Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief - May 18, 2010
Two top US security officials head off to meet with Pakistani authorities; military operations continue in Orakzai; bicycle bomb kills 12 in Dera Ismail Khan; three militants surrender, two arrested in Swat; top TTP Punjab commander surrenders in Sargodha, renounces violence; President Zardari pardons Interior Minister Malik after the appeal on his corruption conviction is rejected; bomb blast injures six security personnel in Quetta; ethnic violence breaks out between Baloch and Pashtun students on several college campuses in Balochistan; Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani says military operations have removed roots of terrorism from Swat and Malakand.
US officials dispatched to Pakistan
National security adviser General James L. Jones and CIA director Leon Panetta departed for Pakistan on Monday night to meet with Pakistani authorities in regard to the Faisal Shahzad investigation and other important security matters. A senior administration official said that although the US was satisfied with Pakistani cooperation in the Shazad investigation so far Jones and Panetta would try to press Pakistani security officials to increase their efforts to battle militant extremists in the FATA and other areas of the country.
Military operations continue in Orakzai, with 26 militants and one soldier reported killed in two separate clashes on Monday. A firefight erupted in Shoti area of Upper Orakzai, resulting in six militants killed and five soldiers injured. Later, Taliban forces launched an attack on a security checkpoint in the Kharsha area of Lower Orakzai. Security forces repulsed the attack, reportedly killing 20 militants, while one soldier was killed and another was injured in the action.
A bicycle bomb explosion in Dera Ismail Khan has left at least 12 people dead. Local authorities say the attack targeted the vehicle of a police deputy superintendent, named Iqbal Khan, who was among those killed in the blast along with the two other policemen and nine civilians. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Monday, three militants surrendered to police while two others were arrested during a search operation in Swat. The three surrendered militants turned themselves over to security forces in the Kanju and Banjot areas. Police later arrested two militants while conducting a search operation in the Manglawar area of Mingora.
Hanif Gabol, a top commander of the TTP Punjab, surrendered to police in Sargodha on Monday. Gabol was involved in plotting several terror attacks in Punjab, including the suicide bombing on Khosa House in December 2009. Upon his arrest, Gabol claimed that he had been convinced to give up his life of violence after seeing the deaths of too many innocent people and would appeal to other militants to stop the killing innocent people.
Zardari pardons Malik
On Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari pardoned Interior Minister Rehman Malik after the Lahore High Court rejected Malik’s appeal and cancelled his bail for a corruption conviction made against him in 2004. Zardari’s use of “discretionary powers” is likely to embroil the unpopular president in even more controversy among the public and worsen already heightened tensions between his administration and the judiciary.
A bomb explosion in Quetta injured at least six security personnel on Monday. Three police officers and three members of the bomb disposal squad were attempting to defuse a rocket when they were wounded in a blast caused by a separate explosive device which had been planted nearby.
More than 40 people were injured in clashes that erupted between Baloch and Pashtun students on the campuses of four educational institutions in Balochistan on Monday. The fighting started with a brawl between activists of the Baloch and Pashtun student organizations at the Agriculture College Quetta in which 17 students were reported injured. News of the incident soon spread, resulting in more clashes at the University of Balochistan, Lasbela University of Marine Sciences, and the Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology Khuzdar, leaving a total of 29 others injured. Police secured the campuses and made several arrests while the University of Balochistan announced a three day suspension of academic activities.
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
- The roots of terrorism have been removed from Swat and Malakand according to a recent statement made by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in which the nation’s top military commander praised security forces’ operations in the region. Kayani also added that the military was focusing on socio-economic issues now that the operation has been successfully completed.