Pakistan Security Brief - May 21, 2013

Musharraf granted bail in Benazir murder case; PTI protests against MQM; MQM protests PTI accusations; Nawaz Sharif indicates willingness to talk to Taliban; PTI, JUI-S pledge to work together for “peace;” Nawaz working on plan to address energy crisis, includes electricity import from India; Imran Khan to be released from hospital; Zardari invites Sharif to dinner for Chinese PM; Kayani calls for international counter-IED conference; Former PM Ashraf apologizes for contempt of court; PML-N not likely to ask MQM to join government; Obama plans to turn over more drone operations from CIA to DOD; Political violence in Karachi and Mardan; Afghan official expects spike in violence due to closure of radical madrassas in Pakistan; Militants torch houses of militia tribesmen in Khyber.

Domestic Politics

  • In recent days, General Pervez Musharraf was granted bail in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and saw the main complainant in the case involving judges' illegal detention withdraw his petition. General Kayani and prime minister-elect Nawaz Sharif also reportedly discussed Musharraf's future during a meeting on Saturday. A New York Times report on Monday suggests that, due to Sharif's desire not to antagonize the military, Musharraf may be allowed to go into exile again rather than facing prosection. Musharraf himself refuses to leave Pakistan again.1

  • About 3,000 supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) turned out on Monday to peaceful protests in Karachi and Hyderabad against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) allegations that the MQM was behind the killing of PTI leader Zahra Shahid Hussain. MQM leaders denounced the murder and demanded a retraction of PTI leader Imran Khan's accusations. At the Karachi protest, MQM leader Waseem Aftab accused Khan of making Karachi a battlefield, while MQM senator Farogh Nasim said the MQM was suing Khan to the tune of Rs 50 billion ($0.5 billion) over the defamatory remarks. On Tuesday, party chief Altaf Hussain directed party activists to stop all protests until further notice and convened an emergency party meeting in Karachi.2

  • Speaking to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and independent, PML-N-allied members of parliament on Monday, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif reaffirmed his commitment to holding talks with the Taliban, saying that the human and economic costs of the current situation were too high to continue. The Taliban has expressed its willingness to work with Sharif in the past, as long as two representatives of Islamic parties act as guarantors. Sharif promised “all-out support” to the PPP and MQM, provided they show their commitment to eradicating terrorism and curbing unrest in Karachi.3

  • Following a meeting between representatives of the PTI and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami-Sami (JUI-S) in Akora Khattak, Nowshera, the two factions agreed to work together to promote peace in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. JUI-S leader Maulana Samiul Haq said that he respects the PTI's mandate in the region, but also urged Imran Khan and MQM leader Altaf Hussain to refrain from making statements that could destabilize the country. Haq is the head of the infamous Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania madrassa in Akora Khattak.4

  • PTI activists are holding a protest at the Peshawar Press Club against the killing of party leader Zahra Shahid Hussain. According to Imran Khan's sister Aleema Khan, Imran has yet to receive any notice of the lawsuit the MQM said it would be serving him for libel. Aleema Khan addressed the protesters, who were joined by civil society members and representative of non-governmental organizations, saying the the British government had contacted Imran Khan with concerns regarding his safety and those of PTI party workers in Karachi.5

  • Turnout was at 38 percent for Sunday's re-polling in parts of Karachi's NA-250. The PTI won all three contested seats, including two in the regional legislature and one at the national level. The latter was won by 77,659 to the MQM's 30, 365.6

  • Imran Khan will reportedly be released from the hospital on Wednesday, after X-rays confirmed healing in his spine, according to PTI spokeswoman Shireen Mazari and hospital spokeswoman Khwaja Nazir.7

  • On Tuesday, Nawaz Sharif convened and presided over a meeting in Lahore on how to address the country's energy and financial problems. Over 25 experts attended.8

  • PML-N officials said on Monday that Nawaz Sharif is seriously considering a plan to import over 1000MW of electricity from India as part of his new government's “short to medium term strategy” to address Pakistan' chronic power crisis.9

  • The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the party of Pervez Musharraf, will reportedly, on Musharraf's orders, support the PTI in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa “unconditionally,” according to APLM member of parliament-elect Ghulam Mohammed on Monday. Future chief minister Pervez Khattak has reportedly welcomed Musharraf's “goodwill gesture”.10

