Pakistan Security Brief - July 16, 2012

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman says Pakistan and U.S. set to sign memorandum of understanding; Protestors march against supply route reopening; Pakistan proposes alternative to U.S. drone strikes; Pakistan sovereign credit rating downgraded; Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf Chairman says Supreme Court likely to strike down contempt bill; Justice Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim appointed new Pakistani Chief Election Commissioner; Pakistan calls India’s claims of Pakistani state involvement in Mumbai attacks “unbelievable;” UAE oil pipeline to transport fuel to Pakistan bypassing Strait of Hormuz; TTP militants attack police station in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Explosive device in Peshawar destroys hotel; Punjab government announces security operations.

NATO Supply Routes

  • On Sunday, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Moazzam Ahmed Khan, said that Pakistan and the U.S. are set to sign a document that will formalize the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. Speaking to the Voice of America, Khan said that technical-level discussions between the two countries are underway, but the Pakistani government must negotiate with political parties and other stakeholders before signing any memorandum of understanding (MoU).[1]

  • Starting on Saturday, Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) members marched from Quetta to Chaman to protest the government’s decision to reopen NATO supply lines to Afghanistan. Headed by Maulana Samiul Haq, the protesters also stopped at Pir Ali Zai forest, Mir Zai base, and Fort Abdullah on their way to Chaman. According to Haq, the long march is also being staged in response to corruption and the increase in power outages throughout the country. DPC members also plan to hold marches from Karachi to Hyderabad, Multan to Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha to Mianwali, Peshawar to the Khyber Pass, Rawalpindi to Chakwal Talagang, Faisalabad to Sargodha, and Khushab to Islamabad.[2]

  • On Monday, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called the Pakistani government’s decision to reopen NATO supply lines to Afghanistan a “mockery of the parliamentary resolution” on U.S.-Pakistan relations. Speaking to a grand tribal jirga organized by his party, Rehman ridiculed the Pakistani government for reopening the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs) without a written agreement dealing with a reasonable strategy for mending the damaged ties between the U.S. and Pakistan. The JUI chief also urged the government to disallow U.S. drone strikes and halt military operations in FATA.[3]

Drone Strikes

  • According to CNN National Security analyst Peter Bergen, the number of civilian deaths resulting from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan has declined dramatically since 2008. Based on New America Foundation numbers, the estimated civilian death rate is “at or near zero” today with roughly 10-12 percent of all deaths due to drone strikes occurring during the Obama Administration being civilian. Bergen attributes the drop to new guidelines by the Obama Administration increasing CIA selectivity when choosing targets, the CIA’s use of smaller munitions for “pinpoint strikes,” and greater oversight by Congress via monthly meetings involving the CIA and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.[4] 

  • According to a senior figure of Pakistan’s security establishment, Pakistan has proposed a plan involving CIA surveillance in the tribal areas and swapping of information with the Pakistani security agencies as an alternative to drone strikes.  Rather than the CIA then targeting the wanted militants with drone strikes, Pakistani security forces would deal with the militants on the ground. The U.S., however, would still be allowed to use drones for surveillance purposes under the proposal, according to officials familiar with the alternative proposal. The senior official noted that “the US can use any mechanism to monitor our operation on the ground,” but clarified that the U.S. would not be allowed to conduct ground operations to root out militants in the tribal region.[5]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Speaking to reporters in Islamabad on Monday, Pakistani Defense Secretary Nargis Sethi said Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani will visit Washington for the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue soon, though an official date has yet to be decided. According to Sethi, Pakistan intends to sign two MoUs with the U.S. regarding the NATO supply routes, a power which lies solely with the ministry of defense. Sethi further added that the strategic dialogue will include discussions over a draft amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act. According to Geo News, however, military sources are denying that Kayani will travel to the U.S. for the strategic dialogue.[6]

  • Referencing the Salala border incident that resulted in the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said on Sunday that “we should make sure such a tragedy never happens again.” Speaking to The Express News, Munter said that the impasse over reopening the NATO supply routes took too long to resolve, though he noted that “the resumption will help Pakistani soldiers as much as it’ll help U.S. and ISAF soldiers in the common fight against militants.”[7]

