Pakistan Security Brief - September 18, 2013

Indian troops fire across border in Kotli district; Prime Minister wants dialogue with India on Kashmir; Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs says that relations with India have cooled in last month; MQM chief says government should not accept demands of the TTP; Report suggests few terrorists detained in Karachi campaign; MQM leader released from detention in Karachi; Six people killed in gunfire near Afghanistan border; Prime Minister will decide conditions for Mullah Baradar’s release; Prime Minister will not visit Washington, D.C. during U.S. trip; Government given 2014 deadline for creation of new province; Opposition voices displeasure with IMF bailout; American envoy says that Pakistan has helped facilitate peace talks with Afghan Taliban; Federal government intends to amend Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997;  Vice Chancellor of Punjab University says student group is harboring militants.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Pakistani government official, Afghan National Security Forces killed five cattle farmers on Wednesday in Zhob, Balochistan near the Afghanistan border.  The Afghan police chief of Paktika province alleges that the victims were Taliban militants.  The government of Pakistan has lodged an official protest of the incident with the top Afghan diplomatic official in Islamabad.[1]

  • According to a Geo News report on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will personally decide the conditions for Mullah Ghani Baradar’s release.   Sharif told the press that he will make the decision sometime after his return to Pakistan from Turkey on September 19.[2]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • According to a report in the Express Tribune on Wednesday, Indian troops fired across the Line of Control in the Nakial sector of Kotli district.  Shells fell on Lanjot village, killing one civilian and injuring one more.[3]

  • On Wednesday, a senior official at the Pakistani Foreign Office refused to confirm whether the September 29th meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will actually take place. Officials in New Dehli also did not confirm the meeting.[4]

  • In an interview on Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that he favors a comprehensive dialogue with India on issues of disagreement, including Kashmir. Sharif stated that he feels he has a mandate to improve relations with Pakistan’s neighbors. He also commented at the recent firing along the Line of Control, saying that that he is concerned but that Pakistan will “respond to the situation with restraint and responsibility.”[5]

  • On Tuesday, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz stated that, since the August 6th incident near the Line of Control which killed five Indian Army soldiers, relations between India and Pakistan have cooled, and expectations for the September 29th UN talks between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Manmohan Singh had been lowered. He said that India has been less friendly since the attack.[6]

  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated on Tuesday that he “strongly” supports talks between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the UN later this month, and more high-level India-Pakistan meetings in the future.[7]

  • The Indian government released 9 Pakistani prisoners on Wednesday following the completion of their sentences for land and sea violations of Indian territory.[8]

Karachi Unrest

  • Since the Ranger-led paramilitary campaign began in Karachi on September 5, security personnel have detained approximately 300 suspects.  Police forces have detained an additional 1,200 suspects in approximately 975 raids across the city.  Security personnel have not yet raided a majority of the “no go” areas and no significant terrorist or militant leaders have been among those arrested.  Additionally, according to a report in the Express Tribune, only a handful of the 1,500 detainees have been charged under the Anti-Terrorism act.  An unnamed Deputy Inspector General of Police told the press that the operation was intended to detain terrorists and contract killers, but has thus far focused on low-level criminals.[9]

  • A Muttihada Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader, Nadeem Hashmi, was released from custody on Tuesday after being held for a week. A Joint Investigation Team that was investigating Hashmi acquitted him on all charges, including the murder of two policemen.[10]

  • On Wednesday, unknown assailants in Lyari, Karachi, shot and killed Zafar Baloch a leader of the Peoples’ Aman Committee (PAC), a banned group with ties to organized crime and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).[11]

  • Unidentified gunmen killed four MQM activists in Orangi Town, Karachi, on Wednesday.[12]

  • On Wednesday, police detained 14 suspects during a raid on several hotels in Murree sub-district, Rawalpindi district of Punjab province.  Among the detainees are 12 individuals from Karachi believed to have been hiding in Murree to avoid the Rangers’ campaign.[13]

  • Lyari gang member and “target killer” Amin Buledi, detained in Lahore at an unspecified time, was transferred into the custody of the Karachi police on Wednesday.[14]

  • On Wednesday, a Bomb Disposal Squad defused a bomb outside the residence of Awami National Party (ANP) leader Abdul Razzak Boneri in the Saeedabad area of Karachi.[15]

  • Security officials killed an alleged terrorist in the Manghopir area of Karachi on Tuesday night.  Two more terrorists were detained in another unspecified part of the city.[16]

  • On Wednesday, police in the Frontier Town area of Karachi detained the primary suspect in the January 2007 attack on the Jamaat-e-Islami Idra Noor-e-Haq office.[17]

  • Security officials detained 43 suspects in various parts of Karachi on Wednesday.[18]

  • Two gang members died and one more was injured during a firefight with security officials in the Lyari area of Karachi on Wednesday.[19]

