Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – July 2, 2010
Dozens killed in suicide bombing at Sufi shrine in Lahore; police arrest masterminds of Ahmadi attack, seize weapons and explosives; Chief of Army Staff General Kayani denies holding meeting with President Karzai and Sirajuddin Haqqani; one soldier killed, two wounded in attack on security checkpost in Khyber; ten militants killed in fighting between two extremist groups; four security personnel killed in attack on checkpost outside Peshawar; two police officers gunned down in Karachi; young girl killed, six others injured in two separate attacks in Quetta.
More than 40 people were killed and 175 injured when at least two suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests at the crowded Data Dabar shrine in Lahore on Thursday night. The shrine targeted in the attack is a popular place of worship for followers of Sufism, a sect of Islam deemed heretical by extremist groups such as the Taliban. Security has been heightened around mosques in Lahore and other Sufi shrines across the country and many of the city’s markets and bazaars have been closed. Public outcry heard some Pakistanis placing blame on the US and its policies in Afghanistan as the cause for the attack, while thousands of others staged protests calling for an increased government crackdown on militants. TTP spokesman Azam Tariq phoned reporters to deny his group’s involvement in the attack, calling the bombings “a conspiracy by foreign secret agencies” and further added that the TTP “do not attack public places.”
Police in Lahore have arrested ten people in connection with the May 28 attack on two Ahmadi mosques that left more than 40 people dead. Two of the suspects are believed to be the masterminds of the attack and are believed to have at one point travelled to Datta Khel in North Waziristan. During the raids, which took place in several areas throughout the city, police also seized a large cache of arms and ammunition, including 100 AK-47 assault rifles, 18 suicide jackets, and 20,000 kg of explosive material.
- On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani denied reports that he held secret meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani. Kayani said that both meetings during his last two visits to Kabul were attended by Karzai as well as former NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal. Kayani also added that “this transparent trilateral engagement augurs well for the comfort level of the leadership of all prime stake holders and strengthens the existing relationship.”
A group of heavily armed militants attacked a security checkpost in the Akakhel area of Khyber Agency’s Bara sub-district, killing one soldier and critically injuring two others. Security forces have imposed a curfew in the area and begun an investigation into the incident.
On Thursday, ten militants were killed and four others wounded during fighting in Kurram Agency between fighters belonging to the extremist groups of Adnan Afridi and Mullah Toofan. The militants reportedly fired mortars, rockets, and automatic weapons at one another during early morning clashes which took place in the Neka Ziarat area of central Kurram. Afridi is a militant commander based in Darra Adam Khel while Mullah Toofan, also known as Maulvi Noor Jamal, is a top commander from Orakzai Agency.
Two police officers were shot to death by gunmen riding a motorcycle as they were driving to the Brigade police station in the Lines Area of Karachi on Thursday evening. One of the victims, Inspector Nasir ul-Hasan, played an active role in the ‘Karachi operations’ of the 1990’s which saw the government crackdown on the MQM.
- A young girl was killed and three others wounded when unidentified attackers threw a hand grenade in to the home of a retired school teacher in Quetta on Thursday. Additionally, three more people were wounded when their home was struck by one of three rockets which were fired into a residential area of the city.