Pakistan Security Brief - May 30, 2012

Osama bin Laden informant Shakil Afridi convicted for militancy ties; Safety concerns prompt officials to request Afridi’s transfer; Pentagon calls drone strikes “lawful and precise;” Taliban spokesman says Haqqani Network founder alive; Balochistan police arrest seven militants smuggling explosives; “Target killing” incidents in Karachi leave five dead; Pakistan successfully tests short-range missile; India negotiates oil shipments to Pakistan; Indian officials accuse Pakistani intelligence of planning “high value terror attacks” in India; China urges international community to recognize Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts; UN official criticizes Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Osama bin Laden Informant

Drone Strikes

Domestic Politics

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that opposition parties had undermined parliament and its supremacy by challenging in the Supreme Court the National Assembly Speaker’s ruling that Gilani could stay in office.[5]

  • President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday signed the National Commission for Human Rights Bill authorizing the creation of a human rights commission. The commission is tasked with holding accountable any institution for human rights violations. Two weeks earlier, Human Rights Watch asked Zardari to hold off on signing the bill until the commission was given the authority to also try the military and intelligence agencies.[6]

Haqqani Network

Militancy

  • Police in Balochistan intercepted two explosive-laden vehicles and arrested seven suspected militants, as they were attempting to smuggle explosive materials from Zhob district, Balochistan to Kuchlak, a town near the provincial capital, Quetta.[8]

  • Five people were killed and a civil judge was wounded on Wednesday in incidents of “target killing” in Karachi. On Wednesday morning, a senior civil judge was severely injured when unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened fired on his car. In a separate incident at Aslam Shaheed Chowk in Karachi’s Orangi town, unknown assailants on motorcycles shot and killed two people. The third incident involved a robbery in Hazara Colony, in which the robbers opened fire, killing one man.[9]

  • The Express Tribune reported Wednesday that the Airport Security Force, acting on a tip-off, arrested an armed man on board a flight to Muscat, Oman at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. Officials apprehended the man identified as Iftikhar Ali, an aircraft engineer with the Pakistan International Airlines, and recovered a pistol with six bullets from his possession.[10]

Nuclear Missile Test

  • The Pakistani military’s Inter Services Public Relations said in a statement issued on Tuesday that Pakistan had successfully test-fired a nuclear capable Hatf IX (NASR) missile. The Hatf IX NASR is a short-range missile capable of carrying conventional warheads 37 miles with high accuracy. Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, the Director General of the army’s Strategic Plans Division, said the successful test would help to maintain deterrence capabilities and ensure peace in the region.[11]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

Sino-Pakistani Relations

  • At a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged the international community to recognize the “huge sacrifices” and “huge contributions” that Pakistan has made in the fight against terrorism and give Pakistan “whole-hearted support.” Jiechi is leading a high-level Chinese delegation in talks with Pakistan’s president, prime minister, foreign minister and army chief to advance long-term strategic partnerships between Pakistan and China.[14]

  • Chinese oil and gas company United Energy Group Ltd, which paid British Petroleum $775 million for oil and gas assets in Pakistan in 2010, said on Wednesday that it plans to invest $3 billion in a wind farm project in Pakistan. The company said that it has already obtained approval from the Pakistani government to build a wind power project with a capacity of 500 megawatts.[15]

Balochistan

  • Prime Minister Gilani, on Tuesday, held high-level meetings to discuss the issue of insecurity and missing persons in Balochistan. The meeting – attended by Balochistan’s governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, the federal ministers, Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General of ISI Lt. Gen. Muhammad Zaheerul Islam – came days after the Supreme Court Bar Association issued a statement implicating the Frontier Corps (FC) in more than 80 percent of disappearance cases in the province. According to Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, the meeting resulted in the creation of a six-member committee to engage in weekly dialogue with political parties, nationalist groups, and other groups in an effort to further address operational, developmental, administrative, legal, political and financial aspects related to instability in Balochistan. The Information Minister further added that General Kayani threw his support behind a plan to place the provincial administration, led by Chief Minister Raisani, in control of FC deployments in the province.[16]

NATO Supply Lines

  • Despite their anger following the Salala border strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, thousands of Pakistani truckers support the reopening of NATO supply lines. Pakistani truckers make $215-$269 per trip transporting NATO equipment and supplies. A senior member of the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association, Shafiq Kakar blamed the ongoing diplomatic impasse on wrangling over money “at every level."[17]     

