Pakistan Security Brief

Pakistani parliamentary commission calls for an end to drone attacks and demands U.S. apology; U.S. to “offer a formal public apology,” claims PPP; TTP says ceasefire possible if parliament stands against drone attacks; U.S. complains about harassment of embassy staff in Pakistan; Extremists warn parliament not to open NATO supply routes; Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders “halt” to illegal detentions; One of two charges dropped against radical Brigadier; Pakistan wants Russia to finance Iran-Pakistan pipeline project; Hussain Haqqani to testify in “memogate” case on March 26; North Waziristan Taliban says peace accord with Pakistani government still intact; Lashkar-e-Islam chief “killed” in Tirah valley clash; Report says Pakistan is world’s third largest recipient of arms; Abbottabad Commission summons Foreign Minister and Defence Minister; Tahir Rafique Butt assumes command of Pakistani Air Force; Chief of Army Staff holds meetings with U.K. leaders.


U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, a report by Pakistan’s Parliamentary Commission on National Security “called for an end to CIA drone attacks and demanded an unconditional apology for U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.” The commission’s report stated that the NATO supply routes “could be revived,” but recommended higher tariffs on the transported goods. The report also recommended “that at least 50 [percent] of NATO containers passing through Pakistan may be handled through Pakistan Railways.” According to The New York Times, some clauses of the report “stressed [Pakistani] ties with American strategic rivals, such as China and Russia.” The recommendations put forth by the parliamentary commission are “not binding,” but will be considered by both chambers of parliament beginning Monday as they decide how to “reframe” the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.[1]

  • On Monday, a senior leader in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) announced that the U.S. “now plans to offer a formal public apology to Islamabad” over the November 26 NATO airstrike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. According to the PPP leader, the U.S. apology will coincide with the joint session of Parliament, and “may come from the highest level.” The Express Tribune reported that the U.S. military initially planned for Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey “to make a formal apology via telephone to Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.” However, the plan was “delayed at the request of the Pakistani government, which wanted the American apology to coincide with the joint sitting of Parliament.”[2]

  • According to a commander in the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), if Parliament decides to take “a clear stance against drone attacks and supplies for Americans in Afghanistan” the TTP may announce a ceasefire. On Monday, the commander also stated that the TTP wants the Pakistani government to “announce a complete departure from the policy of supporting [the] global campaign against terrorism…and [the] withdrawal of the military from the tribal belt.”[3]

  • U.S. officials wrote a letter to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry earlier this month, in which they complained about the alleged harassment of diplomatic staff from the U.S. embassy and consulates in Pakistan. After receiving the letter, the foreign ministry informed all the provincial governments, federal interior ministry and law-enforcement agencies and asked them to take immediate steps to correct the situation. In January 2010, the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan filed a similar complaint and said that “its diplomatic staff were being harassed and detained while traveling around the country.”[4]

  • On Monday, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) “cautioned lawmakers” against reopening NATO supply routes. The DPC stated that it would “call [its] supporters to besiege the homes of parliamentarians” that vote to lift the NATO blockade. According to DPC Chairman Maulana Samiul Haq, at a meeting in Peshawar the DPC “decided to meet [with] parliamentary leaders of various political parties” in order to convince them to keep the blockade in place.[5]

Supreme Court

  • On Monday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of Pakistan’s Supreme Court “asked the attorney general to take up the matter of illegal detention with higher authorities.” The court ordered a “halt to the practice” of illegal detention during the hearing of Umer Mahmood Wali Khan’s case, a 24 year-old Pakistani man “who was abducted on March 10 and recovered on March 16” after the Islamabad police contacted the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, Military Intelligence, and the Intelligence Bureau. Chief Justice Chaudhry noted that the six-day detention of Khan “has no justification.”[6]

International Relations

  • A subcommittee of Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decided to pursue negotiations with Russia in order to finance the construction of the Iran-Pakistan natural gas pipeline project. In February, Russia initially offered to finance the pipeline on the condition that Russian energy company Gazprom was awarded the contract without having to bid on it. However, Pakistan negotiated an alternate deal with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which has since “backed off from financing the $1.5 billion” project “amid pressure from the United States.” Petroleum Secretary Ijaz Chaudhry clarified that Pakistan has “yet to award the contract to Russia,” but stated that “a delegation will visit Russia soon to negotiate a deal with Gazprom.”[7]

  • On Monday, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited both the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence and its Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The News reported that Kayani “held meetings with senior civil and military leaders” including the Minister of State for Defence and the National Security Advisor. At the meetings, the leaders discussed “bilateral defense cooperation and the current situation in Afghanistan.”[8]


  • The “memogate” commission on Sunday turned down former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani’s request to record his testimony via video link from London. The commission ordered Haqqani to appear in person in Islamabad on March 26. Haqqani agreed to appear, saying that he wants “the commission to get to some conclusion as soon as possible."[9]


  • Ahmadullah Ahmadi, the spokesman for the North Waziristan Taliban led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, told reporters on Monday that the Taliban’s peace accord with the Pakistani government was still intact, despite the recent clashes between security forces and militants in Miram Shah and other parts of the agency. Ahmadi said that the Taliban “would strive to restore peace and help bring the situation to normalcy,” and he urged the local Taliban members to remain “calm and patient” and continue to try to maintain peace in North Waziristan agency.[10] 

  •  Inspector General of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Akbar Khan Hoti stated on Monday that Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) chief Mangal Bagh was reportedly killed in clashes between rival militant groups in Tirah valley. However, LI spokesman Mohammad Hussein rejected the reports about Bagh’s death and said that Bagh is alive and well.[11] 

