Pakistan Security Brief
Karachi violence continues as government launches operation, PPP still opposed to army crackdown; U.S. offers to resume military aid in exchange for allowing trainers back in; Pakistani foreign minister in China, seeks terrorism cooperation; Article profiles leader of Baloch rebel movement; three arrested in American kidnapping case.
Targeted killings in Karachi continued on Tuesday despite calls for a city-wide strike by the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, as six more shot and tortured bodies were discovered in different areas of the city. The deaths bring the toll to 111 over the last eight, while 11 men have been arrested in connection with recent killings. The Sindh home minister announced on Wednesday that authorities had launched an operation in “nine different areas” of the city in order to restore peace to the streets. The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) maintained its opposition to an army crackdown in the city, saying, “calling in the army is out of the question,” as doing so would “complicate” the situation.
During a visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Carl Levin reportedly told to Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani that the U.S. would be willing to restore $800 million in military aid to the country if it agreed to reverse an earlier decision to expel U.S. military trainers from the country. Pakistan expelled almost 100 U.S. trainers in June in a show of anger in response to the U.S. raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. General Kayani reportedly refused to revisit the decision anytime soon. At a separate meeting, President Asif Zardari reportedly told Senator Levin that “any cut in assistance would impact [Pakistan’s] existing economic conditions” and send “negative signals” to the Pakistani public.
Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar is currently on a diplomatic visit to neighboring China aimed at bolstering bilateral ties. During the visit Khar stated that “Pakistan does not want to be used as a base for militant groups and needs the world’s understanding as it tries to handle its problems.” Pakistan is seeking to increase counterterrorism cooperation with China, especially in the wake of recent killings in Kashgar, China, which the Chinese government blamed on Pakistan-based Uighur militants.
An article by the New York Times profiles the exiled leader of one of Balochistan’s main separatist groups. Brahumdagh Bugti, the head of the Bugti tribe, is accused by the Pakistani government of being the head of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), a separatist group that the government says is a terrorist organization with links to Indian intelligence. The article also looks into the Baloch separatist movement which has often been called “Pakistan’s Dirty War” due to the number of people who have “disappeared or have been killed on both sides.” Bugti has been in exile since2006 and currently resides in Switzerland.
American’s Kidnapping Case
Pakistani police have arrested three suspects they believe are linked to the kidnapping of American development expert Warren Weinstein from his home in Lahore earlier this month, according to an anonymous Pakistani police official. The arrests could be the first leads in a case that has so far produced frustratingly few answers as to who kidnapped Weinstein and why. A U.S. embassy official in Islamabad said she was not aware of any arrests being made.
“Karachi operation in selected areas: Wasan,” Dawn, August 23, 2011. Available at http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/24/karachi-operation-in-selected-areas-wasan.html
Zia Khan, “Karachi unrest: ‘Army under no circumstances,’” Express Tribune, August 23, 2011. Available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/237703/leave-karachi-or-face-stern-action-govt-warns-extortionists/