Pakistan Security Brief - February 7, 2013

TTP announces formation of new unit to free prisoners; PML-N Chief urges negotiations with TTP; Fatwa against terrorism endorsed by 30 religious parties; Kayani and Allen pleased with progress; PAF targets militants in Orakzai; Militants attack police check point; Hafiz Saeed still at large; Pakistan aims to solve dispute over Kashmir, India approves formation of company that will take part in building a trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

Terrorist threats

  • On Thursday, The news reported that the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) announced that the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) have joined forces to create a special unit called Ansar al Aseer whose aim will be to free imprisoned militants in Pakistan. The unit will be commanded by Adnan Rasheed, the mastermind of an attack on former Pakistani president Gen. Musharraf, who escaped from a prison in Bannu District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) last year. According to the report, Adnan Rasheed, a wanted German IMU commander named Yassin Chouka, and a Russian IMU member named Abdul Hakeem released a video in which they vowed to free prisoners as well as financially support their families while they remained imprisoned. In the video, Rashid also urges prisoners to send his group the names of people working for Pakistani security forces in order to take revenge on them.[1]
  • On Thursday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif issued a statement in Lahore urging the government to take the necessary steps to negotiate with the TTP in response to their offer for dialogue issued on Sunday. The TTP asked for officials from PML-N, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), and the Jamaat-i-Islami to act as guarantors. Sharif, however, refused to serve as a guarantor, stating that although the PML-N supported the negotiations, insuring the talks would be unfeasible.[2] 
  • The New York Times published a profile of Hafiz Saeed, the founder and leader of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The U.S. offered a $10 million reward for his capture last year, but Saeed lives openly in Lahore even after being placed on the United Nations terrorist list. According to the report, Saeed is protected by his supporters as well as the Pakistani state which established LeT in 1989. The report also states that LeT is active in Afghanistan and is considering, as U.S. troops are projected to withdraw in 2014, whether to continue targeting the U.S., return its focus to battling Indian forces in Kashmir, or abandon militancy and enter Pakistani politics.  [3]
  • On Wednesday, the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) issued a fatwa against targeted killings, sectarian murders, and suicide attacks. The fatwa was endorsed by 30 different religious parties. SIC officials urged other religious scholars to issue similar fatwas against terrorism. The fatwa also declared that the U.S. is the enemy of Pakistan and the Islamic world and that forming an alliance with the U.S. was against Islam.[4] 
  • Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf addressed the 38th Specialized Training Program at the National Police Academy on Wednesday announcing that Pakistani intelligence and law enforcement agencies need to coordinate efforts in order to convict terrorists who are being freed due to lack of evidence.[5]
  • On Wednesday, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s information minister, urged the general population to unite against acts of terrorism in the province while speaking at an assembly of tribal elders in Khattak Nama, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[6]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan Army chief general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met with U.S. General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, In Islamabad on Thursday to boost military-to-military cooperation and regional stability. Although both Kayani and Allen acknowledged that their goals have not been met, both leaders said they were satisfied with progress thus far.[7]

Militancy

Kashmir dispute

  • On Tuesday, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar, addressed the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir of the Organization of Islamic Conference and announced that Pakistan sought to resolve the dispute over Kashmir based on UN resolutions. She stated that Pakistani and Indian officials have entered into a dialogue aimed finding a solution. Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir voiced his concerns over human rights violations by Indian security forces. In response Khar requested that the secretary general compile a report on the alleged violations.[12]

TAPI Gas Pipeline

  • On Tuesday, India’s federal cabinet approved the formation of a company that will take part in building a trans-Afghanistan pipeline that will import natural gas from Turkmenistan. The approval brings the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline closer to realization, despite numerous delays and concerns relating to instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Indo-Pak tensions.[13]

Election Commission of Pakistan


[1] “Taliban form special unit for operations to free prisoners,” The News, February 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-158599-Taliban-form-special-unit-for-operations-to-free-prisoners
[2] “Nawaz urges govt to take Taliban talks offer ‘seriously’,” Dawn, February 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/07/nawaz-urges-govt-to-take-taliban-talks-offer-seriously/
[3] “Pakistani Militant, Price on Head, Lives in Open,” The New York Times, February 7, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/world/asia/lashkar-e-taiba-founder-takes-less-militant-tone-in-pakistan.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
“ECP agrees on troops deployment at Karachi polling stations,” Geo, February 7, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=87108
[4] “Thirty religious parties endorse fatwa against terrorism,” Dawn, February 7, 2013. Available at
[5] “Terrorists being freed by courts due to weak probe, evidence: PM,” The News, February 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20790-Terrorists-being-freed-by-courts-due-to-weak-probe,-evidence:-PM
[6] “People urged to unite against terrorism,” Dawn, February 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/02/07/people-urged-to-unite-against-terrorism/
[7] “ISAF chief, Kayani pleased with progress in region,” Express Tribune, February 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/504044/isaf-chief-kayani-pleased-with-progress-in-region/
[8] “Security forces kill 12 suspected militants in Orakzai agency,” Express Tribune, February 7, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/503949/security-forces-kill-12-suspected-militants-in-orakzai-agency/
[9] “Militants attack on Nowshera check-post pushed back,” Express Tribune, February 7, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/503700/militant-attack-on-nowshera-check-post-pushed-back/
[10] “Seven killed in fresh violence in Karachi,” The News, February 7, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-87047-Seven-killed-in-fresh-violence-in-Karachi
[11] “16 defense instillations attacked since 2009,” The News, February 7, 2013.  Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86977-16-defence-installations-attacked-since-2009%3a-Defence-Secretary-
[12] “Pakistan seeks resolution of Kashmir issue: Hina Rabbani Khar,” The News, February 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20800-Pakistan-seeks-resolution-of-Kashmir-issue:-Hina
[13] “India Approves Trans-Afghan Pipeline Company,” The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2013. Available at http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324590904578289952601317218.html?mod=djkeyword&mg=reno64-wsj
[14] “Upcoming polls: ECP agrees to deploy army at Karachi polling stations,” Express Tribune, February 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/504009/upcoming-polls-ecp-agrees-to-deploy-army-at-karachi-polling-stations/