Pakistan Security Brief - July 30, 2012

Cross-border attacks in Afghanistan spark heated exchange between Pakistani ambassador and Obama advisor; Pakistani Ambassador Rehman says drone strikes responsible for recruiting new militants; U.S. Senate passes resolution urging designation of Haqqani Network as terrorist organization; U.S. drone strike kills seven militants in North Waziristan; Torkham border crossing for NATO supplies suspended for fifth day; Pakistani President Zardari invites Indian Prime Minister Singh to Islamabad for talks; President Zardari to participate in OIC summit in Saudi Arabia; Security forces kill seven militants in Orakzai agency.   

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Addressing the Aspen Security Conference via videoconference on Friday, Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman discussed Pakistani Taliban fighters based in Afghanistan who were responsible for carrying out cross-border attacks into Pakistan. She stated that over the last eight months, Pakistan informed American and NATO forces of the locations of militants involved in 52 such cross-border attacks, but no action was taken. In response, Douglas Lute, President Barack Obama’s top advisor on Pakistan and Afghanistan, said that comparing the Pakistani Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan to the Pakistani government’s decades-long relationship to the Afghan Taliban was “simply unfair.” The heated exchange came during a conference in which both officials began by lauding the recent reopening of the NATO supply route. On Sunday, the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) released a statement calling Rehman’s allegations “incorrect” and noting that both sides had a common interest in targeting the Haqqani Network. Meanwhile, Rehman reiterated the problem of “anti-Pakistan terrorist sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan.”[1]

  • Pakistani Ambassador Rehman argued on Friday that U.S. done strikes were responsible for recruiting new militants and stated, “We will seek an end to drone strike and there will be no compromise on that.” While addressing the Aspen Security Conference in Colorado, she also defended the arrest of Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden. She said that he was guilty of “contracting with a foreign intelligence agency” and had put the lives of thousands of children at risk by giving the Pakistani Taliban an excuse to question the motives of polio vaccination officials.[2]     

  • On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution urging the U.S. State Department to designate the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The resolution, which would give the U.S. State Department 30 days to report whether the Haqqani Network meets the FTO criteria, passed the U.S. House last week and now requires President Obama’s signature.[3]  

Drone Strikes

  • A U.S. drone fired six missiles at a compound in Khushhali Turikhel village, twenty miles east of Miram Shah in North Waziristan agency, reportedly killing at least seven militants. Unnamed sources claimed that the seven militants killed in the strike were Uzbek nationals.[4]

International Relations

  • On Monday, the Torkham border crossing in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province remained closed to NATO supply trucks for a fifth day. Pakistani officials suspended traffic through the border crossing last Tuesday, following an attack carried out by armed men that killed one NATO truck driver and his assistant. Local officials say the suspension will remain in place until the federal government devises a security plan to safeguard NATO trucks. According to the president of the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association, many Pakistani truck drivers refuse to transport NATO supplies unless given security guarantees and compensation.[5]

  • On Friday, President Asif Ali Zardari sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inviting him to visit Pakistan. If Singh accepts the invitation, the meeting would reportedly take place in November. According to AFP, the invitation, which followed both countries’ recent announcement to resume cricket matches later this year, is part of their ongoing efforts to normalize relations. Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Najamuddin Sheikh noted that the visit would create an opportunity for both countries to potentially reach agreements on the Sir Creek and Siachen territorial disputes.[6]   

Domestic Politics

  • On Friday, President Zardari signaled his intention to participate in Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s two-day Islamic summit in the Saudi province of Makkah. The formal agenda of the summit, a forum for leaders to discuss challenges confronting Muslim peoples, is currently being crafted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Zardari will reportedly use the summit to highlight threats facing Pakistan as well as Afghanistan reconciliation.[7]     

  • Riots broke out in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab province on Monday as crowds protested against rolling blackouts that lasted nearly 20 hours in some areas. Angry mobs attacked a Water and Power Development Authority installation as well as billboards for the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao (PPP-S). Police resorted to using batons, tear gas, and in some cases gunfire to disperse the crowds, which were responsible for acts of vandalism across both provinces.[8]

