Pakistan Security Brief

Report by Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims U.S. drone strikes target “rescuers” and “mourners;” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani travels to Qatar; CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus says Afghan forces should not enter Pakistan; Police arrest suspected Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander in Karachi; Islamabad receives another terrorist threat from TTP; Al Qaeda linked militant killed in Kurram agency is identified; U.S. congressional hearing to take place Wednesday on Balochistan issue; Banned militant organizations in Pakistan reportedly receiving renewed funding; Clash between Lashkar-e-Islam and a Zakhakhel tribal militia kills four; Explosion occurs at tribal elder’s house in Peshawar, killing four; Pakistani Supreme Court suspends membership of 28 parliament members.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • A report by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims that the CIA’s drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan have allegedly targeted civilians who rushed to help after a strike and who attended subsequent funerals. According to the report, which is based on interviews with witnesses of strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, at least 50 “rescuers” and 20 “mourners” have been killed. The findings were published Sunday, just days after President Obama announced that drone strikes are “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists,” which “have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.”[1]
  • The U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will convene a congressional hearing on Wednesday to discuss the issue of Balochistan, particularly the topic of an independent Balochistan and the ongoing violence that includes targeted killings, kidnappings and human rights violations. Pakistan has treated Balochistan as an internal matter and has kept the U.S. at a distance by refusing to grant Washington permission to open a consulate in Quetta.[2]

International Relations

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani arrived in Qatar on Monday for a three-day official visit. Gilani, who told reporters on Sunday that Pakistan will support an “Afghan-led” peace process in the interest of a “stable Pakistan,” is expected to meet with the country’s emir and prime minister to discuss the U.S.-Taliban peace talks hosted by Qatar. His visit is also aimed at strengthening ties with Qatar and opening up opportunities for cooperation in multiple areas, including the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to resolve Pakistan’s energy crisis.[3]
  • At a Kashmir convention marking Kashmir Solidarity Day on Sunday, Prime Minister Gilani said that Pakistan wants to resolve the long-standing dispute over the region through “dialogue, diplomacy, prudent policy and national consensus.” “A peaceful settlement” of the dispute that “accords fully with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people is essential for peace and prosperity in the region,” said Gilani.[4]
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are expected to visit Pakistan on February 16 for a trilateral summit aimed at strengthening “regional peace, stability and the Afghan-led conciliation process.”[5] 
  • CIA Director General David Petraeus told a congressional committee that although Taliban leaders’ safe havens in Pakistan pose a significant threat, he believes that Afghan forces should not enter Pakistan to destroy them, because “they probably have sufficient fights on their hands without invading the soil of another country.” Petraeus also told the committee that it is very important for the U.S. to further develop a northern supply route for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, since Pakistan has closed its NATO routes indefinitely.[6]


  • According to intelligence agency sources, Islamabad received another terrorist threat on Friday from TTP militants. Stringent security measures including Rangers check posts, police and paramilitary patrol teams and extensive search operations have been put into place to counter the threat, said Inspector General Police Bini Ameen.[8]
  • An al Qaeda linked militant killed in Kurram agency on February 1 has been identified as Aslanov Zaur, an Azerbaijani national. According to his passport, documents and photographs retrieved by security forces, Zaur was a key commander who played a significant role in attacks on Pakistani troops in the tribal areas. The documents also revealed that after entering Iran in 2009, Zaur went underground and allegedly entered Afghanistan and then Pakistan through secret routes.[9]
  • A British news agency reported that according to Pakistani spy agencies, several banned militant organizations in Pakistan are back in action after receiving renewed funding. The agencies alleged that these organizations have opened new bank accounts under different names, and they are transferring funds through these accounts within the country and also overseas.[10]
  • Three Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militants and one volunteer from a Zakhakhel tribal militia were killed on Friday in a clash between the two groups in the Tirah Valley, Khyber agency. Zakhakhel tribesmen managed to destroy an LI hideout being used as a bomb-making factory, which LI militants abandoned two days earlier due to fear of a possible attack. In a separate incident in Tirah Valley on Friday, members of LI blew up a mosque in an area populated by the Ziauddin sub-branch of the Zakhakhel tribe. There were no casualties in the explosion, since locals had abandoned the mosque for fear of an attack.[13]
  • Four people were killed and several others injured in an explosion at the house of tribal elder Astana Gul in the Peshtakhara area of Peshawar on Friday evening. Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) claimed responsibility for the blast, which seemed to be targeting Gul, a former member of LI who left and joined its rival, Ansar-ul-Islam. Gul was not at home at the time of the explosion and thus escaped injury.[16] 

Domestic Politics

  • According to Transparency International Pakistan (TIP), Pakistan has lost more than 8,500 billion rupees ($94 billion) in “corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s tenure.” TIP advisor Adil Gillani said that Pakistan would not need “a single penny” of foreign aid, if it effectively checked the corruption running rampant within the country.[17]
  • On Monday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended the membership of 28 members of Parliament (MPs) who were elected through by-polls after the passage of the 18th amendment to the constitution. Once the government passes the 20th amendment, giving the MPs constitutional protection, they will be reinstated, said the court. The court also rejected Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan’s request to stop by-elections until the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) provides new and accurate electoral rolls. According to the court, the National Database and Registration Authority assured the court that it would be able to provide new voters lists to the ECP by the February 25 deadline.[19]




[1] Scott Shane, “U.S. Said to Target Rescuers at Drone Strike Sites,” New York Times, February 5, 2012. Available at
[2] Malik Siraj Akbar, “US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan,” Dawn, February 6, 2012. Available at
[3] “Gilani arrives in Qatar on 3-day official visit,” Geo News, February 6, 2012. Available at
[5] “Iran, Afghan Presidents to visit Pakistan on Feb 16,” News International, February 5, 2012. Available at
[6] Anwar Iqbal, “Afghan forces should not enter Pakistan: CIA chief,” Dawn, February 4, 2012. Available at
[7] “LEAs arrest alleged TTP commander, three members,” Daily Times, February 5, 2012. Available at\02\05\story_5-2-2012_pg7_17
[8] Shakeel Anjum, “Islamabad receives another terror threat,” News International, February 4, 2012. Available at
[9] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Identity of al-Qaeda militant killed in Kurram revealed,” Dawn, February 4, 2012. Available at
[10] “Banned outfits back in action on renewed funding: report,” News International, February 4, 2012. Available at
[12] “Minor killed as gunmen fire at car in Landikotal,” News International, February 5, 2012. Available at
[13] “3 militants, volunteer killed in Tirah fighting,” News International, February 4, 2012. Available at
[14] “Terror bid foiled,” News International, February 4, 2012. Available at
[15] S. Raza Hassan, “Two policemen shot dead in targeted attack,” Dawn, February 4, 2012. Available at
[16] Ali Hazrat Bacha, “4 killed in Peshawar blast,” Dawn, February 4, 2012. Available at
[17] Ansar Abbasi, “Rs 8,500 bn corruption mars Gilani tenure: Transparency,” News International, February 5, 2012. Available at
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