Pakistan Security Brief

Pakistan reopens NATO supply routes to Afghanistan; U.S. and NATO continue negotiations over transit agreements with Central Asian countries; Pakistani Taliban vows to target NATO trucks; Pakistan reportedly rejects U.S. call to use supply routes until 2024; Pakistani official says U.S. was noncommittal on the issue of ‘unilateral strikes’ during negotiations; Obama administration reportedly expands drone campaign in Pakistan; Pakistani Foreign Secretary denies involvement of Pakistani intelligence agencies in 2008 Mumbai terror attack; Pakistan may export 1.2 million tons of wheat to world market; Pakistani cabinet proposes bill to provide immunity to senior government officials from contempt of court charges; Explosive device injures policeman in Mardan district; Pakistani law enforcement arrests 12 suspected militants with links to al Qaeda and TTP. 

NATO Supply Routes

  • A small number of container trucks carrying NATO supplies crossed into southern Afghanistan from Pakistan through the Chaman border crossing on Thursday for the first time since Pakistan closed the NATO supply routes in response to the Salala border incident that resulted in the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers seven months ago. Pakistan agreed to reopen the closed supply routes after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tendered an apology over the Salala border incident to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Speaking via phone on Tuesday, Clinton said “we are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military.” The following day, in an interview with the Express Tribune, Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman denied rumors that a “secret” deal had been reached between the two countries, and praised the U.S. for its “strategic patience” with the reopening of the supply route. The agreement allows NATO to transport non-lethal supplies and equipment from Pakistan to Afghanistan along the Ground Lines of Communications (GLOCs), through the Chaman and Torkham border crossings, without any additional transit fee imposed. The U.S. will also begin to distribute $1.1 billion from the Coalition Support Funds (CSF) to Pakistan as part of the deal to reopen the NATO supply lines, according to U.S. officials who had knowledge of the agreement.[1]

  • Even as Pakistan reopens the GLOCs, U.S. and NATO commanders still face the challenge of transporting one-third of the cargo in northern Afghanistan through railways and roads in the former Soviet Union, which cost about three times that of the supply routes in Pakistan. Though the Obama administration and NATO have signed transit deals with Russia and the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan to allow for the withdrawal of equipment from Afghanistan, negotiations continue with the Central Asian countries over access to airspace, tariffs and restrictions, and what types of military cargo can be transported along the routes. Though the details of ongoing negotiations remain unclear, a NATO spokeswoman did acknowledge that weapons and ammunition remain prohibited from being transported along northern land routes.[2]

  • A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said on Wednesday that the group would target NATO trucks transporting supplies from Pakistan to Afghanistan, calling them a “friend of the U.S.” The comments came in response to Pakistan’s decision to reopen the NATO supply route on Tuesday. In the past, NATO supplies and truck drivers have been targeted by Taliban fighters in Pakistan. Following the agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan to reopen the NATO supply routes, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Internal Affairs Rehman Malik directed the interior secretary to create a comprehensive strategy to “provide maximum security to NATO supplies to Afghanistan.” The Interior Ministry also sent a letter to the Pakistan Rangers Director General directing the force to provide security for NATO/ISAF containers moving to Afghanistan through the GLOCs in Torkham and Chaman.[3] 

  • Though Pakistan agreed to reopen NATO supply routes, Islamabad rejected a U.S. request to extend use of the GLOCs beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline. According to Pakistani civilian and military officials speaking to The Express Tribune, U.S. officials desire to maintain three permanent bases in Afghanistan – one each in Bagram, Kandahar, and Herat – until 2024, rather than fully handing over security arrangements by 2014 when NATO and ISAF forces are expected to withdraw. Though an official with knowledge of the negotiations said neither side had entered into serious talks over the possibility of the U.S. using the NATO supply routes until 2024, the official noted that it was one of the factors that contributed to the delay in talks over reopening the GLOCs.[4]   

  • Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI-S) Chairman Maulana Samiul Haq, on Wednesday, called for a long march from Lahore to Islamabad on July 8 to voice opposition to the Pakistani government’s agreement to reopen NATO supply lines. Speaking during a press conference in Rawalpindi, the JUI-S Chairman called the move “un-Islamic” since the supplies being transported were being used in Afghanistan to kill Muslims. Haq also called on the government to resign immediately for acting “against the sentiments of the Pakistani public and parliamentary recommendations.” Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, on Wednesday, also voiced opposition to the government’s decision, saying that the inability of the government to meet a single condition of parliament was a “source of degradation and humiliation of Pakistan.” Talking to journalists on Wednesday, however, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar said that the decision to reopen the GLOCs into Afghanistan was “in line with parliamentary recommendations.” According to Haq, a coalition of religious and political parties is being formed within the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) to protest the government’s reopening of the NATO supply routes.[5]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • A new agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan will resolve ambiguities in the relationship between the two countries and outline “each and every aspect” of their bilateral relationship, according to a Pakistani official familiar with recent developments in negotiations between the two countries. Inspired by the “package deal” that allowed NATO troops to resume transporting supplies into Afghanistan along the GLOCs in Pakistan, the new agreement will also spell out any limitations regarding the relationship between the two countries. As part of the new understanding, Lt. General Zaheerul Islam, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), will travel to the U.S. in the near future to discuss avenues of cooperation in regards to intelligence, according to a Pakistani security official.[6]

  • According to a Pakistani official speaking to The Express Tribune on Wednesday, the U.S. was noncommittal on the issue of ending “unilateral strikes” in Pakistan during negotiations that resulted in the reopening of NATO supply routes on Tuesday. Rather than offering regret over unilateral actions carried out by the U.S. in Pakistan, such as the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011, U.S. officials said they “would not hesitate” to send commandos into Pakistan again. The official noted that while Pakistan did not object to U.S. drone strikes targeting al Qaeda militants in the tribal region, Islamabad would not allow “American boots on the ground.”[7]            

