Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – August 5, 2010
Total number of people affected by Pakistan flooding rises to 4 million as evacuations begin in Sindh and eastern Punjab; death toll rises to 86 in latest wave of Karachi violence; President Zardari scheduled to have dinner with U.K. Prime Minister Cameron ahead of official talks; one terrorist killed, one captured following shootout with police in Islamabad.
The total number of people affected by the severe flooding throughout northern Pakistan rose to 4 million as the government began the evacuation of 500,000 more civilians from vulnerable areas further to the south in the provinces of Sindh and eastern Punjab. Civilians continue to flee flooded villages amid rising concerns that dams in Punjab may not be able to hold back the rising water levels. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to aiding Pakistan in coping with the flood disaster “in the days and weeks ahead” as American military helicopters began flying rescue sorties over the affected areas.
A new article from the Associated Press examines a school in Swat Valley run by the Pakistan Army for the rehabilitation of boys, some as young as 12 years old, who were recruited to fight for the Taliban. The school, which was established in September 2009, is currently attended by more than 120 boys and offers the students psychological therapy and quality education, two rare privileges for most youths in the country. The success of the school is still unclear with many students still unable to find jobs after their release and others who have been caught trying to rejoin extremist groups.
Unofficial tallies indicate the death toll in the latest wave of Karachi violence has risen to 86 since the murder of MQM lawmaker Syed Raza Haider on Monday. According to reports, 27 more people were killed in various shooting incidents on Wednesday while five people were wounded in a hand-grenade attack at a mosque in the North Nazimabad area. Separately, an exchange of fire between two factions of drug traffickers was reported in the Shantinagar area of the city on Thursday, causing shops and businesses to close down.
- President Asif Ali Zardari is scheduled to have dinner with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday ahead of official talks due to be held on Friday amid tensions over Cameron’s controversial remarks regarding Pakistan’s alleged support for terrorist groups. The dinner will be held at Cameron’s country retreat at Chequers and will be held to honor the life of Zardari’s late wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A spokesman for Cameron said that the Prime Minister’s goal for the formal meetings on Friday is to “discuss how to continue to support Pakistan” and “reinforce strong links between the two countries.”
- Police exchanged fire with three suspected terrorists in Islamabad on Wednesday, killing one of the suspects and arresting another. The shooting began when the suspects attempted to flee after trying to pick up their vehicle at a car workshop which was being watched by police acting on an intelligence report. During interrogation, the arrested suspect claimed that he belonged to a banned militant group and was involved in last week’s assassination of the son of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, among other terrorist acts.
- The Corps Commanders’ Conference, chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, is currently underway at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Foremost on the agenda is the military’s role in relief activities for those affected by the severe flooding throughout the country. On Wednesday, General Kayani announced that all personnel of all ranks within the Pakistan Army would donate one day’s salary to aiding flood victims.
- On Wednesday, a group of 45 militants, including three commanders, surrendered to security forces in Mohmand Agency. The militants belonged to an Afghan militant group led by Qari Zia-ur Rehman which operates out of Bajaur Agency. Separately, large quantities of weapons were seized during a search operation conducted in the Charmang valley of Mohmand Agency’s Nawagai subdivision, including automatic rifles, rockets, mortar shells, bombs, hand grenades, and anti-tank mines.