  • On Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari reportedly called Nawaz Sharif and congratulated him on his victory, inviting him to a dinner later this week in honor of the Chinese Premier. He also made calls to the JUI-F and ANP leaders to congratulate them on their participation in successful elections.11

  • President Asif Ali Zardari has formed a probe committee to find out the reason for his Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) defeat in recent polls, which he blames on rigging and national and international plots.12

  • Addressing an international symposium on Monday, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani praised the people of Pakistan for holding elections, despite terrorist threats, and defying a “misguided minority' at the polls. According to Kayani, this shows that “as a nation [Pakistan] can withstand any challenge”.13

  • Six independent members of parliament-elect from the Federally Administrated Tribal Regions (FATA) met with Nawaz Sharif and on Monday announced their decision to join the PML-N.14

  • Re-polling in eleven polling stations of three constituencies in Bannu, South Waziristan concluded on Tuesday with 25 percent turnout. Votes are still being counted and there is no clear winner as of yet.15

  • On Tuesday, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf wrote a letter to the Supreme Court in which he apologized “unconditionally” for being in contempt of court with regards to proceedings in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case.16

  • Caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Tuesday authorized the payment of Rs 90 million for the Election Commission of Pakistan to purchase software that will match voters' thumbprints with those on file with the National Database and Regulatory Authority. The system will reportedly be ready in ten days.17

  • According to MQM and PML-N officials on Monday, the PML-N is not likely to invite the MQM to join its governing coalition at the center. MQM officials said they had not received an invitation from the PML-N as yet and a PML-N official said no such invitation was likely to be forthcoming given the complications that would arise from the MQM's closeness to the PPP and its role in the previous ruling coalition.18

  • A large number of Ahle-Sunnat-wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) members held a protest on Monday in Jhang district, Punjab after local election officials rejected a plea by ASWJ's leader Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi to recount ballots in a local constituency where he was unsuccessful. Protestors accused election officials and the winning candidates of rigging the polls.19

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

Political Violence

  • On Monday in Karachi, Sindh National Movement (SNM) leader Qasim Chandio was killed by a gunmn on a motorcycle. Police detained three men in response to the attack.21

  • Eight people were killed in Karachi on Monday in separate shooting incidents, including activists for the MQM and Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi.22

  • Three PTI activists were injured in clashes with police in Mardan district during a protest on Monday. Activists were demonstrating against local officials' rejection of an appeal to recount ballots in local constituencies.23

Afghan-Pakistan Relations

  • An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday that violence could surge in eastern Afghanistan as many radical madrassas in Pakistan had reportedly recently closed in order to encourage its students to carry out suicide attacks in Afghanistan.24

Militancy

  • Speaking at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Monday, General Kayani suggested the creation of a forum, supported by the international community, to to help counter the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).25

  • Two men wanted by police for several “heinous” crimes were found dead in Adamkhel Banda, Hangu district on Monday.26

  • Militants on Monday torched the houses of 11 tribesmen who were members of the now-defunct Kamarkhel anti-Taliban militia in the Takhtai area of the Tirah valley, Khyber agency.27

