Pakistan Security Brief - November 2, 2012

Four TTP militants killed in Tirah air strike; Militants kill small child in Swat; Eight injured in three landmine blasts in Dera Bugti; 18 killed in Balochistan van attack; Four killed in Karachi; U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan says Durand Line internationally recognized border; PTI Chairman protests U.S. gov’t silence over de-planing incident; Mob ransacks Lahore school after professor accused of blasphemy; Rehman Malik says a nexus of Taliban, BLA, and Jandola exists in Balochistan; Balochistan Assembly Speaker questions government’s legality after Supreme Court ruling; Election commission delegation to study U.S. absentee voting system; Balochistan opposition leader arrested at Supreme Court; Pakistani journalists receive German human rights award.

Militancy

  • A Thursday air strike in the Koki Khel area of the Tirah valley in Khyber agency reportedly killed four Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, injured two others, and destroyed four militant bunkers.[i]

  • Unidentified militants killed a four-year-old child in Swat on Thursday night after opening fire on her uncle’s house. Fazal Ghani, the child’s uncle, was the president of a local defense committee and was injured in the attack.[ii]

  • A series of three landmine blasts in different areas of Dera Bugti District, Balochistan injured at least eight people on Thursday. A Balochistan Levies official rode a motorcycle over a mine in Thelapar; the blast severely injured three people, including two Levies personnel. Three women and a child were hurt when they stepped on a landmine in the Behkar area. A third blast in Shahmassar injured a man as he was traveling along the road. No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the landmines.[iii]

  • At least 18 people died on Friday when unknown assailants opened fire on a van at a gas station in Khuzdar, Balochistan. The vehicle, as well as several oil drums, burst into flames after attackers opened fire; four nearby shops were destroyed as well. No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.[iv]

  • Four individuals were killed by unknown assailants in various parts of Karachi on Friday. One was shot at Madiha Stop in North Karachi; another died from gunshot wounds sustained at Golimar Chowrangi; a body was found in a bag in the Urdu Bazar area of Arambagh; and a fourth man was killed in Korangi Industrial area.[v]

U.S.-Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations

  • U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Richard Hoagland stated on Thursday that “the [Durand Line] is recognized as an international border [between Pakistan and Afghanistan]. Now if the government in Kabul has other interpretation[s], that’s certainly their business...Look, this is not the Line of Control. This has been recognized as an international border for a long time.” Afghanistan has maintained that the Durand Line was imposed on it in 1893 by the British colonial regime in Pakistan, and that Afghanistan’s Emir Abdur Rehman Khan could not read or understand the agreement when it was signed.[vi]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan criticized the U.S. government’s silence concerning his de-planing and interrogation in a Canadian airport on October 26. Khan complained that “no government official, even the Pakistani ambassador, condemned my stoppage by the US officials” and that if he had, in fact, done anything wrong, the U.S. State Department could have explained it to the public.[vii]

Lahore Blasphemy Case

  • An angry mob attacked and ransacked the Farooqi Girls High School in Lahore on Wednesday setting its furniture on fire after one of its professors allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Police arrested headmaster Asim Farooqi while the accused professor, Arfa Iftikhar, has gone into hiding. Iftikhar allegedly made a mistake in copying a phrase from an Islamic exercise book in a homework assignment distributed to students and was accused of blasphemy by hardliners who learned of the incident after it happened.[viii]

Domestic Politics

  • Speaking at the Supreme Court hearing on Balochistan’s law and order situation on Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the bench that “a nexus of [the] Taliban, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Jandola exists in the province.” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked why no arrests of criminals were being made in the province, and whether anyone was safe anywhere in the province. Referring to the existence of militants, Malik told the bench that “we have inherited these anomalies from former President General Musharraf.” After the hearing Malik said that the people responsible for the attacks in Balochistan were BLA militants wearing Frontier Corps (FC) uniforms. He said that the BLA had “been accepting responsibility [for] the attacks.” He added that 36 people were currently missing and cases for each and every one of them had been registered.[ix]

