Pakistan Security Brief

Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militants attack security checkpoints in Tirah Valley; Suicide bomber targets LI mosque in Tirah Valley; Senate elections underway in Pakistan; Secretary Clinton says that Pakistani officials did not know where bin Laden was hiding; Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Khar defy U.S. over Iran-Pakistan pipeline project; LA Times writes on Imran Khan’s rise as politician; Pakistani government develops system to restrict web access; Foreign Office says Dr. Shakeel Afridi is being dealt with according to Pakistani law; Mansoor Ijaz details conversations with Hussain Haqqani over “memogate;” Pakistani fighter jets bomb militant hideouts in Orakzai; Intelligence Bureau Inspector gunned down; Unidentified assailants attack Frontier Corps soldiers in Balochistan; Dead body of missing tribal elder discovered.



  • On Friday, at least 33 people were killed when dozens of Lashkar-e-Islam militants attacked three security checkpoints recently established by the Pakistan Army on a hilltop in the Tirah Valley, Khyber agency. In the “heavy fighting,” 10 Pakistani soldiers and 23 militants were killed, and 3 soldiers were wounded.[1]

  • A suicide attack targeting a Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) mosque in the Tirah Valley, Khyber agency killed 23 people and wounded 20 others on Friday. According to a local administration official, the bomber detonated his jacket near the entrance of the mosque after Friday prayers. An LI spokesman claimed that only six militants were killed by the blast. A commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Mohammed, claimed responsibility for the attack on the LI base. Reportedly, the Pakistani Taliban carried out the attack to “avenge a previous attack” against them by LI. According to The New York Times, both militant groups have “been fighting for control of the Tirah Valley over the last year.” [2]

  • Pakistani fighter jets bombed suspected militant hideouts in the areas of Akhunkot and Balras in Orakzai agency, killing 15 militants and wounding 10 others. Five militant hideouts were destroyed in the operation. According to Dawn, security sources reported that 95 percent of Orakzai agency has been “cleared of the militants.”[3]

  • Intelligence Bureau Inspector Bashir Khan was killed on Friday on the outskirts of Peshawar. According to a senior police official, Khan was gunned down by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle.[4]

  • On Thursday, an attempt was made on the life of Member of National Assembly (MNA) Usman Khan Tarakai in Turlandi, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The News reported that MNA Tarakai was the intended target of a roadside improvised explosive device that went off at 7:25 p.m., just as MNA Tarakai was on his way home. MNA Tarakai escaped the IED blast with his life and was completely unharmed.[5]

  • Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers were attacked in the Pir Sori area of Dera Bugti, Balochistan on Thursday by unidentified armed men with “sophisticated weapons.” Three of the assailants were killed and two FC personnel were wounded in the attack.[6]

  • On Wednesday, the “bullet-riddled remains” of missing tribal elder Takri Raheem Dad were discovered by Levies Force personnel in the Dasht area of Mastung, Balochistan. According to sources at a hospital in Quetta where the body underwent an autopsy, Dad, who has been listed as missing since December 19, was shot in the head.[7]

  • On Thursday, two bomb blasts badly damaged a school in Yar Hussain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to police officials, the bombs were planted outside classroom walls by unidentified militants and were detonated around 2:30 a.m. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.[8]

Domestic Politics

  • Polling for Pakistan’s Senate elections ended on Friday, and the counting of votes has begun. According to unofficial results, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is in the lead in Sindh province, while the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) is in the lead in Punjab province. The 50 outgoing senators will leave office after completing their six-year terms on March 12, the same day that the incoming senators will begin their first session. Elections for 50 Senate seats are held every three years, but this year, 54 senators will be elected, because four seats – one from each province – are reserved for minorities according to the 18th Amendment. On Thursday, the Election Commission of Pakistan announced that nine candidates had already been elected unopposed, leaving 45 seats to be contested. The National Assembly’s opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters that seats in the elections were being “publicly auctioned,” and he suggested that the “bad fish” be expelled from Parliament and politics in general.[9]

  • The Los Angeles Times reports on Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricket legend turned politician who has “emerged for the first time as a major force” in Pakistan’s political arena. Khan’s political rallies in Lahore and Karachi, two of Pakistan’s major cities, drew crowds of more than 100,000 people, making Khan’s growing popularity evident. According to the article, some in Pakistan question whether Khan’s sudden rise is due to support from “the country’s powerful security establishment,” but Khan continually denies such claims. According to the LA Times, Khan’s success is due in part to his reliance on populist themes that resonate strongly with Pakistanis, most of whom are anti-American. He promises to take a tough stance with Washington by refusing economic and military aid and insisting on an end to the CIA’s drone campaign. Most analysts doubt that Khan’s PTI can win enough seats to take control of the government, but he might win enough “to become a major opposition force.”[10]

