Pakistan Security Brief - June 25, 2012

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announces commitment to supremacy of parliament; President Zardari issues ordinance protecting former Prime Minister Gilani’s decisions; Pakistani official says U.S. contemplating saying “sorry” for Salala border strike; U.S. welcomes election of new Pakistani prime minister; Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan says U.S. and Taliban “need to be serious” about negotiations; Indian authorities arrest key suspect in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; Afghan militants kill six Pakistani soldiers near border; Incidents of violence in Karachi leave seven people dead, five others injured; TTP beheads seven Pakistani security officials.

Prime Minister’s Disqualification and New Prime Minister

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Saturday, a senior Pakistani official told The News that the Obama Administration was contemplating using the term “sorry” in some form while also considering rehabilitating Pakistan’s road infrastructure in an effort to reach a compromise with Pakistan. Technical negotiations over the reopening of the NATO supply route, which was closed in November following a border strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, had concluded and a final agreement was now dependent upon both countries’ political leadership, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.[4]

  • On Friday, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland welcomed Ashraf’s appointment as prime minister, stating that the U.S. hopes “this will open space to continue to roll up our sleeves and get back on track with all of the things that we want to do with Pakistan.” Ashraf, in his first speech to Pakistan’s parliament on Friday, expressed his intention to develop “cordial relations with the United States and [the] international community.” [5]

  • Speaking with U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Sunday, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik assured the diplomat that law enforcement officials would provide full protection for U.S. diplomats in Islamabad after the U.S. State Department last week released a report noting an increase in harassment of U.S. diplomats by the country’s security agencies. Malik reassured the U.S. ambassador that “Islamabad [will assure] full protection to all diplomats guaranteed under the Vienna Conventions.” Munter responded by presenting Malik with formal recommendations for improving the security and safety of U.S. officials operating in Islamabad.[6]

  • The provincial government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is continuing surveillance of all foreigners moving throughout sensitive areas such as Malakand and Kohat, promising that any foreigner caught in sensitive areas without a “no objection certificate” (NOC) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be “returned respectfully to Islamabad.” Though a recently published U.S. State Department report denotes such actions in Peshawar and other areas of the country as “harassment of their officials,” the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Home and Tribal Affairs Department recently issued reinforcing directives that require police in the area to intercept any diplomatic vehicle seen travelling into a prohibited area.[7]

Taliban Negotiations and Afghanistan

  • In an interview with Reuters, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq said the U.S. and the Taliban “need to be serious” about negotiations for a peace deal to be reached. Sadiq said Pakistan supported a peace deal between the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban but noted “a lack of clarity on both sides.” He encouraged the Taliban to be clear on whether it wanted substantive peace talks or simply the release of former officials currently held at Guantanamo Bay, and observed that the U.S. position was hindered by bureaucratic infighting.[8]   

  • On Saturday, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime released its annual report and declared Pakistan a poppy free country. According to Geo News, Pakistan is Afghanistan’s most vital supply route for poppy smuggling, two-thirds of which goes through Makran, a strip of land in southern Balochistan.[9]  

India-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, Indian authorities arrested Sayed Zabiuddin—also known as Abu Hamza and Abu Jindal—an Indian-born member of the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, for his alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Zabiuddin, who was arrested in a New Delhi airport after arriving from an unspecified Middle Eastern country, was said to be the voice heard in a Karachi control room guiding the ten Pakistani militants who carried out the terror attacks. Prior to Thursday, the only other arrest made in connection with the attacks was of Ajmal Kasab, one of the Pakistani gunmen who later spoke about an Indian man who gave the Pakistani militants knowledge of the Mumbai area.[10]        

  • Brigade commanders from India and Pakistan met on Saturday in an effort to alleviate bilateral tensions resulting in small clashes between the two countries’ militaries over past ten days. Fighting began after a Pakistani sniper killed an Indian Border Security Force soldier on June 11. The resulting flare up between the two countries led to the deaths of six soldiers and fueled India’s subsequent deployment of artillery along the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border separating India’s and Pakistan’s territorial claims in the Jammu and Kashmir region.[11]    

