Pakistan Security Brief

“Memogate” witness Mansoor Ijaz testifies from London; Car bomb kills at least 12 in Peshawar; Military commission reaches plea agreement with Majid Shoukat Khan; Pakistani Foreign Minister says Pakistan will only support Afghan-led Taliban peace process; Pakistani jets bomb TTP hideouts killing 15; U.S. State Department declares it will not negotiate with violent Taliban members; Jamiat-e-Ulema Islami organizes rally against drones strikes; Prime Minister Gilani summons emergency meeting to discuss U.S. resolution on Balochistan; Balochistan National Party (BNP) leader Zulfiqar Baloch arrested; Prime Minister Gilani says Pakistan is committed to “result-oriented” engagement with India.


Domestic Politics

  • Mansoor Ijaz, Pakistani American businessman and central player in the “memogate” scandal, testified before a three-judge panel via videoconference in London on Wednesday. Ijaz testified that seven days after the May 2 U.S. raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, then Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani contacted him, asking him to deliver a message to Chairman of the U.S. Joints Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. Ijaz claimed to have maintained regular contact with Haqqani for the past decade. According to Ijaz’s testimony, the memo, allegedly approved by President Asif Ali Zardari and on behalf of the country’s civilian government, requested assistance from the U.S. military and the Obama Administration in preventing a military coup in Pakistan. Ijaz submitted “his 29-page testimony to the commission secretary along with his BlackBerry PIN, phone numbers, emails, code words, documents, and other key information.” When the testimony continued Thursday morning, Ijaz admitted that he wrote the first draft of the secret memo himself because he could not reach Haqqani at the time.[1]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Majid Shoukat Khan, a Pakistani who lived in the U.S. for several years and who has been charged by a U.S. military commission with attempting to kill former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, reached a plea agreement with military prosecutors on Wednesday. The agreement “calls for him to testify at the trials of other detainees in exchange for a much-reduced sentence and eventual freedom.” Khan was captured in Pakistan by the CIA in 2003, and ultimately moved to top-security “Camp 7” at Guantanamo Bay, which houses “high-value detainees.” According to officials familiar with the case, Khan will plead guilty at his arraignment next week, and will testify at military commission trials for the next four years.[2]

  • During Wednesday’s daily press briefing, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner stated that the U.S. has “been very clear about [its] red lines for those Taliban who would participate in any reconciliation process,” and the Taliban members “carrying out violent attacks against Afghans and also international entities in Afghanistan are very clearly not part of this process.”[3]

  • On Thursday, up to 2,000 armed tribesmen in Miram Shah held a rally against U.S. drone strikes. The rally, organized by Jamiat-e-Ulema Islami, took place in the Miram Shah bazaar, where tribesmen shouted “Death to America” and called for compensation for damages caused by the strikes.[4]

  • Reuters reported Wednesday that senior U.S. officials, including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, contacted their Pakistani counterparts prior to resuming drone strikes in January. Despite objections in Islamabad, the U.S. officials notified Pakistani leaders that the covert drone program would be resuming after an eight week pause, and that they were “unlikely to give Pakistan advance notice about drone strikes for the time being.”[5]


  • A car bomb killed at least 12 people, wounded 35 others, and destroyed 20 vehicles at the Kohat bus terminal in Peshawar on Thursday. According to government officials, approximately 100 pounds of explosives and mortar shells were placed in a white car that was parked at the terminal. While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, The New York Times reported that “police had been warned of a possible strike by Lashkar-e-Islam, a pro-Taliban militant group, in retaliation for a continuing military operation in Khyber agency adjoining Peshawar.”[6]

  • Acting on reports from local intelligence sources, two Pakistani jets bombed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan compounds in Upper Orakzai agency on Thursday morning. According to a senior military officer, the bombings killed at least 15 militants and destroyed four hideouts.[7]

  • Unidentified gunmen killed a man in the Mand Sohro area of Kech district, Balochistan on Wednesday. In another incident in Balochistan, armed assailants intercepted a vehicle near the Saranan area of Pishin district on Wednesday and kidnapped three people.[8]


  • The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the nonbinding resolution proposed last week by U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), calling for the secession of Balochistan, has sparked outrage in Pakistan. The Pakistani government claimed that the resolution violated the “United Nations Charter, international law, and recognized norms of interstate conflict.” The Obama Administration “rejected Rohrabacher’s call for an independent Baluchistan” and explained that the actions of individual congressman are not controlled by the administration.[9]