Domestic

  • On Wednesday, the Sindh provincial assembly passed the Witness Protection Bill 2013.  The new law establishes a baseline of protections for witnesses testifying in criminal proceedings such as the use of masks, voice-changers, or video testimony.  According to Sindh Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Sikander Mandhor, lawmakers designed the bill to ensure the safety of witnesses and their families who may be targeted by the increasing terrorist violence in the region.[20]

  • At a meeting of pro-Hazara groups on Monday, the government was given an April 12, 2014 deadline for creating a separate province for the Hazara region. Unlike the rest of Pashto-speaking Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Hazara has a Hindko-speaking majority. Major political parties which sent representatives to the meeting include the Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). The ANP is strongly against dividing the province along ethnic lines.[21]

  • Several parliamentary leaders expressed their opposition to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout on Tuesday. MPs from the PTI, PPP, and MQM argued that the deal with the IMF should be put to a vote in parliament. They also criticized the government for printing Rs 636 billion in the last two months, claiming that it will lead to inflation.[22]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • A Pakistani official confirmed on Wednesday that Nawaz Sharif will not be visiting Washington D.C. during his stay in the United States later this month. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry extended an invitation to Sharif during his visit to Pakistan a month ago, but an embassy official said that a trip to Washington was never seriously considered.[23]

  • Dr. Shakil Afridi, the doctor who cooperated with the United States in its search for Osama bin Laden and subsequently faced prosecution, has been summoned to a court in Khyber Agency on September 24th for a hearing.[24]

  • James Dobbins, the American special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, said at a briefing on Wednesday that Pakistan has been helpful to the United States in urging the Afghan Taliban to negotiate a settlement in Afghanistan. Dobbins added that the United States does not have a role in Pakistan’s negotiations with the TTP.[25]

Turkey-Pakistan Relations

  • At a press conference on Tuesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that the High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) meeting they co-chaired was “very productive.” Among the topics discussed were regional security, trade, and economic ties. They agreed to increase flights between their two countries. Erdogan is expected to travel to Pakistan for the next HLCC next year.[26]

Militancy

  • Security forces killed two militants while repulsing an attack on the Khar Qamar checkpost in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan agency on Wednesday. The Unidentified assailants had earlier fired three rockets at the checkpoint.  The attack injured one soldier.[27]

  • According to a report in the Express Tribune on Wednesday, federal government officials have decided to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 to include crimes of targeted killing, extortion, and kidnapping for ransom.  No further details are currently available.[28]

  • Vice Chancellor of Punjab University Dr. Mujahid Kamran told the press on Tuesday that the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing, Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT), has been facilitating the residency of militants in hostels near the campus.  IJT leaders have denied these charges and accused Kamran of slandering the organization.  The remarks follow last week’s arrest of an alleged al Qaeda suicide attack cell and their handler, who resided in a university hostel.[29]

  • A police official and a suspected criminal died in a firefight during an early morning raid on Tuesday in the Tap Takhti Khel area of Lakki Marwat, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.  Six other suspects were detained.[30]

  • On Tuesday, a blast destroyed the residence of an extortion victim in the Phase-1 area of Hayatabad, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.[31]

  • Security officials defused an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Ghuriwala area of Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on Tuesday.[32]

  • Unidentified assailants launched a rocket on the Phase-IV area of Hayatabad, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on Tuesday night.  No casualties have been reported.[33]

  • Two people died in the Double Road area of Quetta on Wednesday after two unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle.[34]

  • Unidentified assailants set fire to a NATO container near Rahimabad in Mastung district, Balochistan province, on Tuesday.  No casualties have been reported.[35]

  • Police detained one suspect and seized weapons from his possession on Monday night in Zhob, Balochistan province.[36]



