Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – July 22, 2010
Intelligence agencies arrest Jinnah Hospital attack mastermind; Taliban commander and aide killed while making bomb in Bajaur; top commander of TTP Swat surrenders to security forces; Interior Minister claims more than 1,000 suspects arrested during Peshawar search operations; four more people killed as wave of violence continues to grip Karachi.
- Intelligence agencies announced today that they have arrested the alleged mastermind of the May 31 attack on Jinnah Hospital in Lahore along with eight other suspects believed to have been involved in the attack. Sources say that a doctor named Ali Abdullah gave shelter to the militants before the attack, provided them a map of the hospital, a vehicle for their escape, and later administered medical care to one of the injured militants. Abdullah is currently being held at an undisclosed location for interrogation.
A local Taliban commander, Irshad Khan, was killed along with one of his aides when the bomb they were assembling at Khan’s home in Bajaur Agency accidentally detonated. The blast also injured several of Khan’s family members who were in the house at the time. Khan was believed to have been behind several attacks on Pakistani security forces in the region and was also known to have had contacts with top Taliban leaders in North and South Waziristan.
A senior Taliban commander, named Qari Sohail, surrendered to security forces in Charbagh sub-district of Swat on Wednesday. Sohail was a close aide to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Swat chief, Mullah Fazlullah, and was also in charge of the Taliban’s FM radio station during their control of the region.
Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain claims that more than 1,000 suspects, including around 100 militants, have been arrested during recent search operations in the suburbs of Peshawar. Hussain further stated that the arrests had foiled the militants’ attempts to establish bases around the city.
Acting on tips from locals in the Matani area, bomb disposal experts defused a roadside bomb planted by suspected militants which sought to target a security forces’ convoy. The convoy was due to pass through the area to carry out a search operation in Matani.
- On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson signed four grants worth more than $2.3 million which will help to establish private companies in the energy and transportation sectors. Patterson said that the grants sought to “help create public-private partnerships in energy and transportation modernization in Pakistan” which will address “Pakistan’s critical infrastructure challenges” and remove “major impediments to many other areas of economic growth in the country.”
Officials from the US Justice Department have contacted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express their displeasure over Indian officials’ statements revealing that David Headley, the US man believed to have been involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, told Indian interrogators that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved in the attacks “from beginning to end.” The Justice Department asserts that these statements should not be made public as it may affect the case against Headley, who has not yet been convicted in a US court. External Minister S.M. Krishna said that the statements regarding Headley, especially those made by Home Secretary G.K. Pillai on the eve of recent talks between Indian and Pakistani officials in Islamabad, were unfortunate and untimely but still maintained that facts of these statements were “very much in order.”
Pakistan has agreed to India’s request to tone down some of the aggressive gestures performed between soldiers of the Indian Border Security Force and the Pakistani Rangers during the daily Wagah border closing ceremony. Nadim Raza of the Pakistani Rangers said that “aggressive looks will be replaced with a proper handshake and a smile.” Raza, however, also indicated that the soldiers’ choreographed routine of hostile strutting would continue and denied reports that the decision to lower the ceremony’s aggressive tone was made because the “foot-pressing and leg-stretching” performed by the soldiers were causing knee and joint injuries.
- At least four more people have been killed during two separate shooting incidents in Karachi. Unknown gunmen shot and killed two members of the Ghaffar Zikri gang in Lyari Town. In Orangi Town, a separate group of unidentified attackers gunned down another person who was associated with an unnamed political group and another individual was reported killed in Surjani Town. Tensions rose on Wednesday following the funeral procession of six political activists as several violent incidents throughout the city blocked traffic and forced shopkeepers to close their stores.