Pakistan Security Brief - May 6, 2013

Nawaz Sharif discusses openness to Taliban negotiations and other plans for after election; Imran Khan voices opposition to drones and pawns of US; Renewed fighting on Afghanistan-Pakistan border; Karzai suggests Taliban focus on Pakistan; Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan says that Pakistan is not seeking “strategic depth”; 25 killed in attack on JUI-F rally; Risk of campaigning for targeted parties; Extremist groups field candidates in election; Fake ballots seized and investigated; NAB to have its own police force; PML-N fields convicted murderer as candidate; Maulana Fazlur Rehman declares voting for PTI haram; Musharraf’s house arrest extended by two weeks; 23 militants and two soldiers killed in Tirah; Eight militants killed in Orakzai; Punjab; IED kills two soldiers in North Waziristan; Firefight in Quetta kills two Frontier Corps personnel and 13 criminals; Two bomb disposal personnel killed by IED; Three killed and 40 wounded in Karachi from blasts targeting MQM; Multiple attacks on political parties across country; Four suspected militants arrested in Karachi; Four injured in IED attack on PTI; PPP’s election office bombed, injuring one; Four polling stations in Balochistan destroyed by IEDs; Sarabjit Singh was Research and Analysis Wing spy; First polio case in a year reported in North Waziristan.

Domestic Politics

  • Frontrunner prime ministerial candidate Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday that, if elected, he would be open to negotiations with the Taliban and would “reconsider” U.S. support for the War on Terror. Many Pakistanis, he claimed, are tired of fighting “America's war”, and suggested that guns and bullets may not be the answer. He also, in a strongly worded statement, advised the army against meddling in civilian government.[1]

  • Campaigning is becoming increasingly risky for the Awani National Party (ANP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. On the Taliban's hit list, the three secular parties' candidates must take precautions such as limiting the size of campaign rallies, traveling with large squadrons of bodyguards, and do much of their campaigning door-to-door. This reduces their electoral chances against parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and PTI, who are not targeted  in the same manner and thus can hold large parades and rallies, said Haroon Bilour, nephew of top ANP leader Ghulam Bilour. The PPP announced on Sunday that it will no longer hold large public meetings, due to the risk of attacks.[2]

  • Extremist groups are also making a bid for next week's elections, including the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a reincarnation of Sunni militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), responsible for much sectarian violence, which is fielding 130 candidates. According to a New York Times report, few are expected to win seats, but may garner enough support in rural, conservative areas to have an effect on the overall outcome.[3]

  • 90,000 “fake” ballot papers were recovered by security personnel in Lower Dir district on Sunday. Three people were arrested in connection with the false papers, but the Jamaat-e-Islami political party leadership in the region which was reportedly linked to the fake ballots held a press conference claiming that the papers were only samples to educate women voters. An investigation is ongoing, says Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim.[4]

  • The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) announced at a conference on Friday that it would stand up its own police force, given the security risks involved in its work and the problems it currently faces in the execution of its duties.[5]

  • PTI chief Imran Khan addressed five rallies on Saturday, stating that if he wins, after May 11 any drones seen over Pakistan will be shot down and characterizing heads of almost every other political party as pawns of the U.S.[6]

  • According to a report on Monday, the PML-N’s candidate for the National Assembly seat from Gujarat is a convicted murderer and terror suspect linked to militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Chaudhry Abid Raza Gujjar, who was handed the death penalty for murdering six people, originally had his candidacy papers rejected, but was later cleared to run but an election tribunal.[7]

  • A court on Sunday extended General Pervez Musharraf’s house arrest by two weeks because of police claims that the investigation for his upcoming trial in the Benazir Bhutto murder case is still underway. Musharraf will go before the court on May 18.[8]

  • Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, declared on Saturday that it is “haram” and against Sharia to vote for Imran Khan’s PTI party because Khan is, according to Rehman, an agent of the West, Jews and Ahmadis.[9]

Pak-Afghan Relations

  • More fighting took place on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Monday, when Pakistani troops tried to repair a gate that was damaged in fighting with Afghan forces last week. It is unclear which side fired first or whether there were any casualties. In response to the clash, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said that Pakistan will “bear the consequences” of any further violence. Anti-Pakistan protests were also held in Kabul.[10]

  • On Saturday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai suggested that the Taliban “stop destroying their own country” and instead focus their efforts against “places where plots are made against Afghan security,” thought by Reuters to be a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan.[11]

