Pakistan Security Brief
Bomb attack on bus of policemen kills 13 and injures 47 in Karachi, TTP claims responsibility for attack; Government-nominated negotiating committee calls for immediate end to all TTP attacks; TTP’s political shura agrees to meet directly with government-nominated committee to discuss possible ceasefire; TTP shura intends to include all Taliban groups in peace discussions; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif refuses to provide deadline on terrorism issue until progress is achieved in peace talks; Turkish and Afghan Presidents and Pakistani Prime Minister meet in Turkey to discuss Afghanistan’s future; Pakistan hopes to finalize deal with Qatar for natural gas; Pakistan exploring importing more electricity from Iran; U.S. State Department says U.S. does not support independence for Balochistan; Saudi Crown Prince to visit Pakistan; TTP releases video threatening religious minorities in Chitral district; Frontier Corps kills four militants in Dera Bugti clash; Two injured in Kurram agency blast; Islamabad arrest two teenage boys who were inspired by TTP to create terrorist group; Indian security forces kill two militants in Kashmir; Asian Development Bank agrees to $900 million load to Pakistan to finance power plant.
On Thursday, an explosive-laden car attacked a bus transporting policemen near the Razzaqabad police training college in Karachi’s Shah Latif town, killing 13 and injuring 47. The spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Shahidullah Shahid, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in revenge for the killing of the TTP’s members by police and Rangers forces in Peshawar, Swabi district, and Karachi. Shahid also told reporters that the TTP would continue its defensive war until the government- and TTP-nominated negotiating committees reach a ceasefire agreement.
Talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP)
According to a Thusday article in Geo News, the government-nominated negotiating committee wrote a letter to the TTP-nominated committee, calling for an immediate end to all attacks that are negatively impacting peace talks. Members of the TTP committee say they did not receive the letter. Speaking to Geo news, TTP committee member Irfan Siddiqui said that TTP commander Yousuf Shad had received the letter.
On Thursday, the TTP’s political shura agreed to meet directly with the government-nominated negotiating committee at an unnamed site in North Waziristan either at the end of this week or next week to discuss the possible ceasefire.
On Wednesday, Professor Mohammed Ibrahim, a member of the TTP-nominated negotiating committee, said that the TTP’s shura intends to include all Taliban groups—which Ibrahim numbered at nearly 50—in peace discussions. Ibrahim also said that the TTP shura assured the negotiating committee that it will withdraw its support for any militant groups that continue attacks.
According to a Thursday article in the Express Tribune, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that dialogue between the government- and TTP-nominated negotiating committees is progressing effectively. He also noted that the government is aware of elements trying to sabotage the peace process. According to The News, Prime Minister Sharif also said he would only provide a deadline on the issue of terrorism after progress in the peace talks.
Afghan Reconciliation Process
On Wednesday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met in Ankara, Turkey to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan after North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops leave, as well as the possibility of talks with the Afghan Taliban.
In the February 18 talks in Doha between the Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Qatari officials, Pakistan is hoping to formalize a deal that would set the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) going from Qatar to Pakistan.
According to a Thursday report in The News, Pakistan is seeking to import 1000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Iran, a drastic increase over the 60MW currently being imported from Iran. The plans are in their early stages, with approval by the Ministry of Water and Power needed to begin talks with Iran.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud will visit Pakistan to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as well as other high-ranking government officials. They will discuss trade ties and the Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia.
On February 2, the TTP released a video declaring that the group will conduct an armed struggle against two ethnic communities living in Chitral district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Kalash, who practice an ancient tribal religion, and the Shia Ismaili sect.
According to a Thursday report in The News, police arrested two teenage boys in Islamabad who were inspired by the TTP to create a terrorist group called the Chingaari Group, and had planned to strike Shia congregation halls in the city. They had no formal ties to the TTP but said they planned to join the group once they turned 18 years-old.