Pakistan Security Brief


Zardari to meet Obama; Mortars fired from Afghan border; Foreign Office’s position on NWA offensive; Explosion in Mohmand Agency; Reparations for plundering in Kurram; Further killings in Karachi; Protests over blasphemy law; Indian drawdown in Kashmir; ANF officer gunned down; Police constable killed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Tribal elder killed in Peshawar.


U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in the U.S. on Thursday to attend a memorial service for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who died last month. Prior to the funeral, Zardari will attend a closed-door meeting with President Obama, where issues of economic reform and counter-militant efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are expected to be discussed. This meeting follows a visit to Islamabad earlier this week by Vice President Joe Biden, leading various U.S. officials to declare 2011 as “President Obama’s Pakistan year.”[i]



  • Mortars fired from over the Afghan border reportedly killed eight people and injured eleven in Tity Madda Khel village in North Waziristan. Anonymous intelligence officials have reported that the mortars were fired by Afghan or foreign forces. NATO officials in Afghanistan are now investigating the claims.[ii]
  • The Foreign Office released a statement on Thursday covering Pakistan’s position on a potential full-scale military offensive in North Waziristan. FO spokesman Abdul Basit reaffirmed that, “Pakistan is moving ahead methodically and firmly keeping in view its strategic objectives,” despite alleged pressure from the U.S. for a ground operation. Basit also said that President Zardari has insisted on the transferring of drone technology from the U.S., an issue discussed during his meeting with Vice President Biden earlier this week.[iii]
  • Three tribesmen were killed Thursday in an explosion in Mohmand Agency. According to local reports, the men were cleaning an unexploded mortar shell, which then exploded within the Ghalani Bazaar. The blast killed all three men and injured one.[iv]
  • Elders of the Turi tribe in Kurram Agency have insisted on reparations for loaded trucks torched by militants on Thall-Parachinar Road. Twenty-five trucks and tankers were travelling from Peshawar to Parachinar on January 4th when they were plundered by the militants. In addition to compensation from the government, Dr. Syed Riaz Hussain Shah, president of the Pakistan People’s Party, Kurram Agency chapter, also demanded that local tribesmen providing safe havens to the militants be held accountable.[v]


‘Target Killings’ in Karachi

  • Following politically motivated ‘target killings’ on Thursday that killed six ANP and MQM activists, additional bodies have been discovered around Karachi, bringing the death toll to nineteen. Among the reported fatalities were six people on a passenger bus in Karachi’s Banaras chowk, and a GEO News reporter in Liaquatabad. Sources attribute the killings to fighting between two ethnic parties for political control in the provincial capital.[vi]


Blasphemy Law Protests

  • In several cities around the country, Islamic extremists engaged in rallies protesting Pope Benedict XVI’s recent condemnation of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In Islamabad, about 1,000 protesters congregated around the house of Mumtaz Qadri, the confessed killer who gunned down Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, a staunch critic of the laws. The protests have surprised liberal Pakistanis and have raised apprehension about the increasingly powerful religious conservative base.[vii]



  • India made an unexpected announcement in Kashmir on Friday, publicizing its plans to reduce its military forces by 25% within twelve months in heavily-populated areas of the region. Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said, "If we can manage with local police, that would be the most ideal situation, and this is one of the confidence-building measures -- that people don't get harassed by the over-presence of security forces."[viii]


  • An Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) havaldar (sergeant) was gunned down in Panjgur on Thursday by unidentified men. The attackers escaped from the scene after the incident, before Frontier Corps officers cordoned off the area.[ix]


Killings in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

  • The house of a female police constable in Hangu was raided on Friday, killing her and five others. Over a dozen militants armed with rockets, rifles, and hand grenades entered the house before dawn, launching a rocket before opening fire.[x]
  • A tribal elder from Mohmand agency was killed in Peshawar on Thursday, after escaping previous assassination attempts by militants. A Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman said Malik Salam Tarakzai was targeted because of his anti-Taliban stand and support of the government in the tribal region.[xi]

[i] Anwar Iqbal, “Zardari-Obama talks to focus on economic reforms,” Dawn, January 14, 2011. Available at
[ii] Rasool Dawar, “Mortars fired from Afghanistan kill 8 in Pakistan,” Associated Press, January 13, 2011. Available at
[iii] “‘Pakistan moving ahead methodically on NWA operation,’” Daily Times, January 14, 2011. Available at\01\14\story_14-1-2011_pg7_1
[iv] “Three tribesmen killed in Mohmand explosion,” Daily Times, January 14, 2011.  Available at\01\14\story_14-1-2011_pg7_3
[v] “Plunder, torching of trucks,” The News, January 14, 2011. Available at
[vi] “Toll rises to 19 in Karachi violence,” Dawn, January 14, 2011. Available at
[vii] Ashraf Khan, “Pakistanis protest pope's appeal on blasphemy laws,” Associated Press, January 14, 2011. Available at
[ix] “ANF havaldar gunned down in Panjgur,” Daily Times, January 14, 2011. Available at\01\14\story_14-1-2011_pg7_4
[x] “Six killed in attack at woman constable’s house,” The News, January 14, 2011.
[xi] “Pro-govt tribal elder shot dead in Peshawar,” The News, January 14, 2011. Available at
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