Pakistan Security Brief

Religious parties protest reopening of NATO supply routes in Pakistan; Violent protests against police raids and operations occur in Karachi; Suicide bomb outside Lashkar-e-Islam mosque kills five; Algerian Muslim gunman in France does not have connections to al Qaeda or Pakistan, say French officials; Militants kill four soldiers and abduct four others in Balochistan; Bomb planted inside radio kills Frontier Corps official; TTP video talks about group’s desire to use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons; U.S. will not revise policy on drone strikes, says U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan; Pakistani prime minister to meet President Obama at nuclear summit in Seoul; Ahmed Rashid’s fifth book on Pakistan released; Pakistan to allow imports of certain goods from India; Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law speaks to NBC;  72nd Pakistan Day celebrated across country.


  • Two of Pakistan’s religious parties, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) protested the potential reopening of Pakistan’s NATO supply routes in different areas of Karachi on Friday. JuD organizer Hafiz Kalimullah accused the U.S. and NATO of atrocities in Afghanistan such as the recent desecration of the Qur’an. Approximately 100 to 150 JuD protesters gathered outside the Karachi Press Club and chanted anti-U.S. and anti-NATO slogans while holding signs proclaiming, “We hate NATO forces.”[1]

  • On Friday, violent protests occurred in Karachi’s Lyari area for the fourth consecutive day, as residents protested against raids and operations by law enforcement agencies. They complained that the police were harassing local residents and arresting innocent people while letting criminals go free. The protesters threw hand grenades at shops and hotels, forcing them to close down, and they pelted security officials with stones. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd, but protesters responded by attacking a security vehicle with a petrol bomb and setting it on fire.[2] 


  • In a video posted on jihadist forums on March 16, Omar Khalid al-Khorasanai, a Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) official for Mohmand agency in Pakistan, said that right now the TTP is “organizationally stronger than ever,” because it is “fighting under one command in the whole of Pakistan,” – their “central leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.” He also spoke about the TTP’s objectives, which include a desire to “use Pakistan’s strengths including the atomic bomb, army, and other resources…for the survival of Islam.”[3]

  • On Friday, five people were killed in a suicide bomb attack outside a Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) mosque in the town of Akakhel in Tirah valley, Khyber agency. There are conflicting reports on how many of the dead were militants, but according to a local administration official, three of the dead were LI militants, while the other two were passers-by. Another report claims that all five of the dead were militants belonging to LI. A spokesman for LI blamed the Pakistani Taliban for the attack.[4]

  • Mohammed Merah, the French Algerian Muslim who confessed to killing 7 people, including three Jewish schoolgirls on Monday and was then killed in a gunfight with police on Thursday, claimed to have connections to al Qaeda and training from Pakistan. French officials said Friday that they have no evidence leading them to “believe that he was commissioned by Al Qaeda to carry out these attacks.” [5]

  • Four soldiers were killed and four others were abducted, when militants attacked a paramilitary check post in Balochistan on Friday. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials blamed it on the Taliban in Shirani district.[6]

  • Officials said Friday that a bomb planted inside a radio exploded at a Frontier Corps (FC) official’s house at the Wana Scouts Camp in South Waziristan, killing the security official and wounding his two sons.[7]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to the Express Tribune, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter reportedly told Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in a meeting on Thursday that Washington would not revise its policy on using drone strikes in Pakistan. However, the U.S. would be willing to formally apologize for the November NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, said Munter.[8]

  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to meet President Barack Obama in Seoul, South Korea during the two-day nuclear safety summit starting on March 26. A diplomatic source said that the meeting’s agenda “is obvious” and will focus on the recommendations proposed by Pakistan for the “revised terms of engagement between the two countries.”[9]

