Pakistan Security Brief - January 17, 2013

Qadri’s long march enters day 4 while government discusses negotiating; Imran Khan says he will not join march, advises Qadri to end march; U.K. denies links to Qadri; Court angry at NAB’s refusal to arrest PM; Khar seeks to downplay Pakistan instability; Khar calls on India to hold talks over Kashmir violence; TTP militants killed in shelling in N. Waziristan; TTP claims attack on MQM leader in Karachi; TTP distributes pamphlets near Peshawar warning against helping govt; violence across NW Pakistan; Peshawar protestors dispersed by police; IMF unhappy with Pakistan economic reforms.

Qadri’s Long March

  • An anti-government protest led by cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri is entering its fourth day in the streets of Islamabad. Undeterred by the government’s failure to heed his earlier deadline of 11 am on Tuesday to satisfy his four demands, Mr. Qadri extended the deadline to Wednesday night. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has announced that action may be taken to end the sit-in, though President Zardari has emphasized that he wants to use negotiations rather than force to resolve it. Mr. Malik has voiced his concern that the protestors could be a target for terrorist attacks, and said that while an “operation” is not in the cards for bringing an end to the sit-in, “targeted actions” were. As of Thursday evening, Qadri was holding talks with several high-level representatives of government, although not with President Zardari as Mr. Qadri had wanted. [1]

  • The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced after a meeting that it will not be joining Mr. Qadri’s protest, saying that fair and free elections under a neutral caretaker government and not a government overthrow, as Mr. Qadri was demanding, was the only way to fix the problems Pakistan is facing. PTI chief Imran Khan recommended to Qadri that he end his protest, saying the record-breaking number of people in Islamabad supporting him makes it his victory.[2]

  • Speculation that Mr. Qadri has foreign backers has led the British government to issue a statement denying that it supports him or any other Pakistani party, stressing its interest in Pakistan’s stability and emphasizing the importance of adherence to the constitution.[3]

PM’s Arrest Order

  • Fasih Bokhari, head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), refused on Thursday to carry out the Supreme Court’s order to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for corruption on the grounds that the case documents prepared by NAB had been “hurried” and “inaccurate.” In response, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry ordered the prosecutor general to present investigation documents to the court, an order which Mr. Bokhari’s team blocked by demanding that a written order be produced first. The hearing has been adjourned until January 23.[4]

  • Amid foreign worries about Pakistan’s internal turmoil, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar assured the international community on Wednesday that the situation was not as “chaotic” as it may appear and that Pakistani institutions were trying to find their “rightful place.”[5]

Indo-Pak Tensions

  • Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has called on her Indian counterpart to discuss recent clashes across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir that have left five dead in two weeks. Both countries deny violating the ceasefire or inciting violence. India has yet to respond to Ms. Khar’s offer, but the U.S. has signaled its approval, saying that dialogue is the right way to approach the issue.[6]

Militancy

  • Five suspected militants were killed in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan in shelling by Pakistani army helicopters on Thursday.[7]

  • The TTP has claimed responsibility for shootings in Karachi on Thursday that killed four, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) provincial lawmaker Manzar Imam.[8]

  • The TTP distributed pamphlets on Wednesday throughout the village of Nak Band on the outskirts of Peshawar, warning residents that aiding or cooperating with the government or police would amount to criminal activity in the TTP’s eyes and be punished accordingly. The flyers claimed responsibility for killing two men who were suspected of supporting the police. The pamphlet said that the same fate would meet anyone else who collaborated with the police.[9]

  • Militants bombed a police checkpoint in Charsadda on Wednesday with explosives triggered by a remote-control device. There were no casualties.[10]

  • Security forces found and defused an explosive device in Kanjo township, Kabal sub-district in Swat on Wednesday.[11]

  • In a high-level committee meeting on the law and order situation in Balochistan headed by Balochistan governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, several steps were decided on to try and tackle militancy in the province, including paying a monthly stipend to militants who surrender, compensating the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Quetta by January 31, and banning the possession of weapons.[12]

Peshawar protest

  • Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar held discussions with protesters in Peshawar who had piled the bodies from an alleged security forces’ raid on their village in front of the governor’s house in protest. Negotiations were successful, according to the governor and tribal leaders, but the protestors were not ready to leave Peshawar until the military had pulled out of neighboring Bara sub-district. In response, the police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protestors and brought the bodies to a hospital mortuary. It remains unclear whether the attackers, dressed in military garb, were actually government forces or a militant group.[13]

IMF Talks

  • Pakistan and a team from the IMF began talks today regarding Pakistan’s economic reform agenda, which the IMF delegation found insufficient. Many issues with Pakistan’s finances and political stability were highlighted, and the IMF sees a major reform of public sector institutions and increased domestic resource mobilization as necessary before considering granting Pakistan a new $4 billion bailout package.[14]

   



[1] “Pakistan government seeks end to cleric Qadri’s protest,” BBC, January 16, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21053432
Syed Irfan Raza, “Zardari rules out operation,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/zardari-rules-out-operation/
“Qadri unveils four demands, sets another deadline,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/qadri-unveils-four-demands-sets-another-deadline/
“Government in talks with Tahirul Qadri,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/rulers-attitude-does-not-allow-space-for-peace-in-pakistan-qadri/
[2] “PTI not to join Qadri’s protest,” The News, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20321-PTI-not-to-join-Qadris-protest
“Imran advises Qadri to end sit-in,” Geo, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=84182
[3] Murtaza Ali Shah, “Britain denies supporting Qadri, others,” Geo, January 16, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=84086
[4] Salman Masood, “Pakistani Official Refuses Order to Arrest Prime Minister,” The New York Times, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/world/asia/pakistani-official-refuses-order-to-arrest-prime-minister.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0
“PM arrest orders: NAB terms its own report ‘inaccurate’,” The Express Tribune, January 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/495289/rpps-case-report-on-which-sc-gave-pm-arrest-orders-is-faulty/
[5] “Pakistan turmoil not as chaotic as appears: foreign minister,” Geo, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=84111
[6] “Kashmir crisis: Pakistan offers India talks,” BBC, January 16, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-21054897
“US welcomes Pak proposal of FM level talks with India,” The News, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20337-US-welcomes-Pak-proposal-of-FM-level-talks-with-India
[7] “Helicopter shelling in North Waziristan kills five suspected militants,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/gunship-helicopter-shelling-in-n-waziristan-kills-five-suspected-militants/
[8] “Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility of MQM MPA’s killing,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/mqm-mpa-among-two-gunned-down-in-karachi/
[9] “Pamphlets: Militants warn locals against supporting any operation,” The Express Tribune, January 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/495033/pamphlets-militants-warn-locals-against-supporting-any-operation/
[10] “Militants destroy checkpost in Charsadda,” The News, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20336-Militants-destroy-checkpost-in-Charsadda
[11] “Explosive decide defused in Kanjo,” The News, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20338-Explosive-device-defused-in-Kanjo
[12] Saleem Shahid, “Stipend for militants to shun violence,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/stipend-for-militants-to-shun-violence/
[13] Ali Hazrat Bacha, “Tribesmen pile relatives’ bodies, hold sit-in,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/tribesmen-pile-relatives-bodies-hold-sit-in/
“Pakistan police use tear gas to disperse ‘dead bodies’ protest,” BBC, January 17, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21055892
“Bodies dumped in Pakistan extra-judicial killings protest,” BBC, January 16, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21039929
[14] Khaleeq Kiani, “Talks begin today IMF finds reform plan faulty,” Dawn, January 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/17/talks-begin-today-imf-finds-reform-plan-faulty/