Pakistan Security Brief - October 4, 2012

Three-way Af-Pak-U.S. dialogue focuses on meeting minimum conditions to end Afghan war; Afghan general meets with Pakistani general to discuss cross-border shellings; Karzai lists preconditions for a strategic pact with Pakistan; U.S. citizens send letter asking for end to drone strikes; FATA administration concerned about PTI “Peace March;” Pakistan to produce nuclear safety equipment locally; Russia backs Pakistan’s position on drone strikes; Balochistan dialogue committee established; IMF warns against tax amnesty proposal; FC man and child killed in shootings near Peshawar; One government official killed and two others injured in an attack in Kuchlak; Senate and National Assembly secretariats refuse to submit nationality declarations of members.

U.S.-Pakistan-Afghanistan Dialogue

  • In recent unofficial talks, the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are seeking a more “bare-bones” approach to facilitate a breakthrough in the current impasse over the war in Afghanistan as ISAF troop drawdown looms in 2014. The goal is to concentrate on a political rather than a military solution. Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official General Ehsan ul-Haq noted that meeting the minimum conditions of the United States and the Taliban could likely be achieved: the U.S. wants to eliminate al Qaeda from Afghanistan and prevent the return of extremist Taliban policies, particularly towards women, while the Taliban wants all foreign troops out of Afghanistan. He further proposed that Afghanistan support the repatriation of millions of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan as a way to assuage Pakistani concerns, as well as drawing a “hardened, regulated, and stabilized” border between the two countries.[i]

Afghan-Pakistani Relations

  • An Afghan army delegation headed by Major General Afzal Aman visited Pakistan on Wednesday to discuss cross border shelling incidents with Pakistan’s Major General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad. According to a statement released after the meeting, General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad said the “problem stems from terrorist safe havens in [the] Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, about which intelligence has been repeatedly shared with Afghan authorities.” Afghanistan complains that Pakistan’s shelling across the border has forced Afghan families in Kunar and Nuristan to flee their homes.[ii]

  • While addressing a news conference in Kabul on Thursday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai talked about the possibility of a strategic pact with Pakistan. Listing preconditions for the pact, Karzai explained that it couldn’t happen unless, “terrorism is stopped, extremism is dismantled, anti-Afghan activities are stopped, [and] destruction of Afghanistan is stopped.” Karzai then criticized western media for their predictions of civil war after NATO troops withdraw in 2014.[iii]

Anti-Drone Protests

  • A press release on Wednesday revealed that around 3,000 U.S. citizens and peace activists delivered a letter to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad calling for the end of drone strikes in Pakistan. The peace activists who traveled to Islamabad to deliver the letter are “part of a delegation organized by the U.S. peace organization CodePink.” One of the delegations leaders, Robert Naiman, challenged U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Hoagland on the practice of follow-up drone strikes that were killing rescuers, citing “assertions by international law experts that such targeting constituted a war crime.”[iv]

PTI South Waziristan “Peace March”

  • The administration of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is increasingly concerned about potential security issues surrounding Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s (PTI) “Peace March” to South Waziristan, scheduled to begin October 6. FATA Additional Chief Secretary Tafsheen Khan said on Thursday that “[he did] not term the security situation in FATA unsatisfactory, but it’s not equipped to host the visit of PTI chief Imran Khan…along with such a huge gathering of locals and foreign nationals. [Imran] should realize that he is going to put everyone in danger.” Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Masood Kousar labeled the march a “sentimental” episode of “adventurism,” chiding Imran Khan for his disregard of security threats in the region.[v]

Nuclear Safety

  • On Thursday, the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) authorized Pakistan’s Heavy Mechanical Complex III Taxila (HMC-III) to produce class I nuclear safety equipment locally. It is now permitted to produce tanks, vessels, cooling systems, and steam generators that feature in multiple nuclear reactor processes. PNRA Chairman Engineer Anwar Habib explained that “Pakistan has constantly been under international embargoes. Local production of parts would not only help them keep up the required maintenance of nuclear plants but it would also improve the existing plants.”[vi]

Russo-Pakistani Relations

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the media on Thursday that Russia backs Pakistan’s position on the matter of opposing the United States’ drone strike campaign after meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Lavrov stressed that a solution to the Afghanistan-Pakistan problem would not emerge with outside interference. Referencing the cancellation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Islamabad, Lavrov said it was due to “scheduling issues.”[vii]