Domestic Politics

  • On Friday, Moody’s Investor Service downgraded Pakistan’s sovereign credit rating from B3 to Caa1, citing a widening trade deficit and a decline in capital inflows as causes of the decline. According to Moody’s, the risk of default in Pakistan has increased due to a growing deficit, tapering off of remittances from abroad, dwindling foreign exchange reserves, structural inflationary pressures, and domestic uncertainties. Moody’s further added that Pakistan could experience an even further downgrade should the country default on an upcoming repayment of $7.5 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A recent post-evaluation draft report of the $11.3 billion bailout program that the IMF provided to Pakistan stated that the lending agency should not seek any new short-term loan programs with Pakistan due to Islamabad’s failure to implement conditional reforms. According to officials who have read the report, the last lending program failed due to lack of political support, deterioration in security, and the global economic crisis. According to Meekal Ahmad, a former IMF official, the IMF should require Islamabad to take prior actions to qualify for new lending programs in the future.[8]

  • On Sunday, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan said the Supreme Court is likely to strike down the new “Contempt of Court Bill 2012” that provides public officials immunity from contempt of court charges. Speaking at an Insaaf Students Federation convention, Khan compared the contempt bill to the 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that the Supreme Court struck down in 2009. The NRO would have granted amnesty to public officials accused of committing crimes between January 1, 1986 and October 12, 1999.[9]

  • The Pakistani Parliamentary Committee on appointment of Chief Election Commissioner unanimously approved Justice Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim in a meeting  on Sunday. Justice Ebrahim said he would outline his priorities in a press conference after he takes the official oath of office.[10]

  • The apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, gave Frontier Corps (FC) chief Maj. Gen. Khattak until July 24 to produce eight persons who were allegedly captured by FC paramilitary forces in Balochistan. According to Chief Justice Chaudhry, the FC is being forced to present the missing persons because the force never notified local administration officials about the operations or arrests. The Chief Justice also noted that 14 others have been declared missing after a paramilitary operation in Khuzdar.[11]

