Pakistan Security Brief - June 29, 2012

U.S. House members introduce legislation to designate Haqqani Network as Foreign Terrorist Organization; U.S. and NATO commanders reportedly considering raids into Pakistan; Pakistan Foreign Ministry holds briefing to stress commitment to democracy; Illegal Afghans to be deported from Pakistani tribal region; Indian Home Minister calls on Pakistan to acknowledge Sayed Zabiuddin’s role in Mumbai terror attacks; Poll says Pakistanis see India as greatest threat; Taliban denies seeking permission from Pakistan to attend peace talks in Qatar; Militant attack on tribal area fort injures three Frontier Corps members; Landmine explosion in Balochistan kills three security personnel.                

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • In a statement posted on the Afghan Taliban’s website, the militant group denied allegations that Pakistan provided them with “permission” to send representatives to peace talks with U.S. officials in Qatar. The statement came in response to Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq’s interview with Reuters this week in which he said the government “had allowed some Taliban to travel to the Gulf.” The statement noted that the group acted independently, saying it made “decisions of its own likings in all matters and affairs in light of Islamic principles and national interests.”[4]

  • Prime Minister Ashraf is scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul next month to discuss a number of issues, including peace talks with the Taliban. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will be leading a Pakistani delegation to the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan in July. She confirmed that Pakistan will be providing $20 million to support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) with capacity building and technical assistance.[5]

  • Law enforcement agencies in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are being told to arrest and subsequently deport any illegal Afghans after a June 30 deadline. With an estimated 400,000 undocumented Afghans living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, many of whom are allegedly involved in crime, the situation remains the “largest and most protracted refugee crisis in the world,” according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). While the International Organisation for Migration said that Afghan and Pakistani officials may consider “safe and dignified repatriation” for 7,200 families if funding can be found, successfully reintegrating the refugees into Afghan society remains a difficult task.[6]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • On Friday, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that Sayed Zabiuddin, the alleged handler of the ten gunmen responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, “had found a very safe haven in Pakistan,” and called on Pakistan to acknowledge his involvement in the plot as well as his presence in the Karachi control room, which Chidambaram asserted could not have been set up without Pakistani state involvement.[7]

  • On Wednesday, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna asked Pakistan to release all Indian nationals who are currently serving or have completed their prison terms. The request followed Thursday’s release of Surjeet Singh, the Indian national jailed on spying charges, and India’s ongoing request for the release of Sarabjeet Singh, who was sentenced to death following his alleged involvement in bombings in Punjab in the 1980s and early 1990s.[8]    

  • According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, 59% percent of Pakistanis identified India as the country’s greatest threat, a figure higher than that of the Taliban, and 74% considered the U.S. an enemy.[9]    

International Relations

Judiciary and Domestic Politics

  • The Pakistani Foreign Ministry hosted a rare briefing on Friday to assuage foreign nations’ fears that the current faceoff between the Pakistani government and the Supreme Court would result in a constitutional or political crisis. Following the election of new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf last Friday, the Supreme Court issued an order—the same one issued to former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani—requiring him to reopen an old corruption investigation against President Asif Ali Zardari. During the briefing, Pakistan’s law and foreign ministers stated that the government had no intention of taking “radical steps” to circumvent the judiciary, and stressed the government’s commitment to strengthening democracy and maintaining an “independent judicial system.” The briefing followed Thursday’s meeting between Ashraf and his foreign minister and foreign secretary, during which he emphasized the need for Pakistan to project a soft image through public diplomacy and later remarked that, “Pakistan’s foreign policy is in safe hands.”[11]

  • The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for the “memogate” case on July 12. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will lead a nine-member bench in hearing the statements of all parties in the case, including Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani and U.S. businessman Mansoor Ijaz. A report issued by the memo commission in early June held the former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. guilty for crafting a memo to U.S. Admiral Michael Mullen requesting American help to prevent a supposed Pakistani military coup.[12]

  • Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the minister for textiles whose name was initially submitted as Gilani’s successor for the prime minister post, was granted bail by the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Thursday. The bail is set to expire July 3. Shahabuddin was arrested last Thursday following his alleged involvement in a scandal concerning the illegal import of the drug ephedrine during his time as health minister in 2012.[13]    

