Pakistan Security Brief - July 28, 2011

Clinton tells House committee chair blocking aid to Pakistan would hurt foreign policy goals; Congressional report expresses confidence in Pakistani nuclear safety; University bin Laden eulogy contest draws attention; Abbottabad commission to summon DG-ISI Pasha; Organization asks government to allow aid into Kurram; Human Rights Watch: Forced disappearances and torture continue in Balochistan; Eleven killed in Karachi; Commission obtains Shahzad’s “unofficial” cell phone records; Pakistani FM Khar emphasizes younger generations in peace effort; Pakistan releases Indian fishermen; FAO needs $96 million to help Pakistani farmers after floods.

 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • In a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the recently proposed bill that would block aid to Pakistan and several Arab nations “would be debilitating to . . . efforts to carry out a considered foreign policy and diplomacy, and to use foreign assistance strategically to that end.” Clinton declared she would “recommend personally” that the President veto the bill if it were passed. Clinton said the bill proposed “crippling restrictions on security assistance where maximum flexibility is needed.” Two panels in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have already approved the bill.[i]

  • On Wednesday, the Congressional Research Service sent a report to Congress detailing recent Pakistani efforts to increase the security of their nuclear assets. The report claims officials in both countries “continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”[ii]

Bin Laden Aftermath

  • A New York Times report details the activities of the student Islamist group, Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), including a recent bin Laden eulogy contest at the University of the Punjab which they are suspected of organizing. University administrators are looking into who is behind the contest, but they say Islamist extremism is “spreading like wildfire” on campuses across the nation. Recently, students belonging to the IJT attacked a fellow student for “sitting with his body touching [a] female.” One IJT member explained that “[s]uch un-Islamic behavior will not be tolerated.”[iii]

  • The Express Tribune reports the Director General for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha will be called in to “brief” the Abbottabad commission during the next week. The commission was formed to investigate how Osama bin Laden was able hide in Pakistan without the knowledge of the security establishment and how the U.S. was able to launch a unilateral raid into Pakistan entirely unchallenged. President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir has expressed concern that unnamed “elements” may try to “hinder the inquiry.”[iv]

FATA

Balochistan

  • Human Rights Watch has released a 132-page report on Pakistani security forces’ use of forced disappearances and torture in Balochistan. The report claims hundreds of political activists have been detained and tortured without being charged. Most of those detained are likely affiliated with Balochi separatist movements. The report points out that though forced disappearances peaked under Musharraf, disappearances have continued since the return to civilian rule in 2008.[vi]

Karachi

Shahzad Investigation

  • On Wednesday, the commission investigating the death of slain journalist Saleem Shahzad obtained an unofficial copy of Shahzad’s phone records. Shahzad reportedly placed his final call on May 29 to the producer of a TV talk show, Asma Chaudhry. Chaudhry says Shahzad told her producer he would arrive at the show in time to record a section of the program regarding the terrorist attack on the PNS Mehran. When they called him back forty minutes later, his phone was off.[viii]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, Pakistan released fourteen Indian fishermen from a jail in Karachi. AFP reports another 274 fishermen remain in Pakistani custody at the jail. The prisoner release comes as Indian and Pakistani representatives meet in New Delhi for the highest level peace talks in over a year.[ix]

  • 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar, the newly appointed Pakistani Foreign Minister, says she hopes younger generations will help envision and create peace. Khar has received a warm reception in India and has developed somewhat of a fan-base “on both sides of the border.”[x]

Flood Recovery



[i] “Clinton vows to fight Republican aid cuts for Pakistan, Israel’s neighbours,” AFP, July 28, 2011. Available at
[ii] “Congressional report highlights Pakistan’s steps to protect nukes,” Dawn, July 28, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Eulogies for Bin Laden, Shrouded in Mystery in Pakistan,” NYT, July 27, 2011. Available at
[iv] “Abbottabad commission to summon DG ISI,” ET, July 28, 2011. Available at
[v] “Govt urged to let aid convoy travel to Kurram,” The News, July 28, 2011. Available at
[vi] “We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years,” Human Rights Watch, July 25, 2011. Available at
“Pakistan torturing Balochistan activists, report says,” BBC, July 28, 2011. Available at
[vii] “Karachi violence: 11 killed in separate shooting incidents,” ET, July 28, 2011. Available at
[viii] “Commission gets Saleem Shahzad’s phone record,” Dawn, July 28, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Pakistan releases 14 Indian fishermen,” Dawn, July 28, 2011. Available at
[x] “Pakistan’s foreign minister: The face of a new generation of peace with India?” CSM, July 28, 2011. Available at
[xi] “$96m required for flood recovery: FAO,” Dawn, July 28, 2011. Available at