  • Speaking with a group of Pakistani journalists, Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammed Sadiq said that Pakistan is not seeking “strategic depth” inside Afghanistan. Regarding recent border tensions, he said that the Pakistani checkposts were necessary for decreasing the porousness of the border, and said that Afghanistan’s attempts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table were based on a suggestion made by Pakistan 10 years ago but that now it is too late.[12]

Militancy

  • Fighting in several areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, North Waziristan, and Balochistan left multiple Pakistani soldiers and police dead on Sunday, along with at least at least 23 militants militants and an undetermined number of wounded on both sides. Twenty-three militants and two soldiers were killed in the Tirah Valley of North Waziristan on Sunday when the military launched an operation to run the militants out of their hideouts. An IED struck a military convoy in North Waziristan on Sunday on the Esha-Razmak road, killing two soldiers and injuring three others. A firefight in the Bhag area of Quetta’s Sibi District on Sunday killed two personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC) and 13 criminals, one of whom had a price on his head of Rs 6 million. One FC personnel was wounded.[13]

  • A member of the Sunni Tehreek Ulema Board was shot to death in Tibbi City, Punjab on Friday. Masked gunmen attacked the rickshaw Khurram Raza Qadri was riding in and killed him. The rickshaw driver was also wounded in the attack, which reportedly appears to have sectarian motives.[14]

  • An operation in upper Orakzai agency in which fighter jets destroyed four militant hideouts killed at least eight militants on Saturday.[15]

Election Violence

  • 25 people were killed in an attack on a JUI-F rally in the Sewak area of Kurram agency on Monday. JUI-F candidates Munir Orakzai and Ainudin Shakir survived, though Shakir sustained light injuries. The TTP claimed responsibility, saying the attack was intended for Orakzai who was a supporter of the previous ANP and PPP government.[16]

  • Anonymous sources quoting intelligence reports claimed on Saturday that a group comprised of various terrorist outfits has finalized plans to target Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) vehicles carrying ballots in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh, as well as polling stations in the same areas.[17]

  • Three people were killed and 40 wounded in Karachi on Saturday in two blasts targeting the offices of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) that were remotely detonated twenty minutes apart. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks. MQM’s leader, Haider Abbas Rivzi, told the media that despite many of the injured being MQM members, they will continue campaigning. Karachi and other cities in Sindh shut down as the MQM called for a day of mourning.[18]

  • Three PTI activists were injured in Takht Bhai, Mardan on Sunday by a hand grenade attack during a meeting. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.[19]

  • An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near the entrance of a house belonging to Abdul Qayyum Khan, a PTI candidate for the National Assembly seat in North Waziristan, in Mir Ali on Sunday. The gate and guesthouse sustained damage, but there was no loss of life.[20]

  • A bomb planted near the house of an ANP candidate in Khidrakhel village, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was defused on Sunday.[21]

  • A hand grenade attack on the election campaign office of PML-N candidate General Abdul Qadir Baloch injured nine in Kharan on Sunday.[22]

  • 3,000 military servicemen have arrived in Karachi to oversee next week’s elections amid continuing violence. Over half of the city’s 4,000 polling stations have been declared “sensitive”, and will be guarded by police and paramilitary forces as well as army servicemen.[23]

  • Jamaat-e-Islami candidate Raj Muhammed survived a roadside bomb attack on his vehicle in Orakzai agency on Saturday.[24]

  • Early on Saturday morning, a PTI election office in Peshawar was targeted by a bomb. There was no loss of life, as no one was in the building at the time.[25]

  • On Saturday night, two people were injured when a Jamaat-e-Islami office in Quetta was targeted with hand grenades. The perpetrators escaped.[26]

  • The district of Attock has requested six companies of the Pakistan Army and ten of Rangers to provide security on Election Day along with 7,000 local forces. 220 of Attock’s 789 polling stations are categorized as “sensitive”.[27]

  • A hand grenade attack on a building in Karachi injured two people late on Saturday. The building is reportedly a stronghold of the ANP.[28]

  • Four people were killed in Quetta on Sunday evening when militants targeted independent candidate Sardar Sarfaraz Domki in Sidi area. He was traveling by convoy with another candidate when their vehicle was attacked. One of the assailants and three of Domki’s security guards were killed.[29]

  • Three supporters of the PML-N reportedly killed three relatives of a PTI candidate in a dispute on Sunday in Chak Jhumra. After an earlier confrontation, the two sides arranged a meeting to discuss the dispute, at which the PML-N supporters shot the others.[30]

  • The Crime Investigation Department arrested four suspected militants in Karachi on Friday. The four, suspected to be members of the TTP, were allegedly involved in a recent attack that killed 11 at an ANP rally in Karachi as well as attacks on multiple MQM gatherings.[31]

