Pakistan Security Brief - January 31, 2013

Karachi bomb kills three, massive secondary bomb disarmed; Twelve more killed in operations in Tirah Valley; Information Minister Sindh announces anti-terror operation, calls for additional security; Six killed in Balochistan raid; Fourteen more target killings in Karachi; Bomb kills two polio team members; Police arrest suspected terrorist Maam Baloch; Nine injured in Peshwar blast; U.S. Ambassador promises continued relationship with Pakistan; Clinton reiterates commitment to fight terrorism in Pakistan; Presidents Zardari, Karzai arrive in London for peace talks; Ulema Conference with clerics postponed; Supreme Court summons Bokhari to explain Zardari letter; 1,300kg of hashish and 1,700kg of opium found in Quetta.

Militancy

  • On Wednesday, three people were killed while four others injured when a bomb exploded at Indus Plaza in Sohrab Goth, Karachi. A bomb disposal squad searched the area in response to the initial blast and found a secondary device that weighed approximately 350-400kg inside a cab. The blast from the secondary device would “have been one of the deadliest of all bombings in Karachi.” In response to the discovery of the bomb, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik convened a security meeting stating that “the blast in Karachi has begun a new wave of terrorism” that he had previously warned of. Malik, however, apologized for his earlier remarks on Tuesday after being accused by opposition parties of fear mongering.[1] 

  • On Thursday, clashes between rival militant groups Ansarul Islam (AI) and the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) continued in Khyber agency’s Tirah Valley in which over 12 militants were killed on the sixth day of fighting. AI reportedly gained control of 16 TTP-held areas in Mamuzai, near the Tirah Valley.  Security forces declared an indefinite curfew in Bara and neighboring Sheikhan village in Khyber agency, causing widespread panic amongst residents who have suffered from food and water shortages during past curfews.[2]

  • On Thursday, Sindh’s Information Minister, Sharjeel Memon, announced that a targeted operation against terrorists will begin on Friday. Sindh’s Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah called in extra policemen from all districts of Sindh province and plans to deploy them to volatile areas in Karachi. Interior Minister Rehman Malik also announced the provision of additional security to heads of political parties and provincial election commissioners. [3]

  • In an operation on Thursday, security forces in Kalat, Balochistan killed a Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) commander and five other people.  They also arrested five people and recovered a weapons and ammunition cache in their raid in the Mangochar area. [4]

  • An unidentified assailant shot three Sunni Muslim leaders including Abdul Majeed Deenpuri, a high profile cleric and leader of the Jamia Banuri Uloom Islamia, and Mufti Muhammad Saleh on Thursday in the latest targeted killings in Karachi. One report calls the attack a “tit-for-tat” retaliation against the killing of Shias in Pakistan.[5]

  • Two more members of a polio vaccination team were killed on Thursday when an improvised explosive device (IED) hit their motorcycle in Mali Khel, Upper Kurram agency.[6]

  • Three gunshot victims were found dumped on the side of a road near Haq Bahu Square in Qaimkhani Colony in Baldia, Karachi on Thursday.[7]

  • A bomb attached to a van detonated on Jinnah Park road near Peshawar’s Jinnah Park and injured at least nine people on Thursday.[8]

  • The bodies of three gunshot victims were recovered in Bhosa Mandi Bypass, Quetta on Wednesday.[9]

  • On Thursday, Pakistani security forces arrested Ghulam Hussain aka Maam Baloch,  in Baldia Town, Karachi for alleged involvement in terrorism and extortion.[10]

  • A man was killed in a shooting in Karachi on Thursday near Habib Ground in the Landhi area.[11]

  • The body of a gunshot victim was recovered  near a timber market in the Old City Area of Karachi, on Thursday.[12]

  • On Thursday, a man was shot on Sariab road in Quetta.[13]

  • Unidentified assailants shot and killed one man near the Agriculture Development Bank in Khuzdar, Balochistan.[14]

  • Pakistani police arrested a suspect in Kumharnwala, Dera Ismail Khan district and recovered a suicide vest, 15kg of explosive, and a pistol.[15] 

