Pakistan Security Brief - May 7, 2013

Twenty killed in attack on JUI-F candidate at rally; Imran Khan injured after falling off the stage at a rally; Eleven killed at JUI-F rally in Hangu; Six killed by roadside bomb at PPP rally; 2,674 dead in Pakistani violence since January 2013; Sindh province facing serious terrorist threats on election day; Protests filed by Afghanistan and Pakistan against each other after border skirmishes; New extremist magazine asks for help in combating drones; Militants distribute anti-voting leaflets; Karachi head of LeJ arrested; PPP Senator claims to have proof of money laundering by Sharif brothers; Indian foreign minister: Singh is setback in Indo-Pakistani relations; Pakistan issues travel advisory against India; Hand grenade targeting ANP candidate injures one; Two injured in attack on National Party chief; Militants target house of PML-N candidate with a bomb; PML-N candidate reportedly extremist and criminal; Supreme Court says no excuse for military overtaking civilian powers; U.S. Senator calls for ending aid to Pakistan over Dr. Afridi case; Pro-government elder shot by militants; Security forces arrest six; Rail track blown up in Quetta.

Election Violence

  • At least twenty people were killed and 65 wounded when a suicide bomber attacked a political rally for the religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) in Sewak village, Kurram agency on Monday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that candidate Munir Khan Orakzai was targeted for crimes against Islam committed before his affiliation with the JUI-F, specifically betraying Arab jihadists. TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan noted that the attack was the first “achievement” of the newly-appointed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Kurram Chief Hafiz Dolat Khan. Neither Orakzai nor another candidate present, Maulana Ainud Din, was hurt.[1]

  • A blast on Tuesday killed eleven people and injured 35 at a JUI-F election rally in Hangu. The candidate, former provincial assembly member (MPA) Mufti Syed Janan, was not seriously hurt. The source of the blast was either a suicide bomber or a remotely detonated device. The TTP had previously warned people in Hangu via pamphlets on Saturday to stay away from public political meetings for PTI and Awami National Party (ANP) candidates as well as an independent.[2]

  • A roadside blast killed six people at an election rally on Tuesday for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Lower Dir, as the brother of a local candidate for the provincial assembly went door to door. The candidate's brother, Zahir Khan, was among the dead. There has been no claim of responsibility.[3]

  • According to the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Pakistan has averaged 600 casualties per month due to election-related violence in 2013, with a total of 2,674 dead. CRSS's Pakistan Conflict Tracker's quadrilateral report found that Sindh was the region with the most casualties, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.[4]

  • A hand grenade thrown into the guesthouse of an ANP candidate on Saturday evening in Mardan injured one person.[5]

  • Militants distributed leaflets in villages in Frontier Regions Peshawar and Kohat on Monday, warning locals against voting and teachers against supervising polls. Pamphlets were given out in Matani, Adezai and Kohi Hassankhel, among other areas.[6]

  • A high-level meeting chaired by the interim Chief Minister of Sindh, retired Justice Zahid Kurban Alavi was told on Monday that Sindh province, and particularly the city of Karachi, faces serious terrorist threats to the election process. In response, a high alert has been declared and those present at the meeting are reportedly discussing contingency plans for any disturbance.[7]

  • According to the army’s top spokesman, Balochistan's Quick Response Force will be provided with helicopters in preparation for Saturday's polls.. In addition, 7,000 army troops and 55,000 Frontier Corps, Levies, and police personnel will be deployed in the region. In a visit to the region to look over security plans, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Monday reiterated calls for peaceful elections.[8]

  • Two passersby were injured on Monday when the election convoy of National Party chief Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, on its way back to Turbat, Balochistan from nearby villages, was targeted with grenades. Baloch condemned the attacks and said that such difficulties will not stop him from participating fully in elections.[9]

  • Militants on Tuesday threw a bomb at the house of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Zubaida Jalal in Turbat town, Balochistan. The house was damaged but there were no casualties.[10]

Domestic Politics

  • Imran Khan had to have sixteen stitches on his head after falling seven feet off a crane platform at an election rally in Lahore on Tuesday. The PTI chief is now reportedly stable and conscious.[11]

  • On Monday, PPP Senator and former interior minister Rehman Malik claimed to have documented proof that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother took part in money laundering operations, in the form of a written statement of an accomplice and the details of the brothers' fake bank accounts. PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid countered that the cases were fabricated and that Malik could not prove anything.[12]

