Pakistan Security Brief - March 6, 2013

U.S. citizen arrested in terrorism case; Investigators say LeJ Asif Chotoo faction prime suspect in Karachi bombing; Violence  shuts down Karachi; Rangers catch 3 TTP attempted suicide bombers in Karachi; Security forces kill 12 in Orakzai; IED defused in Quetta; Afghan Taliban re-enters negotiations; IED detonated at assembly member’s house; U.S. fighting proxy war against Iran pipeline; IED’s defused in Peshawar; Olson says U.S. and Pakistan committed to pursuing peace in Afghanistan; Musharraf to return by March 17; Curfew imposed in Kashmir; Pakistan likely to need additional $9 billion from the IMF. 

Karachi Bombing

  • According to a report published by the News on Wednesday, investigators of the March 3rd Karachi bombing claim to have evidence linking the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). However, investigators believe that LeJ has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack because claiming responsibility for the Quetta attack on February 16 resulted in the arrest of LeJ leader Malik Ishaq. The investigators stated that although there are currently seven al Qaeda- and Taliban- linked LeJ factions operating in Karachi, LeJ’s Asif Chotoo group is the prime suspect in the investigation. Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced on Tuesday that Pakistani security forces have captured four suspects involved in the Karachi bombing.[1]  

Taliban Negotiations

  • According to a report by the Daily Beast published on Wednesday, the Afghan Taliban have re-entered negotiations with the U.S. The report states that over the past month, high-ranking Taliban officials have been traveling from Quetta to Qatar, with the approval and assistance of the Pakistani government, to step up a permanent office to facilitate negotiations and receive released prisoners. The report suggests the Taliban delegation, which will participate in the negotiations, may have the endorsement of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura. According to the report, although some Taliban commanders may feel betrayed by the negotiations, Taliban officials announced that they will conduct an extensive propaganda campaign to include all Afghans, the U.S., and the Karzai administration in negotiations.[2]

Rioting in Karachi

Militancy

Drone Strikes

U.S.- Pakistan Relations

  • On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson, while addressing the “US-Nato Exit from Afghanistan: Challenges and Options Beyond 2014” conference held in Islamabad, stated that the U.S. and Pakistan are working together to curb terrorism and bring stability to Afghanistan. Olson stated that a tremendous amount of progress has been made in Afghanistan and expressed his hopes that Afghanistan will be able to maintain its regional stability. Olson also said that the U.S. will not completely disengage from Afghanistan and will continue to work with Afghan leaders to pursue peace and stability. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, also spoke at the conference stating that peace in Afghanistan is particularly important for Pakistan.[11]

Balance of Payment Crisis

Pak-Iran Pipeline

  • According to analyst Jean Alic, U.S. will be insufficient to prevent the proposed gas pipeline between Pakistan and Iran, set to begin construction next week. Alic wrote Tuesday that the U.S. has failed to offer a competitive option to Iran’s daily 21.5 million cubic meters of gas, which he suggests would dramatically ease Pakistan’s energy crisis.  Coupled with Iran’s offer to pay over $500 million of the $1.5 million section in Pakistan, Alic posits that the massive amount of gas is worth more than sanctions. Alic further states that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are supporting Baloch separatists as part of their proxy war against Iran in a bid to increase security risks to the construction of the pipeline.[13]  

Oregon Terrorism Case

Kashmir Curfew

Domestic Politics

  • An Express Tribune report states that Former president Pervez Musharraf will return to Pakistan on March 17. According to the report, the All Pakistan Muslim League (AMPL), Musharraf’s political party, has formed legal teams to file an application for bail on Musharraf’s behalf in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.[16] 


[1] “Four arrested for involvement in Abbas Town blast: Malik tells NA,” Dawn, March 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/05/four-arrested-for-involvement-in-abbas-town-blast-malik-tells-na/
““LeJ’s Chotoo group key suspect in Karachi carnage,” The News, March 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-163749-LeJs-Chotoo-group-key-suspect-in-Karachi-carnage
[2] “The Taliban Peacemakers,” The Daily Beast, March 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/06/the-taliban-peacemakers.html
[3] Fazar Khan, “Seven dead as ‘naamaloon afraad’ shut Karachi down,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/516624/one-killed-as-business-come-to-a-standstill-in-karachi/
“Party in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, calls off strike over bombing that killed 48,” The Washington Post, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/karachi-largest-pakistani-city-faces-general-strike-over-sunday-bombing-that-killed-48/2013/03/06/6b585c78-8661-11e2-a80b-3edc779b676f_story.html
[4] Fazar Khan, “Seven dead as ‘naamaloon afraad’ shut Karachi down,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/516624/one-killed-as-business-come-to-a-standstill-in-karachi/
 “Two hurt in grenade attacks,” The News International, March 6, 2013.  Available at www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-163696-Two-hurt-in-grenade-attacks
[5] Fazar Khan, “Seven dead as ‘naamaloon afraad’ shut Karachi down,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/516624/one-killed-as-business-come-to-a-standstill-in-karachi/
[6] “Eight militants killed in security search operation,” The News International, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-90995-Upper-Orakzai%3a-Eight-militants-killed-in-security-forces-search-operation-
“Security forces kill 12 in Orakzai,” Pakistan Today, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/03/06/news/national/security-forces-kill-12-in-orakzai/
[7] “BDS defuses 40kg explosive material in Quetta,” The News International, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-90976-BDS-defuses-40-kg-explosive-material-in-Quetta
[8] “Blast outside the house of KPK MPA at Lakki Marwat,” The News International, March 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-90994-Lakki-Marwat%3a-Blast-outside-the-house-of-KPK-MPA-cause-no-loss
[9] “Two explosive devices defused,” The News International, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-163758-Two-explosive-devices-defused
[10] Richard Lardner, “Democrats push for speedy approval of CIA nominee,” Associated Press, March 6, 2013.  Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i5ikgEp-IwRA81w3DCcKa7skaWCg?docId=9dfe414612be456399c5a044db70a49d
[11] “US, Pakistan work together for peace in Afghanistan: Richard Olson,” Dawn, March 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/03/06/us-pakistan-work-together-for-peace-in-afghanistan-richard-olson/
[12] “Pakistan in a critical balance of payments situation – ADB,” Reuters, March 6, 2013. Available at http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/06/uk-pakistan-economy-idUKBRE9250BC20130306
[13] Jen Alic, “Will the US block an Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline?,” CS Monitor, March 5, 2013.  Available at http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0305/Will-the-US-block-an-Iran-Pakistan-gas-pipeline
[14] “Oregon man charged with helping in deadly Pakistan bombing,” Yahoo, March 6, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/oregon-man-charged-helping-deadly-pakistan-bombing-003939850.html
[15] “Curfew in Kashmir after security forces kill youth,” Pakistan Today, March 6, 2013. Available at http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/03/06/news/national/curfew-in-kashmir-after-security-forces-kill-youth/
[16] “Anticipated homecoming: Musharraf seeks pre-arrest bail before arrival,” Express Tribune, March 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/516455/anticipated-homecoming-musharraf-seeks-pre-arrest-bail-before-arrival/