Pakistan Security Brief - July 17, 2012

Jamaat-e-Islami protestors march to protest supply route reopening; Second convoy of trucks reaches Chaman border crossing into Afghanistan; Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner challenged in Pakistani Supreme Court; Pakistan’s budget deficit reaches eight percent of total economy; Former Ambassador Hussain Haqqani requests exemption from appearing before Supreme Court for memo hearing; Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz meet to discuss “issues of bilateral interests;” Anti Terrorism Court rejects findings of joint commission investigating 2008 Mumbai terror attack; Gunmen fire on World Health Organization vehicle in Karachi; Police in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa foil terrorist attack.   

NATO Supply Routes

  • On Tuesday, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) political party led thousands of Pakistani activists in a march from Peshawar to Jamrud, close to the Afghan border. According to party leaders, 50,000 people were expected to join the march, which serves as a protest of the Pakistani government’s decision to reopen NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. However, only 8,000 people had shown up to Peshawar by late Monday night, according to local witnesses. JI chief Munawwarul Hassan, the leader of the demonstrations, characterized the U.S. as an enemy of Islam and called upon the people to support the JI in upcoming elections. Speaking to AFP in Peshawar on Tuesday, activists called the government’s decision to reopen the border without a formal U.S. apology “treason.”[1] 

  • A second convoy of trucks carrying supplies for NATO forces travelled from Karachi to Chaman, Balochistan on Monday. The 18 trucks, travelling under the security of special squads of Frontier Corps (FC) and Levies Forces, will travel to Kandahar after Pakistani Customs officials clear the appropriate documents.  Thousands of oil tankers carrying oil to NATO forces in Afghanistan still remained stranded in Karachi on Tuesday due to delays in setting up security check posts. In addition, the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association (APOTOA) is demanding to pay off the previous amount of oil before the oil tankers can move towards the Afghan border. Only a few trucks have crossed into Afghanistan since the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs) were reopened and many trucks remain stalled due to a dispute over the payment of damages for containers blockaded during the closure. Officials in Karachi expect the dispute to be resolved this week.[2]

Domestic Politics

  • The Parliamentary Committee on National Security is likely to complete its recommendations to address the rising number of missing persons in Balochistan by Wednesday. The recommendations will reportedly provide guidelines for security and intelligence officials who have been blamed for abducting people accused of engaging in anti-state activities without holding proper trials. On Monday, Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan said there would be no compromise on the missing persons issue and called the unlawful detention of Pakistani citizens “a violation of fundamental rights.”[3]

  • Shahid Orakzai, a Pakistani citizen, filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the nomination and appointment of Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim as Chief Election Commissioner. Orakzai argued that the appointment was unconstitutional because “any person who held an executive office under the Constitution cannot be a judge in another season.” The petitioner also questioned whether President Zardari’s appointment of a former judge of the Supreme Court who is more than sixty-eight years of age may have violated the Constitution.[4]

  • Pakistan’s budget deficit has reached eight percent of its total economy at $17.78 billion, over double the government’s original target of four percent, or $8.99 billion. Economic managers in Pakistan, however, insist that the money Pakistan is set to receive under the U.S.-sponsored Coalition Support Fund (CSF), coupled with revenues generated from auctioning of telecommunications services, will ease budgetary pressures.[5]

  • President Asif Ali Zardari is meeting with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders at the President’s House on Tuesday night to discuss strategies for the upcoming general elections and the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) implementation case being heard by the Supreme Court.[6]

Memogate

  • Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani filed an application through his legal counsel on Tuesday requesting exemption from appearing before the Pakistani apex court hearing the “memogate” case. Haqqani, who allegedly wrote a memo requesting U.S. assistance to prevent a possible military coup, said he could not return to Pakistan due to threats to his life from opposition and extremist circles in Pakistan and illness for which he is reportedly undergoing medical treatment abroad. On July 12, the Pakistani Supreme Court had provided Haqqani’s legal counsel three days’ time to file the application for exemption.[7]

