Pakistan Security Brief - March 15, 2013

UN says  drones violate Pakistani sovereignty; TTP may attack political targets in Islamabad; India suspends visa facility; Pakistani parliament demands release of Guru’s body, India’s parliament passes resolution in protest; IED kills three in Karachi;  Six captured in connection with Abbas town bombing; Srinagar attackers found to have Pakistani equipment; India cancels Indo-Pak hockey tournament; Five militants killed in clashes between TTP and AI; 3kg of heroin recovered in Islamabad; World Bank approves $400 million in education aid; Three British Citizens plead guilty to terrorism charges.

Drone Strikes

  • On Friday, the head of the United Nations (UN) investigatory team on drone strikes and special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson publicly released a statement declaring that drone strikes violate Pakistan's sovereignty. In the report, Emmerson, cited data saying drones in Pakistan caused 400 civilian deaths, confirmed by the Pakistani government, and said Pakistani government has repeatedly told him it does “does not consent to the strikes—a position that has been disputed by U.S. officials.”[1]

Indo-Pak Relations

  • On Thursday, Indian authorities put a hold on “the group tourist visa facility under the liberalised visa regime,” arranged with the Pakistani government, which they had previously agreed to begin on March 15.  Though authorities cited lack of preparations as the cause for the hold, analysts suspect that stressed relations with Pakistan from the Wednesday attack on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers in Srinagar, Kashmir, is a contributing factor to delaying the visas.[2]

  • On Thursday, the National Assembly passed a resolution demanding the Indian government return Afzal Guru’s body to his family, after Guru was executed for participation in the 2001 attack on India’s parliament, and for membership in terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.  The resolution was passed unanimously, and “demand[ed that India should stop brutal actions against Kashmiris and atrocities inflicted on innocent people who were protesting [Guru’s execution].”  In response, the Indian Parliament passed a resolution on Friday insisting that Pakistan “desist from acts of support for extremist and terrorist elements.”  The resolution insisted that “Pakistan not meddle in India’s internal affairs.” [3]

  • On Friday, India's national hockey team canceled a five-game series against Pakistan set to begin in three weeks, explaining that “the foreign ministry did not give permission (for the series).” The cancellation comes amidst high tensions between Pakistan and India.[4]

  • On Thursday, Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the two militants involved in the Srinagar attack on Wednesday were carrying equipment from Pakistan, and appeared to be of foreign origin.  He specifically pointed to an ointment from Karachi and “diaries and phone numbers” as evidence for his claims.[5]

Militancy

World Bank

Terrorism

  • On Friday, three British citizens pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism in London, and have been remanded until sentencing. Richard Dart, Imran Mahmood, and Jahangir Alom were arrested in July after traveling to Pakistan between 2010 and 2012, and accused of planning to commit acts of terrorism.[12]


[1] Sebastian Abbot, “UN says US drones violate Pakistan's sovereignty,” Associated Press, March 15, 2013.  Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hOhDYlN0gHG4Dtl8ZoXsfoCIL3sQ?docId=57c08a3afc9147c8945f33f145058184
[2]“India puts on hold group visa facility with Pakistan,” Times of India, March 15, 2013.  Available at  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-puts-on-hold-group-visa-facility-with-Pakistan/articleshow/18976816.cms
[3] “NA demands India to hand over Afzal Gurus body,” Express Tribune, March 14, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/520767/na-demands-india-to-hand-over-afzal-gurus-body/
“Pakistan’s resolution causes uproar in Indian parliament,” Dawn, March 15, 2013.  Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/15/pakistans-resolution-causes-uproar-in-indian-parliament/
[4] “India scraps Pakistan series after tensions spike,” Associated Press, March 15, 2013.  Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j2b86YaP48kNlbbz_BZRGUtIXE2g?docId=CNG.e504ae7cb48f27761002652552e9335c.301
[5] “Pakistan made items found on killed terrorists: Shinde,” Pakistan Today, March 14, 2013.  Available at http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/03/14/news/national/pakistan-made-items-found-on-killed-terrorists-shinde/
[6] “TTP may target Islamabad’s Red Zone before, during elections,” The News, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-21599-TTP-may-target-Islamabads-Red-Zone-before,-during-elections
[7] “Five dead in Khyber Agency clashes,” Geo, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=92265
[8] “Blast kills three in Karachi’s Landhi,” Dawn, March 15, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/15/blast-heard-in-karachis-landhi-area-causalities-possible/
[9] “Police arrest six in Abbas Town blast case Weapons, explosives seized,” The News, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-21598-Police-arrest-six-in-Abbas-Town-blast-case-Weapons,-explosives-seized
“Two gunned down in Karachi,” The News, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-92301-Unknown-gunmen-claim-two-lives-in-Karachi  
“Rangers unearth torture cell in Baldia,” The News, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-92371-Rangers-uncover-torture-cell,-arrest-9-accused--
[10] “ANF recovers 3kg of heroin at Islamabad Airport,” The News, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-165424-ANF-recovers-3kg-of-heroin-at-Islamabad-Airport
[11] “World Band approves $400mn for education in Sindh,” The News International, March 15, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-92345-World-Bank-approves-$400mn-for-education-in-Sindh----
[12] “3 British Muslims plead guilty to terror charges; traveled to Pakistan for training,” The Washington Post, March 15, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/3-british-muslims-plead-guilty-to-terror-charges-traveled-to-pakistan-for-training/2013/03/15/7db959ca-8d60-11e2-adca-74ab31da3399_story.html