Pakistan Security Brief - March 28, 2012

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff to meet U.S. Generals to discuss November NATO incident; Pakistani opposition leaders resistant to recommendations on U.S.-Pakistan relations; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher alleges that Pakistan has “radical Islam[ist]” government; Two major U.S. oil companies interested in TAPI pipeline; German embassy employee found dead in Islamabad; Unidentified assailants blow up gas pipeline in Peshawar; German-Afghan man on trial for being part of al Qaeda claims innocence; Indian Prime Minister meets with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani; Leaked letter describes weaknesses in Indian military; Delegation of Pakistani defense and security officials meet with French counterparts; Pakistan’s Supreme Court to hear Hussain Haqqani’s petition to record his statement via video link; Yemen urges Pakistan to release Osama bin Laden’s widow and children.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • The Pakistani military announced that Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will meet with CENTCOM Commander General James Mattis and U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General John Allen in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss the November 26 incident in which NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. According to a senior Pakistani military official, the meeting will also “look at border security and coordination measures and how to improve them.”[1]

  • Pakistani opposition leaders were resistant to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security’s (PCNS) recommendations on U.S.-Pakistan relations during Tuesday’s proceedings of the joint session of Parliament. Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan pointed to a clause that called for bringing to justice those responsible for the November cross-border attack, and said that since the U.S. has refused to even admit that it was at fault in this instance, there would be no use in passing such recommendations. Chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman warned that if the government passed any resolution unilaterally, the JUI-F would not let it be implemented. Rehman added that making the reopening of NATO supply routes conditional on a U.S. apology was the “easy way out,” because the U.S. “would do whatever it takes to serve its purpose.” Senator Rabbani attempted to alleviate the opposition’s concerns by reminding them that the government would not have closed the NATO supply routes and had the Shamsi airbase vacated “if it wanted to satisfy the [U.S.]”[2]

  • According to a senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy in the U.S., two “major [U.S.] oil companies are interested” in the Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) pipeline. The proposed pipeline is expected to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan’s gas fields through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then finally to India. The governments of the four countries are planning to finalize the TAPI pipeline deal by July 31, 2012.[3]

  • Three U.S. Congressmen, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Louie Gohmert and Rep. Steve King, sought “self-determination” for the “oppressed” people of Balochistan at a news conference held at the National Press Club on Tuesday. Rohrabacher alleged that Pakistan has a “radical Islam[ist]” government that has been “providing weapons and resources to radical Muslim elements” who use them against the U.S. He added that Pakistan is not a friend of the U.S., but is “really our enemy.”[4]

Militancy

  • The Express Tribune reported on Wednesday that police recovered the bodies of a German embassy employee and one other unidentified person from Rawal Dam in Islamabad. The employee, Fayaz Ali, had been reported missing by his family on March 22. According to investigators, the dead bodies were four to five days old, but investigators have still not determined if the two men were murdered.[5]

  • Unidentified assailants blew up a gas pipeline on the Ring Road in Peshawar on Wednesday morning. No casualties were reported from the explosion.[6]

  • A German-Afghan man on trial in a German state court for providing funds to al Qaeda claimed on Tuesday that the funds were not intended for terrorism. Ahmad Wali Siddiqui had previously told the court that he lived in an apartment in Pakistan near the Afghan border that was provided by al Qaeda, but he was not an al Qaeda member. On Tuesday, Siddiqui testified that he transferred money from Hamburg to an al Qaeda contact in Pakistan in 2010, but he said that he never saw the money again and that it was intended for his own expenses.[7]

  • A policeman was killed and another was injured when unknown gunmen opened fire on the home of a Shariat Court judge in the Mumtazabad area of Multan on Wednesday.[8]

International Relations

  • Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh briefly met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during the nuclear summit in Seoul on Tuesday. According to the Indian Foreign Secretary, Singh and Gilani had a “very good meeting,” and Singh said he “plans to visit Pakistan” and “wants to make some concrete developments in the India-Pakistan relationship.” Speaking to an Indian news agency after the meeting, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar emphasized that both countries recognized “the need to go beyond the stage of dealing with the ‘trust deficit’ and move towards a ‘result-oriented dialogue.’” Khar said that it was fortunate that both Pakistani and Indian leaders were “committed to taking the bilateral relationship forward through dialogue,” but she added that “the people of both countries need to have the confidence that this dialogue will help Pakistan and India resolve their issues.”[9]

