Pakistan Security Brief - September 12, 2012

U.N. releases report on the diversity of the Taliban’s income; Officials deny Fox News interview took place with Afridi; Afridi claims accusations were fabricated; fires in Karachi and Lahore kill over 300; Rimsha Masih fears for her life; three men killed in Karachi; two men killed near Faisalabad; three killed in a police raid near Faisalabad; three schools attacked by militants; China reaffirms support for Pakistan; Russia wants a direct deal on dam project; World Bank approves $220 million credit for development projects in Punjab.

Taliban finances

  • A U.N. report released on Tuesday states that the Taliban raised around $400 million in 2011. This income came from donations, taxes, and extortion money. Not all of the money went to funding the Taliban’s terrorist operations. About $275 million reached the Taliban leadership and the rest was “revenue raised from taxing the local economy,” that served “primarily to support local operations and is only in a few cases channeled upwards.” The report also asserted that the Taliban raises $100 million in income from Afghanistan’s opium poppy industry, a relatively small amount from the $4 billion business.[1]

Dr. Shakil Afridi Case

  • Law enforcement officials and lawyers on Wednesday denied that any interview had been conducted with Dr. Shakil Afridi after Fox News purportedly conducted and broadcast an interview over cell phone with the imprisoned doctor in Peshawar Central Jail on September 11. Fox released only the transcript of the interview and did not specify if it had been an audio or video interview. Authorities at Peshawar Central Jail stated that “Dr. Afridi is beyond the access of media and the news published…is ambiguous and false as no one can meet [him] without approval of the provincial government and jail authorities.” Afridi’s lawyer Samiullah Afridi says the transcript release is likely a trick to put pressure on Pakistan, and that Dr. Afridi’s life may be in danger from hardened militants inside the prison as a result.[2]

  • In a response over 30 pages long submitted to the Peshawar High Court on Tuesday, Dr. Shakil Afridi denied all charges that he aided the CIA in gathering data on Osama bin Laden, claiming that the accusations against him were made up by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He stated that he had been forced to give false testimony under pain of death from the ISI. Afridi complained that his illegal arrest and detention was “a joke and slap on the face of the judicial system in Pakistan.”[3]

Factory Fires

  • Nearly 300 people died in a fire at a garment factory in Karachi on September 11. Workers were unable to escape as the windows in their building were barred and only one exit was unblocked to prevent factory workers from skipping shifts. Another fire at a shoe factory in Lahore killed 25 people on the same day.[4]

Blasphemy Case

  • In her first public interview since release from jail, Rimsha Masih claimed that she had been falsely accused of blasphemy and that she feared for her and her family’s safety.  She did not disclose her location during the interview because of security concerns, adding that “I am scared…I’m afraid of anyone who might kill us.” Nonetheless, she said “I love Pakistan. I won’t ever leave my country.”[5]

City Violence

  • Three men were shot and killed on Tuesday in Karachi. According to the Pirabad police, Nawaz, a 45 year-old police constable was shot and killed in Orangi Town while on his way to the police station. A 43 year-old man named Salahuddin was gunned down in Ali Town, while his brother Sirajuddin was wounded. A 45 year-old man named Abdul Ghaffor was killed in Kunwari colony.[6]

  • Police reported that two men, Taufail Ahmad and Muhammad Umar Hayat, were gunned down on a motorcycle near Raja Mor in Karachi on Tuesday. The assailants were able to get away.[7]

  • Two police constables and one proclaimed offender were killed during a police raid in Saifabad, Faisalabad on Tuesday. The police directed the accused to surrender but the outlaws shot at the police. Constables Anwar and Afzal were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire. One offender was killed while his two accomplices got away.[8]

School bombings

  • Three different schools were blown up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sources interviewed by The News said that militants destroyed a government-run primary school for girls in Mohmand agency on Tuesday night. The bomb disposal squad was dispatched to a government primary school in Badhaber in Peshawar’s surrounding area on Wednesday. Two rooms of the school were completely destroyed, but the squad was reportedly able to defuse another improvised explosive device (IED) at the school. In a separate incident, militants set off bombs on another government primary school in Khyber agency’s Akakhel area.[9]

Sino-Pakistani Relations

  • During a sideline meeting on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed his country’s support for Pakistan to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. At the meeting, important issues such as infrastructure development, collaboration on energy projects, and defense ties, were discussed. Both leaders also renewed their goal to achieve $15 billion in bilateral trade. This was Prime Minister Ashraf’s first official trip to China.[10]

Russian-Pakistani Relations

  • According to sources quoted by the Express Tribune,  Russia is seeking a direct government contract with Pakistan on the Diamer Basha Dam, worth $13 billion, instead of participating in international bidding for the contract. During an Inter-governmental Commission (IGC) meeting on Monday in Islamabad, Pakistani officials told their Russian counterparts that the dam had a 4,500 megawatts generation capacity, which was integral to confront the country’s current energy crisis. A final decision on the dam will be made when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Pakistan in October. A government official affirmed, “A meeting of [the] Pak-Russia inter-ministerial commission will be held before the visit of Russian president, which will work out a mechanism for financing mega projects.”[11]

New Projects in Punjab

  • The World Bank approved two loans totaling $220 million for two growth and development projects in Punjab province. The $150 million Punjab Cities Governance Improvement Project seeks to bolster the growth potential of the province’s five largest cities (Islamabad, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, and Multan) through better planning, resource management, and accountability.  The $70 million Punjab Land Records Management and Information Systems Project aims to strengthen land record management efficiency in the province.[12] 


[2] Umer Farooq and Sumera Khan, “Fox controversy: ISI, officials, lawyers deny Shakil Afridi was interviewed,” Express Tribune, September 12, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/435269/fox-controversy-isi-officials-lawyers-deny-shakil-afridi-was-interviewed/.
[3] “CIA links: Dr. Afridi terms charges against him fabricated,” Express Tribune, September 12, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/435289/cia-links-dr-afridi-terms-charges-against-him-fabricated/.
[4] Salman Masood, “More Than 300 People Die in 2 Pakistan Fires,” September 12, 2012. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/asia/hundreds-die-in-factory-fires-in-pakistan.html?_r=1&hp.
[5] “Scared’ teen fears for life over alleged Quran burning,” CNN, September 11, 2012. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/11/world/asia/pakistan-rimsha-masih-blasphemy/index.html?iref=allsearch.
[6] “Targeted killing: Policeman among three shot dead,” The Express Tribune, September 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/435147/targeted-killing-policeman-among-three-shot-dead/
[7] “Crime: Two shot, killed,” The Express Tribune, September 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/435087/crime-two-shot-killed/
[8] “Two constables, one PO killed in encounter,” The News International, September 12, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-131505-Two-constables,-one-PO-killed-in-encounter
[9] “Militants destroy Mohmand school,” The News International, September 12, 2012. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-131518-Militants-destroy-Mohmand-school; “Two schools blown up in KP,” Dawn, September 12, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/two-schools-blown-up-in-kp/
[10] “China, Pakistan premiers see eye-to-eye on all issues,” APP, September 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/435284/china-pakistan-premiers-see-eye-to-eye-on-all-issues/
[11] Zafar, Bhutta. “Diamer Basha Dam: Russia wants to take up project without bidding,” The Express Tribune, September 12, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/435035/diamer-bhasha-dam-russia-wants-to-take-up-project-without-bidding/
[12]  “World Bank approved two credits of $220 million for Punjab,” APP, September 12, 2012. Available at: http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/world-bank-approved-two-credits-of-220-million-for-punjab/