  • On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani summoned an emergency meeting of the parliamentary coordination committee to discuss the situation in Balochistan and the U.S. resolution currently tabled in the House of Representatives supporting the Baloch separatist movement. Balochistan’s chief minister has also summoned a special cabinet meeting in regard to this issue on February 25 in Quetta.[10]

  • Prominent leader of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) Zulfiqar Baloch was arrested on Tuesday after praising the U.S. congressional resolution supporting the Baloch people’s right to self-determination. Baloch demanded that Balochistan be declared independent and that areas of Punjab with predominantly Baloch residents such as Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur be made part of Balochistan. A BNP senator arranged for Baloch’s release.[11]

  • According to The News, Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Pakistan Director Ali Dayan Hassan has received criticism from the Pakistani security establishment as well as Baloch separatists for his testimony at the February 8 U.S. congressional hearing on Balochistan. Hassan said that HRW participated in the hearing to highlight “the grave human rights abuses” perpetrated in Balochistan by the Pakistani military, religious extremist groups and the Baloch nationalists. He dismissed the argument that U.S. aid to the Baloch people would be interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, calling it a “bogus claim made by abusive states to engage in further abuse.” HRW does not “take sides” on the issue of Baloch independence, said Hassan, but the issue of abuse in Balochistan is one that “deserves the attention and constructive engagement of the international community, including the U.S.”[12]

International Relations

  • Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday that Pakistan will support the Afghan government in its efforts to achieve reconciliation with the Taliban, but it “will not” and “cannot lead” the peace process.[13]

  • During a reception hosted in honor of speaker of the lower house of India’s parliament Meira Kumar’s visit to Pakistan, Prime Minister Gilani stated that Pakistan is committed to “result-oriented, constructive and productive engagement with India.” Gilani added that Kumar and the Indian parliamentary delegation’s “visit will pave the way for strengthening relations between the people.”[14]

  • The Jang Economic Session on the “Future of Pak-Iran Trade Ties” was held in Lahore on Wednesday. The event included panelists from the public and private sectors of both Iran and Pakistan, and focused on bilateral trade and foreign policy issues, including the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. Former president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shahid Hassan Sheikh said that “aid discussions were underway to increase Pak-Iran trade volume to $10 billion” and “effective policies could pave way for early access to Iranian energy resources which would boost Pakistan’s economy.”[15]


[1] Alex Rodriguez, “Businessman testifies on claim Pakistan officials sought U.S. aid,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2012. Available at,0,5234947.story
Ali Hassan, “Ijaz records statement before memo panel,” Daily Times, February 23, 2012. Available at\02\23\story_23-2-2012_pg1_2
“Authored first draft of memo myself, says Ijaz,” Dawn, February 23, 2012. Available at 
[2] Peter Finn, “High-value Guantanamo Bay detainee Majid Khan, in first, reaches plea deal,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2012. Available at
[3] “Daily Press Briefing,” U.S. Department of State, February 22, 2012. Available at
[4] “Tribesman in Miranshah protest US drone strikes,” AFP, February 23, 2012. Available at
[5] Missy Ryan and Mark Hosenball, “U.S. pushed ahead with drone strikes despite Pakistani resistance,” Reuters, February 22, 2012. Available at
[6] Ismail Khan, “Lethal Blast Strikes Northwest Pakistan Bus Terminal,” The New York Times, February 23, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan: Many die as car bomb hits Peshawar bus stop,” BBC, February 23, 2012. Available at
[7] “Jets kills 15 Taliban militants in Upper Orakzai: Officials,” The Express Tribune, February 23, 2012. Available at
[8] “One killed, three kidnapped in Kech, Pishin,” Daily Times, February 23, 2012. Available at\02\23\story_23-2-2012_pg7_19
[9] “US congressman calls for Pakistan’s largest province to secede, sparking latest conflict,” The Associated Press, February 23, 2012. Available at
[10] Mumtaz Alvi, “PM calls emergency meeting on Balochistan today,” The News International, February 23, 2012. Available at
[11] “Supporting US Resolution: BNP leader temporarily arrested,” The Express Tribune, February 23, 2012. Available at
[12] Umar Cheema, “HRW caught in the crossfire of Balochistan,” The News International, February 23, 2012. Available at
[13] “Pakistan vows to support not lead Afghan peace drive,” Reuters, February 22, 2012. Available at
[14] “Indian delegation visit: Gilani reaffirms commitment to peace with New Delhi,” The Express Tribune, February 23, 2012. Available at
[15] “Pak-Iran gas pipeline can end energy crisis,” The News International, February 23, 2012. Available at
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