Pakistan Security Brief - July 19, 2013

Just 11 percent of Pakistanis view U.S positively; Drone strikes viewed unfavorably abroad in over 90 percent of countries surveyed; Afghanistan refuses to hand over Pakistani fugitive; Federal government requests rescheduling of presidential elections; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announces government is considering releasing a full copy of the Abbottabad Commission report to the public; Indian-administered Kashmir under curfew; Information Minister seeks answers in 2008 Mumbai bombing allegations; Gilani refuses to appear before FIA, citing immunity; Chief of LeJ “death squad” detained; Another suspect dies in police custody; New prison to be built in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; 26 militants arrested near Peshawar; IED kills 3 in Bajaur; Four shot and killed in Karachi; MQM leaders return to Pakistan after visit to London;  New Energy Minister pledges to solve energy crisis within 3 years; Abbottabad Commission may be released to public, announces Information Minister.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Pew Research Center survey released on Thursday, only 11 percent of Pakistanis view the United States favorably. The poll compared popularity between the United States and China throughout 39 different countries. While the United States enjoyed a higher overall global popularity rating, at 63 percent versus 50 percent for China, the United States ranked lower in the Islamic world. China was viewed with 81 percent favorability in Pakistan.[1] 

  • Another Pew Research Center survey released on Thursday focusing on drone strikes indicates that American strikes abroad, particularly in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia are supported in just 3 of the 39 countries surveyed: Kenya, the United States and Israel.[2]

Afghan-Pakistan Relations

  • A senior official confirmed on Friday that Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz will visit Kabul on Sunday to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a discussion about the stalled Afghan peace process.[3]

  • According to a Friday The News report, Afghanistan refuses to cooperate with Islamabad police authorities in handing over Roohullah, a fugitive who escaped from Pakistan after being convicted in the murder of former Attorney General of Pakistan, Mohammad Sardar Khan. Islamabad police claim to have concrete evidence that Rohalluh is in Afghanistan, but Afghan officials deny his presence.[4]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • According to a The News report on Thursday, Information Minister Parvez Rasheed is seeking an explanation from India over a recent statement from a former Indian Central Bureau of Investigation official, alleging that India's incumbent government planned and carried out the 2008 Mumbai bombings as a method of strengthening its counter-terrorism legislation.[5]

U.A.E.-Pakistan Relations

  • United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan revealed on Friday that the UAE will distribute 2,400 tons of food to refugees in the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[6]

Altaf Hussain Investigation

  • According to a Friday Express Tribune report, leaders of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), including Senator Farogh Naseem and Dr Farooq Sattar are returning home to Pakistan after visiting MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London. Hussain had been under investigation for his connection in the murder of former MQM leader Dr. Imran Farooq, but according to the leaders, “everything is fine there,” and reports of convtroversy are merely “heresay.”[7]

Domestic

  • In an interview with Geo News on Thursday, Information Minister Parvez Rasheed announced that the government is considering releasing the entire Abbottabad Commission report to the public. On July 8, al Jazeera leaked a partial 337 page copy of the report.[8]

  • Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani refuses to appear before the National Accountability Bureau or the Federal Investigation Agency to answer for his alleged connection to the lucrative “Ogra” scam that took place during his incumbency. Gilani has cited his immunity from proceedings as a former prime minister.[9]

Energy Crisis

  • Pakistan's newly appointed minister for water and power  Khawaja Asif has promised to solve Pakistan's energy problems within three years by initially paying off Pakistan's circular debt in its energy sector worth $5 billion, and reducing energy subsidies and raising tariffs. In the long term, by reducing oil imports through its recently planned wind power plants with China, solar energy and increased natural gas imports, Pakistan will end load-shedding once and for all, Asif declared.[10]

Kashmir

  • Following a violent confrontation between civilians and security forces yesterday, major towns in Indian-administered Kashmir are under curfew.  The protest began after allegations that Indian security officials entered a mosque and beat a cleric. Indian security officials then opened fire on an angry crowd that had swarmed the Border Security Force camp in Ramban district, killing four and injuring at least 40 others.  In response, separatist groups have launched a three-day strike throughout the Kashmir Valley.[11]

Presidential Elections

  • The Ministry of Law requested on Friday that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reschedule the August 6 presidential election because it anticipates scheduling conflicts with the end of Ramadan.  The ECP will likely issue a decision tomorrow.[12]

  • The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) met in Islamabad on Friday to consider nominations for the forthcoming presidential election.  A shortlist of the party’s potential nominees includesPML-N leaders Sartaj Aziz, Ghaus Ali Shah, Mamnoon Hussain, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and Justice (retd) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui.[13]

Militancy

  • The Intelligence Bureau (IB) informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s (LeJ) alleged “death squad” leader, Masoom Billa, had been detained.  No additional information regarding the location or circumstances of his capture was immediately available, but officials have revealed he was detained after a period of extended surveillance.  The IB indicated Billa provided information to facilitate the June 26 attack against Sindh High Court Justice Maqbool Baqar.[14]

  • According to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday, new plans for a new high-security prison in the province have been made. In a meeting with the Khyber-Pakhtunkwha Inspector General of Prisons, Khattak also received an overview of the number of prisoners incarcerated, as well as the existing conditions in the jails.[15]

  • 26 suspected militants were arrested in a search operation in Mattani, Zakhel, Adezai and Ghaziabad villages near Peshawar on Thursday. Security officials also found five assault rifles and three pistols in the search.[16]

  • A roadside improvised explosive device (IED) exploded on Thursday, killing three civilians and injuring three others in Badan, Bajaur agency.[17] 

