Pakistan Security Brief - July 2, 2012

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides meet in Islamabad to discuss reopening NATO supply routes; Sources claim U.S. close to apology over Salala border incident; Pakistan reportedly allowing U.S. to use its airspace to transport lethal supplies to Afghanistan; Pentagon budget document reveals $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs as a result of continued closure of GLOCs; U.S. Drone Strikes kills eight suspected militants in North Waziristan;  Afghanistan threatens to report Pakistan to the UN Security Council over alleged ‘rocket shelling’; Pakistan expected to push India for information related to arrest and interrogation of Sayed Zabiuddin; Six militants killed in clash with Pakistani security forces in Upper Dir; Militants blow up school in Swabi district; Pakistani government issues list of areas foreigners are prohibited from visiting.  

NATO Supply Route

  • Pakistani’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides met in Islamabad on Monday to discuss reopening NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. According to a Foreign Office spokesman, the meeting led to significant progress, though no final decision was reached. At the meeting, the U.S. delegation also assured Pakistan that the U.S. would distribute the first $400 million dollar installment of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) within a week’s period. Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman was also in Islamabad on Monday to discuss the reopening of the NATO supply routes with Pakistani civilian and military officials. Speaking to Express Tribune, sources said that the technical and monetary issues related to reopening the supply lines have been resolved and though a U.S. apology over the Salala border incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November may come forth this week, it will most likely not come from “the highest ranks.” Other sources claim that a U.S. team comprised of senior members of the White House National Security staff has brought a draft proposal to Islamabad that “meets Pakistan’s demand for an apology without embarrassing” the Obama administration. Although the U.S. Department of Defense remains opposed to the proposed apology, official sources claim that the U.S. State Department is strongly supporting the proposal to accept Pakistan’s demand for an apology.[1]

  • Pakistan is reportedly secretly allowing the U.S. to use its airspace to transport lethal supplies to Afghanistan, according to official sources. The move violates Pakistan’s parliament’s resolutions which state that “Pakistan’s territory, including its airspace, shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan.” According to a credible source speaking to the Express Tribune, the defense ministry pressured the foreign office into issuing non-objection certificates (NoCs) for NATO planes to carry lethal weapons through Pakistani airspace. Foreign ministry spokesperson Moazam Ali Khan, however, denies such allegations, saying that all actions are taken in compliance with the resolution of parliament.[2]

  • Speaking jointly with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Islamabad and Washington are continuing discussions over reopening the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs) and that the two countries should work together to confront a common enemy in the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP). In reference to negotiations over reopening the NATO supply routes, Panetta noted that “there are still some tough issues to resolve.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed similar sentiments when she talked to Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf via telephone on Sunday, saying that the two countries should work together to defeat “the common enemy.”[3]

  • A Pentagon budget document called the omnibus reprogramming request sent to U.S. Congress on Friday revealed that continued closure of Pakistan’s NATO supply route is costing the Department of Defense more than $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs. In the document, the Army requested $1.7 billion from Congress for “shortfalls that resulted from increased fuel costs and continued closure of the Pakistan [GLOC]” while the Air Force asked for $369.2 million partially due to the closure of the Pakistan [GLOC].” NATO Secretary General Andres Fogh Rasmussen, on Monday, expressed hope that Pakistan would soon reopen the NATO supply route. Rasmussen emphasized the importance of the NATO-Pakistan relationship in light of the expected drawdown in the military campaign in Afghanistan by 2014.[4]

Drone Strikes

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • On Monday, Afghanistan threatened to report Pakistan to the UN Security Council over what Afghan authorities allege was “Pakistani rocket shelling” of the eastern province of Kunar in recent weeks. According to an official speaking to AFP, rockets have displaced thousands of villagers from Kunar as Pakistani security forces retaliate against Taliban militants responsible for cross-border attacks. Foreign Ministry spokesman Faramarz Tamana said Afghanistan “will refer this issue to the United Nations Security Council,” if bilateral talks between President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf fail to produce any conclusions.[6]

  • Pakistani officials claim that 60 Afghan soldiers crossed into Pakistan on Monday, sparking clashes in Upper Kurram agency that resulted in the death of two tribesmen and the injury of another, according to a senior official speaking to AFP on the condition of anonymity. Local residents added that Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers pursued attackers fleeing Shehar-e-Nau village in Pakitia province. Spokesman for army corps 203 in southeastern Afghanistan Colonel Ahmad Jan, however, denied the allegations, claiming that ANA forces had “not entered Pakistan.” Pakistan plans to issue a formal protest against Afghanistan in response to the incursion.[7]    

