Pakistan Security Brief

U.S. charges Pakistani with attempting to kill former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf; Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) releases video, claiming responsibility for bombing; Former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence says Musharraf knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad;  Pakistan’s “newly assertive” Supreme Court challenges civilian government and military; U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan gives speech on future of U.S.-Pakistan relations; Pakistani officials protest kidnapping and killing of Pakistani tribesmen by Afghan forces; Haleemzai tribesmen in Mohmand tribal region form armed group to take on militants; Counsel for Pakistan’s former ambassador to U.S. will fly overseas to cross-examine Mansoor Ijaz in “memogate” case.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Majid Shoukat Khan, a Pakistani who lived in the U.S. for several years, has been charged with attempting to kill former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Tuesday. Khan allegedly wore an explosives vest and sat in a mosque in Karachi waiting for Musharraf, but his assassination attempt was foiled when Musharraf never arrived. The Pentagon alleged that Khan was working with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to plan attacks in the U.S., such as plans to blow up underground gasoline storage tanks at gas stations. Khan is also alleged to have conspired with al Qaeda members to plan and prepare attacks against targets in various parts of the world, including the Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta, Indonesia, which killed 11 people and injured 81 others. According to investigators, as a teenager, Khan moved with his family to the Baltimore area in 1996, and he returned to Pakistan in 2002, where he was introduced to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and he began to work with al Qaeda. The CIA captured Khan in March 2003 and held him in secret custody for three years, at which point, Khan was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. Currently, Khan is being held in a top-security prison for “high-value” prisoners.[1]

  • Associated Press (AP) reports that Pakistan’s “newly assertive” Supreme Court is challenging both the civilian government and the military in several “high-profile cases,” signaling a possible “power shift” within the country. Some are applauding the court’s activism and believe it is necessary to transform the country from one that has long been dominated by its strongest institution, the army, into one that has a more balanced diffusion of power. Yet there are others who see the court as simply another “unaccountable institution” that is trying to undermine the democratically elected government. The U.S. supports “a stable, civilian-led democracy in Pakistan,” says AP, but the military has been the U.S.’s “principal point of contact” for the last decade, and a new “diffusion of power could make it even more difficult for Washington to prod the country to do its bidding.”[2]

  • U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter gave a speech focusing on the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations at the Harvard Kennedy School on Monday. “The CIA-ISI relationship is still cooperative,” said Munter, but the “military-to-military relationship” between the U.S. and Pakistan “has taken a beating.” The ambassador advised that “assistance to Pakistan should have the goal of ending assistance to Pakistan,” and he voiced his hopes that one day the current “assistance-based relationship” would transform into a trade “partnership.” According to Munter, “deep down,” Pakistanis “do not want Americans to go away, instead they want a “partnership and a better sense of respect.”[3]

Domestic Politics

  • According to the former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General Ziauddin Khawaja, former president Pervez Musharraf apparently knew that another ISI official, Brigadier Ijaz Shah, was responsible for setting up the compound in Abbottabad for bin Laden, keeping him hidden and ensuring his safety.[4]

  • The counsel for Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani has decided to fly overseas to cross-examine the key witness in the “memogate” case Mansoor Ijaz in person rather than via video link.[5]

  • On Thursday, Pakistan’s Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq is expected to submit his reply to the Supreme Court on behalf of the prosecution in the prime minister’s contempt case. The court will resume the contempt hearing on February 22.[6]

International Relations

  • At a tripartite meeting in the border town of Chaman on Tuesday, Pakistani officials met with officials from Afghanistan and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to protest last week’s kidnapping and killing of two Pakistani tribesmen by Afghan forces. Pakistani officials asked Afghan and ISAF officials to complete the investigation into the incident within two days and to reprimand the Afghan soldiers involved.[7] 


  • The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) released a video on Tuesday, claiming responsibility for the September 19, 2011 bombing outside Central Investigation Department Senior Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam’s house in Karachi, which killed eight people. The video shows a man claiming to be the suicide bomber, who says that Pakistan, which was intended to be a country for the “pure,” is now ruled by those who are “impure,” and that its rulers are “first and foremost” in spreading “tyranny.” The bomber then announces his intentions to fight this “tyranny, starting with Pakistan,” by “tear[ing] into them and their anti-Islam plans with pieces of [his] body.”[8]

  • Pakistan’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested two suspected target killers in Karachi’s Risala area on Tuesday. According to the CID, the suspects have confessed to being involved in 20 target killings in Karachi.[9]

  • More than 100 Haleemzai tribesmen in the Mohmand tribal region have again formed an armed group, after a three-year respite, to take action against militants in their area. On Tuesday, tribesmen made announcements warning that if the militants did not surrender to the government within a week, then the armed group would take decisive steps against the militants.[10]

  • Unidentified assailants threw a hand grenade, which failed to explode at Geo News reporter Saeedullah Marwat’s house in Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday. Marwat was not at home at the time of the attack.[11]

  • A bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in Jamrud, Khyber agency on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring eight others.[12]


[1] “Pakistani charged in US with attempting to kill Musharraf,” Reuters, February 15, 2012. Available at
[2] Sebastian Abbot, “Court activism sign of power shift in Pakistan,” Associated Press, February 14, 2012. Available at
[3] Anwar Iqbal, “Munter calls for move from aid to trade,” Dawn, February 14, 2012. Available at
[4] Bruce Riedel, “Pakistan’s Musharraf Has Been Accused of Knowing Osama bin Laden’s Hideout,” The Daily Beast, February 14, 2012. Available at
[5] “Zahid Bukhari to cross-examine Mansoor Ijaz abroad,” Geo, February 15, 2012. Available at
[6] “AG to submit reply in PM contempt case on Thursday,” Geo, February 15, 2012. Available at
[7] Saleem Shahid, “Pakistan wants inquiry into tribesmen’s killing,” Dawn, February 15, 2012. Available at
[8] “Taliban releases video of DHA bomb attack,” The Express Tribune, February 15, 2012. Available at
[9] “CID arrests two alleged target killers in Karachi,” Geo, February 14, 2012. Available at
[10] “Haleemzais raise lashkar to check militants,” Dawn, February 15, 2012. Available at
[11] “Grenade attack at Geo reporters house,” Geo, February 15, 2012. Available at
[12] “One killed in Khyber Agency blast,” Geo, February 15, 2012. Available at
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