Pakistan Security Brief - July 22, 2013

U.S. proposes prisoner swap agreement for return of Dr. Aafia Siddiqi; Foreign Office dissuades Prime Minister from requesting drone technology; NSA reportedly using phone signals to target drone attacks; Afghan President Hamid Karzai tentatively accepts invitations to Islamabad; 23 militants, six soldiers killed in Khyber agency; IED targeting Metropolitan Commissioner explodes; All Parties Conference to occur when Imran Khan returns; 7 killed on Af-Pak border; 40 government employees on  Anti-Terrorism watch list; 20 militants seen moving across border to Pakistan; Two oil tankers destroyed in Balochistan; Sectarian violence kills two in Quetta; JCOS Chairman General Martin Dempsey claims Pakistan is vital partner against al Qaeda; Presidential election to take place on August 6; PML-N  names three presidential candidates; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will reveal new energy policy tomorrow; FC member caught handing phone to prisoner; Three LeJ members killed in explosion; ANP office attacked, killing two; Body found in gunny bag in Karachi; Arms cache recovered in Hangu; Names of all secret detainees to be released

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Sunday Washington Post report, the National Security Agency is using cell phone signals as a means to locate targets for U.S. drone attacks. A spokesman for the NSA stated, “This information helps the agency determine where adversaries are located, what they’re planning, when they’re planning to carry it out, with whom they’re working, and the kinds of weapons they’re using.”[1]

  • In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committeee last Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed Pakistan’s role in disrupting and defeating al Qaeda, claiming that Pakistan’s cooperation is critical in eliminating safe havens for the network. Furthermore, Dempsey also noted that the U.S. must encourage stability in Pakistan, in order to prevent possible nuclear proliferation from within Pakistan.[2] 

  • As of Monday, the Foreign Ministry has requested Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif refrain from formally requesting drone technology from the U.S. during the forthcoming visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Unnamed Foreign Ministry officials expressed concern that such a request would undermine the legitimacy of Pakistan’s claim that strikes against suspected militants without due process are illegal and unjust.[3]

  • According to a report in The News, the U.S. has offered to extradite al Qaeda facilitator Dr. Aafia Siddiqi if Pakistan agrees to sign either the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons or the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad.  The U.S. is allegedly seeking a prisoner swap to release Dr. Shakil Afridi, who achieved notoriety for his role in the U.S. operation targeting Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.  A task force authorized by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to review the agreement has announced the government will sign both conventions; the paperwork is awaiting the Prime Minister’s approval.  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Dr. Shireen Mazari has voiced concern that the U.S. expects Siddiqi to serve the remainder of her prison sentence in Pakistan; no such conditions have been set for Afridi.  In 2010, Siddiqi was convicted on murder and assault charges; she is currently serving an 86-year sentence in the U.S.[4]

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accepted Pakistan’s invitation to visit Islamabad “on principle” but is adamant that security issues and counterterrorism efforts top the agenda, and refuses to send a high-level delegation to Pakistan until discussion topics are finalized.  His remarks are the latest accusations suggesting the government of Pakistan controls the Taliban and other militant groups within Afghanistan, and thus is insincere when it claims to desire peace and stability.[5]

  •  During a visit to Kabul and meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz announced  that Pakistan wants better diplomatic relations with Afghanistan; Sartaj extended a formal invitation for Karzai to visit Islamabad.   Separately, after meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul, Aziz reiterated that Pakistan desires peace and stability in Afghanistan and denied accusations that Pakistan controls the Taliban.[6]

  • During a speech at the Foreign Office in Islamabad on Saturday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the government of Pakistan does not support any political or militant factions in Afghanistan. [7]

Militancy

  • 23 militants and six soldiers were killed over the last two days in Khyber Agency and Frontier Region (FR) Kohat during operations by the Pakistan Army and Air Force. Fighter jets bombed militant compounds throughout FR Kohat on Saturday, killing 18, while another five militants were killed during clearing operations in Bara sub-district, Khyber Agency. The operations were part of Operation Khyber II, an ongoing effort to clear the region of militancy which began late on July 19. Other reports place the death toll at 28 militants so far.[8] 

  • On Friday, ten militants and two soldiers were killed in Bara, Khyber agency while security forces were launching search operations in the area. The militants were killed when a mortar shell exploded in their hideout, while the soldiers were killed by an IED blast in the Zawa area.[9]

  • Unknown gunmen attacked an Awami National Party (ANP) office on Sunday in Karachi, killing two ANP workers and wounding six others. The men were killed by a grenade blast and small arms fire. Spokesmen for the ANP blamed “TTP elements” for the attack.[10]

