Pakistan Security Brief - October 31, 2012

Malala Yousafzai attacker arrested; Federal Cabinet approves 4 visa agreements with India; Foreign Minister Khar says Pakistan committed to human rights; Karachi police arrest 4 TTP suspects; Militant leaders can run in Afghan presidential election 2014; Pakistanis disillusioned with Obama, Romney; Former DG ISI admits to meddling in elections; Supreme Court blames senior retired officers in election rigging case; Chairman of the Abbottabad Commission says report is complete; President Zardari curbs political activities in wake of case against him; Supreme Court reissues demand for report on Balochistan law and order situation; Supreme Court orders report on Taliban in Karachi.

Malala Yousafzai Attacker Arrested

  • On Tuesday, Malala Yousafzai’s attacker Attaullah Khan was placed on the exit control list to ensure that he did not escape from Pakistan. On Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that Pakistani police had arrested him, though he gave no further details on where and how the arrest occurred.[i]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet ratified four agreements with India on Wednesday to liberalize the visa processes between the two countries. The agreements allow children and the elderly to be granted visas, facilitate visas for tourist groups, and permits multiple-entry visas for businesspeople.[ii]

Human Rights in Pakistan

  • Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar stated on Tuesday that Pakistan was a firm believer in universal human rights and was committed to promoting and implementing human rights standards throughout the country. In her opening statement at the 14th Session of the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Switzerland, Khar said that Pakistan “is a functional democracy with an elected and sovereign parliament, an independent judiciary, a free media and a vibrant and robust civil society.” She added that while the period of 2008-2012 had been a very difficult time for Pakistan, it had passed numerous initiatives promoting education, information rights, and fair trial rights while passing resolutions against the use of torture and child exploitation. Many Western countries countered Khar’s portrayal of Pakistan’s human rights record. They pointed out that “religious minorities were persecuted, that dissent was often brutally suppressed by the army, and that little was done to tackle human trafficking.” The U.S. brought up concerns over the blasphemy law in particular.[iii]

Karachi Arrests

  • The Karachi Crime Investigation Department (CID) arrested four suspected Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operatives in Sultanabad area of Manghopir in Karachi on Wednesday. The men allegedly participated in over a dozen crimes, including extortion. Police also suspect the men of having been involved in shootings of police officers and armed robberies. Police officials recovered two hand grenades and four pistols from the men’s possession.[iv]

Afghanistan

  • In a Wednesday news conference, Fazil Ahmad Manawi, the head of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), confirmed that Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami candidates would be able to run in the 2014 presidential election. Manawi affirmed the IEC’s commitment to objectivity, and said that “there will be no discrimination” in the elections. He said that the Commission was “prepared to pave the ground for the armed opposition…to participate in the election, either as voters or candidates.”[v]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to Pakistan expert Ahmed Rashid, Pakistanis “have given up on Obama,” but are also unhappy with Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s policies towards the country. Rashid writes that usually, Pakistan’s military and political elite support the Republican candidate in U.S. presidential elections because Republican administrations have helped Pakistan’s military regimes to thrive and have granted them considerable monetary aid. Historically, Democrats have often emphasized the need for increased democracy and reduced military aid to Pakistan. Now, the Pakistani military is dissatisfied with the calls of many Republicans for a total aid cutoff while a large part of the population is unhappy with Obama’s drone strikes and unilateral Special Operations Forces actions. Rashid notes that Pakistanis “are now simply gripped by anti-Americanism” and feel that any President will simply “continue to bash Pakistan.”[vi]

Domestic Politics

  • In an interview with Dawn on Tuesday, Hamid Gul, the former chief of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) “admitted responsibility for creating the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a political alliance that was allegedly created to prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning.” He said he did not regret his actions, and that politicians were corrupt and as long as they stayed so the army “will continue to intervene in the state’s affairs.” He stated that he was okay with standing trial on the conditions that the trial should be open and that he not be arrested.[vii]

  • The Supreme Court has placed blame on two former army generals for rigging the 1990s elections. According to Hamid Saeed, the former head of the Military Intelligence (MI) in Sindh said that the rigging was controlled by MI under General Asad Durrani and not the ISI. He said that Benazir was labeled a national security risk for a variety of public criticism of the army, and for giving seats in the government to Indian-trained terrorists. Saeed claimed that, “after the Bhutto government was sent packing through a presidential order on September 12, 1990,” Durrani ordered him to open six accounts into which Rs140 million ($1,460,000) were deposited.[viii]

