Pakistan Security Brief - May 24, 2013

 

Pakistan seeking loan from Saudi Arabia; PML-N leader says Pakistan may wait to go for IMF loan; Kayani tells Sharif no deal with U.S. on drone strikes; Details of Obama's counterterrorism speech and reactions; Kurram clash kills 20 militants and four troops; TTP says it is too early to respond to negotiation offers from PML-N; Sharif meets U.S., Indian ambassadors; PTI says it will cooperate fully with PML-N to counter militancy; Petition submitted by PTI for prosecuting Altaf Hussain for treason; Special court to be convened to hear Musharraf treason case; MQM leader threatens to leave party; MQM reshuffling in wake of poor election showing; Gilani and Ashraf summoned to National Accountability Bureau; Four Indian soldiers killed by rebels in Kashmir; Suicide attack on leader of Afghan religious group kills three; NATO driver killed in attack on convoy; Six people killed in Karachi; Hand grenade attack on school wounds four; CD shop owner killed by hand grenade; Protests by Kutchhi community in Karachi kill one; Lyari gang warfare injures four; Three militants killed in air strikes; Two British citizens arrested for joking about blowing up plane; Forty five Indian fishermen released from prison; Zardari and Sharif meet, agree to cooperate; Li Keqiang wraps up Pakistan visit.

Economy

  • According to senior members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan is seeking a loan from Saudi Arabia of around $4-5 billion, in the form of cash and oil exports, to avert a balance of payments crisis and secure electricity supplies, while a possible $9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is still being negotiated.1

  • Senior PML-N advisor and former finance minister Sartaj Aziz said on Friday that Pakistan should only consider an IMF bailout after the new government's first few months of power and after it enacts some reforms and eases the domestic power crisis. He claims that if Pakistan can show movement in a positive direction first, its deal with the IMF will be saddled with fewer conditions and Pakistan may be able to ask for less money.2

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • In his speech on drones and Guantanamo Bay at the National Defense University on Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama outlined four criteria necessary for a drone strike: “Near certainty” that the target was present and that no civilians would be harmed; capture not being a feasible option; authorities of country not being able or willing to address the threat; and no other reasonable alternatives being available. These came as part of his push to justify as well as increase oversight of the drone program. Obama also paid his respects to “thousands of Pakistani soldiers [that] have lost their lives fighting extremists”, while saying that the U.S. and Pakistan are only just beginning to rebuild their relationship after the U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Overall the speech was received well in Pakistan and Yemen, though Pakistani officials continue to criticize Obama for not ending drone strikes outright, maintaining that they are illegal.3

Militancy

  • On Thursday, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said it was too early to respond to Nawaz Sharif's negotiations offers, and that the TTP will wait until he has formed a government. In the meantime, he says, the offer will be discussed by the TTP's leadership.4

  • Fighting on Thursday in Zara Mella, Parachamkani of central Kurram agency killed twenty militants and four soldiers, including an army captain. Militants reportedly attacked security personnel in Zara Mella area first, after which the army retaliated.5

  • Three militant commanders in the Tariq Afridi group of the TTP were killed by military plane attacks on their hideouts in Darra Adamkhel on Thursday.6

  • A suicide bomb attack on the vehicle of Haji Hayatullah, leader of Afghan religious group Jamatul Dawa Alquran and Sunnah, on Pajaggu Road,Peshawar killed three people on Friday.7

  • On Thursday, a local healer was abducted from his clinic in Kohat on Thursday. Rs 1 million have been demanded in ransom. He was reportedly a PTI activist.8

  • On Friday, gunmen opened fire on a NATO convoy in Shagai area, Khyber Agency, killing one driver and wounding a helper. Two vehicles were damaged.9

  • A hand grenade attack on a government school in Orangi Town, Karachi wounded three students and a teacher on Friday. The attack was reportedly for non-payment of extortion money.10

  • Six people were killed and two wounded in five separate violent incidents across Karachi on Friday.11

  • Members of Karachi's Kutchhi community protested against the frequent killing of other Kutchhis on Thursday. Law enforcement attempted to break up the demonstration in Lyari, staring a gunfight that killed one protestor and wounded several others.12

  • The owner of a CD shop in Quetta was killed in a hand grenade attack on Friday.13

U.K. Plane Threat

  • On Friday, two British citizens were arrested on “suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft” from a Pakistan International Airlines plane flying from Lahore to Manchester after comments about blowing up the plane forced the plane to divert to and land at London's Stansted airport. The two are in custody for questioning, but as they were reportedly “joking”, the incident is no longer being treated as terrorist-related.14

