Pakistan Security Brief - May 8, 2012

Secretary Clinton says Pakistan needs “to do more” to combat terrorism; Pakistan Army commander accuses U.S. of shifting blame to Pakistan; U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan to step down this summer; Senator Carl Levin tells State Department to designate Haqqani Network a terrorist organization; White House says it will not negotiate with al Qaeda over Weinstein kidnapping; Two suspects involved in Weinstein kidnapping arrested; Supreme Court issues detailed verdict in prime minister’s contempt case; Thirty killed in clashes between militants and security forces in North Waziristan; Superintendent of Police in Balochistan killed in drive-by shooting.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • At a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna in New Delhi on Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Pakistan needs “to do more” to combat terrorism within its borders and "needs to make sure that its territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks anywhere, including inside Pakistan." Krishna stressed the need for Pakistan to take “stronger action” to fight terrorism and to bring to justice the Pakistan-based militants involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.[1]

  • In an interview with the Associated Press, Lt. Gen. Khalid Rabbani, a Pakistan Army commander, accused the U.S. of “shifting the blame” to Pakistan for its own failures in fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan. Rabbani wondered why the U.S. was constantly telling Pakistan to attack the militants on its border with Afghanistan, when the U.S. was talking to insurgents on the border in an attempt to “co-opt them into the peace process.” He questioned why Pakistan was “forbidden” from doing the same. Like other top Pakistan Army officers, Rabbani said that the army would launch operations in North Waziristan, the headquarters for several insurgent networks, but he failed to say when this would happen.[2]

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter announced on Monday that after serving a two-year tenure, he will be stepping down from his position this summer. According to Reuters, the Obama administration is considering replacing Munter with Richard Olson, a senior official at the Kabul embassy who has “orchestrated U.S. development and economic activities in Afghanistan since June 2011.”[3]

  • Senate Armed Services Chairman Senator Carl Levin told the Washington Examiner that he has “repeatedly written to Secretary Clinton” to have the State Department add the Haqqani Network to its list of foreign terrorist organizations, but to no avail. According to Levin, the State Department's failure to designate the network a terrorist organization is “making it difficult for the intelligence community to use all available tactics to defeat them.” Levin also called the Pakistani government's “tolerance” of the Haqqani Network “unconscionable.”[4]

Weinstein Kidnapping

  • White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that the U.S. “cannot and will not negotiate with al Qaeda” over Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker who was kidnapped in August 2011. Al Qaeda released a video on Sunday featuring Weinstein, in which Weinstein pleaded with President Obama to “act quickly” to save his life. U.S. officials said that they were very concerned over Weinstein’s safety and were working to find him.[5]

  • Pakistan’s Crime Investigation Agency told a visiting team of FBI officials on Monday that it had tracked the eight-member al Qaeda ring involved in Weinstein’s kidnapping and had arrested two members of the ring. The other six members of the ring, including al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and his Pakistani cohort Afzaal Hussain, have not been located since they are hiding in Pakistan’s tribal regions and in Afghanistan’s neighboring provinces. The two men who were arrested confessed to their roles in the kidnapping, but they did not provide investigators with any information on Weinstein’s location.[6]

Domestic Politics

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan issued the detailed verdict in Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s contempt case on Tuesday. The verdict stated that accepting Gilani’s argument that he could not follow the court’s order to write a letter to Swiss authorities because President Asif Ali Zardari had immunity, “would set a dangerous precedent” allowing anyone to “successfully flout the orders of the Court.” [7]

  • Referring to Prime Minister Gilani’s contempt conviction, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan stated at a press conference in Lahore on Tuesday that “if the rulers do not obey the Supreme Court’s orders, neither will the common man.”[8]

  • Prime Minister Gilani and a high-level delegation left for a five-day visit to the UK on Tuesday to take part in the “first Pak-UK summit level review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.” APP reported that Gilani is expected to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron in addition to “members of the British Cabinet, parliamentarians, prominent businessmen, investors and leading media representatives.”[9]

Militancy

  • At least 30 people, including 22 Taliban militants, were killed in clashes between militants and security forces in North Waziristan on Monday, a day after militants attacked a military convoy in Miram Shah. Helicopter gunships rocketed suspected militant hideouts and a building believed to house weapons in Miram Shah’s main bazaar, causing a large fire. Local tribal elders held talks with senior officials in the political administration to try to restore peace to the area.[10] 

  • Shahnawaz Khan, the Superintendent of Police in Balochistan’s Crime Investigation Department, was killed in a drive-by shooting by unknown assailants in the Satellite town area of Quetta on Tuesday. According to a police official, Khan investigated “important cases" and had received “multiple threats” in the past.[11]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • At the inaugural session of the second “Aman ki Asha Economic Conference” on Monday, Prime Minister Gilani stated that Pakistan wanted to resolve all its issues with India “on an equitable basis” and “start a new era of economic collaboration with India” based on a “relationship of mutual trust.”[12]

 

 


[1] “Clinton says Pakistan needs to 'do more' on militancy,” Express Tribune, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375723/clinton-says-pakistan-needs-to-do-more-on-militancy/
“US, India Call for Pakistani Terror Crackdown,” AP, May 8, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/08/world/asia/ap-as-clinton-india.html?ref=world
[2] “AP Interview: Pakistan Army Says US Scapegoating,” AP, May 8, 2012. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/08/world/asia/ap-as-pakistan-army-commander.html?ref=world
[3] “US envoy to Pakistan to depart this summer,” Reuters, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375671/us-envoy-to-pakistan-to-depart-this-summer/
[4] Sara A. Carter, “Dems call on Clinton to name Haqqani clan a terrorist group,” Washington Examiner, May 7, 2012. Available at http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/world/2012/05/dems-call-clinton-name-haqqani-clan-terrorist-group/583876
[5] “US will not deal with al Qaeda over aid worker,” AFP, May 8, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/08/us-will-not-deal-with-al-qaeda-over-aid-worker-2/
[6] Asad Kharal, “US aid worker: Investigators track down Weinstein kidnappers,” Express Tribune, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375593/us-aid-worker-investigators-track-down-weinstein-kidnappers/
[7] “Interpretation of law exclusive domain of the judiciary, says SC,” Dawn, May 8, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/08/sc-issues-detailed-verdict-in-pm-contempt-case/
[8] “If rulers do not obey SC, no one else will: Imran Khan,” Express Tribune, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375736/if-rulers-do-not-obey-sc-no-one-else-will-imran-khan/
[9] “Gilani departs for five-day visit to UK,” APP, May 8, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/08/gilani-departs-for-five-day-visit-to-uk/
[10] Nasruminallah, “30 killed as Waziristan fighting heats up,” Express Tribune, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375565/30-killed-as-waziristan-fighting-heats-up/
[11] “Targeted: SP CID killed in Quetta,” Express Tribune, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375702/targeted-sp-cid-killed-in-quetta/
[12] “PM stresses ‘trade for peace’ with India,” Dawn, May 7, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/05/08/pm-stresses-trade-for-peace-with-india/