Pakistan Security Brief - October 8, 2013

LeT founder claims U.S. drone strikes are hurdle to peace talks; Indian officials end 2-week search operation for militants; Police increase security at Karachi Central Prison; Finance Minister travels to U.S. for IMF, WB meetings; International humanitarian organizations barred from earthquake relief efforts in Balochistan; Pakistan deports alleged al Qaeda recruiter to France; Former TNSM head acquitted of treason charges; Eight people injured in Quetta grenade attack.

Indo-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, Indian officials ended a two-week search operation for militants along the Line of Control (LoC), initiated after approximately 30 to 40 militants took refuge in the abandoned village of Shala Bhata in the Keran sector.  Indian officials have since claimed that they have proof of Pakistani support for the intrusion, including radio intercepts, captured Pakistani-marked weapons, and the provision of covering fire during the incursion by Pakistani soldiers.  India’s Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. Sanjiv Chachra told the press that the army killed eight militants during the course of the operation, and will deploy additional troops to monitor the LoC.  He also claimed that Pakistan is attempting to infiltrate fighters into Kashmir prior to the start of winter and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014.[1]

  • An Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman told the press on Monday that the Indian government has repeatedly asked Pakistani officials to respect “the sanctity of the [LoC]” to improve bilateral relations.  The spokesman said that the Indian and Pakistani Directors General of Military Operations are in telephonic contact weekly and noted that these conversations are likely to determine the method and pace of de-escalating tensions at the LoC.[2]

Iran-Pakistan Relations

  • Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the press on Tuesday that the government of Pakistan has requested that Iran provide $2 billion for the construction of the Pakistani section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.  Pakistani government officials claim to lack sufficient funding to complete the project on its side of the border before the December 2014 deadline; the Iranian portion is almost complete.  Abbasi claims U.S. officials have not discussed the pipeline with their Pakistani counterparts, but it is possible that sanctions against Iran may jeopardize funding for the project.[3]

Karachi Unrest

  • Rangers and police conducted a patrol of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters at Nine-Zero in Karachi on Tuesday.  MQM leader Syed Raza Ali Abidi informed his followers via Twitter that the increased troop presence was for security purposes.  A Rangers spokesman has denied rumors of a raid on the MQM’s headquarters.[4]

  • Inspector General of Police for Prisons Nusrat Mangan told the press on Monday that police have increased security measures at the Karachi Central Jail.  New measures include: the installation of CCTV cameras and metal detectors, the deployment of 100 additional policemen, and the provision of appropriate gear to prison guards.[5]

  • Lyari residents participated in a strike on Monday to protest the death of two alleged gangsters on Sunday during an encounter with security officials.  Friends of Lyari chairman Habib Jan Baloch said that the accused should have been detained and tried in court.  He claimed that senior officials were being discriminatory in the restoration of order to Karachi, and unfairly targeting Lyari.  The degree of voluntary civilian participation in the strike is unclear, as one shopkeeper told reporters that criminal elements threatened to attack any stores that remained open.[6]

  • Security officials detained approximately 120 suspects in various parts of Karachi on Tuesday.[7]

Militancy

  • While addressing a seminar at the Jamat-ud-Dawa office in Karachi on Monday, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed said that suicide attacks within Pakistan are retaliation for U.S. drone strikes.  Saeed claims the drone strikes are an obstacle to successful dialogue and that the cessation of these strikes is necessary to restore confidence with the militants.[8]

  • On Tuesday, Pakistani officials deported French citizen and accused al Qaeda recruiter Naamen Meziche to France.  Meziche has been held in Pakistani custody since his arrest in May 2012.[9]

  • Eight people, including policemen, were injured in Quetta when unidentified attackers threw a hand grenade at the New Sariab police station on Tuesday.[10]

  • On Monday, a court refused to grant bail to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) National Assembly Member Shahjahan Baloch who is accused of taking part in the murder of Lyari gangster Arshad Pappu and two others.[11]

  • Sufi Muhammad, the former head of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi which is linked to the Swat branch of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was acquitted of treason by an Anti-Terrorism Court on Monday.[12]

  • On Monday morning, unidentified militants abducted ten people from multiple vehicles along Kohat road near Matani, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[13]

  • On Monday, unidentified gunmen killed two people in Khar sub-district of Bajaur agency.  Police have detained four suspects.[14]

  • Police told the press on Monday that they detained a suspect in Karachi connected with the August 25 murder of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) spokesman Mualana Akbar Saeed Farooqui.[15]

  • An explosion on Tuesday along Tariq Road in Karachi damaged two trucks.  No casualties have been reported.[16]

  • Unidentified gunmen killed a doctor in Orangi Town, Karachi on Monday.[17]

  • Police reported on Monday that a possible informant was killed by unidentified gunmen in North Karachi.[18]

  • A total of three people were killed in two incidents with police in Karachi on Monday. The first event involved a shootout in the Korangi Industrial Area which killed two. The other person was killed by police in Block 5.[19]

  • On Tuesday, unidentified assailants kidnapped five people from a vehicle in the vicinity of Kandhkot in Kashmor district of Sindh province.[20]

  • On Monday, police clashed with militants in Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab. Two policemen were killed and one was injured and captured. One militant was injured. On Tuesday, police launched another attack against the militants. The militants are reportedly on the run, and still have the injured policeman.[21]

Domestic

  • Finance Minister Ishaq Dar traveled to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to attend meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and other events commencing on October 7through October 11.  Dar is expected to review the implementation of the IMF’s most recent loan program for Pakistan, talk with senior IMF and WB officials, and meet members of the U.S. State Department and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).[22]

  • A Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court agreed on Tuesday to permit a new trial for the murder of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto beginning on October 22.  The ATC also rejected a request to disassociate former president Pervez Musharraf from the case on the grounds of presidential immunity.[23]

