Pakistan Security Brief
Grenade kills two policemen in Charsadda district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; IED kills two people in Upper Kurram sub-district, Kurram Agency; Soldiers stationed in Red Zone since July asked to leave; Pakistan army chief continues first official visit to U.S.; Government not to allow anti-government protests in Islamabad Red Zone; Punjab government will not arrest PAT leader Qadri upon return to Pakistan; Pakistan opposes increasing permanent Security Council seats on U.N.
On November 18, attackers threw a grenade at a police vehicle, killing two policemen and injuring another in the main marketplace of Shabqadar, Charsadda district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Jamatul Aharar spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it a remote-controlled blast, in contrast to police reports calling it a grenade attack.
On November 19, Interior Minster Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan asked army personnel to leave Islamabad’s Red Zone area. The army has been deployed in the Red Zone since “July 24 following the commencement of Operation Zarb-e-Azb” in North Waziristan.
On November 18, Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif met U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and other defense officials at the Pentagon as a part of Gen. Sharif’s five-day official visit to the U.S. Gen. Sharif reportedly discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the Pakistani military operations launched this year. According to a November 19 BBC Urdu report, Gen. Sharif also told U.S. officials that Indian ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) were undermining the Pakistan Army’s operations against terrorists in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Meanwhile, the director of the U.S. State Department’s Press Office, Jeff Rathke, reiterated to the Pakistani government that all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network and the Pakistani Taliban, are a threat to regional and international security and that it is vital to deny all groups safe haven. This statement came in reaction to Pakistani national security advisor Sartaj Aziz’s comments that Pakistan should not target militants that do not “pose a direct threat to the state.”
On November 18, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a meeting with several of his ministers, decided that the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) would not be allowed to hold a rally in Islamabad’s Red Zone on November 30. The federal government also decided that any intruder into the Red Zone will be arrested on or around November 30. Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid stated that the Red Zone will be off limits in order to prevent militants from penetrating the federal capital in the Red Zone in the guise of PTI protesters.
On November 19, the Punjab provincial government announced that Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) leader, Tahirul Qadri, will not be arrested if he returns to Pakistan. Home Minister Shuja Khanzada stated that an arrest warrant for Qadri for the attack on Pakistan Television (PTV) in Islamabad has been issued and Qadri has been declared an “absconder.” However, Minister Khanzada stated that arrest or further action against Qadri will be the responsibility of the federal government.
November 19, Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials handed over to Bangladeshi officials, a list of 11 men suspected of plotting militant attacks. The men reportedly belong to Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh who were using India as a safe haven to plan attacks across the border. Bangladeshi officials reportedly also gave the Indian team a list of 51 suspects who had crossed the border into India.
On November 18, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Masood Khan, opposed the expansion of the U.N. Security Council to include additional permanent members. Khan stated that such an expansion would be a negation of the General Assembly’s “democratic character.” Khan further stated that “Council reform should reflect the aspirations and interests of all; not the ambitions of a few.”