Pakistan Security Brief - January 10, 2013

Indo-Pak border clash escalates as another Pakistani soldier killed; 93 killed in bomb blasts in Quetta; 21 killed in bomb blasts in Swat; Drone strike kills four in North Waziristan; New info surfaces on cause for border clash; Pakistani and Indian officials meet, issue statements calling for de-escalation; Pakistan has reservations on granting India MFN status following clashes; Qadri reportedly books 40,000 buses for long march; Interior Minister says gov’t may object to march; U.S. stresses Pakistan’s role in Afghan future; Sarkozy to be investigated over Pakistan arms cases improprieties; Pak-Saudi naval exercises begin; Several killed in violence in northwest Pakistan and Karachi.

Indo-Pak Border Clashes and Relations

  • A Pakistani soldier was killed on Thursday in the Battal area of Kashmir by “unprovoked” firing from Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC), in the third deadly incident in the area since the weekend.  Pakistani troops returned fire, but with no fatalities. Officials on both sides have expressed anger and lodged diplomatic protests, while maintaining that the attacks will not result in military escalation. While Pakistan called for the UN to investigate its alleged attack on Indian soldiers on Tuesday, India has said that it will not do the same for Thursday’s incident. India suggests that Pakistani militants, including Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, could be to blame for the rise in violence.[1]

  • New information, as reported by Indian media outlets, has come to light on the source of the recent upswing in skirmishes across the LoC. In September of last year, an Indian grandmother reportedly crossed the LoC into Pakistani territory in order to be with her sons and grandchildren, who were living there to escape charges of cross-border trafficking. The Indian military was alarmed at the ease of her crossing, and began to build an observation post to monitor villages close to the LoC, thereby breaking the terms of a 2003 ceasefire agreement with Pakistan. After requests to stop the construction were ignored, Pakistani troops regularly conducted harassment firing on the post, and retaliation from both sides has continued.[2]

  • Indian sources suggest that Tuesday’s killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani’s troops could have been in retaliation for the killing of a Pakistani officer in an Indian raid on Sunday. An Indian commander, Brigadier Gulab Singh Rawat, deployed to the LoC, and known for having a “very aggressive posture,” reportedly tasked the 9th Maratha Light Infantry with conducting a raid across the LoC in which a Pakistani soldier was killed and another injured. That attack led to either a Baloch Regiment or possibly a Special Service Group attack killing the two Indians in retaliation. Neither government attributes the increase in violence to a policy shift by the other, but rather an instance of local revenge. Indian officials are reviewing Brig. Rawat for the role he played in escalating tensions.[3]

  • Pakistan Foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar issued a statement saying the she hoped recent violent incidents over the LoC would not be an impediment to a forward-moving dialogue process between India and Pakistan, and would not impact India’s “Most Favored Nation” status in Pakistan. She emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to peaceful engagement in India and denied that it operates according to a “tit for tat” policy. She praised Pakistan’s media for playing a positive role in the matter, and criticized India for contradictory official statements.[4]

  • Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir reiterated Pakistan’s rejections of Indian allegations of an attack and mutilations by Pakistani soldiers across the LoC on Tuesday. He labeled them as “baseless and unfounded”, and emphasized the need to avoid negative propaganda, as well as offered again to hold a UN investigation into the matter.[5]

  • While condemning the “unacceptable” death of two Indian soldiers on Tuesday, India’s Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid emphasized the need to avoid escalation based on any of the recent LoC transgressions. After a meeting between Khurshid and Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir, both officials agreed that the most important thing was to maintain the ceasefire, while differing on the details of what transpired. Hawkish Indian analysts and reporters disagreed, pushing for further military engagement on India’s part.[6]

  • Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani warns that Pakistan has some reservations regarding granting India “Most Favored Nation” status as a result of tensions over the LoC, and that the two countries would have to hold talks regarding commercial ties.[7]

Drones

  • In the seventh drone attack in Pakistan this year, up to five suspected militants were killed by four missiles in a Hassu Khel village compound in Mir Ali sub-district, in North Waziristan. Three injuries were also reported.[8]

Militancy

  • As many as 93 people were killed in various blasts across Quetta on Thursday. Twelve people were killed and 40 injured in a blast in a market area of Quetta, the target of which was apparently paramilitary soldiers in the vehicle under which the explosive was planted. A second pair of blasts at a nearby snooker hall in a predominantly Shia neighborhood killed at least 81 people and wounded over 120. The second blast in the pair, reportedly from a car bomb, targeted first responders and media covering the first blast caused by a suicide bomber. Three people were wounded in a fourth blast. The United Baloch Army has claimed responsibility for the incidents, though the Pakistani Taliban also carries out attacks in Quetta and the area’s ethnic Hazara Shias have been frequent targets of attacks by militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). A senior government official claims the attack was retaliation for the recent killing of a Sunni cleric and a raid on a LeJ weapons cache on Wednesday.[9]

