Pakistan Security Brief – March 13, 2012

Two separate U.S. drone strikes kill at least 13 militants; Extremists not supportive of peace talks; Pakistani commission to travel to India to investigate Mumbai attacks; Two Pakistani UN peacekeepers convicted of rape; Assistant political agent killed by unidentified gunman; Hussain Haqqani’s lawyer to question Mansoor Ijaz in “memogate” case; Hussain Haqqani requests Mansoor Ijaz pay for forensic expert; Over 200 security cameras to be installed in Islamabad; Pakistani Taliban militants fire rocket-propelled grenades at school; Militants detonate explosives in Miram Shah.

 

Militancy

  • A U.S. drone killed at least six suspected militants on Tuesday when it fired missiles at a vehicle in the Birmal sub-district of South Waziristan. Two of the militants killed in the strike, identified as Shamsullah and Amir Hamza Toji Khel, were senior commanders in a Pakistani Taliban faction led by Maulvi Nazir, “one of the most influential militant leaders in the region.” According to the Associated Press, this faction was known to “have signed a nonaggression pact with the Pakistani army.” Also on Tuesday, another U.S. drone killed seven militants when it fired two missiles at a vehicle in the Sara Khurah area of Shawal sub-district, North Waziristan. [1]

  • Addressing the Khyber Union of Journalists in Peshawar on Tuesday, Provincial Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iftikhar Hussain said that “the government is ready” for peace talks, “but the extremists are not supportive” of them and have continued their terrorist activities. Hussain said that the talks between the U.S. and the Taliban have created internal conflicts among the extremists, and only a joint strategy by Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. collectively can address this issue.[2]

  • At least three people were killed in Mir Ali, North Waziristan on Tuesday when militants attacked a meeting of tribal elders and town officials with a grenade and gunfire. One of the men killed was assistant political agent Jamal Azmath of Ladah, South Waziristan.[3]

  • On Tuesday, militants with the Pakistani Taliban wounded two people with four rocket-propelled grenades when they fired at a school and a house in Jandola, South Waziristan.[4]

  • Militants detonated explosives at a shop in Miram Shah, North Waziristan on Tuesday. Local government officials reported that the shop was destroyed and three others were damaged.[5]

International Relations

  • A commission of eight Pakistani investigators and lawyers will travel to India on Wednesday in order to gather evidence related to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed. In 2009, Pakistan indicted seven conspirators for the attacks but the commission has said that it needs additional evidence to prosecute. According to Pakistani prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar, the commission will record the statements of various Indian officials involved in investigating the attacks.[6]

  • A Pakistani military tribunal last week convicted two Pakistani UN peacekeepers of raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy and sentenced them to one year in a Pakistani prison, said authorities on Monday. The two soldiers, who were found guilty of raping the boy in Gonaives on January 20, were summarily discharged from the military. The Haitian Justice Minister called the verdict a “small” step in the right direction, saying that he “expected more from the UN and the Pakistani government.”[7]

Memogate

  • On Tuesday, Express News reported that Zahid Bukhari, the lawyer representing former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani in the “memogate” case, flew to London to question key witness Mansoor Ijaz. According to the Express Tribune, prior to boarding his plane Bukhari claimed that memogate was “nothing but a conspiracy to [destabilize] the government” and that the “truth and lies in the case will surface after the face-to-face cross-questioning of Ijaz in London.”[8]

  • On Monday, Hussain Haqqani asked that the memogate commission require Mansoor Ijaz to pay for the forensic expert Ijaz requested. Haqqani suggested that since Ijaz requested the examination, “its cost should be borne by him” and the resources of the government should be preserved. The forensic expert is needed to verify the data submitted to the commission by Ijaz. Haqqani, the target of Ijaz’s testimony, rejected the accusations made by Ijaz, but “neither admitted [to] nor denied” communicating with Ijaz.[9]

Security

  • On Monday, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry approved a plan to install “more than 200” security cameras in Islamabad. According to a ministry official, the cameras will be installed at “all the entry and exit points of the city, commercial centers, traffic signals” and a few other locations. A control room connected to all the police stations in Islamabad will also be constructed, allowing all the information regarding suspicious activity to be centralized. The project will begin in April and is expected to be completed in 2015.[10]       



[1] “FACTBOX – Security Developments in Pakistan, March 13,” Reuters, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-pakistan-developments-factboxl4e8ed5co-20120313,0,4308201.story
Ishtiaq Mahsud, “Suspected US drone strike kills 6 in NW Pakistan,” Associated Press, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2012/03/13/suspected_us_drone_strike_kills_6_in_nw_pakistan/
Zulfiqar Ali, “15 killed in Waziristan drone strikes,” The Express Tribune, March 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/349405/drone-strike-kills-5-in-north-waziristan-2/
[2] “Extremists not in favour of dialogue: minister,” Dawn, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/13/extremists-not-in-favour-of-dialogue-minister.html
[3] Zulfiqar Ali, “Assistant political agent killed in Mir Ali,” The Express Tribune, March 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/349423/assistant-political-agent-of-mir-ali-killed/
“FACTBOX – Security Developments in Pakistan, March 13,” Reuters, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-pakistan-developments-factboxl4e8ed5co-20120313,0,4308201.story
[4] “FACTBOX – Security Developments in Pakistan, March 13,” Reuters, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-pakistan-developments-factboxl4e8ed5co-20120313,0,4308201.story
[5] “FACTBOX – Security Developments in Pakistan, March 13,” Reuters, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-pakistan-developments-factboxl4e8ed5co-20120313,0,4308201.story
[6] “Pakistan lawyers travel to India for Mumbai prosecution,” AFP, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/13/pakistan-lawyers-to-india-for-mumbai-prosecution.html
[8] “Haqqani’s lawyer leaves for London to cross-question Ijaz,” The Express Tribune, March 13, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/349388/haqqanis-lawyer-leaves-for-london-to-cross-question-ijaz/
[9] Malik Asad, “Ijaz should bear forensic probe cost: Haqqani,” Dawn, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/13/ijaz-should-bear-forensic-probe-cost-haqqani.html
[10] Syed Irfan Raza, “Security cameras are here,” Dawn, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/13/security-cameras-are-here-2.html