  • A letter addressed to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh describing the weaknesses of the Indian armed forces was leaked on Wednesday. The letter written by Army Chief General VK Singh and dated March 12 states that India’s “major (fighting) arms” are in an “alarming” state. According to the letter, the army’s tank fleet is “devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks,” the air defence system is “97% obsolete,” the infantry is plagued by “deficiencies,” and the elite special forces are “woefully short” of “essential weapons.” AFP reported that the publication of the letter has “up[ped] the stakes in a public battle” between General Singh and the Indian government.[10]

  • A delegation of Pakistani defense and security officials led by Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi was in France on Wednesday, holding discussions with their French counterparts on matters related to security cooperation and enhanced bilateral contacts. Sethi said that “Pakistan enjoyed excellent relations with France,” and it wanted to transform those relations into “a long-term partnership” that would benefit both countries.[11]

Memogate

  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court will hear a petition on Thursday filed by Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani, which was previously rejected by the “memogate” commission. Haqqani has requested permission to record his statement in the memogate case via video link from London, citing “grave security concerns” if he travelled to Pakistan.[12]

Osama bin Laden

  • Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told Reuters on Tuesday that Yemen urged Pakistan to release Osama bin Laden’s injured widow, Amal Al-Sadah, and her children and allow them to return home to Yemen. Al-Qirbi said that “Pakistani authorities retracted from their initial position to surrender Amal to the Yemeni government,” and that the Yemeni government is “concerned about the well being” of Amal’s children, who “should not be punished for the mistakes of their father.”[13]

 

  



[1] “U.S. Generals, Pakistan Army Chief to Meet to Discuss NATO Skirmish,” Reuters, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/03/28/world/asia/28reuters-pakistan-usa.html
[2] Qamar Zaman, “Reconfiguring foreign policy: After showing intent, opposition defers debate,” Express Tribune, March 28, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/356266/reconfiguring-foreign-policy-after-showing-intent-opposition-defers-debate/
[3] “TAPI pipeline: Two major US oil companies interested,” Reuters, March 24, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/354205/tapi-pipeline-two-major-us-oil-companies-interested/
[4] “Pakistan a radical Islamist government: US Congressman,” Geo, March 27, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=41844
[5] “Body of German embassy employee found in Islamabad,” Express Tribune, March 28, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/356369/body-of-german-embassy-employee-found-in-islamabad/
“German embassy worker found dead from Rawal Dam,” Dawn, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/28/german-embassy-worker-found-dead-from-rawal-dam.html
[6] Riaz Ahmad, “Gas pipeline blown up in Peshawar,” Express Tribune, March 28, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/356384/gas-pipeline-blown-up-in-peshawar/
[7] “Funds sent to al-Qaeda in Pakistan, not for terrorism,” AP, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/28/funds-sent-to-al-qaeda-in-pakistan-not-for-terrorism.html
[8] “Policeman killed in Multan firing,” The News, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-41857-Firing-at-judge''s-house-kills-one-policeman-in-Multan
[9] “Manmohan hints at conditional Pakistan visit,” Dawn, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/28/manmohan-hints-at-conditional-pakistan-visit.html
“Pakistan wants result-oriented talks: Khar,” Dawn, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/28/pakistan-wants-result-oriented-talks-khar.html
[10] “Leaked letter reveals India's military weaknesses,” AFP, March 28, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/356360/leaked-letter-reveals-indias-military-weaknesses/
Sandeep Phukan and Nitin Gokhale, "Political outrage over Army chief General VK Singh's leaked letter, parties demand action," NDTV, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/political-outrage-over-army-chief-general-vk-singhs-leaked-letter-parties-demand-action-191147
[11] “Pak-France defence delegations discuss bilateral cooperation,” APP, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/28/pak-france-defence-delegations-discuss-bilateral-cooperation.html
[12] “10-member bench to hear Haqqani's plea,” The News, March 28, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-41894-Memogate:-Ten-member-SC-bench-to-hear-Haqqani''s-plea-tomorrow
[13] “Yemen urges Pak to free Osama's widow,” The News, March 27, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-41839-Yemen-urges-Pakistan-to-free-Osama''s-widow