Pakistan Security Brief - November 5, 2012

TTP suicide bomber kills leader of anti-Taliban militia; Senior ANP politician killed; Five killed at religious group office in Hyderabad; IED injures eight in Charsadda; Restaurant shooting kills three and injures one in Turbat; Anti-Taliban militia chief killed in Lower Dir; Religious shrine blown up in Peshawar; Seven people killed in Karachi; 25 Jihadi groups have infiltrated Karachi; Army Chief says no individual, institution monopolizes national interest; Former JI leader offers to mediate between Afghan government, Taliban, and Hezb-e-Islami; UNHCR enhances return package for Afghan refugees; Indian-administered Kashmir leaders to meet with Pakistan officials to talk peace; Pakistan Petroleum signs five-year gas deal with Iraq; School principal in Lahore blasphemy case refused bail; Recipients of ISI funds in 1990 elections broke no laws; New tax chief ready to “name and shame;” JI leaders criticize MMA for exclusion.

Militancy

  • A suicide bomber killed six people and injured three others in Buner on Saturday. The attack was targeting Fateh Khan, “an ex-leader of the secular Awami National Party (ANP), and leader of a local anti-Taliban militia.” Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan later told Dawn that the TTP was responsible for the attack[i]

  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the senior vice president of the Charsadda district chapter of the ANP, Sabiullah Khan, in Shabqadar district’s Battagram area, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday. Police say that Khan was on his way to his home village when the attack happened. One other person was injured in the attack as well.[ii]

  • Unknown gunmen opened fire at an office of a religious group in Haider Chowk, Hyderabad, Sindh on Sunday. Three people were killed and two others were seriously injured.[iii]

  • An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) injured eight people when it exploded next to a police check post in Jala Bela in Charsadda, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Five of the injured were police officers, and one of the injured was a child. The IED was planted on a motorcycle, and according to police contained three kilograms of explosives.[iv]

  • Armed gunmen on motorcycles killed three and injured one when they opened fire on a restaurant in Mand Blo town of Turbat, Balochistan. According to security officials, “all the victims hailed from Punjab and were allegedly trying to travel to Europe illegally via Iran.”[v]

  • After surviving two previous attempts on his life, the chief of an anti-Taliban peace committee, Abdur Rehman was killed “in a targeted attack in Fazalabad area in Maidan subdistrict of Lower Dir district, Khyber-Pakhtunlhwa on Sunday.” According to sources interviewed by Dawn, Rehman was also affiliated with the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) party. In a separate incident, a government school in Khazeenakhel area, Mohmand agency was blown up by militants.[vi]

  • Militants targeted a shrine in Peshawar on Saturday. The attack blew up a portion of the Phandu Baba shrine. No casualties were reported. In a separate incident, a man was killed on Saturday when an explosion damaged his house in Wadpaga village, near Peshawar.[vii]

  • Two cousins were targeted and killed by unknown assailants on motorcycles in Saddar Bazaar near Askari Bank, Hyderabad on Saturday. In a separate attack, one of the cousin’s brothers “received bullet wounds.” Hyderabad police deny that the attacks were targeted killings.[viii]

  • Seven people were killed in Karachi over the weekend. One person was shot and killed in Keamari. One body was found in Nazimabad. Unknown gunmen targeted three international United Nations workers who “were leaving a restaurant in Karachi’s wealthy Clifton suburb.” The gunmen pursued the workers on their motorcycles, opening fire and injuring “an Egyptian working for the United Nation’s Children’s Fund.” A political activist for the ANP was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Gulshan-e-Maymar. A body was found in Korangi area, and two more bodies were found in the Garden East area. A police official was injured by gunfire near Bolton Market, and two others were wounded by fire in Bin Qasim and Garden Usmanabad.[ix]

Karachi “Talibanisation”

  • Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered the Sindh government to investigate the infiltration of over 7,000 Taliban militants into Karachi. Following this order, “well-placed circles in the security establishment” identified at least 25 Taliban- and al Qaeda-affiliated jihadi groups operating in the city. These groups include five factions of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and three of the TTP. Other militant factions include Jaish-e-Mohammed, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Islami, Jundallah, and Harkatul Mujahideen. The officials say that ANP members seem to be primary targets for the Taliban, and that Taliban militants are in control of neighborhoods including Sohrab Goth, Baldia Town, Quaidabad, Shireen Jinnah Colony, New Karachi Industrial Area, Sultanabad, and several others. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain commented that the law and order situation in Karachi was just as bad as that in Malakand agency, a militancy-plagued region in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas; he also demanded the government take armed action against militant groups challenging the rule of law. [x]

