Pakistan Security Brief – March 6, 2012

TTP leader’s demotion creates rift; PPP to investigate defeat in Senate elections in Punjab; Pervez Musharraf summoned to appear before Supreme Court in Bhutto case; Civil society groups in Peshawar protest DPC; Dead body of District Coordination Officer found in Karachi; Unknown assailants open fire at ANP rally; Pakistan’s Senate passes resolution condemning Qur’an burning; CENTCOM commander to visit Pakistan in 10 days; Militants attack Frontier Corps convoy in Balochistan; PTI leaders defect to the PPP; Foreign Minister reiterates Pakistan’s desire to avoid arms race; Indian officials report that counterfeit Indian rupees being printed in Pakistan.

 

Militancy

  • On Monday, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced that Maulvi Faqir Mohammed, the second-highest ranking Taliban leader and Taliban chief in Bajaur district, was demoted to the rank of “regular fighter.” TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud requested that Mohammed be removed from his position because he “had been speaking to the [Pakistani] government without Mehsud's approval.” However, Mohammed contends that he led all talks with the Pakistani government “with the permission and advice of the central leadership” of the TTP. The decision to demote Mohammed reportedly angered TTP commanders in Bajaur. One of the commanders stated that the decision was “untimely” and could “create a rift amongst the mujahedeen.” According to Dawn, the TTP commanders in Bajaur “threatened to form their own group” due to Mohammed’s demotion.[1]

  • The dead body of District Coordination Officer of Gwadar Abdul Rehman Dashti was found inside a car parked outside the house of politician Mir Imam Bazinjo in the Defence area of Karachi.[2]

  • Five people were injured on Monday, when unknown assailants opened fire at a rally organized by the Awami National Party (ANP) to welcome newly elected senator and ANP Sindh President Shahi Syed at Karachi’s airport.[3]

  • Militants attacked a Frontier Corps (FC) convoy that was conducting a routine patrol in the Put Feeder area of Naseerabad district, Balochistan on Tuesday. The soldiers returned fire, killing seven militants and injuring nine others.[4]

  • Seven militants were killed and nine others were arrested in the ensuing clash after militants attacked a security convoy guarding vital gas installations in Balochistan.[5]

  • Former councillor Malik Falak Sher Mapal was kidnapped in Mianwali district, Punjab on Monday. According to Mapal’s son, Mapal had gone to Lakki Marwat district to buy a car, and the kidnappers pretended to be car dealers. The son told police that in the last conversation he had with his father, Mapal said he had “been kidnapped,” and they were taking him “to a hilly area.”[6]

Domestic Politics

  • In a meeting on Monday, the leadership of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) discussed the loss of PPP candidate Aslam Gill to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) candidate Mohsin Leghari in last week’s Senate elections in Punjab. President Asif Ali Zardari “ordered an inquiry into the [shocking] defeat” and formed a committee to investigate whether or not PPP legislators in Punjab should be held responsible. President Zardari asked the committee to report its findings “within 15 days.”[7]

  • On Tuesday, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was summoned to appear before the Supreme Court in the Benazir Bhutto murder case on March 22. The summons notice was posted on the main gate of Musharraf’s farmhouse in the Chak Shahzad area of Islamabad, and requested that he appear with “documents proving his identity as a Pakistani citizen.”[8]

  • On Tuesday, civil society groups in Peshawar rallied against the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), an umbrella party of religious extremist groups, demanding that the DPC be held “responsible for the massacre of three million people.” According to the Express Tribune, protestors demanded that Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry “intervene and impose a ban on the DPC rally” scheduled to take place in Peshawar on March 18.[9]

  • A protest on behalf of “missing persons” has established a camp near parliament in an effort to “demand answers on the whereabouts of [the protestors’] relatives.” According to The Washington Post, “hundreds if not thousands” have disappeared to date, and human rights officials blame Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate for the disappearances. The ISI “denies involvement with most of the cases and when it does concede involvement, the agency justifies the seizures as in the interest of stemming Islamist militancy.”[10]

  • After joining Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) a few months ago, PTI leaders Yahya Shah Kakahel and Rahim Shah Kakakhel have decided to defect to the PPP. They negotiated terms with the PPP Provincial President on Sunday and are expected to hold a press conference to make the announcement.[11]

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, speaking at an All Pakistan Minorities Alliance function, announced that the Pakistani government was “committed to the welfare of minorities and took a number of practical steps in this regard.” Prime Minister Gilani stated that four seats in the Senate are now reserved for minorities along with 5 percent of government jobs. Gilani also said that “there is an urgent need to remove distrust and misunderstandings among the followers of different religions” in order to foster “greater understanding, tolerance and respect for all.”[12]

