Pakistan Security Brief
U.S. drone strike kills 4 in NWA; Grossman meets with Pakistani leadership in Islamabad; Karachi police demolish Sunni Tehrik office; Government monitors Balochistan violence; Security forces kill 2 militants, arrest 15; International community slow to aid flood victims; Four NATO tankers torched in Sindh province; Political parties object to division of Karachi; Gallup polls Pakistani citizens.
Four unidentified militants were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Miram Shah, North Waziristan on Friday, according to Pakistani security officials. This strike was the third to take place “against Taliban hotbeds in Waziristan” within a 48 hour time period. The Pakistani government and army have remained publically silent on the subject of continued U.S. drone strikes within Pakistan’s tribal regions in recent days, juxtaposing Pakistan’s previous denouncement of such attacks. Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 people turned out for the funeral of Maulvi Iftikhar who was among the men killed in the same Thursday drone strike that killed Haqqani Network commander Jalil Haqqani. Locals said that Iftikhar had been “involved in ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan,” and his funeral turnout indicated the “significant support in that region for fighters battling the American presence just across the border in Afghanistan.” Locals also demanded that the U.S. put an end to drone attacks.
During a Thursday meeting with U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman, President Asif Ali Zardari reportedly stressed the necessity of a “long-term [U.S.-Pakistan] partnership based on mutual respect and shared interests.” Zardari underlined the importance of putting an end to “verbal assaults” and following “clearly defined, well-documented, and mutually agreed terms of engagement.” Other topics of discussion included regional peace and security and the war on terror. Later, Grossman participated in a press conference with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar where he reiterated the role of strategic dialogue in an enduring relationship between the two countries.
Security officials launched a search operation in Karachi on Thursday night and later demolished an office of the Sunni Tehrik party. Security officials have recently been put on “high alert to subvert any terror activity” within the city.
On Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik reported that he would visit Quetta weekly, as directed by President Zardari, to monitor Balochistan’s “law and order situation,” indicating that “the government was taking solid steps to ensure peace in Balochistan.” Zardari ordered “immediate measures” to protect the Shia Hazara community from sectarian violence. Likewise, Parliament formed a special committee to monitor violence in Balochistan and planned a visit to Quetta to engage Baloch leaders in discussions on a “permanent solution” to the province’s violence.
Security forces launched a search operation in the Michni area of Mohmand agency on Wednesday night after militants fired rockets at a police station in the area. Two militants were killed and another 15 were apprehended in the operation.
As winter approaches, nearly 3 million Pakistanis are still in need of nutrition assistance and 850,000 people remain without shelter, according to statistics cited by the Express Tribune. The report questions whether a lack of enthusiasm for Pakistan’s flood victims is an indication of Pakistan’s reputation for harboring terrorists and “providing safe haven to militants” or the result of minimal media coverage.
Four NATO oil tankers were set ablaze near Shikarpur on Thursday. The convoy of tankers was en route to Afghanistan on the National Highway when it was attacked by militants, resulting in a six hour suspension of traffic on the highway.
Pakistani politicians have rejected a proposal put forth by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) which calls for the “administrative division of Karachi into three districts.” Politicians criticized the proposal, noting that it disregarded “political considerations” and had “cast doubts over the intentions” of HCRP.
The Gilani Foundation has published the results of a recent survey by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of Gallup International, in which Pakistani citizens were asked, “In your opinion is our country going in the right or wrong direction?” The survey revealed that 18 percent of Pakistanis believed that their country was “headed in the right direction,” while 85 percent believed their country was “headed in the wrong direction.”