Pakistan Security Brief - October 9, 2013

BBC releases early October interview with Hakimullah Mehsud; Indian court issues non-bailable warrants for suspects in Mumbai attacks case; Pakistan Army Major General makes peace overture towards Baloch separatists; Afghan Taliban frustrated with Baradar’s continued house arrest; Pakistani émigrés killed in NATO airstrike; MQM defends disputed election victory; PTI demands new elections in disputed districts; Musharraf granted bail in murder case; Dr. Afridi will not be given new trial; British and Pakistani Prime Ministers have phone conversation.

Talks with the TTP

  • On Wednesday, the BBC released an interview it conducted in the tribal areas on an unspecified date in early October with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud.  Mehsud said he welcomes “serious talks” with the government of Pakistan.  He denied TTP’s involvement with the recent bombings in Peshawar, but vowed that America and its allies remain legitimate targets.  He added that even after the U.S. withdraws from the region, the TTP will continue to target the Pakistani government because it is “un-Islamic.”  Mehsud claims the government has not yet approached the TTP to initiate the dialogue and reiterated the TTP’s demand for the cessation of U.S. drone strikes in order for peace talks to take place.  He also personally guaranteed the safety of any government negotiators.[1]

  • According to a Reuters report on Wednesday, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid reiterated on an unspecified date the group’s preconditions for negotiations with the government: the release of imprisoned Taliban militants, the Pakistan Army’s withdrawal from the tribal regions, and the cessation of U.S. drone strikes.[2]

Indo-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, an Indian court authorized non-bailable warrants for several alleged terrorists and two Pakistan Army officers, Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali, linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[3]

Afghan Taliban Reconciliation

  • On Wednesday, Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid complained that Pakistan has not yet released Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and that he is still under house arrest in Karachi by Inter-Service Intelligence officials.[4]

Militancy

  • Major General Samrez Salik, Commander of the Pakistan Army’s 33 Division, told the press on Wednesday that all parties in Balochistan, including the insurgents, need to “join hands” to address poverty and violence in the region.  A Wednesday report in the Express Tribune characterized his remark as a “much-needed but rare peace overture amidst a violence-plagued relief effort.”[5]

  • On Tuesday, a NATO airstrike in Pikha, Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, killed three Pakistani émigrés from the Jamrud sub-district of Khyber agency.  No further information was immediately available regarding the strike.[6]

  • Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a teacher on Wednesday from the Yak Mach area of Balochistan province.[7]

  • On Wednesday, police detained three suspects in Quetta accused of murdering a policeman on an unspecified date.[8]

  • On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen in Peshawar killed the brother of a Mohmand agency tribal elder.[9]

  • Officials recovered the corpse of a Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) activist from Sukkur, Sindh province, on Tuesday.[10]

  • Police detained 13 suspects in various parts of Karachi on Tuesday night.[11]

  • Security officials recovered the bodies of three torture victims in Gadap, Karachi, on Tuesday.[12]

  • Two unidentified assailants stabbed a woman in a Rawalpindi marketplace on Tuesday.[13]

  • Police recovered a kidnap victim and killed three of his abductors on Wednesday in the Ashrafabad area of Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[14]

  • Unidentified gunmen killed a police official in the Mandani area of Charsadda, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on Tuesday.[15]

Domestic

  • Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid told the press on Tuesday that the government will fill the positions of Chief of Army Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee within 30 days of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s retirement from military service.[16]

  • On Tuesday, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) held a press conference in which they responded to allegations made by the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) of massive vote fraud in National Assembly constituency 256 (NA-256) in Karachi, which the MQM won. The MQM said that the votes were unverified, but not necessarily fraudulent and that the Election Commission of Pakistan is responsible for running elections, not the MQM.[17]

  • The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Sindh President, Nadir Akmal Leghari, demanded a new election in NA-256, where the PTI finished second to the MQM in an election where massive vote fraud has been alleged. Leghari further demanded that the army supervise the election to ensure its veracity.[18]

  • On Tuesday Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan will create a Performance Delivery Unit (PDU) which will ensure that his government’s policies will be implemented. He said that the United Kingdom will aid Pakistan in the creation of the PDU.[19]

  • On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday decided to grant bail to former President Pervez Musharraf on the murder of Akbar Bugti, a Baloch rebel leader. This is the third case in which Musharraf has been granted bail, which means that he is now free to move as he pleases including outside the country, though he will reportedly remain in his house near Islamabad due to security concerns.[20]

  • The Political Agent of Khyber Agency decided on Tuesday not to grant a new trial to Dr. Shakil Afridi, the doctor who cooperated with the United States in an attempt to track down al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Dr. Afridi is accused of colluding Lashkar-e-Islam.[21]

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its projection of Pakistan’s economic growth in the next two years to 2.3 and 3.6 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, mainly over concerns about the health of the global economy.[22]

  • Peshawar has named a new capital city police officer, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa a new inspector general of police, according to a Wednesday report in The News.[23]

