Pakistan Security Brief - September 16, 2011

Senior al Qaeda leader allegedly killed in drone strike; Militants in North Waziristan disagree on objectives; Pakistani Taliban to target weddings and funerals; State Department designates Indian Mujahideen as FTO; U.S. and Pakistan energy dialogue ends with “zero progress”; Prime Minster Gilani cancels trip to U.S. amid flood crisis; Pakistan to ask Afghanistan to stop militants from crossing border; IED explosion kills two soldiers, four militants killed in response; Eight arrested for attack on ISI officers; Police charge JSQM chief sparking protests; Rangers arrest 100 in Karachi; Khan commends unity efforts of MQM and ANP; Awan praises efforts of Hussain; Abbottabad Commission expresses frustration with inability to gather public statements; Citizens stage protests in opposition to militants in Kashmir.

Top Al Qaeda Leader “Killed”

North Waziristan

Pakistani Taliban

  • The Pakistani Taliban released a statement on Friday warning that supporters of  “the U.S. and Pakistani military [would] face the same fate” as those killed during the funeral procession of a tribal elder yesterday in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Taliban spokesman Siraj-ud Din told CNN that the Pakistani Taliban would begin launching suicide attacks at the weddings and funerals of their pro-government “enemies.” Yesterday’s suicide attack in Lower Dir killed 40 people and injured nearly 70.[3]

Indian Mujahideen

  • The U.S. State Department designated the Indian Mujahideen (IM) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on Thursday. The group, which has “significant links to Pakistan,” has been responsible for multiple bombings within India since 2005 and has recently worked in concert with other Pakistan-based FTOs, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami (HuJI). The IM notably worked with LeT in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[4]

US-Pakistan Relations

  • Two days of energy-focused meetings between U.S. and Pakistani officials ended in “zero progress,” as the U.S. failed to formally commit financing to Pakistan’s $11 billion Bhasha Dam project. “Despite reiterating its support for Pakistan’s efforts to overcome its energy crisis,” there has also been speculation that the U.S. may hold out on project funding due to Pakistan’s agreement to continue with the construction of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, as the U.S. has “imposed economic sanctions against Iran” and is publically opposed to the pipeline. In addition, according to a Pakistani official quoted by The News, India has remained overwhelmingly opposed to the dam project, which may also hinder the project’s progress.[5]

  • Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani cancelled a trip to the UN General Assembly in New York City following Pakistan’s devastating flooding. Gilani will reportedly be working to direct flood relief efforts in Pakistan and will send Pakistan’s foreign minister to the UN meeting in his absence.   Flooding during the past month has killed over 230 people and has affected nearly 1.2 million households in Pakistan.[6]

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

FATA

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Karachi

Abbottabad Commission

  • Members of the Abbottabad Commission expressed frustration in their inability to receive public statements on the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad. Justice Javed Iqbal lamented that the commission “assured them (the public) complete protection. We also guaranteed that their names would be kept secret if they so desired, but we did not get much response.” Local Abbottabad journalists have speculated that the compound’s distance from the city and tight security measures may have prevented locals from coming forward with statements.[14]

Protests in Kashmir

  • Residents of the Neelum Valley region of Pakistani-administered Kashmir have been staging protests in opposition to the increasing number of militants “flocking to the area and crossing into Indian-administered Kashmir to launch attacks.” Locals told BBC that they believed the majority of militants were from Punjab province, judging by their “language and dress.” Residents remain fearful that militant activity may endanger a 2003 ceasefire between Pakistan and India and that they become victims of retaliatory attacks by Indian soldiers.[15]



[1]Senior al Qaeda militant killed in US drone strike.” Dawn, September 15, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/15/senior-al-qaeda-militant-killed-in-us-drone-strike.html
“No confirmation senior al Qaeda militant dead: Pakistan.” Dawn, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/16/no-confirmation-senior-al-qaeda-militant-dead-pakistan.html
[2] Zulfiqar Ali and Pazir Gul, “Differences crop up among Waziristan militant outfits.” Dawn, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/16/differences-crop-up-among-waziristan-militant-outfits.html
[4] “US designates IM FTO.” U.S. Department of State, September 15, 2011. Available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/09/172442.htm
[5] Khaleeq Kiani. “US stiffens opposition to Pak-Iran gas pipeline project.” Dawn, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/16/us-stiffens-opposition-to-pak-iran-gas-pipeline-project.html
Khalid Mustaf. “US wants approval by Congress for Bhasha Dam funding.” The News, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8853&Cat=13
[6] Anthony Augustine. “Pakistan PM cancels U.S. visit due to floods.” Reuters, September 16, 2011. Available at http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110916/pl_nm/us_pakistan_floods_gilani
[7] Khan, Zia and Yousaf, Kamran. “Dialogue with Kabul: Islamabad wants border incursions stemmed.” Express Tribune, September 16, 2011. Available at  http://tribune.com.pk/story/253455/dialogue-with-kabul-islamabad-wants-border-incursions-stemmed/
[8] Ibrahim Shinwari, “Four militants, two soldiers killed in Bara.” Dawn, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/16/four-militants-two-soldiers-killed-in-bara.html
[9] “8 held for attack on ISI officials.” The News, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=67896&Cat=7
[10] “JSQM chief booked for keeping illegal arms.” Dawn, September 16, 2011. Available at. http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/16/jsqm-chief-booked-for-keeping-illegal-arms.htmlImtiaz Hussain, “Interior Sindh towns remain closed”, The News, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=67924&Cat=2
[11] “Rangers operation: 100 suspects rounded up in Karachi.” Express Tribune, September 16, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/253650/rangers-operation-100-suspects-rounded-up-karachi/
[12] “Ebad welcomes ANP, MQM leaders positive statements.” Dawn, September 15, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/15/ebad-welcomes-anp-mqm-leaders-positive-statements.html
[13] “Awan, Altaf discuss political situation,” The News, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8855&Cat=13
[14] Syed Kosar Naqvi, “Commission dissatisfied with public response.”,The News, September 16, 2011. Available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=67941&Cat=2
[15]Ilyas Khan.Anti-militant protests in Pakistan's Neelum valley (Kashmir).” BBC, September 15, 2011. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14933247