Pakistan Security Brief

Protesters storm U.S. Consulate in Karachi; Pakistan urges U.S. to remain silent on North Waziristan operation; Zardari and Grossman discuss drones, controversial film and Haqqani designation; Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman asks U.S. to stop telling Pakistan to ‘do more;’ 753 YouTube clips banned by PTA; Pakistan successfully tests Hatf-VII (Babur) missile; Bomb blast in Lower Dir kills 15; PPP leaders to decide on Ashraf court appearance; UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances arrives in Quetta; journalists face death or imprisonment in Balochistan; Pakistani Hindus flee country due to persecution; New anti-smuggling checkpoints established along Paf-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders; Nigerian heroin smugglers arrested in Islamabad; Karachi factory fire victims to be compensated

Anti-Islam Film Protests

  • Pakistani protesters broke through a barricade surrounding the U.S. Consulate in Karachi on Sunday, September 16, leading to clashes with the police that killed one demonstrator and injured 18. Demonstrators were protesting against the controversial anti-Islam video released last week. Police used water cannons and tear gas on demonstrators when the protests turned violent. No U.S. officials have been harmed. Another protester was killed in Warai, Upper Dir district in an 800-strong protest against the film. Protesters had set a magistrate’s house and the local press club on fire, resulting in an exchange of gunfire with police. In Lahore, 8,000 people attended an anti-American rally led by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front group for Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Four thousand people attended a similar protest organized by Jamiat-Ulema-Islam in Dera Ismail Khan.[1]

  • Today the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block 753 YouTube links connected to the anti-Islam film making global headlines after YouTube refused to take them down, saying it had no agreement with the Pakistani government to do so. The Court also said that any anti-Islamic material found online must be reported to the PTA for removal. The government did clarify, however, that it was not blocking Facebook or YouTube websites as a whole, just anti-Islamic material found on them.[2]

Pak-U.S. Relations

  • According to a senior government official, Pakistan has discreetly advised the U.S. not to make further statements about the planned military operation against militants in North Waziristan. Speaking to The Express Tribune, the government official said that because of anti-U.S. sentiments in the country the military does not want to appear as if it is siding with the U.S. against militants in the region. This advice also comes after an incident last month where U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publically stated that a Pakistani military campaign in North Waziristan would be launched soon. A military official stated that Panetta’s comment “was inappropriate” and “it really complicated the situation.”[3]

  • President Asif Ali Zardari once again asked the U.S. to cease drone operations on September 15 in a meeting with United States Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Ambassador Marc Grossman, calling them counterproductive to winning over Pakistani civilians and ending militant activity. Zardari also criticized the controversial anti-Islam film that made headlines last week; Grossman quickly denied that the U.S. government had any links to the film and was quick to distance the government from the video. Grossman also briefed other officials at the meeting about the U.S. decision to label the Haqqani network a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO); Prime Minister Ashraf, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, and other unnamed members of the Pakistani delegation dismissed the decision as an internal U.S. affair of which Pakistan played no part.[4]

  • Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has asked the U.S. to show Pakistan more sympathy and more support for its “strategic depth” and stop asking Pakistan to always “do more.” In a September 16 meeting with Congress’ Pakistan Caucus, Rehman stated that Pakistan does not wish to be considered only in terms of what it can do in Afghanistan, and instead wants to build a strong relationship with the U.S. based on trade, investment, and mutual trust.[5]

Bomb Blast in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

  • Fifteen passengers were killed and 12 injured when a roadside bomb targeting their vehicle was detonated in the Jandol area of Lower Dir on Sunday. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to villagers forming pro-government militias.  TTP spokesman Sirajuddin Ahmad stated that the group had informed the villagers, “of the repercussions of supporting the government but they didn’t stop backing the armed forces.”[6]

Nuclear Missile Test

  • According to a statement on Monday from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan successfully completed a test launch of the multi-tube cruise missile Hatf-VII (Babur). The ISPR stated that some of the modern cruise missile technology features of the Babur includes Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC). The missile, which was launched from a Multi Tube Missile Launch Vehicle, has both nuclear and conventional capabilities.[7]

Swiss Letter Case

  • President Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting with party leaders in the ruling coalition today to decide whether or not Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will appear before the Supreme Court tomorrow and what position he will take regarding re-opening a money laundering case against the President.  Allegedly, many officials in the ruling Pakistan People’s Party do not think Ashraf should go before the Court; Ashraf is believed to be amenable to obeying court orders, however he wishes to seek advice from the federal cabinet regarding the letter to be written to Swiss authorities to re-launch the case.[8]

