Pakistan Security Brief - June 10, 2011

Pakistan offers to reduce reliance on U.S. military aid; Number of U.S. personnel in Pakistan reduced; Panetta: U.S. relationship with Pakistan "difficult but critical;" Tahawwur Rana acquitted in Mumbai attacks; Karzai to visit Islamabad; Eleven ‘target killings’ in Karachi; Rangers detained by police after killing of teen in Karachi; Pakistani Senate Chairman orders protection of journalists; Blast in Balochistan kills two Levies Force personnel.

 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • The Pakistani military has issued a statement “offering to reduce its reliance on U.S. military aid and training and [set] strict limits on American intelligence operations within the country.”  The Wall Street Journal noted that “[s]ince the May 2 raid [that killed Osama bin Laden], army chief Gen. Kayani and his inner circle have had to contend with American demands for more cooperation in the fight against Islamist militants while trying to reassure soldiers who are openly questioning the rationale for Pakistan's tight military embrace with the U.S.” A separate U.S. Embassy statement released on Friday stated that the number of U.S. military personnel in Pakistan has been reduced. Meanwhile, General Kayani has claimed that the Pakistani government has only received $8.6 billion of the $13-15 billion in U.S. military aid previously pledged to the country and that the aid would be better utilized if “diverted” to the Pakistani economy and people.[i]
  • In Thursday’s confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, current CIA Director and Secretary of Defense nominee Leon Panetta stated that the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is “difficult” but “critical.” The outgoing CIA chief noted that “Pakistan has proven to be a safe haven for extremists,” but Pakistani cooperation is crucial for success in Afghanistan. During the hearing, Panetta also commented on the need to secure Pakistan’s “nuclear arsenal.”[ii]

 

Tahawwur Rana Trial

  • On Thursday, a jury in Chicago found Tahawwur Rana guilty of providing material support to the Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group and “conspiring to attack a Danish newspaper” that had previously published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. However, Rana was acquitted on charges that he helped facilitate the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Rana faces thirty years in prison, though his defense lawyer stated that an appeal would be filed.[iv]

 

Afghan-Pakistani Relations

  • On Friday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai will travel to Islamabad for a two-day visit to request Pakistani support for peace talks with the Taliban. The Associated Press reports that Pakistan may play an influential role in the talks, given the country’s “historical ties” to the Taliban. Meanwhile, President Karzai argued that the May 2 operation that killed Osama Bin Laden is proof “that the war against terrorism should focus on Pakistan, not Afghanistan.” According to the media outlet Geo, President Karzai will meet with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani “to promote bilateral relations.”[v]

 

Karachi

  • Geo reports that “[t]he Rangers personnel accused of killing a young boy in Karachi are in police custody.” The media outlet states that only two of the six men in the Rangers’ unit, identified by the deceased’s family, are in custody. Meanwhile, the Pakistani Supreme Court convened to order the removal of the Rangers’ Director General and Sindh's Inspector General of Police. [vi]
  • Reacting to widespread public outrage, Prime Minister Gilani has said he will “personally supervise an inquiry” into the Ranger incident. He also urged opposition members of parliament, who have reacted strongly to the killing, “not to ‘lose their temper’ or use ‘indecent language’ against national institutions.” This request is in response to lawmakers who have referred to the Rangers as “terrorists-in-uniform.”[vii]
  • The Daily Times reports that eleven ‘target killings’ took place in Karachi on Thursday.  Among the dead were members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Awami National Party (ANP), and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). An investigation into the shootings has commenced.[viii]

 

Senate Chairman Orders Journalist Protection

  • Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naek has ordered the Interior Minister and Home Ministers of Sindh and Balochistan to provide security for journalists who have traveled to Karachi and Kharotabad to report on recent killings in the cities. The death of journalist Saleem Shahzad has led to heightened concerns regarding the safety of journalists who report on controversial matters. Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner referred to the dangers faced by Pakistani journalists, stating that the U.S. “take[s] the freedom of the press issues and violence against members of the press very seriously, as we would any human rights abuses, and we do raise human rights concerns with Pakistan on a regular basis."[ix]

 

Blast in Balochistan

  • On Thursday, a “remote-controlled bomb” exploded in the Dasht area of the Mastung district, killing two Levies Force personnel and injuring a third. Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani has stated he will give the families of the deceased “Rs2 million [$23,000] each.”[x]

 



[i] “Pakistani Army Pleads for Respect,” The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2011. Available at
“Responding to critics: Divert military aid to economy, says Kayani,” The Express Tribune, June 10, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/185552/government-utilising-major-share-of-csf-funds-gen-kayani/
[ii] “US ties with Pakistan are ‘difficult’: Panetta, Geo, June 10, 2011. Available at
[iii] “US military cuts presence in Pakistan,” Geo, June 10, 2011. Available at
[iv] “Chicago man guilty of aiding Pakistani militant group,” Reuters, June 10, 2011. Available at
[v] “Karzai visits Pakistan, Taliban talks likely focus,” AP, June 10, 2011. Available at
“Karzai arrives in capital on two day visit,” Geo, June 10, 2011. Available at
[vi] “SC orders to remove IGP, DG Rangers Sindh in 3 days,” Geo, June 10, 2011. Available at
“Pak SC orders removal of Sindh IGP, Rangers DG over extra-judicial killing incident,” Daily India, June 10, 2011. Available at http://www.dailyindia.com/show/444599.php
[vii] “With legislators up in arms, PM says he will personally supervise inquiry,” The Express Tribune, June 10, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/186076/oubursts-in-parliament-with-legislators-up-in-arms-pm-says-he-will-personally-supervise-inquiry/
[viii] “11 fall prey to targeted killings in Karachi,” Daily Times, June 10, 2011. Available at
[ix]“Chairman Senate orders security of journalists,” APP, June 10, 2011. Available at
[x] “Blast kills two Levies personnel,” Dawn, June 10, 2011. Available at