Pakistan Security Brief - September 17, 2013

Firing incident at Line of Control; UN meeting between Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers in doubt; Pakistani judicial committee will visit India on September; Six people die and thirty are arrested in Karachi violence; Four alleged Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members arrested in Karachi; TTP demand government declare a ceasefire prior to start of negotiations; TTP Swat faction implicated in death of general in Upper Dir; Prime Minister says use of force would be a last resort; Militant confesses to Shahbaz Bhatti assassination; Two Policemen injured by gunmen in Balochistan; Peshawar High Court tells Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to refrain from troop withdrawal in Malakand Division; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to establish its own intelligence agency; Prime Minister seeks Turkish assistance in counterterrorism strategy; Pakistan to import surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan during summer season; U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense meets with Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman.

Talks with the TTP

  • In a statement to the press on Tuesday via telephone, Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed the group was still at war with the Pakistani government, despite the two parties exploring the possibility of peace talks. “War is continuing.  It was started by the government and they will have to stop it” by announcing a ceasefire.  He said that the TTP would continue its attacks until a formal invitation for talks is underway.  His remarks follow Sunday’s attack in Upper Dir that killed Major General Sanaullah Niazi and the subsequent condemnation of the incident by army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Kayani said on Tuesday that the military would not allow the TTP to dictate the terms of the peace negotiations.[1]

  • Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan told the press on Monday that the Swat branch of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by a man named Ataullah was responsible for Sunday’s attack in Upper Dir that killed Major General Sanaullah Niazi.  [2]

  • In an interview with Turkish media on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed military force would be a method of last resort in Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy.[3]

Indo-Pakistan Relations

  • An Indian Army spokesperson accused Pakistan of violating the ceasefire at the Line of Control in Kashmir in the Mendhar sector of Poonch district on Monday. Both sides fired at each other for about three hours, but there have been no reports of casualties from either side.[4]

  • Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday that it is possible that non-state actors wearing Pakistani military uniforms could have been involved in some of the recent incident on the LoC. He also said that there has been no contact between the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers about a potential meeting at the UN later this month, and said that he was “not hopeful” about the prospects of the meeting taking place.[5]

  • A Pakistani judicial commission initially scheduled to visit India earlier this month has rescheduled its departure for September 21.  The eight members of the commission will cross-examine witnesses of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[6]

Karachi Unrest

  • A total of six people died on Tuesday in Karachi in three separate events. The first incident occurred in Orangi town when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire, killing three people. Among the dead was a local politician. One person was shot to death near Mohajir chowk. The third deadly incident occurred in Musharraf colony when police returned fire after being attacked, killing two. Police have also arrested 30 people during the day.[7]

  • On Monday, Karachi police claimed to have arrested four members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The alleged militants also had in their possession four pistols, ball bearings, nails, and batteries. The arrested men are alleged to have carried out several bombings and murders.[8]

Militancy

  • Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri issued “guidelines for jihad” on Friday, providing his views on a number of issues. He urged jihadists to focus on the United States and Israel and to show more restraint in attacking other Muslims, including Muslims belonging to other sects. He claimed that the group’s goal in Pakistan was to assist local militant groups in creating a haven which can be used as a base for launching attacks. Zawahiri also specified in which theaters it was acceptable to combat local governments supported by the West, and in which regions militants should avoid drawing attention to themselves by striking locally.[9]

  • Police announced on Monday that a man known as Hammad Adil, who was arrested two weeks ago as a suspected TTP militant, confessed that he and two others were responsible for the assassination of Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti in 2011.[10]

  • On Monday night, police and intelligence agencies arrested a student at Science College Lahore for alleged ties to al Qaeda.[11]

  • On Monday, government officials revealed that the repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Bar Qambarkhel tribe to the Tirah Valley in Khyber agency has been delayed.  The repatriation of other tribes continues, but Bar Qambarkhel tribesmen have disagreed on the nature of their new peace committee.  One faction would prefer an impartial, non-aligned organization while the other faction, aligned with pro-government militant group Ansarul Islam (AI), desires a pro-government body.  A jirga will convene next week to resolve the issue before the IDPs may return.[12]

  • Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan told the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to refrain from withdrawing the military from Malakand Division because complications could arise if action is taken prematurely.  He recommended the provincial government consult the Interior Ministry and the Pakistan Army.[13]

  • Unidentified Gunmen shot to death a contractor in Charsadda district on Monday.[14]

  • The Lahore Central Jail has increased its security after receiving threats over the phone from individuals claiming to represent the Taliban and al Qaeda warning that they were going to attack the prison.[15]

  • On Monday, two police personnel were shot and injured in Jaffarabad district, Balochistan by gunmen who then escaped.[16]

  • Police discovered the body of a man who had been shot to death in Quetta on Monday.[17]

  • A vehicle carrying 35 mortar shells was stopped in Kurram agency at the Afghanistan border on Tuesday. The two men aboard were also arrested.[18]

  • Unidentified attackers blew up the house of Nabi Hanfi, a TTP commander in Spin Khawri, Hangu district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Monday. The house was abandoned, and there were no known casualties.[19]

Domestic

  • At a press conference on Monday, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak announced that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will establish its own intelligence organization in the province to compensate for unsatisfying results from the national intelligence agencies.[20]

  • Speaking before the National Assembly on Monday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that approximately 100,000 illegal aliens live in slums outside Islamabad.  Khan alleged that many of these aliens are criminals.  The announcement follows completion of the Interior Ministry’s registration of inhabitants in these illicit communities.  Khan promised that the Interior Ministry will monitor criminal elements, and will seek the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ assistance on the repatriation of foreigners.[21]

