Pakistan Security Brief

Malala’s attackers belong to Fazlullah faction of TTP; Top army generals ready to take any necessary steps against terrorists;  FM Khar says attack is “turning point” for Pakistan; Mingora police arrest three men accused of involvement in attack;  Ulema issue fatwa against attack; Protests held across KP against attack; Intel report says militants targeting 12 jails for jailbreaks; Separate bomb blasts kill two, injure three in FATA; Los Angeles Times profiles Lahore militant rehabilitation program; Pakistan registers complaint against drones; UN special envoy to meet with Zardari next month; U.K. bans anti-Islam filmmaker and Pakistani Railways Minister from entering country; Four killed, four arrested in Karachi on Friday; Christian boy accused of blasphemy in Karachi.

Malala Yousafzai Attack

  • According to “well-informed” security officials, the men responsible for the attack on Malala Yousafzai belong to the Swat chapter of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)  led by Mullah Fazlullah. Fazlullah is known for his inflammatory and extremist radio broadcasts, earning him the nickname of “Radio Mullah.” The TTP Swat has also threatened to kill Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, an educator and member of a local peace jirga. In an announcement Thursday, the TTP’s central spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan called Malala “the symbol of the infidels and obscenity.”[i]

  • On Thursday the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee announced that it was ready to take any measures necessary to combat terrorism. In light of the national mood following the attack on Yousufzai, the statement ignited speculation of a possible upcoming offensive against the TTP. Neither the government nor the military has explicitly mentioned an offensive, however. An anonymous general noted though that “the situation is ripe, people are themselves asking for [an] operation in North Waziristan.”[ii]

  • Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Friday that the attack on Malala Yousafzai represented a “turning point” and a “wake up call” for all of Pakistan. She said that Pakistan faced a very challenging extremist mindset in the attack, and that such extremists represented a clear danger for the country’s well-being. She explained that after many of the Taliban had been driven from the Swat valley in 2009, they had taken refuge in Afghanistan; she added that Pakistan had constantly been asking ISAF troops and the Afghan government to take these safe havens seriously and crack down on Taliban militants hiding in Afghanistan. Khar saidthat now, Malala had forced everyone to facethe Taliban threat and decide whether they were “with the future that she represents or the future that [the Taliban] are trying to impose.”[iii]

  • Mingora police on Friday have detained three men accused of involvement in the Tuesday attack on Malala Yousafzai. They have not yet apprehended a man named Attaullah, the alleged mastermind of the attack.[iv]

  • Over 50 religious leaders in the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) declared a fatwa (an Islamic decree) against the attack on Malala Yousafzai on Thursday. They argued that the attackers’ interpretation of Islam and Sharia law was based on “ignorance and illiteracy,” and that the attack undermined the true values of Islam. They added that Islam did not forbid women’s education but explicitly obliged both men and women to educate themselves on religious and worldly matters.[v]

  • Led by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Senior Minister Bashir Bilour, the Awami National Party (ANP) held a protest on Friday condemning the attack on Malala Yousafzai. Bilour said the attackers were cowards and would not stop the struggle for peace in Pakistan. High school students held a protest at Fawwara Chowk in Peshawar in solidarity with Yousafzai. Additionally, students and other ANP activists held protests in Charsadda, Bisham, and Dera Ismail Khan condemning terrorism and praying for Malala’s recovery.[vi]

Militant Activity

  • A recent intelligence report warns that militants are targeting 12 jails across Pakistan in an effort to free detained accomplices in offensives similar to the massive Bannu jailbreak facilitated by the Taliban in May of this year. Allegedly militants are in possession of lists of detainees, which jails they are held in, and even their specific cell numbers, and plans for several jailbreaks are reportedly almost complete. The hit list includes six jails in Khyber-Pakhtunkwha (Haripur, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, and Kohat), Sadda jail in Kurram agency, Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, Kot Lakhpat in Lahore, and the Faisalabad and Multan central jails. The report also warns that the Karachi and Quetta central jails are at risk.[vii]

  • A construction worker was killed in an IED blast in Nowshera on Thursday. Police and a bomb disposal squad were dispatched to the location, where they discovered that 3-4kg of explosives had been used in the blast. A subsequent search operation led to the arrest of 20 suspects, and police registered a case against four of them. A Thursday bomb near Pabbi-Cherat Road destroyed three shops, while security forces blew up the house of a militant commander in Maidan, Lower Dir the same day.[viii]

  • A bomb planted by Lashkar-e-Islam on Bukarh area, Khyber Agency killed a peace militia volunteer and injured two others on Thursday. Another roadside IED in Sararogha, South Waziristan injured a security official on Thursday, though it is unclear who planted the second device.[ix]

