Pakistan Security Brief
Government deploys additional 10,000 security personnel; About 50,000 PAT, PTI supporters arrive in Islamabad, demand resignation of Prime Minister Sharif; Supreme Court rejects government plea to rule against protests; Army chief, Punjab Chief Minister, Interior Minister agree on need for dialogue with PTI, PAT; TTP, IMU, Fedayeen-e-Islam claim responsibility for attacks on airbases in Quetta; Suicide bombers may be in Islamabad, interior minister says; Former CIA director states al Qaeda hiding in Pakistani cities; Army chief claims North Waziristan operation has terrorists on the run; Outgoing ISAF commander meets Pakistan’s army chief over Afghanistan elections and Pak-Afghan border issues; Police defuse bomb targeting police vehicle; IMF cancels Pakistan visit; U.S. Senator calls for renewal of aid package to Pakistan; India cancels bilateral talks with Pakistan; Indian Security Forces kill two Pakistani security personnel; Unknown militants kill two Indian troops in Srinagar, India.
- On August 18, the government deployed an additional force of 10,000 security personnel in anticipation of a breach of the Red Zone by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protestors, raising the total strength of security personnel to 40,000.
- On August 16, about 50,000 PAT and PTI anti-government protestors arrived in Islamabad, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. On August 17, PTI chairman Imran Khan asked Pakistanis to refuse to pay taxes and utility bills in protest of the “corrupt” government. He also threatened to storm the Parliament and other sensitive buildings in the capital if the prime minister did not resign immediately.
- On August 18, the Supreme Court rejected the government’s plea to pass an order to restrain protestors from entering the Red Zone area of the capital. Rejecting the plea made by Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP), Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk said it was the government’s responsibility to handle the situation.
- On August 18, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif met with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Rawalpindi. In the meeting, they agreed to open a dialogue with the PTI and PAT with immediate effect in order to address the protestors’ demands.
- On August 16, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Fedayeen-e-Islam militant groups jointly claimed responsibility for the failed suicide attacks on two Pakistani airbases in Quetta.
- On August 16, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan warned that suicide bombers might have entered Islamabad where the PAT and PTI were holding protests.
- As reported by Dawn on August 17, retired CIA Director Michael Hayden stated that al Qaeda militants are hiding in Pakistan’s cities as well as its tribal areas and thus the military operation in North Waziristan might be insufficient for dealing with urban militants located outside of North Waziristan and the Tribal Lands.
- On August 15, in a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif stated that militants in Pakistan are on the run due to Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan.
- On August 18, Gen. Joseph Dunford, outgoing commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, called on Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif. The generals discussed Afghanistan’s election and Pak-Afghan border issues.
- On August 17, police defused a remote-controlled improvised explosive device (IED) that was targeting a police vehicle in Bakra Perhi, Karachi.
- On August 18 according to The News, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the IMF had cancelled its visit to Pakistan due to ongoing protests. The visit was meant to conclude the ongoing review talks about the $6.67 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to Pakistan.
- As reported by Dawn on August 17, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar called for a renewal of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package to Pakistan after the existing package expires this year.
- On August 18, India canceled its foreign secretary-level bilateral talks, allegedly because Pakistan’s High Commissioner met with Kashmiri opposition leaders. A Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson asserted that the meetings with Kashmiri leaders are a longstanding tradition prior to Indo-Pak talks.
- On August 18, two Chenab Rangers personnel and a civilian were injured in cross-border firing allegedly initiated by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) into Charwah and Chapar sectors near Sialkot, Punjab.
- On August 17, two Indian paramilitary troopers were killed by unknown militants near Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir.