Pakistan Security Brief - July 17, 2013

UN sees no TTP presence in Syria, intelligence officials agree; Pakistan, U.S. to resume negotiations on Bilateral Investment Treaty; Taliban Commander writes letter to Malala Yousafzai; Supreme Court refuses drone attack petition; U.S. Department of State says U.S. not broaching subject of civilian nuclear energy with Pakistan; TTP increases high profile extortion attempts; Iran, Pakistan trade wheat and energy; Mastermind of June 26 Maqbool bombing captured; Pervez Musharraf’s daughter receiving death threats; British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrives in Pakistan; Qatar to export LNG to Pakistan; Sindh government to draft legislation protecting minority rights; 5 killed in Karachi; MQM claims law enforcement incompetence leads to Karachi violence; Prisoner swap between LeJ, police occurs; Peshawar Sub-Inspector killed; Courts hear petition against YouTube ban.

Pakistani Taliban in Syria

  • According to a Voice of America report on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Interior Minister claimed that Pakistani intelligence and police officials have not confirmed a discernible movement of Pakistani militants from Pakistan to Syria. Similarly, a Taliban commander on Tuesday also claimed that Taliban militants have not been moving across the border or setting up bases in Syria, but rather, attributed rumors of TTP involvement to the movement of Arabs and Central Asians traveling to Syria to fight Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The UN has also cast doubts on TTP involvement, noting that it has no knowledge of any influx of Pakistani militants. However, the UN did admit that it does not have “a proper mechanism” for discerning the entrance of fighters to Syria.[1]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Following a meeting on Tuesday with senior U.S. officials and President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Elizabeth Littlefield, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that Pakistan and the United States would resume negotiations on U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).  Negotiations, ongoing since 2005, stalled last year due to doubts about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear programs if they became subject to foreign investment. In a joint conference with Littlefield yesterday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that Pakistan’s energy sector needed foreign investment.  Littlefield confirmed the U.S. intends to increase investment and cooperation with Pakistan on matters of wind and bio-gas energy.  Dar also claimed that he and Littlefield had discussed the possibility of reviving discussion on Civil Nuclear Technology cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan. According to an article in the Business Recorder, Littlefield also claimed that U.S.  companies are prepared to invest $1 billion in Pakistani energy and education, but said that security in Pakistan remains a major question for such companies.[2]

  •  During his daily press briefing yesterday, U.S. Department of State spokesman Patrick Ventrell denied suggestions that the State Department has discussed civilian nuclear technology with the government of Pakistan as a means to resolve Pakistan’s energy deficit.  When asked about the developing energy trade relationship between India and Pakistan in response to Pakistan's power crisis, Ventrell commended anything that would improve their bilateral relations.[3]

 Militancy

  • The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has increased its extortion attempts from prominent members of Pakistani society, according to a Wednesday The News report. In letters, alleged TTP finance wing leader Gohar Ali Agha has demanded as much as $10 million reportedly from a current Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa minister, a former federal minister and a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.[4]    

  • On Wednesday, the police arrested Bashir Leghari, the alleged mastermind of the June 26 bomb attack targeting Sindh High Court Justice Maqbool Baqar, along with two of his accomplices in Sirjani town, Karachi. While the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack, Leghari is reportedly a member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.[5]

  • Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed claimed on Tuesday that Pakistan has forgotten the obligation of Jihad, citing the recent IMF bailout, as well as energy relations with India as evidence.[6] 

  • On Tuesday, just days after Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly advocating childhood education, Taliban leader Adnan Rashid wrote her a letter claiming the Taliban did not target Yousafzai because of her interest in education, but rather for allegedly slandering the Taliban. He advised Malala to pursue Islamic studies at a madrassa near her hometown.  Malala attained international notoriety last October after Taliban militants shot her in the head to silence her campaign for women’s education.  Rashid, who has been convicted for his involvement in an assassination plot against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, escaped from Bannu Prison in April 2012.[7]

  •  Pervez Musharraf’s daughter, Ayla Musharraf, is reportedly receiving death threats in Karachi, according to the Home Department in Sindh. Rangers personnel have been requested to guard Ayla Musharraf.[8]

  • In Karachi on Tuesday, police managed to arrest a prisoner who had escaped from court by slipping out of his bonds and climbing the court walls earlier that day.[9]   

  • Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah authorized a committee last week to restore peace in the Lyari neighborhood of Karachi. In a report released on Wednesday, the committee asserts violence has recently increased because “outside militant groups with political backing” have attempted to move into the area.  Although Dawn claims to have a copy of the report, no further details were available regarding the identity of the militants or their alleged political affiliation.[10]

  •  Five people were killed on Tuesday in Karachi in various incidents. An MQM supporter was shot and killed in Orangi Town, while a painter was killed near Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. A man’s body was found near Bhittaiabad, a man was shot in Sohrab Goth, and another was killed in Mohajir Camp.[11]

  • Rangers personnel shot and killed another man on Tuesday in Karachi for failing to stop his car when ordered. Following the incident, protests emerged near Gulistan-e-Jauhar police station.[12]

  • The Muttahida Quami Movement claimed that incompetence in the government and in law enforcement agencies has led to the killing of 1,726 people in Karachi over the last six months.[13] 

  • Six suspects wanted for target killings in Karachi were arrested throughout the city on Tuesday. According to The News, three of the suspects have been involved in the murder of PPP activists; several weapons were recovered from the suspects.[14]

  • On Tuesday, the police released three Lashkar-e-Jhangvi  and Jaish-e-Mohammad militants in Lahore in exchange for the release of eight policemen held hostage by Chotu Mazari, a militant commander who operates in the Kacha and Indus Islands area. Several of the militants were reportedly active in Muzaffargarh, Punjab and Bahawalpur , Punjab. The police were taken hostage on Saturday, after being captured while taking part in operations near the Indus Islands.[15]

  • Gunmen continued to target Peshawar policemen on Tuesday, as a Sub-Inspector of Khan Raziq police station near Qissa Khwani Bazaar was shot and killed by two unknown gunmen.  The former assistant director of the Intelligence Bureau was also shot near Qissa Khwani Bazaar on July 12.[16]  

  • A suspected terrorist was arrested in Hassan Garhi, Peshawar on Wednesday during a raid by police. Officials also found four suicide vests, 50 grenades, and other explosives.[17]

  • A bomb attached to a bus in Peshawar detonated on Wednesday, damaging the bus but wounding no one. The bomb used in the blast was reportedly a crude, home-made improvised explosive device.[18]

  • An explosion rocked a house in Scheme Chowk, Peshawar on Wednesday. No casualties have been reported in the incident.[19]

  • As part of its proposed security reforms, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government is planning to include a specialized intelligence wing in every district in the province, according to a Wednesday The News report.[20]

  •   In two separate operations, five people were killed in Abdullah and Naseerabad district, Balochistan on Wednesday. During a raid against kidnappers in Abdullah district, one criminal was killed, and a Levies man was shot and killed. In Naseerabad, Levies personnel discovered criminals robbing a passenger van and opened fire, killing two criminals. A Levies man was also shot and killed.[21]

  • An explosive planted in a gas pipeline in Bolan Pass, Balochistan detonated on Tuesday, damaging the pipeline and disrupting the supply of gas to Quetta.[22]   

  • An unnamed militant was detained on Tuesday after placing an IED at a customs checkpoint near Chaman, Balochistan province. Citizens who witnessed the militant abandon the IED alerted law enforcement, who captured the suspect and defused the bomb.[23]

  •  In Islamabad on Wednesday, police arrested 39 suspects and recovered three pistols in search operations throughout the city.[24]  

U.K.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived in Pakistan for a two-day visit. According to an anonymous official, British officials are seeking to break the deadlock in the Afghan peace process.  Separately, Hague will likely brief Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on the status of the London Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation into Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and former MQM leader Imran Farooq’s murder.[25]

  • During a meeting on Wednesday with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the government of Pakistan wanted to increase trade with Britain to $5 billion within the next three years.[26]

Iran-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Wednesday Bloomberg report, Iran has agreed to import $9 million worth of wheat and rice from Pakistan as partial payment for electricity it has already sold to Pakistan, which Pakistan sorely needs in light of its ongoing energy crisis. According to Iran’s state-run media, Mehr, Iran has supplied $51 million worth of electricity but has not been able to secure reimbursement from Pakistan due to international sanctions regimes “restricting its financial transactions.”[27]

Sino-Pak Relations

  • Punjab province’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif promised yesterday to implement the economic agreements signed during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China earlier this month as swiftly as possible.  In a telephone call with Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, Sharif pledged to ensure the security of Chinese investors in the region.[28]

