Pakistan Security Brief - March 14, 2012

Chinese bank backs out of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project; Activists petition UN, calling for Pakistan to release Christian woman sentenced to death; Remote control bomb kills members of anti-Taliban militia; Three police officers killed in separate shooting incidents in Karachi; Security forces blow up office belonging to Lashkar-e-Islam in Khyber agency; Militants gun down three locals in Tirah valley; Unknown assailants open fire on police check post in Peshawar. 

International Relations

  • A Pakistani Finance Ministry official said Tuesday that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which had agreed to finance the Pakistani section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, is backing out of the project. “I don’t think they [ICBC] are in the mood to brave American pressure and the threat of sanctions from any dealings with Iran,” said the official. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters that ICBC’s reluctance would not impact the project, because “there are always a multiplicity of funding sources…available, and it is a “fairly viable project.” Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) met on Tuesday to review alternate funding options for the pipeline. According to the ECC, if the ICBC formally backs out of the project, there are four possible options: a new tax, other banks, agreements with Russia or China, or an agreement with Iran.[1]  

  • Activists presented a petition to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, calling for Pakistan to release Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been sentenced to death on the charge of blasphemy. A Pakistani court found Bibi guilty of violating the country’s blasphemy laws by defiling the name of the Prophet Muhammad during a 2009 argument with Muslim colleagues. The petition was signed by 50 activists including the UN General Assembly president and a former Czech foreign minister. In 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated after saying that the country’s blasphemy laws should be repealed, because they were being misused to persecute religious minorities such as Bibi.[2]

Militancy

 

 

 

 

 



[1] “ICBC appears to back away from Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline,” Reuters, March 14, 2012. Available at http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCABRE82D0KL20120314?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0
[2] “Petition: Free Pakistani Christian woman set for execution,” CNN, March 13, 2012. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/13/world/asia/pakistan-blasphemy-petition/
[3] “Bomb kills five in Bajaur: Officials,” The Express Tribune, March 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/349876/bomb-kills-five-in-bajaur-officials/
“Bomb kills 6 anti-Taliban fighters in Pakistan,” CBS News, March 14, 2012. Available at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501712_162-57396983/bomb-kills-6-anti-taliban-fighters-in-pakistan/
[4] “Three cops killed in Karachi within hour,” The News, March 13, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=39746
[5] “Militant killed, LI office torched in Bara,” The News, March 14, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-97569-Militant-killed,-LI-office-torched-in-Bara
[6] “Three killed by terrorists in Tirah Valley,” Daily Times, March 14, 2012. Available at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\03\14\story_14-3-2012_pg7_9
[7] “Three policemen injured in Peshawar check post firing,” The News, March 14, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-39810-Three-policemen-injured-in-Peshawar-check-post-firing