International Relations

  • Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar “reiterated Pakistan’s desire of eschewing any arms race in the region and said that Afghan President Karzai’s recent tour to Pakistan was in [the] better interests of Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Khar “strongly rejected” the notion of a “possible attack on Iran” by the U.S. or Israel, and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to strengthening relations with the U.S. and India.[13]

  • According to India’s Finance Ministry, “bank transactions involving counterfeit currency increased 400 percent in the past year.” Indian officials reported that the counterfeit Indian rupees are printed in Pakistan and used to “fund terrorism and drug networks in India.” The officials also asserted that the high-quality counterfeit notes were produced using “sophisticated machines” only available to governments. A senior security official in Pakistan “rejected the suggestion that the Pakistani government was involved,” calling it an “old allegation” holding no truth whatsoever. Currently, the maximum sentence for using or carrying counterfeit currency in India is seven years in prison.[14]

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani phoned Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to congratulate Putin on his victory in the March 4 presidential elections in Russia. According to Geo, Gilani invited Putin to visit Pakistan in September, and Putin accepted the invitation, saying the dates of the visit would be decided soon.[15]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan’s Senate passed a “unanimous resolution” on Tuesday “condemning the burning of [Qur’ans] at a U.S. base in Afghanistan and demanding that those responsible be punished.” The Qur’an burning incident sparked violent protests that killed 40 people in Afghanistan and frayed ties between NATO and its Afghan allies.[16]

  • Commander of U.S. Central Command General James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he will travel to Pakistan in about 10 days to talk with Pakistani leaders about reopening NATO supply routes that have been closed since November 2011.[17]        



[1] Shaan Khan, “Deputy commander of Pakistani Taliban demoted,” CNN, March 6, 2012. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/06/world/asia/pakistan-taliban-deputy/index.html
Declan Walsh, “Leadership Rift Emerges in Pakistani Taliban,” The New York Times, March 5, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/world/asia/pakistani-taliban-face-a-leadership-rift.html?_r=2
“Ousted deputy leader of Pakistan Taliban favors talks with govt,” Reuters, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/ousted-deputy-leader-of-pakistan-taliban-favors-talks-with-govt.html
“Maulvi Faqir’s supporters reject TTP’s decision,” Dawn, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/maulvi-faqirs-supporters-reject-ttps-decision.html
[2] “Body of DCO Gwadar found in Karachi,” The News, March 5, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=38440
[3] “Five hurt in gun attack on ANP rally,” Dawn, March 5, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/five-hurt-in-gun-attack-on-anp-rally.html
[4] “FC’s retaliatory fire kills seven militants,” Agencies, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/seven-militants-killed-by-fc-in-a-back-fire.html
[5] Shaan Khan, “Seven suspected militants killed in Pakistan,” CNN, March 6, 2012. Available at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/06/world/asia/pakistan-violence/index.html
[6] “Ex-D I Khan councillor kidnapped in Mianwali,” The News, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=96239&Cat=7
[7] “Aftermath: After Senate win, PPP, allies weigh options,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/346099/aftermath-after-senate-win-ppp-allies-weigh-options/
[8] “BB murder case: Court notice pasted outside Musharraf’s farmhouse,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/346196/bb-murder-case-court-notice-pasted-outside-musharrafs-islamabad-house/
[9] Iftikhar Firdous, “Peshawar civil society demands ban on Difa-e-Pakistan,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/346208/peshawar-civil-society-demands-ban-on-difa-e-pakistan/
[10] Michele Langevine Leiby, “In Pakistan, gone but not forgotten,” The Washington Post, March 5, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-pakistan-gone-but-not-forgotten/2012/03/03/gIQAHFCUtR_story.html
[11] “PTI leaders to join PPP,” The News, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=96228&Cat=7
[12] “Govt committed to welfare of minorities, says Gilani,” APP, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/govt-committed-to-welfare-of-minorities-says-gilani.html
[13] “Pak role sought for peace in region, says Hina,” The News International, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=12966&Cat=13
[14] Rama Lakshmi, “India cracks down on counterfeit cash,” The Washington Post, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/india-cracks-down-on-counterfeit-cash/2012/02/24/gIQA3T0DuR_story.html
[15] “Gilani greets Putin on success,” Geo, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=38517
[16] “Pakistan lawmakers condemn US Quran burning,” AFP, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/pakistan-lawmakers-condemn-us-quran-burning.html
[17] “Mattis to visit Pakistan in 10 days,” AP, March 6, 2012. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/07/mattis-to-visit-pakistan-in-10-days.html