Pakistan Security Brief - May 9, 2012

U.S. House subcommittee considers making aid for Pakistan subject to conditions; U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan to step down because of purported differences with Obama administration; PPP unlikely to appeal Prime Minister Gilani’s contempt conviction; Parliamentary committee to consider amending laws to keep check on Pakistan’s intelligence agencies; Militants in North Waziristan pledge to continue “jihad;” Military delegations from Pakistan, Afghanistan and ISAF to meet this week; Farman Shinwari appointed new al Qaeda chief in Pakistan; Pakistan Humanitarian Forum says attacks on aid workers increasing.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • The U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee for State and Foreign Operations drafted a bill on Tuesday, proposing that “no assistance…be released” to Pakistan until certified by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to the draft bill, Secretary Clinton must certify that Pakistan is cooperating with the U.S. in counterterrorism efforts against domestic and foreign terrorist organizations and is preventing such groups from “basing and operating” in Pakistan. The bill also stipulates that certification requires Pakistan to “dismantle the IED [improvised explosive device] networks” and to “prevent proliferation of nuclear material.” The subcommittee will review the bill during its Wednesday session.[1]

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has decided to step down from his position this summer, reportedly because of differences with the Obama administration over U.S.-Pakistan relations. Munter is thought to have supported a U.S. apology over the November NATO airstrike and a halt in drone strikes, but the administration was allegedly unwilling to change its stance on either issue. A U.S. embassy spokesperson insisted that Munter’s decision to leave after serving less than two years has nothing to do with the strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan. He added that it was normal for ambassadors to only serve two-year terms in tough posts such as Pakistan. According to AFP, however, people close to Munter said that he was “frustrated” that the CIA and the Pentagon made all the decisions for the U.S. in Pakistan, while Munter’s job was limited to containing “the fallout rather than set[ting] policy.”[2]

Domestic Politics

  • According to the Express Tribune, the Pakistani Supreme Court’s release of the detailed verdict in the contempt case of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has revived the opposition’s  movement calling for Gilani’s resignation. Excerpts from the verdict were read aloud during a senate session, after which opposition parties walked out of the session in protest.[3]

  • Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders told the Express Tribune that the party is unlikely to appeal Prime Minister Gilani’s contempt conviction, because the decision will probably be the same. However, the final decision regarding whether or not an appeal is filed, will rest with the prime minister.[4]

  • During Tuesday’s meeting of Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS), the committee considered amending existing laws to “keep a check” on the activities of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, which have been implicated in the “enforced disappearance” of several “missing persons” across the country. PCNS Chairman Senator Raza Rabbani said that the committee would finalize its recommendations by May 15 or 16.[5]

  • On Wednesday, the Punjab Assembly unanimously approved two resolutions for the creation of the South Punjab province and for the restoration of Bahawalpur province.[6]

Osama bin Laden

International Relations

  • Military delegations from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will hold talks at a trilateral meeting scheduled to take place in Rawalpindi later this week. According to a press release issued by the Pakistani military’s Inter Services Public Relations, “the talks will focus on enhancing the efficiency of border coordination measures along the Pak-Afghan border” and improving “multilateral mechanisms at operational and tactical levels.” General John Allen will lead the ISAF delegation, while the Afghan delegation will be led by Chief of General Staff of the Afghan army General Sher Muhammad Karimi.[9]

Militancy

Drone Strikes

  • Foundation for Fundamental Rights, a Pakistan-based legal charity, has filed two petitions before the Peshawar High Court on behalf of the victims of a drone strike on March 17, 2011, in which 50 people were killed. The petitioners requested court orders telling the Pakistani government to take the issue before the UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. They also called for the government to order the Pakistan Air Force to shoot down drones flying inside Pakistani airspace and to criminally prosecute those involved.[12]

Aid Work

  • The Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), which represents nearly 50 international organizations, said that attacks on aid workers have been increasing and are impeding the ability of aid agencies to provide humanitarian assistance. According to the PHF, 19 aid workers have been murdered and more than 20 have been abducted since 2009.[13]          

 

 

 


[1] Huma Imtiaz, “US House subcommittee mulls making aid for Pakistan subject to conditions,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376099/us-house-subcommittee-mulls-making-aid-for-pakistan-subject-to-condition/
[2] Kamran Yousaf, “Tough tenure: US ambassador to step down ‘prematurely,’” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376151/tough-tenure-us-ambassador-to-step-down-prematurely/
Nasir Jaffry, “US ambassador to Pakistan to step down,” AFP, May 8, 2012. Available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hQ36uJBDbiGPlz-u2qdxwPBrAH-w?docId=CNG.373b638b685d7a6ccd96952940494108.541
[3] Qamar Zaman, “PM contempt case: Senate opposition takes cue from detailed verdict,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376156/pm-contempt-case-senate-opposition-takes-cue-from-detailed-verdict/
[4] Zia Khan, “PPP may not appeal against the judgement,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376125/ppp-may-not-apeal-against-the-judgement/
[5] Zahid Gishkori, “‘Missing persons’ issue: Panel mulls laws to rein in spy agencies,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376154/missing-persons-issue-panel-mulls-laws-to-rein-in-spy-agencies/
[6] “Punjab Assembly passes South Punjab, Bahawalpur province resolutions,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376249/punjab-assembly-passes-south-punjab-bahawalpur-province-resolutions/
[7] “'Holy wars': Pakistan militants vow to avenge Bin Laden death,” AFP, May 8, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/375786/pakistan-militants-vow-holy-war-for-bin-laden/
[8] Zia Khan, “OBL raid: Abbottabad commission awaits Zardari’s response to questionnaire,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376133/obl-raid-abbottabad-commission-awaits-zardaris-response-to-questionnaire/
[9] “Pakistan-Afghanistan-ISAF meeting this week,” APP, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376251/pakistan-afghanistan-isaf-meeting-this-week/
[10] Ashrafuddin Pirzada, “Farman Shinwari named new al-Qaeda chief in Pakistan,” The News, April 30, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-14269-Farman-Shinwari-named-new-al-Qaeda-chief-in-Pakistan
[11] “Target killings: Continuing violence claims 5 lives in Karachi,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376234/target-killings-continuing-violence-claims-4-lives-in-karachi/
[12] “Petition seeks injunction for PAF to shoot down drones,” Express Tribune, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376160/petition-seeks-injunction-for-paf-to-shoot-down-drones/
[13] “Kidnappings threaten aid work in Pakistan,” AFP, May 9, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/376237/kidnappings-threaten-aid-work-in-pakistan/