Pakistan Security Brief

Al Qaeda communication found through captured courier; Al Qaeda offices in Lahore raided, ten suspects arrested; Pakistan Army captain killed along LoC; ISI reportedly had prior knowledge of Benazir Bhutto assassination; FC seizes 100,000 kilograms of explosives in Quetta; ECP postpones elections in Tank; Punjab Taliban reportedly planning to kidnap Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif; 3 TTP members killed in rival shootouts; IMF to disburse $7.3 billion bailout next week; 4 killed in Karachi; MQM vouches for Altaf Hussain’s innocence.

Al Qaeda Internet Conference

  • According to an article in The Daily Beast on Tuesday,  U.S. authorities intercepted a conference call on August 7 between al Qaeda’s Pakistan-based chief Ayman al Zawahiri and key al Qaeda figures—which in turn prompted widespread embassy closings throughout the Middle East—by capturing an al Qaeda courier, who possessed a video of the seven-hour long conference.[1]

Raid on al Qaeda Offices in Lahore

  • After  police raided an office allegedly owned by al Qaeda on Tuesday in Lahore, officials have uncovered new information regarding the raid.. The office was reportedly being used to plan extortions and kidnappings by tracing phone numbers of high-profile people. Calls regarding Ali Musa Gilani and Shahbaz Taseer, kidnapped sons of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and slain Governor Salman Taseer respectively, were made from the office. Calls were also made about Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker abducted in 2011. Police found the office by tracing a phone call made from the premises on Monday. The groups were spread out over three different buildings and reportedly belonged to the Dawood and Hassan Gull terrorist groups, which have links to al Qaeda.[2]

Line of Control Tensions

  • According to Pakistani officials, a Pakistan Army Captain was killed and an enlisted soldier was wounded near Skardu, Kashmir on Wednesday after the Indian Army reportedly initiated fire along the Line of Control (LoC). The Pakistan Army returned fire for several hours following the incident. Pakistan military sources claim the firing was unprovoked. Indian officials claim that India was merely responding to initial fire from Pakistani soldiers.[3]   

  • On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered military and diplomatic officials to “observe restraint” in statements regarding the ongoing LoC tension with India. According to Pakistani officials, Sharif has stressed that officials pursue rapprochement and conciliation in lieu of statements of blame.[4]

Benazir Bhutto Murder Case

  • A Wednesday article in the Express Tribune reports that Inter-Services Intelligence had prior knowledge of the attack that killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, and had instructed the Interior Ministry to increase security around Bhutto seven days before she was assassinated.[5]  

  • According to Heraldo Muñoz, the UN Assistant Secretary General responsible for a UN investigation into Bhutto’s murder, Bhutto’s assassination was not just carried out by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or al Qaeda, but was aided and abetted by former President Pervez Musharraf’s unwillingness to provide proper security to Bhutto. Muñoz also indicates that the Inter-Service Intelligence, or at least rogue officers,  may have been involved in the attack in his new book Getting Away With the Murder — Behind the Investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination. During interviews with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Muñoz noted that Kayani questioned assertions of the TTP’s involvement in the assassination, and also criticized local police in the aftermath, calling their handling of the crime scene “amateur.”[6]


  • On Tuesday in Satellite Town, Quetta, the Frontier Corps seized a massive quantity of explosives, including 100,000 kilograms of potassium chloride, while raiding a warehouse. Ten people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Wires, detonators and mixers were also found in the cache. The chemicals, which have been used in bombs made by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in attacks this year, were reportedly being used for car bombs, specifically used to target military installations and Shia minorities, as LeJ had done in the past.[7]    

  • Echoing word for word statements by former Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan last week , current TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid noted in response to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address on Monday that “in case of force” by the government, the TTP will respond in kind. However, Shahid noted that the TTP is also ready for talks, but will not commit to peace talks until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif provides a definite timeline for negotiations. Shahid also claimed that Sharif’s vacillation on the talks is due to military influence.[8]  

  • A motorcycle-borne improvised explosive device (IED) detonated outside of a railway station in Chaman, Balochistan on Wednesday, killing at least two people and injuring at least ten others.[9]

  • According to an article in the Express Tribune on Wednesday, the Punjabi Taliban had been planning to kidnap Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif from his home in Raiwind, near Lahore. A militant arrested in connection with the plot claims that militants have already carried out surveillance on Sharif; however, the operation was aborted following the arrest.[10]

  • A survey, conducted shortly after the Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak by the Punjab government, indicates that a plethora of jails in Punjab lack adequate security, and many inmates have regular access to mobile phones. Rangers personnel have been deployed to some of the jails, including Kot Lakhpat Jail, but others are overcrowded and understaffed, reports the Express Tribune on Wednesday.[11]  

  • Two people were killed in Karachi on Tuesday in separate firing incidents in Korangi and Ganna Mandi. Another man was shot and killed in Martin Quarter, and a body was found near Gulshan-e-Maymar. The son of a former The News sportscaster was also shot and severely wounded in North Nazimabad.[12]    

  • On Tuesday, two militants from the Karachi-based branch of the Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the TTP and one member of the corresponding Wali-ur-Rehman faction of the TTP were killed when the two groups attacked one another in Kunwari Colony, Karachi.[13]

  • The bodies of two people reported missing from Turbat district, Balochistan were found in Suranji Town, Karachi on Monday. The victims were reportedly kidnapped by Frontier Corps personnel and are associated with the Balochistan National Movement.[14]

