Pakistan Security Brief


U.S. Senators call for the protection of former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.; Pakistani nationals sentenced in U.S. for nuclear smuggling, terrorism charges; Pakistani finance minister recommends balanced approach in U.S. alliance; Pakistani Taliban released 17 boys kidnapped in September; ANP leaders, MQM activists gunned down; Two bodies found, man killed in Bannu; Punjabi Taliban confesses to three bombings in Karachi; Explosion in Maro area kills security official; Three people killed in separate incidents in Dera Bugti; Mansoor Ijaz refuses to attend commission hearing for memogate; PPP declares that Zardari has immunity as president; PPP moves senate and parliamentary elections up to February; ANP walks out of National Assembly session; Protestors and police clash in Karachi; General Kayani visits China and promises continued cooperation.


U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • United States Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are calling for the protection of former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., and a key player in the ongoing “memogate” scandal, Husain Haqqani. The three senators wish the Pakistani government to protect Haqqani from the “ongoing harassment and mistreatment” he has received in his home country, as well as the injustices he may face before the judicial commission.[1]

  • Nadeem Akhtar, a 46 year old Pakistani national, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison by a U.S. federal judge. He pled guilty in September 2011 to “conspiring to illegally transfer nuclear-related materials to his home country from the United States.” Akhtar, along with several coconspirators in Pakistan, the UAE, and New York, attempted to obtain nuclear equipment and devices from 2005 to 2010, including “radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification and calibration, and switching equipment.”[2]

  • Irfan Ul Haq, a 37 year old Pakistani man, was sentenced to 50 months in jail on terrorism charges. This sentence was handed down by a U.S. federal judge on Thursday January 5th, and came more than three months after Haq pled guilty last September. Haq was arrested with two coconspirators on March 13, 2011, both of whom were sentenced last month to 36 and 40 months. The three men plotted to smuggle a member of the Pakistani Taliban into the U.S. between January and March 2011. When released upon fulfillment of their sentences, all three men will return home to Pakistan.[3]

  • During the Parliamentary Committee on National Security’s review of Pakistan’s ties with the U.S., the Pakistan’s finance minister Hafeez Shiekh recommended a “balanced approach.” He argued that for Pakistan to pull out of an alliance with the U.S. would be an economic shock that the country would be unable to absorb. “A single incident must not determine our relations with the US….Any decision should be taken while keeping in mind the multidimensional paradigm of security, prosperity of the country and economic diplomacy,” commented Shiekh. A draft of the committee’s recommendations is currently under review and will be handed over to the Prime Minister in the next few weeks.[4]



  • The Pakistani Taliban released 17 young men that they kidnapped from the Bajaur tribal region four months ago. On September 1, 2011, 30 boys were kidnapped when they mistakenly crossed the Afghan border, because they belong to the Mamund tribe, which supports Pakistan’s government against anti-state militants. According to a Bajaur administration official, several boys managed to escape over the past few months, but about 8 are still being held captive. The boys, ranging in age from 10 to 30 years old, were at an Eid picnic and inadvertently crossed the border, when militants seized them. At the time of the kidnapping, reports stated that the Taliban demanded the release of prisoners in exchange for the boys, but local administration officials state that the young men were “freed unconditionally”.[5]

  • Two leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) and two activists of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) were gunned down within a few hours of each other in Karachi on Thursday night. Attackers barged into the home of local ANP leader Said Ahmed Khan and opened fire, killing Khan and critically wounding an associate. A police constable that was present managed to kill one of the suspects, but the remaining 4 or 5 escaped. According to police officials, the attack seems to be the work of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). That same night, two MQM activists were shot and killed while riding through Orangi Town on their motorbike. The killings have caused heightened tension in both areas.[6]

  • Two bodies were found and a man was killed in Bannu district on Thursday. One body is of a student and was found on a roadside, while the other is unidentified and was found in a deserted area. The killing occurred in the Mandan Police Station’s jurisdiction, where gunmen killed a man over an old feud.[7]

  • Security forces carried out an operation in multiple areas of the upper Orakzai region, destroying at least two militant hideouts and killing five suspected militants. According to press reports, military operations in neighboring Kurram agency and parts of Orakzai agency had caused militants to “seek refuge in upper Orakzai agency.”[8]

  • According to police, the “Punjabi Taliban” was behind bomb attacks on the Sofoora Chowk, University Road, and Kala Pull bombings in Karachi that killed four people, including three Rangers personnel. Police captured one of the group’s members on December 31, 2011, who later confessed to his group having a hand in the bombings.[9]



  • Dawn reports that Mansoor Ijaz, American-Pakistani businessman and key player in the memogate scandal, has refused to attend the commission hearing on January 9th, as previously requested. Ijaz stated that he will be unable to appear before the memogate investigative commission before January 15th because he first needs to record his statement in England. However, this morning Ijaz “submitted his BlackBerry Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the three-member commission headed by [the] Balochistan High Court (BHC).”[10]

  • The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Core Committee, led by President Asif Zardari, decided that Zardari has immunity from prosecution as president under the Pakistani Constitution, and has therefore decided to ignore a Supreme Court deadline to write to Swiss courts to request that old corruption cases against Zardari be reopened. Separately, the committee decided that Zardari would not respond individually to Supreme Court requests for a statement in the memogate case, holding that the government’s reply in the matter would sufficiently serve as the reply from the president.[11]


