Pakistan Security Brief - July 23, 2013

Plot to attack Prime Minister uncovered ; U.S. drone strikes reportedly killed 147 civilians between 2006 and 2009; New energy policies announced; PML-N requests presidential election date change; Details of PML-N counterterrorism strategy leaked; Gilani arrest warrant issued by NAB; Sindh minister denies allegations that PPP has militant wing;  Karzai to visit Pakistan in late August; Government clears $4.77 billion of circular debt; Militants destroy NATO container in Balochistan; India, Pakistan consider talks; MQM, PTI file suits against one another; General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meet; ANP closes offices in Karachi; LeJ suspect in plot against Shia Ramadan procession remanded to police custody; Downturn in violence since formation of Lyari Peace Committee, federal government watching situation intently; Security along border increased in Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

 Prime Minister Assassination Plot

  • According to a police report released by the Punjab Inspector General of Police on Tuesday, a Joint Investigation Team searching for the abducted son of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani inadvertently uncovered a plot to attack Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at his home in Raiwind, Punjab province.  Investigators following a  lead obtained through electronic monitoring about an upcoming attack in Lahore unraveled a network linked to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders Matiur Rehman and Muhammad Yasin.  Subsequent law enforcement operations detained four suspected suicide bombers; security officials have not yet located the terrorists’ munitions, and several other suspects are still at large.[1]

 U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • A classified Pakistani government document leaked to the London Bureau of Investigative Journalism on Tuesday claims that 147 civilians, including 94 children, died in CIA drone strikes throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) between 2006 and 2009. 746 people were killed in all in the strikes.[2]

New Major Government Policies  

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif concluded a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in Islamabad, at which he presented the PML-N government’s National Energy Policy for 2013-18 for approval.  The Water & Power Ministry devised the strategy to address the ongoing energy crisis.  The policy aims to eliminate load-shedding by 2017, restructure the Water & Power Ministry, privatize government-owned power plants, generate a sustainable power-generation capacity, reduce the cost of electricity production, and prevent energy theft.  Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah expressed dissatisfaction with the policy, claiming that because Sindh province produces 70 percent of the nation’s natural gas, it should retain “first right” to use it.  The CCI deferred its approval while a specially-formed committee convenes to review the policy and presents findings within a week.[3]

  • Anonymous government officials leaked details of the PML-N government’s anticipated national counterterrorism strategy on Tuesday, which is said to include provisions for a National Counter Terrorism Agency headed by a former general, a specialized counterterrorism security force, and a national decision-making council.[4]

  • Interior Minister Choudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters on Monday that although provincial governments are responsible for maintaining security in their areas of responsibility, the federal government would not accept instability in Karachi.  He also advocated endowing security officials with full but unspecified powers free from obstruction by political parties.  Khan’s remarks followed a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ebad.[5]

 Elections

  • According to a Tuesday The News report, approximately 100 legislators will be unable to cast their votes in the August 6 presidential election. The legislators will either be in Saudi Arabia or undertaking other religious observances for the end of the holy month of Ramadan. As a result, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz submitted a request to the Supreme Court asking for the presidential election date to be moved forward July 30. According to legal experts, however, the absence of the legislators will not impact the legitimacy of the elections and the Election Commission has so far given no indiciation that it will move the date.[6]

  • Senior PML-N members on Tuesday indicated that Mamnoon Hussain, former Governor of Sindh, will be their front-runner candidate for President. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly called Hussain on Monday to discuss his candidacy.[7]

  • On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that all provinces, in addition to the Islamabad Capital Territory, should hold all local elections by September 15. All provincial bodies were also supposed to provide the exact dates for their local elections on Monday.[8]

Afghan-Pakistan Relations

  • According to unnamed Pakistani diplomats in a Tuesday The News report--contrary to a story The News published on Monday--President Hamid Karzai did not place conditions on travelling to Islamabad, and indicated that he would visit Pakistan towards the end of August. In a meeting with Pakistan's Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday, Karzai reportedly discussed trade and bilateral relations with Aziz and attempted to tone down the confrontational rhetoric that has pervaded recent dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan.[9]

Economics

India-Pakistan Relations

  • According to former Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik in a conference in Lahore on Monday, the existing positive environment between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be exploited through bilateral talks between the two nations. Malik also noted the importance of Kashmir, Sir Creek and water issues in determining the success of these talks. However, according to the Deputy Editor of major Indian daily, The Hindu, India’s upcoming elections will likely render any diplomatic talks ineffective.[11]

Domestic 

  • On Tuesday, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) filed a defamation suit against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, after PTI Chief Imran Khan publicly held MQM chief Altaf Hussain responsible for the death of PTI leader Zohra Shahid Hussain. The suit demands an apology or Rs 5 billion ($50 million) as compensation. In turn, the PTI has filed an Rs 10 billion ($100 million) suit against the MQM.[12]  