  • A bomb targeting a PPP election office in Charsadda detonated on Monday, destroying the office and injuring one man.[32]

  • Three school buildings and a dispensary, all designated polling stations, were destroyed by IEDs on Monday across Balochistan.[33]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • Pakistan demanded the repatriation of Sanaullah Haq, a Pakistani prisoner beaten and in critical condition in an Indian jail. As of Saturday, three Pakistani officials had been given access to Haq. Indian officials have also asked for autopsy reports of two Indian prisoners killed in Pakistani prisons.[34]

  • The Hindustan Times reported on Sunday that murdered prisoner Sarabjit Singh was a spy for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and later became the agency’s chief external operations officer. Singh reportedly accomplished the task he set out to do in Pakistan, but was caught on his way back. The report did not give any detail about Singh’s task.[35]

  • Pakistan’s ambassador to India wrote a letter to the Indian Foreign Secretary demanding an investigation into the attack on Pakistani prison inmate Sanaullah Haq and the release of 47 Pakistani prisoners who have reportedly finished their jail terms and have not been released. Indian doctors reported on Sanaullah Haq’s condition on Sunday, saying that he is brain dead.[36]

Polio Cases

  • A case of polio has been reported in North Waziristan, a year after the Taliban banned vaccinations in the tribal regions.[37]



