Pakistan Security Brief - June 19, 2012

Supreme Court disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani from office; UN Special Rapporteur report calls on U.S. to justify drone strikes; Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. calls again for apology over Salala border incident; Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani inaugurates USAID project; Growing fears over ISI connection to Islamic extremists; Afghan President Hamid Karzai blames ‘regional spy agencies’ and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Jhangvi for December 2011 attack; President Zardari invites Russia to 4th Quadrilateral Summit; Three people killed in Orakzai agency; Incidents of ‘targeted killing’ continue in Karachi; Pakistan ranked 13th on FP Failed States Index.

Prime Minister Disqualified

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the country’s election commission to formally disqualify Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from office. The ruling comes in response to petitions filed against Prime Minister Gilani after he was found in contempt of court in April due to his failure to properly pursue corruption charges against President Zardari. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry announced that Prime Minister Gilani “is disqualified from membership of parliament from April 26, the date of his conviction,” throwing into question everything the Prime Minister has accomplished since then, including the 2012-13 national budget. The ruling requires President Zardari to “take necessary steps under the Constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through parliamentary system[s] of government in the country.” At a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting held at the presidency on Monday, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) accepted the decision and scheduled a meeting on Tuesday night to select a new prime minister.[1]

Drone Strikes

NATO Supply Routes

  • Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed said on Monday that NATO supply routes could reopen this month if the U.S. would apologize for the Salala border incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November. Speaking to the Defence Reporters Forum (DRF) at Parliament House’s cafeteria, Sayed noted that most of the technical matters had been settled but a “US apology is awaited and there is no way out other than this.”[3]

  • Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., again emphasized the importance of an “appropriate” American apology over the Salala border incident in resetting relations between Pakistan and the U.S. Speaking at a conference on Capitol Hill on Monday, the Pakistani ambassador called on the U.S. to respect the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan and end drone attacks in the country. Rehman further noted that the two countries are currently at a “critical phase of negotiating new terms of engagement.”[4]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday inaugurated the U.S.-funded Tank-Gomal-Wana Road in South Waziristan. According to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, the road, funded by USAID, will allow “people of Murtaza Kot, Nilikatch, Gomal Zam, Tanai, Tiarza and Wana in the South Waziristan Agency access to Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and other parts of Pakistan.” Military troops remain deployed in the area, though General Kayani insists they are “concentrating on health and education facilities.” Though relations between Pakistan and the U.S. remain tense, USAID continues to fund projects in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).[5] 

  • Speaking to an audience in Kabul two weeks ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed frustration with the Pakistani government over their inability to go after the Haqqani Network. According to U.S. and Pakistani insiders, there is a fear that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency is working increasingly closely with Islamic extremist groups such as the Haqqani Network to create a safe-haven for the Taliban in Afghanistan after U.S. and coalition troops withdraw in 2014. Speaking about the Haqqani network, a U.S. military official said the group had “developed an intricate working relationship with Pakistan’s [ISI].” Many U.S. military and diplomatic officials fear that the civilian government in Islamabad is losing control of extremist elements in the country’s military and intelligence agencies. According to another U.S. military official, there is a “very real possibility that a civil war after [U.S. and coalition troops] withdraw will lead once again to a fanatical government in Afghanistan.”[6]

International Relations

  • On Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed “regional spy agencies” and the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi for the December 2011 suicide attack that targeted Shia worshippers and killed over 80 people in Kabul. His comments followed the arrest of two men alleged to have brought suicide attackers into Afghanistan from Pakistan, and represented a veiled attack at Pakistan, where the suicide attack was allegedly planned with the backing of the country’s intelligence agencies.[7] 

  • President Asif Ali Zardari has invited Russia to participate in the 4th Quadrilateral Summit between Russia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan from September 26-27. Officials from the four countries will meet in Pakistan to discuss opportunities for multilateral cooperation in stabilizing Afghanistan, fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, and implementing developmental projects. Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that President Zardari also plans to hold a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the summit.[8]

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Kayani met with Saudi Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah in a hotel room in Saudi Arabia late Monday night. The two Pakistani leaders, in the country to attend the funeral prayers of late Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, discussed areas of mutual interest for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.[9]

Militancy


[1] “Pakistan court strips Yousuf Raza Gilani of prime ministership,” Guardian, June 19, 2012. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/19/pakistan-yousuf-raza-gilani
“PPP accepts Gilani’s disqualification verdict,” Geo Pakistan, June 19, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=55047
“Const.Petions 40 of 2012 Etc.,” Supreme Court of Pakistan, June 19, 2012. Available at http://dawncompk.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/supreme-court-short-order-na-speaker-ruling-june19-2012.pdf
[2] “UN investigator decries US use of killer drones,” Reuters, June 19, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/395950/un-investigator-decries-us-use-of-killer-drones/
“Drone attacks discussed in UN Human Rights Council,” APP, June 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/19/drone-attacks-discussed-in-un-human-rights-council/
[3] “NATO supply route to reopen this month: Mushahid,” Daily Times, June 19, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\19\story_19-6-2012_pg7_18
[4] “US should apologise appropriately: Sherry,” APP, June 18, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/19/us-should-apologise-appropriately-sherry/
[5] Kamran Yousef, “Kayani initiates USAID project in S Waziristan,” Express Tribune, June 19, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/395817/kayani-initiates-usaid-project-in-s-waziristan/
[6] Sara A. Carter, “Pakistan’s spy agency moves towards open defiance of U.S.,” Washington Examiner, June 18, 2012. Available at http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/746186
[7] “Kabul accuses Pakistan over suicide attack,” AFP, June 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/19/kabul-accuses-pakistan-over-suicide-attack/
[8] “Zardari invites Russian president for quadrilateral summit,” Daily Times, June 19, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\19\story_19-6-2012_pg7_34
[9] Hanif Khalid, “Gilani, Kayani hold meeting in Saudi Arabia,” The News, June 19, 2012. Available ar http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15475-PM,-COAS-hold-meeting-in-S-Arabia
[10] “Militancy: Houses of two tribesmen demolished for links with LI,” Express Tribune, June 19, 2012.
[11] “Three killed in Orakzai shelling,” The News, June 19, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-115311-Three-killed-in-Orakzai-shelling
[12] “Khi target killing toll hits 11 in 24 hrs,” The News, June 18, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-54925-Karachi-target-killing-toll-hits-11-in-24-hours
“Six killed in incidents of violence in Karachi,” Dawn, June 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/19/six-killed-in-incidents-of-violence-in-karachi/
[13] “3 killed, 12 injured in Quetta tribal clash,” Express Tribune, June 19, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/395946/3-killed-12-injured-in-quetta-tribal-clash/
[14] “Pakistan ranks 13 in failed states index-2012,” Geo Pakistan, June 19, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=55012