Pakistan Security Brief - July 3, 2012

U.S. apology to Pakistan and reopening of supply routes “imminent;” Russian official warns of blocking Afghanistan supply route if missile defense issues are not resolved; Report notes fewer civilian deaths as a result of drone strikes in 2012; Indian intelligence official says Zabiuddin has not provided information implicating ISI in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; Pakistan’s Foreign Secrtary promises to support India in fight against terrorism; Supreme Court issues detailed ruling of Yousuf Raza Gilani’s disqualification from office of prime minister; Eleven civilians die in Karachi violence; Balochistan provincial government bans pilgrimages due to sectarian attacks.   

NATO Supply Routes

  • According to The News, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to call Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in the near future to apologize for the Salala border incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, a demand that Pakistani officials have deemed essential for moving forward with negotiations over reopening NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. U.S. and Pakistani officials expressed “cautious optimism” on Monday over the possibility of a deal to reopen the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs), though they refused to discuss details. The U.S. and Pakistan are set to accept new terms of engagement based on a set of proposals, provided to Pakistani officials by senior members of the White House National Security staff on Monday, that dictate that the U.S. will only use the GLOCs for non-lethal goods and that the fee per container will be based on size and contents of the cargo. While the U.S. has agreed to pay for infrastructure repairs for roads near the border crossings and for the port of Karachi, Washington has refused to agree to Pakistan’s request for indemnity waivers regarding possible damaging of U.S. cargo while en route. Speaking to The News on Monday evening, Foreign Minister Khar described the developments as “a new beginning.” Though both Pakistani and U.S. officials note that progress is being made, both sides refuse to comment on whether a draft understanding has been reached. According to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s defense committee of the cabinet (DCC) will meet on Tuesday to further discuss the proposals prior to a full meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday.[1]

  • Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the State Duma in Russia, said the U.S.-Russian dispute over missile defense in Eastern Europe could result in the Russian government disallowing NATO’s use of two routes to transport supplies to troops in Afghanistan. Speaking in a recent interview, Pushkov said Russia fears that the U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe could eventually be “expanded enough to neutralize the Russian nuclear missile arsenal.” With NATO supply routes through Pakistan closed for the past seven months, the U.S. has relied on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) and an air route through Ulyanovsk to transport supplies into Afghanistan. Pushkov noted that missile defense is “very close to [Putin’s] heart” and that the two routes “will eventually come into play” if differences are not resolved.[2]

Drone Strikes

  • According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, fewer civilians in Pakistan have died this year as a result of U.S. drone strikes than during any other six-month period since 2008. The Bureau’s report indicated that between three and 24 civilians were reportedly killed this year compared with the first half of 2011, when the civilian death toll stood between 62 and 103 civilians. According to AFP, the decline in civilian deaths correlates with a decline in drone strikes, as 24 strikes have occurred this year compared with 64 strikes in 2011 and 101 strikes in 2010.[3]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a senior Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer, Sayed Zabiuddin, the Indian national and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) member allegedly involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, has not volunteered any information regarding the involvement of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the attacks, nor has he been willing to identify LeT sleeper cells in India. During interrogation, however, Zabiuddin has acknowledged his role in the plot and identified other people whose voices had been recorded by intelligence agencies.[4]  

  • On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani stated, “Pakistan will support India in its fight against terrorism.” Jilani is expected to meet with his Indian counterpart on Wednesday, during which Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks will be discussed. In regard to India’s ongoing investigation, Jalil said that India needed to share all evidence and information about Zabiuddin with Pakistan. During the meeting, he is also expected to discuss the Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek disputes.[5]  

  • An 18-member commission comprised of officials of the Pakistan Rangers and Border Security Force arrived in New Delhi on Monday for four-day talks to discuss a range of border-security issues, including recent gunfire exchanges along the India-Pakistan border. The Pakistani delegation, led by Pakistan Rangers Director General (DG) Maj. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar, also included Rangers DG Maj. Gen. Muhammad Hilal Hussain and Interior Ministry Additional Secretary Najibullah Khan, among other officials .[6]

Disqualification of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

  • On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court issued the detailed verdict of the ruling that disqualified Yousuf Raza Gilani from the office of prime minister on June 19. The 42-page document stated that the decision to disqualify Gilani was made “final” by Gilani not appealing against the verdict handed down by the seven-member branch. The document also emphasized how Speaker of the National Assembly Fehmida Mirza should not have issued another verdict after the court, but rather should have referred the matter directly to the Election Commission of Pakistan.[7] 

Militancy


[1] Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, “US accepts new terms of engagement with Pakistan,” The News, July 3, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15771-US-accepts-new-terms-of-engagement-with-Pakistan
“Pakistan-US ‘progress’ on ending NATO blockade: officials,” Geo Pakistan, July 3, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=57142
Tom Wright, “Pakistan to Discuss U.S. Proposal to Reopen NATO Routes,” Wall Street Journal, July 3, 2012. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304299704577503914049142208.html
Eric Schmitt, “U.S. and Pakistan Hint at Deal to Reopen NATO Supply Routes,” New York Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/world/asia/us-and-pakistan-hint-at-afghan-supply-route-deal.html?_r=1
“Pak Cabinet panel to hold key meeting on US ties,” Zeenews, July 3, 2012. Available at http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/pak-cabinet-panel-to-hold-key-meeting-on-us-ties_785276.html
[2] “Russian warns of blocking Afghanistan supply route,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2012. Available at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/07/supply-route.html
[3] “Civilian deaths from US drones ‘lowest since 2008,’” AFP, July 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/02/civilian-deaths-from-us-drones-lowest-since-2008/
[4] “Abu Hamza silent on ISI role in Mumbai attacks,” Express Tribune, July 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402737/abu-hamza-silent-on-isi-role-in-mumbai-attacks/
[5] “Pakistan will support India in its fight against terrorism: Jilani,” AFP, July 3, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=57150
[6] “Pak Rangers, BSF begin border talks,” Daily Times, July 3, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\03\story_3-7-2012_pg7_24
[7] “Speaker ruling case: Supreme Court issues detailed verdict,” Express Tribune, July 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402912/pm-contempt-case-supreme-court-issues-detailed-verdict/
[8] “1 security official killed, 4 injured in Bajaur blast,” Express Tribune, July 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402923/1-security-official-killed-4-injured-in-bajaur-blast/
[9] “Levies man among two killed,” Dawn, July 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/03/levies-man-among-two-killed/
[10] “Targeted attacks: Two political activists, KESC employee shot dead,” Express Tribune, July 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402632/targeted-attacks-two-political-activists-kesc-employee-shot-dead/
“Six killed in Karachi violence,” Dawn, July 3, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/03/six-killed-in-karachi-violence-3/
“Two TTP militants, gangster nabbed in separate raids,” Daily Times, July 3, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\03\story_3-7-2012_pg7_31
[11] “Targeted killing: Livestock official slain, body found,” Express Tribune, July 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402795/targeted-killing-livestock-official-slain-body-found/
[12] “Security concerns: Balochistan bans further pilgrimages?” Express Tribune, July 3, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/402761/security-concerns-balochistan-bans-further-pilgrimages/