Pakistan Security Brief - June 15, 2010
Pakistan Security Brief – June 15, 2010
American “bin Laden hunter” arrested in northern Pakistan; wanted militant commander reportedly killed in accidental explosion; militants destroy another government-run middle school in Mohmand Agency; seven militants arrested in Mamund tehsil; ISI dismisses allegations of close links with Afghan Taliban; Pakistani Senate expresses concern over target killings in Karachi; man planting roadside bomb killed when device accidently exploded in Turbat; Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says Pakistan wants to resolve Kashmir dispute with India through talks; Lahore High Court postpones hearing Facebook petition until July 9.
Bin Laden Hunter Arrested
An American armed with a pistol, sword, and night-vision equipment was arrested in northern Pakistan, a police officer said on Tuesday. Gary Brooks Faulkner, a 52-year old Californian construction worker, told investigators that he was on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Faulkner was arrested in a forest near the border with Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, a known Taliban stronghold among several rumored hiding places for the al-Qaeda leader. When asked why he thought he had a chance of finding bin Laden, Faulkner replied, “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him.”
Qari Zafar, a wanted militant commander, was reportedly killed by an improvised explosive device in North Waziristan on June 7. According to his close aides, Zafar was killed after mistakenly touching explosives dumped inside his guesthouse near Miramshah. “He was actually searching for some materials and suddenly touched wires which triggered the blast in the IEDs stored there. He and a child, belonging to his relatives, died on the spot while two bodyguards sustained serious injuries,” a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi commander told The News on condition of anonymity. Zafar, who was allegedly involved in March 2, 2006 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and was wanted by both the U.S. and Pakistani governments for involvement in several terrorist attacks.
Militants destroyed another government-run middle school in Khwezai Tehsil in Mohmand Agency on Monday, according to tribal sources. The militants used explosives to destroy the Government Boys Middle School in Ashrafabad in Khwezai subdivision. Soon after the incident, the political administration arrested 16 tribesmen in connection with the bombing. Meanwhile, unidentified men kidnapped three tribesmen from Khwezai Tehsil. The kidnapping has not been confirmed by administration officials.
Seven militants were arrested in Bajaur Agency and another 16 renounced militancy and surrendered to security forces, sources said on Monday. Three militants were arrested from Mamund tehsil while another four apprehended in the Tangi area of Salarzai tehsil. Meanwhile, security forces destroyed 10 homes belonging to militants in Malangi, Zaray and Zagi areas of Mamund tehsil during search and clearance operations. 
ISI Denies Allegations
On Monday, Pakistani officials dismissed allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) finances, trains, and at least partially controls the Afghan Taliban insurgency. The officials said that the report published earlier this week is a "malicious" account with little solid evidence. "If there is great turbulence on the other side, it directly affects this side of the border," said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the army spokesman. "Nobody would be more interested in seeing a more peaceful, more stable, friendlier Afghanistan than Pakistan itself." Pakistan has long denied providing support to the Afghan Taliban, although some ISI officials say that they still maintain lines of communication with some of the movement’s leaders.
The Senate on Tuesday expressed serious concern over target killings in the city. The senators were of the view that anti-state elements were aiming to disrupt the peace in the financial capital in order to derail the country’s economy. President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday emphasized that he wanted peace in the city at all costs, official sources said. Meanwhile, at least seven people were killed in incidents of target killings in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll of sectarian killings in the first two weeks of June to 15. “Karachi has become a center of targeted killings…an operation has become crucial to root out terrorism and its links in the city,” said Allama Abbas Kumaili of the Jafria Alliance Pakistan.
An explosion on Airport Road in Turbat killed one person on Tuesday, according to police sources. The man, allegedly trying to plant a bomb, was killed when device accidently exploded. Soon after the incident, the police cordoned off the area and began an investigation into the incident.
Speaking at the National Defense University in Islamabad on Tuesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan wanted to resolve the Kashmir conflict and other outstanding issues with India through talks. Gilani also addressed the global financial crisis, electricity shortages, and increases in oil prices.
The Lahore High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of a petition against Facebook until July 9, Dawn News reported. The court directed the Ministry of Information Technology to put in place a system through which “blasphemous” content could be filtered out. The ministry said it will launch a complaint hotline and promised to take action within 24 hours of receiving a complaint about blasphemous content.