Pakistan Security Brief

Lal Masjid cleric alleges police harassment after release of video supporting IS;  Lal Masjid cleric endorses Jamia Hafsa’s support for IS; Indian police arrest IS-supporting Twitter user; Police kill four militants belonging to Punjabi Taliban’s Abu Zubaida group in Muzaffargarh; Five TTP, LI militants killed in clashes with security forces in Khyber Agency; Security forces kill one militant, injure four in Khyber Agency; Militants kill one policeman, injure two in Khuzdar district, Balochistan; IED kills tribal elder in Wana, South Waziristan; PTI chief holds protests in Lahore, agrees to defer countrywide shutdown on establishment of judicial commission; Court orders immediate arrest of PAT chief;  Afghan government requests Pakistan’s help in negotiating with Taliban, claims report; U.S. Congress approves extension of military aid for Pakistan; Prime Minister Sharif appoints new permanent representative to the United Nations; IDPs from Khyber unwilling to return home, claims report.

Islamic State in South Asia

  • On December 14, Ihtashamul Haq, a cleric and trustee of the Lal Masjid Shuhada Foundation, filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court claiming police harassment. The petition was filed following the release of a video message by students of the affiliated Jamia Hafsa girls’ madrassa expressing support for Islamic State (IS). The petition contends that the police issued a detention order against Haq despite clarification by Haq that the foundation had nothing to do with the video message.[1]

  • According to a December 14 report in The News, the ex-prayer leader of the Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, has endorsed the recent declaration of support for IS and its chief Abu Bakr Baghdadi by students of the Jamia Hafsa madrassa. A group of students had released a video earlier expressing support for IS and urging its fighters to avenge the death of al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden. Maulana Aziz further warned security agencies against carrying out a search operation at the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, claiming that the video was harmless and contained nothing objectionable.[2]

  • On December 13, Indian police arrested a 24-year old executive named Mehri Masroor Biswas, who is alleged to be the handler of a Twitter account supporting IS, in the southern city of Bangalore. The police also seized incriminating documents, Islamic literature and photos from his house. According to the Press Trust of India, Biswas is likely to be charged with cyber terrorism and sentenced to life imprisonment.[3] 


  • On December 13, police forces killed four militants in a shootout in the city of Muzaffargarh, Punjab province. The militants reportedly belonged to Punjabi Taliban’s Abu Ubaida group. The police also recovered heavy weapons and explosives including four suicide jackets, 12 rockets, 40 hand grenades, and 328 kilograms of gun-powder from the militants. According to intelligence sources, the militants were planning a terror attack during a Shia religious ceremony in the cities of Multan and Muzaffargarh. Three police officials were also injured in the encounter.[4]

  • On December 13, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militants attacked a security forces’ bunker in the Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency. Security forces repulsed the attack, killing five militants and injuring ten others. [5] 

  • On December 14, security forces targeted militant hideouts, killing one militant and injuring four others, in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency.[6]

  • On December 13, militants opened fire at a police check point, killing one policeman and injuring two others in Khuzdar district of Balochistan.[7]

  • On December 13, a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) killed a tribal elder and injured another person in the Shakai are of Wana in South Waziristan. [8]

Political Crisis

  • On December 14, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan declared that his party would withdraw its call for a countrywide shutdown if the government set up a judicial commission at the earliest to probe alleged rigging during 2013 general elections. Meanwhile on December 15, PTI activists shut down major roads in Lahore and burnt tires while waving flags and chanting anti-government slogans. According to reports, 19,000 policemen were deployed in Lahore ahead of the PTI protests in the city. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership had also reportedly instructed its party workers in Lahore to avoid clashes with PTI activists during the protests.[9]

  • On December 15, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi ordered for the immediate arrest of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri on charges of attacking police officials. [10]