International Relations

  • On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz met in Saudi Arabia to discuss “issues of bilateral interests.” Prime Minister Ashraf briefed King Abdullah about Pakistan’s efforts to ensure a peaceful withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan and offered his prayers for the late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz. Prime Minister Ashraf’s comments came as former JI chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad told reporters after a national conference that the Pakistani government needs to cooperate with the U.S. to ensure a peaceful withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014. [8]

  • On Tuesday, an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi led by Chaudhry Habibur Rehman rejected the findings of a joint commission comprised of the Pakistani judicial commission and their Indian counterparts tasked with investigating the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The nine-member Pakistani judicial commission had based its findings on interviews with Indian police officials involved in the investigation of the attack and doctors who conducted autopsies of those killed during the operation. Judge Rehman’s ruling revolved around the commission’s interviewing of four key witnesses, who the defendants did not have the opportunity to cross-examine, throwing the legitimacy of the evidence into question. The ATC ruling urged the governments of Pakistan and India to form a new agreement for investigating the attack.[9]

Militancy

 


[1] “Anti-Nato Pakistanis march on Afghan border,” AFP, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/17/anti-nato-pakistanis-march-on-afghan-border/
Sidrah Moiz Khan, “NATO supplies: Protestors march towards Afghan border,” AFP, July 17, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/409431/difa-e-pakistan-protesters-march-towards-afghan-border/
[2] “Second NATO supply caravan reaches Chaman,” Daily Times, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\17\story_17-7-2012_pg7_6
“NATO oil supply delayed from Karachi,” The News, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-59198-NATO-oil-supply-delayed-from-Karachi
[3] “Missing persons issue: Parliamentary body to finalise recommendations tomorrow,” Daily Times, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\17\story_17-7-2012_pg7_2
Akhtar Amin, “No compromise on cases of missing persons: Peshawar High Court,” The News, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-16120-No-compromise-on-cases-of-missing-persons:-Peshawar-High-Court
[4] “Fakhruddin’s appointment as CEC challenged in Supreme Court,” The News, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-16129-Fakhruddin''s-appointment-as-CEC-challenged-in-Supreme-Court
[5] Shahbaz Rana, “Fiscal deficit reaches whopping Rs1.68 trillion,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/409308/fiscal-deficit-reaches-whopping-rs1-68-trillion/
[6] “Zardari summons party meeting tonight,” Dawn, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/17/zardari-summons-party-meeting-tonight/
[7] “Haqqani’s application for exemption from court appearances filed,” Dawn, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/17/haqqanis-application-for-exemption-from-court-appearances-filed/
“Memo case hearing: Haqqani seeks exemption from physical presence,” Daily Times, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\17\story_17-7-2012_pg7_14
[8] “Pakistan working towards Afghan transition: PM,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/409349/pakistan-working-towards-afghan-transition-pm/
“Qazi Hussain asks govt to help US withdraw from Afghanistan,” The News, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-16135-Qazi-Hussain-asks-govt-to-help-US-withdraw-from-Afghanistan
[9] “Mumbai attacks: ATC rejects judicial report,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/409423/mumbai-attacks-atc-ii-rejects-judicial-report-as-unlawful/
[10] “UN doctor, driver shot in Karachi: officials,” AFP, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/17/two-hurt-in-un-vehicle-shooting-in-karachi/
“ANP worker among two gunner down in Karachi,” PPI, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59254
“Six fall prey to violent incidents in metropolis,” Daily Times, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\17\story_17-7-2012_pg12_9
“At least five killed, TTP member arrested in Karachi,” Dawn, July 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/17/at-least-five-killed-ttp-member-arrested-in-karachi/
[11] “Four killed, one injured in Balochistan,” Daily Times, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\17\story_17-7-2012_pg7_3
“Foreign hand in Balochistan unrest: PM,” Geo News, July 17, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59268
[12] “Terrorism attempt foiled in Hangu,” Geo News, July 16, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=59079