Pakistan Security Brief - July 26, 2012

Prime Minister Ashraf’s cabinet approves signing of memorandum of understanding with U.S. to regulate NATO supply route; Movement of NATO supplies suspended at Torkham border crossing due to security concerns; NATO ISAF condemns cross-border attack from Pakistan; British High Commissioner to Pakistan says UK trusts Pakistan’s passport and visa process; Pakistan government concerned by killing of Muslims in Burma; Report links CIA informant Shakil Afridi to Lashkar-e-Islam militants; UK parliamentarians ask U.S. to halt drone strikes in Pakistan; Pickup truck blast kills eight people in Bajaur bazaar.        

NATO Supply Route

  • On Wednesday, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s cabinet approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the U.S. regulating the transit of NATO supplies and equipment across Pakistan into Afghanistan. According to Geo News, the agreement, which lasts through December 2015, precludes the transport of arms and ammunition into Afghanistan unless designated for the Afghan National Army. It also identifies the southern and northern transportation routes through Chaman and Torkham, respectively, and states that no storage or warehouse facilities will be provided for American goods. Pakistan, however, does agree to provide facilities for security purposes and will require commercial carriers to pay transit fees. Furthermore, the MoU designates Pakistan’s Defence Ministry as responsibility for coordinating the supply route’s day-to-day operations and implementation. Express News reports that a “negative list” of 24 banned items was included in the agreement, and that a fee of $250 would be assessed per container clearance.[1]

  • A Pakistani official confirmed on Thursday that the Torkham border crossing in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province was temporarily suspended due to security concerns following Tuesday’s attack by unknown gunmen on trucks carrying NATO supplies into Afghanistan. Traffic across the border was suspended Wednesday evening, after intelligence officials reported the possibility of additional attacks on NATO trucks this week. Local officials launched a search operation for Tuesday’s attackers in the Jamrud area of Khyber agency, while intelligence officials began work on a security plan to protect NATO convoys. Meanwhile, the Chaman border crossing in Balochistan remains open with some 17 trucks currently awaiting clearance to enter Afghanistan.[2]  

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

International Relations

Osama bin Laden Informant

  • According to a report released by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Wednesday, Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden, frequently met with and treated injured Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) members while running Khyber agency’s Droga Hospital in 2008. After being convicted of treason by a tribal administration, he sought asylum in the U.S., but was told by another Pakistani doctor based in the U.S. that he would have to convince an American judge that he was kidnapped by LeI before being granted asylum. Afridi and his children were reportedly issued five-year visas, while his wife was only issued a one-year visa. The JIT report was released in light of previous claims that Afridi’s connections with LeI were part of a smear campaign initiated by Pakistani officials who opposed Afridi’s role in the Navy SEAL raid that killed bin Laden.[8]    

Domestic Politics

Drone Strikes

Militancy


[1] “Cabinet approves MoU on new terms of engagement with US,” Dawn, July 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/25/cabinet-approves-mou-on-new-terms-o-engagement-with-us/
“Pak-US NATO MoU prepared according to UN charter,” Geo News, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60659
“24 items banned from NATO supply transit,” Express Tribune, July 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/413248/24-items-banned-from-nato-supply-transit/
[2] “Pakistan suspends Nato supply route over security,” AFP, July 26, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/26/pakistan-suspends-nato-supply-route-over-security/
[3] “NATO condemns cross-border shelling into Afghanistan,” AFP, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60607
“Working with Pakistan, Afghanistan on curbing border violence: US,” APP, July 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/26/working-with-pakistan-afghanistan-on-curbing-border-violence-us/
[4] “Cabinet approves MoU on new terms of engagement with US,” Dawn, July 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/25/cabinet-approves-mou-on-new-terms-o-engagement-with-us/
[5] “We trust NADRA, Pakistan’s passport system: British High Commissioner,” Express Tribune, July 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/413264/we-trust-nadra-pakistans-passport-system-british-high-commissioner/
“Olympics scam: Passport department presents inquiry report, claims innocence,” Express Tribune, July 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/413250/olympics-scam-passport-department-presents-inquiry-report-claims-innocence/
“’The Sun’ ready to face lawsuit over visa scandal claims,” Geo News, July 25, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60523
[6] “Afghan envoy calls on FM Khar, discuss bilateral relations,” APP, July 26, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/26/afghan-envoy-calls-on-fm-khar-discuss-bilateral-relations/
[7] “Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan threaten Myanmar over Rohingya,” AFP, July 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/413231/taliban-threaten-myanmar-over-rohingya/
“Pakistan concerns over Myanmar massacre,” Geo News, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60655
[8] Iftikhar Firdous, “Dr Afridi sought asylum in US: Investigators,” Express Tribune, July 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/413147/revealed-dr-afridi-sought-asylum-in-us-says-investigators/
[9] “Debate revealing reason behind contempt law,” Geo Pakistan, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60631
[10] “UK parliamentarians demand Obama administration to stop drone attacks on Pakistani soil,” Radio Pakistan, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.radio.gov.pk/newsdetail-24814
[11] Anwarullah Khan, “Truck bomb kills 11 in northwest Pakistani market,” AP, July 26, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/truck-bomb-kills-11-northwest-pakistani-market-115613641.html
“8 killed, 21 hurt in Bajaur Agency blast,” Geo Pakistan, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60619
“Bajaur tribe rises against cross-border attacks,” Dawn, July 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/26/bajaur-tribe-rises-against-cross-border-attacks-2/
[12] Richard Leiby, “In Pakistan, stalled military operation means refugees can’t go home,” Washington Post, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-pakistan-stalled-military-operation-means-refugees-cant-go-home/2012/07/25/gJQADacxAX_story.html
[13] “Militants kill tribal elder in Bara,” Dawn, July 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/26/militants-kill-tribal-elder-in-bara-2/
[14] “Three gunned down in city,” Dawn, July 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/26/three-gunned-down-in-city/
“28 suspects arrested in Karachi targeted operation,” Geo Pakistan, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60580
“Firing on Karachi-bound bus in Panjgur,” The News, July 26, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-122835-Firing-on-Karachi-bound-bus-in-Panjgur