Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – June 23, 2010
Pakistani intelligence reports that militants publicly fundraise in Punjab; State Department to designate Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan a foreign terrorist organization; Pakistani court concludes trial of Virginia 5, verdict expected Thursday; 24 militants killed in Upper Orakzai Agency; Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa government denies entry to 50 NATO supply trucks; U.K. wants long-term relationship with Pakistan, pledges 665 million pounds; seven people, including political figures killed in Karachi violence; “bin-Laden hunter” returns to U.S.; Swat officials deny the existence of “no-go” areas.
Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are reporting that militant groups in Punjab province are publicly fundraising during religious and other ceremonies. According to sources in the Interior Ministry, the report names at least 17 banned militant groups fundraising in Punjab. The report further says that among these groups, an organization identified as the “Ghazi Force” is most active. The group has carried out several attacks against civil and military targets in Punjab and works closely with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Their activities occur predominantly in the cities of Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Pind Dadan Khan, Mandi Bahauddin, Kharian, Faisalabad and Gujranwala.
In a statement issued in Washington, four U.S. senators urged the State Department to designate the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) as a “foreign terrorist organization.” This comes after Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American, admitted being trained by the TTP to carry out the failed attempt to detonate a car-bomb in Times Square on May 1.The senators – all from New York and New Jersey – said they would introduce the legislation required to add the TTP to an official list of terrorist groups. Despite the group’s history, the State Department has yet to add the organization to an official list of terrorist groups.
The Sargodha Anti-Terrorism Court on Wednesday concluded the trial of five U.S. nationals suspected of having links to militants. The suspects were arrested on December 9, 2009 for allegedly trying to join Taliban militants in the fight against the U.S. in Afghanistan. They deny the accusations, claiming they came to Pakistan to attend a wedding and do humanitarian work in Afghanistan. The verdict is expected to be announced on Thursday.
At least 24 militants were killed on Wednesday in Upper Orakzai Agency in clashes with security forces, according to Frontier Corps sources. Militants attacked a security checkpoint around 11a.m. with small arms and rockets propelled grenades. Wednesday’s clashes, which also killed one soldier and wounded nine others, occurred in the militant stronghold of Djabori that was captured by the security forces last month. On Tuesday, 38 militants and four soldiers were killed in Orakzai, according to official sources. Warplanes bombed suspected militant positions in in Nandar Mela, Petavky and Sturkillay villages in northern Orakzai.
The provincial government of Kyber-Pakhtoonkhaw denied entry to 50 container trucks carrying NATO supplies on Wednesday. According to sources, the vehicles stopped at Attock Bridge after intelligence agencies informed the local government that the convoy was under threat of militant attack. Senior Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bashir Ahmed Bilour said there was no ban on NATO vehicles in the province and the move was only a precautionary measure.
The British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday that the new government views Pakistan as a long-term strategic partner and desires “deeper” and “stronger” relations in all areas. Mr. Hague, who was in Pakistan for a three-day official visit, also pledged 665 million pounds in economic assistance over a four year period. During a joint press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, Mr. Hague praised the sacrifices Pakistan has made in fighting terrorism and spoke highly of the one million Pakistani-born diaspora in the U.K. The Foreign Secretary reiterated that his country support the U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran, but said that the new government would not interfere in any sovereign decision of Pakistan.
At least seven people were killed and a dozen injured in Karachi on Tuesday. According to sources, a vehicle carrying four men was attacked in the Korangi Industrial Area, killing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Naseem Haider and Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) leaders Muhammad Bakhsh Kalmati and Muhammad Farman. In another incident, Awami National Party (ANP) activist Raza Khan was killed by gunmen in Orange Town. Meanwhile, lawmakers belonging to the ANP criticized the provincial government for failing to bring an end to targeted killings in the city and stressed that the anti-terror laws needed to be amended to effectively combat this terrorism. 
Bin Laden Hunter
The U.S. national detained last week in Pakistan while supposedly hunting Osama bin-Laden has been sent back to the United States without being charged, a source close to Gary Faulkner’s family told CNN on Tuesday. Faulkner was interrogated by Pakistani authorities and received a medical exam during which a Pakistani doctor determined that he has psychological problems.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Qazi Jamilur Rahman denies that there is a “no-go” area and reiterated that tourists are welcome to visit the scenic Swat Valley. The official said search operations and raids were ongoing to rid Swat Valley of terrorism completely. Tourists have already begun visiting Swat in small numbers, although their number is likely to increase with the passage of time. “We are making all-out efforts to facilitate their visits and make Swat a tourist heaven once again,” said Rahman.