Pakistan Security Brief

Kurram Shias threaten to break ties with gov’t; violence in Kurram agency; drone victims to be compensated; militants kill teenage ‘spy;’ India reaches out to Pakistan Army top brass; Indian and Pakistani home secretaries meet for peace talks; General Petraeus regrets Pakistani civilian deaths; protests against Quran burning; Musharraf arrest warrant; Shahbaz Sharif says no Punjab gov’t role in Davis release; violence in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Blasphemy law fallout; developments in Governor Taseer investigation; violence in Balochistan; ‘target killings’ in Karachi.


  • On Saturday, members of the Turi and Bangash tribes in Kurram Agency announced that they would cease cooperation with the government, due to the failure of the administration to enforce the recent peace agreement. They argued that members of the tribe had abided by the agreement, but security forces have taken no actions against ongoing kidnappings and killings. The Turi elders affirmed that they would not visit any governmental department until the administration recovers the recently kidnapped tribesmen and arrests the perpetrators. In addition, tribal elders have stated that they have refused to obtain national identity cards or passports unless the government takes action against militants.[1]

  • Six people were shot dead in two separate incidents in Lower Kurram Agency on Sunday. Unidentified militants fired a rocket on a vehicle in the Shaheedano Dand area while two people were shot in the Mathoza area.[2]

  • Dawn reports that the Pakistan government will compensate the families of the thirty-nine victims of the U.S. drone attack on March 17. A local government administrator said that the families will each receive $3,530 (Rs 300,000), in one of the first times that the government has publicly agreed to pay damages to victims of U.S drone strikes. The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, has stated his regret over the killing of tribesmen in the recent U.S. drone attack. Grossman said that cooperation with Pakistan aims to safeguard the lives of innocent people.”[3]

  • Insurgents killed a teenager they suspected of spying after he was kidnapped from Sipah in Khyber Agency on Wednesday. His family alleges that he was executed after he offered water to security forces patrolling in Sipah. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Meanwhile, two schools were destroyed in the Landi Kotal and Bara sub-districts while a bridge was blown up in Aka Khel. [4]

  Pakistan-India Relations

  • According to a report in the Times of India, the Indian government has asked its Pakistani envoy to “open channels of communication with Pakistani army chief General Pervez Kayani as well as ISI chief Shuja Pasha” in order to “open up new possibilities of deepening Indo-Pak engagement.” According to the report, “there is a realization that India's efforts to talk is incomplete because there is no communication with the Pakistani army — effectively the real power centre.” There has not yet been any public response from General Kayani.[5]

  • India and Pakistan’s home secretaries met in New Delhi on Monday to begin talks looking to benefit from a recent warming of relations. The home secretaries plan to discuss “counter-terrorism, the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the drugs trade” during talks that formally part of a recently restarted peace process. The meeting is surrounded by “excitement in both countries about the semi-final of the cricket World Cup” in which Pakistan will be playing hosts India. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to India to watch the match; Gilani has accepted the invitation.[6]

  U.S.-Pakistani Relations

  • The News reports that General David Petraeus, the ISAF commander in Afghanistan, warned the U.S. government that drone attacks which target tribesmen should be avoided in the future in order to maintain the U.S. relationship with the Pakistani Army within the War on Terror. In a phone call with General Petraeus, military officials apparently made it clear that future attacks should not be based on intelligence coming from local agents who could be supporting the militants. Petraeus also reportedly expressed regret for the drone attack that killed over forty people in Datta Khel on March 17.[7]

  • Protests were held in cities across Pakistan on Friday in response to the burning of the Quran by pastors Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp in Florida. The demonstrations, spearheaded by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), were held in Karachi, Hyderabad, Khuzdar, and in other cities in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. A spokesperson for the Department of State, Mark Toner, also condemned the pastors' desecration of the Quran.[8]

  • In a briefing in Washington, a spokesperson for the Department of State, Mark Toner, affirmed that the United States aims to assist Pakistan in “building a stronger political process, building stronger institutions, so that Pakistan is better able to cope with both the threat of terrorism in its midst as well as be a cooperative partner moving forward.”[9]

  Musharraf Arrest Warrant

  • An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to enlist the help of Interpol in order to serve an arrest warrant for exiled former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. The court is seeking Musharraf’s arrest over charges related to his alleged involvement in the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benzair Bhutto.[10]

  Raymond Davis Fallout

  • In an attempt to deflect rising criticism, Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif today made a statement claiming that the Punjab government had no part to play in the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis. Sharif told a press conference he would have “preferred resigning from his post rather than handing [Davis] over to the US authorities.”[11]


  • A bomb blast in Peshawar on Friday has resulted in nineteen injuries. An unknown militant planted the bomb near a vehicle before it detonated. The blast, which took place in the Hashtnagr area of the city, destroyed two vehicles. Meanwhile, four police officers were injured in a rocket attack by militants near the Darwazgai area of Matni while conducting a routine patrol.[12]

  • Two Levies Force soldiers were killed in Lower Dir in a bomb explosion on Friday in the Jandool area. The soldiers were conducting a patrol when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). Two other soldiers also sustained injuries in the blast.[13]

