Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – November 8, 2010
President Obama calls for peace dialogue between Pakistan and India; President Zardari clains India rejected peace overtures; twin drone strikes kill 14 militants in North Waziristan; security tight in Karachi for funeral of slain MQM leader.
President Barack Obama criticized the pace of Pakistan’s anti-militant efforts during a town hall meeting with students in Mumbai on Sunday, saying that “progress is not as fast as we’d like.” Despite the criticisms, President Obama further said that the U.S. “will work with the Pakistani government in order to eradicate this extremism that we consider a cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country.” President Obama also encouraged dialogue between Pakistan and India and expressed his hope that the peace process would begin with reconciliation on smaller, “non-controversial” issues and later build up to successfully address larger points of conflict.
Shortly after President Obama’s statements on Sunday, President Asif Ali Zardari claimed that India had rejected Pakistan’s peace initiatives which it had presented to India earlier this year. While giving a speech to the South Asian journalist association, Zardari said that Pakistan’s “democratic civil government went out of the way in [its] peace overtures towards India.”Although Zardari also acknowledged that terror attacks originating from the Pakistani side of the border, such as the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, have “undermined efforts for peace” he said that “Pakistan is cooperating in unearthing and bringing to justice the perpetrators of militant acts.”
At least 14 militants were killed in two separate U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan on Sunday. The first attack struck a car and a house in Ghulam Khan, killing nine militants. Five more militants were killed an hour later when their vehicle was struck by a missile in the Datta Khel area. (For daily updates on key issues and events in North Waziristan CLICK HERE)
The Taliban reportedly executed three tribesmen in North Waziristan on Sunday who they accused of spying for the U.S. A local police official said that the militants asked local residents to “come and witness the fate of U.S. spies” before lining the three men up at a gas station on a road near Miram Shah and shooting them to death one by one.
On Saturday, officials indicated that the death toll for Friday’s suicide attack on a mosque in Darra Adam Khel had risen to at least 68 people killed. The bombing was reportedly the result of infighting between the Tariq Afridi group of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which claimed responsibility for the attack, and the pro-government Momin Afridi group. A second attack targeting a mosque occurred later on Friday evening when unknown militants threw grenades at a mosque in Suleman Khel village near Peshawar, killing four people and wounding more than 20 others.
Teachers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have gone on indefinite strike as the TTP set a deadline for a kidnapped college vice-chancellor. Dr. Ajmal Khan of the Islamia College University in Peshawar, who was kidnapped by the TTP in September, appeared in a video on Sunday in which he said that the government had until November 20 to meet the TTP’s demands otherwise he would be killed. The Pakistan’s Teachers’ Association called an emergency meeting in response to the video and decided on a strike throughout the province until the government addresses the TTP’s demands and secures Dr. Khan’s release.
Security remained tight throughout Karachi on Saturday as more than 200,000 mourners lined the city’s streets to attend the funeral of slain senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Imran Farooq. Farooq was stabbed to death outside his London home in September. Karachi was effectively shut down as police and Rangers set up security checkpoints across the city and at key points surrounding the funeral. No incidents of violence were reported.
Four policemen were killed and two others wounded in Balochistan on Sunday when unknown gunmen opened fire on a van transporting recruits from a police training college in Qalat. The shooting took place in the Gard Garb area of Noshki district, approximately 100 miles west of Quetta. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Three months after the start of Pakistan’s devastating flood disaster the Associated Press sent correspondents to flood hit towns along the 2,500-mile stretch of destruction. The stories from these different areas highlights the continuing problems of infrastructure reconstruction, agricultural recovery, and widespread disease which are beginning to be addressed but still threaten the more than 20 million people affected by the flooding.