Pakistan Security Brief

Arrested LeT member implicates Pakistan’s ISI in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; Congressional report says Pakistan reconsidering minimum threshold for nuclear attack against India; U.S. and Pakistani officials reportedly formulating joint security strategy to prevent cross-border attacks by militants; Afghan and Pakistani officials in talks over release of senior Taliban leader; Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar warns against outside intervention into Syria; Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf hints at early polls; TTP reportedly planning attack on Pakistan Air Force base; Unknown gunmen open fire on NATO convoy truck in Balochistan.    

India-Pakistan Relations

  • Following weeks of interrogation, U.S. and Indian officials revealed that the statements of Saeed Zabiuddin, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) member said to have masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, have reinforced claims that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had a hand in the Mumbai attacks. Beyond confirming his presence in the Pakistani command post as the attacks were carried out, Zabiuddin reportedly saw ISI Maj. Samir Ali meet with members of the terrorist plot at an LeT safehouse hours before the attack began. He also said that an ISI officer named Col. Hamza helped him travel to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of recruiting Indian Muslims and moving LeT funds. Both ISI officers had been named by David Headley, the Pakistani-American who pled guilty to carrying out reconnaissance for the Mumbai attacks. Furthermore, Zabiuddin provided the names of the three main telephone handlers heard in the control room—Mir, Qahada, and al Qama—but stated that LeT’s spiritual leader Hafiz Saeed was not present in the room.[1]  

  • According to a June report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Pakistani officials are prepared to reconsider the minimum level at which they could launch a nuclear attack against India. The news comes as advances in India’s traditional military capabilities have reportedly given it a “technical superiority” over Pakistan in the area of targeted strikes. In turn, Pakistan has reportedly focused its attention on producing fissile material for use in nuclear warheads, in addition to developing new systems for carrying those warheads. Pakistan has no declared “no first-use” policy vis-à-vis India, and Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is reportedly to preserve its “territorial integrity against Indian attack, prevent military escalation, and counter its main rival’s conventional superiority.”[2]   

  • Express News reported on Thursday that 60 Hindu families from Balochistan and Sindh provinces decided to migrate to India because of religious persecution, citing incidents of Hindu shops being looted, houses being raided, and women being forcefully converted to Islam. When attempting to cross the border at Wagah, however, the families were stopped for not having No Objection Certificates (NOCs) issued by Pakistan’s interior ministry. Interior Minister Rehman Malik called reports of Hindu migration propaganda, with other news sources reporting that the families were actually pilgrims seeking to attend a religious event in India.[3]  

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • U.S. and Pakistani military officials are reportedly formulating a new joint border security strategy to prevent additional attacks from Pakistan-based militant groups targeting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. According to a Pentagon official, the strategy will focus on denying the movement of men and weapons on either side of the border. Additionally, it would to seek to enhance cross-border cooperation without permitting U.S. and Afghan forces to cross into Pakistan. The proposal follows a recent spate of cross-border attacks, including one carried out by the Haqqani Network on a hotel outside Kabul in June, that have heightened Afghan-Pakistan tensions.[4]

  • On Friday, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan called last week’s meeting between ISI chief Zahirul Islam and CIA Director David Petraeus “productive,” and said that the U.S. and Pakistan were considering proposals to enhance bilateral relations.[5]  

International Relations

  • On Friday, Foreign Office spokesman Khan confirmed that Pakistan and Afghanistan were in talks to release a senior Taliban leader. Although Khan did not provide a name, it is widely believed that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a powerful militant commander in Pakistani custody since 2010, is the individual under consideration. A senior security official, however, said that although Pakistan may give Afghan officials access to Baradar, no deal was being made to release him. Khan’s comments followed yesterday’s news that the Obama Administration was prepared to release five Taliban members currently held in Guantanamo Bay in an effort to revive peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.[6]    

  • Speaking at a ministerial conference in Tehran, Iran on Thursday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reiterated Pakistan’s desire to avoid any outside intervention into Syria which could worsen the situation. Khar addressed delegates at a conference consisting of 28 foreign delegations—a precursor to Saudi Arabia’s summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In her statement, Khar called for a mutually agreeable political solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria, and cautioned delegates that the way in which they dealt with the current situation would set a precedent for the future. She also stated that continuing political instability would have consequences for the global Muslim community.[7]