  • Muslims in Pangrio, Sindh dug up the grave of a Hindu man on Sunday after protests that he was buried in a Muslim graveyard.  Extremist clerics of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) allegedly incited the incident.[24]

Karachi Unrest

  • On Wednesday, Rangers seized firearms from a vehicle in the Lyari neighborhood of Karachi.  The car belonged to Provincial Minister for Kutchi Abadis and Spatial Development Jawaid Nagori.  Nagori told the press that he has licenses for the weapons and explained that he carries them for protection against terrorist attacks.  Nagori escaped unhurt from a blast outside a sports stadium in Karachi on 7 August.[25]

UK-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a phone conversation in which they discussed bilateral ties, issues of interest, and Sharif’s visit to the United Kingdom.[26]    


[1] “Pakistan Taliban Head Hakimullah Mehsud Open to Talks,” BBC, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24463839
[2] Saud Mehsud, “In Pakistan's Pashtun tribal belt, Taliban reject peace talks,” Reuters, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/09/us-pakistan-taliban-idUSBRE9980BD20131009?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews
[3] “Mumbai attack hearing: Indian court issues arrest warrants,” Express Tribune, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615587/mumbai-attack-hearing-indian-court-issues-arrest-warrants/
[4] “Afghan Taliban allege Pakistan still keeping Mullah Baradar in jail,” Dawn, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048518/afghan-taliban-allege-pakistan-still-keeping-mullah-baradar-in-jail
[5] Gibran Peshimam, “From the ruins of Awaran: Top military official makes peace overture to Baloch rebels,” Express Tribune, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615524/from-the-ruins-of-awaran-top-military-official-makes-peace-overture-to-baloch-rebels/
[6] “Pak tribesmen killed in Nato airstrike,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-207101-Pak-tribesmen-killed-in-Nato-airstrike
[7] “Schoolteacher kidnapped in Chaghi,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-207145-Schoolteacher-kidnapped-in-Chaghi
[8] “Three suspects held,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-207146-Three-suspects-held
[9] “Brother of tribal elder shot dead,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-207102-Brother-of-tribal-elder-shot-dead
[10] “Decomposed body of SSP activist found,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-207160-Decomposed-body-of-SSP-activist-found
[11] “Gang war accused among 13 held in Karachi,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-121682-Gang-war-accused-among-13-held-in-Karachi-
[12] M. Waqar Bhatti, “Three blindfolded corpses found in Gadap,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-207061-Three-blindfolded-corpses-found-in-Gadap
[13] “Woman killed,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-207109-Woman-killed
[14] “Three abductors killed, abducted recovered after encounter in Mardan,” Geo News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-121706-Three-abductors-killed-abducted-recovered-after-encounter-in-Mardan
[15] “Multiple assaults: Pro-govt tribal elder, police official killed in separate attacks,” Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615357/multiple-assaults-pro-govt-tribal-elder-police-official-killed-in-separate-attacks/
[16] Mumtaz Ali, “COAS, CJCSC to be appointed within 30 days: Pervaiz,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25973-COAS,-CJCSC-to-be-appointed-within-30-days:-Pervaiz
[17] Irfan Ghauri, “Election Fraud: More Startling Revelations Expected,” The Express Tribune, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615578/election-fraud-more-startling-revelations-expected/
[18] Shamim Bano, “After NA-256 Revelation, PTI Calls for Re-election,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-207056-After-NA-256-revelation,-PTI-calls-for-re-election
[19] “With UK’s Assistance, Nawaz Aims to Set up Govt Performance Monitoring Body,” The Express Tribune, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615197/with-uks-assistance-nawaz-aims-to-set-up-govt-performance-monitoring-body/
[20] “Musharraf Granted Bail in Bugti Murder Case,” Dawn, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1048525/sc-grants-musharraf-bail-in-bugti-murder-case
[21] Akhtar Amin, “Khyber PA Refuses to Hold Fresh Trial of Dr. Shakil Afridi,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-207097-Khyber-PA-refuses-to-hold-fresh-trial-of-Dr-Shakil-Afridi
[22] “IMF Cuts Pakistan Growth Forecast for 2013, 2014,” The Express Tribune, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615207/imf-cuts-pakistan-growth-forecast-for-2013-2014/
[23] Javed Aziz Khan, “New Bosses and Fresh Wave of Violence,” The News, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-207096-New-police-bosses-and-fresh-wave-of-violence
[24] Syed Raza Hassan, “Religious tension in Pakistan as Muslims dig up Hindu grave,” Reuters, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/08/us-pakistan-hindus-grave-idUSBRE9970EF20131008
[25] “Lyari raid: Rangers recover weapons from PPP MPA's car,” Express Tribune, October 9, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/615638/lyari-raid-rangers-recover-weapons-from-ppp-mpas-car/
[26] “Cameron Telephones Sharif; Discuss Bilateral Ties,” Associated Press of Pakistan, October 8, 2013. Available at: http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=244036&Itemid=2