Pakistan Security Brief
Major Pakistan Army leadership change to take place in next two months; Report says al Qaeda’s central command in Pakistan coordinates kidnapping efforts of its three main affiliates, says European payments of ransom for al Qaeda kidnappings finance group’s terrorist activities; Punjab Chief Minister promises IDP aid; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor addresses reports of Pakistani refugees in Afghanistan; Pakistan military soldiers repel attack on outpost in Upper Dir, kill seven militants; Pakistan Foreign Office strongly criticizes cross-border attack; Four killed in gun violence in Karachi; Seven arrested by Rangers in targeted operation in Karachi; Reports announce substantial decrease in crime and violence in Karachi during Ramadan in 2014.
ISI and Army Leadership Changes
The Director General (DG) of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and four corps commanders of the Pakistan Army are set to retire in the next two months. The “major reshuffle” will include DG ISI, Lt. General Zahirul Islam, Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt. General Khalid Rabbani, Corps Commander Mangla, Lt. General Tariq Khan, Corps Commander Karachi, Lt. General Sajjad Ghani and Corps Commander Gujranwala, Lt. General Salim Nawaz. Their retirement gives Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif the opportunity to determine four new Corps Commanders of his choice. The post of DG ISI is appointed by the prime minister.
Al Qaeda and European Financing
On July 29, The New York Times reported that al Qaeda has substantially increased its revenue flow since 2008 by coordinating kidnappings and negotiations for hostages as far away as Africa. According to the report, despite being thousands of miles away from where most kidnappings were taking place, al Qaeda's central command in Pakistan had a central role in running the kidnapping ring. Survivor accounts show that al Qaeda has coordinated the kidnapping efforts and protocol of its three main affiliates even though they operate thousands of miles away from one another. Al Qaeda and its affiliates have earned at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings for ransom since 2008 and $66 million in 2013 alone. The United States Treasury Department reported even higher revenue, around $165 million since 2008. According to interviews and internal al Qaeda documents, European governments supplied the payments and covered them up by operating through a network of proxies and by listing ransom payments as development aid. As a result, according to counterterrorism officials, al Qaeda receives the bulk of its finances from ransom payments supplied by European governments including France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. By paying up to $10 million per hostage, European governments encourage al Qaeda and its affiliates to continue kidnapping for ransom operations.
Pak-Afghan Border Attack
Seventy to eighty suspected militants launched an attack from Afghanistan on a Pakistan military outpost between Tripaman and Inkal Sar in Upper Dir district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on the night of July 29. Pakistan military soldiers reportedly successfully repelled the cross-border attack, killing seven suspected militants and injuring nine. In a statement on July 30, Pakistan’s Foreign Office strongly condemned the attack and registered a formal protest with the Afghan government over the attack. The Foreign Office also summoned a senior Afghan diplomat, the Afghan Charge d’Affairs, and promised to bring up the attack with the Afghan government in the context of general Pak-Afghan border security efforts.
North Waziristan Offensive
On July 30, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited the Bakka Khel Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and said that the Punjab government will help IDPs affected by Operation Zarb-e-Azb by building 2,000 homes in North Waziristan in addition to a hospital, university and school.
On July 29, the Governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan responded to reports that tribal people are moving into Afghanistan by saying the Afghan government should call back Afghan refugees in Pakistan before voicing criticism on the migration of tribal people.
At least four people were killed from gunshot wounds in different parts of Karachi on July 30. Two people were shot and killed in Lyari’s Bihar and Shah Faisal Colony, one person was shot and killed in Liaquatabad’s Sheesh Mahal area, and one person was tortured and shot dead near Korangi’s Polytechnic Institute. Meanwhile, Rangers personnel executed a targeted operation and arrested seven people in Karachi’s Jamali Goth area.
On July 30, the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) reported that crime decreased substantially during Ramadan in 2014 compared to previous years. Compared to 2013, extortions decreased 33 percent, kidnappings for ransom decreased 88 percent, and killings decreased 37 percent in the city. Additional statistics showed that robberies decreased 80 percent, car thefts decreased 35 percent, motorcycle thefts decreased 30 percent, and cellphone thefts decreased 22 percent during Ramadan.