  • After Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani had his PPP membership suspended on charges of corruption, Speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani on Thursday denied Raisani’s request “to call a session of the Balochistan Assembly.” Bhootani then said he would not budge until the provincial governor determined the “legal status of the Raisani government after the Supreme Court’s interim order issued on Oct. 12.” Raisani then dismissed his suspension order claiming that he still had the confidence of the majority in the provincial assembly. He then said he would appear in the Supreme Court on Friday in the case on the law and order situation in his province.[x]

  • A high level delegation of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) led by retired court justice Akbar Khan will travel the United States on November 3 to study the U.S. absentee voting system. This comes amid calls from the Supreme Court for giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, and if implemented, “it would allow approximately four million overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right to vote in next year’s general election.” The Supreme Court also urged the ECP to provide transportation to voters inside Pakistan on polling day, but the ECP said that this would be impossible to do with such short notice.[xi]

  • Yar Muhammad Rind, the opposition leader in Balochistan was arrested on Thursday at the Supreme Court. He was there for a hearing against “the verdict of an anti-terrorism court in Quetta [sentencing him to] life imprisonment,” for kidnapping a man on June 28.[xii]

Human Rights Award

       


[i] “Khyber Agency: Four militants killed as jets pound TTP bunkers,” Express Tribune, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/459646/khyber-agency-four-militants-killed-as-jets-pound-ttp-bunkers/.
[ii] “Swat violence: Four-year-old dies in militant attack,” Express Tribune, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/459571/swat-violence-four-year-old-dies-in-militant-attack/.
[iii] Mohammad Zafar, “Casualties: Roadside explosions injure eight in Dera Bugti,” Express Tribune, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/459599/casualties-roadside-explosions-injure-eight-in-dera-bugti/.
[iv] “Van attack, blaze kill 10 in Balochistan,” Dawn, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/van-attack-blaze-kill-10-in-balochistan/.
[v] “At least four killed in Karachi violence,” Dawn, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/at-least-four-killed-in-karachi-violence/.
[vi] Ismail Khan, “Durand Line is international border, says US diplomat,” Dawn, November 1, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/durand-line-is-international-border-says-us-diplomat/.
[vii] “Imran slams govt’s silence over his treatment at Canadian airport,” The News International, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-18559-Imran-slams-govts-silence-over-his-treatment-at-Canadian-airport
[viii] “Lahore’s ‘blasphemy’ teacher in hiding,” AFP, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/lahores-blasphemy-teacher-in-hiding/; Taha Siddiqui, “Mob burns girls’ school in Pakistan over alleged blasphemy,” Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 2012. Available at: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2012/1101/Mob-burns-girls-school-in-Pakistani-city-over-alleged-blasphemy?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fworld+%28Christian+Science+Monitor+%7C+World%29.
[ix] “Taliban, BLA, Jundullah nexus in Balochistan: Malik,” Geo, November 2, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=73817; “FC personnel, innocent citizens being killed in Balochistan: Malik,” Dawn, November 2, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/fc-personnel-innocent-citizens-being-killed-in-balochistan-malik/
[x] “Balochistan govt in tumult as Raisani faces revolt,” Dawn, November 1, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/speaker-declines-to-convene-assembly-session-balochistan-govt-in-tumult-as-raisani-faces-revolt/
[xi] Qaiser Butt, “Overseas Pakistanis: ECP officials to travel to US to study absentee voting,” Express Tribune, November 2, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/459572/overseas-pakistanis-ecp-officials-to-travel-to-us-to-study-absentee-voting/
[xii] “Balochistan opposition leader arrested from SC building,” Dawn, November 1, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/02/balochistan-opposition-leader-arrested-from-sc-building/
[xiii]“Fata journalist gets human rights award,” The News International, November 2, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-140643-Fata-journalist-gets-human-rights-award.