  • Pakistani journalist and best-selling author Ahmed Rashid’s fifth book entitled, “Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan,” was released in the U.S. this week. In the book, Rashid says Pakistan is on the verge of “anarchy,” and he blames both Pakistan and the U.S. for the deterioration in their ties. He says that Pakistan’s problems have to do with “its reliance on U.S. aid, its complex politics, the government’s lack of control over both its military and intelligence service” and its failure to “weed out insurgents operating from its safe havens.” Rashid argues that the U.S. is partly responsible for “fuel[ing] Pakistan’s paranoia” by shutting it out of peace talks with the Taliban, not discussing the Afghan war and exit strategy and strengthening relations with India, Pakistan’s greatest enemy. According to Rashid, Pakistan needs to be more willing “to show when and under what conditions it would be willing to give up the sanctuary for the Taliban,” while the U.S. needs to display more trust in Pakistan by “discussing [its] withdrawal plans and future plans with the Pakistanis.” “The key issue,” Rashid says, “is to get a political settlement with the Taliban that leaves Afghanistan in peace.”[10]


  • During Thursday’s Supreme Court hearing on the law and order situation and target killings in Balochistan, the three-member bench asked Balochistan’s Chief Secretary Ahmed Bakhash Lehri to give a report “on the incidents of target killings and arrests of the accused over the past three years.” The court has also accepted a request by the Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), asking for permission to give the court a closed-door briefing in chamber. The court adjourned the hearing until April 3.[11]

India-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistani Energy Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry said on Friday that Pakistan is planning next month to allow the import of certain goods from India, including petrol and food items. Pakistan granted India “most favoured nation” status in November 2011 and agreed in principle to allow imports from India, but it has yet to fully implement the change.[12]

  • The 72nd Pakistan Day is being celebrated across the country on Friday to commemorate the day in 1940 that the All India Muslim League adopted the Pakistan Resolution demanding a separate state for Muslims, which eventually led to the creation of Pakistan.[13]

Osama bin Laden

  • Zakaria al-Sadah, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, spoke to NBC News in Islamabad on Tuesday in his first interview with a U.S. television network. Al-Sadah’s sister, Amal, was bin Laden’s youngest wife, who lived in the Abbottabad compound with her five children and was shot in the leg during the U.S. raid in May 2011. Since the raid, the Pakistani government has detained Amal and her children along with bin Laden’s other wives and children, and it recently charged the wives with “illegal entry, harboring an offender, impersonation and abetment,” said an official in Pakistan’s Ministry of the Interior. Al-Sadah said that the last time he saw his sister, two and a half months ago; she had lost the use of her injured leg. He believes that Pakistani authorities are deliberately keeping him away from Amal to hide her worsening condition. Al-Sadah has hired a lawyer to help free his sister, and he has written to Pakistan's chief justice asking for permission for his sister and her children to return with him to Yemen.[14]




[1] Saba Imtiaz, “'We hate Nato forces': JuD, JI protest potential reopening of supply routes,” The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012. Available at
[2] “Violent protests in Lyari over police operation,” Dawn, March 23, 2012. Available at
“Targeted operations: Violent protests hit Lyari,” The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012. Available at
[3] “TTP Official Speaks on Group's History, Objectives,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 20, 2012. Available at SITE
[4] “Suicide attack kills five at mosque in Khyber agency,” AFP, March 23, 2012. Available at
“Suicide bomb 'kills five' in Pakistan's Khyber district,” BBC, March 23, 2012. Available at
[6] “4 soldiers killed, 4 abducted in Balochistan: Officials,” AFP, March 23, 2012. Available at
[7] “Security official killed, two children injured in Wana explosion,” The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012. Available at
[8] Kamran Yousaf, “US rebuffs call to wrap up its drone war,” The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012. Available at
[9] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Obama-Gilani meeting likely next week,” Dawn, March 23, 2012. Available at
[10] “New book warns of looming Pakistan anarchy,” Reuters, March 23, 2012. Available at
[11] Azam Khan, “Balochistan violence: ISI, MI to give court closed-door briefing,” The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012. Available at
[12] “Pakistan plans allowing petrol imports from India,” Reuters, March 23, 2012. Available at
[13] “Nation celebrates Pakistan Day in high spirits,” The Express Tribune, March 23, 2012. Available at
[14] Amna Nawaz, “Bin Laden widow's condition worsens in Pakistani custody, brother says,” NBC News, March 22, 2012. Available at
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