  • The National Accountability Bureau is applying for arrest warrants for former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for his role in the Rs 100 billion ($1 billion) Ogra scam, according to a Tuesday The News report. The NAB has reportedly prepared a “VIP jail” for Gilani in Islamabad.[13]

  •  While speaking to the media on Tuesday, Sindh provincial minister Manzoor Wassan denied allegations that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has a militant faction. Wassan’s statement was made in reference to the recent uptick in violence in Karachi, specifically in Lyari, and accusations of PPP involvement.[14]

  • At a press conference on Sunday, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah asserted that Sindh province would require the assistance of paramilitary Rangers for several years, until provincial police forces were trained enough to replace them.[15]

  • The Awami National Party's (ANP) Sindh president criticized the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government on Tuesday for its decision to withdraw the security detail of political leaders, despite recent attacks against Justice Maqbool Baqar and President Asif Ali Zardari’s security chief.  The ANP leader alleges PML-N officials promised additional security and assured politicians that the government would be held accountable for any threats, but Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has not yet authorized alternative security arrangements.[16]

  • According to Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the PPP is still engaged in negotiations with the MQM regarding its participation in the provincial government. Shah also commented on the ongoing violence in Lyari, saying it “was not so dangerous as it was being propogated,” and noting that 80 percent of the people displaced by the violence have returned home.”[17] 

  • A no confidence motion has been moved against Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, according to a Monday The News report. Seven ministers and three advisers in the provincial government have resigned as a result.[18]

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to discuss Pakistan’s overall security situation, as well as the new national energy policy.[19]

Militancy   

  • Two unidentified gunmen attacked a NATO tanker in Bolan district, Balochistan province, on Tuesday; after the driver escaped, the gunmen set the tanker on fire.[20]

  • On Tuesday, an anti-terrorism court in Karachi remanded Lashkar-e-Jhangvi member Imran to police custody until July 31.  Security officials detained Imran after he sustained injuries in an explosion on July 20 in Patel Para while preparing a terrorist attack against a Shia Ramadan procession.[21]

  • Following Sunday’s attack on an ANP office in Karachi, the ANP has closed its offices throughout the city, according to a Tuesday Express Tribune report. Over 70 percent of ANP offices had already been closed within the last year after multiple Taliban attacks. The ANP has said it will evaluate whether or not any of its offices will be re-opened.[22]

  • Karachi commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui announced on Monday that, since the establishment of the Lyari Peace Committee more than two weeks ago, there have been no reported deaths by shooting or torture.  The committee facilitates dialogue between the Baloch and Kutchhi communities, both of which he claims are cooperating with security officials to maintain order.[23]

  • Two people died and two people were injured in separate shooting incidents throughout Karachi on Tuesday.  One body was found in Shershah area and another man was shot to death in Baldia Town.  A security guard was wounded in Garden East area, and a second was injured near Gulzar-e-Hijr.  Separately, the body of a torture victim was found Agra Taj Colony in Lyari Town.[24]

  • Two workers of the Jeay Sindh Quami Mahaz (JSQM) party were victims of an “enforced disappearance” by intelligence forces on Tuesday, as they were “whisked away” in Kandiaro, Noshehfro Feroze district, Sindh according to witnesses.[25]  

  •  Security officials have increased security along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the vicinity of the Kalash valley, Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, after receiving reports of militants crossing into the region from Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.[26]

  • According to a Tuesday The News report, extortions in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in Peshawar, as well as the FATA have increased in recent months. Police, however,  have made minimal progress in identifying the perpetrators behind extortion attempts, and arresting the would-be extortionists.[27] 

  • A grenade attack on Monday in the Togh area of Kohat district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, wounded three people.  Police suspect a tribal feud motivated the attack, but an investigation is ongoing.[28]

  • Unidentified gunmen kidnapped two people from a bazaar in Hangu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on Monday.[29]

  • On Monday, unidentified gunmen killed the wife and daughter of a prominent lawyer at their home in Lahore, Punjab province.[30]

  • On Monday, an anti-terrorism court remanded five kidnappers to police custody in Manshera, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[31]

  • A bomb exploded in Afghan Colony, Peshawar near a mosque on Monday evening. No casualties were reported, although the blast destroyed a portion of a nearby home.[32] 

                    


