Pakistan Security Brief - November 28, 2012

U.S. representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman resigns; Taliban responsible for Camp Bastion attack may have received training in Pakistan; Pakistan tests medium range ballistic missile; Security checkpost blown up in Lakki Marwat; Four killed in Charsadda skirmish; Two killed in Kharan; One killed, six injured in Karachi violence; Man injured in Quetta; Two TTP militants arrested in Islamabad; ; U.S. grants Pakistan $150 million for power plant expansion; U.S. Ambassador praises Pak-Afghan peace negotiations; Sikh leader lauds Pakistan’s efforts to improve ties with India; PM promotes increased trade with China; Federal cabinet approves bill to create new counter terrorism body; Supreme Court asks ECP to go door to door to verify Karachi voters; Senate Standing Committee on Defence aims for greater civil-military cooperation; AQ Khan registers his party for the 2013 elections; British extremist group cancels conference to declare Malala Yousafzai an apostate.

Grossman Resigns

  • The U.S.’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Marc Grossman has announced his resignation from the State Department effective December 14. Grossman’s SRAP job is “one of several senior envoy positions the Obama administration created to coordinate particularly vexing diplomatic challenges.” Grossman will be replaced in an acting capacity by David D. Pearce who is currently serving as Grossman’s deputy and was previously the ambassador to Algeria and worked at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.[i]

Taliban Training in Pakistan

  • According to a senior U.S. military official, the Taliban militants responsible for the Camp Bastion attack in Helmand province, Afghanistan on September 14 may have received their training and preparation in Pakistan. The attack was well planned out, with 15 Taliban members dressed in U.S. military uniforms infiltrating a coalition complex and destroying six Marine AV-8B jets estimated to cost $24 million apiece. All of the attackers were killed except for one man, who was later interrogated for further information.[ii]

Ballistic Missile Test

  • According to the Pakistan Army’s  Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan successfully tested its mid-range Haft-V Ghauri ballistic missile on Wednesday. The missile, which “has a range of 1300 kilometers,” is also able to hold either a conventional or a nuclear payload.[iii]

Militancy

  • On Wednesday, unidentified militants blew up a Khasadar Forces security checkpost in Paakhel area, Lakki Marwat. No casualties were reported; police have launched an investigation.[iv]

  • A total of four people including a woman were killed near Bypass road in Charsadda district when unspecified rival groups opened fire on each other on Tuesday.[v]

  • Unidentified gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed two men on Sher Wazir road in Kharan, Balochistan on Wednesday.[vi]

  • Unknown assailants shot and killed one person in Karachi’s SITE area on Wednesday. Two were also injured by gunfire close to the Old Sabzi Mandi area.[vii]

  • One man was injured when unknown assailants opened fire on him on Bypass bridge in the Chama Qila Abdullah area of Quetta. Police have registered the case.[viii]

  • Two Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operatives were arrested in Bahria Town, Islamabad on Wednesday. Jan Badshah and Wasif Punjabi, the detained, were allegedly involved in kidnapping public figures in the city.[ix] 

U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • On Wednesday, the U.S. confirmed a grant of $150 million for the expansion of Pakistan’s Mangla Dam power-generating capacities. U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson also said that the Energy Working Group would meet in Islamabad in December to discuss dam construction issues. Structural improvements in the Mangla Dam power plant are expected to help it produce an additional 310 megawatts of electricity per year.[x]

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson stated on Tuesday that the U.S. was highly supportive of the peace process between Afghanistan and Pakistan as it would contribute to overall improvement in regional security. He said “we appreciate that the two sides are working together to build confidence,” and that the U.S. was happy with Pakistan’s outreach efforts to Afghan peace negotiators.[xi]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • World Muslim Sikh Federation (WMSF) Chairman Sardar Manmohan Singh Khalsa praised Pakistan for “sincerely striving to improve relations with India” on Wednesday.  He urged the people of Pakistan to continue working towards peace in their country and “recognize the blessings of independence.”[xii]

Sino-Pakistani Relations

  • Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf reiterated on Tuesday Pakistan’s esteem for its relations with China. In a conversation with Ambassador-designate to China Masood Khalid, Ashraf lauded trade relations between the two countries and stressed the importance of continued trade expansion between China and Pakistan. He commented that “we are proud of our excellent relations with China, with which we have a strategic partnership. Our cooperation with China on regional and international levels is exemplary.”[xiii]

