Pakistan Security Brief - September 19, 2012

 

Pakistani government to join protesters on Friday; Pakistani lawyers protest anti-Islam film in Islamabad; Court issued notices to the federal government over blocking of anti-Islam film on the internet; Strike held in Karachi over by Jamaat-e-Islami against murder of JI leader and the release of the anti-Islam film; Protests against anti-Islam film in Lahore; Peshawar car bomb kills 8, wounds 22; 29 militants killed in Bajaur operation; Bomb injures two police officers in Lower Dir; Militants blow up two houses in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Ten killed in violent incidents in Karachi; Claims made that Pakistan never formally requested repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui; Gas field discovered in Pakistan; China, Pakistan tout unique bilateral relations.

Anti-Islam Film Protests

  • While speaking to media representatives on Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would join Pakistan’s protestors by announcing a national holiday to protest against an anti-Islam film this Friday. Friday has been made the “day of expression of love for the Prophet” by the federal cabinet.[i]

  • Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers made their way into an area in Islamabad that houses the U.S. Embassy and other foreign missions to protest the anti-Islam video on Wednesday. Once inside the gates, the lawyers chanted slogans against the U.S. government, burnt an American flag, called for the U.S. ambassador to be expelled from Pakistan and then peacefully dispersed.[ii]

  • The Pakistan Communication Authority (PTA) and the federal government were issued notices for the incomplete blocking of the anti-Islam film by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday. The lawyer representing the applicant, Aalmi Majilis Tahaffuz Khatam-e-Nabuwat said that the PTA had not acted on its duty to completely block links to the video, and PTA officers responsible for this should be punished by the court. In response, the LHC ordered the Federal Government, Federal Interior Ministry and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to submit detailed replies to the court by October 5th.[iii]

  • On Tuesday, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) called for a strike day to be held on Wednesday in protest of the murder of JI leader Dr Pervez Mehmood and the release of the American anti-Islam film. Protestors on Wednesday burnt tires and roadside stalls, pelted vehicles with stones, and blocked roads in various areas of Karachi. Police arrested dozens of JI activists after their appeal for the strike and put the JI Karachi chief under house arrest on Wednesday.[iv]

  • The Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) Punjab chapter grouped together and protested against the anti-Islam film in Lahore on Wednesday. IJT leaders spoke to the crowds who had gathered, and “protesters burnt an American flag.” Leaders made it clear to security officials that the protests would be peaceful. Hundreds of policemen have been deployed to maintain law and order near the U.S. Consulate in the city.[v]

Militancy and Bombings

  • A car bomb killed eight people in the Badhaber area, on the outskirts of Peshawar today. The bomb, placed near Scheme Chowk on Kohat road, targeted and destroyed a van belonging to the Pakistan Air Force. Ten shops and a bus nearby were all damaged in the blast, and 22 people were wounded.[vi]

  • Security forces killed 29 militants in the final stages of an operation in Batur valley, Bajaur agency today. Security forces claim to have now eliminated all militants from the valley.[vii]

  • A remote-controlled bomb injured two police officers in Lower Dir district on September 18 when unknown assailants targeted a Zaimdara Police Station van in the Maidan area.[viii]

  • Lashkar-e-Islam militants blew up a house in Bara, Khyber agency on September 18. No casualties were recorded as the house’s occupants had moved to a camp for internally displaced persons. Militants also blew up tribesman Misal Khan’s house in Aka Khel, though no one was there at the time either.[ix]

  • Police have investigated the detonation of two bombs in Karachi that killed seven and injured 22 on Tuesday. Police said they suspected members of the Bohra minority, an offshoot of Pakistan’s Shia Muslim minority, were the targets of the attack. The police’s initial investigation suggested Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s (LeJ) Shuja Haider group was involved in the attack, and later police arrested two members of the sectarian militant group.[x]

Karachi Violence

  • Ten people were killed in various firing incidents in Karachi on Wednesday. Two MQM party members were shot in Malir. Another man was killed in Millat Garden, Malir. Three others were shot in Nabi Bakhsh area in Garden, Orangi Town and Malir. A body was discovered in Baldia Town while a policeman was killed in Agra Taj Colony in Lyari.[xi]

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Case

  • According to U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and the attorney of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, Tina Foster, Pakistan never made any formal requests to repatriate Siddiqui despite claims from the Pakistani government that it did. In a discussion with the media on Tuesday, they claimed that Siddiqui and three of her children were illegally kidnapped by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2003 and handed over to U.S. authorities for questioning and detention based on false evidence. They called her detention in the U.S. on a conviction of terrorism illegal and urged her repatriation to Pakistan.[xii]

Pakistan Gas Field

  • The Italian energy firm ENI said on Wednesday that a reserve of 300-400 billion cubic feet of gas was discovered north of Karachi. According to a statement by the company, the “discovery was made in the Khirtar Fold Belt region close to the ENI-operated Bhit gas processing facility.” The company and Pakistani authorities are discussing a joint venture that might reduce the national gas deficit.[xiii]

China-Pakistan Relations

  • In an address at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad on September 18, President Asif Ali Zardari lauded the friendship and multi-dimensional ties between Pakistan and China. Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian stated that China valued its unique bilateral relations with Pakistan, and that cultivating strong diplomatic relations was always a top priority for China.[xiv]

 



[i] “Govt declares holiday to protest anti-Islam film,” Dawn, September 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/govt-to-join-protests-over-anti-islam-film/
[ii] Munir Ahmed, “Lawyers in Pakistan rally against anti-Islam film,” Associated Press, September 19, 2012. Available at http://news.yahoo.com/lawyers-pakistan-rally-against-anti-islam-film-093049258.html
[iii] “Anti-Islam film: LHC issues notices to PTA and federal government,” Dawn, September 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/anti-islam-film-lhc-issues-notices-to-pta-and-federal-government/
[iv] “Strike in Karachi over JI’s call,” Dawn, September 19,2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/strike-in-karachi-over-jis-call/
[v] “Islami Jamiat Talaba protests against blasphemous film in Lahore,” Express Tribune, September 19, 2012. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/439088/islami-jamiat-talaba-protests-against-blasphemous-film-in-lahore/
[vi] “Eight killed in Peshawar blast,” Geo News, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=68337; “Deadly blast hits Pakistan’s Peshawar,” Al-Jazeera, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/09/2012919115643648838.html.
[vii] “29 militants killed in Bajaur Agency,” Geo News, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=68335
[viii] “IED blast injures two cops in lower Dir,” The News International, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-132790-IED-blast-injures-two-cops-in-lower-Dir.
[ix] “Khyber Agency: ‘LI militants blow up house in Bara,’” Express Tribune, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/438746/khyber-agency-li-militants-blow-up-house-in-bara/
[x] “Khyber Agency: ‘LI militants blow up house in Bara,’” Express Tribune, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/438746/khyber-agency-li-militants-blow-up-house-in-bara/.
[xi] “Ten more fall prey to violence in Karachi,” Geo News, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=68334.
[xii] “No formal request ever made for Dr. Aafia’s repatriation: Lawyer,” Express Tribune, September 18, 2012. Available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/438790/no-formal-request-ever-made-for-dr-aafias-repatriation-lawyer/.
[xiii] “Major gas field discovered in Pakistan,” Dawn, September 19, 2012. Available at http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/major-gas-field-discovered-in-pakistan/
[xiv] Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, “Pakistan, China enjoy multi-dimensional ties: Zardari,” The News International, September 19, 2012. Available at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-132795-Pakistan,-China-enjoy-multi-dimensional-ties:-Zardari.