Drone Strikes

  • On Friday, Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Dost Muhammad Khan urged an international forum to consider the issue of drone strikes in Pakistan. Speaking in response to a petition filed by the families of victims of a March 17 drone attack, the chief justice expressed discontent with parliament’s inability to enforce a resolution that demanded an end to U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.[14]

Militancy



[1] Julian Pecquet, “House foreign affairs leaders band together on designating Haqqani Network as terror group,” The Hill, June 28, 2012. Available at http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/terrorism/235309-house-foreign-affairs-leaders-band-together-on-designating-of-haqqani-network-as-terror-group
“US plans financial restrictions on LeT,” Dawn, June 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/us-plans-financial-restrictions-on-let/
[2] “Cameron Munter discusses US interest in Pakistan,” APP, June 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/cameron-munter-discusses-us-interest-in-pakistan/
“Pakistan still demands apology on Salala attack: Naveed Qamar,” PPI, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56548
[3] Carlos Munoz, “Report: US mulls clandestine raids into Pakistan,” The Hill, June 28, 2012. Available at http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/235385-report-us-mulls-clandestine-raids-into-pakistan
[4] “Afghan Taliban deny taking orders from Pakistan,” Reuters, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/afghan-taliban-deny-taking-orders-from-pakistan/
[5] “Pak-Afghan diplomacy: New prime minister to visit Kabul next month,” Express Tribune, June 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/400917/pak-afghan-diplomacy-new-prime-minister-to-visit-kabul-next-month/
[6] “Afghans face mass deportation from Pakistan,” Express Tribune, June 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/401072/afghans-face-mass-deportation-from-pakistan/
[7] “India presses Pakistan on Mumbai attacks suspect,” AFP, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/india-presses-pakistan-on-mumbai-attacks-suspect/
“Surjeet was not an Indian spy: P Chidambaram,” Geo News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56591
[8] Sunara Nizami, “Release Sarabjeet Signgh, Krishna requests Pakistan,” Express Tribune, June 27, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/399875/release-sarabjeet-singh-krishna-requests-pakistan/
[9] “For Pakistanis, India bigger threat than Taliban, al Qaeda: Survey,” Geo News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56535
[10] “Avenues for cooperation: Russia offers $500m for electricity import project,” Express Tribune, June 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/400701/avenues-for-cooperation-russia-offers-500m-for-electricity-import-project/
[11] Kamran Yousaf, “Rare move: Govt pledges no ‘radical steps’ in row with judiciary,” Express Tribune, June 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/400903/rare-move-govt-pledges-no-radical-steps-in-row-with-judiciary/
[12] “Supreme Court to hear memo case on July 12,” Geo News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56546
“Memogate case: SC issues notice to Haqqani, Ijaz,” Dawn, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/memogate-case-sc-issues-notices/
[13] Malik Asad, “Shahabuddin gets interim bail,” Dawn, June 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/shahabuddin-gets-interim-bail/.
[14] “Drone strike issue should be raised at international forum: PHC,” Geo News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56545
[15] Saleem Shahid, “Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claims responsibility: 13 lives lost in brutal attack on Shia pilgrims,” Dawn, June 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/lashkar-i-jhangvi-claims-responsibility-13-lives-lost-in-brutal-attack-on-shia-pilgrims/
“’Suicide’ blast: 14 killed in attack on Hazara pilgrims,” Express Tribune, June 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/400907/suicide-blast-14-killed-in-attack-on-hazara-pilgrims/
[16] “Three FC men injured in Hangu clash,” Dawn, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/06/29/fc-kills-four-militants-in-hangu/
[17] “Four killed in Karachi violence,” Geo News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56526
“Teenage boy injured in firing,” Daily Times, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\29\story_29-6-2012_pg12_6
“Lyari gangster killed in police encounter,” Daily Times, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\29\story_29-6-2012_pg12_13
“MQM activist among two fall prey to violence in city,” Daily Times, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\29\story_29-6-2012_pg12_12
[18] “Forces kill six militants during cross border attack in Lower Dir,” Geo News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=56559
[19] “Rocket attack injures 4 in Quetta,” Daily Times, June 29, 2012. Available at http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\29\story_29-6-2012_pg7_2
[20] “Three security men hurt in Mach landmine blast,” The News, June 29, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-117401-Three-security-men-hurt-in-Mach-landmine-blast