Pakistan Security Brief - March 14, 2013
Pakistani parliament completes first full term in history; Prime Minister Ashraf proposes three interim candidates; India accuses Pakistan of involvement in Srinagar attacks, Pakistan denies; Srinagar under curfew from Kashmiri authorities; Two Czech women kidnapped in Quetta; Body of Indian spy Singh returned to India; Iran-Pakistan pipeline to isolate Pakistan; Three TTP members arrested; Senator Rabbani calls for President Musharraf’s arrest; OPP director killed; Karachi police arrest 23; Targeted violence kills 4 in Karachi; Health workers from bin Laden case reinstated; UNICEF publishes pamphlet on Polio.
Parliament Completes Tenure
- On Thursday, the Pakistani parliament completed a full five-year term for the first time in Pakistani history. The final session ended peacefully, and will transfer control to an interim government. President Asif Zardari has not yet announced when elections will be held. 
- On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Ashraf proposed three names for the interim prime minister before general elections: former Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, former Director of the State Bank Dr. Ishrat Hussain, and former Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso. The leader of the opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan suggested three alternative nominees for caretaker Prime Minister: Justice(R) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice (R) Shakirullah Jan, and Sindh poilitician Rasul Bakhsh Paleejo.
- On Wednesday, Indian Home Secretary R. K. Singh released a statement claiming that the two militants responsible for the terrorist attack in Srinagar this week were from Pakistan. Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement rejecting Minister Singh’s accusations, calling the claim an “irresponsible [statement] and knee jerk [reaction].” The report also denied claims from Indian Defense Minister AK Antony that Pakistan beheaded two Indian soldiers in Kashmir on the 8th of January. After the attack on Wednesday, Indian authorities mandated an indefinite curfew in Srinagar, shutting down the schools and blocking main roads. Addressing the Srinagar attacks and January’s ceasefire violations, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar wrote a statement Wednesday saying that incidents along the Line of Control (LoC) cannot be allowed to “derail” Indian and Pakistani peace efforts.
- On Wednesday, Pakistani authorities transferred the body of an Indian Spy named Chamial Singh back to Indian authorities, after Singh died of illness in Adiala jail on the 15th of January.
Former President Musharraf’s Return
- On Wednesday, Senator Raza Rabbani told congress that former President Pervez Musharraf should be arrested immediately upon arrival if he chooses to return to Pakistan. Citing the unanimous resolution passed by the Senate in 2012 that demands his arrest, Rabbani said that because Musharraf is a “proclaimed offender in Benazir Bhutto’s murder case,” he should be held to the law.
- On Wednesday two Czech women were kidnapped in the Chaghi district, Balochistan while traveling on a bus from Iran. The women were being escorted by a police officer, but according to a Pakistani government official the officer was outnumbered by at least eight. The police officer was also taken, disarmed, and released after the kidnappers took the captives to Afghanistan No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.[6
- The Sindh Criminal Investigation Department arrested three members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) during a raid in Manghopir, Karachi on Wednesday. The police suspect the militants of being involved in the Abbas town bombing which killed more than 40 people last week. During the raid police also recovered suicide jacket, two improvised explosive devices (IED), grenades, several weapons, IED construction materials detonator.
- Parveen Rehman, the director of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), a non-profit organization aimed at helping poverty stricken communities in Karachi, was assassinated by four assailants in Orangi Town on Wednesday. Rehman had been documenting the illegal occupation of land around Karachi, which officials investigating the case believe may have led to her being targeted. No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack. On Thursday, TTP commander, Qari Bilal, was shot and killed by Pakistani security forces in Manghopir, Karachi. According to police, Bilal was suspected of involvement in Rehman’s murder.[8
- In Karachi, unidentified assailants shot and killed a man in the Malir area on Thursday. Two bodies were found near Malir River. On Thursday morning, police arrested 23 armed suspects in Orangi Town, seizing weapons in the raid.
Health Workers Reinstated
- On Thursday, a court in Abbottabad reinstated 17 health workers who lost their jobs last year under suspicion that they cooperated with the CIA in running a fake vaccination campaign in the hopes of tracking down Osama bin Laden.
According to an article released in The News on Thursday, Pakistan will face global isolation if it continues with the pipeline Presidents Asif Zardari and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated on Monday. Analysis in the Washington Post on Wednesday suggests that the pipeline is in part Zardari's attempt to add to his legacy and improve public opinion for the Pakistani People's Party (PPP) before the upcoming election. The News article explained shortfalls in the deal, saying that Pakistan is vulnerable to sanctions from the U.S., as well as pressure from Saudi Arabia, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and other Gulf states. Citing a trade imbalance of $21.5 billion annually, the article predicts that Pakistan will need another $9 billion loan from the IMF this year, which is subject to significant U.S. influence. It went on to explain that the $4.75 billion in American aid every year functions as additional pressure against Pakistan. The article explained how revenue from the pipeline will fall far short of what Pakistan still needs, and that their control over American interests will diminish drastically in 2014, when the majority of U.S. troops will have already withdrawn from Pakistan.
- The United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) Pakistan published a pamphlet containing religious decrees from Pakistani religious scholars encouraging the Pakistani government to administer the polio vaccination to eradicate the disease. Polio vaccination teams were recently barred from conduction a house-to-house anti-polio drive.
“TTP ‘commander’ Qari Bilal killed in Karachi’s Manghopir area,” Dawn, March 14, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/14/four-killed-in-karachi-rangers-operation-continues-in-korangi/