Foreign Affairs

  • According to a December 15 Express Tribune report, the new Afghan administration led by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has asked Pakistan to play a more “visible” role in persuading the Afghan Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government. The report claims that the request for help stems from the perception that Pakistan’s security establishment can still persuade Taliban insurgents to negotiate with the new administration because of Pakistan’s historic ties with Taliban. Pakistani officials, however, deny that they enjoy the same level of influence over the Afghan Taliban as they did in the past. Pakistani officials have also publicly insisted that Pakistan cannot lead the peace process in Afghanistan but that it is willing to play the role of a facilitator.[11]

  • On December 12, the U.S. Congress approved the $ 584.2 billion National Defense Authorization Act 2015 which includes provisions for extending the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan for a year, ending in 2015. According to its provisions, Pakistan cannot receive more than a billion dollars a year from this fund.[12]

  • On December 12, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar warned Pakistan of a “strong response” by India for allegedly aiding and abetting cross-border terrorism and claimed that it was an open secret that militants operating in Indian-administered Kashmir come from Pakistan. On December 13, foreign office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam dismissed Parrikar’s assertions as “unfounded allegations.” Aslam further declared that such provocative statements were not conducive to peace in the region and that Pakistan was capable of thwarting any form of aggression.[13]    

  • On December 15, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Dr. Maleeha Lodhi as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations. According to a statement issued by the foreign office, Dr. Lodhi is expected to resume responsibilities in February 2015. Dr. Lodhi has previously served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States twice and also as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.[14]

Indian-administered Kashmir

  • On December 14, voters in the city of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir voted in the fourth phase of assembly elections in the region amid tight security and cold weather. According to reports, the state witnessed a 49 percent voter turnout despite calls for a boycott by separatist leaders. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to establish a foothold in the Muslim-majority state for the first time. Election results are due on December 23.[15] 

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

  • According to a December 12 Dawn report, internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Khyber Agency’s Bara sub-district, who are currently living in the Jalozai IDP camp, are reluctant to return home due to the fact that infrastructure damaged in counterterrorism operations remains unrepaired and because of a lack of adequate security against militants in the region.[16]

[1]“Lal Masjid cleric files petition against police ‘harassment’,” Dawn, December 14, 2014. Available at
[2]“Lal Masjid cleric comes out to support Islamic State,” The News, December 14, 2014. Available at
[3]“Indian police arrest influential pro-IS tweeter,” Express Tribune, December 15, 2014. Available at
[4]“Police foil terror attack, kill four militants in Muaffargarh,” Express Tribune, December 13, 2014. Available at
“Four Taliban militants killed in Muzaffargarh encounter,” The News, December 14, 2014. Available at
[5]“5 militants killed in Tirah clash,” The News, December 15, 2014. Available at
[6]“Security forces pound hideouts; suspected militant killed,” Dawn, December 15, 2014. Available at
[7]“Militants kill policeman in Khuzdar, police targeted in Quetta,” Dawn, December 13, 2014. Available at
[8]“Tribal elder killed in Wana blast,” December 14, 2014. Available at
[9]“PTI offers to withdraw countrywide shutdown call,” Dawn, December 14, 2014. Available at
“Sharifs for ‘avoiding’ face-off between PML-N, PTI tomorrow,” Dawn, December 14, 2014. Available at
“Pakistan’s Khan Leads Antigovernment Protest in Lahore,” RFERL, December 15, 2014. Available at
[10]“ATC orders Qadri’s immediate arrest,” Express Tribune, December 15, 2014. Available at
[11]“Peace with Taliban: Kabul wants Islamabad to play visible role,” Express Tribune, December 15, 2014. Available at
[12]“Congress approves defence bill, CSF for Pakistan,” Dawn, December 14, 2014. Available at
[13]“’Strong action’ against Pakistan in 6 months: Parrikar,” Times of India, December 13, 2014. Available at
“Pakistan capable of thwarting any aggression: FO,” The News, December 15, 2014. Available at
[14]“PM Nawaz appoints Dr. Maleeha Lodhi as Permanent Representative to UN,” Dawn, December 15, 2014. Available at
[15]“Indian media: ‘Good turnout’ in Kashmir polls,” BBC, December 15, 2014. Available at
[16]“Bara IDPs hesitant to return home,” Dawn, December 12. 2014. Available at


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