Pakistan Security Brief – March 30, 2012

Prime Minister Gilani calls “high-level meeting” to break deadlock in Parliament; Obama administration reportedly in talks with Pakistan about changing conduct of drone strikes; U.S. to rely on India if NATO supply routes in Pakistan remain closed; PML-Q leader says reopening of NATO supply routes should be contingent on end of drone strikes; U.S. drone strike kills four suspected militants in Miram Shah; Indian Border Security Forces kill Pakistani heroin smugglers; Dozens of militants attack paramilitary check post in Upper Orakzai; Member of ANP Sindh Council killed; Hussain Haqqani writes letter to Chief Justice saying he fears for his life; UNHCR reports that over 100,000 people displaced in Khyber agency; Hazara community protests in Quetta; Bin Laden’s widow reveals details of his activity in Pakistan post-9/11. 

 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Thursday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called a “high-level meeting,” gathering political and military leaders together in an effort to break the deadlock in Parliament over U.S.-Pakistan relations. According to the Express Tribune, political parties have agreed to bring, and ultimately pass multiple amendments to the recommendations proposed by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS). An official statement from Prime Minister Gilani noted that the amendments are intended to “remove the reservations of different parties” and “to evolve consensus on unanimous recommendations.” The joint session of Parliament has been adjourned until April 5.[1]

  • According to an intelligence official, the Obama administration is in talks with Pakistan about possible changes in the way it conducts drone strikes. These possible changes include giving Pakistan advance notice of strikes, modifying the targets and changing how they are determined. The offer was reportedly made earlier this year by CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus in a meeting with the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. However, another U.S. official denied that any such concessions were made.[2]

  • Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank Panter, the Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics, testified before the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday and said that the U.S. would have to rely on India and the Northern Distribution Network, if the Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication (PAK GLOC) are not reopened. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics said that the India route is lengthier and therefore more expensive, and it is also more complicated, because it involves several different modes of transportation, which also makes it more costly. According to both Panter and Mason, the PAK GLOC remain critical, and the U.S. is continuing negotiations to get them reopened.[3]

  • Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) leader Mushahid Hussain Syed proposed to a joint session of Parliament on Friday that the reopening of NATO supply routes should be made contingent upon the U.S. ending drone strikes in Pakistan. He also recommended that Pakistan should not allow weapons to be transported through the routes to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Syed’s proposal has been forwarded to the PCNS for review, and the reviewed draft will then be presented before Parliament on April 5.[4]

Militancy

Memogate

  • On Thursday, the New York Times obtained a copy of the “confidential letter” written by former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. In the letter, Haqqani told the court that “he faces threats to his life” if he returns to Pakistan to testify in front of the “memogate” commission.  In the letter dated March 28, Haqqani said that he receives “messages on Twitter, telephone and e-mail,” every day warning that he will be killed upon his return to Pakistan. Reportedly, Haqqani also wrote that “several [websites] connected to jihadi groups as well as individuals and organizations connected to a covert institution of state have called [him] a traitor.” Haqqani also asserted that former Chief of the ISI Lt. Gen. Pasha implicated Haqqani in the memogate scandal.[10]

Balochistan

  • McClatchy Newspapers reported on Friday about the severity of the conflict in Balochistan, stating that it “is raging mostly in the shadows even as violence escalates.” According to the Pakistan Director for Human Rights Watch Ali Dayan Hasan, “at least 300 people had been abducted or killed in [Balochistan] and their bodies abandoned” between January 2011 and February 2012. Hasan reported that “Pakistani security forces engaged in counterinsurgency may be responsible” for these acts. According to McClatchy, there is no official ongoing military operation in Balochistan, and “Pakistan says it has deployed 50,000 Frontier Corps troops [to the province] to maintain law and order.” However, security officials claim that “abductees have links to the armed uprising,” and that “Pakistani courts don't convict terrorists — so the security forces have to find other ways to deal with them.”[11]

Refugees

  • According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “an estimated 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have become displaced since January 20 when government troops began security operations against militant groups in the Khyber” agency. In a report issued on Friday, the UNHCR warned that the “recent increase in the intensity of combat” has caused an increasing number of families to flee the region. According to the report, approximately 2,000 families per day have fled to Jalozai camp, near Peshawar, since March 17.[12]

Protests

  • On Friday, a “shutter down strike” was observed in Quetta to protest Thursday’s killings of five Shia Muslims from the Hazara community. Trade and business activities closed down for the day, and the Hazara community staged violent demonstrations, in which one police official was killed.[13]  

Osama bin Laden

  • According to the New York Times, the testimony of Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, one of bin Laden’s three widows, revealed that bin Laden “spent nine years on the run in Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, during which time he moved among five safe houses and fathered four children, at least two of whom were born in a government hospital.” The testimony, contained in a joint investigative panel report dated Jan. 19, noted that “other senior [al] Qaeda figures” were in Karachi at the same time Fateh was living there after 9/11.[14] 

 


[1] Irfan Ghauri, “Reviving the recommendations: Gilani gathers stakeholders in bid to break impasse,” Express Tribune, March 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/357290/reviving-the-recommendations-gilani-gathers-stakeholders-in-bid-to-break-impasse/
[2] Pam Benson, “U.S., Pakistan talking about changes in drone ops, official says,” CNN, March 30, 2012. Available at http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/30/u-s-pakistan-talking-about-changes-in-drone-ops-official-says/
[3] “'US to rely on India if Pak doesn't open NATO route,'” Zee News, March 30, 2012. Available at http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/us-to-rely-on-india-if-pak-doesn-t-open-nato-route_767134.html
[4] Zahid Gishkori, “Negotiate Nato supply resumption to end drone strikes: Mushahid,” Express Tribune, March 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/357386/release-bin-ladens-family-urges-mushahid-hussain/
[5] “UPDATE 1-U.S. drone strike kills 4 militants in NW Pakistan,” Reuters, March 30, 2012. Available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-pakistan-drone-update-1l3e8eu4ni-20120330,0,2652444.story
[6] “Three killed whilst smuggling heroin at Indo-Pak border,” Dawn, March 30, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/30/three-killed-whilst-smuggling-heroin-at-indo-pak-border.html
[7] “Two soldiers, 21 militants killed in Orakzai clashes,” AFP, March 30, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/30/two-soldiers-21-militants-killed-in-orakzai-clashes.html
[8] “ANP worker killed in Karachi,” Express Tribune, March 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/357438/qasba-mor-wanted-criminal-killed-in-shootout-between-groups-12-arrested/
[9] “One killed, two injured in Qasba Colony clashes,” Geo, March 30, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=42223
[10] Slaman Masood, “Former Ambassador to U.S. Cites Threats in Pakistan Over Memo Case,” The New York Times, March 29, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/husain-haqqani-cites-threats-in-pakistan.html?_r=1
[11] Saeed Shah, “In remote Balochistan, Pakistan fights a shadowy war,” McClatchy Newspapers, March 30, 2012. Available at http://www.kansascity.com/2012/03/29/3522817/in-remote-baluchistan-pakistan.html
[12] “Over 100,000 have fled Khyber fighting: UNHCR,” AFP, March 30, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/30/over-100000-have-fled-khyber-fighting-unhcr.html
[13] Shehzad Baloch, “Shutter-down: Quetta closed after Hazara killings,” Express Tribune, March 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/357389/shutter-down-quetta-closed-after-hazara-killings/
[14] Declan Walsh, “On the Run, Bin Laden Had 4 Children and 5 Houses, a Wife Says,” The New York Times, March 29, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/on-run-bin-laden-had-4-children-and-5-houses-a-wife-says.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2