 
1Salman Masood and Ismail Khan, “Musharraf Granted Bail in the Killing of Bhutto,” The New York Times, May 20, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/world/asia/gunmen-attack-polio-workers-in-pakistani-tribal-belt.html?_r=0
2Syed Raza Hussan, “Pakistan's MQM denounces Imran Khan in Karachi protest,” Reuters, May 20, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/20/us-pakistan-elections-karachi-idUSBRE94J02P20130520 “Imran made Karachi a battlefield: MQM leader,” The Express Tribune, May 20, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/551850/mqm-pti-to-protest-against-each-other/ Asif Mahmood and Mohammed Hussain Khan, “MQM stages protests against Imran in Karachi and Hyderabad,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/mqm-stages-protests-against-imran-in-karachi-and-hyderabad/ “MQM chief directs workers to halt all protests,” Dawn, May 21, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1012720/mqm-chief-directs-workers-to-halt-all-protests
3Abdul Manan, “Cause of peace: Talks with Taliban only option, says Nawaz,” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552240/cause-of-peace-talks-with-taliban-only-option-says-nawaz/ Augustine Anthony, “Pakistan's Sharif Says Talks with Taliban Militants an Option,” Bloomburg Businessweek, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-05-21/pakistan-s-sharif-says-talks-with-taliban-militants-an-option “Nawaz Sharif calls for Taliban talks,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Availble at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/nawaz-sharif-calls-for-taliban-talks/
4Suhail Kakakhel, “Samiul Haq agrees to join peace efforts,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/samiul-haq-agrees-to-join-peace-efforts/
5“Imran has not received MQM's libel notice, says sister,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/imran-has-not-received-mqms-libel-notice-says-sister/ “Demonstrations held Muttahida, PTI trade barbs over killing,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/demonstrations-held-muttahida-pti-trade-barbs-over-killing/ “British govt contacted Imran Khan regarding security concerns, says sister,” The Express Tribune, May 20, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/551863/british-government-contacted-imran-khan-regarding-security-concerns-says-sister/
6“Re-polling controversy: PTI grabs one NA, two PA seats in Karachi,” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552251/re-polling-controversy-pti-grabs-one-na-two-pa-seats-in-karachi/
7“Pakistan election: Imran Khan walks after rally fall,” BBC News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22608024 “Imran to leave hospital on Wednesday: Party, medics,” Dawn, May 21, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/imran-to-leave-hospital-on-wednesday-party-medics/
8“Nawaz chairs meeting on energy, financial crises,” Dawn, May 21, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/nawaz-chairs-meeting-on-energy-financial-crises/
9“Electricity import from India a priority for Nawaz,” The News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22996-Electricity-import-from-India-a-priority-for-Nawaz
10Zulfiqar Ali, “Musharraf's party to back new KP government,” Dawn, May 21, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1012542/musharrafs-party-to-back-new-kp-government
11“Zardari telephones Nawaz, felicitates on poll victory,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/zardari-telephones-nawaz-felicitates-on-poll-victory/
12“Zardari blames 'national, international conspiracy' for PPP defeat,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/zardari-blames-national-international-conspiracy-for-ppp-defeat/
13Mateen Haider, “Kayani lauds nation's defiance against 'misguided minority' in polls,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/kayani-suggests-regional-forum-to-counter-ied/ Kamran Yousaf, “Kayani praises nation for defying 'misguided minority',” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552237/kayani-praises-nation-for-defying-misguided-minority/
14“Six FATA MNAs join PML-N,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/six-fata-mnas-join-pml-n/
15“Re-polling in Bannu, South Waziristan comes to an end,” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552335/re-polling-continues-in-bannu-south-waziristan-today/
16“Raja Pervaiz issues unconditional apology over contempt of court,” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552328/raja-pervaiz-issues-unconditional-apology-over-contempt-of-court/
17“Thumbprint verification: Caretaker PM orders release of Rs90m for NADRA,” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552320/thumbprint-verification-caretaker-pm-orders-release-of-rs90m-for-nadra/
18“PML-N may not include MQM in proposed govt,” The News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-178736-PML-N-may-not-include-MQM-in-proposed-govt
19“Protest over rejection of vote recount plea by Ludhianvi,” The News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-178767-Protest-over-rejection-of-vote-recount-plea-by-Ludhianvi
20Tabassum Zakaria and Mark Hosenball, “Pentagon to take over some CIA drone strikes: sources,” Reuters, May 20, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/21/us-usa-drones-idUSBRE94K03720130521 “CIA will continue drone operations in Pakistan for now: Sources,” The Express Tribune, May 21, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/552331/cia-will-continue-drone-operations-in-pakistan-for-now-sources/
21“Violence erupts after killing of SNM leader,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/violence-erupts-after-killing-of-snm-leader/
22“Karachi violence claims eight lives,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/muttahida-mqm-h-men-among-six-shot-dead/ “Muttahida, MQM-H men among six shot dead,” Dawn, May 20, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/21/muttahida-mqm-h-men-among-six-shot-dead/
23“PTI activists injured in clash with Police in Mardan,” The News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23010-PTI-activists-injured-in-clash-with-police-in-Mardan
24Muhammed Hassan Khetab, “Azimi predicts dramatic surge in suicide attacks,” Pajhwok Afghan News, May 20, 2013. Available at http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2013/05/20/azimi-predicts-dramatic-surge-suicide-attacks
25Kamran Yousaf, “Deadly fertiliser: Kayani proposes forum to counter IED threats,” The Express Tribune, May 20, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/551923/deadly-fertiliser-kayani-proposes-forum-to-counter-ied-threats/
26“Two found dead in Hangu,” The News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-178762-Two-found-dead-in-Hangu
27“Militants torch houses,” The News, May 21, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-178765-Militants-torch-houses