Pakistan Security Brief
Putin endorses Pakistan’s SCO bid; Zardari holds separate trade talks with U.S. and China; Malik cites "target killer" confessions and announces FIA prison operation; MQM protests ban on collecting hides; Militants destroy girl’s school in Katlang; Gunmen kill three Hindu doctors.
On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin publically endorsed Pakistan’s bid to obtain full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Putin announced, “Pakistan is important for us in trade … and it is an important partner in South Asia and in (the) Islamic world.” The Russian PM also emphasized his dedication to completing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Trade and Transmission Project (CASA 1000). Later, Putin and Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani met to discuss regional cooperation in counterterrorism and the economic integration of SCO member states.
Bilateral trade talks
On Tuesday, President Asif Ali Zardari met separately with U.S. and Chinese representatives to discuss bilateral trade issues. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congressmen met with Zardari and held talks on U.S.-Pakistan relations, bilateral trade arrangements, and other regional issues. Later, Zardari met with a Chinese trade delegation representing China’s mining, rail, trade, banking, and power sectors. At the meeting, Zardari pushed for greater Chinese investment in Pakistan and suggested future projects be developed through coordinated public-private partnerships.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that over 100 of the “target killers” arrested in Karachi had confessed to their crimes. According to Malik, the arrests signify the return of law and order to Karachi. Malik also announced that the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) would launch an operation to disrupt the use of mobile phones and internet by inmates in prisons throughout Pakistan.
On Tuesday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) coordination committee protested a government ban which prevented its charity wing, Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF), from collecting animal hides usually accumulated following animal sacrifices on the day of Eid. The MQM claimed that the Punjab government was “afraid” of the party’s increased popularity and party leader Altaf Hussain predicted that MQM would achieve “surprising” results in the next elections.
Militants used explosives to demolish a girl’s high school in Katlang, Mardan district, late Monday night.
Two gunmen killed three Hindu doctors after opening fire on a clinic in Shikarpur on Monday. According to police sources, the shooting resulted from escalated tensions between Muslims and Hindus in the city after Hindu boys brought a Muslim “dancing girl” to the area.