Pakistan Security Brief - February 5, 2013

Security forces seize massive weapons cache; Bus carrying nuclear workers escapes IED blast; Panetta explains drone strike policies; Rehman says Afghan peace is “urgent priority;” Potential trade between India and Pakistan could be ten times current amount; Kashmir Solidarity Day; PML-N and other parties marched to ECP; Karachi police arrest sixteen, recover arms; Nine target killings suspects arrested;10kg IED defused  in Peshawar; Three more target killings in Karachi; Motorcyclists gun down police officer; SC denies larger bench for RPP implementation hearing; NAB chief granted until February 12th to find counsel.

Militancy

  • During a raid on Monday, security forces in Halimzai subdistrict of Mohmand agency seized a massive stockpile of guns, explosives, and ammunition.  After uncovering an underground bunker, police forces found “five tons of explosives, 25 landmines, 300 litres chemical, five anti-aircraft and mortar guns, 75 RR guns and Kalashnikov rifles, thousands of cartridges, mortar shells and suicide jackets, satellite phones and jihadi literature.”[1]

  • On Monday, police in Peshawar defused an improvised explosive device (IED) made of three mortar shells hidden in bushes near the Badaber police station.[2]

  • A bus full of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp) employees narrowly escaped an IED attack near Mauripur, Karachi on Monday when the driver spotted the bomb and reversed the bus to safety.  The 1.5kg remotely-detonated device exploded leaving a nearly one meter crater, and failed to detonate the 2.5kg anti-tank mine it was attached to.  Bomb Disposal Squad members successfully defused the mine, and police are now looking for the unidentified terrorists responsible for the attack.[3]

  • On Monday, Karachi police arrested nine suspects for their involvement in a Lyari based gang associated with “several target killings.”  In the operation, police raided several locations throughout Karachi, and seized dozens of weapons and drugs.[4]

  • A Peshawar bomb disposal unit defused a 10kg IED placed on top of a gas station along the Frontier road on Monday.[5]

  • Police in Fateh village, Peshwar, killed a suspected militant Sher Hassan after he opened fire on them during a routine patrol on Monday.  Officials report that previous attempts to arrest Hassan had failed, and added that while no policemen were harmed in the incident, their van was badly damaged.  Hassan was shot when police returned fire.[6]

  • On Monday, police in Sharafi Goth, Karachi re-arrested a man suspected of involvement in at least 30 “target killings” who had escaped from custody three days ago.[7]

  • Two unknown attackers shot a man and his son Monday morning at their house in Dera, north of Lahore in Punjab.  The son was killed and the man seriously injured when the attackers opened fire after knocking on the door.[8]

  • An Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) supporter was shot in northern Karachi in a targeted killing on Monday by two assailants on a motorcycle.  Investigators suspect his death was part of a targeted assassination campaign against certain religious groups, including ASWJ.[9]

  • On Monday, two armed men on a motorcycle shot and killed a student  in another targeted killing in Eidgah, Karachi.[10]

  • Two motorcyclists shot and killed a police officer in Peshawar on Monday, when they rode up to his police checkpoint and “sprayed him with bullets.”[11]

Drone Strikes

  • In an interview published Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency Director (CIA) Leon Panetta explained that official CIA policy on drone strikes did not allow attacks when women and children would be at risk. Adding a caveat to that rule, citing the strike from August 2010 when a drone killed TTP commander Baitullah Mehsud and his wife, Panetta explained that strikes with collateral damage were permissible in “exceptional circumstances against very high-level terrorists.”[12]

Pak-Afghan Relations

  • On Monday, Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman stated that Pakistan considers the Afghan peace process to be an “urgent priority.” Rehman’s comments come following the conclusion of a trilateral meeting between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and British Prime Minister David Cameron convened to address extremism and increase regional stability between the neighboring countries.[13]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • According to a report published by the New America Foundation on January 30th, 2013 examining Indo-Pak trade relations, the potential for trade between India and Pakistan is 10 times the current amount. The report examines the removal of tariff and non-tariff restrictions between India and Pakistan as well as the restrictive visa regimes and ineffective transportation system between the two countries. The report assesses that the current value of trade between the two countries could rise from its current level of $2 to 2.5 billion to approximately $20 to $50 billion.[14]