[1] “Officials say 5 people shot dead along Afghanistan-Pakistan border in disputed circumstance,” Washington Post, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-afghan-officials-say-5-people-killed-in-shooting-along-southern-border/2013/09/18/8d346b3e-2067-11e3-9ad0-96244100e647_story.html
[2] “PM to decide 'when & how' Mullah Baradar will be freed after returning home,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118740-PM-to-decide-when--how-Mullah-Baradar-will-be-freed-after-returning-home
[3] “LoC violation: Woman killed in Indian firing,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605826/loc-violation-woman-killed-in-indian-firing/
[4] Mariana Baabar, “No One Willing to Confirm Nawaz-Manmohan Meeting in New York,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202714-No-one-willing-to-confirm-Nawaz-Manmohan-meeting-in-New-York
[5] “Sharif for ‘Serious’ Engagement with India,” The Hindu, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/sharif-for-serious-engagement-with-india/article5137858.ece
[6] “Pakistan has Low Expectations from New York Talks,” The Hindu, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/pakistan-has-low-expectations-from-new-york-talks/article5138968.ece
[7] “UN Chief Hails Nawaz-Manmohan New York Meeting,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043547/un-chief-hails-nawaz-manmohan-new-york-meeting
[8] “India frees nine Pakistanis, arriving en-route Wagah border today,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118768-India-frees-nine-Pakistanis-arriving-en-route-Wagah-border-today
[9] Faraz Khan and Sohail Khattak and Hafeez Tunio, “Karachi violence: ‘Operation not targeted, but selective’,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605756/operation-not-targeted-but-selective/
[10] “MQM’s Nadeem Hashmi Freed from Karachi Police Custody,” Dawn, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043540/mqms-nadeem-hashmi-freed-from-karachi-police-custody
[11] “Security Forces Repulse Attack on Checkpost in North Waziristan,” Dawn, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043738/security-forces-repulse-attack-on-checkpost-in-north-waziristan
“Aman Committee Leader Zafar Baloch Killed,” Dawn, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043805/aman-committee-leader-zafar-baloch-killed
[12] “Four MQM workers gunned down in Orangi,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-202764-Four-MQM-workers-gunned-down-in-Orangi
[13] “14 alleged criminals arrested from Murree,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118777-14-alleged-criminals-arrested-from-Murree
[14] “Target killer Amin Buledi handed over to Karachi police,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118814-Target-killer-Amin-Buledi-handed-over-to-Karachi-police
[15] “Bomb found, defused near ANP leader house in Karachi,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118775-Bomb-found-defused-near-ANP-leader-house-in-Karachi
[16] “Karachi operation: three suspected terrorists killed, 29 suspects arrested,” Dawn, September 18, 2013.  Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043745/karachi-operation-three-suspected-terrorists-killed-29-suspects-arrested
[17] “Karachi operation: three suspected terrorists killed, 29 suspects arrested,” Dawn, September 18, 2013.  Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043745/karachi-operation-three-suspected-terrorists-killed-29-suspects-arrested
[18] “43 suspects detained during Karachi targeted operation,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118779-43-suspects-detained-during-Karachi-targeted-operation-
[19] “Two Lyari gangsters killed in Karachi shootout,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118818-Two-Lyari-gangsters-killed-in-Karachi-shootout-
[20] Hafeez Tunio, “Sindh Assembly unanimously passes Witness Protection Bill 2013,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605942/sindh-assembly-unanomously-passes-witness-protection-bill-2013/
[21] “New Boundaries: Jirga Sets April 2014 Deadline for Hazara Province,” The Express Tribune, September 17, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605661/new-boundaries-jirga-sets-april-2014-deadline-for-hazara-province/
[22] “Opposition Casts Doubt on Govt-IMF Accord,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25523-Opposition-casts-doubt-on-govt-IMF-accord
[23] “Nawaz not Coming to Washington, May Address UN on 28th,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202716-Nawaz-not-coming-to-Washington,-may-address-UN-on-28th
[24] “Political Agent Court Summons Dr. Afridi on Sept 24,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118789-Political-Agent-court-summons-Dr-Afridi-on-Sept-24
[25] Anwar Iqbal, “US Lauds Pakistan’s Role in Afghan Peace Process,” Dawn, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://dawn.com/news/1043689/us-lauds-pakistans-role-in-afghan-peace-process
[26] “Ankara Rendezvous: PM Calls Turkey, Pakistan ‘One Nation, Two States,’” The Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605847/ankara-rendezvous-pm-calls-turkey-pakistan-one-nation-two-states/
[27] “Two security men injured in rocket attack at Dattakhel checkpost,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-118755-Rocket-attack-at-Dattakhel-checkpost-injures-two-security-men-
[28] “Target killing, extortion and kidnapping added to Anti-Terrorism Act 1997,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605950/target-killing-extortion-and-kidnapping-added-to-anti-terrorism-act-1997/
[29] “Punjab University: Hostels are sanctuaries of militants, says VC,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605830/punjab-university-hostels-are-sanctuaries-of-militants-says-vc/
[30] “Midnight raid: Policeman, suspect killed in shoot-out in Lakki Marwat,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/605622/midnight-raid-policeman-suspect-killed-in-shoot-out-in-lakki-marwat/
[31] “Blast near house in Hayatabad,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202734-Blast-near-house-in-Hayatabad
[32] “IED defused in Bannu,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202739-IED-defused-in-Bannu
[33] “Miscreants fire rocket at Peshawar,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202740-Miscreants-fire-rocket-at-Peshawar
[34] “Two killed in Quetta firing,” Geo News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/article-118788-Two-killed-in-Quetta-firing
[35] “Nato container torched in Mastung,” The News, September 18, 2013. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202741-Nato-container-torched-in-Mastung
[36] “LEA arrests suspect in Zhob,” The News, September 18, 2013.  Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-202742-LEA-arrests-suspect-in-Zhob