Pakistan Security Brief - November 6, 2013

TTP to choose new leader today; Opposition wants TTP talks to continue, divided on cutting NATO supply lines; Defense Ministry disavows numbers showing low civilian casualties from drone strikes; Iran accuses Pakistan of not building gas pipeline because of Saudi pressure; 17 die in Karachi violence; Policeman killed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; NATO tanker torched in Balochistan, driver dies; 98 arrested in Peshawar operations; IMF asks Pakistan to stop tax exceptions for wealthy people; Army chief may be appointed to new position; Former Prime Minister charged in corruption case; Former President Musharraf pays bail.

Death of Hakimullah Mehsud

  • According to The News, the leadership of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) will meet today to decide who will replace Hakimullah Mehsud as the head of the organization. Hafiz Saeed Khan, who leads the TTP branch in Orakzai, and TTP Swat chief Mullah Fazlullah are reportedly the only two candidates being considered. Another report in the same paper claimed that there are five candidates for the position, including Fazlullah, Khan Said, the leader of the South Waziristan branch of the TTP, Sheharyar Mehsud, who is supported by Hakimullah Mehsud’s loyalists, Asmatullah Muavia of the Punjabi Taliban, and Omar Khalid Khurasani of the TTP in Mohmand agency. According to this report, Khan Said has the support of 70 percent of the TTP.[1]

  • On Tuesday, opposition parties in the National Assembly agreed that the government should continue to pursue talks with the TTP, but disagreed on cutting NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), and the Awami National Party (ANP) support keeping the routes open while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and Awami Muslim League (AML) want to block them.[2]

U.S. Drone Strikes

  • On Tuesday, officials at Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense said that the numbers the ministry released showing civilian casualties from American drone strikes much lower than had previously been reported were “wrong and fabricated.” A Ministry of Defense spokesperson said that the ministry “will come up with the actual situation in the next few days.”[3]

Iran-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Wednesday report in The News, Iranian consul general in Karachi Mehdi Sobhani said that Pakistan has not communicated with Iran about its intentions regarding the planned Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. He also said that one of Pakistan’s concerns about the pipeline is how Saudi Arabia will respond.[4]

Militancy

  • On Tuesday, 17 people were killed throughout Karachi. Seven Sunnis were killed in what were allegedly attacks taking revenge for the deaths of five Shias killed on Monday. Six of the Sunni men were members of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a front for the Sunni militant group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).[5]

  • On Monday, unknown gunmen attacked a police station in Sur Pul, Lakki Marwat district, Khyber -Pakhtunkhwa, killing a policeman.[6]

  • According to a Wednesday report in The News, the American Consul General in Karachi asked for increased security for the American consulate and an American school in Karachi from the Sindh Interior Department due to fresh concerns about terrorist attacks.[7]

  • Unknown attackers set on fire a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) oil tanker headed to Afghanistan in Khuzdar district, Balochistan on Wednesday. The driver of the tanker was killed.[8]

  • On Wednesday, police arrested 98 people throughout Peshawar as part of the ongoing operations in the city. Five of the arrested are reported to be Afghan nationals.[9]

Domestic

  • According to a Wednesday report in The Express Tribune, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to implement tax reforms that will do away with tax exemptions for wealthy people. An IMF team is currently in Pakistan to evaluate whether the country has made enough progress to justify releasing the promised $6.7 billion loan to Pakistan.[10]

  • According to a Wednesday report in The News, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to abolish Statutory Regulatory Orders worth about $41 billion to address the problem of circular debt, which is when a government borrows money to fulfill existing debt. Circular debt in the first quarter was $1.5 billion, which was higher than expected.[11]

  • On Tuesday, the JI Peshawar district chief Behrullah Khan announced that his party will block NATO supply routes through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa  this Friday by staging a protest.[12]

  • Rumors have resurfaced that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will appoint outgoing army chief General Ashfaq Kayani to another senior position when his term ends on November 29. According to a Wednesday report in The News, Sharif is still considering appointing Kayani as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[13]

  • On Wednesday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officially nominated former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in a corruption case regarding kickbacks he reportedly received when he was Minister for Water and Power.[14]

  • On Wednesday, former President Pervez Musharraf paid his bail in a murder case involving the 2007 Lal Masjid incident. He is now free to move around Pakistan, but he remains on the Exit Control List, which means he cannot leave the country.[15]  



[1] Mushtaq Yusufzai, “Hakimullah’s Successor to be Named Today,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26507-Hakimullahs-successor-to-be-named-today
Amir Mir, “TTP in Catch-22 Situation Over Choice of New Ameer,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-212546-TTP-in-Catch-22-situation-over-choice-of-new-Ameer
[2] Asirn Yasin, “Opposition Split on Blocking NATO Supply Line,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26496-Opposition-split-on-blocking-Nato-supply-line
[3] Ahmad Noorani, “Defence Ministry Admits Sending Wrong Drone Figures to PM,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26495-Defence-ministry-admits-sending-wrong-drone-figures-to-PM
[4] “Tehran Yet to Hear Pak Response: Envoy,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26492-Tehran-yet-to-hear-Pak-response%3a-envoy
[5] “On the Eve of Muharram: 17 Die in Escalating Karachi Violence,” The Express Tribune, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/627801/on-the-eve-of-muharram-17-die-in-escalating-karachi-violence/
[6] “Cop Killed in Lakki Marwat,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-212552-Cop-killed-in-Lakki-Marwat
[7] Khurshid Abbasi, “US CG’s Residence, School Face Terror Threat,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26501-US-CGs-residence,-school-face-terror-threat
[8] Syed Ali Shah, “Gunmen Torch NATO Tanker in Khuzdar, Kill Driver,” Dawn, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1054534/gunmen-torch-nato-tanker-in-khuzdar-kill-driver
[9] “Peshawar Raids: Five Afghan Nationals Among 98 Suspects Detained,” Dawn, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1054511/peshawar-raids-five-afghan-nationals-among-98-suspects-detained
[10] Shahbaz Rana, “IMF Wants Govt to Tax the Rich,” The Express Tribune, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/627785/imf-wants-govt-to-tax-the-rich/
[11] “IMF Worried as Circular Debt Rises to Rs160 Bn Again,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26503-IMF-worried-as-circular-debt-rises-to-Rs160-bn-again
[12] “JI to Block NATO Supplies in Peshawar on 8th,” Dawn, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1054430/ji-to-block-nato-supplies-in-peshawar-on-8th
[13] Ansra Abbasi, “Nawaz Seriously Considering New Job for Gen. Kayani,” The News, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-26491-Nawaz-seriously-considering-new-job-for-Gen-Kayani
[14] “NAB Nominates Former PM Ashraf in Rental Power Case,” Dawn, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1054527/nab-nominates-former-pm-ashraf-in-rental-power-case
[15] “Cleric Murder Case: Musharraf to Walk Free as Surety Submitted,” Dawn, November 6, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1054503/cleric-murder-case-musharraf-to-walk-free-as-surety-submitted