Pakistan Security Brief - May 23, 2013

TTP spokesman says TTP welcomes talks with Sharif; Thirteen police officers killed in bomb attack in Balochistan; Five people killed in Balochistan, including four women; Sharif's government likely to get $15 billion Saudi bailout; PTI will support PML-N's peace efforts; Sharif announces nomination of brother Shahbaz as chief minister of Punjab; MQM Coordination Committee disbanded; Musharraf denied bail in judges detention case; PPP formally invites MQM to coalition; PML-N and JUI-F “inches away” from coalition deal; Sharif pressed to stop drone strikes; British minister confirms “unprecedented” complaints about Hussain; Chinese Premier meets with Kayani; Obama gives speech on drones, plans to limit targets and increase oversight; U.S. admits to killing four citizens with drones; Pentagon needs for additional funding for Pakistan transportation costs; American killed in drone strike had been arrested by Pakistani authorities; Kayani says army has no interest in used American weapons; India to support Afghan stability, considers Afghan “wish list” of weapons; Two security personnel killed in Kurram operation; LeT commander killed in Indian Kashmir; Two Levies men injured in Bajaur check post attack; several die in violence in northwest Pakistan.

Militancy

  • Thirteen police officers of the Balochistan Constabulary Rapid Response Force were killed and 17 injured on Thursday morning in Bhosa Mandi area outside Quetta when a remote-control bomb containing over 100 kilograms of explosives and planted in a rickshaw struck a police truck. Nearby buildings were also destroyed. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) “proudly” claimed responsibility, saying through spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan that the Balochistan police had recently arrested and killed members of the Swat branch of the TTP.1

  • On Thursday, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the TTP welcomed Nawaz Sharif's offer of negotiations and that the organization is devising a response.2

  • Five people, including four women, were gunned down in Balochistan's Sibi area on Thursday when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a house. Another two people were wounded. Police sources said that the attackers were possible religious extremists motivated by “immoral” activities allegedly taking place at the house.3

  • Two security personnel, including an army captain, were killed and 18 injured in a clash with militants in Kurram agency on Thursday. Later, 15 militants were killed when their positions were attacked by air force jets.4

  • Two Levies men were injured in Bajaur region when militants attacked a check post. A search operation was begun in the area when militants destroyed an 11,000 kilowatt transmission line.5

  • Three people were killed in Peshawar's Matani area in a rocket attack targeting a house.6

  • One man was killed during a police search operation in Matani, Peshawar on Wednesday when he opened fire on police.7

  • Four doctors went missing in Lakki Marwat district on Wednesday as they were traveling to Dera Ismail Khan to participate in a program organized by the Khyber Medical University.8

  • Two suspected militants were captured during a raid in Kohat on Wednesday. A stash of weapons were also recovered.9

  • Three suspected “target killers" were arrested by the Karachi Police on Wednesday, along with a stolen car, during a snap check.10

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • The Pentagon reportedly has to ask Congress for an additional $9.6 billion to cover the costs of transporting troops and equipment in and out of Afghanistan, due to last year's delay of several months when Pakistan closed supply lines in response to a U.S. air strike killing 24 Pakistani troops. Alternate overland and air routes are many times more expensive than transporting through Pakistan, and last year's crisis created a backlog in Pakistan that has not yet been cleared. A senior U.S. Official involved said “Some transportation is occurring, but it’s not as robust as we’d like it to be, and it’s not as robust as we’d budgeted for.”11

  • Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in Islamabad, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani said that he has no interest in used American arms from Afghanistan, due to doubts about their reliability.12

  • President Obama announced on Thursday in a speech at the National Defense University that he will begin to limit the targets of drone strikes to those that pose “continuing and imminent” threats to U.S. national security. He also promised new information to Congress and the public on the rules governing the attacks as well as greater oversight, though for now the strikes in Pakistan will remain the domain of the CIA. Obama also discussed Guantanamo Bay, and said he plans to make a new push for closing the facility. He plans to speed up prisoner transfers and lift the administration's ban on sending detainees to Yemen.13

  • On Wednesday, the Justice Department admitted for the first time that U.S. drone strikes had killed four American citizens in Pakistan and Yemen. One of the four was killed in Pakistan and was named Jude Kenan Mohammed. Mohammed was not the target of the strike that killed him.14

  • On Thursday, the U.S. government revealed that Jude Kenan Mohammed had been arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2008 for entering Mohmand tribal region without permission but escaped when he was granted bail. He was on the FBI's “Most Wanted” list.15

