Pakistan Security Brief

North Waziristan offensive in question; Opposition leader says work with Afghanistan to arrest Malala attacker; Malala attacker detained and released in 2009; Uzbek Islamists and al Qaeda join TTP in justifying Malala attack; U.S. reaches anti-IED deal with Pakistan;  U.S. Treasury Dept. places sanctions on three terrorist facilitators;  Khyber air attack kills eight militants; Peshawar police foil checkpoint attack; LeJ Sindh chief arrested in Karachi; Pres. Karzai warns Pakistan against “using” extremism; Continuing development in ISI political cell case; Muttahida Majlis Amal alliance restored; One million children left out of polio vaccination drive; Zardari says strengthening relations with a China a key foreign policy priority.

North Waziristan Offensive

  • According to a report by the Associated Press, although Pakistanis across the country have expressed outrage at the attack against Malala Yousafzai, the question of whether or not the government will conduct a military operation in North Waziristan remains divisive. Supporters of an offensive, especially the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), say that the government should “harness” the country-wide outrage and channel it into a North Waziristan offensive to root out terrorists once and for all. The Pakistan Army has also said that it is ready to take any necessary steps to quash the militant threat. MQM leader Altaf Hussain urged the government to “move ahead and crush the Taliban, and 180 million people will be standing behind you.”  On the other side, politicians including Imran Khan and a senior leader in the Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Hafiz Hussain say that a military operation will trigger an even worse backlash from militant forces. Hussain commented that “we condemn the attack on Malala, but this attack took place in Swat, and we fail to understand why the government issued statements about launching an operation in North Waziristan.”[i]

  • Opposition leader from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Wednesday that the government should work with the United States or Afghanistan in arresting the mastermind of Malala’s attack rather than plan a military operation in North Waziristan. He questioned the logic of an operation in North Waziristan when Interior Minister Rehman Malik had already announced that the mastermind of the attack is hiding in Afghanistan. He accused the government of planning to create a state of chaos, which it will use to delay general elections.[ii]

Al Qaeda and the Malala Yousafzai Attack

  • Senior government officials said on Thursday that a man named Attaullah, the alleged ringleader of the attack on Malala Yousafzai, had been detained after a large military offensive in the Swat valley in 2009, but had later been released.  Security forces held him for three months but let him go after “no evidence (of wrongdoing) was found.” Attaullah is still at large and may have fled to Afghanistan;  security forces are reportedly trying to find other ways to bring him to justice. One official said that two close relatives of Attaullah as well as his “mother and two brothers [have been] taken into custody to force him to surrender.”[iii]

  • The Harkat-e-Islami Uzbekistan and al-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s media and propaganda wing, have recently joined together in justifying the attack on Malala Yousafzai. Al-Sahab released a statement on Tuesday claiming that “[Malala] was part of an agenda perpetrated by the British Broadcasting Corporation to run an organised campaign against jihad, Islamic Sharia and purda or veil.” They further asked why the international community was responding so strongly to this attack and ignoring “abuses and killings” by the American and Pakistani governments.[iv]

U.S.-Pakistan Anti-IED Deal

  • On Wednesday, top officials in the Pentagon and State Department signed a deal with Pakistan to address the flow of bomb-making materials across the border into Afghanistan. Such materials include calcium ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive component in fertilizers. Calcium ammonium nitrate is the key ingredient in most improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Some IED-detecting equipment has already been given to the Pakistani government, and the Interior Ministry has also designed a “national strategy” to track and regulate fertilizer shipments into Pakistan.[v]

New Terrorist Designations

  • The U.S. Treasury Department has frozen the assets of three terrorist facilitators in Pakistan on Wednesday. The men, including Mulawi Adam Khan Achekzai, Aamir Ali Chaudhry, and Qari Ayyub Bashir, have all been linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).   Achekzai was a military commander for the Taliban in Afghanistan; Chaudhry was an electronics and explosives expert for the TTP and is also accused of facilitating the failed 2010 Times Square bomb plot; and Bashir is allegedly the head of finance for the IMU.[vi]

Militant Activity

  • A Thursday air bombardment of militant hideouts by Pakistani fighter jets in Khyber Agency killed eight militants and injured 7 militants. Two civilians were killed while four were injured. Jets targeted four insurgent hideouts in the Zawa region of Khyber agency in this attack.[vii]

