Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – May 28, 2010
Militants kill at least 62 Ahmadi worshippers in coordinated attacks on mosques in Lahore; High Court grants A.Q. Khan free movement within Pakistan; gunmen kill four police officers in Quetta; 80 militants killed in Orakzai operation; Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. denies that U.S. officials coerced Pakistan into launching new offensive; 11 militants killed by drone strike along Afghan border; U.N. criticizes C.I.A’s drone strike campaign in Pakistan; television anchor questioned in connection with murder of Pakistani intelligence official; Pakistani police make another arrest in connection with Times Square bombing attempt; new social networking website launched in Pakistan to rival Facebook in the Muslim world.
Gunmen launched coordinated attacks on mosques belonging to a minority sect in Lahore on Friday. The attacks took place during Friday prayers in Garhi Shahu and Model Town. The gunmen, armed with AK-47s, grenades, and with one wearing a suicide vest, fired indiscriminately at worshippers, killing at least 62. Security forces have now taken control of both mosques and have defused the suicide vest. At least two of the attackers are believed to have fled the scene. The Pakistani Taliban in Punjab has claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to Geo News.
Dr. A.Q. Khan was declared a “free man” by a Lahore High Court on Friday. While holding the it responsible for Khan’s security, the judge ordered the government not to restrict his movements and activities within Pakistan. The government assured the court that it would reach an agreement with Dr. Khan.
At least 80 militants were killed and 60 others wounded on Friday following a major military operation in the Orakzai Agency. According to sources, Pakistani warplanes bombed militant positions throughout the region. In addition, security forces destroyed 15 explosive-laden vehicles and other equipment used by the militants.
At least 11 militants were killed in a missile strike conducted by a U.S. drone in South Waziristan on Friday. According to sources, the drone strike targeted a militant hideout in Nezai Narai along the Afghan border. After the bombing, the U.S. drone plane is said to have continued circling the targeted area.
- Philip Alston, the U.N.’s special reporter on extrajudicial killings, is expected to deliver a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva criticizing the C.I.A.’s drone strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan. Alston’s report asserts that the C.I.A is less accountable for investigating allegations of civilian deaths during drone strikes than the military.
Times Square Investigation
Police in Rawalpindi, Pakistan have detained another suspect has been arrested in connection with the Times Square bombing attempt, a Pakistani official said on Friday. The latest suspect is named, Humbal Akhtar. Aktar’s wife told CNN that her husband has links to two other people detained by authorities during the Faisal Shahzad investigation.
- Four police officers were killed on Thursday by gunmen in Satellite Town, a neighborhood of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. A high-ranking officer, two constables, and their driver were killed in the attack. The gunmen are said to have fled the scene on their motorcycle and remain at large.
U.S. Pakistan Relations
Hussain Haqqani, the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., rejected reports on Thursday that U.S. officials forced his country into launching a new counterterrorism offensive last week. When asked if U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones “put any pressure on Pakistan?” Haqqani told members of the Asia Society in Washington D.C., “No, he did not.”
Hamid Mir, a television anchor in Islamabad, was questioned by investigators about allegations that he was involved in the murder of a Pakistani intelligence official. During the interrogation, Mr. Mir denied having any connection with murder. The police are now turning their attention to the victim’s son, who accused Mr. Mir of urging his father to travel to the tribal area where he was killed.
Six Pakistani IT professionals from Lahore have created an alternative social networking site to rival Facebook in the Muslim world. "If someone commits blasphemy against our Prophet Mohammed then we will become his competitor and give him immense business loss," says Usman Zaheer, the 24-year-old chief operating officer. The private venture already has 4,000 users.