Pakistan Security Brief - February 14, 2012

Police in Pakistan arrest U.S. embassy employee; U.S. government allocates $2.4 billion for Pakistan in 2013; Pakistani defence minister says government allowing NATO to fly through Pakistani airspace; Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveys “serious concern” over Balochistan hearing; Election Commission of Pakistan grants voting rights to 3.7 million Pakistanis living abroad; Afghan Taliban demands details surrounding death of former Taliban defense minister in Pakistani jail; Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani to write autobiography;  India’s Minister of Commerce signs trade agreements with Pakistan; Dr. Shakeel Afridi dismissed from his post; Militants attack check-post in Nasirabad district.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • William Charles, an employee of the U.S. embassy in Pakistan, was arrested by police Tuesday while traveling from Peshawar to Islamabad. Airport security officials in Peshawar found bullets, and in one report a pistol, in Charles’ luggage and subsequently took him into custody until his identity as a U.S. consulate employee could be verified. Charles was released due to his diplomatic status after U.S. officials in Islamabad confirmed his identity.[1]

  • The Obama administration submitted its budget for the 2013 fiscal year on Monday, allocating $2.4 billion for Pakistan. Of the allocated amount, $197 million is to support the U.S. government’s civilian presence, while $800 million is for Pakistan’s Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) and is meant for assistance to “strengthen democratic and civil institutions that provide a bulwark against extremism, and support joint security and counterterrorism efforts.” According to the conditions accompanying the allocation of funds, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must affirm that Pakistan is working with the U.S. in counterterrorism efforts against the “Quetta Shura, Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, al Qaeda and other domestic and foreign terrorist organizations” in order for the funds to be disbursed.[2]

  • According to Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, the Pakistani government has allowed NATO to fly food items to troops in Afghanistan through Pakistani airspace. This announcement comes despite a two-month blockade of NATO supply trucks. Mukhtar stated that Pakistan has allowed food items to be shipped by air because they are perishable.[3]

  • On Monday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland to officially convey the government’s “serious concern” over the Balochistan hearing in Congress. According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Hoagland was told that the U.S. hearing was “unacceptable as it amounted to interference in the internal affairs of the country.” Hoagland responded by assuring Pakistani officials that the U.S. administration “has not extended any support to the initiative nor did it subscribe to such views.”[4]

  • Dawn reported that Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who assisted the CIA in locating Osama bin Laden last year, was dismissed from his post on Tuesday.[5]

Domestic Politics

  • On Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to grant voting rights to 3.7 million Pakistanis living abroad. The ECP meeting, chaired by ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan, decided that the names of Pakistani’s living abroad will be registered in the electoral rolls. This decision came after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan petitioned the Supreme Court last year to give overseas Pakistanis the right to vote.[6]

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani revealed plans to write an autobiography on Monday. This announcement came shortly after his indictment by the Supreme Court for contempt of court. According to Gilani, writing an autobiography will give him the opportunity to “highlight his commitment to his party” and “reveal the courage of his party.” Sources close to Gilani report that the autobiography will be titled, Mein Bewafa Nahi Hun, which in English translates to I Am Not Disloyal.[7]

  • Pakistan’s federal cabinet expressed “full confidence” in Prime Minister Gilani on Tuesday. According to a spokesman for the office of the prime minister, the cabinet “unanimously applauded the conduct of the prime minister in the Supreme Court and reposed full confidence in his leadership.”[8]

  • On Monday, the Sindh Assembly passed a resolution requesting that the investigation report on the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto be made public.[9]

International Relations

  • India’s Minister of Commerce Anand Sharma traveled to Pakistan on Monday to sign three trade agreements. The agreements will relax trade restrictions between Pakistan and India and attempt to bolster bilateral trade. Sharma, addressing a trade-show of 120 Pakistani and Indian businessman, stated that “the hurdles to free trade between Pakistan and India are being removed through sustained dialogue.” Sharma said that both countries hope to double bilateral trade over the next three years.[10]

  • On Monday, Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid demanded that Pakistan release details surrounding the death of Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, the former Taliban defence minister when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Akhund was captured in Balochistan in 2007, and reportedly died of heart disease in a Karachi jail in March 2010. Mujahid stated that it is still not clear whether Akhund died of heart disease or if he was “martyred due to torture and torment.”[11]

  • On Tuesday, senior Afghan officials announced that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will seek access to senior Afghan Taliban leaders on his upcoming visit to Islamabad this week. According to a senior Afghan official, Karzai hopes Pakistan “will arrange a purposeful meeting” between Afghan leaders and Taliban leaders of the Quetta Shura in hopes of finding a “solution” for peace.[12]

Militancy

  • On Monday, a group of militants attacked a check-post near the Chatter area of the Nasirabad district killing two personnel of the Balochistan Constabulary (BC) and injuring two others. The militants surrounded the check-post and fired on the BC personnel using automatic weapons. The two men killed BC Sub-Inspector Wahid Bhasksh and Constable Baddar Uddin.[13]

  • On Tuesday, unknown assailants opened fire on a vehicle containing ten people, killing five. The incident occurred in the Turbat are of southern Balochistan.[14]

 



[1] Jibran Ahmad, “Pakistan releases U.S. man after ‘bullets found in baggage,’” Reuters, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/14/us-pakistan-usa-idUSTRE81D0B320120214
“US diplomat detained in Peshawar, bullets recovered,” The News International, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-35255-US-diplomat-detained-in-Peshawar,-bullets-recovered
[2] “US State Dept seeks $2.4 billion for Pakistan in 2013 budget,” Daily Times, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C02%5C14%5Cstory_14-2-2012_pg7_8
[3] “Pakistan allows food, medical supplies to Nato forces,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/pakistan-allows-food-medical-supplies-to-nato-forces.html
[4] “Pakistan conveys ‘serious concerns’ to US,” Daily Times, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\02\14\story_14-2-2012_pg7_2
[5] “CIA backed Pakistani doctor sacked from job,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/cia-backed-pakistani-doctor-sacked-from-job.html
[6] “ECP grants overseas Pakistani’s right to vote,” The Express Tribune, February 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/336287/ecp-allows-overseas-pakistanis-to-vote/
[7] Owais Jafri, “After being indicted, Gilani mulls autobiography,” The Express Tribune, February 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/335854/after-being-indicted-gilani-mulls-autobiography/
[8] “Cabinet backs indicted PM,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/cabinet-backs-indicted-pm.html
[9] Habib Khan Ghori, “Sindh Assembly wants Benazir Bhutto murder report made public,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/sindh-assembly-wants-benazir-murder-report-made-public.html
[10] Nasir Jamal, “Anand stresses trade to foster peace,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/anand-stresses-trade-to-foster-peace.html
“Indian minister: Sharma vows to double Pak-India trade,” The Express Tribune, February 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/336106/indian-minister-sharma-vows-to-double-pak-india-trade/ 
[11] “Taliban want death in jail explained,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/taliban-want-death-in-jail-explained.html
[12] “Karzai to push for access to Taliban in Pakistan,” Reuters, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/14/karzai-to-push-for-access-to-taliban-in-pakistan.html
[13] “Armed men attack Balochistan check post, kill 2 personnel,” The Express Tribune, February 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/335844/armed-men-attack-balochistan-check-post-kill-2-personnel/
[14] “Seven killed in Turbat, Qila Saifullah firing,” Geo, February 14, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=35300