  • Unknown assailants riding motorcycles opened fire on the Geo News office in Karachi, smashing the windows of a satellite van on Tuesday morning.[12] 

  •  According to new data on international arms transfers published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on March 19, the world’s largest arms importers are in Asia. In 2007-2011, Asia and Oceania accounted for “44 percent of global arms imports,” and Pakistan, which accounted for “5 percent” of global arms imports, was the world’s third largest recipient of arms.[13] 

  • At least five suspected militants were killed and one was injured, when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the Dwa Toi area of Tirah valley, Khyber agency on Monday.[14] 

  • Unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle gunned down a man in Quetta’s Qambarani Road area on Monday.[15] 

  • Acting on a tip-off, Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers trailed a suspicious vehicle near Lijje village in Balochistan’s Nushki district, exchanged fire with the unknown assailants, and then took possession of the vehicle as the suspects escaped into the mountains. FC officials recovered arms and explosives from the vehicle, and claimed that they were being smuggled into the area for a planned terrorist attack on Pakistan Day.[16] 

Osama bin Laden

  • On Tuesday, the Abbottabad Commission, tasked with investigating the May 2 raid by U.S. Special Forces that killed bin Laden, “summoned the foreign minister, defence minister, and chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to record their statements.” Officials reportedly told the Express Tribune that “the [commission’s] report will be submitted once the statements of [these] officials and a few others have been recorded,” which “is expected to be finished within two weeks.”[17]


  • The Field General Court Martial (FGCM) dropped one of two charges against Brigadier Ali Khan on Monday. Khan had been charged with planning an attack on the army’s general headquarters and with having ties to militant group Hizb-ut Tahrir. According to Khan’s counsel, the first charge has been dropped. Khan’s counsel also stated that the FGCM ordered military authorities to transfer Khan back to Rawalpindi from Sialkot, and it summoned the Judge Advocate General branch on March 27. Khan filed a petition with the Lahore High Court, arguing that the court martial proceedings against him were illegal, since he was a retired army official, however, the military has suspended Khan’s retirement orders.[18]

  • Newly promoted Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt assumed command of the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) on Monday. Analyst and retired PAF Captain Sultan M. Hali said Butt “is a capable, upright and honest officer who will lead by personal example.” Retired Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail commented that “being appointed to the top spot through seniority will help Butt in his new position,” noting that when a “junior is stepped up, it results in a lot of speculation and rumor-mongering, which affects…morale and discipline.”[19]             

  • A 30-member delegation of Karachi’s business community met with Chief of Army Staff General Kayani to express their displeasure with the performance of the Pakistan Rangers in ensuring their protection from extortionists in the city. Although Gen. Kayani assured them in a September 21 meeting that all necessary steps would be taken for their security, the businessmen say the measures were simply “cosmetic” and did not significantly reduce the threat from extortionists. The delegation made four key demands during the meeting: “a direct hot-line with the DG Rangers Headquarters; a permanent role for Rangers in policing; the establishment of new Rangers pickets at key locations in industrial zones; and certain constitutional changes that would ensure speedy trials of criminals in the courts.”[20]     


[1] Shiaq Hussain and Richard Leiby, “Pakistan’s legislators urged to seek halt to U.S. drone strikes,” The Washington Post, March 20, 2012. Available at
[2] Kamran Yousaf, “Delayed response: US to apologise over NATO air raid – finally,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[3] Zia Khan, “Pakistan-US ties: TTP keenly watching parliamentary review,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
Declan Walsh, “Pakistani Parliament Demands End to U.S. Drone Strikes,” The New York Times, March 20, 2012. Available at
Zahid Gishkori and Huma Imtiaz, “NATO attack: Parliamentary committee says Pakistan should demand apology,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[4] Asad Kharal, “Diplomatic staff being harassed, complains US,” Express Tribune, March 19, 2012. Available at
[5] “NATO supplies: DPC warns against reopening routes,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[6] “Missing persons case: Supreme Court slams agencies for illegal detention,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[7] Zafar Bhutta, “Financing needs: IP gas pipeline – Russia catches Pakistan’s eye,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[8] “COAS Kayani meets with UK civil and military leaders,” The News, March 19, 2012. Available at
[9] Malik Asad, “Haqqani’s request for testimony via video link turned down,” Dawn, March 19, 2012. Available at
“Haqqani ready to face memo commission on March 26,” The News, March 19, 2012. Available at
[10] “NWA Taliban say peace accord with govt intact,” The News, March 20, 2012. Available at
[11] “LI rejects claim about death of Mangal Bagh,” The News, March 20, 2012. Available at
[12] “Armed men open fire outside Geo News office, damage satellite van,” The News, March 19, 2012. Available at''Geo-News''-office--
[13] “19 March 2012: Rise in international arms transfers is driven by Asian demand, says SIPRI,” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, March 19, 2012. Available at
[14] “Briefs...Roadside blast kills five in Khyber Agency,” The News, March 20, 2012. Available at
[15] “Briefs...Man dies in Quetta firing,” The News, March 20, 2012. Available at
[16] “Briefs...FC foils bid to sabotage Pakistan Day,” The News, March 20, 2012. Available at
[17] Zahid Gishkori, “Abbottabad Commission summons foreign, defence ministers,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[18] Mudassir Raja, “GHQ air raid charges against Brig Ali dropped,” Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at
[19] Usman Ansari, “Pakistani Air Force Gets New Chief,” Defense News, March 19, 2012. Available at
[20] Salman Siddiqui, “Insufficient protection: Businessmen exhort Rangers on extortion,” The Express Tribune, March 20, 2012. Available at 
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