Kashmir

  • On Tuesday, the national holiday for Kashmiri solidarity, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue to seek a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute. Ashraf also announced that Pakistan has introduced confidence building measures with India and supports discussions with the Indian government to resolve the dispute over the territory. Imran Khan, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, vowed to resolve the Kashmir dispute if his party came to power. Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, however, urged India to withdraw from Kashmir and Chairman of the Special Committee of Parliament on Kashmir Maulana Fazlur Rehman citied the non-implementation of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution for Kashmir and proposed sanctions on India.  Pakistani and Kashmiri citizens demonstrated at several entry points in Azad Jammu and Kashmir to show their plight.[15]

Election Commission of Pakistan

  • Members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other oppositional political parties marched on Monday from Parliament House to the office of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to protest against “fake electoral rolls” and “pre-poll rigging” and demanded that the Supreme Court’s ruling on electoral delimitation and voter verification be implemented.[16]

Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request for a larger bench for the Rental Power Project’s (RPP) implementation case hearing on Tuesday. The implementation hearing is delayed until the murder investigation of a NAB officer investigating the case is complete. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry denied the request stating that since the case had already been concluded, a larger bench is unnecessary.[17]

  • On Monday, the Pakistani Supreme Court  granted National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief Fasih Bokhari until February 12th to find counsel.  Bokhari is being charged with contempt-of-court for a controversial letter he sent to President Zardari.[18]                 


[1] Shakirullah and Shah Nawaz Mohmand, “Huge cache of arms seized in Mohmand,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-158258-Huge-cache-of-arms-seized-in-Mohmand

[2] “Threemortar shells defused in Peshawar,” Dawn, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/05/three-mortar-shells-defused-in-peshawar-2/

[3] Salis bin Perwaiz, “Kanupp staff escape terror attack by seconds,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158102-Kanupp-staff-escape-terror-attack-by-seconds

[4] “Nine Lyari gangsters held,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158104-Nine-Lyari-gangsters-held

[5] “IED defused,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-158262-IED-defused

[6] “Three mortar shells defused in Peshawar,” Dawn, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/05/three-mortar-shells-defused-in-peshawar-2/

[7] “Three arrested for selling human bones,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158107-Three-arrested-for-selling-human-bones

[8] “Man shot dead in Dera,” Dawn, February 5, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/05/man-shot-dead-in-dera-2/

[9] “ASWJ supporter shot dead in North Karachi,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158111-ASWJ-supporter-shot-dead-in-North-Karachi

[10] “ASWJ supporter shot dead in North Karachi,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158111-ASWJ-supporter-shot-dead-in-North-Karachi

[11] “Cop killed in firing,” The News, February 5, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-158250-Cop-killed-in-firing

[12] “Panetta defends drone strikes,” The Washington Post, February 5, 2013. Available at  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/02/03/panetta-defends-drone-strikes/

[13] “Afghan peace talks Pakistan’s urgent priority: Sherry,” Dawn, February 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/05/afghan-peace-talks-pakistans-urgent-priority-sherry/

[14] “NEW REPORT: Potential India-Pakistan Trade at Least 10 Times Current Amount,” New America, February 5, 2013. Available at http://newamerica.net/pressroom/2013/new_report_potential_india_pakistan_trade_at_least_10_times_current_amount

[15] “Pakistan committed to peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute: PM,” Dawn, February 5, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/05/pakistan-committed-to-peaceful-resolution-of-kashmir-dispute-pm/

Hafiz Saeed urges India to ‘leave Kashmir’,”The Tribune, February 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/502947/hafiz-saeed-urges-india-to-leave-kashmir/

“UN must implement its resolutions on Kashmir: Fazl,” The News, February 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-158239-UN-must-implement-its-resolutions-on-Kashmir:-Fazl

“PTI to resolve Kashmir dispute after coming to power: Imran,” The News, February 5, 2013. Available at www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20758-PTI-to-resolve-Kashmir-dispute-after-coming-to-power:-Imran