Pakistan Security Brief

TTP executes 15 soldiers it held captive; Pakistani Foreign Minister says new policy towards U.S. to be approved by parliament, relations with neighbors to improve; U.S. wants to strengthen ties with Pakistan; British Red Cross worker kidnapped in Balochistan; Army program to reintegrate militants faltering; Article looks at logistics of suicide bomb networks; TTP commander arrested in Karachi; Supporters of governor’s assassin stage demonstration; Drone strikes drop by 50 percent in 2011; U.S. not halting F-16 delivery program; Romney wants to “influence” Pakistan; Memogate commission issues notices requesting testimony; Pakistani public servants to “declare assets publicly;”several dead in violence across northwest Pakistan, Balochistan.



  • On Thursday the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) executed 15 Pakistani security personnel in its custody. The bullet riddled bodies were discovered in the Spin Thal area of Hangu district bordering North Waziristan. TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed the men were executed in revenge for the death of a top Taliban militant and 11 other fighters during a military operation in Khyber agency on December 31, as well as for alleged capture of “the female family members of the militants killed in the 31 December offensive.” Ehsan also warned of further retaliation against recent operations launched against militants in northern Balochistan. The 15 men were members of the Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary police unit, and were abducted when their outpost was overrun during a TTP attack in Tank district neighboring North Waziristan on December 23.[1]

  • A Pakistan Army program attempting to rehabilitate lower-level militants is apparently facing funding problems according to a report by a Pakistani think tank. A Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) report says that the funding allocated to the program had failed to budget properly for militant rehabilitation. If further said that the program was “too narrow in focusing only on lower-cadre militants,” and that it “needs to be expanded to the mid-level militant cadre which has more political and ideological tendencies towards radicalization.” The program known as the Swat Initiative is “a key part of the government’s strategy to safely introduce militants-on-the-mend back into society.”[2]

  • An article in the Express Tribune looks at the logistics and economics of suicide attacks in Pakistan. The report quotes a senior police official operating against suicide bomber networks as saying “The main role in a suicide attack is always that of the handler … usually when a bomber travels from the tribal belt he/she does not have any explosives, lodging or transport. The target and the suicide jacket are provided by handlers locally.” The official added that “funding for such attacks was taking place through Afghanistan via illegal money transactions usually done in the Hundi jewellery market in Peshawar.” The report says bombers were often “bought” from poor families in the northwest and physically and psychologically abused before being prepared to carry out attacks.[3]

  • Police in Karachi have arrested a man they claim is a commander for the TTP in Karachi. Abdul Qayyum stands accused of killing twenty people and was arrested along with three accomplices during a police raid in upper Karachi. A suicide vest, rockets and small arms were also recovered during the raid. According to police, the militants informed them of the presence of “two more suicide bombers in Karachi.”[4]

  • Supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who assassinated his charge, Punjab governor Salman Taseer, held a demonstration on Wednesday in Karachi to demand Qadri’s release from prison. The demonstration was held on the one-year anniversary of Taseer’s death.[5]


U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, while addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly on Wednesday, told members that Pakistan’s comprehensive review of its relations with the U.S., currently being undertaken by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, would need to receive the endorsement of the full parliament before it could officially be implemented. Khar also mentioned that the decision to re-open the NATO supply chain through Pakistan would be made on the committee’s recommendations. During her address she also told the assembly that Pakistan’s foreign policy was being revamped to bring an increased focus on improving its relations with neighboring countries. “Islamabad’s focus is to bring regional stability by engaging India, China, Afghanistan and Iran,” Khar said, adding that “We took this decision in wake of the NATO [border] attacks [on November 26 last year] when Pakistan’s sovereignty came under threat.” Separately, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said on Thursday that the U.S. wanted to strengthen ties with Pakistan, and that 2012 “would be the year of improvement in U.S.-Pakistan relations.” He further said the U.S. “appreciated Pakistan’s review of its ties with the United States.”[6]

  • According to an article in the Express Tribune, the number of NATO drone strikes inside Pakistan during 2011 saw a 50 percent drop from 2010 levels. According to the report, 118 drone strikes took place during 2010, but no more than 67 strikes were launched in 2011. The report attributes the decline in strikes mainly to the temporary suspension of strikes caused by strains in relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, attributable to three main incidents: the arrest of a CIA contractor on murder charges in January 2011, the killing of Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan in May 2011, and the November 2011 border strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.[7]

