Pakistan Security Brief
U.S. drone strike targets Haqqani Network militants; Summit in Istanbul results in Istanbul Protocol; Senators comment on future of U.S.-Pakistan relations; Some Pakistanis hesitant to acknowledge India’s MFN status; Tribal elder targeted in Khyber agency; LI kidnaps tribal elder and family in Khyber; Militants bomb Frontier Corps convoy, killing 2; Balochistan government given control of FC; Police discover 7 bodies throughout Balochistan; Foreign prisoners stuck in Pakistani jails; Police diffuse explosive in KP; Rangers arrest 26 in Karachi; Defense Ministry discovers corruption in armed forces.
A U.S. drone strike outside of Miram Shah, North Waziristan on Thursday killed three Haqqani Network militants, according to Pakistani security officials. The drone targeted a militant compound and killed Janbaz Zadran, a man that U.S. officials said “played a central role in helping the Haqqani Network attack U.S. and coalition targets in Kabul and southeastern Afghanistan.”
On Wednesday, 12 countries convened at a summit in Istanbul to discuss “security and stability in and around Afghanistan” following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country in 2014. The summit resulted in the adoption of “a strategy known as the Istanbul Protocol,” which will commit countries “to cooperate in combating terrorism, drug trafficking, and insurgent activities” in the region. The Protocol will also protect Afghanistan from interference by other countries through its emphasis on the principle of “non-intervention.” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns hailed the Istanbul Protocol as the “first, clear, region-wide” regional agreement on Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to the deployment of a biometrics scanning system along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to combat terrorism and illegal border movement.
Upon returning from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Senators Mark Udall (D) and Jack Reed (D) commented on the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations, suggesting a need for the strengthening of relations between the two countries. Udall noted that Pakistan had historically played “both the role of fireman and arsonist in Afghanistan,” while Reed articulated that Pakistan’s actions in the coming weeks would illustrate whether Pakistan could “be a reliable [U.S.] ally against extremists.”
Despite Pakistan’s Wednesday announcement that it had designated India Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry has been hesitant to acknowledge the status, and some trade analysts have viewed India’s MFN designation as a “confidence-building measure rather than a conflict-resolution measure.”
A car bomb targeting tribal elder Malik Taj injured 12 people on Tuesday when the bomb was detonated as Taj’s car passed the Wazir Dhand security check point in Khyber agency. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. This account came a day after it was reported that tribal elder Malik Taj was targeted in a Peshawar market bombing, which injured 11 people.
Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militants kidnapped five family members of the tribal leader Haji Amal Gul in Khyber agency on Wednesday. The News speculated that LI had targeted Amal Gul in an attempt to disrupt Gul’s efforts toward establishing a tribal militia to counter LI militants.
A Frontier Corps (FC) convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb in Turbat killing two FC officers and injuring six others on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the federal cabinet announced that authority over the Frontier Corps (FC) would be shifted from the Interior Ministry to Balochistan’s provincial government. According to Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani, the reauthorization will allow for greater coordination between the FC and local Balochistan police forces. Meanwhile, an FC contingency has been assigned to Bahria Town, Islamabad, to provide protection for real estate mogul, Malik Riaz Hussain, who is believed to be a target after being charged with land fraud.
Police have discovered seven bodies in different areas of Balochistan over the past two days. According to an organization called the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, at least 226 bodies have been recovered in the province since June 4, 2010.
On Wednesday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice issued a directive to the Foreign Ministry requesting the repatriation of foreign prisoners incarcerated in Pakistani prisons despite the completion of their prison sentences. According to a report by the Punjab Home Department, there are currently 74 foreign nationals in Punjabi prisons, including two Indian prisoners who have completed their terms but remain imprisoned. A Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that the Indian prisoners could not be released until the ministry received proof of their identification.