  • Militants tried to attack a checkpost in Mashogagar area outside of Peshawar on Wednesday and were driven back by security forces. The militants came with rocket launchers and assault rifles, but turned back when police opened fire on them. This is the second militant attack in the area over the last week.[viii]

  • Security officials on Wednesday arrested Hafiz Qasim Rasheed, chief of the Sindh division of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Rasheed is accused of arranging over 100 target killings, including that of Muttahida Qaumi Movement parliamentarian Raza Haider. After a skirmish in Patel Para, Jamshed Quarters, Rasheed was apprehended and police recovered a hand grenade, an assault rifle, a pistol, and a hit list from his possession.[ix]

Afghan-Pakistani Relations

  • In a press conference Thursday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, criticized Pakistan for “using” extremism as a governing tool and warned that such dependence was very dangerous. Referring to the attack on Malala Yousafzai, Karzai said that “I hope this very bitter truth… has convinced our brothers and sisters, the officials in Pakistan… that using extremism as a tool against others is not in the interest of Pakistan.” He urged Pakistan to join him in an “honest” battle against terrorism, which he cited as an equal threat to the well-being of both nations.[x]

Domestic Affairs

  • Former head of Military Intelligence Hamid Saeed appeared in court and submitted a written statement on Thursday in a case “pertaining to [the] Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) distributing money among politicians.” Saeed requested that the first eight paragraphs of his statement be kept classified. Responding to the request of a report pertaining to the use of Rs 80 million (nearly $837,000) from the ISI, the Defense Ministry representative asked the bench to allow him time to consult with the Defense Secretary. President Zardari’s military secretary also told the court that after searching for evidence pertaining to a political cell in the presidency, “no record could be found…prior to 1990.”[xi]

  • The Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) was restored on Thursday by a large group of Pakistan’s religious parties. The MMA was a political alliance of right-wing religious parties formed during the last government. The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the largest religious party in Pakistan, has decided to not participate in the political alliance this time around.[xii]

Polio Drive

  • Close to one million Pakistani children were “left out of a polio vaccination drive” that concluded on Wednesday. Although the campaign was backed by the government and the World Health Organization, unrest, flooding, and a lack of parental approval limited the effectiveness of the vaccination drive. Pakistan remains one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, the disease being predominantly in the Pak-Afghan border areas. Government health officials said many parents in “militancy-hit northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa still view immunization as a ‘conspiracy.’”[xiii]

Sino-Pakistani Relations

  • President Asif Ali Zardari said in a Wednesday meeting that “strengthening and further cementing cooperation with China in all areas is and will remain the key principles guiding Pakistan’s foreign policy.” He praised Pakistan and China’s friendship, while China assured Pakistan that it appreciated Pakistani sacrifices in the war on terror. Both countries vowed to continue strengthening trade relations.[xiv]


[i] “Pakistanis divided on army offensive after Malala attack,” AP, October 17, 2012. Available at:
[ii] “Nisar asks govt to arrest Malala attack mastermind,” Dawn, October 17, 2012. Available at
[iii] “Malala’s attacker was released in 2009: sources,” Reuters, October 18, 2012. Available at:
[iv] “TTP, Uzbeks, al-Qaeda jointly justify Malala’s shooting,” The News International, October 18, 2012. Available at:,-Uzbeks,-al-Qaeda-jointly-justify-Malalas-shooting.  
[v] Carlo Munoz, “DOD, State Department strike deal with Pakistan to counter roadside bombs,” The Hill, October 17, 2012. Available at:
[vi] Jamie Crawford, “Treasury sanctions terror facilitators in Pakistan,” CNN, October 17, 2012. Available at:
[vii] “Air strikes in Khyber tribal region kill eight militants,” Dawn, October 18, 2012. Available at:
[viii] “Police repulse terror attack in Peshawar,” Dawn, October 17, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “Sectarian target killer: Police arrest LeJ faction ringleader in Sindh,” Express Tribune, October 18, 2012. Available at:
[x] “Karzai warns Pakistan over ‘using’ extremism,” AFP, October 18, 2012. Available at:
[xi] “Asghar Khan case: Former MI chief Hamid Saeed submits statement,” Dawn, October 18, 2012. Available at
[xii] “Decision to restore MMA without JI and JUI-S,” Geo, October 18, 2012. Available at
[xiii] “One million Pakistani children miss polio vaccination,” AFP, October 17, 2012. Available at
[xiv] “Zardari wants ties with China to reach new heights,” APP, October 18, 2012. Available at:  
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