  • Gunmen opened fire on a security patrol in the Amanata area of Mamund sub-district, Bajaur agency, on Thursday.  Two security personnel died and three others were injured in the attack.  Security forces subsequently detained 18 suspects.[18]

  • An IED blast injured one civilian in the Umaray area of Mamund sub-district, Bajaur agency, on Thursday.[19]

  • A roadside IED blast on Friday in the Akakhel area of Bara sub-district, Khyber agency, killed two members of a Frontier Constabulary patrol.[20]

  • On Friday, military helicopters fired upon militant hideouts in the Akakhel area of Bara sub-district, Khyber agency; the attack killed at least six suspected militants and injured five more.[21]

  • Four people were killed in separate firing incidents in Karachi on Thursday. A member of the Tablighi Jamaat organization was shot and killed in Nazimabad, while a man was found dead in Chakiwara on Thursday morning. Another man was shot dead near Mubarak Mosque, while the fourth was killed in Pirabad.[22]

  • According to an Express News report on Friday, another prisoner has died in police custody in Karachi,  The suspect, Bilal, who was accused of attacking Rangers personnel two days ago, was detained on July 17. He apparently expired from injuries sustained during interrogation.  However, police officials claim he suffered a heart attack and died en route to the hospital.  A suspected assassin in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) died under similar circumstances on July 14.[23]

  • One man was injured during an IED  attack by unidentified assailants in Arambagh, Sindh province, on Friday morning.[24]

 


[1]“Pakistanis increasingly view China as positive over the US,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/579055/pakistanis-increasingly-view-china-as-postive-over-us/?print=true
[2]“Drones increasingly opposed: Poll,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/579054/drones-increasingly-opposed-poll/
“Drone Strikes Unpopular Across Globe, US Survey Says,” Dawn, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1030154/drone-strikes-unpopular-across-globe-says-us-survey
[3]“Sartaj Aziz to Meet Karzai on July 21,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579119/sartaz-aziz-to-meet-karzai-on-july-21/
[4]“Murder of AG under Afghan security,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24224-Murderer-of-AG-under-Afghan-security
[5]“Pakistan seeks explanation from India over ex CBI official's statement,” The News, July 18, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109953-Pak-seeks-explanation-from-India-over-former-CBI-officials-statement-
[6]“UAE to Distribute $1.5 Million Food Among Families of Jalozai Camp,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579128/uae-to-distribute-1-5-million-food-among-families-of-jalozai-camp/
[7]“Tensions subside: MQM leaders making their way back from UK,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578780/tensions-subside-mqm-leaders-making-their-way-back-from-uk/?print=true
[8]  “Pakistan seeks explanation from India over ex CBI official's statement,” The News, July 18, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109953-Pak-seeks-explanation-from-India-over-former-CBI-officials-statement-
[9]“Former PM Gilani refuses to appear before NAB, FIA,” The News, July 18, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109940-Former-PM-Gilani-refuses-to-appear-before-NAB-
[10]  “New energy minister vows to end load-shedding,” Dawn, July 19, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1030057/new-energy-minister-vows-to-end-loadshedding-in-three-years
[11]“Indian Kashmir Shut Down by Curfew and Strike,” BBC, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-23370980
[12]“ECP Requested to Reschedule Presidential Elections in Light of Ramazan,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579123/ecp-requested-to-reschedule-presidential-elections-in-light-of-ramazan/
[13]“Six PML-N Nominees Shortlisted for Presidential Elections,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110078-PML-N-shortlists-six-nominees-for-presidential-election--
[14] “Chief of LeJ Death Squad Arrested, PM Told,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110072-Chief-of-LJ-death-squad-arrested,-PM-told
[15] “Detention facility: 'High security prison to be built in K-P,” Express Tribune, July 18, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578768/detention-facility-high-security-prison-to-be-built-in-k-p/
[16]Riaz Ahmad, “Search operation: 26 arrested in crackdown,” Express Tribune, July 18, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578664/search-operation-26-arrested-in-mattani-crackdown/?print=true
[17]“IED blast in Bajaur Agency kills 3,” Express Tribune, July 18, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578707/ied-blast-in-bajaur-agency-kills-3/?print=true
“Two Soldiers Among Five Killed in Bajaur Blast, Firing,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24213-Two-soldiers-among-five-killed-in-Bajaur-blast,-firing
[18]“Two Soldiers Among Five Killed in Bajaur Blast, Firing,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24213-Two-soldiers-among-five-killed-in-Bajaur-blast,-firing
[19]“Two Soldiers Among Five Killed in Bajaur Blast, Firing,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24213-Two-soldiers-among-five-killed-in-Bajaur-blast,-firing
[20]  Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Blast Kills Two FC Personnel in Khyber Agency,” Dawn, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1030213/blast-kills-two-fc-personnel-in-khyber-agency
[21]“Army Helicopters Strike Suspected Militants Hideouts in Khyber Region,” Dawn, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1030347/army-helicopters-strike-suspected-militants-hideouts-in-khyber-region
“6 Militants Killed in Khyber Agency Operation,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579185/6-militants-killed-in-khyber-agency-operation/
[22]“Religious preacher among four killed,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/578664/search-operation-26-arrested-in-mattani-crackdown/?print=true
[23]“Another Prisoner Dies in Karachi Police Custody,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579125/another-prisoner-dies-in-karachi-police-custody/
“Karachi: Man Killed Due to Alleged Torture by Rangers,” The News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110074-Man-killed-due-to-alleged-torture-by-Rangers-
[24]“Karachi Cracker Attack Injures One,” Geo News, July 19, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-110041-Karachi-cracker-attack-injures-one