  • President Zardari appointed Rehman Malik, advisor to the prime minister for interior affairs, as federal interior minister on Friday. Malik, whose dual citizenship became grounds for the Supreme Court to suspend his membership in the senate on July 4, eventually resigned his senate seat while serving as an advisor to former Prime Minister Raja Yousaf Gilani. Last week, Malik ran unopposed for his former senate seat and won, paving the way for his reappointment as interior minister.[9]          

  • The federal government decided on Friday to appoint former Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik as Defence Secretary, replacing Nargis Sethi who will continue serving as Secretary Cabinet Division.[10]  

Militancy

 


[1] Eric Schmitt, “Tense Talk in Conference Between U.S. and Pakistan,” New York Times, July 27, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/28/world/asia/at-security-conference-tense-talk-between-us-and-pakistan.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
Matthew Rosenberg and Eric Schmitt, “Allies Rebuke Pakistan on Cross-Border Attacks,” New York Times, July 29, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/world/asia/pakistan-afghanistan-border-attacks-disputed.html?_r=1
[2] “Drone attacks serving to recruit new militants: Sherry,” The News, July 29, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-123425-Drone-attacks-serving-to-recruit-new-militants:-Sherry
[3] “Congress presses Haqqani network terror designation,” AFP, July 27, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/congress-presses-haqqani-network-terror-designation-181323054.html
[4] “US drone kills seven militants in North Waziristan: officials,” AFP, July 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/29/us-drone-strike-kills-four-in-north-waziristan-2/
“Drone attack kills seven ‘Uzbeks,’” Dawn, July 30, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/30/drone-attack-kills-seven-uzbeks/
[5] “NATO trucks suspended for fifth day at Torkham crossing,” AFP, July 30, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/30/nato-trucks-suspended-for-fifth-day-at-torkham-crossing/
[6] “President Zardari invites Indian PM to visit: official,” AFP, July 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/28/president-zardari-invites-indian-pm-to-visit-official/
“’Pakistan, India may ink agreements on core issues during Singh’s visit,’” The News, July 30, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-123562-Pakistan,-India-may-ink-agreements--on-core-issues-during-Singhs-visit
[7] Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, “President Zardari to attend OIC,” Geo News, July 28, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=60956
[8] Owais Jafri and Mureeb Mohmand, “Mob protest blackouts in Punjab, K-P,” Express Tribune, July 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/414862/mobs-protest-blackouts-in-punjab-k-p/
[9] “Unopposed: Rehman Malik re-elected as senator,” Express Tribune, July 23, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/412016/unopposed-rehman-malik-re-elected-as-senator/
[10] “Government names new defence secretary,” The News, July 27, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-60862-Lt-Gen-(Retd)-Asif-Yasin-named-new-defence-secretary
[12] “Girls’ school blown up in Swabi,” Dawn, July 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/29/girls-school-blown-up-in-swabi/
[13] “Girl injured in cross-border shelling,” The News, July 29, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-123390-Girl-injured-in-cross-border-shelling
[14] “2 hurt in CD shop blast,” The News, July 30, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-123537-2-hurt-in-CD-shop-blast
[15] “Man killed in Quetta target killing,” APP, July 30, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/28/man-killed-in-quetta-target-killing/
“Six people killed in Balochistan violence,” Dawn, July 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/30/six-people-killed-in-balochistan-violence/
“Quetta: Rocket attack on Joint Road,” Geo News, July 28, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=61040
“Quetta: Gunmen shoot two dead, injure one,” Geo News, July 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=61175
[16] “Eight more fall victim to violence in Karachi,” Dawn, July 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/29/eight-more-fall-victim-to-violence-in-karachi/
“Three of a family among 10 killed,” Dawn, July 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/07/30/three-of-a-family-among-10-killed/
“Karachi: Grenade attack on departmental,” The News, July 27, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-60888-Karachi:-Grenade-attack-on-departmental-store-
“One dead, 3 hurt in Karachi violence,” The News, July 27, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-61141-One-dead,-3-hurt-in-Karachi-violence