Pakistan Security Brief

U.S. and Pakistan sign memorandum of understanding regulating NATO use of Pakistan’s supply routes to Afghanistan; U.S. reportedly “one major attack away” from unilateral action against Haqqani Network in Pakistan; U.S. State Department report criticizes Pakistan’s blasphemy laws; High-levles of anti-Americanism in Pakistan hurting effectiveness of U.S. aid to the country; ISI chief Zahirul Islam to push for end to U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan at meeting with CIA Director David Patraeus ; Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad says contempt law has flaws that warrant the court’s involvement; Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik meets with Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Raza Haghighian in Tehran; Taliban pleased with Pakistan’s decision to reopen NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

NATO Supply Routes

  • Pakistani Defense Ministry official Rear Adm. Farrokh Ahmed and U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Richard Hoagland signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Tuesday that will allow NATO forces to use Pakistan’s supply routes into Afghanistan until December 31, 2015. Signed at a ceremony in Rawalpindi, the MoU formalizes the U.S. commitment to distribute $1.1 billion to Pakistan as Coalition Support Fund (CSF) reimbursement payments and provides both parties the option of extending the deadline in one-year intervals beyond the end of 2015. The agreement bans the transport of arms and ammunition into Afghanistan, excepting those destined for the Afghan National Army. The MoU also lays out specific security measures Pakistan will provide for the thousands of container trucks and oil tankers travelling through the country from the port of Karachi. Under the new agreement, local police would provide security along the supply routes until convoys reach the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan, where the Frontier Corps would then take responsibility.[1]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • A senior U.S. official has said it is a commonly held view within the current administration that the U.S. is “one major attack away from unilateral action against Pakistan.”  Speaking to the New York Times, the official added that attacks by the Haqqani Network that result in the deaths of a large number of U.S. troops or diplomats in the region “would be the game changer.” The official’s comments come a week after the Haqqani Network released a video showing a suicide truck explosion at a U.S. forward operating base in Salerno in southern Afghanistan that resulted in the death of two soldiers. While the White House did not take direct military action against the Haqqani Network in response to the attack, U.S. officials said a series of interagency meetings after the attack resulted in a list of 30 possible responses ranging from diplomatic changes to American or Afghan commando raids. Although Pakistan’s Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani reportedly promised to launch a three-phase military operation against the militant group in June, U.S. officials are skeptical that any significant operation will take place.[2]

  • Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman met with U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the sub-committee for Defense Appropriations, in Washington on Tuesday. Ambassador Rehman emphasized the importance of Pakistan’s relationship with the U.S. and welcomed the recent reopening of the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs). Senator Inouye noted his commitment to further strengthening U.S.-Pakistan relations.[3]

  • On Monday, the U.S. State Department released a report on religious freedoms criticizing Pakistan’s use of blasphemy laws as a measure to “restrict religious liberty.” The report, which mainly focused on how religious freedoms were affected by the 2011 Arab Spring, noted that blasphemy laws “limit freedom of expression” and “exacerbate tensions” in countries with violent attacks against religious minorities occur regularly.[4]

  • According to a Center for Global Development report, high levels of anti-Americanism in Pakistan are decreasing the effectiveness of U.S. aid programs in the country. The report, released on Monday, drew upon the Pew Global Attitudes Project that found that about 74 percent of Pakistanis viewed the U.S. as an enemy. The report urges the U.S. to work in collaboration with the World Bank and recommends extending U.S. non-military aid to Pakistan authorized under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, which authorized $1.5 billion a year over five years.[5]

Drone Strikes

  • On Monday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that Pakistan would push for the cessation of U.S. drone strikes during Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Zahirul Islam’s upcoming meeting with CIA director David Petraeus in Washington. As an alternative, Islam is expected to propose that the U.S. provide intelligence information to Pakistani law enforcement agencies, who would then assume responsibility for taking out targets. According to an unnamed U.S. official, however, the U.S. has no plans to halt its drone program and believes that Pakistan has yet to show “the capability—or willingness—to take effective action” in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).[6]

Domestic Politics

International Relations


  • The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Taliban fighters were pleased with Pakistan’s decision to reopen the NATO supply route. According to the report, Taliban insurgents received millions of dollars from private security firms operating in Afghanistan in exchange for not attacking trucks transporting NATO supplies. A Taliban commander observed that Pakistan’s closing of the NATO supply route impacted the organization’s earnings, effectively weakening the insurgency. Although such payoffs occur in Pakistan as well, fewer Pakistani trucks are targeted by militants and, as a result, fewer Pakistani truck companies resort to paying off insurgents. The U.S. military estimated that $360 million in U.S. tax dollars went to the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers last year, though it claims that only a fraction of that figure actually reached the Taliban.[11]  

  • On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a jeep near Shah Noor Bridge in Takht Bhai, killing four people. The incident took place within the jurisdiction of Sahro Shah Police Station.[12] 

  • Separate acts of violence in Karachi left three people, including a policeman, dead on Monday. Firing incidents took place in the SITE, Landhi, and Pehlwan Goth areas, killing three people and injuring another.[13]        

[1] Richard Leiby, “U.S., Pakistan sign deal to allow supply routes through 2015,” Washington Post, July 31, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan-US sign MoU to regularize NATO supplies,” The Nation, July 31, 2012. Available at
Masroor Gilani, “Pakistan, US sign NATO convoy deal,” AFP, July 31, 2012. Available at
[2] Declan Walsh and Eric Schmitt, “Militant Group Poses Risk to U.S.-Pakistan Relations,” New York Times, July 31, 2012. Available at
[3] “Sherry discusses Pakistan-US ties with key American senator,” Dawn, July 31, 2012. Available at
[4] “Pakistan’s blasphemy laws ‘restrict religious liberty’: US,” Daily Times, July 31, 2012. Available at\07\31\story_31-7-2012_pg1_7
“International Religious Freedom Report for 2011,” United States Department of State Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, July 30, 2012. Available at
[5] Ashish Kumar Sen, “Report: Anti-Americanism handicaps U.S. aid in Pakistan,” Washington Times, July 30, 2012. Available at
[6] “Pakistan to push for intelligence sharing at U.S. talks,” Reuters, July 30, 2012. Available at
[7] “Contempt law hearing: ‘Parliament can form laws which are need, reasonable,’” Express Tribune, July 31, 2012. Available at
[8] “Elections: PPP will come to power again, predicts Zardari,” Express Tribune, July 29, 2012. Available at
[9] “Iranian Envoy meets Rehman Malik,” APP, July 31, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan’s Senate chairman to travel to Tehran,” Mehr News, July 31, 2012. Available at
[10] Zia Khan, “Open invitation: Key Afghan officials to visit Pakistan,” Express Tribune, July 30, 2012. Available at
[11] “Taliban express delight over reopening of NATO routes: Report,” Express Tribune, July 31, 2012. Available at
Mirwais Khan and Sebastian Abbot, “Taliban happy Pakistan reopened NATO supply line,” AP, July 31, 2012. Available at
[12] “Gunmen kill 4 in Mardan,” Daily Times, July 31, 2012. Available at\07\31\story_31-7-2012_pg7_10
[13] “Three killed in violent incidents,” Daily Times, July 31, 2012. Available at\07\31\story_31-7-2012_pg12_8
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