Pakistan Security Brief

Pakistan reaches out to non-Pashtuns in Afghanistan; Air strike kills 10, injures 6 in Bara; Bomb outside Nowshera shrine kills 4, injures 34; Militants blow up girls’ school in Mardan; Grenade attack kills one, wounds seven in DI Khan; KP governor says Punjab government has ties with terrorists; Two “wanted criminals” killed in Balochistan; New U.S. Ambassador arrives in Islamabad; Foreign Minister visits Egypt; PTI Chairman de-planed and interrogated in Canada; The Taliban’s attack on Pakistan’s education goes further than just the attack on Malala; Zardari called political party leaders to discuss Pakistan’s political situation; Cell phone services were suspended in Pakistan on Saturday; Malala to be provided with full security upon her return to Pakistan.

Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations

  • In a special report, the Associated Press describes Pakistan’s recent outreach efforts to non-Pashtun leaders in Afghanistan and suggests that such a “policy shift” may actually be successful in bringing Taliban leaders to the negotiating table. This shift is notable as Pakistan has traditionally supported Pashtun movements in Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban. According to U.S. Institute for Peace scholar Moeed Yusuf, “there is a serious realization among some people who matter in Pakistan that they can’t continue to put all their eggs in the Taliban basket because it is too shaky.” Journalist Zahid Hussain explains that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan “would give a huge boost to domestic militants fighting the Pakistani state,” which has led Pakistani leaders to understand that they must reach out to all involved parties if they wish to reconcile the groups. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar commented, however, that such a policy shift takes time and that it would not lead to immediate action. Nonetheless, key Afghan political figures including Abdullah Abdullah are optimistic about Pakistan’s outreach while allegedly the increasing dialogue has “rattled the Taliban.”[i]


  • A Monday air strike from Pakistani gunship helicopters killed at least 10 suspected militants and injured six in Bara sub-district of Khyber agency. Officials said that militants had attacked a security convoy earlier in the day, killing one soldier and wounding three in the Akakhel area of Bara sub-district. The helicopters arrived after the ambush and allegedly destroyed four militant bases.[ii]

  • A remote-controlled bomb was detonated outside a shrine in Ziarat Kaka Sahib, Nowshera on Sunday. The bomb killed four people and injured 34. It is unclear who was behind the attack, as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said later in the day that the TTP was not responsible.[iii]

  • Militants blew up a girls high school in Katti Garhi area of Katlang, Mardan on Saturday. The school’s security guard was wounded and several of the school’s rooms were destroyed. Police have initiated an investigation.[iv]

  • One person was killed and seven were injured when an unidentified man threw a grenade at a police officer’s house in Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday. Police have begun an investigation.[v]

  • According to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar, the Punjab government has connections with terrorists and that madrassas in Punjab are “scaling up terrorism.” He added that Punjab needed to recognize its problems and help Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well.[vi]


  • Two “wanted criminals” were killed and seven people were injured during a Levies and Anti-Terrorist Forces raid in the Killi Malazai area of Pishin, Balochistan on Monday. Security officials said the criminals opened fire on them as they entered the area, and the two were killed in return fire. Five civilians and two security officials were wounded in the clash. It is unclear what the criminals were wanted for.[vii] 

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Saturday, new U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson arrived in Islamabad. In a statement released by the U.S. Embassy, Olson expressed his commitment to promoting mutual respect and common interests in U.S.-Pakistani relations, as well as his desire to encourage trade, resolve Pakistan’s energy problems, and improve the quality of girls’ education.[viii]

Egyptian-Pakistani Relations

  • On Monday, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar left for a three-day visit to Egypt to meet with top officials in the Egyptian government. The visit aims to begin strengthening Pakistani ties with the new Egyptian government of Mohammad Morsi.[ix]

Canadian-Pakistani Relations

  • Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan was de-planed and interrogated by Canadian authorities on Friday as he was traveling from Toronto to New York. Sources said he was questioned about his stance on drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as well. He and his entourage were permitted to board the next flight to New York after missing his original plane due to the interrogation.[x]

Domestic Politics     

  • The Taliban’s negative effect on education in Pakistan goes further than just the attack on Malala Yousafzai according to an LA Times article on Friday. Parents are scared to send their children to school because of the targeted attacks. Ninety-six schools have been damaged or destroyed already this year, and militants continue to target, “school buses, teachers, headmasters, even a provincial education minister.” According to a report by an Islamabad-based nongovernmental organization, “at least 600,000 children in northwestern Pakistan have missed a year or more of school because of militant attacks or threats.”[xi]

  • President Asif Ali Zardari made separate phone calls to a few of the leaders of Pakistan’s political parties on Sunday, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain. The call’s purpose was to discuss the political situation in Pakistan. President Zardari and MQM chief Hussain both condemned the “blast outside Kaka Sahib Darbar in Nowshera and attacks on girls’ schools in Khyber Paktunkhwa (KP).” Both leaders agreed to continue to work together to tackle the challenges facing Pakistan.[xii]

  • Cell phone services were suspended for four hours, from 6am to 10am, on Saturday on the first day of Eidul Azha. The suspension was ordered by the government in a response to “information from intelligence agencies and provincial government over ‘threats to national security’ on the first day of Eid.” The suspension was not throughout the whole country, but in cities and areas deemed to be vulnerable to attacks.[xiii]

  • KP information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain claimed on Friday that if Malala Yousafzai and her family decide to return to Swat they will be provided with full security. He said the decision to live abroad or in Pakistan was entirely up to Malala and her family. Hussain also said that Pakistan and Afghanistan should “stop the blame game and take action against [Mullah] Fazlullah and other terrorist groups.”[xiv]


[i] Heidi Vogt and Sebastian Abbot, “Pakistan outreach could aid Afghan peace deal,” AP, October 28, 2012. Available at:
[ii] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Helicopters pound militant hideouts in Khyber; 10 killed,” Dawn, October 29, 2012. Available at:
[iii] “Nowshera: Blast outside shrine kills 4, injures 34,” Geo News, October 28, 2012. available at:; “Nothing to do with Nowshera blast: TTP,” Geo News, October 28, 2012. Available at:
[iv] “Girls school blown up in Mardan,” Geo News, October 27, 2012. Available at:
[v] “DI Khan: Grenade attack leaves 1 dead, 7 injured,” Geo News, October 28, 2012. Available at:
[vi] “Punjab government has links with terrorists, claims KP governor,” Geo News, October 27, 2012. Available at:
[vii] “Two ‘wanted criminals’ killed in Pishin encounter,” Dawn, October 29, 2012. Available at:
[viii] “Richard Olson arrives in Pakistan to take charge as new US ambassador,” Express Tribune, October 27, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “FM Khar heads to Cairo on three-day visit,” Dawn, October 29, 2012. Available at:,
[x] “Imran Khan deplaned, interrogated at Toronto airport,” Geo News, October 26, 2012. Available at:
[xi] Alex Rodriguez, “Taliban’s attack on Pakistan education goes beyond one girl,” LA Times, October 26, 2012. Available at
[xii] “Zardari discusses political situation with Altaf, other leaders,” Dawn, October 28, 2012. Available at
[xiii] “Cellphone services resumed after four-hour suspension,” Dawn, October 27, 2012. Available at
[xiv] “Malala to get full security on return: minister,” Dawn, October 26, 2012. Available at 
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