Pakistan Security Brief
Three killed and at least 400 injured in clashes between protestors and police in Islamabad; Army urges government to resolve political crisis through dialogue, denies allegations of support for PAT or PTI; PAT, PTI protestors storm PTV headquarters; Government, PTI, PAT to resume negotiations; Prime Minister Sharif convenes joint session of Parliament; PTI President Javed Hashmi feuds with PTI chairman Imran Khan, accuses Khan of following army orders; PTI files petition against Prime Minister Sharif in Supreme Court; Security official killed in Khyber Agency; NATO plane shot at in Peshawar; Pakistan Army kills 32 militants in North Waziristan; Frontier Corps kills 12 militants in Balochistan; TTP claims prominent kidnap victim freed in exchange for key TTP commanders; Pakistan, India trade accusations over ceasefire violations; One Pakistani killed in drone strike in Nangarhar, Afghanistan; Mortar shelling from Kunar, Afghanistan into Pakistan; Hackers compromise a dozen government websites.
- On August 30, about 25,000 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters attempted to march from in front of Parliament to the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad, as part of efforts to secure Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. Protestors attempted to breach security barricades manned by police forces who responded to the attempted incursions with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Widespread rioting and clashes between protestors and security forces ensued. Three protestors were killed and an estimated 400 people injured in the clashes.
- On September 1, hundreds of PTI and PAT protestors stormed the Pakistan Television Corporation’s (PTV) headquarters, resulting in the temporary suspension of PTV’s transmission. The transmission was restored after army troops intervened and vacated protestors from the building.
- On August 30, Javed Hashmi, PTI party President refused to join his party members in their march toward the Prime Minister’s house in Islamabad. In a statement made at the Parliament on August 31, he alleged that the current struggle between the government and PTI was a “scripted affair” and hinted at the involvement of the military in exacerbating the political impasse with the PTI and PAT. PTI chairman Imran Khan rejected Hashmi’s allegations and sacked him from the party.
- Responding to the controversy over who asked army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif to mediate between the government and the protesting PAT and PTI parties, the Pakistani military issued a statement on August 30 confirming its participation as a facilitator in the current political deadlock was requested by the government. The announcement is embarrassing for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who has denied that his government suggested involving the army in the political dispute.
- In a Corps Commanders meeting presided over by Army chief Raheel Sharif on August 31, the military urged the government to resolve the ongoing crisis by means of a political solution and without resorting to further violence. In a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations on September 1, the army rejected allegations of backing either the PAT or the PTI in any way and reiterated that it was an apolitical institution.
- On September 1, the government, the PTI and the PAT agreed to resume the negotiation process which had been deadlocked over the issue of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. Sharif also convened an emergency meeting with army chief Raheel Sharif in order to come up with a strategy to resolve the impasse.
- On September 1, the PTI filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for giving a “false statement” in the National Assembly about the role of the army chief as a mediator and guarantor of ongoing peace talks.
- On September 2, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened an emergency joint session of Parliament during which political leaders made speeches affirming the supremacy of Parliament and the Constitution. Parliament is expected to be in session all week to allow all members of the house to express their views on the ongoing political crisis.
- On September 2, the Supreme Court issued notices to 15 political parties including PAT and PTI to resolve the political deadlock within the parameters of the Constitution.
- On August 31, Pakistani gunship helicopters killed at least 32 militants and destroyed three militant hideouts in Bangidar, North Waziristan, as part of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. According to the ISPR, the army also destroyed 23 explosive-laden vehicles and four ammunition dumps.
- On August 31, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazllullah claimed in a video released on twitter that Professor Ajmal Khan, the Vice-Chancellor of Islamia College who had been in TTP custody for four years, was freed in exchange for three senior TTP commanders. Pakistani authorities have not confirmed the exchange. Reacting to the ongoing protests in Islamabad, the TTP chief said that if a few protestors could besiege the government, an attack on Islamabad would not be a difficult task for his fighters with their superior numbers and sophisticated arms.
- On September 1, unknown gunmen attacked a Khassadar check-post, killing one security official and injuring five others in Jamrud, Khyber Agency.
- On August 31, militants fired on a NATO plane at the Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar. The plane was hit by one bullet before landing safely.
- On August 30, 12 militants and one Frontier Corps (FC) soldier were killed in an operation by security forces against militants in the Gomazi area of Turbat in Balochistan.
- On September 1, Afghan officials reportedly killed a Pakistani national in a drone strike and arrested another in the Sangiani area of Khugiyani district in eastern Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.
- On August 30, militants reportedly fired mortar shells from Kunar province in Afghanistan into the Katkot Mamond area in Bajaur Agency. There was no damage reported.
- On August 30, officials from the Indian Defense Ministry and Pakistani Foreign Office expressed concerns over “unprovoked” ceasefire violations by both sides, with India calling the violations “serious,” “provocative” and a hindrance to better relations with Pakistan. The Pakistani Foreign Office said on August 31 that 140 violations of the working boundary and Line of Control (LoC) by India were recorded between June 1 and August 30. On August 29, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of making a “spectacle” of India’s efforts to establish warmer relations by holding talks with secessionist elements from Jammu and Kashmir.
- On August 31, a group of hackers called the “Anonymous Op Pakistan,” and claiming links to international the Hacktivist collective Anonymous, temporarily hacked over two dozen government websites, defacing some sites and rendering others inaccessible. The group also leaked the details of several thousand bank accounts allegedly connected to the Pakistani government in an attempt to remove “every vestige of the Pakistan government from the Internet.”