  • A blast on Thursday killed at least 21 and injured at least 70 in the Tableeghi Markaz religious center just outside Mingora in Swat district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The source of the blast is unknown: certain sources suggest the blast was caused by an exploding gas cylinder, while a Bomb Disposal Squad member said an improvised explosive device (IED) planted inside the building was to blame. 1,500 people were inside listening to a Muslim cleric’s speech when the blast went off. Police will assess the damage and then draw conclusions regarding the source and type of the explosion.[10]

  • PPP Kurram Agency President Dr. Syed Riaz Hussein was shot to death by unknown attackers on a motorcycle in Peshawar, reportedly for being a Shia.[11]

  • After leaving the Shalobar area in 2009, a 200-strong Khassadar force returned to the area on Wednesday in order to assist in maintaining law and order.[12]

  • A convoy of security forces was ambushed in the Muslim Dhand area of Bara sub-district in Khyber agency. Three security men were injured in the attack. The same day, security forces in Nawgazee Baba area, with the help of the Shalobar Peace Committee, arrested four militants, suspected of having contacts to a militant group based in Bara.[13]

  • Four watchmen were abducted from the private Jandola Bazaar in Frontier Region Tank by gunmen on Tuesday night. Their whereabouts are unknown, as is the responsible party.[14]

  • One Afghan man was killed and another wounded when they were shot at in Hangu district on Wednesday.[15]

  • An explosive device was planted by a teacher’s house in Lakki Marwat district, but successfully defused by police.[16]

  • Five people, four of whom were children, were injured when a shell hit a house in Bara sub-district, Khyber agency. The injured are now in Peshawar for treatment.[17]

  • Two cell phone shops were destroyed in twin explosions in Bannu district on Wednesday.[18]

  • In Karachi, one man was instantly killed and two others wounded when an explosive planted on a car went off. The car, which reportedly had a fake license plate, was also completely destroyed.[19]

  • Retired soldiers in Lahore are being trained by the police in crowd control and anti-riot methods, to augment existing police forces. They will be deployed throughout the city to ensure security and maintain law and order.[20]

  • An old man was shot dead by two unknown gunmen reportedly looking for his son, a local leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and frustrated to find that he wasn’t at the clinic in Karachi’s Federal B area.[21]

  • A 48-year-old owner of a private school in North Karachi was shot dead on Wednesday in what police described as a sectarian attack. Private schools all closed for the day in protest.[22]

  • A Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activist was shot to death in Orangi Town on Wednesday.[23]

  • Police in Karachi carried out an operation resulting in the arrest of over a dozen accused criminals in Bilal Colony, New Karachi. Arms and drugs were also confiscated during the crackdown. The arrested were allegedly involved in crimes ranging from street crimes to murder.[24]

Domestic Issues

  • Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri has reportedly booked “40,000 buses, special trains and other modes of conveyance” at an estimated cost of Rs 800 million ($ 8,224,000) in preparation for his long march to Islamabad on January 14. Qadri has announced his expectation that up to four million people will participate in the march on the capital. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Thursday that the government could not allow the march to Islamabad since Qadri had refused to apply for a “No Objection Certificate” in order to hold the demonstration in the plaza of Islamabad’s D-Block near parliament. Malik on Wednesday offered Qadri a park in the F-9 area to stage the sit-in.[25]

  • A police officer who attempted to arrest a former Deputy General for Counter Intelligence in the Pakistani military’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) for fraud on court orders has been posted out from the capital to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, apparently as a punishment for disobeying orders from higher-ups. The Supreme Court has reportedly taken notice of the case.[26]

Foreign Relations

  • While hinting at the possibility of withdrawing all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by 2014, U.S. officials have also reportedly stressed Pakistan’s role in a post-U.S. Afghanistan. “We very much support a Pakistani role, because there has to be a regional buy into the future of stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on Wednesday.[27]

  • Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy is to be investigated by French authorities for a breach in secrecy regarding an alleged corruption affair linked to an arms deal in Pakistan. The investigation stems from the death of 11 French engineers in a bombing in Pakistan in 2002.[28]

  • Pakistani and Afghan officials met on Wednesday to “develop consensus” over the installation of barriers at a border crossing at Torkham, Khyber agency. Pakistani officials reportedly convinced their Afghan counterparts to construct the barriers.[29]

  • Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are slated to begin joint naval exercises codenamed “Naseem al Bahr” on January 12.[30]