  • Speaking with Reuters, PML-N candidate Nawaz Sharif called Pakistan's problems that the next prime minister will inherit a “mess”. He laid out reforms that he will implement if elected, focusing on economic challenges.[13]

  • According to a report by The News, The PML-N candidate for constituency NA-178 is an extremist and follower of the outlawed terrorist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). Sardar Ebaad Dogar was arrested in 2011 in connection with the death of Punjab Governor Salman Taseet, on whose head Dogar had announced a bounty for Taseer’s stance against Pakistan’s blasphemy law.[14]

  • Justice Aijaz Afzal of the Supreme Court remarked on Monday during the course of Pervez Musharraf's trial that there is no justification for the military overstepping its limits and seeking power that is granted in the Constitution to a civilian government.[15]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Monday, California Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher called for ending aid to Pakistan and withdrawing the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan until Dr. Shakil Afridi, who is reportedly on a hunger strike, is freed from prison. Afridi was arrested for his alleged role in helping the U.S. locate Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan.[16]

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • After exchanges of fire across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Monday, Afghanistan filed an official protest with Pakistan's top diplomat in Kabul on Monday. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said it was not clear which side fired first in the skirmish, and did not comment on the protest. On Tuesday, Pakistan lodged a complaint with an Afghan diplomat in Islamabad, calling the incident one of “unprovoked firing” and warning that Pakistan would not be responsible for further escalation, in response to an Afghan claim that it would be.[17]

Militancy

  • A new extremist web-based magazine called “Azan” is being produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan, intended for a worldwide extremist Muslim audience. The first issue, released online on May 5, focuses on drones and appeals to readers to come up with anti-drone technology due to the “death of so many Muslim assets”. The issue also criticized anti-Taliban child activist Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistan Army, and democracy.[18]

  • The Karachi head of banned militant organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tariq Shafiq, was arrested on Tuesday. He is wanted in connection with 14 cases related to sectarian violence, including the murder of a principal.[19]

  • A group of six to eight militants shot a pro-government elder in Bara sub-district of Khyber agency on Friday night, reportedly for supporting an anti-Taliban committee in Shalobar.[20]

  • Security forces arrested six people and recovered weapons, ammunition, and bomb-making materials at a house in Landi Kotal, Khyber agency on Sunday.[21]

  • A section of railroad track was blown up in the Sariab area of Quetta, Balochistan by an improvised explosive device (IED) on Monday, disconnecting Quetta's rail system from the rest of the country's. Repair work and a search for the perpetrators have been launched.[22]

Indo-Pakistan Relations

  • In an interview on Monday with the press, Indian Foreign Secretary Salman Khurshid said that Sarabjit Singh's death is a setback in Indian-Pakistani relations and that it will take time to reset relations after such a “hurt”.[23]

  • The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan on Tuesday issued a travel advisory for India because of threats to Pakistanis' security as reported by the Indian media.[24]



