Pakistan Security Brief - November 19, 2012

Two dozen Taliban negotiators to be delisted from U.N. sanctions list; Released Taliban prisoners are “important” figures; Afghan negotiator praises Pakistan’s Taliban prisoner concessions; Pakistan racing to build armed drones; Former Pres. Musharraf says intelligence agencies’ neglect resulted in undetected OBL presence; Former JI chief escapes suicide bombing;  4 killed, 24 injured in Karachi over the weekend; Roadside bombs kill five, injure ten in FATA; Pakistani helicopters kill four in North Waziristan; NGO office hit by rocket; Grenade attack kills one, injures five in Jammu; ASI killed, four others injured in Islamabad; Bus cleaner killed in Quetta; Islamic hardliners to issue fatwa against Malala Yousafzai; Ex-military lawyer petitioning against Gen. Kayani accuses military of beating up his son; Sindh police recommend motorcycle ban until 11/24, Quetta police ban pillion riding for two months; Police official says banned groups, not Taliban, are responsible for Karachi law and order problem; PML-N chief says 70 percent of crimes would decrease if ruling party arrested militant members; KP signs MoU on bilateral cooperation with Iran’s Fars Province ; PML-N leader says opposition electoral alliances likely; PTA bans sale of SIM cards in KP outlets; 100 phones blocked over extortion threats.

Afghan Peace Process

  • According to official sources interviewed by the Express Tribune, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States have finalized a list of nearly two dozen Taliban negotiators to delist from the United Nations sanctions list. This is a move meant to “encourage insurgents to join the peace process.” The names of the members to be delisted have not been announced yet.[i]

  • According to both Afghan and Pakistan officials, a number of Taliban leaders recently released by Pakistan “are significant figures.” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid also confirmed that “important” prisoners were being released, and said that some had already made it safely home. He did not, however, confirm whether or not the releases would help convince the Taliban to view the Afghan High Peace Council as a legitimate negotiating partner. Nine Taliban prisoners have been released so far, including: “Maulavi Jahangirwal, a secretary to the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar; Nooruddin Turabi, the former justice minister for the Taliban; Maulavi Allah Dad, [its] former communications minister; Saad Udin Agha, an aide to Mullah Omar; Matiullah, who was in charge of logistics in the Taliban defense ministry…Mullah Muhammad, the military commander of Baghlan Province; and Anwar ul-Haq Mujahid, the son of a Taliban military commander, Yunis Khalis, who also fought against the Soviets in the 1980s.” U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland applauded Pakistan’s gesture, reiterating U.S. support for an Afghan-led peace process and adding that “there is going to be a role for very important players like Pakistan, too, so it’s a very good step and we are pleased.” [ii]

  • Salahuddin Rabbani said on Saturday that Pakistan’s agreement to release Taliban prisoners marked a praiseworthy shift in the government’s policy towards the Afghan peace process, commenting that Pakistani cooperation is key to bringing Taliban militants to the negotiating table. While Rabbani lauded the Pakistani government for realizing that “a close cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan can be effective for the peace initiative,” other anonymous officials in Kabul wonder whether Pakistan is simply trying to appease the Afghan government until ISAF troops withdraw in 2014 and the Taliban can make a comeback.[iii]  

Drones

  • According to industry experts, Pakistan’s military is racing to create its own armed drones, yet it is “struggling [in] its initial tests with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology.” The Chinese government has reportedly offered to sell Pakistan its own armed drones. Pakistan’s military has yet to buy the drones “because their capabilities have yet to be proven, but is likely to do so in the future.”[iv]

Intelligence Agency Negligence

  • Former President Pervez Musharraf said in a weekend leadership summit that Osama bin Laden had been able to live undetected in Pakistan for years because “our intelligence agencies were sleeping.” He also criticized the CIA for not finding out about the World Trade Center attack plans until it was too late. Commenting on relations between India and Pakistan, Musharraf said that the intelligence agencies and bureaucrats of both countries were inhibiting the development of peaceful relations between the two. He encouraged India to make concessions over the Kashmir dispute, arguing that “India should have a big heart because it is the bigger country.” Regarding Afghan reconciliation, Musharraf stated that the best solution was to grant leadership of the country to a Pashtun government, and warned anyone against trying to “turn Afghanistan against Pakistan.”[v]

Militancy

  • Former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and a current government administrator in Mohmand agency Qazi Husain Ahmad was targeted by a female suicide bomber on Monday. Ahmad was in a convoy on his way to Mian Mandi Ganghad when a woman detonated explosives strapped to her body. Ahmad escaped unhurt, but four other people were injured.[vi]

