Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – August 3, 2010
45 killed in Karachi ethnic and political violence; Islamic charities outperforming government in flood relief; President Obama calls Pakistan a “partner” in fight against al-Qaeda; President Zardari arrives in U.K. for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron; President Zardari warns that international community is “losing war” against Taliban; Pakistan’s Foreign Minister calls for India to “exercise restraint” in Kashmir.
At least 45 people have been killed and 72 others wounded in widespread violence following the killing of a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader on Tuesday. Shortly after the killing, political and ethnic violence erupted throughout the city, as crowds set fire to vehicles, shops, and several gas stations. The violence is attributed to tensions between the Urdu-speaking and Pashtun communities. An increase in the activities of Sunni militant groups, whose ideology conflicts with the MQM’s secular politics, is also thought to be contributing to unrest in the commercial city. MQM’s Coordination Committee accused the Awami National Party of being behind the killing.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Tuesday that the banned militant groups Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were involved in the murder of MQM leader Raza Haider. Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Malik said that the killing was part of a conspiracy to divide the coalition government in Sindh. Meanwhile, more than 20 suspects belonging to banned religious groups were arrested overnight in different parts of the city, Karachi Police Chief Wasim Ahmad told Geo News. Wasim added that “solid proof” links the killing of Raza Haider with a network of banned groups.
Islamists Providing Flood Relief
Reuters reported on Monday that several Islamic charities with ties to militant groups are providing aid to victims of the devastating floods in northwest Pakistan. So far, At least 1,300 people have died and another 1 million left homeless. Reuters notes that Falah-e-Insaniyat, which has ties to Jamat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity widely viewed as front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), has already established 13 displaced persons camps and 6 medical centers. Meanwhile, the government has yet to mobilize an effective relief effort. According to Huma Yusuf, a columnist for Dawn, “tragedies such as those Pakistanis have borne in the past few days — the plane crash and the ravaging floods — provide governments with the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity for governance. The failure to do so breeds conditions that allow extremism to thrive.”
President Barack Obama said on Monday that the U.S. was making progress in Afghanistan and stressed that Pakistan is a partner in the fight against al-Qaeda. “In Pakistan, we’ve seen the government begin to take the fight to violent extremists within its borders. Major blows have been struck against al Qaeda and its leadership,” Obama told the Disabled American Veterans convention.
Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, is scheduled to arrive in the U.K. on Tuesday to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Relations between London and Islamabad worsened last week when Cameron said that Pakistan cannot “look both ways” by supporting terrorism while calling for regional stability. “Cameron's uncalled for remarks and the fact that these were made in India had disappointed the people of Pakistan,” a presidential spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. Despite calls to cancel the visit, the statement argued that it was now “all the more important that the president's visit to the U.K. went ahead as planned to raise this and other issues with the British Prime Minister.”
“Losing War” in Aghanistan
According to an interview published by Le Monde in France on Tuesday, President Zardari warned that the international community is “losing the war against the Taliban…above all because we have lost the battle to win hearts and minds.” On the last day of a visit to France, President Zardari also said that it was “unfortunate” that individuals continue to raise doubts about Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism, adding that the U.S. and NATO “underestimated the situation on the ground” in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to increase economic and defense cooperation .
Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, denounced the leaked U.S. military reports on Tuesday, saying their authors were misled by Afghan officials hostile to Pakistan. In an interview on CBS, Haroon said that the release of the documents appeared to be part of an “orchestrated campaign” against Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, called on India to “exercise restraint” in Indian Administered Kashmir, where at least 42 people have been killed in weeks of violence. “Pakistan is seriously concerned at the escalation of violence against Kashmiri people that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives,” Qureshi said on Tuesday. According to sources, most of the deaths occurred when security forces tried to disperse a crowd protesting against Indian rule.
At least 12 militants were killed during an attack on Monday in Upper Orakzai. According to sources, militants attacked a checkpoint in Dabori Afghan Top. Two security forces personnel were also injured during the attack. (For detailed bi-weekly updates on the security situation in Orakzai CLICK HERE)