Indo-Pak Relations

  • Fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday killed four Indian soldiers and a suspected rebel, when rebels reportedly ambushed and shot three soldiers. The fourth was killed in the following exchange of gunfire.15

  • At least 45 Indian fishermen were released from Karachi's Malir prison on Friday and will be handed over to Indian authorities at the border on Saturday.16

Domestic Politics

  • General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani reportedly told incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that there is no secret agreement with the U.S. on drone strikes, and pledged to back Sharif on fulfilling his election promise of ending the strikes.17

  • PTI Secretary of Information Shireen Mazari said on Thursday that her party will cooperate fully with the central government to tackle militancy in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, by holding dialogue with militants who believe in the writ of the state, while disengaging from, isolating, and exterminating those that don't. She said that negotiations will only successful when all stakeholders are engaged.18

  • On Friday, Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif met with U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson and Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal in Raiwind to discuss ties and Pakistan's energy crisis.19

  • On Thursday, the Lahore High Court notified those involved that a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) activist and lawyer had submitted a petition for Altaf Hussain to be prosecuted for treason, for his comments allegedly calling for Karachi to secede from Pakistan. The petition also seeks a court order barring TV stations from airing Hussain's speeches.20

  • Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain reportedly threatened on Friday that if MQM workers don't reform themselves, they will lose him as a leader. He claimed that neither he nor his family had ever engaged in corrupt practices and that they were working hard in the U.K.21

  • Altaf Hussain's dissolution of the Karachi and London Coordination Committees on Thursday was reportedly in response to the MQM's poor showing in elections, which Hussain says he blames on terrorist attacks and organizational deficiencies. Senior leaders have been asked to rejoin the party, and several may reportedly gain powerful new positions in the reshuffle.22

  • On Thursday, PML-N Senator and future finance minister Ishaq Dar discussed the replacement of the Benazir Income Support Programme with the Pakistan Income Support Programme, saying that unlike the BISP, the PISP will be free of corruption and mismanagement.23

  • A special court will be convened to hear Musharraf's treason case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced on Thursday. Despite reports to the contrary, Musharraf's lawyer assured the court that Musharraf has no plans to leave the country. The case will be resumed on June 3.24

  • President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif reportedly met on Wednesday and agreed to continue reconciliation between their parties in line with the “Charter of Democracy” Nawaz Sharif signed with slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, and to tackle Pakistan's problems jointly.25

Sino-Pak Relations

  • On Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wrapped up his visit to Pakistan by promising deeper engagement and and closer coordination for stability and security in Afghanistan. During the visit, the two countries reportedly prepared a “roadmap” for strengthening their friendship, and Li expressed China's confidence in Pakistan's anti-terrorism strategy. One of the key areas highlighted for cooperation will reportedly be civil nuclear technology.26

World View

  • The BBC conducted a poll asking people all over the world to rate sixteen countries and the European Union on whether they have “mostly positive” or “mostly negative” influence on the world. Germany was the most positively viewed while Iran was the most negatively, and Pakistan took the second to last place, with a 55% “mostly negative” rating.27