International Relations

  • Pakistan is expected to push India to provide details on the arrest and interrogation of Sayed Zabiuddin, the alleged handler of the ten gunmen responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Pakistani officials are specifically requesting that India provide any information related to the involvement of Indian nationals in the terror attacks. Indian investigators provided AP information gathered from Zabiuddin’s interrogation, including claims that there was a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander with Zabiuddin directing the attack from a Karachi control room and that Pakistani intelligence officials colluded with Zabiuddin to carry out the attack. India, however, has not confirmed Pakistan’s claims that their information leads to the conclusion that at least 40 Indian nationals were involved in the plot. Speaking to the Express Tribune, a Pakistani official noted that Pakistan could take “decisive action” if India provided details of the Zabiuddin investigation. The foreign secretaries of both countries are scheduled to meet in two-day talks set to begin in New Delhi on July 4.[8]

  • As required by a May 2008 agreement, Pakistan and India exchanged lists of prisoners held in each other’s custody on Sunday. The agreement requires the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hand over a list of Indian prisoners detained in Pakistani prisons to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on January 1 and July 1 every year.[9]

Militancy

Pakistan Travel Advisory

  • The Pakistani government on Sunday issued a list of areas foreigners are prohibiting from visiting. The government’s “no go” areas include Pakistani military installations near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir—where recent skirmishes between Pakistani and Indian forces have heightened bilateral tensions—as well as several districts in Balochistan, Musa Khel in Punjab, and Bannu district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.[15]         


[1] “Talks with US progressing, not yet conclusive: FO,” Dawn, July 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/02/talks-with-us-progressing-not-yet-conclusive-fo/
Naveed Akbar, “Thawing relations: ‘Nato supply routes likely to resume this week’,” Express Tribune, July 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402255/thawing-relations-nato-supply-routes-likely-to-resume-this-week/ Anwar Iqbal and Iftikhar A. Khan, “Pakistan and US near accord on Nato routes,” Dawn, July 1, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/02/american-team-holds-talks-in-islamabad-clinton-calls-raja-pakistan-and-us-near-accord-on-nato-routes/
[2] Kamran Yousaf, “Pakistan secretly permitting lethal NATO supply via air,” Express Tribune, July 1, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/401852/pakistan-secretly-permitting-lethal-nato-supply-via-air/
[3] “Toned down: US, Pakistan continue discussions on GLOCs, says Panetta,” Express Tribune, June 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/401605/toned-down-us-pakistan-continue-discussions-on-glocs-says-panetta/ “ISAF chief in Pakistan to discuss NATO supply,” Daily Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\02\story_2-7-2012_pg1_1
[4] Marcus Weisgerber, “Tab for alternate Afghan supply route hits $2.1 billion,” Military Times, July 1, 2012. Available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-06-30/afghan-supply-route-extra-costs/55948946/1 Pak-NATO cooperation important for both parties: Rasmussen,” Geo Pakistan, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=57017
[5] “Pakistan: U.S. Drone Strike Kills Eight Militants,” AP, July 1, 2012. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304211804577500063685876058.html
[6] “Kabul threatens Pakistan with Security Council,” AFP, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=57003
[7] “Afghanistan, Pakistan clash over border violence,” AFP, July 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/02/afghanistan-says-would-notify-unsc-on-pakistan-attacks/
[8] Kamran Yousaf, “Pakistan to press for details on Abu Hamza,” Express Tribune, July 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402304/pakistan-to-press-for-details-on-abu-hamza/ Nirmala George, “Mumbai Terror Suspect’s Taped Voice Comes to Life,” AP, July 2, 2012. Available at http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mumbai-terror-suspects-taped-voice-life-16692592#.T_HFsRf-8R-
[9] “Pakistan, India exchange lists of prisoners,” APP, July 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/02/pakistan-india-exchange-lists-of-prisoners/
[10] “Six militants from Afghanistan killed in Upper Dir: Officials,” AFP, July 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402394/six-militants-from-afghanistan-killed-in-upper-dir-officials/
“Taliban commander killed in Dir operation: Officials,” Express Tribune, July 1, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/401947/taliban-commander-killed-in-dir-operation-officials/
[11] Nasir Habib, “Accidental blast kills 6 militants in Pakistan,” CNN, June 30, 2012. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/30/world/asia/pakistan-ied-blast/index.html?eref=rss_asia&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed
“2 rockets fired at Badaber,” The News, July 1, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-117796-2-rockets-fired-at-Badaber
[12] “Forces kill six militants in Hangu,” The News, June 30, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-117588-Forces-kill-six-militants-in-Hangu
[13] “Militants blow up boys school in Swabi,” Geo News, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56953
[14] “Four, including PPP activist, killed in violence in metropolis,” Daily Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\02\story_2-7-2012_pg12_13
“Seven nabbed for targeted killings of MQM men, other offences,” Daily Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\02\story_2-7-2012_pg12_14
“Police smell involvement of TTP in Karachi violence,” Daily Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\02\story_2-7-2012_pg12_15
“180 fell victim to Karachi violence in June,” Daily Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\02\story_2-7-2012_pg7_11
[15] “Travel advisory: Govt issues list of ‘no go’ areas for foreigners,” Express Tribune, July 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402256/travel-advisory-govt-issues-list-of-no-go-areas-for-foreigners/