Militancy

 


[1] “Pak PM vows to ensure supremacy of Parliament,” Hindustan Times, “June 23, 2012. Available at http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Pak-PM-vows-to-ensure-supremacy-of-Parliament/Article1-877544.aspx
[2] “President Zardari issues ordinance to protect Gilani’s decisions,” Dawn, June 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/24/president-zardari-issues-ordinance-to-protect-gilanis-decisions/
[3] Ema Anis, “Ashraf was misguided as power minister: Altaf Hussain,” Express Tribune, June 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/398935/ashraf-was-misguided-as-power-minister-altaf-hussain/
Sameer Mandhro, “Altaf pleads for ethnic unity in Karachi,” Express Tribune, June 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/398806/altaf-pleads-for-ethnic-unity-in-karachi/
“Shahi Syed refuses to meet Raja Pervaiz Ashraf,” Express Tribune, June 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/398916/shahi-syed-refuses-to-meet-raja-pervaiz-ashraf/
Qamar Zaman, “PML-N willing to hold talks with government,” Express Tribune, June 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/398808/pml-n-willing-to-hold-talks-with-government/
“Raja’s appointment as PM disappointed people: PTI leader,” The News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-116518-Rajas-appointment-as-PM-disappointed-people:-PTI-leader
[4] Mehtab Haider, “Compromise on the cards in Pak-US talks,” The News, June 24, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-116346-Compromise-on-the-cards-in-Pak-US-talks
[5] Victoria Nuland, “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, June 22, 2012. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/06/193931.htm#PAKISTAN2
“US hopes new Pakistan PM will get ties back on track,” AFP, June 23, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=55613
[6] Zahid Gishkori, “US diplomats promised full protection,” Express Tribune, June 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/398786/us-diplomats-promised-full-protection/
[7] Javed Aziz Khan, “Despite US concern, surveillance of foreigners continues in KP,” The News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-116521-Despite-US-concern,-surveillance-of-foreigners-continues-in-KP
[9] “Pakistan declared poppy free by UNODC,” Geo News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=55906
[10] Rama Lakshmi, “Indian police arrest key suspect in 2008 Mumbai attack case,” Washington Post, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/indian-police-arrest-key-suspect-in-mumbai-attack-case/2012/06/25/gJQAXrnG1V_story.html?wprss=rss_asia-pacific
“Mumbai attacks suspect arrested in India: reports,” AFP, June 25, 2012. Available http://news.yahoo.com/mumbai-attacks-suspect-arrested-india-reports-083650594.html
[11] ‘Top commanders look to defuse LoC tension,” Express Tribune, June 24, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/398380/top-commanders-look-to-defuse-loc-tension/
[12] Delawar Jan, “Six soldiers, 11 militants killed in cross border attack,” The News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-15603-Six-soldiers,-11-militants-killed-in-cross-border-attack
“TTP claims responsibility of upper Dir incident,” Geo News, June 24, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=55868
[13] “Man gunned down in DI Khan,” The News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-116532-Man-gunned-down-in-DI-Khan
[14] “One killed in Lakarna firing,” The News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-116542-One-killed-in-Larkana-firing
[15] “Five more people found dead in Karachi,” Daily Times, June 25, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\25\story_25-6-2012_pg7_12
“Firing incident kills two policemen in Karachi,” Geo News, June 24, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=55870
[16] “Gunmen kill 3 policemen in southwest Pakistan,” AFP, June 24, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/gunmen-kill-3-policemen-southwest-pakistan-155332826.html.
[17] “Taliban savagery,” Dawn, June 23, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/24/taliban-savagery/
[18] “2 FC soldiers hurt in rocket attack,” The News, June 24, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-116333-2-FC-soldiers-hurt-in-rocket-attack