 
1Farhan Bokhari and Victor Mallet, “Pakistan seeks $4bn-$5bn loan from Saudi Arabia,” The Financial Times, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/015e1ede-c44b-11e2-9ac0-00144feab7de.html#axzz2UEFtSt9g
2“Pakistan should consider IMF deal after reforms in place: Sartaj Aziz,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553920/pakistan-should-consider-imf-deal-after-reforms-in-place-sartaj-aziz/
3“Barack Obama defends 'just war' using drones,” BBC News, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22638533
“Reframing policies: Obama limits use of drone strikes,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553754/reframing-policies-obama-limits-use-of-drone-strikes/
Peter Baker, “Pivoting From a War Footing, Obama Acts to Curtail Drones,” The New York Times, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/us/politics/pivoting-from-a-war-footing-obama-acts-to-curtail-drones.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=world
Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller, “Obama: U.S. at 'crossroads' in fight against terrorism,” The New York Times, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-outlines-new-rules-for-drones/2013/05/23/1b5918e6-c3cb-11e2-914f-a7aba60512a7_story.html
Sebastian Abbott, “Obama's speech welcomed in Pakistan, Yemen,” Bloomberg Businessweek, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-05-24/obamas-drone-speech-welcomed-in-pakistan-yemen
“Pakistan remains opposed to drones after Obama speech,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553863/pakistan-remains-opposed-to-drones-after-obama-speech/
4“Too early to react to Nawaz's talks offer: Taliban,” The Express Tribune, May 23, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553368/too-early-to-react-to-nawazs-talks-offer-taliban/
Ahmad Hassan, “TTP welcomes Nawaz's offer for talks,” The News, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23066-TTP-welcomes-Nawazs-offer-for-talks
5“Over 20 militants, four troops killed,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/over-20-militants-four-troops-killed/
6“Over 20 militants, four troops killed,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/over-20-militants-four-troops-killed/
7Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Suicide attack in Peshawar leaves two dead,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013481/blast-in-peshawar-kills-one-injures-two
“Suicide attack outside Peshawar madrassah kills 3,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553852/blast-on-pachgai-road-in-peshawar/
8“Over 20 militants, four troops killed,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/over-20-militants-four-troops-killed/
“Doctor kidnapped in Darra Adamkhel,” The News, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-179501-Doctor-kidnapped-in-Darra-Adamkhel
9“Gunmen kill NATO driver in Khyber Agency: Officials,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553847/gunmen-kill-nato-driver-in-khyber-agency-officials/
10“Hand grenade attack on Karachi school injures teacher, students,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553816/school-attacked-by-hand-grenade-in-karachi/
“Violence in Karachi claims six lives,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/violence-in-karachi-claims-six-lives/
11“Violence in Karachi claims six lives,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/violence-in-karachi-claims-six-lives/
12“Violence blamed on Lyari gangland killings: Protester killed in 'crossfire',” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/violence-blamed-on-lyari-gangland-killings-protester-killed-in-crossfire/
13“Owner of CD shop killed in Quetta hand grenade attack,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013461/owner-of-cd-shop-killed-in-quetta-hand-grenade-attack
14Alan Cowell, “2 on Diverted Pakistani Plane Made Threats They Called Jokes,” The New York Times, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/world/europe/britain-pakistani-airliner.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y&_r=0
Nicholas Winning, Daniel Michael, and Ainsley Thomson, “U.K. Police Arrest Two After Incident on Plane,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324659404578502942844542924.html?mod=djkeyword
15“Suspected Kashmiri Rebels Kill Indian Soldiers,” The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2013. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324659404578502352980732888.html?mod=djkeyword
16“At least 45 Indian fishermen released from Karachi's Malir prison,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013469/at-least-45-indian-fishermen-released-from-karachis-malir-prison
17Sib Kaifee, “Pakistan military, incoming PM pledge to fight U.S. drone campaign,” Fox News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/05/23/pakistan-military-incoming-president-pledge-to-fight-us-drone-campaign/#ixzz2UE6NZRoo
18“PTI to cooperate with govt in tackling terrorism, says Shireen,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/pti-to-cooperate-with-govt-in-tackling-terrorism-says-shireen/
19“Nawaz meets Olson in Raiwind,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013472/nawaz-meets-olson-in-raiwind
20“PTI pleas for Altaf's treason trial,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/24/pti-plea-for-altafs-treason-trial/
21“If MQM workers don't reform themselves, they will lose me: Altaf Hussain,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553850/never-taught-mqm-workers-to-take-bribes-or-be-corrupt-altaf-hussain/
22“Operation overhaul: MQM dissolves Rabita Committee,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553759/operation-overhaul-mqm-dissolves-rabita-committee/
23“PPP replaced PISP with BISP, claims Ishaq Dar,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/23/ppp-replaced-pisp-with-bisp-claims-ishaq-dar/
24“Special court to hear Musharraf treason case: SC,” Dawn, May 23, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013226/atc-to-hear-musharraf-treason-case-sc
“Musharraf treason case to be heard by special court: SC,” The News, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23074-Musharraf-treason-case-to-be-heard-by-special-court:-SC
25“Zardari, Nawaz meet, since the same tune,” The News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23032-Zardari,-Nawaz-meet,-sing-the-same-tune
26Baqir Sajjad Syed, “China praises Pak strategy against terror,” Dawn, May 24, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013418/china-praises-pak-strategy-against-terror
Muhammed Saleh Zaafir, Muhammed Anis, and Asim Yasin, “Chinese PM assures cooperation in civil nuclear technology,” The News, May 24, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23058-Chinese-PM-assures-cooperation-in-civil-nuclear-technology
27“BBC poll: Germany most popular country in the world,” BBC News, May 23, 2013. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22624104
“Pakistan second 'most unpopular country' in the world: Poll,” The Express Tribune, May 24, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/553830/pakistan-second-most-unpopular-country-in-the-world-poll/