  • According to The New York Times, the Pakistani government “published a public tender last month” to develop an automatic blocking and filtering system, which would restrict access to certain websites in order to “uphold public morality, protect national security or prevent blasphemy.” Pakistan has restricted web access to specifics URLs in the past, including Facebook and YouTube, but it has always done so in a “makeshift way.”[11]

Osama bin Laden

  • Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson said on Friday that Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who has been detained on charges of assisting the CIA in capturing Osama bin Laden, “is being dealt with, in accordance with [Pakistan’s] law.” He added that Pakistan expects all other countries to “respect [its] legal process, and refrain from making groundless insinuations and drawing premature conclusions.”[12]

  • In front of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified that the U.S. has “no evidence of any high-level official [in Pakistan]” having had knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout before the U.S. raid in May. Clinton voiced her assumption “that lower-level people had to have known something,” but she added that it can only be “asserted, but not yet proven.”[13]


  • Express News reported Thursday that Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz provided details of his conversations with Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani during his testimony before the “memogate” commission via video link. Ijaz said that after the Financial Times published his op-ed about the “memo,” Haqqani called him and admitted that “the information contained in the article was accurate,” but “none of it could be publically admitted.” The commission has summoned Haqqani to its next meeting on March 15, and it has directed the Pakistani government to provide Haqqani’s phone bills as well. The commission has also ordered Ijaz to appear on the same date via video link from the Pakistani High Commission in London.[14]

International Relations

  • In a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Afghan President Hamid Karzai wrote of both countries’ “shared determination to ensure peace, security and prosperity.” Karzai mentioned that “it was essential” that Afghanistan and Pakistan “sustain a brotherly and equitable collaboration.” He also expressed gratitude for Gilani’s “warm reception and brotherly hospitality” during his recent visit to Pakistan for the Trilateral Summit.[15]       

  • Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project despite U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warning yesterday regarding possible sanctions on Pakistan if the government proceeds with the project. On Thursday, Khar stated that Pakistan “can't afford to be selective” about where its energy comes from, claiming that it is in Pakistan’s “national interest” to get energy from wherever it can. Gilani said that Pakistan is “a sovereign country” and “will do whatever is in the interest of Pakistan.”[16]           

[2] “Seventy dead in NW Pakistan violence: official,” AFP, March 2, 2012. Available at
“Suicide Bomber Hits Pakistan Militant Base; 23 die,” The Associated Press, March 2, 2012. Available at
“’Pakistani militants’ die in Khyber blast,” BBC, March 2, 2012. Available at
[3] “Jets pound militant hideouts in Orakzai; 15 killed,” Dawn, March 2, 2012. Available at
[4] “Gunmen kill Pakistan intelligence official: police,” AFP, March 2, 2012. Available at
[5] “MNA escapes blast,” The News International, March 2, 2012. Available at
[6] “Balochistan unrest: Six killed in different acts of violence,” The Express Tribune, March 2, 2012. Available at
[7] Shehzad Baloch, “Missing persons: Body of missing tribal elder found in Mastung,” The Express Tribune, March 2, 2012. Available at
[8] Muhammad Farooq, “Blasts damage school in Swabi,” The News International, March 2, 2012. Available at
[9] “Vote-count underway as Senate polling ends,” Dawn, March 2, 2012. Available at
“Zardari summons first session of new Senate on March 12,” APP, March 1, 2012. Available at
[10] Alex Rodriguez, “Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan's political cachet grows,” Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2012. Available at,0,4453102.story
[12] “Dr Shakeel Afridi being dealt in line with country's law: FO,” Geo, March 2, 2012. Available at
[13] “No high-level Pak official had,” The News International, March 2, 2012. Available at
[14] “Memo Commission summons Husain Haqqani,” Geo, March 2, 2012. Available at
“Memogate: Documentary evidence of possible coup, US helicopter movement, handed over,” The Express Tribune, March 2, 2012. Available at
[15] “President Karzai for deeper Pak-Afghan collaboration,” Geo, March 2, 2012. Available at
[16] Adam Schreck and Chris Brummitt, “Iran looks to boost energy ties to nearby Pakistan,” Denver Post, March 1, 2012. Available at
Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Govt to go ahead with Iran pipeline: Khar,” Dawn, March 2, 2012. Available at
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