Pakistan Security Brief - June 26, 2012

Petitioners challenge President Zardari’s ordinance protecting former prime minister’s decisions post-conviction; PML-Q leader given new deputy prime minister position; Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan to discuss NATO supply route with Pakistan Army chief; U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan to leave post within the month; Mumbai terror attacks suspect recruited Saudi volunteers for additional terror plots; India-Pakistan foreign minister talks postponed; Suspected Pakistani militants arrested in Uganda; Pakistan Foreign Office protests NATO and Afghan forces over cross-border Taliban ambush; TTP spokesman says Afghanistan is new launching for attacks on Pakistani forces; TTP militants attack TV station in Karachi, injuring two employees; Taliban bans polio vaccines in South Waziristan.        

Prime Minister’s Disqualification and New Prime Minister

  • On Tuesday, petitioners challenged President Asif Ali Zardari’s June 24 ordinance—providing constitutional protection for all decisions made by former Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani following his April 26 contempt conviction—in the Supreme Court. The petitions argued that the court had not yet provided “consequences” for Gilani’s post-conviction actions and, therefore, Zardari’s ordinance was “unconstitutional.” The petitions further claimed that the ordinance undermined parliament and the judiciary’s authority.[1]  

  • On Monday, negotiations between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its coalition partner, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), concluded with the appointment of PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as Pakistan’s deputy prime minister. The position, a long-standing demand by the PML-Q, is not provided for in Pakistan’s constitution and, as of now, has not yet been defined. Elahi, who was a senior minister in Gilani’s cabinet, held the position of Minister for Defence Production and Industries prior to his recent appointment. The government’s notification of Elahi’s appointment stated the position would not “confer upon him any powers of the prime minister in any manner whatsoever.”[2]  

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

India-Pakistan Relations

  • New details regarding Thursday’s arrest of Sayed Zabiuddin, one of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants alleged to have participated in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, have emerged. According to the Guardian, Zabuiddin, a thirty-year-old from the Indian state of Maharashtra, was arrested at a New Delhi airport after being deported by Saudi Arabia at India’s request. An Indian police official added that Zabuiddin had spent two years in Saudi Arabia, during which he sought to recruit volunteers for another Mumbai-style terrorist attack. He traveled using a Pakistani passport with the alias Riyasat Ali, one of his suspected ten aliases, according to Indian police. Prior to the attacks, Zabuiddin, described by Indian authorities as the operation’s “handler,” reportedly instructed the LeT gunmen to tell investigators the attacks were the fault of Indian Muslims, and described the terrorism plot as a response to the Indian government’s atrocities against Kashmiri Muslims. Zabuiddin’s name was given to Indian authorities by Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the only LeT gunmen arrested during the attacks.[6]       

  • Talks between Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar were postponed until August or September due to India’s upcoming presidential elections and Pakistan’s current political upheaval. The talks, originally scheduled for next month, were to include discussion of the Kashmir dispute and the countries’ ongoing peace process. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the postponement was not “reflective of substantive problems” between the countries. Talks between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries will still take place from July 4-5 in New Delhi.[7]    

Arrest of Pakistanis with Suspected Militant Links

  • On Sunday, police in Uganda arrested five Pakistanis suspected of militant links in the western district of Ntoroko near the Rwenzori Mountains on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area formerly used as a base for the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU), a now-dormant militant group with alleged links to al Shabaab. Police arrested the suspects as they attempted to cross into the country from the Congo through an “ungazetted border point,” according to Deputy Police spokesperson Judith Nabakoba.[8]

International Relations

Drone Strikes

  • House and Senate intelligence committee officials, in an article in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, defended the precise process used in targeting suspected militants in Pakistan for drone strikes, saying review by congressional members and staffers had made the CIA “more careful” in its decision making process. According to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, the “committee staff had held 28 monthly in-depth oversight meetings to review strike records and question every aspect of the program including legality, effectiveness, precision, foreign policy implications and the care taken to minimize noncombatant casualties."At these meetings, lawmakers and aides with the intelligence oversight committees watch video of drone strikes, listen to telephone evidence, and examine “after-the-fact evidence” to validate a particular CIA target.[11]

Militancy

  • Speaking to Express News on Tuesday, the spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) Malakand chapter Sirajuddin confirmed that the TTP was using Afghanistan “as a springboard for launching attacks on Pakistani security forces.” Sirajuddin specifically mentioned how the TTP faction led by Mullah Fazlullah in Afghanistan frequently coordinated operations with fighters in Malakand division. While the Pakistani government claimed that top TTP factions fled across the porous border between the two countries after military offensives in Swat, Bajaur, and Mohmand agencies in 2009, Sirajuddin claimed the move to Afghanistan occurred recently.[12]

  • A security guard and an employee of a Pakistani TV station were injured on Monday when TTP militants opened fire on the offices of Aaj TV in Guru Mandir, Karachi. A TTP spokesman claimed the attack was carried out due to the station’s over-coverage of the army and government and lack of coverage of the TTP. The spokesman added that similar attacks would occur in the future if the station does not provide the TTP more favorable coverage. Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Rehman Malik, advisor to the prime minister for internal affairs, condemned the TTP attack on the TV station. Malik also claimed the top leadership of TTP had been eliminated, though he acknowledged that several low-level leaders of TTP remained at large.[13] 

