Pakistan Security Brief - January 14, 2013

Shias in Quetta agree to call of protest after PM sacks Balochistan government, imposes governor rule; Strikes called in solidarity with Shia protestors across the country; Indi-Pak relations still tense after Indian army chief accuses Pakistan of planning attacks, warns of retaliation; Pakistan navy chief, Indian air force chief trade barbs; LeT founder says Kashmir violence could turn ugly; Qadri’s long march reaches Islamabad with tens of thousands but not millions of supporters; IED kills 14 Pakistani troops in North Waziristan day after TTP calls for ceasing attacks on troops in North Waziristan; TTP deputy announces group plans to send fighters to Kashmir; Several killed in violence across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi; IMF says no new bailout till gov’t implements reform.

Shia Protests, Baloch Government Sacked

  • After blocking roads with coffins and refusing to bury their dead in a four-day protest demanding better government protection, Quetta’s Hazara Shias came to an agreement with the government on Sunday after the prime minister agreed to sack the provincial government. Relatives on Monday began burials for those killed in Thursday’s two explosions that claimed at least 86 lives. Similar protests expressing solidarity were held all around the country, most notably in Karachi, Peshawar, and Lahore. Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf met with protesters in Quetta, sacked the chief minister of Balochistan and declared governor’s rule in the province. He also gave paramilitary forces police powers and ordered them to launch an operation against anti-Shia militants, as per the approximately 3,500 protesters’ demands. An earlier delegation led by Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah had been rejected by the protesters. Shia leaders criticized Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani for inadequately protecting their community at the same time as asking for the army’s protection in Quetta. Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi carried out the attacks, and Quetta’s Shias have called on the military for protection from the banned yet powerful organization.[1]

  • On Saturday, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announced the first round of steps the government is taking in response to the killings in Quetta: sending a delegation of the Frontier Corps to serve as police in Quetta, dispatching the Information Minister to Quetta to monitor the situation, issuing monetary compensation to the victims’ families, bringing the wounded to Karachi by helicopter for medical treatment, and ordering the return from Dubai of Aslam Raisani, chief minister of Balochistan.[2]

  • Demonstrators, in solidarity with Quetta’s Hazara Shias on Monday called for a strike in Karachi, shutting down gas stations, roads, public transportation, and railways on Sunday. At the same time, hundreds of people staged a sit-in outside Bilawal House, where President Asif Ali Zardari was staying. Representatives of three political parties, the MQM, PPP, and Jamaat-i-Islami, visited the protests to express solidarity and support.[3]

  • While Shia protestors staged a sit-in on Alamdar road in Quetta, much of the rest of the city was on strike, called for by the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and endorsed by others. Shops and businesses were closed and there was little traffic on the roads.[4]

  • Both Sunni and Shia members of the American Pakistani community staged a protest in front of the Pakistani embassy in Washington on Sunday, demanding that the army take over control of Quetta and that the killing of Shias be stopped. [5]

  • The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) took a lead role in protesting violence against Shias across the rest of the country, asking for a national day of mourning and the closure of businesses on Sunday. It echoed many of the Quetta protestors’ demands, including the removal of the chief minister of Balochistan.[6]

  • Another strike in Sindh province has been called for by the Shia Ulema Council in response to the Quetta killings. The SUC requested that shops and businesses remain closed on Monday, and private schools have already announced their closing for the day.[7]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • India’s army chief Gen. Bikram Singh on Monday accused Pakistan of planning an attack across the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed region of Kashmir that left two Indian soldiers dead on January 8. Singh made clear his belief that the attack was intended as a “deliberate provocation” rather than an “unintentional skirmish”. Gen. Singh stated India maintained the right to retaliate “at a time and place of its choice.” He further said “I expect all my commanders at the Line of Control to be both aggressive and offensive in the face of provocation and fire.” Later on Monday one person was injured in firing allegedly carried out by Indian soldiers in the Battal sector of Rawalkot on the Pakistani side of the LoC. The firing took place after a Brigade-level flag meeting between local Pakistani and Indian commanders seeking to defuse tensions over recent border clashes. The Pakistani brigadier in-charge of the Poonch sector also participated in the meeting.[8]