[1] Declan Walsh and Ismail Khan, “Taliban Bomb Kills at Least 20 at Pakistan Political Rally,” The New York Times, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/world/asia/taliban-bomb-kills-at-least-20-at-a-pakistan-political-rally.html?_r=0
 “Pakistan election: 25 dead after suicide bomber targets rally,” Reuters, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/06/pakistan-election-rally-bomb-blast
 “Bomb blast in Pakistan kills 16 at election rally of Islamist party favorable to Taliban,” The Washington Post, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/official-bomb-blast-kills-14-at-election-rally-of-pro-taliban-party-in-northwest-pakistan/2013/05/06/19c90f98-b644-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_story.html
 Zafar Baloch, Tahir Khan, Mureeb Mohmand, and Mehdi Hussein, “Kurram agency carnage: 23 killed in bomb attack on JUI-F rally,” The Express Tribune, May 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545476/kurram-agency-carnage-23-killed-in-bomb-attack-on-jui-f-rally/
[2] “11 dead in blast at JUI-F election rally,” The Express Tribune, May 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545518/blast-at-jui-f-rally-in-hangu-leaves-several-injured/
Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Curfew in Hangu after attack on JUI-F rally kills ten,” Dawn, May 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/blast-targeting-jui-f-rally-kills-five-injures-15-in-hangu/
 “TTP warns Hangu people,” The News, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-175467-TTP-warns-Hangu-people
[3] “Six killed in blast during PPP rally,” The Express Tribune, May 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545539/six-killed-in-blast-during-ppp-rally/
“Blast targets PPP rally in Lower Dir, six killed,” Dawn, May 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/blast-targets-ppp-rally-in-lower-dir-casualties-feared/
[4] Sumera Khan, “Political violence claims 2,670 lives: Report,” The Express Tribune, May 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545459/political-violence-claims-2670-lives-report/
[5] “One injured in grenade attack,” The News, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-175466-One-injured-in-grenade-attack
[6] “TTP warns villagers, teachers over elections,” The News, May 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-175879-TTP-warns-villagers,-teachers-over-elections
[7] Tahir Hasan Khan, “Karachi under serious threat of terrorist strike,” The News, May 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22706-Karachi-under-serious-threat-of-terrorist-strike
[8] Syed Ali Shah, “Quick Response Force in Balochistan provided helicopters,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/quick-response-force-in-balochistan-provided-helicopters/
“Kayani for peaceful polls in Balochistan,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/kayani-for-peaceful-polls-in-balochistan/
[9] “NP chief's convoy comes under attack,” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/np-chiefs-convoy-comes-under-attack/
[10] Syed Ali Shah, “Bomb targets residence of PML-N candidate,” Dawn, May 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/bomb-targets-residence-of-pml-n-candidate/
[11] “Imran falls off stage at Lahore rally; sustains head injuries,” Dawn, May 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/imran-injured-after-rally-stage-fall/
[12] Zulqernain Tahir, “Money laundering allegation against Sharifs: Malik comes up with documentary 'proof',” Dawn, May 6, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/money-laundering-allegation-against-sharifs-malik-comes-up-with-documentary-proof/
[13] Mehreen Zahra-Malik and Michael Gregory, “Sharif poised to take over mess in Pakistan,” Reuters, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/06/us-pakistan-election-sharif-idUSBRE9450AW20130506
[14] Amir Mir, “SSP leader who fixed bounty on Taseer given PML-N ticket,” The News, May 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-175873-SSP-leader-who-fixed-bounty-on-Taseer-given-PML-N-ticket
[15] “No justification for Army to transgress limits: SC,” The News, May 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22709-No-justification-for-Army-to-transgress-limits:-SC
[16] Pete Kasperowicz, “GOP lawmakers renews call to shut off aid to Pakistan,” The Hill, May 6, 2013. Available at http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/297987-gop-lawmaker-renews-call-to-shut-off-aid-to-pakistan
[17] “Afghanistan files official protest with Pakistan over border incident,” The Washington Post, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghanistan-lodges-protest-with-pakistan-over-border-incident/2013/05/06/f8a4b4bc-b642-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_story.html
“Pakistan warns Afghanistan to show restraint after shootouts along border,” The Washington Post, May 7, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghans-hold-anti-pakistan-demonstration-to-protest-border-incidents/2013/05/07/5870fa0e-b6e3-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_story.html
 “Afghanistan warns neighbor Pakistan on further clashes,” Reuters, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/06/us-afghanistan-pakistan-clash-idUSBRE9450B820130506
[18] Myra MacDonald, “New jihadi magazine appeals for help against drones,” Reuters, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/06/us-security-magazine-idUSBRE9450M620130506
[19] “LeJ's Karachi chief arrested,” The Express Tribune, May 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545547/lejs-karachi-chief-arrested/
Saher Baloch, “Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Karachi chief arrested,” Dawn, May 7, 2013. Available at http://beta.dawn.com/news/812492/lashkar-i-jhangvis-karachi-chief-arrested-siu
[20] “Militants kill pro-govt elder,” The News, May 5, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-175462-Militants-kill-pro-govt-elder
[21] “Arms seizure, six arrested,” The News, May 6, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-175634-Arms-seized,-six-arrested
[22] “Railway tracks blown up in Quetta,” The News, May 7, 2013. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-22719-Railway-tracks-blown-up-in-Quetta
[23] “Aftermath: Sarabjit incident a setback to Indo-Pak ties, says Khurshid,” The Express Tribune, May 7, 2013. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/545446/aftermath-sarabjit-incident-a-setback-to-indo-pak-ties-says-khurshid/
[24] “Pakistan foreign ministry issues travel advisory for India,” Dawn, May 7, 2013. Available at http://dawn.com/2013/05/07/pakistans-foreign-ministry-issues-travel-advisory-for-india/