  • A Doctors Without Borders spokesman told the press on Monday that the government of Pakistan has refused to permit international humanitarian organizations into Balochistan province to provide relief to earthquake victims.  Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority spokesman Adrees Mehsoon countered that it has provided sufficient relief and medical care. Because the government has not yet requested international assistance, foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are prohibited from entering the country.  An unnamed Baloch separatist leader claimed that the government and Baloch militants have a tacit agreement to prohibit foreigners from operating in the region.[24]

  • Opposition leader Khursheed Shah told the press on Tuesday that he and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have agreed to nominate former Federal Interior Secretary Chaudhry Qamar Zaman as the new National Accountability Bureau chairman.[25]

  • Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shauktaullah Khan met with a Mehsud tribal jirga in Peshwar on Monday to discuss the repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs).  Khan promised the government would provide a rehabilitation program for IDPs returning to their homeland, beginning with the immediate disbursement of a Rs 100 million ($943,700) package.[26]

U.A.E.-Pakistan Relations

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) Special Envoy Khalid Suleman Muhammad met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday to discuss bilateral relations between Pakistan and the UAE.[27]

 U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  •  According to a Tuesday report in The News, the U.S. government shutdown could delay the release of funding for 25 U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) projects within Pakistan.[28]

Swiss Graft Case

  • Swiss officials informed PML-N officials that the deadline has passed for reopening graft cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari.[29]    


[1] Aijaz Hussain, “Indian army calls off days of searches for Kashmir rebels along frontier with Pakistan,” Associated Press, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/indian-army-calls-off-search-rebels-kashmir-20502110
 Anurag Kotoky and Fayaz Bukhari, “India says Pakistan pushing fighters into Kashmir before 2014,” Reuters, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/08/us-india-pakistan-incursion-idUSBRE9970AY20131008
[2] “Renewed appeal: LoC must not be violated says India,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615026/renewed-appeal-loc-must-not-be-violated-says-india/
[3] “Pakistan wants Iran to finance its side of gas pipeline: Petroleum Minister,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615206/pakistan-wants-iran-to-finance-its-side-of-gas-pipeline-petroleum-minister/
[4] “No operation: MQM, Rangers deny raid on Nine-Zero,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615170/rangers-police-contingent-enter-mqm-headquarters/
[5] “Security beefed up at central jail,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-206777-Security-beefed-up-at-central-jail
[6] “Alleged encounter: Lyari goes silent as residents go on strike,” Express Tribune, October 7, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/614805/alleged-encounter-lyari-goes-silent-as-residents-go-on-strike/
[7] “Karachi operation: Police claim arresting 97 suspects,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048285/karachi-operation-police-claim-arresting-97-suspects
[8] “Suicide attacks reaction to drone attacks: Hafiz Saeed,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25951-Suicide-attacks-reaction-to-drone-attacks:-Hafiz-Saeed
[9] “Pakistan expels French Al-Qaeda suspect,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048304/pakistan-expels-french-al-qaeda-suspect
[10] “Eight Injured in Grenade Attack at Police Station in Quetta,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048276/eight-injured-in-grenade-attack-at-police-station-in-quetta
[11] “PPP MNA Denied Bail in Arshad Pappu Murder Case,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-206781-PPP-MNA-denied-bail-in-Arshad-Pappu-murder-case
[12] “Sufi Mudhammad Acquitted in Treason Case,” The Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/614929/sufi-muhammad-acquitted-in-treason-case/
[13] “Militants kidnap 10 passengers near Peshawar,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25948-Militants-kidnap-10-passengers-near-Peshawar
[14] “Motorcyclists kill man in Bajaur,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-206856-Motorcyclists-kill-man-in-Bajaur
[15] “Police arrest suspect for ASWJ spokesperson killing,” Express Tribune, October 7, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/614743/police-arrest-suspect-for-aswj-spokesperson-killing/
[16] “Explosion on Tariq Road, Karachi,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615161/explosion-on-tariq-road-karachi/
[17] “Qatar Hospital MLO among Three Slain,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-206776-Qatar-Hospital-MLO-among-three-slain
[18] “Police Informer Shot Dead,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-206783-Police-informer-shot-dead
[19] M. Waqar Bhatti, “Three ‘bandits’ Killed in Encounters,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-206785-Three-bandits-killed-in-encounters
[20] “Five people kidnapped from Kandhkot,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-206948-Five-people-kidnapped-from-Kandhkot
[21] “Two Policemen Killed in DGK Encounter,” The Frontier Post, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/46704/
[22] “Dar leaves for Washington to review IMF loan plan,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048305/dar-represents-pakistan-at-annual-wb-imf-meeting
[23] “BB murder case: ATC accepts re-trial plea,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048284/bb-murder-case-atc-accepts-re-trial-plea
“Musharraf’s name remains in Benazir murder case,” Express News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615155/musharrafs-name-remains-in-benazir-murder-case/
[24] Khawar Ghumman, “International aid agencies barred from Awaran,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048232/international-aid-agencies-barred-from-awaran
[25] “Consensus developed on NAB chairman,” Dawn, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048301/consensus-developed-on-nab-chairman
[26] “Heading home: Governor pledges more funds for repatriation of IDPs,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/614902/heading-home-governor-pledges-more-funds-for-repatriation-of-idps/
[27] “UAE envoy calls on PM,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-206945-UAE-envoy-calls-on-PM
[28] Noor Aftab, “US shutdown likely to affect 25 development projects in Pakistan,” The News, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25954-US-shutdown-likely-to-affect-25-development-projects-in-Pakistan
[29] “Cases against Zardari can't be reopened: Swiss authorities,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615194/cases-against-zardari-cant-be-reopened-swiss-authorities/