Pakistan Security Brief - March 08, 2013

Kidnapped ICU vice chancellor appeals for release; Religious Affairs Minister escapes targeted killing; Forces kill 25 in Orakzai and Khyber operations; Four killed in Karachi violence; Rangers arrest suspects in Karachi operation; Bin Laden’s son-in-law pleads not guilty; Brennan’s nomination to lead CIA approved; Sufi shrine leader to protest Ashraf’s visit to India; Kayani hosts Pakistan Army Corps Commanders Conference;  JUI-F expects breakthrough in Taliban negotiations; Anti-terrorism bill passed in National Assembly; ISI contractors file contempt of court case against chief; U.S. warns Pakistan of sanctions; China to provide infrastructure aid to Pakistan.

Militancy

Al Qaeda Leader Captured

  • In New York, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, pleaded not guilty on Friday to allegations of conspiring to kill U.S. citizens. Ghaith was arrested in Jordan for his previous role as a spokesperson for al Qaeda and transferred to U.S. custody on February 28th.  He has been appointed three lawyers to preside over his defense and faces life in prison if convicted. [6] 

John Brennan Selected for CIA Head

Karachi Bombing

Taliban Negotiations

Afghan Violence

Iran-Pakistan Pipeline

  • U.S. State Department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated on Thursday that the U.S. has made it clear that Pakistan will violate U.S. sanctions if it concludes the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal. Nuland stated that “Iran is not a reliable partner,” and that the U.S. is working closely with Pakistani officials to solve Pakistan’s energy crisis. [11]

General Kayani Hosts Meeting

  • On Thursday, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani hosted a Pakistan Army Corps Commanders Conference  in Rawalpindi, where top generals discussed the security situation across Pakistan, specifically focusing on recent violence in Karachi and Quetta. [12]

Peshawar Ajmal Khan Hostage

Domestic Politics

  • On Friday, the National Assembly of Pakistan approved the Anti-terrorism Bill 2013, which will create an anti-terrorism department led by the prime minister, and will also formulate a national anti-terrorism policy. The bill also allows the use of electronic evidence in terrorism cases and grants Pakistani security forces the authority to confiscate the assets of suspected terrorism financiers. The bill was approved by the senate on March 5th. [14]

  • According to the Express Tribune, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf wrote a letter to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry requesting that he form a judicial commission to investigate the rental power project case in order to disprove corruption allegations against Ashraf. [15]

  • On Thursday, the Peshawar High Court petitioned the federal government to investigate national and international laws pertaining to drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan.  Members of the Peshawar High Court also asked whether the armed forces had any technology prevent the strikes. [16]

  • Four Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) contractors asked the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to file contempt of court charges against ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam and other top defense officials for not abiding by a prior IHC ruling demanding that the ISI regularize the civilian contractors’ status within the agency. An ISI official responded stating that contractors cannot obtain permanent positions until they have successfully completed a number of exams. [17]

  • On Wednesday, The Lahore High Court’s bench ordered an inquiry about the implications of United Nations Security Council’s resolutions against Pakistani citizens.  The order came when the Lahore High Court was due to hear a petition submitted by wanted terrorist and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, against the banning of his organization, Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Pakistan, and questions surfaced over the validity of the petition. [18]

Sino-Pakistan Relations

Indo-Pak Relations

  • On Friday, Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, the spiritual leader of a Sufi shrine in Ajmer Sharif, India, decided to boycott the visit of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who is scheduled to visit the shrine on Saturday. Khan stated that he will protest Ashraf’s visit because of the “ill-treatment of Hindus in Pakistan.” [20]


[1] “PML-N MPA escapes attack,” Express Tribune, March 8, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/517686/pml-n-mpa-escapes-attack/
[2] “Security forces kill 13 militants in Orakzai and Khyber agency,” The News International, March 8, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-91291-Security-forces-kill-13-militants-in-Orakzai-and-Khyber-agency-
[3] “Orakzai offensive leaves 25 militants dead,” Dawn, March 7, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/03/07/orakzai-offensive-leaves-25-militants-dead/
[4] “Karachi firing leaves one dead, two wounded,” Geo, March 8, 2013.  Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=91281
“Target killers detained,” The News International, March 8, 2013.  Available at www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-164010-Target-killers-detained
[5] “Rangers arrest several suspects in targeted operation,” The News International, March 8, 2013.  Available at  http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-91273-Karachi%3a-Rangers-arrest-several-suspects-in-targeted-operation
[6] “Bin Laden Son-in-Law Pleads Not Guilty,” the Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628804578348051350939058.html?mod=fox_australian
[7] Sarah Wheaton, “Brennan confirmed to lead the CIA,” New York Times, March 7, 2013.  Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/us/politics/brennan-confirmed-to-lead-the-cia.html?_r=2&
[8] “Abbas Town suo motu case: 'Sindh government has completely failed',” Express Tribune, March 8, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/517695/abbas-town-suo-motu-case-sindh-government-has-completely-failed/
[9] “JUI expects breakthrough in talks with Taliban,” Dawn, March 8, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/08/jui-expects-breakthrough-in-talks-with-taliban/
[10] ANDREW FINKEL “What the Mullahs Are Mulling,” International Herald Tribune, March 8, 2013. Available at http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/violence-in-afghanistan-has-no-religious-justification-say-muslim-clerics-at-a-conference-in-istanbul/
[11] US urges Pakistan to avoid sanctions,” Dawn, March 8, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/08/us-urges-pakistan-to-avoid-sanctions/
[12] “Corps commanders conference underway,” Dawn, March 8, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/07/corps-commanders-conference-underway-4/
[13] “Militants release fifth video of kidnapped VC,” The News International, March 8, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-21458-Militants-release-fifth-video-of-kidnapped-VC
[14] “NA approves anti-terrorism amendment bill,” The News, March 8, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-91337-Anti-terrorism-amendment-bill-approved-in-NA-
[15] “Rental Power Case is propaganda against me: PM Ashraf,” Express Tribune, March 8, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/517688/rental-power-case-pm-requests-cj-to-form-judicial-commission/         
[16] “Response to drone attacks: Court asks govt to study local, foreign laws,” Dawn, March 8, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/08/response-to-drone-attacks-court-asks-govt-to-study-local-foreign-laws/
[17] “ISI employees bring contempt petition against DG,” Dawn, March 8, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/07/isi-employees-bring-contempt-petition-against-dg-2/
[18] “JUD Plea on ban: LHC wants to know about UNSC role,” Dawn, March 6, 2013.  Available at  http://dawn.com/2013/03/07/jud-plea-on-ban-lhc-wants-to-know-about-unsc-role/
[19] “China mulls Gwadar-Rato Dero highway funding,” The News, March 8, 2013. Available http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-91351-China-to-fund-Gwadar-Rato-Dero-highway%3a-sources
[20] Indian shrine chief to boycott Pakistan PM’s pilgrimage,” Dawn, March 8, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/08/indian-shrine-chief-to-boycott-pakistan-pms-pilgrimage/