Pakistan Security Brief - January 4, 2013

Late-Maulvi Nazir’s replacement named in South Waziristan; Army Corps Commanders Conference meets to discuss TTP talks offer; Gunships kill three, injure more in North Waziristan retaliation; PM asks security agencies to redefine doctrines; Abbottabad commission completes report on Bin Laden raid; PPP-PML-Q alliance fraying; MQM assures PPP of continued support; MQM asks court to excuse Altaf from contempt proceedings; Pakistan to grant India trade status next week; Security forces kill 21 militants in Khyber; Al Qaeda suspect extradited to U.S.; Pakistani ambassador says Pakistan helping Afghan peace process; Anti-polio workers resume duties in Charsadda; Killer of aid workers killed in shootout; Bombs kill two in Peshawar, one in Lower Orakzai; Cleric killed in Swabi; Seven dead in Karachi; Gunmen injures one in Quetta; Malala Yousufzai discharged from U.K. hospital.

Successor to Slain Taliban Commander Named

  • A day after senior Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir was killed in a drone strike, members of his group on Friday nominated a new commander to take his place. Members of Nazir’s organization chose Bahawal Khan, alias Salahuddin Ayubi, as Nazir’s successor. Khan is reportedly a 35 year-old illiterate former bus driver and long-time aide to Nazir. He is reportedly hot-tempered but expected to "maintain the tribal consensus to keep his power base around Wana largely peaceful." Khan is from same Kakakhel sub-tribe of Wazirs as Nazir and has fought with Taliban in Afghanistan before 9/11 as well as in Kashmir. A militant named Taj Muhammad named as the group’s new deputy leader following death of Nazir's deputy Rata Khan in the same strike that killed Nazir. Pakistan’s Foreign Office has refrained from officially verifying Nazir’s death, and a spokesman said Pakistan had once again raised the issue of drone attacks with the U.S.[1]

Pakistani Military

  • At a Pakistan Army Corps Commanders Conference held on Friday in Rawalpindi, army top brass discussed several topics of importance including a recent offer for peace talks from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the “Pak-Afghan border situation,” internal security in Pakistan, and the verification of voter lists and security for upcoming national polls. All of the army’s principal staff officers were present at the meeting.[2]

  • Speaking at the Pakistani military’s National Defence University, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf urged the nation’s “national security institutions” to “redesign and redefine” military doctrine to account for the new threat from militant extremism in Pakistan. He further urged them to improve intelligence gathering techniques and improve coordination with civilian agencies in the fight against terrorism.[3]

Domestic Politics

  • According to reports, cracks may be appearing in the ruling coalition as members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) have asked the party’s leadership to break with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ahead of upcoming national elections. The PML-Q’s leader, Chaudhry Shujaat told members at a meeting on Thursday, however, that the party planned on continuing its coalition with the PPP government.[4]

  • Refuting earlier reports that the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) was looking to part ways with the ruling PPP-led coalition, MQM leader Altaf Hussain called President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday night and assured him of the MQM’s support for the government and the PPP.[5]

  • The MQM has filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting that the court grant an exemption for party leader Altaf Hussain to appear in court on January 7. The court issued a contempt of court notice to Hussain on December 14 for statements he had made and summoned him in front of the bench to explain himself. Hussain lives in London in self-exile.[6]

Militancy

  • Helicopter gunships shelled several areas in North Waziristan on Thursday, killing three people and injuring four more, and destroying several houses. The local administration imposed a curfew in the area and began a search operation after a soldier and a civilian were killed and four others injured in a bomb blast targeting a Frontier Works Organisation vehicle. Elsewhere in the agency, seven unidentified bodies were found in Miram Shah on Razmak road.[7]

  • Security forces killed 21 militants and injured 14 others during an operation targeting the hideouts of Lashkar-e-Islam militants in Koki Khel in Khyber agency’s Tirah valley on Friday.[8]

  • Abid Naseer, a Pakistani suspected of being an al Qaeda operative was extradited from the U.K. to the U.S. on Thursday. Naseer is wanted by U.S. authorities for providing material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to use explosive materials.[9]

  • A suspect believed to be responsible for the recent killing of seven charity workers in Swabi district was killed in a shootout with police on Friday. The suspect reportedly blew himself after running out of ammunition following a gunfight in Maneri Bala, Swabi. The suspect’s accomplice managed to escape.[10]

  • Polio vaccination teams resumed work in Charsadda district on Thursday following a series of attacks on health workers over the past weeks. The teams’ women volunteers refused to take part in the anti-polio drives due to the security situation, however. The health workers were escorted door-to-door by security personnel.[11]

  • A bomb planted close to an electricity tower killed two people in Badaber, Peshawar on Friday. One person was killed and three injured by two remote-controlled bombs in the Hassanzai Darra market area in Lower Orakzai agency. The house of a former Inter-Services Intelligence agent was damaged in a bomb blast in Lund Khwar on Wednesday night.[12]