  • The chairman of the Abbottabad Commission Justice Javed Iqbal told The News on Tuesday that the report on the Osama Bin Laden raid was complete and will be presented to the Prime Minister as soon as one of the members of the commission, who is receiving treatment in the United States, travels back to Pakistan and signs it.  The chairman said that the recent report by the Telegraph, claiming that the report cleared Pakistan’s government and military of any involvement, “was untrue and baseless.”[ix]

  • Wary of the Supreme Court case on election rigging and the Lahore High Court case on the President’s dual offices, President Zardari is, according to a Dawn report, trying to limit the visibility of political activities in the presidency for now. The Supreme Court has ruled that the office of the President should “treat all manner of people equally and without favouring any set according to law.” According to a petition filed against him in the Lahore High Court, Zardari’s position as the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) co-chairman is a violation of the constitution because he holds frequent meetings of PPP leaders in the Presidency.[x]

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday “reissued directives for the submission of the government’s report,” in the case on law and order in Balochistan. The bench summoned the Interior Secretary of Balochistan Siddiq Akbar, but he failed to appear in front of the court. The bench expressed its frustration with the failure to submit a report on the issue. They explained that if the province’s government could not enforce the constitution, then it had lost the authority to rule in the province. The Attorney General of Balochistan told the bench that it was overstepping its constitutional rights, and pointed out that, “more people were being killed in Punjab than in Balochistan.” The Supreme Court reiterated its demands for a report, and adjourned the hearing until November 2.[xi]

  • In a Supreme Court hearing on violence in Karachi  on Wednesday, the bench ordered the Inspector General (IG) Sindh “along with other officials to submit a report regarding the infiltration of more than 7,000 Taliban in Karachi by Thursday.”[xii]       

 


[i] “Suspect in Malala shooting placed on ECL,” Express Tribune, October 30, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/458665/suspect-in-malala-shooting-placed-on-ecl/; “Key suspect in Malala shooting arrested along with others,” Express Tribune, October 31, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/458823/key-suspect-in-malala-shooting-arrested-along-with-others-says-malik/.
[ii] “Pakistan’s cabinet approves liberal visa accord with India,” Dawn, October 31, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/10/31/cabinet-approves-pakistan-india-liberal-visa-accord/.
[iii] “UN Periodic Review: Islamabad reaffirms pledge to human rights,” APP, October 31, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/458731/un-periodic-review-islamabad-reaffirms-pledge-to-human-rights/; Robert Evans, “Pakistan says protects rights, West disagrees,” Reuters, October 30, 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/us-un-rights-pakistan-idUSBRE89T1IN20121031?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29 
[iv] “CID arrests four alleged TTP men,” The Nation, October 31, 2012. Available at: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/karachi/31-Oct-2012/cid-arrests-four-alleged-ttp-men.
[v] “Taliban can run for Afghan president: election chief,” AFP, October 31, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/10/31/taliban-can-run-for-afghan-president-election-chief/.
[vi] Ahmed Rashid, “Pakistanis have given up on Obama,” Financial Times, October 30, 2012. Available at: http://blogs.ft.com/the-a-list/2012/10/30/pakistanis-have-given-up-on-obama/#axzz2AsqmYxdZ.
[vii] “Hamid Gul accepts responsibility for creating IJI,” Dawn, October 30, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/10/31/hamid-gul-accepts-responsibilty-for-creating-igi/
[viii] Azam Khan, “Asghar Khan case: In 1990, Benazir was labeled a security risk by army, says former MI official,” Express Tribune, October 31, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/458674/asghar-khan-case-in-1990-benazir-was-labelled-a-security-risk-by-army-says-former-mi-official/
[ix] Ansar Abbasi, “Abbottabad Commission report ready, to be given to PM soon,” The News, October 31, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-140268-Abbottabad-Commission-report-ready,-to-be-given-to-PM-soon
[x] Mubashir Zaidi, “Presidency to shun political activity, at least officially,” Dawn, October 30, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/10/31/presidency-to-shun-political-activity-at-least-officially/
[xi] “Balochistan case: SC directs govt to submit report,” Dawn, October 31, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/10/31/sc-resumes-balochistan-case-hearing-7/
[xii] “SC orders IG Sindh, officials to submit report on 7,000 Taliban infiltrating Karachi,” Express Tribune, October 31, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/458801/sc-orders-ig-sindh-officials-to-submit-report-on-7000-taliban-infiltrating-karachi/