  • On Monday, Taliban militants belonging to Mullah Nazir’s faction distributed pamphlets in South Waziristan’s main town, Wana, banning polio vaccination in the area. The ban followed a similar measure by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the leader of the Taliban in North Waziristan, who outlawed the use of oral polio vaccines for children in the area. Taliban leaders imposed the ban in response to immunization campaigns that, they claim, are a cover for Western spy networks, and have said that the ban will stay in place until U.S. drone strikes end.[14]      

  • A clash between police and suspected militants in the Badhber area of Peshawar on Tuesday resulted in the death of Darra Adam Khel Umar, a key commander of the TTP and a close aide to the commander of the Tariq Afridi TTP splinter group. Police also arrested five suspects in connection with the gun-battle.[15] 

  • Eight people, including two policemen and a Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) official, were killed in Karachi on Tuesday. Unidentified assailants killed a traffic police official in the Chakiwara area of Lyari, another police official near Chowrangi in North Karachi, and a KESC official in North Nazimabad near Saifee College.  Gunmen killed three more civilians in the areas of Kemari, Saeedabad, and Baldia Town, and police found two bodies, including a senior activist of the extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), in Sarjani Town and Ramswami, Garden in the industrial area of New Karachi. On Tuesday, police in the Musharraf Colony area of Mauripur also arrested Furqan, alias Tunta, a suspect believed to have carried out over 60 acts of “target killing” in Karachi, the majority of which targeted members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) or the Arshad Pappu gang. Further interrogation of Tunta revealed the suspect’s association with the Ustad Taju gang of Lyari and several other groups in addition to 500 alleged companions.[16]  



[1] “Indemnity-granting presidential ordinance challenged in SC,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399373/indemnity-granting-presidential-ordinance-challenged-in-sc/
[2] Irfan Ghauri, “It’s official: Pakistan gets a deputy prime minister,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399280/its-official-pakistan-gets-a-deputy-prime-minister/
[3] “Gen John Allen to visit Pakistan for Nato route talks,” Dawn, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/gen-john-allen-to-visit-pakistan-for-nato-route-talks/
“PM Ashraf says no hasty decisions will be made over Pak-US relations,” Geo News, June 26, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56108
[4] Huma Imtiaz, “Richard Olson likely to succeed Munter as ambassador,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399276/richard-olson-likely-to-succeed-munter-as-ambassador/
[5] “Two US senators to discuss jailed Afridi,” AP, June 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/two-us-senators-to-discuss-jailed-afridi/
[6] Helen Pidd, “Mumbai terror attacks suspect arrested by Indian police,” Guardian, June 26, 2012. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/26/mumbai-terror-attacks-suspect-arrested
“Alleged Mumbai plotter was planning new attack: Police,” Reuters, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399455/alleged-mumbai-plotter-was-planning-new-attack-police/
“Mumbai attacks ‘handler’ arrested, says India,” Dawn, June 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/mumbai-attacks-handler-arrested-says-india/
[7] “Composite dialogue: India, Pakistan foreign ministers’ meeting postponed,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399346/composite-dialogue-pakistan-india-talks-postponed/
“India, Pakistan foreign ministers’ meeting postponed,” AFP, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/india-pakistan-foreign-ministers-meeting-postponed/
[8] “Uganda detains five Pakistanis suspected of militant links,” Reuters, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399381/uganda-detains-five-pakistanis-suspected-of-militant-links/
[9] “Cross-border attack: Pakistan furious over Taliban raid,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399204/cross-border-attack-pakistan-furious-over-taliban-raid/
“Seven captured Pakistani soldiers ‘beheaded by Taliban,’” BBC News, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18586978
“Pakistan says militants who crossed over from Afghanistan kill 13 troops, beheading 7 of them,” AP, June 26, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistan-says-militants-who-crossed-over-from-afghanistan-kill-13-troops-beheading-7-of-them/2012/06/26/gJQACVII3V_story.html?tid=pm_world_pop
[10] “President Zardari congratulates President Morsi of Egypt,” The News, June 26, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-116803-President-Zardari-congratulates-President-Morsi-of-Egypt
[11] Ken Dilanian, “Congress keeps closer watch on CIA drone strikes,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2012. Available at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-na-drone-oversight-20120625,0,6672018.story
[12] Tahir Khan, “TTP admits to having safe haven in Afghanistan,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399205/ttp-admits-to-having-safe-haven-in-afghanistan/
[13] “Guard, employee of private TV channel shot,” Daily Times, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\26\story_26-6-2012_pg12_13
 “Taliban open fire on Pakistan TV station,” Guardian, June 26, 2012. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/jun/26/journalist-safety-pakistan
“Top leadership of TTP eliminated: Rehman Malik,” Dawn, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/top-leadership-of-ttp-eliminated-rehman-malik/
[14] “Polio vaccination banned in South Waziristan,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399274/polio-vaccination-banned-in-south-waziristan/
Jon Boone, “Taliban leader bans polio vaccinations in protest at drone strikes,” Guardian, June 26, 2012. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/26/taliban-bans-polio-vaccinations?newsfeed=true
[15] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “TTP Commander killed in police encounter,” Dawn, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/ttp-commander-killed-in-police-encounter/
[16] “KESC official, policemen killed in Karachi,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399353/kesc-official-policemen-killed-in-karachi/
“Target killings, murders after kidnapping continue in metropolis,” Daily Times, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\26\story_26-6-2012_pg12_12
“LEAs nab target killer belonging to PAC,” Daily Times, June 26, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\26\story_26-6-2012_pg12_14