  • According to a Monday Express Tribune report, the government will release all of the names of all detainees in intelligence agency internment centers throughout Pakistan. The decision to release the names was made last Thursday at a high level meeting in the Attorney General’s office.[11]

  • According to Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed on Saturday, the delayed All Parties Conference, which was supposed to be held on July 12, will convene when Pakistan Tehreek-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan returns from the U.K. Khan will reportedly be returning at the end of July.[12]

  • On Saturday, an improvised explosive device hidden in a motorcycle exploded in Karachi, wounding Metropolitan Commissioner Matanat Ali Khan and killing his security guard. Three others were also wounded in the blast, which took place near Civic Centre. Reportedly, the target of the bomb may have been Crime Investigation Department (CID) Senior Superintendent of Police Chaudhry Aslam Khan, who was following closely behind in his own security convoy.[13]

  • A man was killed and six others were injured on Monday after a suicide bomber detonated his vest in Chaman, Qilla Abdullah district, Balochistan province near the Border Customs Office along the Afghan border.  Another blast, apparently an improvised explosive device, was heard near the Levies Line in Chaman. No casualties were reported in the incident.[14]  

  • Unknown gunmen destroyed two oil tankers on Sunday in Mastung district, Balochistan. No casualties were reported in the incident. Separately in Balochistan, during raids throughout Quetta police arrested 28 suspected militants and found a cache consisting of 350 kilograms of potassium, detonators and remote control devices, which were reportedly to be used in terror attacks throughout Ramadan.[15]

  • According to a Saturday Dawn report, 40 individuals on the Anti-Terrorism Act watch list currently hold positions in government departments in Rawalpindi. According to a security official, all 40 hold lower level positions.[16] 

  • On Sunday around 20 militants crossed the Afghan border into Pakistan near Bamboret valley, Chitral. Chitral Scouts launched search operations for the militants later that evening; however, no arrests have been made.[17]

  • Unidentified gunmen killed two people in Quetta on Monday after opening fire on a taxi near Sharah-e-Iqbal. The victims were reportedly Shia.[18] 

  • Frontier Corps members retrieved a large cache of weapons in Pashtunabad, Quetta on Sunday. One man was arrested in the raid.[19]

  • Three Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members were killed, and another was wounded, on Saturday after the men accidentally detonated a bomb they were making in Karachi.  The militants were reportedly planning to use the bomb to attack a Shia Ramadan procession, according to the sole survivor of the blast. [20]  

  • Four suspects accused of killing Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) provincial assembly member Sajid Qureshi will reportedly remain in police custody until their trial begins on July 25.[21] 

  • Two bodies were found in Karachi on Sunday. One, a woman, was found near Northern Bypass, while the other was recovered from Azeempura graveyard.[22]

  • A Frontier Corps member was caught giving an inmate a cell phone on Friday in the Karachi Central Jail, continuing allegations of corruption and incompetency among security officials.[23]

  • A man was injured on Friday in Karachi after two men on motorcycles lobbed a grenade into his shop.[24]

  • A body was found in a gunny bag on Sunday in Hungorabad, Karachi. According to police, the victim was kidnapped and tortured.[25]  

  • Three people were gunned down in separate shooting incidents on Sunday in Karachi. Two men were gunned down in Faqeer Colony, while another was shot near Soldier Bazaar.[26]  

  • In two separate raids in Kadha Bazaar, Hangu district, police recovered 15 AK-47 rifles, and ten smaller arms, along with four kilograms of hashish.[27]   

  •  50 people were arrested in search operations in Badhaber, just outside Peshawar, early on Sunday. 10 weapons were also found in the raids.[28]

  • A bomb exploded in Peshawar in Yakatoot on Sunday morning, destroying portions of a home. No casualties were reported.[29]

  • A government girls school was damaged on Friday after unknown militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near the main gate in Mama Khel, Bannu.[30] 

  • A journalist operating out of Kohat received threats on his life from militants in Orakzai agency, in the form of letters and phone calls, according to a Sunday The News report.[31] 

  • Police defused two bombs planted on Mir Ali Bypass Road, North Waziristan on Sunday.[32]

  • The Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPSS) has proposed new counter terrorism measures, which will be discussed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during the All Parties Conference scheduled for later this month. The CPSS approach calls for tracing, tailing, tackling and transforming extremism within Pakistan.[33]

 Altaf Hussain Investigation

  • Representatives from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)’s Coordination Committee denied media reports today that the MQM was seeking to replace party leader Altaf Hussain.  Hussain is under investigation by the London Metropolitan Police due to allegations his speeches have incited violence, as well as in connection with the murder of MQM co-founder Imran Farooq.[34]