Defining National Interest

  • Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated in a Monday address at the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi that no individual or institution held a monopoly on determining Pakistani national interest. He explained that “we all agree that strengthening the institutions, ensuring the rule of law and working within the well defined bounds of the constitution is the right way forward. Weakening of the institutions and trying to assume more than one's due role will set us back...We should not be carried away by short term considerations which may have greater negative consequences in the future.” He also said that anyone trying to drive a wedge between the Army and Pakistani citizens was doing a disservice to the national interest, a statement that some analysts interpret as a “response to unprecedented pressure the army is facing from the government, media and judiciary.” He said that the military’s strength is dependent on public support, and any “conspiracy theories” that try to undermine public support for the military put Pakistan’s national security at risk. Additionally, he acquiesced that while many in the government administration had made mistakes in the past, the most important thing moving forward was to ensure that policies promoted Constitutional rule of law and strengthened legal institutions.[xi]

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • Responding to a letter sent to him by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, former Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed “on Sunday offered to mediate between the Afghan government, Taliban, and the Hizb-e-Islami.” Citing the fears of a new civil war in Afghanistan, Ahmed said that it would be necessary to convene a jirga between President Karzai, the Taliban, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami discussing “the future set-up in Afghanistan.”[xii]

Afghanistan-Pakistan-UN Relations

  • The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has enhanced its offered return package to Afghan refugees willing to return to Afghanistan from Pakistan. In addition to $150, willing refugees will also receive, “jerry cans, heavy duty plastic buckets, soap, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, thermal fleece blankets, kitchen set, plastic tarpaulins, quilts and sanitary cloth.” They will also receive help with transportation costs. Officials claim that since January 2012, UNHCR has helped 15,532 individuals return to Afghanistan from Balochistan, yet there are still about 352,610 refugees still living in the province.[xiii]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • Leaders in Indian-administered Kashmir said on Monday that they would be visiting Pakistan to meet “members of the ruling party, opposition leaders and government officials.” This would be the first peace process meeting between the two parties in four years, since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[xiv]

Iraqi-Pakistani Relations

  • Pakistan Petroleum signed a five-year deal with Iraq on Monday to explore a large tract of Iraqi land believed to contain gas. Pakistan Petroleum is required to invest “at least $100 million to explore the 6,000 square-kilometer bloc covering the provinces of Wasit and volatile Diyala.” Chief Executive Asim Khan said that the instability in Diyala province does not concern the company.[xv]

Lahore Blasphemy Case

  • The principal of a Lahore school attacked and ransacked by an angry mob last week has been denied bail by a local court. The mob attacked the school after learning that one of its teachers allegedly distributed blasphemous material to her students; the teacher went into hiding but police arrested the principal, Asim Farooqi, and remanded him into custody for two weeks. Farooqi’s lawyer argued that Farooqi had no direct role in the incident and therefore ought to be released.[xvi]

Election-Rigging Case

  • According to some “eminent constitutional experts,” opposition politicians who received money from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) through banker Younus Habib in the 1990 elections were not in conflict with the law. The experts explained that “the political rivals of these beneficiaries can subject them to attack that they are stooges and agents of the army for having pocketed millions from it, but getting donations for election campaigns is no crime.” They saw that no law exists in Pakistan forbidding private individuals from donating to campaigns. Former Army Chief General Aslam Baig, accused of providing funds to opposition politicians, has already stated that he has proof that money distributed during the election did not come from the national exchequer.[xvii]

Targeting Tax Evasion

  • Ali Arshad Hakeem, Pakistan’s new tax chief, is intent on finally enforcing taxation on Pakistan’s elite. Currently, less than 1.5 percent of the Pakistani population pays income tax and there have been no tax evasion cases prosecuted in the last 25 years. Hakeem says “we will name and shame” and implement policies such as asset freezing and travel bans to intimidate the elite into paying their taxes, though he also says that a ten-week amnesty period is available to those who have committed offenses in the past and that it will place only a “small tax burden” on those who accept its terms in the first two years after agreeing to it.[xviii]

