Pakistan Security Brief - January 29, 2013

Pakistan to train Afghan army; U.S. warns of sanctions over Iran pipeline, commits to fund Bhasha dam; U.S. representative opposes Pakistani fertilizer group’s presence in U.S.; Trade resumes across the LoC as political bickering continues; Police officer killed in polio vaccination attack; Violence across northwest Pakistan; Ten killed in targeted violence across Karachi; Prime Minister Ashraf accused of diverting flood relief to PPP; IDPs threaten hunger strike; Minister hints at new IMF bailout ask.

Pak-Afghan Security Ties

  • After talks on Monday between Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Afghanistan and Pakistan are reportedly close to signing a deal where the Pakistani army would help train the Afghan army.  Discussions also included possibly increasing defense cooperation more generally. The Afghan delegation will likely visit various Pakistani military institutions and training sites to assess future cooperation possibilities.  During his Tuesday meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Mohammadi spoke to the importance of Pak-Afghan cooperation in the War on Terror, stressing that their shared interests and capabilities meant a strong relationship between the two nations would be important.  On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Naveed Qamar said during his talks with Mohammadi that Pakistan wants a “peaceful Afghanistan,” and went on to discuss the Pakistani commitment to helping stabilize Afghanistan and increasing security along the Pak-Afghan border. [1]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • In reaction to the news that the Fatima Group, a Pakistan-based fertilizer production company, plans to open a subsidized fertilizer factory in Indiana, California Representative Duncan Hunter said that the subsidy is "crazy”. The calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) that Fatima produces in Pakistan is often used to make homemade bombs that kill Americans, and Fatima has so far not been open to the Pentagon’s suggestions of ways to mitigate the risks, such as adding a colorant to the CAN, according to some U.S. officials. Citing Fatima’s uncooperativeness in these efforts, Rep. Hunter condemned the future factory, saying that the State Department was “totally inept” to let the project get this far.[2]

  • At a press release in Sukkur on Monday, U.S. Consul General Michael Dodman warned that the US State Department will impose sanctions on Pakistan if it moved forward with the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project.  Dodman explained that because Iran continues to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the United States cannot support Pakistan pursuing the project.  However, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson promised on Monday that the U.S. State Department is willing to be the primary sponsor of the prospective Bhasha dam, which he hopes will alleviate some of Pakistan’s energy crisis[3].

Militancy

  • In two separate instances, polio workers were targeted in Pakistan’s northwest. A police officer protecting a group of workers going door-to-door to administer vaccines to children was fatally shot on Tuesday in Swabi district. The same day, a polio worker in Machi village was wounded by a man with an axe. No one has claimed responsibility for the shooting, but the Taliban has made threats against polio workers, saying the vaccines sterilize children and that the workers are U.S. spies.[4]

  • One person was killed and three were injured by an explosion in a field outside Peshawar on Tuesday, reportedly targeting an illegal gambling den.[5]

  • Peshawar police raided a warehouse on Pandu road on Tuesday and confiscated explosive materials, including 45 kilograms of high quality explosives, 71 kilograms of low-grade explosives, and 25 mortar bombs. Two suspects were taken into custody.[6]

  • On Tuesday, explosives were detonated outside the house of former mayor of Tapi, Shakoor Khan, in Kohat, KP. No casualties were reported[7]

  • Monday’s shooting of two Pakistan Air Force (PAF) security personnel and a shopkeeper in Pasni area of Balochistan has been claimed by the rebel group Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), which said that the soldiers were the target.[8]

  • Violence in Karachi on Tuesday killed one and left two injured. The bullet-riddled body of a political activist was found in the Landhi 89 area, while on Mauripur road, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a truck, wounding the driver.[9]

  • On Tuesday, a police station in Sohrab Goth, Karachi was attacked by unknown assailants on motorcycles, killing one policeman and injuring two others. The attackers fled after police retaliated.[10]