Presidential Elections

  • Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan confirmed on Monday that the ECP will hold the presidential election on August 6, refusing the federal government’s request to change the date to avoid conflict with Ramazan.[35]

  • A senior-level meeting of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) officials forwarded the names of three presidential candidates to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday for his approval.  The list includes current Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, former Sindh Governor Mamnoon Hussain, and Justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui.[36]

Energy Crisis

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will announce the country’s new energy policy in his first address to the nation.  Sources at the Ministry of Power and Water said the new policy will likely include a significant decrease in electricity subsidies, an increase in power taxes for customers using over 200 units of electricity each month, short- and medium-term power generation projects, and countermeasures to reduce electricity theft.[37]

Domestic

  • In a meeting with Intelligence Bureau Director General Aftab Sultan on Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif encouraged the IB to maintain cooperation between all security agencies, as well as remain vigilant in its counter-terrorism efforts. Sharif also praised the IB for capturing Masoom Billah, the alleged mastermind behind the attacks on senior judge Maqbool Baqir on June 26.[38]

  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dispatched Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to Karachi on Sunday to address concerns about the security situation in Sindh province.  Khan will meet with Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to discuss police work. Director General Rangers and Inspector General Sindh Police will brief Khan on security in the province.  After his meetings with Sindh officials, Khan will provide input to Sharif in the form of a draft national security policy.[39]

  • The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Coordination Committee has accused the PTI of leveraging the May 18 murder of the PTI’s Central Vice President, Zahra Hussain, for political gain. The MQM also criticized the PTI for accusing the MQM of involvement in the attack.[40]

  • Former British Member of Parliament (MP) Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has renounced his British citizenship at the behest of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership.  Sarwar has denied interest in becoming Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, but confessed he would like to become the next governor of Punjab province.  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will meet with Sarwar at an unspecified date to discuss his political appointment.[41]



