Pakistan Security Brief - May 11, 2012

NATO Secretary-General says Pakistan “not invited” to NATO summit; U.S. and Pakistani officials confirm that negotiations over reopening NATO supply routes going well; Protests in Punjab as power shortfall reaches 8,000 megawatts; Bomb blast targets Deputy Superintendent of Police in Peshawar; Hussain Haqqani says Pakistan needs to shift its priorities; Pakistan and India to discuss Siachen Glacier issue in June; UK and Pakistan vow to strengthen bilateral trade; Second largest seizure of heroin in Pakistan’s history.

NATO

  • Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is reported to have said on Friday that Pakistan is “not invited” to the NATO summit in Chicago on May 21-22. According to the Express Tribune, however, Rasmussen did not specifically state whether or not Pakistan was invited, but he said that Pakistan’s closure of the NATO supply routes is a “matter of concern.” Rasmussen also mentioned that “a number of countries from the region” were invited, “because they provide an important transit arrangement to the benefit of our [NATO’s] operation.”[1]

  • U.S. and Pakistani officials confirmed on Thursday that negotiations over reopening the NATO supply routes are going well, and the two sides “are very close to a deal,” with a breakthrough expected before the NATO summit. Pakistan’s Defence Committee of the Cabinet will hold a meeting on May 15, and the Cabinet will meet on May 16 to consider reopening the NATO supply routes before the NATO summit.[2]

  • On Thursday, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee approved the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013, calling for a “bar on preferential procurement of goods or services from Pakistan” until Pakistan reopened the NATO supply routes. The bill also asked the Secretary of Defense to ensure that Pakistan was “committed to taking action and supporting counterterrorism operations.” The bill is expected to be debated on the House floor next week.[3]

Domestic Politics

  • According to the Express Tribune, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has devised a strategy to prolong the issue of Prime Minister Gilani’s disqualification from office. The PPP legal team is hopeful that the National Assembly Speaker, who is responsible for making the decision on the issue of disqualification, will decide that Gilani should remain in office. According to the legal team, once the speaker makes her decision, the issue will go no further and the matter of disqualification will be dropped.[4]

  • Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted a petition to Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday, stating that Prime Minister Gilani should be disqualified from office because a convicted person cannot hold the office of prime minister.[5]

Militancy

  • Five members of a family were killed when a mortar shell fired by security forces struck the family’s vehicle in the Shalobar area of Bara, Khyber agency on Friday. The family was fleeing the region as security forces had been preparing for an operation against militants and had instructed local residents to vacate the area.[6]

  • A blast targeting a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) occurred in Peshawar’s Chughalpura area on Friday, injuring one person and damaging two vehicles. The bomb was planted under a manhole cover on the Islamabad-Peshawar GT road and detonated as the DSP’s vehicle passed over it.[7]

Haqqani Op-Ed

  • Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani wrote an op-ed published in the New York Times on Thursday about how Pakistan needs to shift its priorities and put greater focus on combating terrorism within its borders. Haqqani argued that many in Pakistan have a skewed perception of terrorism, since on the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in the world in which hundreds of people gathered to show support for bin Laden. Haqqani criticized Pakistan’s government, media and judiciary for being too focused on dealing with Pakistan’s endemic corruption, while failing to put the proper spotlight on terrorism.[8]

Balochistan

Siachen

  • The next round of talks between Pakistan and India on the disputed Siachen Glacier issue will be held in Islamabad on June 11-12. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Pakistan wants “to resolve all issues through meaningful and result-oriented dialogue, and Siachen is an issue which is a source of concern for both the countries.” India’s Defence Minister told parliament this week that Pakistan would have to “reveal its troop positions before any disengagement could be undertaken,” and he cautioned against expecting “dramatic results” from the next round of talks.[10]

UK-Pakistan Relations

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met with British Prime Minister David Cameron during his five-day visit to the UK, and the two “vowed to strengthen bilateral trade to 2.5 billion pounds (about $4 billion) by 2015 as part of ‘a jointly-owned’ Pakistan-UK Trade and Investment Roadmap,” which would promote investment and joint trade activities. Cameron stated that the UK would be an “enduring friend” to Pakistan and promised to create a “deeper and stronger relationship.”[11]

Heroin Seizure

  • Pakistani customs officials announced on Friday that they had seized 125 kilograms of heroin “worth an estimated $13.75 million on the international market.” Officials said that the heroin was smuggled from Afghanistan and into Pakistan through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. According to a customs official, “this is the second biggest heroin seizure in the history of Pakistan.”[12]

Punjab Protest

  • Protests occurred across Punjab as the national power shortfall reached 8,000 megawatts on Thursday. In response to the protests, President Asif Ali Zardari convened an emergency meeting on the energy crisis on Thursday night. During the meeting, it was decided that “Term Finance Certificates” worth 82 billion rupees (about $900 million) would be distributed to address the debt and deal with the constant power outages across the country.[13]

 

      



[1] “Pakistan not invited to Chicago summit: Nato chief,” Dawn, May 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/11/pakistan-not-invited-to-chicago-summit-nato-chief/
“Pakistan's invitation to Chicago Summit, hinged on NATO supply routes,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377360/pakistan-not-invited-to-chicago-summit-nato-secretary-general/
[2] Kamran Yousaf and Huma Imtiaz, “Certification rules: Amid talks headway, US panel proposes conditional aid,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377236/certification-rules-amid-talks-headway-us-panel-proposes-conditional-aid/
“Cabinet to mull reopening NATO supplies,” AFP, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377351/pakistan-calls-cabinet-on-reopening-nato-supplies/
[3] Kamran Yousaf and Huma Imtiaz, “Certification rules: Amid talks headway, US panel proposes conditional aid,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377236/certification-rules-amid-talks-headway-us-panel-proposes-conditional-aid/
[4] Abdul Manan, “Post-conviction: PPP devises scheme to outfox move against Gilani,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377206/post-conviction-ppp-devises-scheme-to-outfox-move-against-gilani/
[5] “Petition moved in SC seeks PM’s disqualification,” Dawn, May 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/11/petition-moved-in-sc-seeks-pms-disqualification/
[6] “Mortar attack kills five of a family in Khyber,” Dawn, May 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/11/mortar-attack-kills-five-of-a-family-in-khyber/
[7] “Blast near Edhi centre in Peshawar,” Dawn, May 11, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/11/blast-near-edhi-centre-in-peshawar/
[8] Hussain Haqqani, “How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester,” New York Times, May 10, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/opinion/how-pakistan-lets-terrorism-fester.html?_r=1
[9] “Missing persons case: IG FC absent, CJ angry,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377362/missing-persons-case-ig-fc-absent-cj-angry/
[10] “India-Pakistan Siachen talks in June: Foreign Ministry,” AFP, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377330/india-pakistan-siachen-talks-in-june-foreign-ministry/
[11] “State visit to UK: Britain pledges ‘enduring friendship’ with Pakistan,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377250/state-visit-to-uk-britain-pledges-enduring-friendship-with-pakistan/
[12] “Heroin haul worth $13.75m seized in Karachi: Officials,” AFP, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377380/heroin-haul-worth-13-75m-seized-in-karachi-officials/
[13] Irfan Ghauri, “Punjab rioting: Protests bring ‘power’ brokers to Presidency,” Express Tribune, May 11, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377255/punjab-rioting-protests-bring-power-brokers-to-presidency/