  



[1] “Pakistan doctor guilty of militancy, not CIA links,” AP, May 30, 2012. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/30/pakistan-doctor-guilty-militancy-not-cia-links/
Jon Boone, “Pakistani doctor was jailed for giving care to militants, not helping CIA,” Guardian, May 30, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/30/pakistani-doctor-jailed-militants-cia?newsfeed=true
Ismail Khan, “Dr Afridi jailed for helping Khyber militants,” Dawn, May 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/30/dr-afridi-jailed-for-helping-khyber-militants/
[2] Michael Langevine Leiby, “In Pakistan, a legal system under scrutiny,” Washington Post, May 29, 2012. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-pakistan-a-legal-system-under-scrutiny/2012/05/29/gJQAmJTqyU_story.html
“Fears for safety of Dr Afridi,” AFP, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386286/fears-for-safety-of-dr-afridi/
[3] Mark Hosenball, “Pakistani doctor in bin Laden hunt rejected U.S. escape: officials,” Reuters, May29, 2012.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/30/us-pakistan-cia-doctor-idUSBRE84T00320120530
“US senator proposes suspending all Pakistan aid,” AFP, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386142/us-senator-proposes-suspending-all-pakistan-aid/ “Dr Shakil Afridi jailed for ‘militant links,’” AFP, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386265/dr-shakil-afridi-jailed-for-militant-links/
“Pakistan doctor guilty of militancy, not CIA links,” AP, May 30, 2012. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/30/pakistan-doctor-guilty-militancy-not-cia-links/
[4] Huma Imtiaz, “US says drone strikes legal after report shows Obama signs 'Kill list,'” Express Tribune, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386112/us-says-drone-strikes-legal-after-report-shows-commander-in-chief-signs-kill-list/
[5] “Opposition parties undermining Parliament’s sanctity: Gilani,” APP, May 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/29/opposition-parties-undermining-parliaments-sanctity-gilani/
[6] “Zardari authorizes formation of human rights commission,” Dawn, May 20, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/30/zardari-authorises-formation-of-human-rights-commission/.
[7] “Taliban deny reports of Haqqani’s death,” AFP, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386233/taliban-deny-reports-of-haqqanis-death/
[8] Shehzad Baloch, “7 suspects arrested, explosives recovered near Kuchlak,” Express Tribune, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386239/7-suspects-arrest-explosives-recovered-near-kuchlak/
[9] “Target killings: 5 killed, 1 injured in Karachi,” Express Tribune, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386220/target-killings-5-killed-1-injured-in-karachi/
[10] “Armed engineer arrested aboard Muscat-bound plane,” Express Tribune, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386156/asf-arrests-armed-engineer-aboard-plane-at-karachi-airport/
[11] “Pakistan Successfully Test Fires Nuclear Capable Hatf IX (NASR) Missile,” Express Tribune, May 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/385738/pakistan-successfully-test-fires-nuclear-capable-hatf-ix-nasr/
[12] “India, Pakistan kick off oil talks,” Express Tribune, May 29, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/385774/india-pakistan-kick-off-oil-talks/
Zafar Bhutta, “Oil imports: Mistrust hounds plan to import fuel from India,” Express Tribune, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386021/oil-imports-mistrust-hounds-plan-to-import-fuel-from-india/
[13] Rajinish Sharma, “ISI Plots to Hurt Indian Economy,” Deccan Chronicle, May 29, 2012. Available at http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/nation/north/isi-plots-hurt-indian-economy-667
Randeep Ramesh, “Indian Mujahideen Claims Responsibility for Jaipur Blasts,” Guardian, May 15, 2008. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/15/india
[14] Kamran Yousaf, “China urges world to recognise Pak efforts,” Express Tribune, May 30, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/386093/china-urges-world-to-recognise-pak-efforts/
[15] Reuters, “China firm in talks for $3 bln Pakistan wind farm,” Reuters, May 30, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/30/china-firm-in-talks-for-3-bln-pakistan-wind-farm/
[16] “Ready for dialogue with Balochistan leadership: Gilani,” Agencies, May 29, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/29/ready-for-dialogue-with-balochistan-leadership-gilani/  
[17] Imtiaz Shah, “For Pakistani truckers, NATO route row is all about money,” Reuters, May 30, 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/30/pakistan-nato-truckers-idUSL4E8GT43Z20120530