U.S. Pakistan Relations and Iran-Pakistan Pipeline

  • During a speech in Islamabad on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson insisted that “2014 is not 1989…The United States recognizes the mistakes of the past, and will not disengage from the region.”  Olson went on to stress that the U.S. is committed to a strong relationship with Pakistan past the scheduled 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that the U.S.’s relationship with Pakistan is independent of its relationship with Afghanistan.  Responding to the Pakistani Cabinet’s decision to approve the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Olson expressed concerns over the project, reiterating that the U.S. is giving financial support for a number of energy projects, “including the Bhasha dam.”  Despite official approval from the Cabinet, the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is facing a number of domestic funding hurdles in addition to the threat of U.S. sanctions.  While Iran promised $500 million in support of the $1.5 billion project, the Islamabad High Court barred the government from collecting funding through the Gas Infrastructure Development Tax in a session on Thursday, ruling that it was unconstitutional.[16]

  • Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that fighting terrorism in Pakistan is an ongoing battle and promised to do her best in defeating terrorism in Pakistan.  Mrs. Clinton stated that President Zardari and Prime Minister Singh’s actions to improve relations will help create an ideal environment in which to battle terrorism. [17] 

Pakistan Foreign Relations

  • On Thursday, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari and Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani arrived in London to conduct extensive talks with the British government and an Afghan government delegation, including Afghan president Hamid Karzai.  The “trilateral dialogue series” will cover security along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and NATO troop withdrawal over the coming year.  The News reported that Kayani will meet with British military commanders as well as intelligence chiefs, and went on to report that Taliban representatives are rumored to be at the meetings as well, discussing disarming and joining the democratic process. Aimal Faizi, president Karzai’s spokesperson, stressed that Afghanistan would only cooperate if Pakistan makes serious efforts to stop cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.  He called for “practical steps” from Pakistan to fight both “terrorism and radicalisation,” shedding light on distrust between the two nations moving into the conference.[18]

  • Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omer Daudzai confirmed Wednesday that the Ulema Conference, originally scheduled to convene by the end of January, has been postponed.  The conference was originally suggested in November by Afghan High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, in an effort to gain religious support for the Afghan peace process.  Top Afghan and Pakistani clerics and ambassadors from both countries were set to meet to discuss cooperation between the two nations, in a move ridiculed by the Afghan Taliban as “American intrigues.”  The Afghan Taliban urged religious leaders and scholars across the Middle East not to cooperate with the conference.[19]

  • On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Additional Security Ministry for Defense Production General Tariq Rashid Khan and South Korea’s Director General of the Defense Promotion Bureau Kim Hul-Su met as part of a Pakistani-Korean defense conference in an extension of their longstanding security cooperation. The two discussed large-scale issues between their two nations, including building military capacity, increasing defense industrial potential, and regional security.[20]

Supreme Court Summons Fasih Bokhari

  • On Thursday, the Pakistani Supreme Court summoned National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief Fasih Bokhari to explain himself over a letter he sent to President Zardari in which he accused the Supreme Court of attempting to influence national elections.  The summons requires Bokhari to appear before the court on February 4thto explain his actions, on pain of being charged with contempt-of-court. Tensions between the court and Bokhari are already high, after he refused to arrest Prime Minister Ashraf earlier in January, despite the court ordering him to take Ashraf into custody.[21] 

Drug Busts

  • The Balochistan Anti-narcotics force (ANF) raided a location near Murbat, Ghazaband sub-district in Pishin district on Wednesday and seized nearly 1,324kg of “fine quality” hashish.  The smugglers managed to escape; no one was reportedly killed or injured in the raid.[22]

  • The Frontier Corps in the Aago area of Mashakeel, Quetta found 1,730kg of opium and 3kg of heroin in an operation on Thursday.  GeoNews reported that the security men made no arrests and met no resistance when they found the narcotics buried underground.[23]