Indo-Afghan Relations

  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday that during a visit this week he had given India a military “wish list” of equipment needed. India reportedly has yet to decide if arming that Afghan army is in its best interest, as it would alarm Pakistan and likely sour relations. According to Indian officials, so far India's help to Afghanistan has consisted primarily of training, with little equipment provided, though it has promised to do “all within its means” to promote Afghan stability. Indian officials have not publicly disclosed the wish-list, but it is believed to contain requests for heavy (105mm) artillery, aircraft, and small arms and ammunition.16

Domestic Politics

  • Once Nawaz Sharif's government is in place, Saudi Arabia looks set to extend a $15 billion energy bailout package to Pakistan, consisting mainly of deferred payments on crude and furnace oil. According to a Saudi official, as soon as Sharif was declared the winner of elections the Saudi ambassador asked for a briefing on Pakistan's oil requirements before meeting with Sharif.17

  • In an address at the Peshawar Press Club, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shaukat Yousafzai said that his party would fully support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) peace efforts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the country at large.18

  • On Thursday, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif formally announced his nomination of his brother Shahbaz Sharif as Chief Minister of Punjab. It will be Shahbaz Sharif's third term in that role.19

  • On Thursday, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain dissolved the party's Coordination Committee. Administrative affairs will be handled by a seven-person interim committee until a new Coordination Committee is formed on Saturday. The day before, Hussain had announced a “reformation” process in his party, banned the collection of “donations” by the Coordination Committee, and urged the resignation of any party members involved in illegal land dealings or extorition.20

  • On Thursday, Britain's Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs confirmed for the first time that the Metropolitan Police have received an “unprecedented” number of complaints about Altaf Hussain's alleged threats of violence against peaceful protesters. British police are reportedly investigating the complaints and will take action in due course.21

  • The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Wednesday formally invited the MQM to join them in a coalition government in Sindh, saying that the people had given strong mandates to both parties. MQM leaders said that the party's role in provincial government would be revealed in a few days but that it would not disappoint the people of Sindh, especially Karachi.22

  • Rumors about Pervez Musharraf's possible departure from the country have been put to rest by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), which on Wednesday denied him bail in the judges' detention case. The case will be heard beginning on June 1.23

  • On Wednesday, President Asif Ali Zardari of the PPP and future Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the PML-N held a meeting to discuss the formation of the upcoming government, during which they reportedly decided that the country's problems would be tackled by both parties in consensus.24

  • Negotiation parties of the PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami-Fazl (JUI-F) on Wednesday were reportedly “inches away” from reaching a deal on a political partnership. The PML-N has reportedly agreed to grant the JUI-F control of the ministry of Kashmir affairs, but is still contemplating the role the JUI-F might play in the government of Balochistan. The two sides will meet again on Thursday.25

  • According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, after campaigning on an anti-drone platform, Nawaz Sharif will be pressed to follow through on his promises when he takes office. A Pakistani court that found the strikes illegal in April threatened on Wednesday to file contempt-of-court charges against Sharif if the attacks continue.26

Indo-Pak Relations

  • Hilal Moulvi, a commander in terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was reportedly killed in a battle with Indian government forces in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday that also wounded three Indian policemen.27

Sino-Pak Relations

  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reportedly met with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and naval chief Admiral Mohammed Asif Sandilla in Islamabad on Thursday.28

  • The News reports details of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday. Economy, trade, investment, agriculture, industry, defense, and people-to-people contacts were reportedly topics of conversation. They also agreed to accelerate work on several joint projects, shared concerns on terrorism, separatism, and extremism, and pledged to maintain close ties despite chnging global circumstances.29