  • The U.S. embassy in Pakistan on Thursday denied media reports that the U.S. had halted the delivery of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan as a result of the decline in relations between the two countries. An embassy statement said “These reports are not accurate. Neither Pakistan nor the United States has cancelled the F-16 programme…. Several other F-16s purchased by Pakistan from the United States are undergoing mid-life upgrades and will arrive in Pakistan beginning in late January.”[8]

  • Over 200 container trucks carrying NATO supplies to Afghanistan have returned to the Pakistani port of Karachi after spending several weeks stranded on the Pakistani side of the Chaman border crossing in Balochistan. The supply trucks were reportedly escorted back to Karachi by a “heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies.”[9]

  • Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney vowed on Wednesday to find a way to “‘influence’ Pakistan to advance US interests.” Speaking during a question-and-answer session in New Hampshire, Romney said he would “‘find how we can get those (Pakistani) institutions that are with us and will work towards modernity and peace and prosperity’ to counter those that will not.”[10]

  • In a “rare goodwill gesture,” President Obama is expected to receive new Pakistani ambassador-designate to the U.S. Sherry Rehman at the White House on January 17, just days after Rehman’s arrival in the U.S. The move to present credentials by a new ambassador-designate so soon after arrival is an expedition of a process that can often take weeks to complete. “By expediting formalities relating to Ambassador Rehman’s appointment, the Obama administration has indicated that it wants a Pakistani envoy in Washington as soon as possible to ‘continue this two-way traffic,’ a senior diplomatic source” was quoted as saying.[11]

  • The U.S. Department of State says it has corrected maps on its website that it said erroneously depicted the border between Pakistan and India. A spokesperson said the new maps properly reflected disputed claims in the Kashmir region and were now in compliance with “US cartographical policy.”[12]


Memogate and Domestic Politics

  • The judicial commission investigating the “memogate” scandal on Wednesday issued notices to President Asif Zardari, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif and several other key actors to “submit their statements or appear before the commission at its next meeting to be held in the Islamabad High Court building on Jan 9.” The three-man commission set up by the Supreme Court has been given one month to complete its probe. American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, one of the chief protagonists in the scandal, has said he is ready to fly to Pakistan to attend the session, but has requested security for himself and for the data he says he will be carrying with him. U.S. ambassador Munter stated on Thursday that former U.S. national security advisor Gen. James L. Jones, another player in the memogate case, has “no intentions of visiting Pakistan to record his statements in the Memogate scandal.” Former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani, the man accused of authoring the memo in question, is preparing to file a petition challenging the legal authority of commission to investigate the case. The Supreme Court has, meanwhile, served contempt of court notices to a number of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders for openly mocking the court’s decision to hold an inquiry into the memogate case during a recent press conference.[13]

  • In what is being described as a “landmark move,” the government on Wednesday moved to amend a 1964 law in order to require all public servants and government employees, including the judiciary officials and military officers, to publicly declare their assets. Part of the bill reads, “Whosoever is drawing [a] salary from [the] public exchequer would be bound not only to declare [their] assets but also to make it public, whether he/she belongs to the judiciary, armed forces or any other organization.”[14]

  • The PML-N on Wednesday tried to distance itself from statements made earlier by party chief Nawaz Sharif that he would once again establish military courts in Sindh if were elected to power. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Chaudhry had earlier responded to Sharif’s statement by saying that there was no chance such courts could be revived. The tribunals were set up by the Sharif government in the 1990s to provide speedier justice during a period of particularly acute lawlessness in the province.[15]



  • Unknown gunmen in Quetta kidnapped a British Red Cross worker on Thursday. Police say the man was taken from his vehicle “close to a Red Cross office in an upscale housing complex in Quetta.” A Pakistani doctor and driver, also in the car at the time, were not kidnapped.[16]

  • Pakistani security forces killed six militants and arrested 13 more during an operation in the Zhob area of Balochistan on Wednesday. The forces “launched a search operation after receiving information that Taliban militants had been spotted in the Zhob area.” Two soldiers were also injured in the fighting.[17]

