Pakistan Security Brief - May 25, 2012

Senate committee cuts aid to Pakistan by $33 million; Pakistani lawyers and activists challenge 33-year prison sentence for Osama bin Laden informant; Bin Laden’s wives fiercely loyal during interrogations; PPP co-chair calls on U.S. for apology; State Department report highlights human rights situation in Pakistan; Rallies across Pakistan against reopening NATO supply routes; Prime Minister Gilani calls National Assembly Speaker’s decision “victory for democracy”; Gunmen open fire on passenger bus and kill seven; Violence across Karachi leaves ten people dead; British Prime Minister observes drop in “serious terrorist plots”; Indian Secretary gives Pakistan new evidence against Hafiz Saeed; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government orders arrest of all illegal immigrants.        

Osama bin Laden and Fallout

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

NATO Supply Routes

  • The Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) held demonstrations and rallies on Friday, protesting the possible reopening of the NATO supply routes. The DPC, composed of various religious and political parties, organized protests in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Larkana, Sukkur, and Lahore. Rally leaders, like Jamaat-e-Islami member Muhammad Hussain Mehanti, asserted that that U.S. had become a threat to regional security, and expressed fears that missing NATO containers possibly containing armaments may now be in the possession of “anti-social elements” in Karachi and Balochistan.[7]

Domestic Politics

  • According to Prime Minister Gilani, National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s decision that Gilani cannot be disqualified from office, and her refusal to forward the reference against Gilani to the Election Commission of Pakistan, is a “victory for democracy.”[8]

  • While opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) criticized the National Assembly Speaker for ruling in favor of the prime minister, the Pakistan Peoples Party’s allied parties such as the FATA parliamentarians and the Awami National Party supported the speaker’s decision, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement refused to comment on the issue.[9]

  • Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of President Asif Ali Zardari, said on Thursday that former president Pervez Musharraf “purposely sabotaged” the security around the convoy of his mother, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s, so that “she would be eliminated.” Bilawal, who is the head of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), added that he hopes to take a “larger role” in Pakistan’s political life.[10]

Drone Strikes

Militancy

  • At least seven people were killed and three were injured on Friday, when four gunmen boarded a passenger bus and opened fire at Rinn Shakh, near the town of Qazi Ahmed in Shaheed Benazirabad district. AFP reported on the suspicion that two of the gunmen were passengers on the bus who asked the driver to stop the bus at Rinn Shakh, where their accomplices were waiting on motorcycles. According to varying eyewitness accounts, the attackers were taking revenge for an attack on an Awami Tehrik rally in Karachi, or for the murder of a Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz leader. The police stated that the incident appeared to be a failed robbery attempt.[12]

  • Ten people have been killed in different incidents of violence across Karachi in the past 24 hours. A body bearing torture marks was found near Korangi’s Zaman Town area, but police have not yet identified the body. Two people were killed in firing incidents in Karachi’s Bilal Colony and Sharfabad areas. On Thursday, seven people, including two PPP workers and a party activist’s son were shot and killed in separate incidents across the city. Law enforcement agencies detained 11 suspects in the areas of Lyari, Baldia and Gulberg.[13]

  • On Wednesday, twenty people were injured when unidentified assailants threw a petrol bomb into the crowd at a concert celebrating the death anniversary of a Muslim saint known as “Bharri Shah Rehman” in the town of Nowshera Virkan, Gujranwala district. The police registered a case against eight members of a religious group, which had threatened to attack the musical program, but they have not yet disclosed the identity of the group.[14]

  • The body of Assistant Sub-Inspector Muhammad Ayub, who was kidnapped on Sunday, was found in the Choko area of Awaran district, Balochistan.[15]

Dual Nationality Case

  • In Friday’s hearing of a dual nationality case, Pakistan’s Supreme Court suspended the National Assembly membership of Farahnaz Ispahani, the wife of former ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani. The court expressed concern over Ispahani’s U.S. citizenship, stating that Ispahani’s loyalties would be divided, and the U.S. could force her to spy on Pakistan.[16]

International Relations

Illegal Immigrants

  • The Express Tribune reported that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has ordered the provincial police to arrest all foreigners who fail to produce valid documents permitting them to legally reside in Pakistan. On April 25, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Siraj Ahmad Khan had given all illegal immigrants a one-month deadline, stating that all foreigners lacking valid visas would be arrested beginning May 25. Feroz Shah, Public Relations Officer to the DCO, said that a number of foreigners had been arrested following the expiration of the one month deadline, and that most of them were Afghan refugees.[19]

