Pakistan Security Brief - February 26, 2013

U.S., Pakistan to cooperate making new fertilizer useless for IED’s; Policeman protecting polio workers killed; Protests following Shikarpur shrine bombing; Men kidnapped and killed in Balochistan; Five die in Karachi targeted violence U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take bids on counternarcotics center in Karachi in April; National Assembly passes new anti-terrorism bill; closing arguments heard in Florida terrorism case; Abu Dhabi Real-estate deal terminated;  PTI accuses PLM-N of receiving support from extremists; Kayani says army supports “free and fair” elections; Pakistani Interior Minister calls for Indian apology over Hyderabad accusation; Pakistan repays IMF loan.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • The United States and Pakistan will begin working together to develop a new formula for Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) fertilizer in an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of fertilizers used as the raw material in improvised explosive devices (IED). The agreement to develop the product was finalized last week when officials from the Fatima Group, a fertilizer manufacturer that owns the only factories in Pakistan producing CAN fertilizer that can be used in the construction of IEDs, met with U.S. government officials. Previously the Pakistani government had prevented the Fatima Group from negotiating directly with U.S. officials and Fatima Group had been, according to U.S. officials, much less helpful in combating the proliferation of CAN fertilizer. According to a report by CNN, the Fatima Group is also working on making the fertilizer more visible and has reportedly suspended sales of the explosive fertilizer to 228 dealers in the Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.[1] 

  • An article published by The News states that Pakistani officials are upset at claims made by U.S. officials stating that the Taliban prisoners recently released from Pakistan have returned to the battlefield. The News also reported that Pakistan is not likely to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar after the Afghan government refused to extradite Maluvi Faqir Mohammed, a commander in the Pakistani Taliban who was captured last week.[2]

  • On Tuesday, according to a report by Dawn, the US Army Corps of Engineer will begin taking Requests for Proposals (RFP) to build a Tactical Command and Operations Centre, a center for counter narcotics and smuggling task forces in Karachi and Islamabad, by April 1, 2013. The winner will have one year to construct the operations center after the notice to proceed (NTP) is issued.[3]

U.S. Declares CNG and Malang Wazir Terrorists

Militancy

  • On Tuesday, a police officer guarding a polio vaccination team was shot and killed by unidentified assailants in Ghalla Dher near Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Polio vaccination staff remained uninjured.[5]

  • The National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) released a threat alert stating that a female suicide bomber had entered Punjab Province traveling from Bhabra, Bajaur agency. The threat alert instructed the Home Secretary of Punjab, Inspector General of Police and Director General of the Punjab Rangers to adopt appropriate security measures to prevent an attack in the province.[6]

  • In Balochistan, unidentified assailants killed one man in a firing incident in Turbat district on Monday. A man was also kidnapped by four unidentified assailants in Kohlu district on Monday.[7]

  • Violent protests were reported following an explosion at the Dargah Pir Hajan Shah Huzoori Shrine in Shikarpur, Sindh on Monday.  [8]

  • In Karachi, one person was killed and another injured in a shooting incident in Orangi town on Tuesday. One person was also shot and killed in Surjani town and another in Garden area. Protests erupted in response to the incidents. Protestors marched towards the Karachi Supreme Court’s registry demanding action be taken against the attackers.[9]

Domestic Politics

Indo-Pak Relations

Florida Terrorism Case

  • On Tuesday, closing arguments were heard in the case against Hafiz Khan, a Muslim cleric that is accused of providing financial support to the Pakistani Taliban. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sivashree Sundaram, reiterated the evidence against Khan quoting passages from FBI intercepts of Khan’s conversations. Khan’s attorney in his closing arguments said that Khan was simply speaking out about the political situation in Pakistan and the prosecution failed to provide evidence of money received by the Taliban. U.S. District Judge Robert Scola, the judge presiding over the case, denied defense requests to acquit Khan of charges due to lack of evidence and said “more than sufficient evidence” existed.[15]

IMF Loan

Abu Dhabi Deal Terminated


[1] “U.S., Pakistan seek breakthrough to thwart bomb makers,” CNN, February 26, 2013. Available at http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/25/u-s-pakistan-seek-breakthrough-to-thwart-bomb-makers/
[2] “Pakistan upset with Uncle Sam over U-turn,” The News, February 26, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-162206-Pakistan-upset-with-Uncle-Sam-over-U-turn
[3] “US Army Corps ‘to operate from Karachi airport’,” Dawn, February 26, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/26/us-army-corps-to-operate-from-karachi-airport/
[4] “Terrorist Designations of the Commander Nazir Group and Malang Wazir,” State Department Office of the Spokesperson, February 26, 2013.  Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/02/205195.htm
[5] “Firing on polio team in Mardan kills policeman,” Express Tribune, February 26, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/512806/firing-on-polio-team-in-mardan-kills-policeman/
[6] “Female suicide bomber enters Punjab: NCMC,” The News, February 26, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89700-Female-suicide-bomber-sneaks-into-Punjab%3a-NCMC
[7] “Balochistan Unrest: Vendor shot dead in Turbat,” Express Tribune, February 26, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/512637/balochistan-unrest-vendor-shot-dead-in-turbat/      
[8] “Shikarpur shrine blast leaves 4 dead, 12 injured,” The News, February 26, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89683-Shikarpur:-Blast-tears-through-shrine-killing-4,-injuring-12
[9] “At least killed in Karachi violence,” Dawn, February 26, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/26/at-least-killed-in-karachi-violence/
[10] “PTI hits out at PML-N’s nexus with extremists,” Dawn, February 26, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/26/pti-hits-out-at-pml-ns-nexus-with-extremists/
[11] “Defunct SSP chief confirms talks with PML-N,” The News International, February 26, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-21196-Defunct-SSP-chief-confirms-talks-with-PML-N
[12]“Kayani backs election, smooth transfer of power,” Dawn, February 26, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/26/kayani-backs-election-smooth-transfer-of-power/
[13] “Strong anti-terrorism bill introduced in NA,” Dawn, February 26, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/26/strong-anti-terrorism-bill-introduced-in-na/
[14] “India apologize for pinning blasts on late Manzar Imam,” The News International, February 26, 2013.  Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89662-India-apologize-for-pinning-blasts-on-late-Manzar-Imam%3a-Rehman-Malik
“Indian media uses late MQM MPA photo for Hyderabad blasts suspect,” Express Tribune, February 24, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/512001/indian-media-uses-late-mqm-mpa-photo-for-hyderabad-blasts-suspect/
[15] “Prosecutor says in closing argument proof of terrorism support strong against Florida imam,” The Washington Post, February 26, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/prosecutor-says-in-closing-argument-proof-of-terrorism-support-strong-against-florida-imam/2013/02/25/d1134670-7f92-11e2-a671-0307392de8de_story.html
[16] “Pakistan pays $391.8m to IMF under SBA,” The News International, February 26, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89818-Pakistan-pays-$391.8m-to-IMF-under-SBA
[17] “Abu Dhabi royal scraps agreement for Pakistani real estate project,” Dawn, February 26, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/26/abu-dhabi-royal-scraps-agreement-for-pakistan-real-estate-project/