  • In a telephone address to party members on Monday night, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Hussain asked workers to remain strong in the face of coming hardships and foreign media conspiracies.[22]

  • According to a Tuesday The News report, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pursuing controversial constitutional revisions that would increase civilian participation and representation on cantonment boards.  Former President Asif Ali Zardari halted a similar effort three years ago, allegedly to maintain better relations with the Pakistani military after a failed attempt to subjugate the Inter-Services Intelligence to the Interior Ministry.[23]

  • According to a Tuesday report in the Express Tribune, an International Monetary Fund assessment has predicted that the government of Pakistan will fail to meet its target of Rs 130 billion ($1.2 billion) in tax revenue for this fiscal year.  Failure to meet this revenue goal would violate an IMF pre-condition for the loan package and could jeopardize receipt of future installments.[24]

Energy Crisis

  • On Monday, government officials attending the Council of Central Asia South Asia in Islamabad approved a measure to import 1,300 MW of surplus hydro-electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan during summer months.  The project will commence in 2014 and should be completed within three years.[25]

Turkey-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler in Ankara, Turkey.  Sharif said the government of Pakistan intended to seek Turkey’s counsel on developing an effective counterterrorism strategy.   Güler said the government of Turkey would also provide assistance in matters of cybercrime and counter-radicalization.  He recommended including social programs and educational reforms in any counterterrorism strategy because Turkey has found force alone to be insufficient.[26]

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara, Turkey.  Sharif and Gul discussed methods of increasing bilateral cooperation and strengthening bilateral relations.[27]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter met with Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Khalid Shameem Wynne on Monday in Rawalpindi, according to an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.  Carter and Wynne discussed unspecified geostrategic matters of the region.[28]


[1] “Pakistan Taliban: still at war with government troops,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043531/pakistan-taliban-still-at-war-with-government-troops
[2] Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, “Sufi Mohammad’s group behind Dir blast,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202604-Sufi-Mohammads-group-behind-Dir-blast
[3] “Use of force last option against terrorists: PM Nawaz,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118674-Use-of-force-last-option-against-terrorists:-PM-Nawaz-
[4] “India, Pakistan Armies Exchange Fire in Kashmir,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25507-India,-Pakistan-armies-exchange-fire-in-Kashmir
[5] “Non-State Actors Involved in LoC Firing Incidents: Aziz,” The Frontier Post, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/41741/
[6] “Mumbai attack: Pak judicial commission to leave for India on Sept. 21,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118602-Mumbai-attack-case%3a-Pakistan-judicial-commission-to-leave-for-India-on-Sept.-21
[7] “Karachi Violence Claims Six Lives,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043519/karachi-operation-30-suspects-apprehended
[8] Salis bin Perwaiz, “LeJ Activists, Lyari Gangsters among 12 Held,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-202434-LeJ-activists-Lyari-gangsters-among-12
[9] “Zawahiri Urges Restraint in First “Guidelines for Jihad,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043515/zawahiri-urges-restraint-in-first-guidelines-for-jihad
[10] Umer Nangiana, “Breakthrough?: ‘TTP Militant’ Confesses to Shabhaz Bhatti’s Murder,” The Express Tribune, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605344/breakthrough-ttp-militant-confesses-to-shahbaz-bhattis-murder/
[11] “Alleged al-Qaeda Man Held after Raid on Punjab University,” The Frontier Post, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/41722/
[12] “Return of Tirah IDPs suspended,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043499/return-of-tirah-idps-suspended
[13] “PHC stops KP govt from pulling out Army from Malakand Division,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118646-PHC-stops-KP-govt-from-pulling-out-Army-from-Malakand-Division
[14] “3 Persons Killed in Charsadda,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-202507-3-persons-killed-in-Charsadda
[15] “Lahore Central Jail Blanketed under Security after Attack Threats,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118570-Lahore-Central-Jail-blanketed-under-security-after-attack-threats
[16] “Two Police Personnel Injured in Firing,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202601-Two-police-personnel-injured-in-firing
[17] “Bullet-Riddled Body Found in Quetta,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202587-Bullet-riddled-body-found-in-Quetta
[18] “2 Arrested on Recovery of 35 Mortar Shells from Vehicle,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118601-2-arrested-on-recovery-of-35-mortar-shells-from-vehicle
[19] “Militant Commander’s House Blown up in Hangu,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202585-Militant-commanders-house-blown-up-in-Hangu
[20] “Home grown: K-P to introduce own intelligence network,” Express Tribune, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605358/home-grown-k-p-to-introduce-own-intelligence-network/
[21] Khawar Ghumman, “Nisar reveals an open secret,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043490/nisar-reveals-an-open-secret
[22] “Altaf asks workers to be ready for hardships,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25519-Altaf-asks-workers-to-be-ready-for-hardships
[23] Tariq Butt, “Nawaz revives hot button move that Zardari shot down three years ago,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202567-Nawaz-revives-hot-button-move-that-Zardari-shot-down-three-years-ago
[24] Shahbaz Rana, “IMF review: FBR likely to collect Rs130b less than tax target,” Express Tribune, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605191/imf-review-fbr-likely-to-collect-rs130b-less-than-tax-target/
[25] “Pakistan to import 1,300MW power from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,” September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25514-Pakistan-to-import-1,300MW-power-from-Kyrgyzstan,-Tajikistan
[26] “PM seeks Turkey's guidance in wiping out extremism,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043520/pm-seeks-turkeys-guidance-in-wiping-out-extremism
[27] “PM meets Turkish President, discusses bilateral ties,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118673-PM-meets-Turkish-President,-discusses-bilateral-ties
[28] “US official meets CJCSC,” The News, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-202488-US-official-meets-CJCSC