Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief-November 19, 2010
Drone strike kills three militants in North Waziristan; New F-16s scheduled in arrive in Pakistan over the weekend; LeT-linked groups may be moving toward merger; Prime Minister announces government plan to waive loans for flood victims.
Three militants were killed on Friday in the latest U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. Security officials confirm that drone aircraft fired two missiles at a vehicle containing suspected militants. The strike occurred in Mir Ali sub-district, in the village of Naurak, which is a known bastion of al-Qaeda operatives and other foreign fighters. Security officials are working to ascertain the identities of those killed, in order to determine if any high value targets were among the dead.
Six new F-16s are expected to arrive in Pakistan on Saturday. The six fighter aircraft are part of an arms deal with the United States that was signed in 2008, in which Pakistan agreed to purchase 18 new F-16s from the U.S. Under the terms of the arms agreement, Pakistan was required to formally pledge that these fighter aircraft would, under no circumstances, be authorized to attack targets in India. The rest of the 18 F-16s are expected to arrive in Pakistan sometime before the end of the year.
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Affiliated Movements
A new report by The National indicates that two groups linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have been busy raising their public profile across Pakistan. A group known as Tanzeem Falah-i-Insaniyat (TFI), has apparently become the primary charitable wing of LeT, after the group played a major role in rescue and recovery efforts following last summer’s devastating flood season. Additionally, the Tehrik Azadi-i-Kashmir (TAK) is gaining prominence as a non-violent political outfit, holding massive rallies and collecting donations in support of activities aimed at liberating Indian-administered Kashmir. The popularity of these organizations and their association with members of LeT seem to suggest that some in “Pakistan's anti-Inda terrorist community are moving towards a merger.” 
Unknown gunmen opened fire at an Ahmedi mosque on Friday in the Mughalpura area of Lahore. Four to five assailants equipped with small arms, unleashed a torrent of gunfire at the facility that, according to reports, lasted at least “a few minutes.” Security personnel in the area responded to the shooting and confronted the gunmen. Although the security forces were successful in repelling the attack, all of the attackers eventually managed escape. After the incident, the streets surrounding the facility were described as littered with empty bullet casings. Despite the heavy gunfire, no casualties were reported in today’s incident.
Jane Perlez of the New York Times reports that violence in Karachi has “reached new heights” with “political and ethnic rivalries” continuing to characterize the battles for power and influence in Pakistan’s wealthiest and most populous city. The article profiles the impact of rising Pashtun migration to Karachi and the sustained campaign by other ethnic groups, particularly the Mohajirs, to limit their rising influence. According to Perlez, just two seats out of the 168 in the provincial assembly are held by the Pashtun-dominanted Awami National Party (ANP), despite the fact that Pustuns constitute 5 million of Karachi’s 18 million residents.
The world’s largest ship-based power plant has arrived off the coast of Karachi and is expected to begin supplying power by early next month. The massive vessel, owned by Turkish based Karkey Karadeniz Electrik, is expected to generate as much as 230 megawatts of power daily, once it is successfully connected to the country’s power-grid. Power shortages have been known to last for as long as 16 hours a day in parts of Pakistan, and industrial output is often victim to unreliable access to electricity.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousaf Gilani, announced today that the government will surrender the loans of flood victims in the country’s hardest hit areas. Speaking at a public event in Dadu, the Prime Minster also said that the government plans to provide these victims with $1,175 dollars (100,000 Rs) for reconstruction as well as waive their gas and electric bills. It is estimated that as many as 1.7 million Pakistanis lost their homes as a result of last summer’s devastating flood season.