Islamic Party Unity

  • In a Saturday convention, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) called for anti-American religious parties to band together before the next general elections to work against increasing U.S. “interference” in Pakistani domestic affairs. Several JI chiefs criticized Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s right-wing Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) coalition for not including JI in the alliance and for “sabotaging unity” among Islamist parties.[xix]

                         



[i] “Pakistan bomb kills politician in Buner,” BBC, November 3, 2012. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20190337; Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Suicide blast kills anti-Taliban Lashkar chief; TTP claims responsibility,” Dawn, November 3, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/03/anti-taliban-leader-killed-in-buner-suicide-attack-ttp-claim-responsibility/
[ii] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Key ANP leader shot dead in Charsadda,” Dawn, November 5, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/key-anp-leader-shot-dead-in-charsadda/
[iii] “Three shot dead in Hyderabad,” APP, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/three-shot-dead-in-hyderabad/
[iv] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Bomb at police check post in Jala Bela leaves eight injured,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/bomb-at-police-check-post-in-jala-bela-leaves-8-injured/
[v] “Gunmen kill three in Turbat,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/gunmen-kill-three-in-turbat/
[vi] “Anti-Taliban peace committee chief killed in Lower Dir,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/anti-taliban-peace-committee-chief-killed-in-lower-dir/
[vii] “Blast damages shrine in Peshawar,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/blast-damages-shrine-in-peshawar-2/
[viii] Mohammad Hussain Khan, “Two Bohra community men shot dead in Hyderabad,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/two-bohra-community-men-shot-dead-in-hyderabad/
[ix] “Three killed in incidents of violence across Karachi,” Dawn, November 5, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/three-killed-in-incidents-of-violence-across-karachi-2/; “Gunmen wound Egyptian Unicef worker in Karachi,” Reuters, November 5, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/gunmen-wound-egyptian-unicef-worker-in-karachi/; “Four, including a political activist, killed in Karachi violence,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/four-including-a-political-activist-killed-in-karachi-violence/
[x] Amir Mir, “Karachi taken hostage by 25 Jihadi groups,” The News International, November 5, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-18619-Karachi-taken-hostage-by-25-Jihadi-groups; “Law and oferder: ‘Karachi is no better than Malakand,’” Express Tribune, November 3, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/460040/law-and-order-karachi-is-no-better-than-malakand/.
[xi] “No individual or institution has monopoly to define national interest: COAS Kayani,” Geo News, November 5, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=74245; “Pakistan’s Army Chief Issues Warning in Rare Message,” AP, November 5, 2012. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/pakistan-army-chief-issues-warning-rare-message-17643349#.UJfwVW_A-M2.   
[xii] Tahir Khan, “Afghan reconciliation process: Former JI chief offers mediation to Karzai govt,” Express Tribune, November 5, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/460897/afghan-reconciliation-process-former-ji-chief-offers-mediation-to-karzai-govt/
[xiii] “UNHCR raises return package for Afghan refugees living in Pakistan,” APP, November 5, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/unhcr-raises-return-package-for-afghan-refugees-living-in-pakistan/
[xiv] “Leaders from Indian-administered Kashmir to hold talks in Pakistan,” Dawn, November 5, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/leaders-from-indian-administered-kashmir-to-hold-talks-in-pakistan/
[xv] “Pakistan Petroleum inks Iraq exploration deal,” AFP, November 5, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/05/pakistan-petroleum-inks-iraq-exploration-deal/
[xvi] “Blasphemy row school principal refused bail,” AFP, November 4, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/blasphemy-row-school-principal-refused-bail/
[xvii] Tariq Butt, “Those who received money from ISI broke no law,” The News International, November 4, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-18605-Those-who-received-money-from-ISI-broke-no-law,-say-experts; “Asghar Khan case: Aslam Beg says court verdict is unjust,” Ary News, October 25, 2012. Available at: http://www.arynews.tv/english/newsdetail.asp?nid=65822.
[xix] Zulfiqar Ali, “Jamaat steps up efforts to form poll alliance against MMA,” Dawn, November 4, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/04/jamaat-steps-up-efforts-to-form-poll-alliance-against-mma/