Pakistan Security Brief - November 4, 2011

New restrictions to CIA drone campaign; Rise in popularity of anti-American politicians; U.S. reaffirms commitment to provide foreign aid; Meeting on Pakistani-Indian economic relations scheduled; Pakistani military to train Afghan forces; Malik announces border security plans; Arrest warrant issued for former Chief Minister; Imprisoned terrorists maintain ability to communicate; Pakistan recognizes NTC; Pakistan to meet with IMF officials.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported on new restrictions placed by the Obama administration on the CIA drone campaign. The rule changes came following a White House review headed by President Obama that determined current drone policy had exacerbated tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan.  The concessions to the program include allowing greater State Department input on strike decisions, providing Pakistani leaders with advance notice of some strikes, and suspending operations when Pakistani leaders visit the U.S.  Despite the changes, many government officials believe that the drone program will remain aggressive.  Meanwhile, BBC investigates claims of civilian casualties in recent drone strikes, indicating conflicting reports between Pakistani officials and eyewitnesses on whether strikes target militants or civilians.[1]

  • Anti-American politicians have increased in popularity in Pakistan with a national election expected to be called within months.  Imran Khan, a former cricket star and political outsider, has achieved popularity through his strong opposition to U.S. drone strikes and promises to end Pakistan’s cooperation with the U.S.-led war on terror. Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif runs the provincial government in Punjab and has garnered widespread support through his rejection of U.S. funds, describing U.S. aid as “funds from an enemy." According to the Miami Herald, although Zardari’s popularity has fallen, Sharif and Khan will have to overcome the powerful political coalitions of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to secure the next election.[2]

  • A State Department report presented to Congress on Thursday reaffirmed U.S. commitment to provide Pakistan with financial aid. The report advocated a “commitment to providing robust, multi-year civilian assistance to Pakistan” and requested Congressional authorization for a U.S.-Pakistan Enterprise Fund modeled on similar arrangements between the U.S. and Eastern European countries in the 1990s.[3]

Pakistan-India Relations

  • High-level Pakistani military and political leaders will meet at the Foreign Ministry on Friday to seek further normalization of economic relations between Pakistan and India.  According to a source from the Foreign Office, the leaders support the recent decision to apply Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India and will discuss ways to move forward with India on issues such as water security and Kashmir.  In response to the claim of a senior Indian official that Pakistan was backtracking in granting India MFN status, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua announced, "Pakistan clearly stated that our cabinet gave approval to move forward on MFN status in principle.”[4]

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

Balochistan

Terrorism

  • According to a recent report by Pakistani intelligence officials, imprisoned terrorists have maintained their ability to communicate with their organizations via cell phone. On October 21, intelligence officials intercepted a call between two men imprisoned in Kot Lakhpat prison and a terrorist commander in Khyber agency.  The Ministry of Interior and Home Department have released four circulars this year requesting that prison authorities ensure jamming equipment is operational, but the security breaches continue.[8]

Politics

IMF



[1] Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman, and Julian Barnes “U.S. Tightens Drone Rules,” Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2011. Available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204621904577013982672973836.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories
Orla Guerin “Pakistani civilian victims vent anger over US drones,” BBC, November 3, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/15553761
[2] Saeed Shah “Anti-U.S. politicians on the rise as Pakistan ponders elections,” Miami Herald, November 3, 2011. Available at http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/03/2485705/anti-us-politicians-on-the-rise.html
[3] “US pledges financial aid for Pakistan,” Dawn, November 3, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/04/us-pledges-financial-aid-for-pakistan.html
[4] Mubarak Zeb Khan “Civil-military representatives to review Indo-Pak dialogue progress,” Dawn, November 3, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/04/civil-military-representatives-to-review-indo-pak-dialogue-progress.html
“Pakistan Not Backtracking on Indian MFN Status-Foreign Office,” New York Times, November 4, 2011. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/11/04/world/asia/international-us-pakistan-india-trade.html?ref=world
[5] Mariana Baabar “Pakistan to train Afghan troops,” The News, November 4, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=10067&Cat=13
[6] “Pakistan, Afghanistan to check illegal border crossing,” Dawn, November 3, 2011. Available athttp://www.dawn.com/2011/11/04/pakistan-afghanistan-to-check-illegal-border-crossing.html
[7] “Bugti murder case: Court issues arrest warrant for former CM Jam Yousaf,” Express Tribune, November 4, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/287553/bugti-murder-case-court-issues-arrest-warrant-for-former-cm-jam-yousaf/
[8] Asad Kharal “Security breach: Terrorists in jail still able to make calls,” Express Tribune, November 4, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/287241/security-breach-terrorists-in-jail-still-able-to-make-calls/
[9] “Better late than never: Pakistan recognises new Libya regime” Express Tribune, November 3, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/287038/pakistan-recognizes-libya/
[10] “Pakistan, IMF officials to meet on November 9,” Dawn, November 4, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/04/pakistan-imf-officials-to-meet-on-november-9.html