  • On Thursday, Pakistan and Iranian officials agreed to a barter deal in which Iran would import one million tons of wheat from Pakistan in exchange for Iranian exports of fertilizer and iron ore to Pakistan. The deal, first discussed in March but deadlocked over price and quality, aids Iran’s need to secure critical food supplies, which have been disrupted as a result of Western sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear program. According to a Pakistani official, Iran will import wheat at a price of $300 per ton, but only after Iranian officials visit Pakistan to inspect wheat quality prior to finalizing shipments.[8]  

Domestic Politics

  • During a visit to Karachi on Thursday, Ashraf suggested that other institutions had sought the PPP government’s dismissal since day one, yet stated that the government did not want a “fight” with any institution. He also hinted that the government may call for early elections. On Thursday, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said that parliament represents the will of 180 million citizens, whether they are represented by members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) or opposition parties. Speaking at a dinner held in his honor at the Chief Minister House, Ashraf praised members of parliament for their message of reconciliation and their contributions to democracy in Pakistan.[9]

  • Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira defended President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday and denied that the government and judiciary were in conflict. Speaking on a TV talk show, Kaira stressed that the Constitution states that Prime Minister Ashraf cannot write a letter to Swiss authorities requesting they reopen a corruption case against President Zardari because he is still in office. He also defended President Zardari’s involvement in political affairs by stating that if any party desires guidance from him, the president can provide that guidance.[10]

  • On Thursday, the ISI presented an affidavit to the Sindh High Court denying having any knowledge about missing persons in Karachi. The two-member bench of the Sindh High Court also issued a contempt of court notice to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) for the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) during the hearing on Thursday.[11]



[1] Sebastian Rotella, “Militant Reaffirms Role of Pakistan in Mumbai Attacks,” Foreign Policy, August 9, 2012. Available at
[2] “Pakistan Might Lower Threshold for Nuke Use Against India, Report Says,” Global Security Newswire, August 9, 2012. Available at
[3] Ema Anis, “Persecution forces 60 Hindu families to migrate to India,” Express Tribune, August 9, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan allows Hindus pilgrims to enter India,” Dawn, August 10, 2012. Available at
Sarfaraz Memon, “Scenes from Jacobabad: Over news of mass Hindu migration, CM order inquiry,” Express Tribune, August 10, 2012. Available at
Rana Tanveer, “Hindu pilgrims allowed to cross border after protest,” Express Tribune, August 10, 2012. Available at
[4] Carlo Munoz, “US, Pakistan develop new border security plan,” The Hill, August 9, 2012. Available at
[5] “Visit of DG ISI to US was positive: FO,” Geo News, August 10, 2012. Available at
[6] “Afghan-Pakistan talks on Taliban releases: Islamabad,” AFP, August 10, 2012. Available at
[7] “Pakistan opposes coercive measures in Syria,” Geo News, August 10, 2012. Available at
[8] “Pakistan, Iran agree wheat price in barter deal,” Reuters, August 9, 2012. Available at
[9] “Parliament is mother of all institutions: Ashraf,” Dawn, August 9, 2012. Available at
Z Ali, Hafeez, Sajid Bajeer, “Sindh tour: “Polls soon; no clash with institutions,’” Express Tribune, August 10, 2012. Available at
[10] “Kaira says sense will prevail; hopes an end to stalemate,” APP, August 10, 2012. Available at
[11] “No Knowledge about ‘missing persons, ISI tells SHC,” Dawn, August 9, 2012. Available at
[12] Asad Kharal, “Threat alerts: ‘Terrorists planning attack on PAF base’,” Express Tribune, August 10, 2012. Available at
[13] “Cross-border attack: Nine militants killed as forces repulse incursion,” Express Tribune, August 10, 2012. Available at
[14] “Khassadar killed in Mohmand explosion,” The News, August 10, 2012. Available at
[15] “Power pylon blown up in Hangu,” The News, August 10, 2012. Available at
[16] “NATO container torched in Mastung,” Geo News, August 10, 2012. Available at
“3 trucks attacked in Surab,” Daily Times, August 10, 2012. Available at\08\10\story_10-8-2012_pg7_11
[17] “Two killed in city violence,” Daily Times, August 10, 2012. Available at\08\10\story_10-8-2012_pg12_5
“Firing near Youm-e-Ali (RA) procession in Karachi,” Geo News, August 10, 2012. Available at
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