Drone Strikes

  • On Tuesday, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen identified Sunday’s drone strike—during which eight militants loyal to Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur were killed in North Waziristan—as an expansion of the Obama Administration’s drone program. He noted that the strike was part of a “lesser known campaign to target Pakistani militants” and that, of the 307 drone strikes launched by the U.S. in Pakistan since June 2004, 70 percent struck targets affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan. Bergen suggested that the U.S.’s increasing use of drones may have contributed to a decrease in suicide attacks in Pakistan, but also that it may be fueling terrorism against the U.S., such as with the 2010 Times Square plot.[8]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani are continuing two-day talks in New Delhi to resolve differences over how to investigate Sayed Zabiuddin, the Indian national and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) member allegedly involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The two sides remain at odds over India’s repeated accusations that Pakistan’s security agencies, specifically the ISI, were involved in the Mumbai terror attack. Speaking to reporters at the end of talks on Thursday, Jilani said he “would very strongly reject any insinuation of any involvement of any state agency in acts of terrorism in India.” During the two-day talks, the two senior officials also discussed confidence building measures (CBMs), Jammu and Kashmir, and increased friendly exchanges.[9]

International Relations

  • The Pakistani government may export 1.2 million tons of wheat to the world market after Iran pulled out of a barter trade arrangement with Pakistan in favor of a more lucrative arrangement with India, according to media reports. The proposed deal involved Tehran importing one million tons of wheat at $275 per ton and 200,000 tons of rice from Pakistan in exchange for Iran exporting fertilizer and iron ore at unspecified prices. Iranian officials claim that they balked at the deal after realizing that Pakistani wheat did not meet the health standards they desired.[10]

  • Pakistan’s reaction to sanctions against Iran suggests that the country intends to “stay within the global economy.” Because most global trade takes place in either U.S. dollar or euro-denominated contracts, Pakistan’s choosing to conduct transactions with Iran would jeopardize Pakistan’s ability to participate in the global economy and finance its foreign debt. Pakistan has already begun implementing sanctions against Iran, with total imports from Iran falling by 66% in 2011 and oil imports from Iran dropping significantly as well.[11]

Domestic Politics

  • Following a Wednesday meeting of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s cabinet, Pakistani officials passed two draft bills to address the definition of “contempt of court” and the issue of dual nationality for members of the Pakistani parliament. The first draft bill, titled “Contempt of Court Bill, 2012,” aimed to amend article 248(1) of the constitution, preventing the initiation of contempt proceedings against public officeholders. According to the Express Tribune, Ashraf, who was ordered by the Supreme Court to reopen an old corruption investigation against President Asif Ali Zardari, intends to use the legislation to circumvent the court order and seek immunity from contempt proceedings. The other draft bill, a response to the Supreme Court’s suspension of dual citizens serving in parliament, permits members to continue holding public office. Both bills await passage by the National Assembly and Senate.[12] 


[1] “Nato supply resumed in country’s best interest: PM,” Dawn, July 5, 2012. Available at
“Nato not permitted to transport lethal weapons: FO,” Dawn, July 5, 2012. Available at
Muhammad Saleh Zaafir, “US accepts new terms of engagement with Pakistan,” The News, July 3, 2012. Available at
“Nato routes: No ‘secret’ deal with US, says Sherry Rehman,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
[2] Craig Whitlock and Karen DeYoung, “Northern land routes to be crucial in U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan,” The Washington Post, July 4, 2012. Available at
[3]Nasir Habib, “Pakistani Taliban issue threats over reopening of NATO supply routes,” CNN, July 4, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan plans safe passage for NATO supply,” Daily Times, July 5, 2012. Available at\07\05\story_5-7-2012_pg1_4
[4] Zia Khan, “Pakistan opposes prolonged US presence in Afghanistan,” Express Tribune, July 4, 2012. Available at
[5] “NATO supply resumption: DPC to hold long march from July 8,” Express Tribune, July 4, 2012. Available at
“Imdad Hussain, “No secret deal with US over NATO supply: Khar,” Daily Times, July 5, 2012. Available at\07\05\story_5-7-2012_pg1_2
[6] Kamran Yousef, “Forging a new relationship: Pakistan, US might cut ‘black and white’ deal,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
[7] Zia Khan, “US noncommittal on end to ‘unilateral strikes’,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
[8] Peter Bergen, “Drones decimating Taliban in Pakistan,” CNN, July 3, 2012. Available at
[10] Zafar Bhutta, “Deal or no deal?: Govt may allow wheat export as deal with Iran unlikely,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
[11] Farooq Tirmizi, “Analysis: How US and EU curbs on Iran affect Pakistan,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
[12] Irfan Ghauri, “Counterstrike: Govt moves to blunt court’s contempt weapon,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
[13] “Cop injured in bomb blast near Mardan checkpost,” The News, July 4, 2012. Available at
“11 arrested in Mardan search,” The News, July 5, 2012. Available at
“Police patrol vehicle attacked in DI Khan,” The News, July 4, 2012. Available at
[14] “Soldier dies in Dera Bugti landmine blast,” Express Tribune, July 5, 2012. Available at
“Three killed in Kuchlak sectarian attack,” Daily Times, July 5, 2012. Available at\07\05\story_5-7-2012_pg7_4
[15] “12 ‘militants’ arrested near Zhob,” Daily Times, July 5, 2012. Available at
[16] “Six more killed in Karachi violence,” The News, July 4, 2012. Available at
[17] Shahzab Jillani, “Pakistan mob burns man to death for ‘blasphemy’,” BBC, July 4, 2012. Available at
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