane Perlez, “U.S. Postpones Meeting With Pakistan and Afghanistan,” New York Times, February 13, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/world/asia/14pakistan.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
[ii] Karin Brulliard and Aoun Sahi, “Pakistani police report deems American official ‘guilty’ in shootings,” Washington Post, February 13, 2011. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/13/AR2011021301279.html
[iii] “Pakistani Taliban demands death for US gunman,” AFP, February 13, 2011. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gBnWKQ0bpRJxYFGXTBDf8BnrSmcw?docId=CNG.f6fcd5bb2a7f891c8156a12d7845d240.61
[v] “Mumtaz Qadri charged with Salman Taseer murder,” BBC News, February 14, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12445519
[vi] Mustaq Yusufzai, “Govt-Wazirs talks remain inconclusive,” The News, February 13, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=30894&Cat=7
[vii] “Eight militants killed in Orakzai clash,” The News, February 14, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=31144&Cat=2
[viii] Said Nazir Afridi, “Three militants injured as vehicle hits roadside bomb,” The News, February 14, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=31068&Cat=7
[ix] “Four militants killed in grenade attack,” Dawn, February 12, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/13/four-militants-killed-in-grenade-attack.html
[x] “Levies man among two killed in Mohmand,” Dawn, February 12, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/12/levies-man-among-2-killed-in-mohmand.html
[xi] “Journalist, driver recovered in Kurram,” The News, February 13, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=30903&Cat=7
[xii] “Michael Georgy, “Drones hurt Pakistan bid to win hearts and minds,” Reuters, February 14, 2011. Available at
[xiii] Khurram Shahzad, “Pakistan court issues arrest warrant for Musharraf,” AFP, February 12, 2011. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110212/wl_afp/pakistanunrestbhuttotrialmusharraf
[xiv] “Suicide bomb attack in Swat injures 3,” Express Tribune, February 12, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/117867/suicide-bomb-attack-in-swat-injures-three/
[xv] Said Nazir Afridi, “Three militants injured as vehicle hits roadside bomb,” The News, February 14, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=31068&Cat=7
[xvi] “Briefs,” The News, February 12, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=3958&Cat=13
[xvii] “Gas pipelines blown up in Dera Bugti,” Dawn, February 12, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/12/gas-pipelines-blown-up-in-dera-bugti.html
[xix] “Two gas pipelines blown away near Hyderabad,” Dawn, February 12, 2011. Available at
[xx] “India to pull 10,000 troops from Kashmir,” Dawn, February 13, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/13/india-to-pull-10000-troops-from-kashmir.html