Pakistan Security Brief

Report claims that bin Laden was forced to “retire” by al Qaeda leadership; Pakistan’s Interior Minister testifies before Abbottabad Commission; Pakistan’s Supreme Court again orders Prime Minister Gilani to write Swiss authorities; U.S. Senate committee discusses Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace talks; Pakistan’s Senate condemns “forced disappearances” in Balochistan; TTP leaders struggle to adopt uniform process for peace talks; Pakistani government seeks to install internet filter; Japan grants Pakistan $3.7 million in aid; Two militants and tribal volunteer killed in clash in Tirah Valley.

Osama bin Laden

  • A security consultant and retired Pakistan Army officer Brigadier Shaukat Qadir who is conducting a private investigation into the bin Laden raid, reported that al Qaeda leadership “forced bin Laden to ‘retire’ from his position as ‘amir’ – or chief – of the group and to live out his days in isolation from the movement he founded.” Qadir also revealed that bin Laden’s eldest wife, Khairiah Sabe, “intended to betray the [al Qaeda] leader.” Qadir claims he gained this information through “rare access to transcripts of Pakistani intelligence's interrogation of bin Laden's youngest wife,” Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al Sadah, as well as access to the Abbottabad compound and interviews with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) interrogators and al Qaeda-linked “militants and tribesmen in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.” The Associated Press reported that “there is no evidence Khairiah [Sabe] had any role in bin Laden's end.”[1]

  • On Wednesday, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik testified before the Abbottabad Commission, tasked with investigating the May 2 raid by the U.S. Navy SEALs on bin Laden’s compound, claiming that “at no stage was the government aware of Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan.” However, during the proceedings, Malik seemed to contradict his earlier statement by saying that Pakistani security agencies had been “very close” to capturing bin Laden at the time of the raid. In his testimony, Malik admitted that the Pakistani intelligence agencies failed in locating bin Laden. On Thursday, Malik announced that bin Laden's three widows, who have been detained in Pakistan since May, “have been charged with illegally entering and living in the country.”[2]

Domestic Politics

  • On Thursday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court once again ordered Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to write a letter to Swiss authorities requesting that the graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari be reopened. The court directed Prime Minister Gilani to “submit a [compliance] report in the court by March 21, 2012, after writing the letter.” The Supreme Court has adjourned Prime Minister Gilani’s contempt proceedings until March 21 as well.[3]

  • Pakistan’s Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday demanding that “the federal and provincial governments should take immediate and effective steps to ensure the speedy recovery and release” of missing persons in Balochistan, Karachi and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The Senate resolved that the “abduction, arbitrary lifting and forced disappearance of any human being is illegal and intolerable in a [civilized] society.”[4]

  • Pakistan’s government is advertising for companies that can install an internet filtering system that would be capable of blocking up to 50 million Web addresses in multiple languages. Pakistan’s internet access is less restricted in comparison to many Asian and Arab countries, but it still blocks pornographic sites, and censors those promoting separatist activities, insulting Islam, or criticizing the military.[5]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • At Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, lawmakers and military officials discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations and Pakistan’s role in the U.S.-led peace talks in Afghanistan. Committee Chairman Senator Carl Levin stated that “the progress of reconciliation talks with the Taliban” would be determined by “whether Pakistan chooses to play a constructive role in those talks,” and whether Pakistan eliminates the threat from insurgent safe havens inside its borders.  Senator John McCain, the ranking Republican member of the committee, noted that the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan “remains fraught by a series of setbacks and a lack of trust, largely arising from the fact that the country’s intelligence service continues to support terrorist groups such as the Haqqani network, that are killing Americans.”[6]


  • According to retired Brigadier Mehmood Shah, a former FATA security chief, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) “structure is broken” and its leaders are “making efforts to rebuild it and remove differences.” According to a TTP commander, the group’s “one-point agenda is how to adopt a uniform policy” for exploring peace contacts. The commander reported that “dialogue with Pakistan is a secondary issue,” with the primary objective being ending internal disputes.[7]

  • Two militants and a tribal volunteer were killed in an armed clash between the Zakhakhel tribal lashkar and the Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam in the Naribaba area of Tirah Valley, Khyber agency on Wednesday.[8]

  • Six family members were critically injured, when an unidentified assailant on a motorcycle lobbed two hand grenades into their house in the Ghaffar Sherai locality of Mardan district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.[9]

  • Unknown assailants entered a house in the Shaheen area of Peshawar and opened fire, killing four people and injuring two others.[10]

  • On Wednesday, unknown gunmen armed with “sophisticated weapons” killed two people from Punjab and injured five others at a bus stop in the Mand Balo area of Kech district, Balochistan.[11]

International Relations

  • Japan decided on Wednesday to extend $3.7 million in Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA) to Pakistan. Corporations in the disaster-affected area of East Japan will export manufactured goods such as medical and vocational training equipment to Pakistan to improve medical services and human resource development in Pakistan. At the signing ceremony for the NPGA, Japan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Hiroshi Oe voiced his hope that the grant will help strengthen the friendly relations between Japan and Pakistan.[12]    




[1] Kathy Gannon, “In bin Laden’s lair, his wives split by suspicions,” AP, March 7, 2012. Available at
Rob Crilly, “’Retired’ Osama bin Laden viewed death as a release from years of ill health, book claims,” The Telegraph, March 8, 2012. Available at
[2] “Abbottabad Commission: Malik claims Pakistani agencies had almost caught Bin Laden,” The Express Tribune, March 8, 2012. Available at
Syed Irfan Raza, “Got was unaware of Osama’s presence, claims Malik,” Dawn, March 8, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan charges Osama bin Laden wives,” USA Today, March 8, 2012. Available at
[3] “NRO implementation: SC asks Gilani to write letter to Swiss authorities…again,” The Express Tribune, March 8, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan court: Zardari corruption case ‘must be reopened,’” BBC, March 8, 2012. Available at
[4] Amir Wasim, “Senate voices concern for the missing,” Dawn, March 8, 2012. Available at
[5] “Wanted: Censor for Pakistan’s Internet,” AP, March 8, 2012. Available at
Chris Brummitt, “Wanted: Censor for Pakistan's Internet,” AP, March 8, 2012. Available at
[6] “Pakistan’s importance in peace efforts stressed,” Dawn, March 7, 2012. Available at
[7] “Pakistani Taliban in talks to heal rift: Sources,” AFP, March 8, 2012. Available at
[8] “Two militants, volunteer killed in Bara clash,” The News, March 8, 2012. Available at
[9] “Six injured in Takhtbhai grenade attack,” The News, March 8, 2012. Available at
[10] “Two women among four killed in Peshawar,” Geo, March 7, 2012. Available at
[11] “Unabated violence: Two settlers killed in Kech,” The Express Tribune, March 8, 2012. Available at
[12] “Japan extends grant aid to Pakistan,” The News, March 8, 2012. Available at
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