[1] “Blast kills three outside Sohrab Goth drug den,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20625-Blast-kills-three-outside-Sohrab-Goth-drug-den
“Karachi Bomb Kills 3 as Minister Apologizes Over Terror Warning,” Bloomberg News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-01-31/karachi-bomb-kills-3-as-minister-apologizes-over-terror-warning
[3] “Sindh CM calls in additional police to Karachi,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86133
“Targeted action against terrorists from Friday: Memon,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86127
“Malik orders special security measures for CEC,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86087
[4] “BLA commander among six killed in Kalat,” Dawn, January 31, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/31/bla-commander-among-six-killed-in-kalat/
[5] “Gunman kills Pakistani Sunni leaders in apparent tit-for-tat,” Reuters, January 31, 2013. Available at http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCABRE90U0ST20130131
“Two religious scholars among 12 killed in Karachi,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86063
“Senior Pakistani cleric Abdul Majeed Deenpuri shot dead in Karachi,” BBC, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21276329
[6] “Bomb kills two more anti-polio workers in Kurram Agency,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86081
“Two anti-polio workers killed in Upper Kurram explosion,” Dawn, January 31, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/31/two-anti-polio-workers-killed-in-upper-kurram-explosion/
“High-level security meeting summoned,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86049-Malik-summons-high-level-security-meeting
“Malik summons high-level security meeting,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86049
[7] “Three bodies found in gunny bags in Karachi,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20629-Three-bodies-found-in-gunny-bags-in-Karachi
[8] “Blast in Peshawar injures nine,” Dawn, January 31, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/31/blast-in-peshawar-inujres-10/
[9] “Three bullet riddled bodies found,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86028-Three-bullet-riddled-bodies-found
[10] “Most wanted suspect arrested in Baldia Town,” Geo, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=86033
“Most wanted suspect arrested in Baldia,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86033-Most-wanted-suspect-arrested-in-Baldia-Town
[11] “Five more killed in Karachi,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86039-Five-dead-in-firing,-violence-incidents
[12] “Five more killed in Karachi,” The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86039-Five-dead-in-firing,-violence-incidents
[13] “Seven bodies found in Quetta, Dera Bugti,” Dawn, January 31, 2013. Available on http://dawn.com/2013/01/31/seven-bodies-found-in-quetta-dera-bugti/
[14] “Seven bodies found in Quetta, Dera Bugti,” Dawn, January 31, 2013. Available on http://dawn.com/2013/01/31/seven-bodies-found-in-quetta-dera-bugti/
[15] “Militant held, explosives recovered, “The News, January 31, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-157258-Militant-held,-explosives-recovered
[16]Cabinet approves Pak-Iran gas pipeline project,” Geo, January 30, 2013.  Available at  http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=85952
“Pak –Iran gas pipeline project: IHC bars government from collecting tax,” The International News, January 31, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86082-Pak-Iran-gas-pipeline-project%3a-IHC-bars-govt-from-collecting-tax
““Will not repeat 1989 mistakes,” U.S. assures Pakistan,” Dawn, January 30, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/30/will-not-repeat-1989-mistakes-us-assures-pakistan/
“U.S. shows concerns over Pak-Iran gas pipeline project,” The International News, January 31, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20623-US-shows-concerns-over-Pak-Iran-gas-pipeline-project
[17] “Fighting terror in Pakistan not finished, says Hillary,” Dawn, January 31, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/31/fighting-terror-in-pakistan-not-finished-says-hillary/
[18] “Zardari, Kayani to visit London for crucial meetings,” The International News, January 31, 2013.  Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20630-Zardari,-Kayani-to-visit-London-for-crucial-meetings
Rob Crilly, “Pakistan under pressure to stop cross-border attacks ahead of UK summit,” The Telegraph, January 31, 2013.  Available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9839391/Pakistan-under-pressure-to-stop-cross-border-attacks-ahead-of-UK-summit.html
[19] Tahir Khan, “Afghan peace process: Kabul Ulema conference rescheduled,” The Express Tribune, January 31, 2013.  Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/500887/afghan-peace-process-kabul-ulema-conference-rescheduled/
[20]Pakistan, Korea discuss regional security,” The International News, January 31, 2013.  Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20628-Pakistan,-Korea-discuss-regional-security
[21] Pakistan court summons anti-corruption boss,” Bloomberg Businessweek, January 31, 2013.  Available at   http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-01-31/pakistan-court-summons-anti-corruption-boss
[22] “ANF recovers 1.324kg of hashish,” The International News, January 31, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-157256-ANF-recovers-1,324kg-of-hashish
[23] “FC recovers loads of drugs in Balochistan,” The International News, January 31, 2013.  http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-86097-FC-recovers-laods-of-drugs-in-Balochistan