Pakistan Security Brief - November 7, 2012

Prime Minister sends graft letter to Swiss authorities; Information Minister says parliament is supreme institution in Pakistan; JUI-F chief says Pakistan cannot afford institutional clashes; Mullah Fazlullah not U.S. priority target; Imran Khan would “declare jihad to save Pakistan;” FATA violence kills 10, injures 44; Targeted killing in Hyderabad kills one and injures three; Two killed in Karachi; Three killed and two injured in an attack in Quetta; Peshawar High Court orders KP police to find those responsible for dumping body bags around the province; Reuters article claims Iranian influence slowly growing in Balochistan; President Zardari congratulates President Obama on re-election; U.S. ambassador recognizes the sacrifices Pakistan has given in the fight on terror; Prime Minister Ashraf says Pakistan plays vital role in India’s trade relations with Central Asia; JUI-F planning anti-Islam film rally; Report says Pakistani civil society stronger than perceived.

Swiss Letter

  • On Wednesday, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf sent a letter requesting the re-opening of a 1990s graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari to Swiss authorities. The Supreme Court had given him until November 14 to send the letter or face contempt of court charges or disqualification. Legal commentator Babar Sattar confirmed that “now the ball is in the Swiss court and it’s up to Swiss authorities if they want to immediately re-open the cases or…simply bury the case altogether.”[i]

Institutional Clashes

  • On Tuesday, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that parliament was the “supreme institution” in Pakistan because it carried out the will of the people. Kaira declared that “it is the parliament which has the power to make, amend or abrogate the constitution. Similarly, the parliament has the right to abolish any institution. In fact, the parliament is mother of all institutions.” His remarks come after recent tensions between Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who said that no single institution can monopolize the definition of Pakistani national interest, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who argued that the Supreme Court’s overarching responsibility is to protect the national interest and citizens’ rights.[ii]

  • Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated on Wednesday that Pakistan “could not afford a clash of institutions due to the critical conditions prevailing in the country.” He reiterated Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira’s claim that parliament was the supreme institution in Pakistan, and that if every institution worked within its constitutional limits there would be no problems in the country.[iii]

Mullah Fazlullah

  • According to U.S. military officials, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Mullah Fazlullah is hiding in eastern Afghanistan where U.S. forces “are already spread thin and focused on other targets.” A senior Special Operations official said that because Fazlullah is not affiliated with al Qaeda, he is not a priority for U.S. troops and is considered an “‘other-side-of-the-border’ problem” for Pakistan to address. ISAF spokesman Tom Collins did say, however, that if “actionable intelligence” suggests Fazlullah’s whereabouts, ISAF forces would try to “take him off the battlefield.”[iv]

Imran Khan

  • At the World Economic Forum in India on Wednesday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said that he would “declare jihad to save Pakistan.” He said that as Prime Minister, he would de-militarize the terrorists that are in Pakistan, and that he would “bring the culprits behind [the] Mumbai attacks to justice.” Khan also said he would appeal to President Barack Obama to “give peace a chance,” by stopping drone attacks in Pakistan.[v]

Militancy

  • At least five people were killed and 30 others were injured when a man blew himself up in Peshawar on Wednesday. Officials say the suicide bomber was targeting the car of the assistant superintendent of police. The senior police officer was one of five that were killed. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told the Associated Press that his group was responsible for the attack.[vi]

  • One person was killed and 14 others were injured by a blast in the Sada bazaar area of Lower Kurram’s tribal region. The blast left a Levies vehicle destroyed as well.[vii]

  • One person was killed and three others were injured in another targeted attack in Hyderabad on Tuesday night. A man with a silencer fitted to his gun targeted a man in a hardware shop, and then fired indiscriminate gunshots at people responding to the attack. He went back to his motorcycle and drove off with an accomplice.[viii]

  • Two people were shot and killed in Karachi on Wednesday “in the city’s Orangi Town area.”On Tuesday night, a mini-bus was set on fire by demonstrators protesting “against the killing of a Shia leader.”[ix]

  • Three Shias were killed and two others were injured when unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a taxi cab in Quetta on Tuesday. All five of the people under attack were from the Shia Hazara community. The gunmen were able to escape the scene of the crime immediately after. Officials are claiming the attack to be targeted sectarian violence.[x]

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Case

  • The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday ordered Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police to find the individuals responsible for dumping bodies in gunny bags across the province by December 18. Police say they have registered cases against the offenders and have recorded testimonies from victims’ families. Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth also chastised medical officials in the region for filing fake autopsy reports claiming that starvation was the cause of victims’ death.[xi]