Qatar-Pakistan Relations

  • The government of Qatar has declined to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Karachi, but will instead export 500 million cubic feet of LNG to Pakistan in an exclusive government-to-government deal.  The announcement follows a decision earlier this month by Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee to prioritize stalled LNG negotiations with Qatar in order to improve the energy situation.[29]

Presidential Elections

Domestic

  • Sindh Law Minister Dr. Sikandar Mandhro announced on Tuesday that the Sindh Assembly would form a committee of political leaders, human rights activities, and legal experts to draft legislation protecting the legal status and religious freedoms of minorities in the province.  Minority party leaders specifically noted the lack of legal protections for non-Islamic marriages, and the absence of justice for those who are forced to convert to Islam after being violently threatened.[31]

  • On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a petition filed against the legality of U.S. drone strikes within Pakistan on the grounds that the strikes occur in the FATA, which falls outside the Court’s jurisdiction.[32]

  •  On Tuesday, during hearings of a petition challenging the ban on YouTube, the Ministry of Information and Technology and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority informed the Lahore High Court that software does not exist to block all offensive content available on the internet.  Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan opined that the judiciary would not permit the reinstatement of YouTube unless Google or the government managed to block access to blasphemous material.  The government of Pakistan banned access to YouTube throughout Pakistan in September 2012 in reaction to the debut of a trailer for the highly controversial Innocence of Muslims film.[33]           