  • India’s air force chief on Saturday accused Pakistan of violating the ceasefire on the line of control and made veiled threats of retaliation saying that if “violations continue to take place, then perhaps we may have to look at some other options for compliance [with the ceasefire].” Pakistan’s naval chief on Saturday made a statement saying that the Pakistan Navy was fully capable of responding to Indian naval aggression in the case of a border clash.[9]

  • Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed said on Friday that India was trying to destabilize Pakistan and disrupt the bilateral peace process. He further said continued violence in Kashmir could turn “ugly” and accused India of dragging its feet on a solution to the Kashmir dispute. Saeed also denied reports in the Indian press that he had been inciting violence in the region.[10]

Long March to Islamabad

  • Influential Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri reached Islamabad on Monday at the head of his ‘long march’ against government corruption. Qadri departed Lahore on Sunday with thousands of supporters though he said he expected more to join him along the way. Qadri is looking to pressure the government into enacting electoral reforms and also “wants the military and judiciary to be involved in installing a caretaker government to oversee forthcoming elections.” Reports of the strength of the crowd have varied considerably, from as low as 10,000 to being in the low hundreds of thousands. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the crowd was no more than 30,000 people-strong. The crowd is significantly smaller than the four million marchers Qadri said he expected would come to Islamabad. About 15,000 police officers, some in riot gear, have been deployed throughout the city and cargo containers have been set up to block the marchers from reaching parliament. Up to 4,000 Frontier Constabulary personnel were hurriedly sent to Islamabad from Peshawar on Saturday in anticipation of the march.[11]

Militancy

  • On Sunday, a remote-controlled roadside bomb targeting a military convoy in North Waziristan killed up to 17 Pakistani soldiers and wounded at least 22 about 50 miles south of Miram shah. The Pakistani military claims four soldiers were killed and eleven wounded. Two vehicles were heavily damaged, one plunging into a 1,000-foot ravine. Helicopters arrived to evacuate the wounded, many of whom are in critical condition. The Mujahideen Ansar, a militant group comprised primarily of Uzbeks, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was in response to the Pakistani military’s complicity with drone strikes in the area. The attack comes the day after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) two top leaders released a pamphlet saying that they were ceasing their attacks on Pakistani troops in North Waziristan and called on their fighters to target U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The pamphlet said the truce did not extend to other parts of Pakistan. The announcement raised questions about the possibility of a secret deal reached between the TTP and the Pakistan army. Tribal sources state, however, that the announcement is the result of pressure on the TTP from Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a senior Taliban commander in North Waziristan with whom the army maintains a peace deal and who does not want the TTP disturbing the peace in his area of influence.[12]

  • According to a news report, TTP deputy chief Wali-Ur-Rehman, stated in a video released on January 3 that the militant group would send fighters to Indian-administered Kashmir in order to fight for the implementation of Sharia law in Kashmir. Rehman claims in the video that the government’s Kashmir campaign has yielded no results, so the TTP will send its own fighters to bring Kashmir and the rest of India under Sharia law.[13]

  • Thursday’s blast at a mosque in Mingora, Swat, that killed 22, has raised fear about a possible Taliban comeback in the area, after they were ousted in 2009. The bomb was the latest in several violent incidents in the region, and although the TTP has not claimed responsibility for the bombing, security officials believe the group was responsible. Forty people have been arrested in connection with the attack and sent for interrogation.[14]

  • Four people were injured in Karachi on Monday from a blast at a petrol pump. A fire broke out as a result of the blast, the nature of which has yet to be ascertained.[15]

  • Three security guards and one passerby were injured when a bomb struck the security men’s vehicle in Shabqadar area of Charsadda on Sunday.[16]

  • On Sunday, an improvised explosive device (IED) struck a passenger carriage traveling from Peshawar to Parachinar, Kurram agency. One person was killed while eight were injured, though many of the injured are in critical condition.[17]

  • An IED exploded near an internet café in Quetta, killing a six-year-old boy and wounding another person.[18]

  • On Sunday, two militants were killed in a clash between an anti-Taliban militia and militants in the Akakhel area of Bara sub-district in Khyber agency. Also in Khyber, one person was killed in a market explosion in Landi Kotal.[19]

  • A soldier was killed in Bara, Khyber on Monday when a shell fired by militants hit a security checkpost. In response, the military shelled various suspected militant positions.[20]

