Pakistan Security Brief
Abbottabad Commission to re-examine Bin Laden raid; report finds increasing “Talibanization” of Balochistan; clause protecting Pakistan sovereignty included in U.S.-Pak trade deal; Zardari and Ahmadinejad discuss strengthening ties; “liberal” India-Pak visa policy to be signed this year; Pakistan seeks to increase trade with Australia; PM Ashraf and CJCSC discuss security and preparedness of military.
Osama Bin Laden Raid
A member of the Abbottabad Commission, the group tasked with investigating the death of Osama Bin Laden, said on Thursday that the Commission will re-examine Bin Laden’s death and whether anyone in Pakistan knew about the operation in light of the new book on the raid by an American commando. Pakistani officials have denied knowing anything about the raid, but “insiders privy to the commission’s workings told The Express Tribune on Thursday there was huge pressure on the probe body to not share its findings with the public.”
Balochistan province has seen growing “Talibanization” in many areas, and Quetta seems to be becoming a militant safe haven , according to a report issued by a recent fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Thursday. The mission found that this Talibanization is being bred locally by new madrasas and training camps in addition to being imported to the area, . The Frontier Corps, intelligence agencies, and local authorities are all thought to either be totally ignoring the problem or collaborating with these militants.
The Pakistan Army’s Strategic Planning Division (SPD) is concerned that the new U.S.-Pakistan bilateral investment treaty (BIT) will pose a threat to the security of Pakistan’s nuclear and defense sectors, though the Chairman of the Board of Investment Saleem Mandviwalla has said that the agreement won’t pose any problems. Due to the SPD’s concerns, treaty negotiators have included a clause allowing Pakistan to veto investment through “non-conforming measures,” though these have yet to be finalized . Additionally, Mandviwalla has insisted that foreign nationals hired for top managerial positions obtain clearances from Pakistani security agencies.
On the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran, President Asif Ali Zardari met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to discuss further strengthening the commercial relationship between the two countries, which are already involved in several joint mega projects. The two leaders discussed expanding trade, the progress of joint projects, including the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and several roadwork initiatives; greater cooperation in addressing cross-border crime and drug trafficking; opening new border posts at Mand-Pishin and Gabd-Rimdan; increasing air traffic across the border; and the need for a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
India and Pakistan are likely to sign a “liberal visa policy” this year following a four-day bilateral conference held earlier this month. Former High Commissioner of Pakistan in India Shahid Malik confirmed that the two countries have already drafted the policy and will sign it in the coming months. He stated that the policy will be very helpful in bolstering trade and peaceful relations between the two countries, adding that once the “hurdles” between Indian and Pakistani businesses have been removed, their commercial relationship will flourish and permit a “new era” of cordial relations.
At a meeting today with an Australian delegation, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf expressed enthusiasm about the further development of commercial and trade relations with Australia. Ashraf encouraged the Australian delegation to consider investment opportunities in Pakistan’s coal and power industries.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), met at the Prime Minister’s House Thursday to discuss the country’s security situation and the status of the armed forces. The Prime Minister reportedly “expressed confidence in the leadership of the armed forces and said that the people of Pakistan were proud of their defense forces.”