[1] Sebastian Abbott, “Pakistan says soldier killed by Indian gunfire,” Yahoo! News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-says-soldier-killed-indian-gunfire-123234117.html
“Pakistani soldier killed in Indian firing at Tatta Pani sector,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83225
“Another soldier killed by Indian forces: Pakistan Army,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/another-pakistani-soldier-killed-by-indian-forces-army/
[2] Praveen Swami, “The Hindu: News/National: Runaway grandmother sparked savage skirmish on LoC,” The Hindu, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/runaway-grandmother-sparked-savage-skirmish-on-loc/article4291426.ece
[3] Saikat Datta, “DNA exclusive: Uri commander’s forceful retaliation led to beheadings?,” DNA, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dna-exclusive-uri-commanders-forceful-retaliation-led-to-beheadings_1787448
“Indian army responsible for attack on Pakistan,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83187
[4] FM Khar hopes LoC incidents will not affect Pak-India dialogue,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83202
“Pakistan suggests UN inquiry over Indian killings,” The Express Tribune, January 9, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/491560/pakistan-suggests-un-inquiry-over-indian-killings/
“LoC incidents not to affect Pakistan-India dialogue, hopes Khar,” Dawn, January 9, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/loc-incidents-not-to-affect-india-pakistan-dialogue-hopes-khar/
[5] “Pakistan strongly rejects Indian allegation,” Geo, January 9, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83109
[6] “Border clash should not be escalated: FM,” The News, January 9, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-83066-Border-clash-''should-not-be-escalated'':-Indian-minister--
Jawed Naqvi, “Pakistan, India want to avoid escalations: India’s ‘deepest concern’ conveyed to Pak diplomat,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/pakistan-india-want-to-avoid-escalation-indias-deepest-concern-conveyed-to-pak-diplomat/
[7] “Pakistan has reservations over MFN status to India,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83190
[8] Abdul Sattar and Sebastian Abbott, “Bomb, drone attack kill 16 people in Pakistan,” Yahoo! News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/bomb-drone-attack-kill-16-people-pakistan-123314041.html
Rasool Dawar and Sebastian Abbott, “US missiles kill 5 suspected militants in Pakistan,” Yahoo! News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/us-missiles-kill-5-suspected-militants-pakistan-055552578.html
“US drone kills three in North Waziristan,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83167
Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Drone strike in N Waziristan kills four,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/drone-strike-in-n-waziristan-kills-three-2/
[9] “Bomb in southwest Pakistan kills 11 people,” Yahoo! News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/bomb-southwest-pakistan-kills-11-people-113954156.html
“Pakistan blasts: ‘Dozens killed’ at Quetta snooker hall,” BBC, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20969443
“12 killed, 40 injured in Quetta blast,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83214
[10] “Blast leaves 21 dead, 70 injured at Swat religious centre,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/at-least-13-dead-60-injured-in-blast-outside-swat-religious-centre/
[11] Riaz Ahmad, “PPP Kurram Agency president shot dead in Peshawar,” The Express Tribune, January 9, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/491556/ppp-kurram-agency-president-shot-dead-in-peshawar/
Javed Aziz Khan, “PPP Kurram Agency chief Dr Riaz shot dead in Peshawar,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20152-PPP-Kurram-Agency-chief-Dr-Riaz-shot-dead-in-Peshawar
[12] “Khassadar force re-enters Shalobar area after three years,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153555-Khassadar-force-re-enters-Shalobar-area-after-three-years
[13] “Three security men hurt in Bara ambush,” Dawn, January 9, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/three-security-men-hurt-in-bara-ambush-2/
[14] “Four watchmen kidnapped in FR Tank,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153554-Four-watchmen-kidnapped-in-FR-Tank
[15] “One shot dead in Hangu,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153557-One-shot-dead-in-Hangu
[16] “Explosive device defused in Lakki,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153559-Explosive-device-defused-in-Lakki
[17] “Five injured as shell hits house,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153560-Five-injured-as-shell-hits-house
[18] “Two cellphone shops blown up in Bannu,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153561-Two-cellphone-shops-blown-up-in-Bannu
[19] “One killed, 2 hurt in Karachi car blast,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-83144-One-killed,-two-hurt-in-Karachi-car-blast
[20] “Police training for retired army men,” Dawn, January 9, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/police-training-for-retired-army-men/
[21] “Recipient of presidential award killed at his matab,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/recipient-of-presidential-award-killed-at-his-matab/
[22] “Recipient of presidential award killed at his matab,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/recipient-of-presidential-award-killed-at-his-matab/
[23] “Recipient of presidential award killed at his matab,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/recipient-of-presidential-award-killed-at-his-matab/
[24] “Police arrest several accused from New Karachi,” Geo, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83156
“Several accused held in New Karachi,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-83156-Police-arrest-several-accused-from-New-Karachi
[25] Tariq Butt, “Tahirul Qadrbooks 40,000 buses costing Rs800m for long march,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20139-Qadri-books-40,000-buses-costing-Rs800m-for-long-march
“Qadri didn’t apply for NOC: Malik,” Geo TV, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83219
“Malik offers F 9 Park for Qadri’s sit-in,” Geo TV, January 9, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-83094-Malik-offers-F-9-Park-for-Qadris-sit-in
[26] Umar Cheema, “Cop who tried to nab ex-ISI man on court orders posted out,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20143-Cop-who-tried-to-nab-ex-ISI-man-on-court-orders-posted-out
[27] “Pakistan’s role stressed: White House says all troops may leave Afghanistan,” Dawn, January 10, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/10/pakistans-role-stressed-white-house-says-all-troops-may-leave-afghanistan/
[28] “Karachi case: Sarkozy ‘invesigated over secrecy breach,’” BBC, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20969255
[29] “Pak, Afghan officials discuss barriers installation issue,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153549-Pak,-Afghan-officials-discuss-barriers-installation-issue
[30] Muhammad Azam Khan, “Pak-Saudi naval exercises to begin on Jan 12,” The News, January 10, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153568-Pak-Saudi-naval-exercises-to-begin-on-Jan-12