Militant Rehabilitation

  • A special report by the Los Angeles Times profiles a militant rehabilitation program in Lahore that offers former Taliban militants religious counseling, professional training, and a living stipend in an effort to de-radicalize and reintegrate them into society. Similar efforts have been spearheaded in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, and in spring 2012 the head of Punjab’s police counterterrorism office, Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, followed suit with his own programs. Western analysts such as former CIA deputy director Stephen Kappes deem such initiatives imperative in the battle against militancy; however, there is not yet a nation-wide militant rehabilitation effort in Pakistan. An anonymous Punjab government official has said that it is also too soon to determine whether or not such programs will be effective throughout the country. So far, about 3,000 former militants have “graduated” from the de-radicalization programs. Analysts say the overall efforts are useful, but that they must be targeted at higher-echelon and more ideologically-motivated commanders instead of the primarily lower-level, economically-motivated fighters targeted today.[x]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a Foreign Ministry official, a complaint against drone strikes in Pakistan was registered with the U.S. Embassy on October 10-11. The complaint decried drone strikes as a blatant violation of international law and Pakistani sovereignty.[xi]

U.N.-Pakistani Relations

  • U.N. Special Education Envoy Gordon Brown is due to meet with President Asif Ali Zardari next month to discuss how to improve education opportunities for children in the wake of the attack on Malala Yousafzai. Brown said that he had “asked Pakistan’s President Zardari to pledge that Malala’s suffering will not be in vain,” and that Zardari had responded by inviting him for talks on children’s education in November.[xii]

U.K.-Pakistani Relations

  • After the anti-Islam film debacle that sparked massive protests across Pakistan in September and Pakistani Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s $100,000 bounty for filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the British government on Thursday decided to ban both Bilour and Nakoula from entering the country. Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to ban the two men from entering the U.K. as their presence would “not be conducive to the public good” and may strain race relations in the country. Other British officials commented that this decision was “reasonable and proportionate” given available evidence.[xiii]

Karachi Violence

  • Four people were killed in Karachi in different attacks on Friday. Police officials also arrested three men accused of target killings in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area, allegedly recovering weapons in the raid that led to the men’s arrest. Another suspected target killer was arrested in Sir Syed Town.[xiv]

New Blasphemy Case

  • A 16-year-old Christian boy was detained in Karachi on Tuesday after being accused of blasphemy for forwarding a text message that allegedly contained anti-Islamic content. He claimed he had not read the message before forwarding it to other residents of the compound in which he lived with his mother, an employee of a local gas company. His mother has been dismissed from her position, and an angry mob burned his home on Wednesday.[xv]                   


[i] Amir Mir, “Malala targeted by Fazlullah-led Taliban,” The News International, October 11, 2012. Available at:
[ii] Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Military ‘ready for any sacrifice to eliminate terror,’” Dawn, October 11, 2012. Available at:
[iii] “Attack on Malala could be ‘turning point’ for Pakistan: Khar,” Express Tribune, October 12, 2012. Available at:; Samuel Burke, “Pakistan’s FM: Malala attack possible turning point for Pakistan,” CNN, October 11, 2012. Available at:    
[iv] “Malala attack: Police arrest key suspects,” Geo News, October 12, 2012. Available at:
[v] “Ulema’s Fatwa declares attack On Malala un-Islamic,” Geo News, October 11, 2012. Available at:  
[vi] “Rallies in KP express solidarity with activist,” The News International, October 12, 2012. Available at:
[vii] Asad Kharal, “Twelve jails on militant hit list: Intelligence report,” Express Tribune, October 12, 2012. Available at:
[viii] “Man killed in Nowshera roadside blast,” Dawn, October 11, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “Increasing militancy: Two killed, three injured in IED blasts,” Express Tribune, October 12, 2012. Available at:
[x] Alex Rodriguez, “Pakistan sends former Taliban fighters to militant rehab,” Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2012. Available at:,0,1958035.story.
[xi] “Pakistan lodges protest with US against drone strikes,” Geo News, October 11, 2012. Available at:
[xii] “UN envoy Gordon Brown to visit Pakistan after Malala attack,” Geo News, October 12, 2012. Available at:
[xiii] Murtaza Ali Shah, “Britain bans entry of Ghulam Ahmed Bilour,” Geo News, October 11, 2012. Available at:
[xiv] “Four dead, nine injured in incidents of violence across Karachi,” Dawn, October 12, 2012. Available at:
[xv] “Christian boy in Pakistan arrested for blasphemy,” BBC News, October 11, 2012. Available at:  
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