  • Two people were killed on Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Karachi when unidentified assailants open fired on a vehicle on Tuesday. [11]

  • Muhammad Ghayas, secretary general of the Bengali Action Committee was killed by unidentified attackers on Tuesday near Vita Chowrangi in Korangi, Karachi.[12]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • A suggestion from Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik that India provide security guards to Indian Muslim Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has increased tensions between the two countries. Indian Home Secretary RK Singh responded that India is “quite capable” of taking care of the security of its own citizens and that Pakistan focus on protecting its own. The spat comes shortly after Khan wrote a piece for a magazine on what it’s like to be a Muslim living in India.[13]

  • Trade has resumed after a more than two-week suspension following deadly violence across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. On Tuesday, six Pakistani trucks carrying food crossed at the Chakan da Bagh point in Poonch district. The development comes a day after a bus service carrying passengers across the border reopened.[14]

  • In an address to the media, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal stressed that peace between India and Pakistan is in both countries’ interest, and that the peace process has in no way been derailed by recent clashes over the LoC in Kashmir.[15]

FATA

  • A jirga composed of members of eight tribes displaced from Upper Orakzai agency has threatened a hunger strike if they are not repatriated by February 11. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) say they are currently living in “miserable conditions” in Hangu and Kohat districts.[16]

Detainees

  • A report in the Washington Post looks at the latest clash between Pakistan’s military and judiciary, over the army’s extrajudicial holding of seven suspected militants without evidence. The report assesses that the court does not seem to be gaining much traction on the issue as last week’s hearing concerning the detention of seven men along with many other suspected militants failed to result in enhanced cooperation between the two institutions.[17]

IMF Bailout

  • Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh hinted on Monday that Pakistan may have to borrow money from the IMF for the first time since 2010 in order to fulfill its fiscal obligations. He remained optimistic about Pakistan’s economic future during his speech, however.[18]

Domestic Politics

  • Tauqir Sadiq, former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman, was arrested in Abu Dhabi, after fleeing Pakistan last November when the Supreme Court declared his appointment illegal and accused him of embezzling Rs. 83 million ($830,000).[19]

  • Despite a recent ban on using funds for discretionary spending, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has reportedly diverted Rs. 1.2 billion ($12 million) of flood donation money to senior Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders in an effort to secure more votes just before the election or, as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) called it, “pre-poll rigging.”[20]

  • The radical right wing Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) recently met with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and invited it to “join hands” with the DPC on a “single agenda.”[21]

Upcoming Elections

  • As a result of a three-day sit-in in front of the offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan by minority parties, the ECP has promised that army troops will escort ECP staff around Karachi to finish verifying voter registration lists ahead of a general election.[22]

NAB Case

  • New medical reports obtained by Geo News show that Kamran Faisal, deceased former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) employee, suffered from a range of mental illnesses that resulted in his therapist noting suicidal tendencies. Faisal’s case has attracted widespread attention due to his involvement in prosecuting corruption charges against the prime minister.[23]

Pakistan Army

  • The Islamabad High Court will hear the case concerning Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani’s three-year service extension on January 31. A former army officer has petitioned the court on the grounds that the law does not permit extensions of service for military officials and that Gen. Kayani’s extension was illegal.[24]    