Domestic Politics

  • Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters that Pakistan’s federal cabinet approved the National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill on Wednesday. The bill was made to “establish a new counter terrorism body aimed at better coordinating efforts to defeat Taliban and al Qaeda-linked violence.” Kaira said that if the bill is signed into law, the authority may even introduce modern education in madrassas. In order for the bill to come into effect, it still needs “to be approved by parliament and signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari.”[xiv]

  • After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) “filed petitions seeking to verify the voter lists in Karachi,” a three member bench of the Supreme Court heard the case on Wednesday. A report from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) claimed that 32,231 voters in Karachi could not be verified. In response to the report, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked the ECP to “verify voters in Karachi by going from door to door,” with the help of the army and Rangers if needed.[xv]

  • In the Senate Standing Committee on Defence’s second hearing on Civil-Military Relations dialogue on Wednesday, senators highlighted their aims to become a “bridge between parliamentarians and [the] military.” Chairman of the committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that with such a strong military and increasingly effective parliament it is important to “find unanimous solution to…the main issues of national security and fighting war against extremism and terrorism.”[xvi]

  • Doctor Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man responsible for the founding of Pakistan’s nuclear program, has registered his new political party Tehrik-i-Tahafuzz Pakistan in the 2013 elections. His party was one of 19 new parties approved for the 2013 elections on Tuesday. Although Khan has “yet to decide to stand himself for the election,” he will guide the party through the elections as the party chairman.[xvii]

Malala Yousafzai

  • British-based Muslim extremist group Al-Mujahiroun has decided against holding a November 30 conference at the Lal Masjid mosque in Islamabad to declare Malala Yousafzai an apostate. The group had previously planned to issue a decree condemning Yousafzai for her pro-education, anti-Taliban activism. Al-Mujahiroun leader Anjem Chaudhry said on Wednesday, however, that the group decided against it after learning that the Pakistani government and intelligence services did not approve, and after Lal Masjid Imam Maulana Abdul Aziz implied that the conference was too politically and ethically controversial and “non-productive.”[xviii]

  


[ii] Jim Michaels, “Taliban attack may have had Pakistan origins,” USA Today, November 27, 2012. Available at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/11/27/pakistan-taliban/1729915/
[iii] “Pakistan successfully test-fires Hatf-V Ghuari missile: ISPR,” Dawn, November 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/28/pakistan-succesfully-test-fires-hatf-v-ghauri-missile-ispr/
[iv] “Check post blown up in Lakki Marwat,” Geo News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=77329.
[v] “Woman among 4 shot dead in Charsadda,” The News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-145332-Woman-among-4-shot-dead-in-Charsadda.
[vi] “Two gunned down in Kharan,” Geo News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=77321.
[vii] “One killed in violence in Karachi,” Dawn, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/28/one-killed-in-violence-in-karachi/; “Four injured during robbery in Karachi,” Geo News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=77315.
[viii] “Man injured in Quetta firing,” The News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-145419-Man-injured-in-Quetta-firing.
[ix] “Two TTP militants arrested in Islamabad,” Dawn, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/28/two-ttp-militants-arrested-in-islamabad-2/.
[x] “US announces $150 million for Mangla dam expansion,” Dawn, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/28/us-announces-150-million-for-mangla-dam-expansion/.
[xi] “US welcomes Pak-Afghan peace process,” APP, November 27, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/27/us-welcomes-pak-afghan-peace-process-olson/.
[xii] “Pakistan sincere in improving ties with India,” The News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-145404-Pakistan-sincere-in-improving-ties-with-India.
[xiii] “PM for further expanding Pak-China trade,” The News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-145410-PM-for-further-expanding-Pak-China-trade.
[xiv] “Cabinet approves draft to form new counter-terrorism body,” AFP, November 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/28/cabinet-approves-draft-to-form-new-counter-terrorism-body/
[xv] “SC reserves verdict in Karachi voter lists case,” Geo, November 28, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=77397
[xvi] “”Senate Committee to discuss civil-military relations,” Geo, November 28, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=77402
[xvii] “Abdul Qadeer Khan registers party for vote,” AFP, November 28, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/28/abdul-qadeer-khan-registers-party-for-vote/
[xviii] Murtaza Ali Shah, “Extremist group drops Lal Masjid Fatwa conference,” The News, November 28, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-145394-Extremist-group-drops-Lal-Masjid-Fatwa-conference.