Hazara Community in Balochistan

  • An article by Reuters looks at the insecurities and division the Hazara community feels in the Balochistan province. According to the report, “at least 100 [Hazaras] have been killed in Quetta and its environs since January. Nobody has been prosecuted.” The community places the blame on a Sunni militant group named Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who allegedly is attacking the Hazara community for their Shia beliefs. The article says that the danger and violence in the region has “bolstered the position of clerics who turn for guidance to Iran, the spiritual centre of [Shia] Islam,” and is leading to a slowly growing Iranian influence in Balochistan.[xii]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, President Asif Ali Zardari congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election. Referring to the recent improvement in relations, Zardari “expressed the hope that the relationship between Pakistan and the US would continue to prosper during President Obama’s new term in office.”[xiii]

  • The new U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson told reporters on Wednesday that Washington would continue to work with Pakistan and improve the image that Pakistanis have of Washington during Obama’s next four years. He commented that Pakistan is vital in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan and that Pakistan “had rendered sacrifices more than any other country during its efforts against war on terrorist[s].”[xiv]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • Speaking at the inauguration of the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (Ideas) in Karachi on Wednesday Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf commented on the crucial role Pakistan plays in “India’s efforts to acquire energy from Central Asia.” Ashraf expressed his satisfaction that India and Pakistan “are moving forward in the right direction through the composite dialogue framework.”[xv]

Anti-Islam Film Protest

  • Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) will hold a November 15 rally in Peshawar against the anti-Islam film released in September to “bring the issues back into light” and urge the U.N. and the Organization of Islamic Countries to pass a law against blasphemy. JUI-F Information Secretary Asif Iqbal Daudzai said that the objective of the protest is to promote religious harmony and opposition to “profane acts.”[xvi]

Civil Society Capabilities

  • In a special report, the Financial Times argues that Pakistani citizens are capable of overcoming the country’s problems through their “adaptability and resilience, entrepreneurship, and shared coping.” The report points out the expansion of mobile banking services as well as microfinance programs that aid citizens in earning a living and managing their income. It also highlights the increasing number of low-cost, private sector schools springing up around Pakistan; one foundation funded completely by anonymous donations has succeeded in establishing nearly 900 schools for poor children, while other schools are working on ways to expand their outreach into more remote areas through internet and satellite capabilities.[xvii]                     



[i] “Pakistan PM asks Swiss to reopen graft case against president,” Reuters, November 7, 2012. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/07/us-pakistan-politics-corruption-idUSBRE8A619S20121107.
[ii] “Parliament is mother of all institutions in country: Kaira,” Dawn, November 6, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/06/parliament-is-mother-of-all-institutions-in-country-kaira/.
[iii] “Country cannot afford clash of institutions, says Fazl,” Dawn, November 7, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/11/07/country-cannot-afford-clash-of-institutions-says-fazl/.
[iv] Dana Priest, “Pakistani militants hiding in Afghanistan,” The Washington Post, November 6, 2012. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pakistani-militants-hiding-in-afghanistan/2012/11/06/609cca82-2782-11e2-b4f2-8320a9f00869_story.html.
[v] “Will declare jihad to save Pakistan: Imran Khan,” Express Tribune, November 7, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/462136/will-declare-jihad-to-save-pakistan-from-terrorism-imran-khan/
[vi] “Peshawar suicide blast kills top Pakistan police officer,” BBC, November 7, 2012. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20234593
[vii] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Blast in Kurram tribal area kills one, injures 14,” Dawn, November 7, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/07/blast-in-kurram-kills-one-14-injured/
[viii] “One more killed as Hyderabad reels from terror attacks,” Dawn, November 7, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/07/one-more-killed-as-hyderabad-reels-from-terror-attacks/
[ix] “Incidents of Violence claim two more lives in Karachi,” Dawn, November 7, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/07/karachis-targeted-killings-claimed-two-more-lives/
[x] “Attack on yellow cab kills three in Quetta,” Dawn, November 6, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/06/attack-on-yellow-cab-kills-three-in-quetta/
[xi] Umer Farooq, “Bodies in gunny bags: K-P police given until Dec. 18 to make headway,” Dawn, November 7, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/461829/bodies-in-gunny-bags-k-p-police-given-until-dec-18-to-make-headway/.
[xii] Matthew Green, “In the shadow of violence, Quetta’s divides multiply,” Reuters, November 6, 2012. Available at http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2012/11/06/in-the-shadow-of-violence-quettas-divides-multiply/
[xiii] “President Zardari congratulates Obama on re-election,” AFP, November 7, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/11/07/president-zardari-congratulates-obama-on-re-election/
[xiv] “Pakistan has vital role in Afghan peace process: US envoy,” Geo News, November 7, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=74538
[xv] “India dependent on Pakistan for trade with central Asia: Ashraf,” Express Tribune, November 7, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/462144/india-dependent-on-pakistan-for-trade-with-central-asia-ashraf/
[xvi] “Blasphemous movie: JUI-F to hold demonstration,” Express Tribune, November 7, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/461780/blasphemous-movie-jui-f-to-hold-demonstration/.
[xvii] Charles Leadbeater, “Time to look again at Pakistani society,” Financial Times, November 6, 2012. Available at: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/986153d4-2804-11e2-afd2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2BXtJZBly