  • An improvised explosive device killed two and injured 23 on Sunday. The bomb was reportedly planted on a motorcycle in Karachi’s Abbas Town and was targeted at a local Shia mosque. The attack was immediately condemned by the Prime Minister, President, and Interior Minister.[vii]

  • Two people were killed and one was injured in violence in Karachi on Saturday. One person was shot down by unknown gunmen in Saddar. Another man was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. One person was injured by gunfire in Mehmoodabad. An operation conducted by the rangers resulted in the arrest of two people.[viii]

  • Roadside bombs killed five people and injured ten others in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on Sunday. The first bomb targeted a security forces convoy in Mir Ali, North Waziristan. A security official said the explosion killed two soldiers and injured seven others while severely damaging ten to 15 vehicles in the convoy. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Jundullah group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Another improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in the Shin Qamar area of Khyber agency on Sunday, killing three workers and injuring three others.[ix]

  • Pakistani helicopter gunships shelled militant hideouts in Mir Ali, North Waziristan on Monday. According to sources interviewed by Geo, four militants were killed in the attack.[x]

  • A non-government organization office was attacked by unknown men with a rocket on Sunday, injuring one person in the University Town area of Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. According to police, the target of the attack “was likely the American Club situated nearby.”[xi]

  • A blast in a liquor shop on the outskirts of Jammu killed one and injured five on Saturday. According to Indian police in Kashmir, a grenade was suspected to have been used. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.[xii]

  • An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police was killed while four others were injured in the G-9 Markaz area of Islamabad on Friday. The ASI and a constable searched a car that they found suspicious when the men inside shot at the officers. One of the attackers was captured while the other was able to escape. The ASI was killed by the gunfire, while the constable was injured.[xiii]

  • Three unknown gunmen opened fire on a passenger coach in Quetta, killing one person. The passenger coach was on its way from Quetta to Karachi, and while the driver and passengers remained safe, the cleaner of the bus was killed.[xiv]

Malala Yousafzai

  • Britain-based Islamic hardliners are planning to issue a fatwa (an Islamic decree) later this month against girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, who is still recovering from being shot in the head and neck by a Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operative in October. The fatwa will declare her to be an apostate due to her anti-Taliban activism. Anjem Choudary, one of the founders of banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, said that the fatwa is “not a death sentence…It’s about what is the reality of what's taking place and how she is being used as a tool for propaganda by the U.S. and Pakistan, and for the crimes they are committing."[xv]

Army Harassment

  • Col. Inamur Rahim, the retired military lawyer petitioning against Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s term extension accused the military of torching his 19-year-old son’s car and physically assaulting him. This accusation comes three days after Col. Rahim was reportedly attacked by what he believes was the military as well. The Pakistan Army has rejected the accusations, “calling them ‘baseless.’”[xvi]

Holiday Security Measures

  • Additional Inspector General (AIG) of the Sindh Police Iqbal Mehmood told reporters on Sunday that the police recommend that motorcycle-riding be banned until the November 24 holiday of Ashura. Both security forces and the government have been particularly concerned about terrorist and violent attacks that may be committed during the holy month of Muharram. Motorcycles have previously been used as bombs and assailants often commit drive-by shootings on motorcycles. Pillion riding has been banned for the next two months in Quetta, as have tinted vehicle windows, due to security concerns.[xvii]

Urban Unrest

  • Crime Investigation Department Functional Crime Unit leader Raja Umar Khitab declared on Saturday that banned groups rather than the Taliban are behind most of the law and order problems in Karachi. Khitab said that “there was no proof of the Taliban’s presence” in several areas where they reportedly exercise control, but that there was evidence of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi activity.[xviii]

  • On Monday, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif said that “70 [percent] of crimes in the country” would decrease if individuals belonging to “militant wings” of the ruling government and its allies were arrested. He protested that such individuals were involved in numerous murder cases and that “if [the] government’s own parties have militant wings, how will they arrest anyone then?” He criticized bans on motorcycles and SIM cards, arguing that these measures did nothing to reduce crime and that “in four years, no criminal has been arrested, punished, and made an example out of for the people.”[xix]

International Relations

  • The Governor General of Iran’s Fars province visited the Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for bilateral cooperation between the two provinces. The MoU called for cooperation on ten different aspects of governing, yet the special focus of the understanding would be on “[hydroelectric] power generation, mining, agriculture and tourism.”[xx]

Electoral Alliances

  • Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that political alliances between the PML-N, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), and Pakistan Muslim League-Likeminded (PML-LM) to contest the ruling Pakistan People’s Party in the upcoming general elections were likely.[xxi]

SIM Card Blockages

  • The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has forbidden the sale of mobile SIM cards at company and franchise outlets in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province as of Monday. Authorities have said that terrorists often use illegal SIMs to organize attacks in the province.[xxii]

