Pakistan Security Brief – May 14, 2012

U.S. and Pakistani military officials meet to discuss “improving border coordination;” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister says NATO supply routes should be reopened; Top military commanders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and NATO meet; “Political manifesto” by Brig. Ali Khan calls for Pakistan Army to sever “anti-terror alliance” with U.S.; Democratic and Republican lawmakers calling on Obama to “formally designate” Haqqani Network as terrorist organization; Prime Minister Gilani calls relationship between ISI and CIA “good;” Gilani denies Ayman al Zawahiri’s presence in Pakistan; Car bomb targets Frontier Corps convoy; Helicopter gunships attack militant hideouts in central Kurram agency;  Nearly 500,000 estimated to have fled fighting in Khyber agency; Prominent Deobandi religious leader killed; Indian government likely to withdraw troops to peacetime positions.

 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Saturday, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen and Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met to discuss “improving border coordination.” According to a U.S. official, U.S. negotiators have been in Pakistan “for several weeks” in an effort to reach an agreement to reopen the NATO supply route. On Tuesday, senior Pakistani military officials and Cabinet members are scheduled to meet to discuss the reopening of the route, which will be followed by a “full meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday.” By reopening the supply route, Pakistan will have the opportunity to free up over one billion dollars in U.S. aid, as well as potentially gain an invitation to the NATO summit in Chicago later this month.[1]

  • In an informal interview on board the prime minister’s flight from the UK to Pakistan, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar stressed her personal belief that NATO supply routes in Pakistan should be reopened. Khar said that it was in Pakistan’s interest to facilitate international operations, and that the NATO and ISAF supply routes should not be viewed in the context of U.S.-Pakistan relations, because both NATO and ISAF are umbrella organizations that represent over 40 countries, including many who have good relations with Pakistan, such as Turkey and the UK. The foreign minister did not reveal when the supply routes would be reopened, simply saying that “goodwill” was first needed. When asked about Pakistan’s attendance at the NATO summit in Chicago, Khar said that Pakistan would first have to be invited to the summit, before it could consider attending.[2]

  • On Sunday, top military commanders from NATO, Pakistan, and Afghanistan met in Rawalpindi to discuss “border control measures and mechanisms put in place” to avoid another incident like the Salala strikes, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November. This was the first meeting of the “Tripartite Commission” since the NATO strike, and was attended by NATO commander Gen. John Allen, Pakistan Army chief Gen. Kayani, and Afghan military chief Gen. Sher Muhammad Karimi. Gen. Allen said that these meetings are important to achieving a peaceful Afghanistan, and noted that he was “very encouraged by the talks.” A Pakistani military official described the talks as “significant,” and lasted for “several hours.”[3]

  • Both Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are calling the Obama Administration to “formally designate” the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization. It has been over six months since the State Department was scheduled to conduct its “final formal review” of the status of the Haqqani Network. The congressional leaders also claimed that the Obama Administration had “been reluctant” to call the Haqqani Network a terrorist organization because of the administration’s attempt to reach a “reconciliation agreement” with the Taliban, which could involve or affect the Haqqani Network.[4]

  • U.S. Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for Pakistan to be “more assertive and more cooperative” regarding its efforts to eliminate the alleged sanctuaries of Afghan militants in the country. On Sunday, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dianne Feinstein stated that “Pakistan is key to defeating the Taliban,” but thus far “has failed to deprive them of a safe haven.”[5]

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called the relationship between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate “good” due to the success the agencies have had in eliminating high-value al Qaeda targets. In light of this success, Prime Minister Gilani said the U.S. should be “more trusting” of Pakistan, and stated that there should be “no hesitation in sharing information with Pakistan.”[6]

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told British news outlets on Saturday that he had no reason to think that al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri is in Pakistan. Gilani said that the U.S. has claimed that Zawahiri is in Pakistan, and he asked the U.S. to share its information on Zawahiri’s location with Pakistan. Gilani also said that there was insufficient evidence to warrant the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader suspected of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. He added that if Saeed were arrested at this time, the courts would release him because of a lack of evidence.[7]

Brig. Ali Khan’s “Manifesto”

  • The Associated Press obtained a six-page “political manifesto” written by senior Pakistani military officer Brig. Ali Khan, in which he calls for the Pakistan Army to “sever its anti-terror alliance with the United States.” Brig. Khan is currently being held in Rawalpindi for his alleged plans to “take over the military” with the help of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a “shadowy Islamist organization.” Khan’s manifesto does mention his alleged plans, but rather “is a refutation of Pakistan army's alliance with Washington,” supporting its arguments with “conspiracy theories,” including that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. In the manifesto, Khan also “recommends a U.N. force of mostly Muslim nations to replace the current U.S.-led one in Afghanistan.”[8]

Militancy

  • On Monday, two Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were killed and about 10 other people, mostly civilians were wounded when a car bomb exploded as an FC convoy drove by the main airport road in Quetta. In an earlier incident, a police official was killed and three others were injured when a remote-controlled bomb targeted a police vehicle on patrol on Qambrani Road in Quetta.[9]