[1]“Afghanistan seeks to expand defense ties with Pakistan,” The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/499906/afghanistan-seeks-to-expand-defence-ties-with-pakistan/
Karman Yousaf, “Deal in the making: Pakistan army likely to begin training Afghan forces,” The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/500094/deal-in-the-making-pakistan-army-likely-to-begin-training-afghan-forces/
“Pakistan wants sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” Dawn, January 29, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/pakistan-wants-sustainable-peace-in-afghanistan-qamar/
“Afghanistan seeks to expand defense ties with Pakistan,” The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/499906/afghanistan-seeks-to-expand-defence-ties-with-pakistan/
[2] Rowan Scarborough, “Rep. Hunter: Subsidy for Pakistani fertilizer company ‘crazy’,” The Washington Times, January 28, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/28/rep-hunter-subsidy-for-fertilizer-company-crazy/?page=1
[3]Imtiaz Hussain, “US warns Pakistan of sanctions over Iran gas pipeline deal,” The International News, January 29, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20587-US-warns-Pakistan-of-sanctions-over-Iran-gas-pipeline-deal
Mansoor Ahmed, “US promises funds for Bhasha Dam,” The International News, January 29, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20585-US-promises-funds-for-Bhasha-Dam
[4] Riaz Khan, “Policeman protecting Pakistani polio team killed,” Yahoo! News, January 29, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/policeman-protecting-pakistani-polio-team-killed-120627955.html
“Pakistan polio vaccination policeman shot dead by gunmen,” BBC, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21244016
[5] “Blast on outskirts of Peshawar kills one, injures three,” Dawn, January 29, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/blast-in-peshawar-outskirts-kills-one-injures-three/
[6] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Police recover explosives near Peshawar,” Dawn, January 29, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/police-recover-explosives-near-peshawar/
[7] “Blast outside a house in Kohat,” The News, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-85764-Blast-outside-a-house-in-Kohat
[8] “Gunmen kill three including PAF guards in Pasni: officials,” Dawn, January 28, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/gunmen-kill-three-including-paf-guards-in-pasni-officials/
[9] “Political activist killed, 2 injured in Karachi,” Geo, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=85763
[10] “Karachi: Sorhab Goth police station attacked,” Geo, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=85816
“Gunmen attack police station in Karachi, policeman killed,” Dawn, January 29, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/gunmen-attack-police-station-in-karachi-policeman-killed/
[11] “Five killed in Karachi violence,” Geo, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=85834 
[12] Five killed in Karachi violence,” Geo, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=85834 
[13] “Shah Rukh Khan: India and Pakistan row over Bollywood superstar,” BBC, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-21241482
[14] “India and Pakistan resume cross-border trade in Kashmir,” BBC, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-21241471
“India, Pakistan resume border links as tensions ease,” The News, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20586-India,-Pakistan-resume-border-links-as-tensions-ease
[15] “Pakistan-India ties: ‘Dialogue process has not been derailed,” The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/500098/pakistan-india-ties-dialogue-process-has-not-been-derailed/
[16] “Awaiting repatriation: IDPs threaten hunger strike,” The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/499937/awaiting-repatriation-idps-threaten-hunger-strike/
[17] Michele Langevine Leiby, “Pakistani court’s push on detainees yields little,” The Washington Post, January 28, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-courts-push-on-detainees-yields-little/2013/01/28/4a8174ce-67d7-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html
[18] Javed Mirza, “Finance minister hints at more borrowing from the IMF,” The News, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20583-Finance-minister-hints-at-more-borrowing-from-IMF
[19] “Former Ogra chief arrested in Abu Dhabi,” Dawn, January 29, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/former-ogra-chief-arrested-in-abu-dhabi/
[20] Shahbaz Rana, “Discretionary spending: Despite ban, premier diverts another Rs1.2b from flood fund,” The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/500092/discretionary-spending-despite-ban-premier-diverts-another-rs1-2b-from-flood-fund/
[21] “DPC delegation calls on Nawaz Sharif,” The News, January 28, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-85706-Samiul-Haq-invites-Nawaz-to-join-hands-with-DPC
[22] Imran Ayub, “Troops to escort staff in voter list verification: ECP,” Dawn, January 29, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/troops-to-escort-staff-in-voter-list-verification-ecp/
[23] “Kamran Faisal had suicidal tendencies: reports,” Geo, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=85689
[24] Amir Mir, “Judiciary all set to take up COAS extension case,” The News, January 29, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20589-Judiciary-all-set-to-take-up-COAS-extension-case