Pakistan Security Brief - February 6, 2013

Drone strike in North Waziristan kills five, Pakistani ambassador denounces drone strikes; U.S. warns Pakistan against negotiations with TTP; Afghan Taliban dismiss trilateral meeting; Jamaat-e-Islami wants to negotiate with TTP; Jets kill eight in Orakzai; Over 2500 families displaced from Tirah Valley; Pakistan, CIA accused of torture; Four TTP members arrested; Report says dozens dead due to target killings; Attackers throw grenades at PAF Faisal base; Iran’s former Foreign Minister discusses Pakistan-Iran relations; TTP threatens Lahore bus drivers; India expresses concern over Chinese control of Gwadar port; PTI demands President Zardari’s resignation.

Drone Strikes

Afghan and Pakistani Taliban Relations and Negotiations

  • A report published by The News on Wednesday, states that U.S. officials have warned Pakistan government and military leaders against entering into peace negotiations with the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP). The report states that officials in Washington maintain that the peace negotiations are motivated by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, to strengthen TTP support for the spring offensive in Afghanistan. Ehsanhullah Ehsan, a TTP spokesman, stated that Mullah Omar is accepted as the Taliban leader in Afghanistan and encouraged the TTP to stop operations in Pakistan and join the fight in Afghanistan. According to the report, Ehsan said that the TTP will send its militants to Afghanistan in March to support the Afghan Taliban. Although some Pakistani officials doubt that the TTP’s offer to negotiate is genuine, other officials urge the government to accept the short-term peace due to the fear that violence may disrupt upcoming general elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[2]

  • On Tuesday, officials from Jamaat-e-Islami stated that they would be part of the peace negotiations with the TTP  as long as it did not involve the President Zardari-led government. Talat Masood, a retired army general, stated that the TTP is trying to take advantage of Pakistan’s political instability by offering preposterous demands that would not be acceptable. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Mushahidullah Khan stated that the decision to participate in the negotiation will be placed on hold until PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan.[3]

  • On Wednesday, Zabihullah Mujahid, Afghan Taliban spokesperson, dismissed the conclusion of a trilateral meeting between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and British Prime Minister David Cameron which sought to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. Mujahid reportedly stated that an official response will soon be released. Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson from the U.S. Department of State, endorsed the conclusion of the joint summit stating the U.S. is committed to support the Afghan-led process. [4]

Pakistani-U.S. Torture Allegations

  • In a report by the Open Society Foundations, a human rights watchdog organization, Pakistan is accused of cooperating with the CIA to torture and move suspected terrorists illegally.  The report said the Bush administration “authorised “extraordinary rendition” – the transferring of individuals without legal process — to allow US and foreign intelligence agencies to interrogate alleged extremists outside the protections ensured on US soil.”  Of the fifty-five countries explicitly labeled in the report, it specifically accused Pakistan, saying, “Pakistan captured, detained, interrogated, tortured, and abused individuals subjected to CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations. It also permitted its airspace and airports to be used for flights associated with these operations.”[5]

Militancy

Pak-Iran Relations

  • On Sunday, former Foreign Minister of Iran, Ali Akbar Vilayati, dismissed western media reports of Iran’s attempt to sabotage the Gwadar port, which was transferred to China last week. He stated that the reports are propaganda aimed at destabilizing the relationship between Pakistan and Iran. Vilayati said “Tehran supports Pakistan’s decisions,” and dismissed notions that Iran’s own Chahbahar port project was a source of rivalry between the two countries.[14]

  • On Sunday, Ali Akbar Vilayati advised Islamabad not to give in to threats from U.S. regarding Pakistan’s decision to approve the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline. Vilayati stated that Iran would provide technological support and help Pakistan overcome its energy crisis which does not concern the United States.[15]

Indo-Pak Relations

Domestic Politics


[1] “US drone strikes kill five in North Waziristan,” Geo, February 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86946
Suspected US drone kills three in North Waziristan,” Dawn, February 6, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/02/06/suspected-us-drone-kills-three-in-north-waziristan/
“Pakistani ambassador to U.S. calls CIA drone strikes a ‘clear violation’,” The Washington Post, February 6, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pakistani-ambassador-to-us-calls-cia-drone-strikes-a-clear-violation/2013/02/05/1a620fc2-6fa9-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html
“Pakistan Ambassador Says Drone Hits Violate Sovereignty,” Bloomberg, February 6, 2013. Available at http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-05/pakistan-ambassador-says-drone-strikes-counterproductive
 “US drone strike kills three in North Waziristan,” The Express Tribune, February 6, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/503381/us-drone-strike-kills-three-in-n-waziristan-express-news/
[2] “US warns Pakistan against signing peace deal with TTP,” The Washington Post, February 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20764-US-warns-Pakistan-against-signing-peace-deal-with-TTP
[3] “Talks with Taliban: JI will only be guarantor for a ‘strong’ govt,” The Tribune, February 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/503247/talks-with-taliban-ji-will-only-be-guarantor-for-a-strong-govt/
[5]Huma Imtiaz, “Human rights violations: Pakistan detained, tortured at CIA behest, states report,” The Express Tribune, February 6, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/503204/human-rights-violations-pakistan-detained-tortured-at-cia-behest-states-report/
[6] “Jets strike militant hideouts in Orakzai; eight killed,” Dawn, February 6, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/06/jets-strike-militant-hideouts-in-orakzai-eight-killed/
[7] “Deadly turf war: over 2500 families flee Tirah Valley,” The Express Tribune, February 6, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/503268/deadly-turf-war-over-2500-families-flee-tirah-valley/
[8]Asad Kharal, “TTP warns bus drivers not to play songs/films,” The Express Tribune, February 6, 2013.  Available at   http://tribune.com.pk/story/503497/ttp-warns-bus-drivers-not-to-play-songs-films/
[9] “Grenades lobbed at PAF Faisal base,” The News, February 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158369-Grenades-lobbed-at-PAF-Faisal-Base
“Karachi: grenade attacks outside PAF base; one injured,” Geo, February 6, 2013.  Available at  http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86845
[10] “Karachi: CID apprehends four armed TTP activists,” Geo, February 6, 2013.  Available at  http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86835
[11] “Crime monitoring report: target killings most deadly last week,” The Express Tribune, February 6, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/503251/crime-monitoring-report-target-killings-most-deadly-last-week/
[12] “Grenades lobbed at PAF Faisal base,” The News, February 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158369-Grenades-lobbed-at-PAF-Faisal-Base
[13] “Grenades lobbed at PAF Faisal base,” The News, February 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-158369-Grenades-lobbed-at-PAF-Faisal-Base
[14] “Allaying fears: Iran doesn’t disfavour Gwadar port, says top aide,” The Tribune, February 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/501977/allaying-fears-iran-doesnt-disfavour-gwadar-port-says-top-aide/
[15] “Allaying fears: Iran doesn’t disfavour Gwadar port, says top aide,” The Tribune, February 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/501977/allaying-fears-iran-doesnt-disfavour-gwadar-port-says-top-aide/
[16] “India "concerned" by China role in Pakistan port,” Reuters, February 6, 2013. Available at http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/02/06/india-airshow-china-pakistan-antony-idINDEE91506I20130206
[17] “PTI calls for reconstitution of ECP, resignation of President Zardari,” Geo, February 6, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86837
“PTI calls for reconstitution of ECP,” The News, February 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20775-PTI-calls-for-reconstitution-of-ECP =