  • Over 100 phones and their SIMs have been blocked throughout Pakistan after police received more than 800 complaints in the last 20-25 days concerning extortion and other threats made via telephone. Citizens-Police Liaison Committee chief Ahmed Chinoy added that “strict action is being taken against the owners of the SIMs.”[xxiii]

     


[i] Kamran Yousaf, “Afghan peace process: 12 Taliban peace brokers may be taken off UN list,” Express Tribune, November 19, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/467889/afghan-peace-process-12-taliban-peace-brokers-may-be-taken-off-un-list/
[ii] Rod Nordland, “More Taliban Prisoners May Be Released,” New York Times, November 17, 2012. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/world/asia/taliban-leaders-among-prisoners-freed-in-pakistan.html.
[iii] Deb Riechmann and Rahim Faiez, “Afghanistan says Pakistan Will Help in Peace Talks,” AP, November 17, 2012. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/afghanistan-pakistan-peace-talks-17746359#.UKqRH-TAfng.
[iv] “Pakistan racing to develop armed drones: experts,” Associated Press, November 18, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/18/pakistan-racing-to-develop-armed-drones-experts/
[v] Adithi Phadnis, “Musharraf on Bin Laden raid: ‘Our intelligence agencies were sleeping,’” AFP, November 17, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/467197/india-is-a-big-country-should-display-big-heartedness-musharraf/.
[vi] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Former JI chief Qazi Hussain escaped suicide attack in Mohmand,” Dawn, November 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/19/qazi-hussain-escapes-bomb-attack-in-mohmand-tribal-region/
[vii] “Two dead, 23 injured in bomb explosion near Karachi Imambargah,” Dawn, November 18, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/18/loud-explosion-heard-in-karachis-abbas-town/; “Bomb targeting Shiite Muslims kills 2 Karachi, in Pakistan’s largest city,” AP, November 18, 2012. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/bomb-targeting-shiite-muslims-kills-2-karachi-in-pakistans-largest-city/2012/11/18/cd7d2940-31a9-11e2-92f0-496af208bf23_story.html.  
[viii] “Two killed, one injured in violence in Karachi,” Dawn, November 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/17/two-killed-one-injured-in-violence-in-karachi/
[ix] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Roadside bombs kill five in tribal Pakistan: officials,” AFP, November 18, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/18/blast-in-waziristan-kills-two-security-personnel-injures-seven/
[x] “Gunships pound militant hideouts in NW, 4 killed,” Geo, November 19, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=76185
[xi] “Peshawar: Rocket hits NGO office; one injured,” Geo, November 18, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=76028
[xii] “One killed, five injured in Jammu blast,” Dawn, November 17, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/17/one-killed-five-injured-in-jammu-blast/
[xiii] Munawer Azeem, “ASI killed, four injured in shoot-out,” Dawn, November 16, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/17/asi-killed-four-injured-in-shoot-out-2/
[xiv] “One dead in Quetta firing,” Geo, November 19, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=76091
[xv] Rob Crilly, “Islamic hardliners announce fatwa on Malala Yousafzai,” The Telegraph, November 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9687466/Islamic-hardliners-announce-fatwa-on-Malala-Yousafzai.html.
[xvi] Shehzeb Jillani, “Pakistan Lawyer challenges powerful army,” BBC, November 17, 2012. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20381945
[xvii] “Sindh police seek ban on bike riding till Ashura,” Geo News, November 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=76074; “Two-month pillion riding ban in Quetta,” Geo News, November 16, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=75781.
[xviii] Mohammad Yaseen, “‘Banned organizations involved in target killings more than Taliban,’” Express Tribune, November 17, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/467186/banned-organisations-involved-in-target-killings-more-than-taliban/.
[xix] Ema Anis, “‘70% of crimes will end if political parties’ militant wing members arrested,’” Express Tribune, November 19, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/467988/70-crimes-will-end-if-political-parties-militant-wing-members-arrested/.
[xx] “Cooperation in 10 sectors: KP, Iranian province sign MoU,” Dawn, November 18, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/18/cooperation-in-10-sectors-kp-iranian-province-sign-mou-2/
[xxi] “Nawaz says electoral alliances likely,” Geo News, November 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=76186.
[xxii] “Sale of mobile SIMs banned in Khyber Pkahtunkhwa,” Dawn, November 19, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/19/sale-of-mobile-sims-banned-in-khyber-pakhtunkhwa/.
[xxiii] Qaiser Sherazi and Sajid Rauf, “More than 100 mobile phones, SIMs used for extortion blocked,” Express Tribune, November 19, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/468021/more-than-100-mobile-phones-sims-used-in-extortions-blocked/