 
[1]Asad Kharal, “Conspiracy Revealed: Plan to Attack PM Uncovered,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580682/conspiracy-revealed-plan-to-attack-pm-uncovered/
[2] “Secret govt document reveals scores of civilians killed in US drone strikes,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1031326/secret-govt-document-reveals-scores-of-civilians-killed-in-us-drone-strikes
[3] “CCI Meeting Ends Inconclusively,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1031365/cci-meeting-ends-inconclusively
“Loadshedding to End by ’17,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1031193/loadshedding-to-end-by-17
Sohail Bhatti, “‘Ambitious’ National Energy Policy Formulated,” Dawn, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1031108/ambitious-national-energy-policy-formulated
“CCI Defers Energy Policy Approval after Sindh’s Skepticism,” Pakistan Today, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/07/23/news/national/cci-defers-energy-policy-approval-after-sindhs-skepticism/
[4]Syed Talat Hussain, “PM Prepares Antidote to Terror Scourage,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580696/pm-prepares-antidote-to-terror-scourge/
[5]Shamim Bano, “Poor Law, Order in Karachi Intolerable: Nisar,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24305-Poor-law,-order-in-Karachi-intolerable:-Nisar
[6]Tariq Butt, “Nearly 100 legislators may not vote in presidential poll on Aug 6,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24310-Nearly-100-legislators-may-not-vote-in-presidential-poll-on-Aug-6 
“PML-N requests SC to hold presidential elections on July 30,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1031346/pml-n-requests-sc-to-hold-presidential-elections-on-july-30
[7]Khawar Ghumman, “Mamnoon strongest PML-N candidate,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1031188/mamnoon-strongest-pml-n-candidate
[8] “SC directs provinces, ICT to ensure LB polls by Sept 15,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24309-SC-directs-provinces,-ICT-to-ensure-LB-polls-by-Sept-15
[9]Mariana Barber, “Karzai will ‘visit’ Pakistan by end of August,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24317-Karzai-will-visit-Pakistan-by-end-of-August
[10] “Govt has cleared circular debts of Rs 480 bn: Dar,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24316-Govt-has-cleared-circular-debt-of-Rs480-bn%3a-Dar
[11] “Calls for talks on Pak-India issues,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-5-191648-Call-for-talks-on-Pak-India-issues 
Umer Farooq, “Nawaz’s overtures well-intentioned, but likely ineffective,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/news/1031348/nawazs-overtures-well-intentioned-but-likely-ineffective/?commentPage=1&storyPage=1
[12] “Tit for tat: PTI to file Rs 10b libel suit against MQM,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580796/tit-for-tat-pti-to-file-rs10b-libel-suit-against-mqm/ 
[13]Waseem Abbasi, “VIP jail being prepared by NAB for ex-PM Gilani,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-191718-VIP-jail-being-prepared-by-NAB-for-ex-PM-Gilani
[14]“Political Rhetoric: Wassan Denies PPP has Militant Wing,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580548/political-rhetoric-wassan-denies-ppp-has-militant-wing/
[15] “Sindh Needs Rangers Services until Police are Trained: CM,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580503/sindh-needs-rangers-services-until-police-are-trained-cm/
[16] “Despite Threats, No Security for ANP Leader,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191620-Despite-threats,-no-security-for-ANP-leader
[17]“PPP in talks with MQM for participation in govt: CM,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110529-PPP-in-talks-with-MQM-for-participation-in-govt%3a-CM
[18]“No confidence motion moved against AJK PM,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110519-No-confidence-motion-moved-against-AJK-PM
[19] “COAS Kayani calls on PM Nawaz to discuss security situation,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110612-PM-Nawaz,-COAS-Kayani-discuss-security-situation
[20]Syed Ali Shah, “Militants Torch Nato Container in Balochistan,” Dawn, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1031367/militants-torch-nato-container-in-balochistan
[21] “LeJ Militant Remanded in Police Custody,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191600-LeJ-militant-remanded-in-police-custody
[22]“Awami National Party shuts down offices across Karachi following attack,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580512/awami-national-party-shuts-down-offices-across-karachi-following-attack/ 
[23] “‘Lyari Calm after Formation of Peace Committee,’” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-191612-Lyari-calm-after-formation-of-peace-committee
[24] “Karachi Firing, Violence Claims Four More Lives,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110588-Four-more-killed-in-Karachi-firing,-violence
[25] “Two workers of Jeay Sindh Quami Mahaz go missing,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/580502/two-workers-of-jeay-sindh-qaumi-mahaz-go-missing/ 
[26] “Security along Pak-Afghan Border Tightened,” The News, July 23, 2013.  Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-191706-Security-along-Pak-Afghan-border-tightened
[27] “Police, intelligence agencies fail to move against extortionists,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-191681-Police,-intelligence-agencies-fail-to-move-against-extortionists
[28] “Targeted: Three Injured as Militants Hurl Hand Grenade,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/580479/targeted-three-injured-as-militants-hurl-hand-grenade/
[29] “Two Kidnapped in Hangu,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-191736-Two-kidnapped-in-Hangu
[30] “Wife, Daughter of Well-Known Lawyer Shot Dead,” The News, July 22, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110516-Wife,-daughter-of-well-known-lawyer-gunned-down
[31]"Five Kidnappers Remanded in Police Custody,” The News, July 23, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-191737-Five-kidnappers-remanded-in-police-custody
[32] “Bomb attack destroys Mosque wall in Peshawar,” Express Tribune, July 22, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/580412/bomb-attack-destroys-wall-of-peshawar-mosque/