  • Helicopter gunships attacked militant hideouts in central Kurram agency on Monday, killing nine suspected Taliban militants and injuring five others. Security officials have claimed that 95 percent of the agency has been “cleared of militants.”[10]

  • Humanitarian agency Save the Children said Monday that nearly 500,000 people are estimated to have fled fighting between militants and security forces in Khyber agency since January. According to an administrator at Jalozai camp near Peshawar, “more than 500 families are arriving on a daily basis” at the camp, and more than 264,000 individuals have registered since the operation began in January.[11] 

  • A senior leader of a tribal militia, the Khwaizai Peace Committee, was killed, and ten others were injured, when militants attacked the militia’s post and set fire to it in the Baizai sub-division of Mohmand Agency on Sunday night.[12]

  • Maulana Aslam Sheikhupuri, a prominent religious leader and scholar from the Deobandi school of thought, was killed along with his driver, when six unidentified assailants opened fire on Sheikhupuri’s car in the Dhoraji area of Karachi on Sunday afternoon. Police officials said the attack appeared to be “sectarian-based.”[13]

  • The bodies of two Hazara laborers who were shot dead between Saturday night and Sunday morning were found in the Bhutto Nagar area of Karachi. The dismembered body of a bus conductor was also found in a sack at Karachi’s National Football Stadium on Sunday. In another incident, an activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was gunned down in the Korangi area of Karachi on Saturday night.[14]

India-Pakistan Relations

Osama bin Laden

Missing Persons


[1] “U.S. commander holds talks with Pakistani army chief,” Associated Press, May 13, 2012. Available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-05-12/pakistan/54918922/1
“U.S., Pakistan In Talks Over Reopening Supply Line,” Associated Press, May 14, 2012. Available at http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152658578/u-s-pakistan-in-talks-over-reopening-supply-line
[2] Gibran Peshimam, “Khar favours lifting supply line blockade,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378481/khar-favours-lifting-supply-line-blockade/
[3] Iftikhar A. Khan, “Pakistan, Afghan army chiefs, Isaf commander meet in Rawalpindi,” Dawn, May 14, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/14/pakistan-afghan-army-chiefs-isaf-commander-meet-in-rawalpindi-talks-on-preventing-salala-recurrence/
Kamran Yousaf, “Tripartite commission: Top commanders discuss Salala raid, NATO routes,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378478/tripartite-commission-top-commanders-discuss-salala-raid-nato-routes/
[4] U.S. lawmakers want Pakistan network to be dubbed terrorists,” Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2012. Available at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/05/us-lawmakers-want-haqqani-network-dubbed-terrorists.html
[5] “Pakistan has to cooperate more, says Kerry,” APP, May 12, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/12/pakistan-has-to-cooperate-more-says-kerry/
“Taliban have a safe harbor in Pakistan: Feinstein,” Reuters, May 13, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/14/pakistan-must-do-more-to-defeat-taliban-feinstein/
[6] “Relations between CIA and ISI are ‘good’: Gilani,” APP, May 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/377933/relations-between-cia-and-isi-are-good-gilani/
[7] “Gilani denies Zawahiri’s presence in Pakistan,” Dawn, May 12, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/12/gilani-denies-zawahiris-presence-in-pakistan/
[8] “Secret case against Pakistan officer,” Associated Press, May 14, 2012. Available at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/14/ap-exclusive-secret-case-against-pakistan-officer/
[9] “2 killed, 10 injured in Quetta blast,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378632/2-killed-18-injured-in-quetta-blast/
[10] “Military offensive: 9 Taliban militants killed, 5 injured in Kurram Agency,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378544/9-taliban-militants-killed-5-injured-in-kurram-agency/
[11] “Fighting in Khyber uproots hundreds of thousands,” AFP, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378628/fighting-in-khyber-uproots-hundreds-of-thousands/
[12] Mureeb Mohmand, “Militants kill tribal militia leader, injure 10 in Mohmand Agency,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378559/militants-kill-tribal-militia-leader-injure-10-in-mohmad-agency/
[13] Faraz Khan, “‘Sectarian’ target killings? : Deobandi leader gunned down in busy street,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378464/sectarian-target-killings-deobandi-leader-gunned-down-in-busy-street/
[14] “Sunday bloody Sunday: Four people gunned down, one chopped up,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378299/sunday-bloody-sunday-four-people-gunned-down-one-chopped-up/
[15] Asad Kharal, “'Pakistani terrorists': RAW, Indian IB order probe into erroneous alert,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378563/pakistani-terrorists-raw-indian-ib-order-probe-into-erroneous-alert/
[16] Zia Khan, “Agreement likely: India may move troops to peacetime locations,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378468/agreement-likely-india-may-move-troops-to-peacetime-locations/
[17] Zahid Gishkori and Zia Khan, “Probing May 2 raid: Abbottabad panel seeks to record PM’s statement,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378442/probing-may-2-raid-abbottabad-panel-seeks-to-record-pms-statement/
[18] Zahid Gishkori, “Missing persons: Government constitutes special committee,” Express Tribune, May 14, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/378626/missing-persons-government-constitutes-special-committee/