Reaching Out to Balochistan

  • On Wednesday, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf decided to create a special committee to re-establish dialogue with Baloch leaders to aid in stabilizing the region. The committee would be directly supervised by the Prime Minister and would include the governor of Balochistan and senior members of the federal Cabinet. The committee is to draft stabilization proposals within one month; the federal government will provide more funds to development projects in the region to meet basic needs. This follows General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s statement on Wednesday that the army would support any reconciliation and counterinsurgency efforts as well as a political solution, provided that they do not run contrary to the Constitution.[viii]

Pakistani Economy

  • Given that Pakistan still has about $7.5 billion to repay the IMF after an $8 billion loan in 2008, the IMF has advised Pakistan against following through with a proprsed plan providing amnesty to tax evaders, arguing that this may only be effective as a short-term solution in obtaining more revenue to repay its loans. The IMF recommended that Pakistan expand its tax base permanently as a more effective long-term solution. Currently, only about 1.5 million people in Pakistan file tax returns. The IMF also revealed that Pakistan has not applied for a new loan, which may force it into another bailout in 2013. [ix]

City Violence

  • Police on Thursday said that unidentified gunmen shot and killed a child in the Badhber area of Peshawar. In another incident on Thursday, a Frontier Corps soldier was shot and killed by three gunmen on motorcycles in Ghani Kalay area.[x]

  • Two gunmen opened fire on a car on the National Highway in Kuchlak, Balochistan on Thursday. The three people in the car were government officials and were injured by the gunfire. Two of them are reported to be in critical condition while the other succumbed to his gunshot wounds on the way to the hospital.[xi]

Dual Nationality Case

  • After the dismissal of 11 members of Parliament on September20 for possessing dual nationality and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) request that the National Assembly and provincial assemblies submit declarations that their members did not hold dual nationality, both the Senate secretariat and the National Assembly have refused to do so. The Assembly secretariat wrote to the ECP on Tuesday while the Senate wrote to them on Wednesday, arguing that there were “no provision[s] in the rules of business” to demand declarations from members. The ECP may call on both houses to explain their refusal, and threatened that “if the attitude of the secretaries remained ‘inappropriate,’” they may face charges of contempt.[xii]                   



[i] David Ignatius, “A framework to end the Afghan war,” The Washington Post, October 3, 2012. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-a-framework-to-end-the-afghan-war/2012/10/03/f864079e-0cbc-11e2-bb5e-492c0d30bff6_story.html.
[ii] “Afghan general visits Pakistan to discuss shelling,” AFP, October 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/10/04/afghan-general-visits-pakistan-to-discuss-shelling/
[iii] “Karzai puts conditions on Pakistan for strategic pact,” AFP, October 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/10/04/karzai-puts-conditions-on-pakistan-for-strategic-pact/
[iv] “US citizens call for end to drone strikes,” Express Tribune, October 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/446677/us-citizens-call-for-end-to-drone-strikes/
[v] “S Waziristan rally: FATA secretariat, KP governor caution Imran,” Express Tribune, October 4, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/446714/s-waziristan-rally-fata-secretariat-kp-governor-caution-imran/.
[vi] “Pakistan to produce nuclear safety equipment locally,” Express Tribune, October 4, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/446535/pakistan-to-produce-nuclear-safety-equipment-locally/.
[vii] Kamran Yousaf, “Russia backs Pakistan’s position on drone strikes,” Express Tribune, October 4, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/446820/russia-backs-pakistans-position-on-drone-strikes/
[viii] “Stabilising Balochistan: Govt decides to re-establish contact with Baloch leaders,” Express Tribune, October 4, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/446695/stabilising-balochistan-govt-decides-to-re-establish-contact-with-baloch-leaders/; “Army to support any ‘constitutional’ solution to Balochistan unrest: Kayani,” Dawn, October 3, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/10/03/army-to-support-any-constitutional-solution-to-balochistan-kayani/.
[ix] Augustine Anthony, “IMF Says Pakistan Hasn’t Sought New Loan, May Miss Deficit Goal,” Bloomberg, October 3, 2012. Available at: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-03/imf-says-pakistan-hasn-t-sought-new-loan-may-miss-deficit-goal.
[x] “FC troop killed in Peshawar firing,” Geo, October 4, 2012. Available at http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=70176
[xi] “Govt official shot dead in Kuchlak, two others injured,” Dawn, October 4, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/10/04/govt-official-shot-dead-in-kuchlak-two-others-injured/
[xii] “Dual nationality case: Senate refuses to file affidavits with ECP,” Express Tribune, October 4, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/446713/dual-nationality-case-senate-refuses-to-file-affidavits-with-ecp/.