Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – September 17, 2010
Gen. Petraeus meets with General Kayani and Hamid Karzai; MQM party leader Imran Farooq murdered in London; News of Farooq’s death spawns riots in Karachi; 15-member council created to monitor relief and reconstruction efforts; WHO warns of second round of flood related fatalities.
Pakistan Foreign Relations
Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani met in Islamabad on Thursday with top U.S Commander David Petraeus and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The meeting was held to discuss regional security and Pakistan’s role in any potential reconciliation efforts with pacified elements of the Taliban insurgency. The meeting was the first of its kind since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, with senior members of the ISI, Afghan, and U.S. intelligence services all in attendance. According to one official who was present, Thursday’s meeting between all parties engaged in fight against extremism “was very significant and unprecedented.” 
MQM Leader Murdered
A senior member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Imran Farooq, was stabbed to death outside of his apartment in London on Thursday. Farooq was a founding member of the MQM political party, which draws strong support from Karachi’s large Urdu speaking population. Though living in exile in London for last 11 years, Faroorq remained a powerful personality within the party. At present, no arrests have been made and British authorities have yet to determine if the murder was politically motivated. Senior MQM party members have urged supporters to remain claim until London police complete their investigation. 
Despite calls for calm by MQM leaders, the news of the Imran Farooq’s death generated riots in Karachi on Friday. Schools, markets, and public transportation networks were all shut down as angry demonstrators torched vehicles and shops in the city of 16 million. Authorities warn that Farooq’s death may seriously affect political stability in Pakistan, potentially sparking a new round of fractional violence in the streets of Karachi. Hoping to stymie the bloodshed, Prime Minister Gilani condemned the murder, while MQM leaders announced a suspension of political activities for 10 days to mourn Farooq. 
One militant was killed and 18 were arrested in a sweep by security forces in the Khyber agency on Friday. The operation occurred in the Shahkus area of the agency, and officials report that a large cache of weapons and ammunition were seized. 
The Pakistani government announced on Friday the formation of a 15-member council to oversee the distribution of relief and rebuilding funds. The National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) will contain nominated representatives from the federal government, all four provinces, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. The NODMC will review all plans for reconstruction and monitor the distribution of relief funds to ensure transparency. The formation of the NODMC comes after allegations, mostly from minority religious communities, that the federal relief effort was unfairly allocating resources to favored communities and political patrons. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that a second round of flood related deaths remain possible. Speaking to reporters from Geneva, Dr. Guido Sabatinelli of the WHO warned that while widespread disease outbreaks have not yet materialized, the risk of future epidemics remain “very high” throughout Pakistan. In addition to water borne illness like cholera, Dr. Sabatinelli also listed long-term malnutrition as a major threat to flood victims, particularly younger children.