 
[1]“Pakistani Taliban say no shift to Syria,” Fox News, July 16, 2013. Available at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/16/pakistan-taliban-say-no-shift-to-syria/  
“Pakistan Denies Local Taliban Has Sent Hundreds of Fighters to Syria,” Voice of America, July 16, 2013. Available at http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-denies-local-taliban-has-sent-hundreds-of-fighters-to-syria/1703049.html
“UN has no confirmation about Pakistani Taliban joining Syrian Rebels,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24174-UN-has-no-confirmation-about-Pakistani-Taliban-joining-Syrian-rebels
[2]Shahbaz Rana, “Pakistan, US to Resume Investment Treaty Talks,” The Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/578004/pakistan-us-to-resume-investment-treaty-talks/
Zaheer Abbasi, “US companies ready to invest $1 billion: OPIC,” Business Recorder, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.brecorder.com/top-stories/0/1212051/  
[3]Patrick Ventrell, “Daily Press Briefing – July 16, 2013,” U.S. Department of State, July 16, 2013. Available at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2013/07/212040.htm
[4] “Terrorist network busy extorting,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-190436-Terrorist-network-busy-extorting-money
[5] “Mastermind of bomb attack on SHC judge arrested: police,” Dawn, July 27, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1029651/mastermind-of-bomb-attack-on-shc-judge-arrested-police
[6]“Jihad given up due to IMF loans, says JuD chief,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-190428-Jihad-given-up-due-to-IMF-loans,-says-JuD-chief
[7] “Senior Pakistani Taliban Leader 'Shocked' by Malala Attack,” BBC, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23347425
Robert Mackey, “A Taliban Commander Writes to Malala Yousafzai,” The New York Times, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/17/a-taliban-commander-writes-to-malala-yousafzai/
Tahir Khan, “Taliban Leader ‘Advises’ Malala to Return, Join Madrassa,” The Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/578128/taliban-leader-advises-malala-to-return-join-madrassa/
[8] “Musharraf’s daughter target for terrorists: Sindh Home Department,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578113/musharrafs-daughter-target-for-terrorists-sindh-home-department/ 
[9]“Police re-arrest escaped prisoner in Karachi,” Express Tribune, July 16, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/577720/police-re-arrest-escaped-under-trial-prisoner-in-karachi/  
“Another suspect escapes from court,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-190452-Another-suspect-escapes-from-court
[10]Asif Mehmood, “Report Sees External Militant Groups Behind Recent Lyari Violence,” Dawn, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1029473/report-sees-external-militant-groups-behind-recent-lyari-violence
[11]“MQM supported among five shot dead,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-190453-MQM-supporter-among-five-shot-dead
[12]“Man shot dead by Rangers for allegedly failing to stop car,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/577842/man-shot-dead-by-rangers-for-allegedly-failing-to-stop-car/ 
[13]“MQM attributes 1, 726 killings in city to LEAs’ incompetence,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-190462-MQM-attributes-1,726-killings-in-city-to-LEAs-incompetence
[14]“Six suspects were detained by Rangers in raids,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-190457-Six-suspects-were-detained-by-Rangers-in-raids 
“Three ‘target killers’ among six arrested,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-190456-Three-target-killers-among-six-arrested
[15]Abdul Manan, “Hostage swap: Three Lashkar-e-Jhangvi men released for 8 police officials,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/577850/hostage-swap-three-lashkar-i-jhangvi-men-released-for-8-police-officials/   
Abdul Manan, “Taken hostage: Influential locals told to trace Chotu Mazari,” Express Tribune, July 13, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/576362/taken-hostage-influential-locals-told-to-trace-chotu-mazari-gang/
[16] “Targeted: Sub-inspector gunned down in Qissa Khwani bazaar,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/577817/targeted-sub-inspector-gunned-down-in-qissa-khwani-bazaar/ 
[17] “Police arrest suspected terrorist from Peshawar,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578071/police-arrest-suspected-terrorist-from-peshawar/ 
[18] “Blast in bus near Peshawar, no casualties reported,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578116/blast-in-bus-near-peshawar-no-casualties-reported/  
“Blast in bus near Peshawar; explosives seized in raid,” Dawn, July 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1029705/blasts-in-peshawar-explosives-recovered-during-raid
[19] “Peshawar: Explosion in a house near Scheme Chowk,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109756-Peshawar%3a-Explosion-in-a-house-near-Scheme-Chowk
[20]Javed Aziz Khan, “KP Police to have intelligence wing,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-190496-KP-Police-to-have-intelligence-wing
[21]Syed Ali Shah, “Five including two security personnel killed in Balochistan,” Dawn, July 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1029701/five-including-two-security-personnel-killed-in-balochistan
[22] “Criminal act: Gas pipeline blown up in Machh,” Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578015/criminal-act-gas-pipeline-blown-up-in-machh/ 
[23]“Terrorist Planting Explosive Material in Chaman Arrested,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24182-Terrorist-planting-explosive-material-in-Chaman-arrested
[24]“Islamabad police arrest 39 suspects in search operation,” Dawn, July 17, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1029700/islamabad-police-arrests-39-suspects-in-search-operation
[25]“UK Foreign Secretary William Hague Arrives in Pakistan,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109760-UK-Foreign-Secretary-William-Hague-arrives-in-Pakistan
“UK Foreign Secretary: William Hague Arrives Today,” The Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/577994/uk-foreign-secretary-william-hague-arrives-today/
[26]“Pakistan Wants to Increase Trade with Britain to $5 Billion: Aziz,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109785-Pak-wants-to-increase-trade-with-Britain-to-$-5-billion%3a-Aziz-
[27] Ladane Nasseri, “Iran does $9 million Barter with Pakistan on Power, Wheat,” Bloomberg, July 17, 2013. Available at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-17/iran-does-9-million-barter-with-pakistan-on-power-wheat.html
[28] “Shahbaz Pledges Security to Chinese Investors, Experts,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-190430-Shahbaz-pledges-security-to-Chinese-investors,-experts
[29]Khalid Mustafa, “Qatar Agrees to Export LNG to Pakistan,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-190434-Qatar-agrees-to-export-LNG-to-Pakistan
Zafar Bhutta, “LNG Import: Pakistan to Resume Stalled Talks with Qatar,” The Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/571530/lng-import-pakistan-to-resume-stalled-talks-with-qatar/
[30]“Presidential Election: ECP Starts Issuing Nomination Papers,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109742-Presidential-election%3a-ECP-starts-issuing-nomination-papers-
[31]“Protecting Minorities: Law in The Making to Curb Forced Conversions,” The Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/577659/protecting-minorities-law-in-the-making-to-curb-forced-conversions/
[32]Malik Asad, “Drone Attacks: SC Refuses to Admit Petition,” Dawn, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1029561/drone-attacks-sc-refuses-to-admit-petition
[33]Rana Tanveer, “YouTube Ban: ‘IT Ministry, PTA Can’t Block All Bad Content,’” The Express Tribune, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/577796/youtube-ban-it-ministry-pta-cant-block-all-bad-content/
Akhtar Amin, “PHC CJ Asks Why Blasphemous URLs Cannot be Blocked,” The News, July 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-190495-PHC-CJ-asks-why-blasphemous-URLs-cannot-be-blocked
“Timeline: Protests over Anti-Islam Video,” Al Jazeera, September 21, 2012.  Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/201291720158465768.html