  • Two members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) were killed and five others wounded on Wednesday when the vehicle they were travelling in hit a landmine in the Mand Balo area of Balochistan near the Iranian border. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.[18]

  • Militants blew up a gas pipeline in Jafarabad, Balochistan on Wednesday morning. The attack caused gas shortages across large portions of Sindh and Balochistan province.[19]


FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

  • Two separate blasts in northwestern Pakistan killed five people and wounded several more on Tuesday. The first blast took place in the University Town area of Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. A motorcycle-bomb in a marketplace killed two people and wounded 28 more. TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan called journalists to take responsibility for the attack. The second bombing took place in Landi Kotal, Khyber agency. The attack targeted security forces in the area and killed three people, including two security personnel. The Abdullah Azzam Brigade, a faction of the TTP, took responsibility for the attack, claiming it to be in revenge for the death of Taliban militants in Khyber agency on December 31.[20]

  • Two militants from Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and a member of the Zakha Khel tribal lashkar were killed during clashes between the two groups in the Tirah Valley area of Khyber agency. Three more people were wounded in the fighting during which Zakha Khel fighters reportedly captured three LI hideouts.[21]

  • A bomb blast in Sadda, Kurram agency injured six people on Wednesday. The bomb targeted the house of a local tribal elder and political leader. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.[22]


[1] Salman Masood and Ismail Khan, “Insurgents Execute 15 Kidnapped Pakistani Soldiers,” New York Times, January 5, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan Taliban kill 15 kidnapped tribal police,” BBC, January 5, 2012. Available at
[2] Umer Nagiana, “Army’s militant rehabilitation program hits snags: Report” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
[3] Iftikhar Firdous, “Suicide attacks: Logistics, economics, psychology,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
[4] “TTP commander accused of killing 20, arrested: Additional AG,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[5] “Pro-Qadri demo held,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[6] Amir Wasim, “Parliament’s approval to be sought for implementation: FM,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
Zahid Gishkori, “Relations with neighbours crux of new foreign policy, asserts Khar,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
“US wants strengthened ties with Pakistan: Munter,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[7] Iftikhar Firdous, “50% drop in drone strikes as Pak-US ties plunge,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
[8] “US denies halt of F-16 programme,” APP, January 5, 2012. Available at
[9] “NATO containers at Chaman Terminal return to Karachi,” Daily Times, January 5, 2012. Available at\01\05\story_5-1-2012_pg7_11
[10] “Romney says he would seek to influence Pakistan,” AFP, January 5, 2012. Available at
[11] Anwar Iqbal, Sherry Rehman likely to meet Obama on 17th,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[12] “US posts new India, Pakistan maps on website,” AP, January 5, 2012. Available at
[13] Iftikhar A. Khan, “Notices issued to Zardari and Nawaz,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
“Ijaz ready to visit Pakistan; asks for security,” The News, January 5, 2012. Available at
“James Jones has no intentions of visiting Pakistan: Munter,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
Qaiser Zulfiqar, “Haqqani set to challenge Memogate commission’s constitution,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at  
Qaiser Zulfiqar, “Mocking press conference: PPP’s top cadre served contempt notices,” Express Tribune, January 4, 2012. Available at
[14] Khaleeq Kiani, “Bill seeks declaration of assets also by military personnel, judges,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[15] Raja Asghar, “PML-N takes pains to disclaim Nawaz threat,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
Iftikhar A. Khan, “Doors for military courts closed forever: CJ,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[16] Abdul Sattar and Munir Ahmed, “British Red Cross worker kidnapped in Pakistan,” AP, January 5, 2012. Available at
[18] Shehzad Baloch, “Landmine blast kills two FC personnel in Balochistan,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
[19] “36-hour closure of CNG stations after pipeline blast,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[20] Amirzada Afridi and Iftikhar Firdous, “Twin blasts: Five killed in Peshawar, Landi Kotal,” Express Tribune, January 5, 2012. Available at
[21] “2 militants, lashkar man killed in Tirah,” The News, January 5, 2012. Available at
[22] “Six injured in Kurram Agency blast,” The News, January 5, 2012. Available at
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