[1]“NSA uses phone signals for finding drone targets: Report,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580397/nsa-uses-phone-signals-for-finding-drone-targets-report/ 
[2]Anwar Iqbal, “Al Qaeda can’t be defeated without Pak help: US general,” Dawn, July 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1030537/al-qaeda-cant-be-defeated-without-pak-help-us-general
[3]Kamran Yousaf, “Ending the Unmanned War: PM Asked to Drop Plans to Seek US Drone Tech,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580200/ending-the-unmanned-war-pm-asked-to-drop-plans-to-seek-us-drone-tech/
[4]“‘US Agrees on Aafia Siddiqi’s Extradition,” The News, July 20, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24252-US-agrees-on-Aafia-Siddiquis-extradition
“Task Force Proposals: Dr Aafia Siddiqui Can be Repatriated, Says Official,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580129/task-force-proposals-dr-aafia-siddiqui-can-be-repatriated-says-official/
Mumtaz Alvi, “PTI Expresses Concern Over Reported Pak-US Prisoner Swap Accord,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-191476-PTI-expresses-concern-over-reported-Pak-US-prisoner-swap-accord
[5]“Hamid Karzai Sets Conditions for Pakistan Visit,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110440-Karzai-sets-conditions-for-Pakistan-visit--
[6]Tahir Khan, “Uneasy Neighbours: Sartaj Aziz Mounts Charm Offensive to Reset Kabul Ties,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580197/uneasy-neighbours-sartaj-aziz-mounts-charm-offensive-to-reset-kabul-ties/
[7]Sumera Khan, “Foreign Policy Briefing: No favourites in Afghanistan, says PM,” Express Tribune, July 21, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579838/foreign-policy-briefing-no-favourites-in-afghanistan-says-pm/
[8]“23 militants, six soldiers killed in Khyber, FR Kohat,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24265-23-militants,-six-soldiers-killed-in-Khyber,-FR-Kohat 
“Four security forces, 15 militants killed in Khyber Agency,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/579661/four-security-forces-13-militants-killed-in-khyber-agency-operation/  
“Security forces kill 28 militants in Khyber, FR Kohat,” The News, July 20, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110151-28-militants-killed,-6-security-men-martyred-in-Khyber-clashes
[9]“10 militants, two soldiers killed in Bara,” The News, July 20, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24238-10-militants,-two-soldiers-killed-in-Bara
[10]“Two dead in attack on ANP office in Karachi,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24281-Two-dead-in-attack-on-ANP-office-in-Karachi 
“Blast near ANP office in Karachi kills two, injures six,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580136/blast-in-karachi-leaves-two-dead-several-injured/ 
[11]“Mechanism devised: Govt to reveal names of secret detainees,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580198/mechanism-devised-govt-to-reveal-names-of-secret-detainees/
[12]“Govt to convene APC after Imran’s return to Pakistan,” Dawn, July 21, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1030632/govt-to-convene-apc-after-imrans-return-to-pakistan
[13]“Metropolitan commissioner among five injured in bomb attack,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/579591/bomb-explosion-near-karachis-civic-centre/ 
[14]“1 dead, 10 injured in blasts near Pak-Afghan border,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580342/one-killed-six-injured-in-chaman-explosions/ 
[15]Syed Ali Shah, “Miscreants set ablaze oil tankers in Balochistan,” Dawn, July 21, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1030808/miscreants-set-ablaze-oil-tankers-in-balochistan
[16]“40 government employees on terror watch list,” Dawn, July 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1030395/40-government-employees-on-terror-watch-list
[17]“Alarm bells: Kalash residents panic as militants reappear,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580074/alarm-bells-kalash-residents-panic-as-militants-reappear/ 
[18]“Gunmen kill two Shia Muslims in Quetta,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580346/gunmen-kill-two-shia-muslims-in-quetta/ 
[19]“Weapons seized: Frontier Corps foil terror bid,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580107/weapons-seized-frontier-corps-foil-terror-bid/ 
[20]“Karachi Patel Para blast FIR registered,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110285-Terrorists-killed-in-Patel-Para-blast-belonged-to-LeJ-  
“Militants wanted to bomb Shia procession,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191417-Militants-wanted-to-bomb-Shia-procession
[21]“Four ‘militants’ remanded in police custody,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191257-Four-militants-remanded-in-police-custody
[22]“Two bodies found,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191414-Two-bodies-found
[23]Waqar Bhatti, “FC man caught giving cell phone to Central Jail inmate,” The News, July 20, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191034-FC-man-caught-giving-cell-phone-to-Central-Jail-inmate
[24]“Watchman injured in grenade attack on shop,” The News, July 20, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191044-Watchman-injured-in-grenade-attack-on-shop
[25]“Body found in gunny bag,” The News, July 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191262-Body-found-in-gunny-bag
[26]“Two dead in attack on ANP office in Karachi,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24281-Two-dead-in-attack-on-ANP-office-in-Karachi
[27]“Arms, drugs seized in Hangu,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-191460-Arms,-drugs-seized-in-Hangu
[28]“Police crackdown: 50 suspects arrested,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580088/police-crackdown-50-suspects-arrested-in-badhaber/ 
[29]“Two bombs defused in NWA,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24301-Two-bombs-defused-in-NWA
[30]“Targeted attack: Girls school damaged,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/579198/targeted-attack-girls-school-damaged/ 
[31]“Militants hurl threats at journalist,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-191314-Militants-hurl-threats-at-journalist
[32]“Two bombs defused in NWA,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-191459-Two-bombs-defused-in-NWA
[33]Asad Kharal, “Policy revision: Fresh plan proposed to fight terrorism,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580128/policy-revision-fresh-plan-proposed-to-fight-terrorism/ 
[34]“MQM Slams Reports on Altaf’s Replacement,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24303-MQM-slams-reports-on-Altafs-replacement
[35]“ECP Refuses to Reschedule Presidential Election,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580313/ecp-refuses-to-reschedule-presidential-election/
[36]“PML-N Sends Three Names to Sharif for Next President,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24286-PML-N-sends-three-names-to-Sharif-for-next-president
[37]“PM Sharif to Announce New Energy Policy Tuesday; Power Tariff Hike Likely,” Geo News, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-110372-PM-Sharif-to-announce-energy-policy-Tuesday-power-tariff-hike-likely
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Address to the Nation Delayed by Two Days,” Express Tribune, July 21, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/579922/prime-minister-nawaz-sharif-to-address-nation-tomorrow/
[38]“Nawaz tells IB to fortify its intel network,” The News, July 20, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24233-Nawaz-tells-IB-to-fortify-its-intel-network
[39]“Interior Minister Nisar Assesses Karachi Law and Order,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110492-Nisar-assesses-Karachi-law-and-order-
Zahid Gishkori  and Sohail Raza Khattak, “Karachi Crisis: Nisar to Meet Sindh CM, Governor Today,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013.  Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580212/karachi-crisis-nisar-to-meet-sindh-cm-governor-today/
[40]Riffat Rahid, “Imran Khan Using Zahra Hussain’s Murder for Political Gain: MQM,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580348/imran-khan-using-zahra-hussains-murder-for-political-gain-mqm/
[41]Abdul Manan, “Chaudhry Sarwar Gives up British Nationality in Hopes of Being Made Governor,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580150/chaudhry-sarwar-gives-up-british-nationality-in-hopes-of-being-made-governor/