  • A cleric was shot dead by unknown gunmen inside a mosque in Shah Mansoor village, Swabi district on Wednesday night.[13]

  • Unknown gunmen shot and injured a tradesman in the Pashtunabad area of Quetta, Balochistan on Thursday.[14]

  • Three dead bodies showing signs of torture and execution were found in different parts of Karachi on Friday. Police say the bodies were recovered from Baldia Town, Sher Shah and Native Jetty. Elsewhere, three people were shot dead by unknown assailants in Esa Nagri and a fourth was shot in Baldia number 8, new Saeedabad.[15]

Foreign Relations

  • Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman wrote in an op-ed on Thursday that Pakistan was working with the U.S. to facilitate peace efforts in Afghanistan. She also emphasized Pakistan’s desire to move the two countries’ bilateral relationship from “aid to trade.” The ambassador said Pakistan sought “greater market access to the US.” Rehman also expressed common cause with the U.S. in stemming the flow of bomb material from Pakistan to insurgents in Afghanistan.[16]

  • After delaying granting India Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, sources in the government claim India will finally be bestowed MFN status next week. They also report that Pakistan will eliminate a “negative list” of tradable goods, and that an update was expected on January 9.[17]

Domestic Issues

  • The Abbottabad Commission responsible for investigating the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan reportedly submitted its full and final report on the incident to Pakistan’s prime minister.[18]

  • Malala Yousufzai, the young anti-Taliban activist shot by militants in Swat, was released from hospital on Friday following treatment for her gunshot wounds in London. Yousufzai is still due to undergo reconstructive cranial surgery in late January of February.[19]


[1] “Bahawal Khan to succeed Pakistan militant leader Mullah Nazir,” BBC, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20909841
Maulvi Nazir among 10 killed in drone strikes,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19986-Maulvi-Nazeer-among-10-killed-in-drone-strikes
“FO refrains from verifying Mullah Nazir’s death,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/fo-refrains-from-verifying-mullah-nazirs-death/
[2] “Corps commanders conference underway,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/corps-commanders-conference-underway-2/
[3] “PM Ashraf urges military to redefine doctrine,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/pm-ashraf-urges-military-to-redefine-doctrine/
[4] Asim Yasin, “PML-Q members seek end to parternship with PPP,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19996-PML-Q-members-seek-end-to-partnership-with-PPP 
[5] “Altaf assures Zardari of MQM support,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-82309-Altaf-Hussain-assures-Zardari-of-MQM-support
[6] “MQM files petition seeking exemption for Altaf’s Jan 7 hearing,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/mqm-files-petition-seeking-exemption-for-altafs-jan-7-hearing/
[7] Two attacks leave 12 dead: ‘Good Taliban’ Maulvi Nazir killed by drone,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/two-attacks-leave-12-dead-good-taliban-maulvi-nazir-killed-by-drone/
“Seven bodies found in Nroth Waziristan,” Geo TV, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=82466
[8] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Security forces kill 21 militants in Khyber’s Tirah,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/security-forces-kill-21-militants-in-khybers-tirah/
[9] “Accused of Terrorism: Al Qaeda suspect extradited to US,” AFP, January 4, 2013. Available at Abid Naseer,
[10] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Suspect involved in Swabi attack killed in exchange of fire,” Dawn, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/suspect-involved-in-swabi-attack-killed-in-exchange-of-fire/
[11] “Polio: Charsadda begins fresh drives without women volunteers,” Express Tribune, January 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/488709/polio-charsadda-begins-fresh-drive-without-women-volunteers/
[12] “Bomb kills two in Peshawar electricity tower,” AFP, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/bomb-kills-two-pakistanis-in-peshawar/
“Orakzai blasts kill one, injure three,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-152439-Orakzai-blasts-kill-one,-injure-three
“House of ex-ISI exmployee damaged in blast,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19987-Nazeers-death-irks-security-establishment
[13] “Targeted attack: Cleric gunned down in Swabi,” Express Tribune, January 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/488708/targeted-attack-cleric-gunned-down-in-swabi/
[14] “Quetta trader injured in firing,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/fo-refrains-from-verifying-mullah-nazirs-death/
[15] “Seven more killed in Karachi violence,” Geo TV, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=82410
[16] Anwar Iqbal “Pakistan facilitating Afghan peace efforts,” Dawn, January 3, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/01/04/pakistan-facilitating-afghan-peace-efforts/
[17] Hanif Khalid, “MFN status to India next week,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-20001-MFN-status-to-India-next-week
[18] “Abbottabad Commission report submitted to PM,” The News, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19995-Abbottabad-Commission-report-submitted-to-PM
[19] “Pakistani girl shot by Taliban leaves British hospital,” Reuters, January 4, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/01/04/world/asia/04reuters-pakistan-malala-britain.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0