Pakistan Security Brief


Sardar Latif Khosa appointed as new governor of Punjab; Vice President Biden in Pakistan for talks; Reintroduction of ROZs bill; Three militants killed in U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan; Over 17,000 IDPs return to Orakzai; Seven hurt in Bajaur explosion; Lashkar-e-Islam leader offers reconciliation to dissident leader; Frontier Corps Search Operation; Suicide attack in Bannu kills eighteen; Two killed in Peshawar blast, Two British men kidnapped in Peshawar.


Governor Taseer Assassination and Fallout

  • Former Attorney General Sardar Latif Khosa has been appointed as the new governor of Punjab province, replacing the assassinated Salman Taseer. Khosa was appointed by President Asif Ali Zardari on the advice of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, according to a statement released by the presidency. Prior to his appointment, Khosa has served as attorney general and is a senior member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Though some observers have viewed it as a conciliatory move by the PPP, other political analysts say the appointment of a PPP loyalist like Khosa would lead to further political tension with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Khosa’s appointment was later challenged on Wednesday in the Lahore High Court by a local lawyer, on previous allegations of corruption.[i]


US-Pakistani Relations

  • US Vice President Joe Biden made his second visit to Pakistan on Wednesday, traveling to the country for talks with top civilian and military leaders. The New York Times quoted military sources as saying that Mr. Biden would meet with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani to confer on bilateral relations and how both countries can work to implement broader stability in the region. As the Washington Post reported on Friday, the talks will also cover potential aid by the United States and issues of economic stability.[ii]

  • The US Coordinator for Economic and Development Assistance in Pakistan, Ambassador Robin Raphel, on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) bill and Kerry Lugar bill in Congress. Though the ROZs bill had not passed in the previous four years, the US administration has planned to resubmit it to Congress in order to “fuel sustainable economic development and provide legitimate employment opportunities, particularly in the border area, as an alternative to violent extremism,” according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.[iii]



  • Three militants were killed on Wednesday in drone strikes in North Waziristan. Pakistani officials in Haider Khel village confirm that a U.S. drone fired two missiles at a militant compound, killing three and injuring two. Pakistani officials were reportedly working to ascertain the identity of those killed, but referred to them as “foreigners,” an expression used for Taliban and al Qaeda linked non-Pashtun militants.[iv]

  • Over 17,600 internally displaced people (IDPs) have made their return to Orakzai under tight security arrangements, a government official was quoted as saying on Tuesday. Riaz Khan Mehsud stated that the return of thousands to their homes testifies to the improvement in stability and security, restoration of civic facilities, and establishment of educational institutions in the agency.[v]

  • Seven tribal elders were hurt in Bajaur Agency on Tuesday, when a roadside bomb was detonated near Kitkot village. Sources testified that the elders were targeted by militants for their role in promoting a tribal armed force in the local Loi Mamund subdivision. Several suspects were arrested following the incident.[vi]

  • Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) chief, Mangal Bagh, has agreed to pursue reconciliation efforts with Tayyab Afridi, the leader of an LI splinter group. Previous reconciliation attemptes between the men had failed, but, recent US drone attacks on LI positions in Khyber reportedly “demoralized” Bagh, leading to his seeking reconciliation with his counterpart.[vii]

  • Frontier Corps Commandant Col. Asad Farooq has implored a tribal jirga to assist the military in eradicating militants in the area, or else be subjected to search operations. Col. Asad Faroq said that action would be taken against tribesmen providing havens for militants. He asked for help in seeking out militants, so that their networks could be interrupted. He pledged that if NATO supply vehicles or schools in the area continue to be attacked, a search operation would commence in the area.[viii]


Suicide Attack in Bannu

  • At least eighteen people were killed at a police station on Wednesday, after a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the heavily fortified station. AFP has reported that those hurt were primarily police officers and paramilitary personnel. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack; Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told AFP that, “We will continue such attacks unless the drone attacks are stopped.”[ix]

Violence in Peshawar

  • In the city of Peshawar, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on the Punjgai road on Wednesday, claiming the lives of two women and injuring seven. A second IED was later defused by bomb disposal teams.[x]

  • Two British men are believed to have been kidnapped while traveling close to the Khyber Pass in late December. Zahida Parvin, the mother of one of the kidnapped men, told the BBC in Birmingham that “a ransom of 2m rupees (£28,000) was being demanded.” A third man is also believed to be missing.[xi]

[i] Nassir Jafrey, “Pakistan president appoints aide as Punjab governor,” AFP, January 11, 2011. Available at
[ii] Salman Masood, “Biden in Pakistan for Talks with Top Officials,” New York Times, January 12, 2011. Available at
[iii] Riaz Khan Daudzai, “Reintroduction of ROZs bill in US Congress planned,” The News, January 12, 2011. Available at
[iv] “US drone strikes kills three in North Waziristan,” AFP, January 12, 2011. Available at
[v] “17,600 Orakzai IDPs have returned,” The News, January 12, 2011. Available at
[vi] “Seven elders hurt in Bajaur blast,” The News, January 12, 2011. Available at
[vii] Said Nazir Afridi, “Weakened LI chief shakes hands with dissident leader,” The News, January 12, 2011. Available at
[viii] “Attacks on NATO supplies: FC warns of search operation,” The News, January 12, 2010. Available at
[ix] “Bomb at Bannu police station kills eighteen,” AFP, January 12, 2011. Available at
[x] Two women killed in Peshawar blast,” The Express Tribune, January 12, 2011. Available at
[xi] Rob Crilly, “British men believed to be kidnapped in Pakistan,” The Telegraph, January 12, 2011. Available at
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