International Relations

Militancy


[1] “US, Pakistan to Sign Memorandum of Understanding on NATO Supply Routes,” Voice of America, July 15, 2012. Available at http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/07/15/us-pakistan-to-sign-memorandum-of-understanding-on-nato-supply-routes-2/
[2] “Saying ‘no’ to NATO: DPC long march enroute to Chaman,” Express Tribune, July 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408658/saying-no-to-nato-dpc-long-march-enroute-to-chaman/
[3] Yousaf Ali, “Revisit decision on Nato routes, Fazlur Rehman asks govt,” The News, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-16098-Revisit-decision-on-Nato-routes,-Fazlur-Rehman-asks-govt
[4] Peter Bergen,” Civilian casualties plummet in drone strikes,” CNN, July 14, 2012. Available at http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/13/opinion/bergen-civilian-casualties/index.html
[5] Kamran Yousef, “Negotiating with the US: Pakistan offers new drone-use mechanism,” Express Tribune, July 16, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408906/negotiating-with-the-us-pakistan-offers-new-drone-use-mechanism/
[6] “COAS Kayani to visit US for strategic dialogue: Nargis Sethi,” Geo Pakistan, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59067
“Military sources refute reports of Kayani’s visit to Washington,” Geo Pakistan, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59095
[7] “Mending ties: Munter for avoiding Salala-like tragedy,” Express Tribune, July 16, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408907/mending-ties-munter-for-avoiding-salala-like-tragedy/
[8] Nupur Acharya, “Moody’s Cuts Pakistan Rating,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2012. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303919504577524540148766450.html?mod=asia_home
Shahbaz Rana, “Short-term programme: IMF shuts door on another loan,” Express Tribune, July 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408085/short-term-programme-imf-shuts-door-on-another-loan/
[9] “Imran predicts repeal of contempt law,” The News, July 15, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/16/imran-predicts-repeal-of-contempt-law/
“National Reconciliation Ordinance: Supremely divisive law called NRO revisited,” Express Tribune, January 17, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/322744/national-reconciliation-ordinance-supremely-divisive-law-called-nro-revisited/
[10] Farooq Moin, “Justice (R) Fakhruddin,” The News, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-120495-Justice-(R)-Fakhruddin
Tahir Khalil and Asim Yasin, “Fair elections to strengthen Pakistan: CEC,” The News, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-120518-Fair-elections-to-strengthen-Pakistan:-CEC
[11] “Balochistan hearing: FC given 10 days to present missing men,” Express Tribune, July 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408167/balochistan-hearing-fc-given-10-days-to-present-missing-men/
[12] “Pakistan not taking Jundal’s claims lightly: Bashir,” Geo Pakistan, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59020
“Unbelievable to accuse Pakistan over Mumbai attacks: Salman,” Daily Times, July 16, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\16\story_16-7-2012_pg1_2
[13] “PM Ashraf arrives in Saudi Arabia,” Geo Pakistan, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=58966
[14] Anthony DiPaola and Ayesha Daya, “Abu Dhabi Exports First Pipeline Oil Bypassing Hormuz Strait,” Bloomberg, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-07-15/abu-dhabi-exports-first-pipeline-oil-to-pakistani-refinery-1-.html
[15] Dera Ismail Khan, “Taliban gunmen attack Pakistan police station, four dead,” Reuters, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/16/us-pakistan-militants-idUSBRE86F0AE20120716?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed
“Bannu old city police station attacked,” Geo News, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59044
“Burqa-clad militants storm Bannu police station,” Geo News, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59064
“Ijaz Mohammed, “Taliban attack police in Pakistan, take hostages,” AP, July 16, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/taliban-attack-police-pakistan-hostages-102105411.html
[16] “Kamarkhel lashkar head dies in Tirah blast,” The News, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-120500-Kamarkhel-lashkar-head-dies-in-Tirah-blast
[17] “Bomb goes off outside hotel in Peshawar,” Dawn, July 13, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/14/bomb-goes-off-outside-hotel-in-peshawar/
“Blast outside a high school at Badaber,” Geo news, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=58921
“Stray mortar bomb kills four in Peshawar,” AFP, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=58929
“Mortar round hits soldier’s house in Pakistan, kills his wife and 3 of his children,” AP, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/mortar-round-hits-soldiers-house-in-pakistan-kills-his-wife-and-3-of-his-children/2012/07/15/gJQAvoSMmW_story.html
[18] “Instability: Four killed in another day of Quetta violence,” Express Tribune, July 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408133/instability-four-killed-in-another-day-of-quetta-violence/
“10 injured in Quetta firing,” Geo News, July 14, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=58815
“Three gunned down in Quetta,” The News, July 15, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-120531-Three-gunned-down-in-Quetta
“Balochistan unrest: PML-N leader, truck driver, settler shot dead,” Express Tribune, July 16, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408897/balochistan-unrest-pml-n-leader-truck-driver-settler-shot-dead/
[19] Fighting insurgency: Punjab clears swoop on Baloch insurgent camps,” Express Tribune, July 16, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408909/fighting-insurgency-punjab-clears-swoop-on-baloch-insurgent-camps/
[20] “Karachi violence: At least 19 killed within 24 hours,” Express Tribune, July 15, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/408638/karachi-violence-at-least-16-killed-within-24-hours/
“Six more gunned down in Karachi,” PPI, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59076
“Four rangers personnel hurt in Quaidabad,” The News, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-59021-Four-rangers-personnel-hurt-in-Quaidabad
Faranz Khan, “12kg bomb defused near Rangers’ Sachal Wing in Karachi,” Express Tribune, July 16, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/409021/12kg-bomb-defused-near-rangers-sachal-wing-in-karachi/
[21] “Cop shot dead,” The News, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-120663-Cop-shot-dead