 


[1] Huma Imtiaz, “Dr Afridi fallout: 33-year jail sentence may cost Pakistan $33m in US aid,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. http://tribune.com.pk/story/383893/dr-afridi-fallout-33-year-jail-sentence-may-cost-pakistan-33m-in-us-aid/
“US Senate panel cuts Pakistan aid over Afridi’s conviction,” Dawn, May 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/24/us-senate-panel-cuts-pakistan-aid-over-afridis-conviction/
Donna Cassata, “Panel cuts Pakistan aid after doc’s conviction,” AP, May 24, 2012. Available at http://militarytimes.com/news/2012/05/ap-senate-panel-cuts-pakistan-aid-after-doctors-conviction-shakil-afridi-052412/
“US cuts Pakistan aid over jailing of ‘Bin Laden doctor,’” BBC News, May 25, 2012. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18201077
“Treatment of Pakistan doctor ‘unjust, unwarranted:’ Clinton,” AFP, May 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/25/treatment-of-pakistan-doctor-unjust-unwarranted-clinton/
[2] Umer Farooq, “Lawyers, human rights activists to challenge Dr. Afridi’s sentence,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384078/lawyers-human-rights-activists-challenge-dr-afridis-sentence/
[3] Michael Georgy, “Pakistani interrogater says bin Laden wives gave little away,” Reuters, May 25, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/25/us-pakistan-binladen-wives-idUSBRE84O0FQ20120525
[4] Geneva Sands, “Son of Pakistani president: ‘Never too late for an apology’ from the US,” Hill, May 24, 2012. Available at http://thehill.com/video/in-the-news/229429-son-of-pakistani-president-never-too-late-for-an-apology-from-the-us
[5] “US concerned on killings in Pakistan,” AFP, May 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/24/us-concerned-on-killings-in-pakistan/
[6] “Energy integration: US ratchets up pressure on Pakistan,” AFP, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/383896/energy-integration-us-ratchets-up-pressure-on-pakistan/
Victoria Nuland, “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. State Department, May 23, 2012. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/05/190687.htm#PAKISTAN
[7] “DPC protests against likely resumption of Nato supplies,” PPI, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384131/dpc-protests-against-likely-resumption-of-nato-supplies/
[8] “No disqualification: Mirza's decision is a victory for democracy, says Gilani,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384061/no-disqualification-mirzas-decision-is-a-victory-for-democracy-says-gilani/
[9] Sumera Khan, “Reaction to the ruling: Opposition lashes out, but allies not forthcoming either,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/383966/reaction-to-the-ruling-opposition-lashes-out-but-allies-not-forthcoming-either/
[10] “Musharraf ‘murdered my mother’: Bilawal,” AFP, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384058/musharraf-murdered-my-mother-bilawal/
[11] Hasbanullah Khan, “US drone strike ‘kills eight in Pakistan,’” AFP, May 24, 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/five-militants-killed-us-drone-pakistan-030229356.html
[12] Z Ali, “Bus attack: 7 killed, 3 injured in Shaheed Benazirabad,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384063/bus-attack-over-5-dead-35-injured-in-nawabshah/
“Gunmen kill seven in attack on bus in Sindh,” AFP, May 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/25/gunmen-kill-seven-in-attack-on-bus-in-sindh/
[13] “Three killed in Karachi violence,” Dawn, May 25, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/25/three-killed-in-karachi-violence-2/
[14] “20 injured in bomb attack on concert,” The News, May 24, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-110208-20-injured-in-bomb-attack-on-concert
[15] “Police official found dead,” The News, May 24, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-110205-Police-official-found-dead
[16] Azam Khan, “Dual nationality: SC suspends Ispahani’s NA membership,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384067/dual-nationality-sc-suspends-ispahanis-na-membership/
[17] “Cameron says Afghan, Pak terror threat down,” The News, May 24, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-110194-Cameron-says-Afghan,-Pak-terror-threat-down
[18] “India hands Pakistan evidence against Hafiz Saeed,” Dawn, May 24, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/24/india-hands-pakistan-evidence-against-hafiz-saeed-2/
[19] Umer Farooq, “Crackdown launched against illegal immigrants in Peshawar,” Express Tribune, May 25, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/384115/crackdown-launched-against-illegal-immigrants-in-peshawar/