UN in Quetta

  • The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances arrived in Quetta on Saturday to meet with the provincial chief, home secretaries, and other political representatives. UN and local representatives discussed the issues of missing persons, target killings, and growing numbers of kidnappings for ransom. Leader of the Baloch Republican Party Dr. Bashir Azeem provided the group with a list of 12,000-14,000 missing persons, 4,262 of whom were confirmed deceased. Family members of disappeared persons held a large demonstration outside the Quetta Press Center and later staged a sit-in at the Serena Hotel.[9]

Journalists’ Plight in Balochistan

  • In a special September 16 report, AP’s Kathy Gannon sheds light on the plight of journalists caught in the separatist violence in Balochistan. Militant Sunni groups will call journalists to threaten upcoming attacks, blacklist certain individuals, detail grotesque killings, claim responsibility for recent atrocities, or rail against Shiite minorities to terrify them. Often, these calls come with strict instructions to “report our messages without making any changes or we will kill you.” Journalists are caught between potentially losing their lives if they do not report the stories, or being arrested and detained by government authorities under anti-terrorism laws if they do. In the last six years, 41 journalists have been violently killed in the region.  Asia Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern that the government is doing little to pursue those behind the messages and instead wrongly penalizing journalists forced to report them.[10]

Pakistani Hindus Persecuted

  • The Western Indian state of Rajasthan has registered increasing numbers of Hindu refugees fleeing persecution in Pakistan. In the last couple weeks, 350 Pakistani Hindus have fled to Jodhpur. Pakistani authorities deny that they are leaving due to persecution, claiming instead that they are seeking better jobs by moving out of the country. One noted that Pakistani authorities are tightening visa distribution after learning of increased migration to India. Another refugee says that “our girls are not safe in Pakistan. In the past there have been several cases of teenagers being kidnapped, raped, and converted to Islam…We would rather die than go back to Pakistan.”[11]

Anti-Smuggling Activity

  • Pakistani authorities have established about 700 check post along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border over the weekend of September 15-16 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to help staunch smuggling activity. They have also established 340 checkpoints in Balochistan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iran-Pakistan borders. Rangers are also on foot patrol to dissuade potential smugglers.[12]

  • A theft gone wrong on Friday night led to the arrest of seven Nigerians accused of international drug smuggling in Islamabad on September 14. Two men had tried to steal a battery from a cell tower and then stabbed a prayer leader to death after he noticed what they were doing. Police arrived at the scene, arrested one of the thieves and recovered a kilogram of heroin from him. Police made six more arrests that night. The men were trying to smuggle heroin from Lahore to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other countries in the region by air.[13]

Fire Victims Compensated

  • On September 15, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered compensation to be paid to all victims of the Karachi garment factory fire that claimed 289 lives last week. Families of the deceased are to be given Rs 400,000 ($4,200) each while injured workers are to receive Rs 100,000 ($1,000) per person. Ashraf was also requested to provide a DNA testing facility to help identify remains that have yet to be identified.[14]


[1] Adil Jawad, “Pakistan protesters march on US consulate, 1 killed,” AP, September 16, 2012. Available at:; “Two dead in Pakistan protests over anti-Islam film,” The Nation, September 17, 2012. Available at:
[2] “PTA blocks 753 anti-Islam film YouTube links,” Express Tribune, September 17, 2012. Available at:
[3]Kamran, Yousaf. “North Waziristan operation to stay under wraps,” The Express Tribune, September 17, 2012. Available at:
[4] Sumaira Khan, “Zardari to US: Call off drone campaign,” Express Tribune, September 16, 2012. Available at:
[5] Wajid Ali Syed, “Sherry asks US not to repeat ‘do more’ mantra,” The News International, September 16, 2012. Available at:
[6]“Roadside bomb kills 12 in NW Pakistan, police say,” AP, September 16, 2012. Available at
Katharine, Houreld. “Taliban bomb kills 14 people in Pakistan near Afghan border, Reuters, September 16, 2012. Available at
[7]“Pakistan test fires nuclear-capbale Hatf-VII Babur,” The Express Tribune, September 17, 2012. Available at
[8] Syed Irfan Raza, “PM’s appearance in SC; Coalition party leaders to take decision today,” Dawn, September 16, 2012. Available at:
[9] Mohammad Zafar, “UN mission arrives at ground zero of missing persons,” Express Tribune, September 16, 2012. Available at:
[10] Kathy Gannon, “Pakistan journalists’ choice: Face death, or jail,” AP, September 16, 2012. Available at:
[11] “Hindus flee persecution in Pakistan,” IANS and Agence France-Presse, September 17, 2012. Available at:
[12] “Hundreds of check-posts established at Pak-Afghan border,” The News International, September 17, 2012. Available at:   
[13] Umer Nangiana, “International drugs smuggling gang of Nigerians arrested,” Express Tribune, September 16, 2012. Available at:
[14] “Karachi factory blaze: PM orders compensation for victims,” Express Tribune, September 16, 2012. Available at:
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