Pakistan Security Brief

Pakistan’s Interior Minister announces bin Laden’s three widows have been charged; Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam appointed new Director General of ISI; Eight militants killed by U.S. drone in South Waziristan; TTP threatens suicide bombings if bin Laden’s widows not released; Al Qaeda confirms Badr Mansoor killed by U.S. strike; Militants kill seven Pakistani soldiers in North Waziristan; President-elect Vladimir Putin to visit Pakistan in September; DPC holds rally in Peshawar; Pakistani Foreign Office calls separatist movement in Balochistan an “internal issue;” Pakistani Senate passes landmark Human Rights Bill.


Osama bin Laden

  • On Thursday, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that bin Laden’s three widows, two Saudis and one Yemeni, have been charged with “illegally entering and living in the country.”Bin Laden’s wives and children were detained by Pakistani authorities, specifically the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), after the U.S. raid on the al Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad. Malik stated that the children were not charged and are free to leave Pakistan at anytime. Malik reported that the children are currently “living ‘comfortably’ in a five-bedroom house in Islamabad.” According to a Pakistani legal expert, the wives could receive a maximum punishment of five years in jail if convicted. However, a lawyer with the FIA reported that they could face up to 10 years in jail, in addition to a $110 fine.[1]

  • On Friday, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan stated that “if the family of Osama bin Laden is not released as soon as possible, [the TTP] will attack the judges, the lawyers and the security officials involved in their trial.” Ehsan claimed that the TTP will target the Pakistani government in suicide bombings across the country if bin Laden’s widows are not released.[2]

ISI Appointment

  • Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appointed Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam as Pakistan’s new Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (DG ISI) on Friday. Islam, the Karachi Corps commander, will take over the position on March 18, when DG ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha retires. The appointment has put to rest rumors that Pasha, who was appointed in 2008, would receive another extension.[3]


Domestic Politics

  • Pakistan’s Senate passed the landmark Human Rights Bill 2012 on Friday, which calls for the formation of a human rights commission. According to the bill, Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies will not be allowed to detain any Pakistani citizen illegally and will be held accountable to the commission and parliament. The commission will have the power to survey any jail or secret prison to check for illegal detentions. The bill will also restrict NGOs in Pakistan from receiving foreign funding without prior approval.[11]

  • On Friday, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) held a rally in Peshawar, demanding the release of missing persons who are in military custody or in jails in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.[12]


  • During the weekly media briefing, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit discussed the separatist movement in Balochistan, saying that it is an “internal issue” that “will be dealt with in accordance with” Pakistan’s constitution and preferences.  Basit stated that Islamabad has been in contact with countries such as England and Switzerland that are offering refuge to estranged Baloch leaders, and they have assured Islamabad that they will not allow their countries to be used against Pakistan.[13]

  • A demonstration was held outside the United Nations building in Geneva, protesting human rights violations in Balochistan. The protest was organized by Balochistan’s representative to the U.N. Mehran Baloch and Noordin Mengal, and was joined by the World Sindhi Congress, Baloch Human Rights Council, and United Kashmir People’s National Party. The demonstration lasted two hours and occurred during the 19th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. At the demonstration, Baloch “called on the international community to take notice of the on-going military operation in [Balochistan].[14]

International Relations

  • Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s re-election, Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani congratulated him and “invited him to visit Islamabad in September.” Putin’s visit will mark the “first visit by a Russian head of state to Pakistan,” a country which stood at odds with Russia in the Cold War. Commenting on the budding relationship between the two countries, former Pakistani ambassador to Russia Tanvir Ahmad Khan said that “there is now a basic strategic understanding between the two countries on where to take ties.”[15]

  • The Los Angeles Times reported that “more than half of Pakistan’s manufacturers use natural gas to power their factories,” and 21 percent of Pakistani vehicles run on compressed natural gas. However, “Pakistan produces only 30 [percent] of the natural gas it needs,” and the Iran-Pakistan pipeline would provide the country with over 750 million cubic feet of gas per day. According to the Los Angeles Times, Iran has completed its half of the pipeline, but Pakistan has yet to begin construction on its half due to financial constraints. Pakistan’s commitment to the pipeline project has strained its relationship with the U.S., pushing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to threaten sanctions on Pakistan if the project continues.[16]          

[1] Munir Ahmed, “Pakistan charges bin Laden’s wives,” Boston Globe, March 8, 2012. Available at
Zahid Gishkori, “Terror chief’s family: Bin Laden’s widows charged with illegal entry, stay,” The Express Tribune, March 9, 2012. Available at
“Pakistan charges three Bin Laden wives,” Al Jazeera, March 8, 2012. Available at
[2] “TTP demand release of bin Laden’s widows, threaten attacks,” Reuters, March 9, 2012. Available at
[3] “Gilani appoints new ISI chief,” Dawn, March 9, 2012. Available at
[4] Chris Brummitt, “Al-Qaida confirms death of Pakistani militant,” Associated Press, March 9, 2012. Available at
“Al-Qaeda’s Pakistan Media Head Gives Eulogy for Badr Mansoor,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 9, 2012. Available at SITE.
[5] “Drone attack kills eight militants in SWA: officials,” Geo, March 9, 2012. Available at
“US drone strike 'kills eight militants' in Pakistan,” BBC, March 9, 2012. Available at
[6] “Taliban ambush kills seven Pakistani soldiers: officials,” AFP, March 9, 2012. Available at
[7] “Two militants killed in Chaman clash,” Geo, March 9, 2012. Available at
[8] “Soldier among four abducted in FR Lakki,” Dawn, March 8, 2012. Available at
[9] “A militant killed the head of local militia in Orakzai,” Reuters, March 9, 2012. Available at
[10] “Militant surrenders in Swat; one dies in custody,” The News, March 9, 2012. Available at
[11] “Senate passes landmark Human Rights Bill,” Dawn, March 9, 2012. Available at
[12] Manzoor Ali, “Difa-e-Pakistan: Peshawar rally demands release of missing persons,” The Express Tribune, March 9, 2012. Available at
[13] “Pakistan warns countries to discourage Baloch separatists,” Agencies, March 9, 2012. Available at
[14] Murtaza Ali Shah, “Protest held outside UN against Balochistan unrest,” The News International, March 9, 2012. Available at
[15] Sanjeev Miglani, “Beneath the radar, a Russia-Pakistan entente takes shape,” Reuters, March 8, 2012. Available at
[16] Alex Rodriguez, “Pakistan’s Iran pipeline plan further strains ties with U.S.,” Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2012. Available at,0,7162988.story
View Citations
Arrow down red
Apr '12
Mar '12
Feb '12