 
1Syed Ali Shah, “Roadside bomb kills 12 in Quetta,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013201/roadside-bomb-kills-12-in-quetta
Salman Masood, “13 Pakistani Police Officers Killed in Explosion,” The New York Times, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/world/asia/pakistan-blast.html?_r=0
Javed Hamim Kakar, “12 killed in Quetta car bomb blast,” Pajhwok Afghan News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2013/05/23/12-killed-quetta-car-bomb-blast
“Taliban claim bomb in southwest Pakistan that kills 13,” Reuters, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/23/us-pakistan-blast-idUSBRE94M07020130523
“Taliban claim Quetta bomb attack, 13 killed,” The Express Tribune, May 23, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553305/7-security-personnel-killed-in-quetta-bomb-attack/
2Zahir Shah Sherazi, “TTP welcomes Nawaz's call for peace talks,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013236/nawazs-call-for-peace-talks-welcomed-by-ttp
3Syed Ali Shah, “Five persons gunned down in Balochistan's Sibi area,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013234/five-persons-gunned-down-in-balochistans-sibi-area
4Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Clashes in Kurram, Bajaur; two security personnel killed,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013203/clashes-in-kurram-bajaur-two-security-personnel-killed
5Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Clashes in Kurram, Bajaur; two security personnel killed,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013203/clashes-in-kurram-bajaur-two-security-personnel-killed
6Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Clashes in Kurram, Bajaur; two security personnel killed,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013203/clashes-in-kurram-bajaur-two-security-personnel-killed
7“Suspect killed in search operation,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-179189-Suspect-killed-in-search-operation
8Samar Gul Marwat, “Four doctors go missing in Lakki,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-179275-Four-doctors-go-missing-in-Lakki
9“Two militants held in Kohat raid,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-179281-Two-militants-held-in-Kohat-raid
10“Three suspected target killers arrested in Karachi,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/23/three-target-killing-suspects-arrested-in-karachi/
11Leigh Munsil, “Pakistan triggers Defense Department budget hike,” Politico, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/pakistan-defense-department-budget-91776.html
12“Pak Army not interested in used US arms, says Kayani,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23056-Pak-Army-not-interested-in-used-US-arms,-says-Kayani
13Charlie Savage and Peter Baker, “US Acknowledges Killing 4 Americans in Drone Strikes,” The New York Times, May 22, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/us/us-acknowledges-killing-4-americans-in-drone-strikes.html?hp&_r=0
Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton, “Obama limits U.S. drone strikes in shift form constant war footing,” Reuters, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/23/us-usa-obama-speech-idUSBRE94M04Y20130523
“Obama seeks to move US beyond war years but keep drones, outlining a narrower terror threat,” The Washington Post, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-administration-acknowledges-4-american-citizens-killed-in-drone-strikes-since-2009/2013/05/22/9855e588-c33d-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html
Julian E. Barnes, Evan Perez, and Adam Entous, “Obama Restarts Bid to Close Guantanamo,” The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323336104578499433996940490.html
14“US acknowledges their drones killed American in Pakistan,” The Express Tribune, May 23, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553249/us-acknowledges-using-drones-to-kill-american-in-pakistan/
15“Pakistan arrested American 3 years before he was killed in US drone strike,” The Washington Post, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistan-arrested-american-before-he-was-killed-in-us-drone-strike/2013/05/23/6f66d956-c38e-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html
Siobhan Gorman, “New Name in Drone Acknowledgement,” The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323336104578499660554577222.html
16Ross Colvin, “Afghanistan's Karzai gives India military equipment 'wish list',” Reuters, May 22, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/us-india-afghanistan-idUSBRE94L0DQ20130522
“India will do all in its power to promote Afghan stability,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23044-India-will-do-all-in-its-power-to-promote-Afghan-stability
17Khaleeq Kiani, “$15 billion Saudi bailout likely,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013070/15-billion-saudi-bailout-likely
18“PTI to support PML-N peace efforts, says leader,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-179176-PTI-to-support-PML-N-peace-efforts,-says-leader
19“Nawaz names Shahbaz for CM Punjab,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013228/nawaz-names-shahbaz-for-cm-punjab
20“MQM's Rabita Committee disbanded,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/23/mqms-rabita-committee-for-karachi-disbanded/
“Altaf announces 'reformation' within MQM ranks,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/22/altaf-announces-to-begin-reformation-within-mqm-ranks/
21Murtaza Ali Shah, “UK confirms receiving 'unprecedented' complaints against Altaf Hussain,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23035-UK-confirms-receiving-unprecedented-complaints-against-Altaf-Hussain
22“PPP formally invites MQM to join Sindh govt, Amin Faheem,” Dawn, May 22, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1012997/ppp-formally-invites-mqm-to-join-sindh-govt-amin-faheem
23Malik Asad, “Musharraf's bail plea rejected in judges detention case,” Dawn, May 22, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/23/musharrafs-bail-plea-rejected-in-judges-detention-case/
24“Nawaz, Zardari agree to face national challenges together,” Dawn, May 22, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1012994/nawaz-zardari-agree-to-face-national-challenges-together
25“Coalition govt: PML-N, JUI-F inches away from deal,” The Express Tribune, May 23, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553258/coalition-govt-pml-n-jui-f-inches-away-from-deal/
26Saeed Shah, “Pakistan Is Pressed to Halt U.S. Drone Strikes,” The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323336104578499400909516098.html
27“Militant killed in Kashmir; three policemen wounded,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013202/militant-killed-in-kashmir-three-policemen-wounded
28“Chinese PM meets Kayani,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013195/chinese-pm-meets-kayani
29Shoaib A. Raja, “China to help end Pak energy crisis: Li,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23033-China-to-help-end-Pak-energy-crisis:-Li
Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Global changes not to affect ties: Li,” Dawn, May 22, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/23/global-changes-not-to-affect-ties-li/