  • Two schools were blown up in the Sherkera and Matni areas on Saturday in separate incidents. Meanwhile, Adezai Qaumi Lashkar volunteers were targeted by an improvised explosive device planted on Matani-Adezai Road. The bomb exploded, however did not cause any loss of life.[14]

  Blasphemy Laws and Rising Extremism

  • On Saturday, the Punjab police elite force constable, Umer Farooq, told a trial court that the man accused of killing Governor Taseer, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, had specifically requested to be assigned to guard the former governor. The Expess Tribune reports that, “Umer Farooq informed the court that Qadri had asked him to assign his duty with Salmaan Taseer on January 4. He requested that he wanted to visit in the federal capital.”[15]

  • An article in the Washington Post reports that the assassination of Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, in Islamabad on March 3, has led to an increase in tensions in Bhatti’s home village between Muslim and Christian communities. His assassination has also led to debate within the Christian community over how to respond to his death and to a rising tide of religious hostility. According to one local from Bhatti’s hometown, “now we feel we are not safe….There is a gulf between us [and the Muslim community] now….Things seem normal, but inside they don’t accept us. This incident has made them more powerful, and we both feel it.”[16]

  • On Saturday, local police in Gilgit arrested a man accused of violating the blasphemy laws by “uttering derogatory words against the Holy Prophet.” Dawn reports that “following an announcement from a mosque near the police station people came out of their houses and blocked the area road in protest against the alleged blasphemer. However, when police arrested the accused, protesters dispersed peacefully.”[17]


  • Eight bodies were found around Balochistan on Saturday, with six recovered near the Sui area of Dera Bugti. Among the dead was a Baloch Republican Student Organization (BRSO) organizer. A spokesperson for the BRP accused security forces of the killing.[18]

  • Dawn reports that during the Indian and Pakistani interior secretaries’ meeting on Monday, Pakistan officials will bring up the issue of the “alleged Indian role in subversive activities in Balochistan.” Other issues that are reportedly up for discussion are the Samjhauta Express bombing of 2007 and Mumbai attacks. A senior Pakistani government official stated, “The raison d’etre for our getting together and sitting across the table, talking about issues is that we would like to deter acts of terrorism in all its manifestations and we would like to point out all such actors, who have been involved in acts of terrorism so that this could be eliminated from the spectrum of our relations.”[19]

  • Unknown persons blew up a gas pipeline in the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan province on Sunday. Authorities have started an investigation into the attack and began work repairing the damaged pipeline.[20]


  • “Target killings” continue to plague Karachi as an activist of the Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party (ANP) was among three people killed in separate incidents of violence on Sunday. Three more people, including a police officer, were injured. [21]


[1] Ali Afzai Afzaal, “Turi elders stop cooperation with govt,” The News, March 27, 2011. Available at
[2] “Six people shot dead in lower Kurram Agency,” Dawn, March 27, 2011. Available at
[3] “Grossman regrets killing of civilians in drone attacks,” The News, March 27, 2011. Available at
[4] “Militants kill ‘spy’, blow up schools in Khyber,” Dawn, March 28, 2011. Available at
[5] Indrani Bagchi, India to open talks with Pak army, ISI chief,” Times of India, March 27, 2011. Available at
[6] “India, Pakistan home secretaries begin talks,” Dawn, March 28, 2011. Available at
[7] “Petraeus warns US against attack on Pakistani tribesmen,” The News, March 27, 2011. Available at
[8] "US State Dept condemns desecration of Quran," Express Tribune, March 25, 2011. Available at
[9] Anwar Iqbal, “US offers to strengthen Pakistani political process,” Dawn, March 28, 2011. Available at
[10] Pamela Constable, “Pakistan seeks Interpol’s help in carrying out arrest warrant for Musharraf,” Washington Post, March 26, 2011. Available at
[11] “Punjab govt not responsible for Davis release,” Dawn, March 28, 2011. Available at
[12] "Nineteen seriously injured in Peshawar blast," Dawn, March 25, 2011. Available at
[13]“2 soldiers killed in Dir Lower blast,” The News, March 26, 211. Available at
[14] “Two schools blown up,” Dawn, March 26, 2011. Available at
[15] “Salmaan Taseer’s assassination: Qadri requested posting with ex-governor,” Express Tribune, March 27, 2011. Available at
[16] Pamela Constable, “Pakistani Christian official’s slaying stirs fear, discord,” Washington Post, March 26, 2011. Available at
[17] “Blasphemy suspect arrested in Gilgit,” Dawn, March 27, 20111. Available at
[18] “Eight bodies found in Balochistan,” Daily Times, March 27, 2011. Available at\03\27\story_27-3-2011_pg1_5
[19] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Balochistan to figure in talks with India,” Dawn, March 27, 2011. Available at
[20] “Pipeline blown up in Dera Bugti,” Express Tribune, March 27, 2011. Available at  
[21] “ANP worker among three gunned down,” The News, March 28, 2011. Available at



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