  • A remote-controlled IED targeting a convoy of the Awami National Party (ANP) injured fifteen people, including ANP leader Shakeel Omarzai, his father, a former Member of the Provincial Assembly, and three policemen, in Charsadda district on Saturday. The blast was followed by gunfire. All the wounded were transferred to hospitals and are in stable condition. Police report that two-to-three kilogram explosives were responsible for the blast.[21]

  • An attack on a leader of the Sindh Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Samiul Haq (JUI-S) Maulana Hammadullah Madri killed one and wounded four in Karachi, including Madri’s brother and a school bus driver.[22]

  • The body of a Sunni Tehreek (ST) activist was found with a gunshot wound to his neck in Karachi on Friday. Another ST activist died in the hospital from gunshot wounds.[23]

  • Three unidentified bodies were found in various areas of Karachi’s Old City, while a woman was killed by a stray bullet in Bahadurabad area.[24]

  • A NATO supply terminal in Hazar Ganji, Quetta was targeted with rockets and gunfire on Friday. No casualties have been reported.[25]

  • On Saturday evening, one person was killed and a policeman injured in Swabi district. Gunfire was exchanged when the police chased a car speeding away from an ordered police check.[26]

  • A staff nurse was shot dead outside her house in Hakimabad, Nowshera district by an unknown attacker on Saturday. In response to her death, employees at the hospital have gone on strike.

IMF Bailout

  • The IMF has announced a possible bailout package for Pakistan of as much as $5 billion is contingent upon the government instituting reforms ahead of the upcoming elections. IMF officials are currently engaged in talks with Pakistani officials regarding the details of the deal. [27]    