Domestic Politics

  • The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to hold both the senate and parliamentary elections in ahead of schedule. Senate elections will be held in mid-February instead of the originally scheduled March 11th and parliamentary elections are to be held sometime after the government presents its budget in June. According to Dawn, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan of the PPP and Senator Ishaq Dar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)held a meeting to discuss the elections, and came to an understanding that was acceptable for both parties. This understanding was reached “amid speculations that the coalition government may be wrapped up or face a ‘big blow’ before [the regularly scheduled] Senate elections.” News reports also alluded to the collaboration between the two parties being down to concerns over the momentum being gained by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) party.[12]

  • At the National Assembly session on Thursday, heated discussions about the prospects of creating new provinces led to walkouts and the partial suspenstion of proceedings. The Awami National Party (ANP) opposed the Pakistani federal government’s proposal regarding the division of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to form new provinces. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) agreed with the ANP on this matter, uniting them against the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The frustrations of the ANP led them to walk out of the session, claiming that proceedings of the House were not being run according to Parliamentary rules and procedures. ANP President Asfandyar Wali said he opposed the discussion on resolutions moved for the creation of new provinces in southern Punjab and Hazara. He stated that members should be informed beforehand of such issues so that they have adequate time to prepare for debates. Wali said that his party did not oppose the creation of new provinces, but it has to be done according to the constitution.[13]

  • Pakistani police fired tear gas at protestors in Karachi on Friday. Many of the protestors were armed, and were supporters of the People’s Aman Committee making their way to Bilawal House, the Bhutto family residence in Karachi, to “express their grievances.” There was an exchange of fire between the protestors and the police, and several people were injured as a result of the clash.[14]

  • Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif announced on Friday during a speech in Quetta, Balochistan that “peace could not prevail in Balochistan unless those responsible” for various injustices were “[held] accountable.” Sharif made specific reference to the killing of unarmed foreigners in Kharotabad last year, and the killing of Baloch tribal leader Akbar Bugti by the Musharraf regime in 2006.[15]


Sino-Pak Relations

  • Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday promised to continue cooperation between their nations and “support each other’s core interests.” The statements came during a bilateral visit to China by Gen. Kayani at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s leadership.[16]


International Relations

  • Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, is supporting Russia’s demand for an investigation into human rights abuses associated with NATO’s bombing campaign in Libya. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice thinks the demand for an investigation is a “cheap stunt” to direct attention away from the Syrian government’s violence against protestors. The coming president of the Security Council, Ambassador Baso Sangqu of South Africa, is also in support of the investigation.[17]

  • The Pakistani government is planning to release “one hundred and eighty Indian fishermen” from prison  on January 7. Pakistan and India frequently arrest fisherman from each other’s countries for straying into their respective territorial waters.[18]

  • The counsel for Indian death-row prisoners in Pakistani jails has revealed that 72 missing prisoners of war (POWs) are still locked up in the jails of Pakistan and India; they have been awaiting their release for decades. The counsel, Awais Sheikh, said “18 Pakistani prisoners of war were detained in Indian jails, whereas 54 Indian POWs were languishing in Pakistani jails.” Sheikh requested that both governments release the prisoners in order to improve their relationship.[19]


[1] Josh Rogin, “U.S. senators demand fair treatment for Amb. Haqqani,” The Cable, January 5, 2012. Available at
[2] “Pakistani gets 37 months in US prison in nuke case,” Reuters, January 6, 2012. Available at
[3] “U.S. sentences Pakistani citizen,” Geo Pakistan, January 6, 2012. Available at
[4] Kamran Yousaf, “Finance minister warns of ‘shocks’ that Pakistan can’t absorb,” Express Tribune, January 6, 2012. Available at
[5] “Pakistan Taliban free 17 kidnapped youths from Bajaur,” BBC, January 5, 2012. Available at
“Pakistani Taliban release 17 hostages,” AFP, January 5, 2012. Available at
[6] S. Raza Hassan, “ANP, Muttahida activists killed in district west,” Dawn, January 6, 2012. Available at
[7] “Man killed; two bodies found in Bannu,” The News, January 6, 2012. Available at
[8] “Forces pound militant hideouts in upper Orakzai,” Dawn, January 6, 2012. Available at
[9] “‘Punjabi Taliban’ admits 3 Khi bombings,” Geo, January 6, 2012. Available at
[10] “Ijaz refuses to appear before commission on Jan 9,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
“Memogate: Ijaz submits BlackBerry PIN to commission,” Geo Pakistan, January 6, 2012. Available at
[11] “PPP core committee refuse to write letter to Swiss authorities,” Dawn, January 6, 2012. Available at
Asim Yasin, “No letter to Swiss courts: PPP decisions of Core Committee,” The News International, January 6, 2012. Available at
[12] Syed Irfan Raza, “PPP hints at early general election,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
Amjad Mahmood, “Aitzaz, Dar helped forge accord,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[13] Zahid Gishkori and Zia Khan, “Debate on new provinces sets off political firestorm,” The Express Tribune, January 6, 2012. Available at
“Uproar in NA over new provinces talk; ANP walks out,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[14] Aman Committee protestors clash with police,” Dawn, January 6, 2012. Available at
[15] “Balochistan peace not possible with issues unresolved: Nawaz,” Dawn, January 6, 2012. Available at
[16] “Pakistan, China to support each other’s core interests: Wen Jiabao,” Dawn, January 5, 2012. Available at
[17] “Pakistan to back Russia’s move for Libya probe,” APP, January 6, 2012. Available at
[18] Faiza Mirza, “Release of 180 Indian fishermen announced,” Dawn, January 6, 2012. Available at
[19] “72 PoWs still detained in Pakistani, Indian jails,” The News International, January 5, 2012. Available at
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