[1]Mehreen Zahra-Malik and Michael Georgy, “Sharif says Pakistan should reconsider support for U.S. war on terror,” Reuters, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-pakistan-election-sharif-idUSBRE94401G20130505
[2] Alex Rodriguez, “Pakistan secular candidates campaign at their own risk,” The Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2013. Available at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan-election-siege-20130430,0,2509911.story
“PPP will not hold public meetings,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/ppp-will-not-hold-public-meetings/
[3] Declan Walsh, “Extremists Pursue Mainstream in Pakistan Election,” The New York Times, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/world/asia/extremists-pursue-mainstream-in-pakistan-election.html?_r=0
[4] “Fake ballot papers recovered, three held,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-175697-Fake-ballot-papers-recovered,-three-held
“ECP investigating recovery of fake ballot papers, says Fakhruddin,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/ecp-investigation-recovery-of-fake-ballot-papers-says-fakhruddin/
[5] Asim Yasin, “NAB to have own police force,” The News, May 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22663-NAB-to-have-own-police-force
[6] “US drones to be shot down after May 11: Imran,” The News, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22671-US-drones-to-be-shot-down-after-May-11:-Imran
[7] Amir Mir, “LeJ terror suspect contesting on PML-N ticket,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22694-LeJ-terror-suspect-contesting-on-PML-N-ticket
[8] “Pakistan court extends Musharraf’s remand by 14 days,” The Express Tribune, May 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544407/pakistan-court-extends-musharrafs-remand-by-14-days/
[9] “Political “fatwa”: Voting for PTI is haram, says Maulana Fazl,” The Express Tribune, May 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544667/political-fatwa-voting-for-pti-is-haram-says-maulana-fazl/
[10] “Clash resumes in contented Afghanistan, Pakistan border area: officials,” Reuters, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/06/us-afghanistan-pakistan-idUSBRE94503J20130506
Hamid Shalizi and Mirwais Harooni, “Afghanistan warns Pakistan after border clash erupts again,” Reuters, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/06/us-afghanistan-pakistan-idUSBRE94503J20130506
[11] “Karzai urges Taliban to fight Afghan enemies after Pakistan clash,” Reuters, May 4, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/04/us-afghanistan-pakistan-idUSBRE94303K20130504
[12] Peer Muhammed, “Pak-Afghan ties: Envoy denies Pakistan seeking “strategic depth”,” The Express Tribune, May 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544977/pak-afghan-ties-envoy-denies-pakistan-seeking-strategic-depth/
[13] Ishtiaq Mahsud, “8 Pakistani soldier and police killed in violence,” Yahoo! News, May 5, 2013. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/8-pakistani-soldiers-police-killed-violence-171624158.html
“23 militants, four soldiers killed in Khyber, NWA,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22695-23-militants,-four-soldiers-killed-in-Khyber,-NWA
“23 militants, four soldiers killed in Khyber, NWA,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22695-23-militants,-four-soldiers-killed-in-Khyber,-NWA
“Two FC men, 13 criminals killed in Sibi encounter,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22696-Two-FC-men,-13-criminals-killed-in-Sibi-encounter
[14] Arshad Dogar, “Sunni Tehrek Ulema Board member shot dead,” The News, May 4, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22661-Sunni-Tehreek-Ulema-Board-member-shot-dead
[15] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “At least eight militants killed in Orakzai,” Dawn, May 4, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812044/at-least-eight-militants-killed-in-orakzai
[16] “NA-38 JUI-F candidate escapes bomb attack as 25 killed,” The Express Tribune, May 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545099/blast-on-an-jui-f-election-rally/
[17] Shakeel Anjum, “Terrorists planning to target ECP vehicles,” The News, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-175487-Terrorists-planning-to-target-ECP-vehicles
[18] “Twin blasts in Pakistan port city kill 3 near office of Taliban-critical political party,” Associated Press, May 4, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/twin-blasts-in-pakistan-port-city-kill-3-near-office-of-taliban-critical-political-party/2013/05/04/53127840-b4e4-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html
“Twin bomb blasts near MQM office in Karachi kill 3, injure 40,” The Express Tribune, May 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544444/explosion-heard-in-karachi-express-news-3/
“Twin blasts near MQM’s Nine-Zero kill three, injure dozens in Karachi,” Dawn, May 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/04/blast-near-mqm-office-injures-at-least-three-in-karachi/
“Shutdown in Karachi over twin blasts on MQM,” Dawn, May 5, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812158/9th-strike-in-karachi-leaves-three-dead-twin-blasts-rock-mqm-stronghold
[19] “Three PTI workers injured in grenade attack,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22681-Three-PTI-workers-injured-in-grenade-attack
“Blast near PTI corner meeting in Mardan, 3 injured,” The Express Tribune, May 5, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544735/blast-near-pti-corner-meeting-in-mardan-3-injured/
[20] “Entrance to PTI candidate house blown up,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22682-Entrance-to-PTI-candidate-house-blown-up
[21]  “Bomb aimed at ANP candidate defused,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22683-Bomb-aimed-at-ANP-candidate-defused
[22] “9 injured in attack on PML-N election camp,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22684-9-injured-in-attack-on-PML-N-election-camp
[23] Faraz Khan, “Preparing for elections: Over 3,000 army men arrive,” The Express Tribune, May 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544144/preparing-for-elections-over-3000-army-men-arrive/
[24] Riaz Ahmed and Muhammed Irfan, “JI Orakzai Agency candidate survives bomb attack: officials,” The Express Tribune, May 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544384/jis-orakzai-agency-candidate-injured-in-ied-blast-officials/
[25] Riaz Ahmed and Muhammed Irfan, “JI Orakzai Agency candidate survives bomb attack: officials,” The Express Tribune, May 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544384/jis-orakzai-agency-candidate-injured-in-ied-blast-officials/
[26] “Two injured as grenade lobbed at JI office in Quetta,” The Express Tribune, May 4, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/544407/pakistan-court-extends-musharrafs-remand-by-14-days/
[27] Yaqoob Malik, “Rangers, Army sought for election security in Attock,” Dawn, May 3, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/04/rangers-army-sought-for-election-security-in-attock/
[28] “Grenade blast injures at least two in Karachi,” Dawn, May 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/04/another-blast-injures-at-least-two-in-karachi/
[29] Syed Ali Shah, “Four people killed in Sibi attack,” Dawn, May 5, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812235/four-people-killed-in-sibi-attack
[30] “Three PTI supporters gunned down,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/election-related-dispute-three-pti-supporters-gunned-down/
[31] “Four suspects in attack on ANP rally held,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812283/four-suspects-in-attack-on-anp-rally-held
[32] “Attack on PPP’s election office in Charsadda; one injured,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812281/attack-on-ppps-election-office-in-charsadda-one-injured
[33] Syed Ali Shah, “Polling stations attacked in Balochistan; national party chief attacked,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/polling-stations-attacked-in-balochistan-national-party-chief-attacked/
[34] “Pakistan asks for attacked prisoner Sanaullah's return,” The Times of India, May 4, 2013. Available at http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-05-04/india/39026482_1_indian-jails-indian-prisoners-consular-access
[35] “Sarabjit Singh was a RAW agent: Indian report,” The Express Tribune, May 6, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545058/sarabjit-singh-was-a-raw-agent-indian-report/
[36] Marteen Haider, “Pakistan demands release of 47 prisoners from India,” Dawn, May 4, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/05/pakistan-demands-release-of-47-prisoners-from-india/
“Attacked Pakistani prisoner is brain dead, say Indian doctors,” Dawn, May 5, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812232/attacked-pakistani-prisoner-is-brain-dead-say-indian-doctors
[37] “First polio case in Waziristan since Taliban ban,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812290/first-polio-case-in-waziristan-since-taliban-ban