Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan denies Chinese shown U.S. chopper; investigation into American’s kidnapping continues; drone strike kills four; twelve die in Karachi violence; two terrorists charged under anti-state penal code; NATO tankers attacked; more killings in Balochistan; man convicted in Rangers murder case appeals sentence; eight policemen disciplined; flooding affects 1 million.
The Pakistani military quickly moved to deny that it had allowed Chinese engineers to photograph and sample the debris of a secret U.S. stealth helicopter that was scuttled in Abbottabad during the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, responding to the Financial Times article that broke the story, referred to the report as “totally baseless” saying he “strongly reject it.” He further said “[media outlets] need to verify and cross-check [information] rather than relying on unnamed officials.”
The investigation continues into the kidnapping of Warren Weinstein, an American development expert in Lahore, over the weekend with Pakistani police saying they expect to release a sketch of one of the suspects soon. According to Dawn, the FBI may send a team to assist the investigation on the ground. Local police said they were not responsible for providing Weinstein with security because he had not registered himself with the police. They further said Weinstein had taken inadequate security measures by not fitting his residence with features such as security cameras and barbed wire.
A drone strike in North Waziristan agency killed at least four militants on Tuesday. An unmanned drone reportedly launched missiles at a compound and nearby vehicle in Miram Shah, the headquarters of North Waziristan agency. Militants cordoned off the compound after the strike and began sifting through the rubble. The identity of those killed remains unknown.
Twelve people were killed in the last twenty-four hours in Karachi, bringing an end to a brief lull in violence in the city. Among the dead were a twelve-year-old child and a member of the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) party. 1,300 people have been killed in Karachi violence so far this year.
Anti-Terror Judicial Proceedings
Two alleged terrorists have for the first time been charged for crimes under the “anti-state” section of the Pakistan Penal Code. Although over 100 people have been arrested for acts of terrorism since the formation of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), none have so far been charged with offensives under the anti-state section of the law. The two accused were affiliated with the TTP’s Punjab faction.
The Islamabad High Court has filed a petition seeking information from Pakistani ministries and intelligence agencies regarding the whereabouts of another disappeared activist for the extremist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT). The case is the latest in a string of missing persons affiliated with HuT believed to have been taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence operatives.
An attorney representing a man who spent over a year in the custody of Pakistani intelligence agencies claims his client was tortured to death. The man was one of 11 others acquitted of terrorism related offenses by a court in April last year, but was later arrested by the agencies and taken into secret custody. The body of the man in question was discovered on Sunday.
Rangers Killing Case
Afsar Khan, one of the accused convicted of complicity in the murder of an unarmed nineteen-year-old, has appealed his sentence of life imprisonment. Seven men were charged in the killing that was caught on camera and one of the paramilitary Rangers personnel involved was recently sentenced to death. Khan is the only civilian charged in the case.
NATO tankers travelling through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were attacked on Monday resulting in three oil tankers and one container carrier being destroyed. The trucks were attack near the Pak-Afghan border at Landi Kotal.
Days after blasts rocked Balochistan on Pakistan’s Independence Day, three bodies were discovered in Quetta and Khuzdar in what appear to be incidents of “target killing.” Police officials believe the three were killed by members of the separatist Baloch Liberation Front, but no claims of responsibility have yet been made.
The Inspector General (IG) of the Punjab Police recommended disciplinary action against eight police officers who attended a meal at the U.S. consulate in Lahore with seeking permission from “a relevant authority.”
More than one million people have been affected by recent flooding in Sindh. Over 123 flood relief camps have so far been set up to deal with the displaced. Dawn reports that one camp set up was staged in order to provide a platform for a media appearance by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Abubakar Siddique, “Pakistan Refutes Claim It Shared U.S. Stealth Technology With China,” RFE/RL, August 15, 2011. Available at http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistan_refutes_report_shared_us_stealth_technology_china/24297505.html
“FBI may join police in hunt for kidnapped American,” Dawn, August 16 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/16/fbi-may-join-police-in-hunt-for-kidnapped-american.html
“Warren not on police list, ‘Security only for registered foreigners,’” Dawn, August 16, 2011/ Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/16/warren-not-on-police-list-security-only-for-registered-foreigners.html
A. B. Arisar, “Fake relief camp set up for Gilani’s visit,” Dawn, August 16, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/16/fake-relief-camp-set-up-for-gilanis-visit.html