[1] “Pakistan bombings: Quetta Shias agree to bury blast dead,” BBC, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20991398
“Pakistan provincial minister sacked over Quetta bombings,” BBC, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21007134
“Pakistan Shia protest: PM visits Quetta for talks,” BBC, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21002781
M. Ilyas Khan, “Formidable power of Pakistan’s anti-Shia militants,” BBC, January 11, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20983153
Abdul Sattar, “Pakistan sacks provincial government after attack,” Yahoo! News, January 13, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-sacks-provincial-government-attack-212926642.html
Abdul Satter, “Pakistani Shiites refuse to bury 50 bomb victims,” Yahoo! News, January 12, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/pakistani-shiites-refuse-bury-50-bomb-victims-081317345.html
“Carnage in Quetta,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/carnage-in-quetta-2/
“Shia leaders question Army chief over Quetta carnage,” Dawn, January 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/11/shia-leaders-question-army-chief-over-quetta-carnage/
[2] “PM orders delegation of policing powers to FC in Quetta,” Dawn, January 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/pm-orders-delegation-of-policing-powers-to-fc-in-quetta/
[3] “Karachi at a standstill over strike call,” Dawn, January 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/karachi-at-standstill-on-strike-call/
S. Raza Hassan, “Sit-ins bring city to a standstill,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/sit-ins-bring-city-to-a-standstill/
[4] “Shutdown in Quetta,” Dawn, January 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/shutdown-in-quetta/
[5] Anwar Iqbal, “Demand for deployment of troops in Quetta made at Washington sit-in,” Dawn, January 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/demand-for-deployment-of-troops-in-quetta-made-at-washington-sit-in/
[6] “Karachi shutdown on call by MQM,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/karachi-shutdown-on-call-by-mqm/
[7] “Shia Ulema Council call for strike in Sindh,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/13/shia-ulema-council-call-for-strike-on-monday/
[8] “India army chief warns Pakistan of retaliation,” AP, January 14, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/india-army-chief-warns-pakistan-retaliation-095923846.html
“India army chief threatens Pakistan over Kashmir killings,” Reuters, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/14/us-india-pakistan-idUSBRE90D08T20130114?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29
“One inkired from Indian firing in Rawalkot after Pak-India talks: reports,” Dawn, January 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/flag-meeting-held-pak-indian-commanders-at-loc/
[9] “Indian air chief makes veiled threat,” Dawn, January 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/13/indian-air-chief-makes-veiled-threat/
“Pakistan Navy able to repel border attack,” Geo TV, January 12, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83504  
[10] “Kashmir violence could turn ‘ugly,’: Hafiz Saeed,” Reuters, January 11, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/492590/kashmir-violence-could-turn-ugly-hafiz-saeed/
[11] “Pakistani anti-corruption march reaches Islamabad,” BBC, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21006725
“Malik challenges Qadri’s claim of ‘four million’ joining long march,” Dawn, January 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/malik-challenges-qadris-claim-of-four-million-joining-long-march/
“FC 100 platoons leave KPK for Islamabad,” Geo TV, January 12, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83498
[12] Ismail Khan and Declan Walsh, “Bomb kills 14 Pakistani Soldiers in Tribal Area,” The New York Times, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/world/asia/bomb-kills-14-pakistani-soldiers-in-tribal-area.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&
“Pakistan: Bomb rips through Waziristan convoy,” BBC, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21002916
“UPDATE 2-Bomb kills 14 Pakistani soldiers in North Waziristan,” Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-pakistan-attack-update-2l4n0ai06s-20130113,0,3713621.story?page=1
Ishtiaq Mahsud, “Roadside bomb kills 14 Pakistani soldiers,” Yahoo! News, January 13, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/roadside-bomb-kills-14-pakistani-soldiers-120150910.html
Malik Mumtaz Khan and Mushtaq Yousufzai, “17 soldiers killed, 22 injured in NWA IED attack,” The News, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20247-17-soldiers-killed,-22-injured-in-NWA-IED-attack
“Pakistani Taliban say they will not attack Pak army,” Dawn, January 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/pakistani-taliban-say-they-will-not-attack-pak-army/
[13] Amir Mir, “As army changes its doctrine, TTP decides to target India,” The News, January 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-153931-As-army-changes-its-doctrine,-TTP-decides-to-target-India
Amir Mir, “No peace deal between military and militants,” The News, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20248-No-peace-deal-between-military-and-militants
[14] “Mingora blast fuels Taliban comeback fears in Swat,” The Express Tribune, January 14, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/493788/mingora-blast-fuels-taliban-comeback-fears-in-swat/
“40 arrested over Mingora blast,” Dawn, January 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/40-arrested-over-mingora-blast-2/
[15] “Blast in Karachi injures three,” Dawn, January 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/blast-in-karachi-injures-two/
“Karachi: Blast in mart of petrol pump injures 4,” Geo, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83713
[16] “Three security men injured in blast,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/14/three-security-men-injured-in-blast/
[17] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Blast in Lower Kurram tribal regions kills one, injured eight,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/13/blast-in-lower-kurram-tribal-region-injures-several/
[18] Syed Ali Shah, “IED blast kills child, leaves one injured in Quetta,” Dawn, January 12, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/ied-blast-kills-child-leaves-one-injured-in-quetta/
“Boy killed in Quetta bomb blast,” The News, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20238-Boy-killed-in-Quetta-bomb-blast
[19] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “North Waziristan blast kills 14 security personnel,” Dawn, January 13, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/13/khyber-tribal-region-blast-kills-one/
[20] “Soldier killed in Bara,” The News, January 14, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20257-Soldier-killed-in-Bara
[21] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Blast near ANP leader Shakeel Omarzai’s convoy; 12 injured,” Dawn, January 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/blast-near-convoy-of-anp-leader-shakeel-omarzais-convoy-12-injured/
“14 injured in Charsadda blast,” Geo, January 12, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83451
Sabz Ali Tareen, Ex-minister among 14 injured in Charsadda blast,” The News, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20233-Ex-minister-among-14-injured-in-Charsadda-blast
[22] “Guard killed, four hurt in attack on JUI-S leader,” Dawn, January 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/guard-killed-four-hurt-in-attack-on-jui-s-leader/
[23] “Guard killed, four hurt in attack on JUI-S leader,” Dawn, January 11, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/12/guard-killed-four-hurt-in-attack-on-jui-s-leader/
[24] “Karachi: Three bodies found from Old City area,” Geo, January 12, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83454
[25] “Rocket attack targets Nato supply terminal in Quetta,” Geo, January 11, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=83380
[26] “One killed, SHO injured in Swabi firing,” The News, January 13, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-154181-One-killed,-SHO-injured-in-Swabi-firing
[27] Mehtab Haider, “IMF links bailout package with reforms agenda,” The News, January 12, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20206-IMF-links-bailout-package-with-reforms-agenda