Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – July 16, 2010
President Zardari considers term extension for Chief of Army Staff General Kayani; ten killed in market blast, shrine blown up in Khyber; airstrikes kill 22 militants in Orakzai; tensions high in talks between Pakistan and India; gunmen destroy four NATO tankers in Quetta; five policemen wounded in roadside bomb explosion in Charsadda; three policemen wounded in IED explosion in Hangu; police arrest 8 suspected militants as part of Lahore crackdown; MQM activist gunned down in Karachi.
Chief of Army Staff
President Asif Ali Zardari is prepared to grant Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani a two year extension on his term and will announce his decision within the next 72 hours, according to a report in The News. The article indicates that Kayani would consider accepting an extension in tenure even though he is allegedly not “keen” on the idea of continuing to serving in his post beyond the normal term.
At least ten people have been killed and 14 others wounded when a bomb blast ripped through a busy car market in the Bara sub-district of Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley. Khyber’s top administrative official said that the explosion was caused by a timed device which had been planted in the crowded market in Kuki Khel village. Three shops and four cars were also destroyed in the explosion. Separately, a group of unidentified militants blew up a shrine in Landi Kotal, also causing damage to an adjacent mosque. No casualties were reported.
On Thursday, fresh airstrikes in the upper parts of Orakzai Agency killed 22 militants and wounded 13 others. (For detailed bi-weekly updates on the security situation in Orakzai CLICK HERE)
- Tensions were high during talks between Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna which resulted in little more than an agreement between the two countries to hold talks again at some point in the future. Qureshi harshly criticized India for being “selective” with the issues being discussed and blamed Krishna for stalling the talks. Krishna called on Pakistan to engage in “all-out efforts… to fulfill its assurance not allow the use of Pakistani territory for terrorism against India” and demanded that Pakistan punish those responsible for the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
Four NATO fuel tankers were destroyed when unknown gunmen opened fire on the vehicles in the Mach area of Quetta on Thursday evening. Six tankers were stopped outside a hotel on the National Highway when the gunmen attacked. The gunfire set the vehicles ablaze and completely destroyed four of the tankers.
A roadside bomb explosion wounded five police officers traveling in the Saro Kalley area of Charsadda district on Thursday. The subsequent search operation resulted in the arrest of five suspected militants. Police and Frontier Corps personnel also launched a separate search operation in the Tangi, Meera Sha, and Spena Khawra areas, arresting 22 suspected militants and demolishing four of their houses.
- In the last two days, police in Lahore claim to have arrested eight activists belonging to banned militant organizations as part of a government-ordered crackdown in the city. One police officer indicated that they were conducting strict surveillance on groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipa-e-Sihaba, Hizbul Tehrir, and Sunni Tehrik as well as several extremist Shia groups. A search operation was also launched by police in the Iqbal Town area of the city during which 14 suspects were detained.
On Thursday, an activist of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) was shot to death in the Korangi area of Karachi. Two of the victim’s friends also sustained injuries in the shooting.