Pakistan Security Brief

U.S. drone strike kills five in North Waziristan; Court orders former president to explain position on drone strikes; Obama administration expanding terrorist target list; Some Pakistanis suspect U.S. involvement in Malala Yousafzai attack; Sectarian killings on the rise throughout Pakistan; Three schools blown up in FATA; Pakistani senator urges U.S. for more military assistance; Pakistan prefers Romney to Obama; U.S. reaffirms recognition of the Durand Line; Pakistan rejects Indian claims of terrorist facilitation; English lawyers say U.K. drone strike support is unlawful; Skepticism over election-rigging prosecutions; Six killed in Karachi.

Drone Strikes

  • A U.S. drone reportedly fired three missiles in Tappi village, North Waziristan killing at least five people on Wednesday. Sources interviewed by Dawn said that the missiles destroyed a suspected militant house and vehicle.[i]

  • The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to former president Pervez Musharraf regarding his position on drone strikes in North Waziristan. The Court has called him in to explain his permission for drone strikes in an ongoing effort to compile information about drone strike losses and the government’s role in facilitating the strikes.[ii]

Combating Terrorism

  • According to interviews conducted with U.S. security officials, the Obama administration has secretly been expanding its terrorist target list through a “disposition matrix” program. The plan allegedly articulates the names and “dispositions” of terrorism suspects and documentation on the resources being used to combat them. The plan implies that even though troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2014, counterterror operations “are likely to be extended at least another decade.”Supposedly the list is designed to embed counterterrorism operations in U.S. foreign policy in the long run.[iii]

Malala Yousafzai Attack

  • Despite the fact that Tehrik-e-Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the early September attack on Malala Yousafzai, some Pakistanis are convinced that the U.S. was behind the attack. They say it was a U.S. ruse to make the Taliban look bad, elicit sympathy for drone strikes, and muster support for an offensive into North Waziristan. Political science professor A.Z. Hilali said that much of the conspiracy-mongering originated from people’s suspicion of the Inter-Services Intelligence and its engagements with the U.S., and that right-wing political parties are exploiting these suspicions to further emphasize that the U.S. is the enemy.[iv]

Sectarian Violence and Militancy

  • According to a new Reuters analysis, sectarian killings against Shia Muslims carried out by Sunni extremist groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) are on the rise across Pakistan in both urban and rural areas. Human rights groups have reported over 300 Shias killed this year. Chaudhry Aslam, a top counter-terrorism police commander in Karachi, has stated that LeJ is the most lethal Sunni group targeting Shias; they have worked with al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban to conduct several high-profile attacks since 2001. Police and other security officials have said that when al Qaeda or the Pakistani Taliban want to conduct attacks outside their Afghan stronghold, they look to LeJ to provide safe houses, supplies, and volunteers. Police forces are not immune to sectarian tendencies either; Shia policemen hesitate to investigate crimes committed by Shias while Sunni policemen do not want to look into crimes committed by Sunnis.[v]

  • Two different government run schools were blown up in Mohmand Agency on Wednesday. Two government primary schools were blown up in Haleemzai sub-district, pushing the number of schools destroyed in the agency to 108. Another government school was blown up in Swabi’s Lahore sub-district in a separate incident.[vi]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • Senator Haji Adeel, the head of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Relations told acting U.S. political counselor Rick Waters on Tuesday that Pakistan needed an increase in military assistance from the U.S. to stay effective in the fight against terror. He told Waters that the U.S. is spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan, “without the desired results while it was not giving enough funds to Pakistan.” Waters responded that the U.S. considers Pakistan’s role in the region very important, and that Pakistan has the U.S.’s all-out support on the issue concerning Malala Yousafzai.[vii]

  • In a recent BBC poll, 20 out of 21 countries surveyed strongly preferred President Obama to Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The one exception was Pakistan, which preferred Romney by a slim margin. Nine percent of Pakistanis surveyed favored Obama while 15 percent favored Romney.[viii]

U.S.-Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations

  • U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman reiterated Washington’s “policy of international recognition of the Durand Line,” a statement that was reportedly rejected by the Afghan government. When asked about this rejection on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland confirmed that Washington’s policy on the issue has not changed.[ix]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • The Indian home minister claimed on Sunday that he had information that Pakistan has been helping terrorists infiltrate India. A Pakistani foreign office spokesman rejected the statement on Tuesday, claiming it was baseless, and that if the Indian home minister “has any information or evidence, he is most welcome to share it with us.”[x]

U.K.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, lawyers for a young man whose father was killed in a U.S. drone strike declared in an English court that U.K. support for the drone strikes may implicate the U.K. in war crimes and assisted murder. The lawyers are looking to have location information sharing on the part of the U.K. deemed illegal. While the British government has not stated whether or not it shares signals intelligence with U.S. forces, media reports suggest that it does. The man’s lawyers clarified that they are not seeking conviction of any individuals, but rather a judicial declaration that U.K. intelligence sharing for drone strike purposes is unlawful.[xi]

Election-Rigging Case

  • Several former and current officials of the Federal Investigation Agency have expressed doubt that any prosecutions will actually be made in the recent election rigging case in which the military and ISI have been accused of funding opposition politicians in the 1990 elections. The FIA faces two problems: first, the money received by opposition politicians was in the form of donations and therefore does not fall under the FIA’s typical investigative profile (as no public money was involved); second, sources say that the FIA has yet to obtain “relevant records” and “sufficient evidence” from the Supreme Court. While the FIA is bound by the verdict to look into the case, it appears that there is little evidence in the form of bank statements, account holder statements, etc. to launch prosecution.[xii]

Karachi Violence

  • Six people were killed in Karachi on Wednesday. Two bodies were found in the Lea Market and Manghopir areas. Unknown gunmen shot and killed a man in Machar Colony. One man was stabbed to death in Abbas Colony and one woman was stabbed to death in Neelam Colony. A man succumbed to his injuries from a previous incident in North Nazimabad. Sindh Rangers also arrested a man suspected of involvement in gang wars in a morning raid in Lyari.[xiii]                     


[i] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “US drone kills at least five in North Waziristan,” Dawn, October 24, 2012. Available at
[ii] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “PHC services notice to Musharraf for allowing drone attacks,” Dawn, October 24, 2012. Available at:
[iii] “Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists,” Washington Post, October 23, 2012. Available at:
[iv] Michele Langevine Leiby, “Attack on schoolgirl fuels Pakistani conspiracy theories,” The Washington Post, October 24, 2012. Available at:
[v] Michael Georgy, “Special Report: Pakistan’s threat within –  the Sunni-Shia divide,” Reuters, October 24, 2012. Available at:
[vi] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Three more school bombed in Mohmand Agency, Swabi,” Dawn, October 24, 2012. Available at:
[vii] “Meeting with US political counselor: ANP senator seeks US helicopters, fighting gadgets,” Express Tribune, October 24, 2012. Available at
[viii] Max Fisher, “Poll finds 20 of 21 countries strongly prefer Obama (exception: Pakistan),” The Washington Post, October 23, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “US reaffirms international status of Durand Line,” APP, October 24, 2012. Available at:
[x] “Pakistan rejects Indian accusation of terrorists’ infiltration,” APP, October 23, 2012. Available at:
[xi] Ian Cobain, “UK support for US drones in Pakistan may be war crime, court is told,” The Guardian, October 23, 2012. Available at:
[xii] Asad Kharal, “Asghar Khan case: Don’t hold your breath awaiting prosecution,” Express Tribune, October 24, 2012. Available at:
[xiii] “Incidents of violence claim six lives in Karachi,” Dawn, October 24, 2012. Available at:
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