  •  In Naushero Feroze, Sindh on Tuesday, three schoolchildren were shot and killed by unknown gunmen. The children were related to District Superintendent of Police Jumma Khan Panhwar.[15]

  • An IED exploded in Mastung, Quetta on Wednesday, injuring two security personnel and a civilian.[16]  

  • According to The News on Wednesday, the by-election in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been postponed, due to threats of militant attacks. Troops have also been deployed to both Peshawar and Nowshera to maintain security in the August 22 elections. 3,000 troops will be in Peshawar alone. The by-election in Tank district has been postponed as well due to security concerns. The delay has been met with heavy criticism from Jamiat Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, whose party is favored to win the election.[17]

  • On Wednesday in Lahore, Lahore Airport Security retrieved a pistol from the baggage of a man travelling to Jeddah, Saudia Arabia. The man claimed his family members had placed the pistol in his bag by mistake.[18]

  • According to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who spoke before the National Assembly on Tuesday, the failed Eid-ul-Fitr Bara Kahu bombing in Islamabad was planned in either North or South Waziristan. Reportedly, Afghan refugees have been identified in connection with the incident; five suspects have been arrested thus far.[19]

IMF Bailout

  • Pakistan has reportedly met the last requirement the International Monetary fund has set for Pakistan to obtain a $7.3 billion in September, by purchasing $100 million on the open market in order to shore up its foreign currency reserves. The IMF executive board will reportedly disburse the loan next month.[20]


  • According to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank have agreed to provide $400 million in aid to Pakistan to build the planned Diamer Bhasha Dam, which will provide an extra 4,500 megawatts of energy.[21]

  • Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan released his party’s 2,000 page paper alleging widespread vote-rigging across Pakistan during the May 11 elections on Wednesday. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party has rejected the allegations, calling them an attempt to influence the August 22 by-elections.[22]

Altaf Hussain Investigation

  • On Wednesday, Muttahida Quami Movement deputy Dr Farooq Sattar continued to claim that MQM chief Altaf Hussain is innocent in connection with the death of Dr Imran Farooq, a former MQM member who was killed in London. Sattar also claimed that the MQM is working in full cooperation with Scotland Yard.[23]       


[1] Eli Lake, Josh Rogin, “Exclusive: Courier Led U.S. to al Qaeda Internet Conference,” Daily Beast, August 20, 2013. Available at
[2] “13 held in ‘al-Qaeda office’ raid,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at 
Rana Tanveer, “Lahore bust: al Qaeda’s tech hub smashed; 13 rounded up,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at  
Muhammad Faisal Ali, “’Al Qaeda-linked’ exchange in Lahore unearthed,” Dawn, August 21, 2013. Available at
[3] “Army captain killed, soldier wounded in LoC firing from India,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at 
“Pakistan officer ‘killed by India shelling’ in Kashmir,” BBC, August 21, 2013. Available at   
Katharine Houreld, “Pakistan, India trade blame for Kashmir firing; one dead,” Reuters, August 21, 2013. Available at
“LoC firing: Pakistan Army captain killed,” Dawn, August 21, 2013. Available at
[4] Kamran Yousaf, “Delhi war hysteria: Diplomats, military urged to show restraint on India,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at
[5] “ISI received information about plot to kill Benazir Bhutto,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at
[6] “Kayani doubted Taliban killed Benazir, recounts UN investigator,” Dawn, August 21, 2013. Available at
[7] Mohammad Zafar, “Huge cache of explosives seized in Quetta,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at   
“Security forces seize 100 tons of bomb-making chemicals,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at 
“FC links Quetta ‘bomb-making factory’ to attacks on troops, Shias,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at 
[8] “TTP ‘ready for both talks and war,’” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[9] “Blast near railway station in Chaman kills two, injures 15,” Dawn, August 21, 2013. Available at 
“Chaman: Two killed in railway station blast,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[10] Asad Kharal, “Conspiracy unearthed: Plot to kidnap Punjab chief minister foiled,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at
[11] Kashif Zafar, “Security measures: ‘267 terror accused held in provincial jails,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at
[12] “Fresh violence claims two more lives in Karachi,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at 
“Sunni Tehreek activist among four killed,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at 
“The News former sports correspondent’s only son shot, wounded critically,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at,-wounded-critically
[13] Waqar Bhatti, “Two militants among four killed in Karachi,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[14] “Balochistan missing persons: 2 bodies found in Karachi,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at 
“Two more bodies of missing persons found from Karachi,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[15] “Three schoolchildren killed in Naushero Feroze,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[16] “Quetta: Two security men among three injured in Mastung blast,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[17] “Security beefed up in Peshawar, Nowshera,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at,-Nowshera   
“ECP postpones Tank by-poll amidst security concerns,” Dawn, August 20, 2013. Available at
“Stringent measures: Security plan finalized for NA-1,” Express Tribune, August 20, 2013. Available at
[18] “Pistol seized from Jeddah-bound passenger at Lahore Airport,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[19] “Nisar says Bara Kahu attack was planned in Waziristan,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[20] Shahbaz Rana, “Economic diktat: Islamabad meets all IMF conditions for %7.3 bn loan,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at
[21] Shahbaz Rana, “Progress report: Pakistan secures credit line for Diamer Bhasha Dam,” Express Tribune, August 20, 2013. Available at
[22] “PML-N rejects PTI white paper,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
“PTI unveils 2000-page white paper over polls rigging,” The News, August 21, 2013. Available at
[23] “Imran Farooq case: Sattar pleads for MQM’s innocence,” Express Tribune, August 21, 2013. Available at  
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