Pakistan Security Brief

1,000 protest film in Islamabad; Businessman accused of blasphemy for not joining anti-Islam film protest; Information Minister says  foreign diplomats to be protected at “all costs;” Ex-spy chief of Pakistan says his country can’t deliver Taliban for peace talks; TTP behind Peshawar blast; Militants blow up girls’ school in Bannu; 18 militants’ bodies found in Bajaur; Haqqani sanctions implemented; State Dept. warns Americans about Pakistan travel; Foreign Minister says U.S. needs to appreciate Pakistani sacrifices in war on terror; Pakistan looks to build own drones; Six kidnapped in Peshawar; Pakistani  AG says letter to Swiss authorities will mention presidential immunity;  More Indo-Pak economic discussions begin; Three target killers arrested in Karachi.

Anti-Islam Film Protests

  • A large crowd of over 1,000 students grouped together to protest the “innocence of Muslims” film in Islamabad on Thursday. The Interior Ministry was forced to call upon the Pakistan Army to help protect Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave from the angry protestors. The protestors pelted police with stones and several were able to get into the high security zone. Nine policemen were injured during the protests. Police used tear gas and live rounds to deter protesters.[i]

  • Authorities on Wednesday launched an investigation into a businessman in Hyderabad who was accused of blasphemy for not joining the recent anti-Islam film protests.. The businessman, Haji Nasrullah Khan, allegedly tried to convince others not to join the protests as well. After refusing to close his shops in solidarity, the protestors claimed Khan had insulted the Prophet. City police chief Fareed Jan claimed that there is no evidence supporting the accusation but that police were “pressured by the mob to open [the investigation].”[ii]

  • In response to protests throughout Pakistan, Information Minister Qamar Zaiman Kaira stated on Thursday that Pakistan was obliged to protect all foreign diplomats “at all costs.” He chided the Punjab government for not stopping protesters from entering Islamabad, and urged all demonstrators to remain peaceful. He also encouraged political and religious parties to refrain from perpetuating violence and hate, adding that Pakistan was the only country to have responded to the protests by establishing a holiday specifically meant to support and encourage them.[iii]

Taliban Peace Talks

  • According to a former Pakistani intelligence and military chief, General Ehsan ul Haq, the United States has unrealistic expectations about Pakistan bringing Taliban leader Mullah Omar to the table for peace talks. In an interview in Washington on Monday, Haq said that the U.S. should do whatever it can to revive the Qatar process and to make good on pledges for a prisoner swap. Haq denied that Pakistan provides assistance to some of the Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban, and added that Pakistan even raided several religious schools and homes of the Haqqani network between 2002 and 2004. He nonetheless pointed out that the Obama administration’s decision to blacklist the Haqqanis a foreign terrorist organization might be counterproductive to peace talks. On Thursday, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker countered Haq’s “unrealistic expectations” remark, saying that Pakistan does in fact have “substantial influence” with Taliban leaders in the country and ought to use that leverage to bring them into peace negotiations. [iv]

Bombings and Militancy

  • On Thursday, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack on a Pakistan Air Force van on Wednesday that killed eight and wounded at least 32, up from the previous count of 22. The TTP detonated a bomb in a busy market area near Scheme Chowk, Badhaber in a targeted attack on the van. A TTP spokesman stated that the attack was carried out in revenge for the killing of a cleric named Sheikh Naseeb Khan, whose body was found on May 3. [v] 

  • Militants blew up a government girls school in Mindio village, Bannu on Wednesday. They had planted explosives by the school walls and detonated them at midnight, damaging the entire building.[vi]

  • Security officials informed journalists on Wednesday that they had found 18 militants’ bodies in Salarzai sub-district, Bajaur agency during a search operation. This discovery follows a recent military operation in Bajaur in which security forces claim to have killed 100-120 militants in total since a large Taliban incursion on August 23.[vii]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • As of Wednesday, sanctions against the Haqqani network have come into effect after the network was declared a foreign terrorist organization two weeks ago. The sanctions freeze any assets that Haqqani members hold in the U.S., and it forbids any Americans from engaging in business with them.[viii]

  • The U.S. State Department released an updated Advisory on Thursday warning U.S. citizens of heightened risks in traveling to Pakistan, though it did not outright recommend that Americans avoid traveling there. The Advisory highlights protests and rallies against coalition forces, drone strikes, and an ongoing energy crisis, all of which have destabilized the country and made it more dangerous to travel there.[ix]

  • In a meeting with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence alongside Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar urged the U.S. to better recognize and appreciate Pakistan’s contributions to the war on terror. Rather than viewing Pakistan as a problem hindering the peace process in Afghanistan, Khar asked the U.S. to understand that peace is a priority for Pakistan as well and that it is committed to genuine negotiations with the U.S. and Afghanistan to promote reconciliation. In a different meeting the same day, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah encouraged the Pakistani government to try resolving operational challenges to USAID activity in Pakistan to ensure improved delivery of assistance.[x]

Pakistani Drones

  • In a media conference on Wednesday, Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar said that Pakistan seeks to build its own drone system through streamlining funds received via the U.S. Coalition Support Funds program.[xi]

Peshawar Kidnappings

  • Six people were kidnapped by over 24 armed men on Kohat Road in Darwazgai, Matani on the outskirts of Peshawar on Wednesday. Police arrived at the location after three people were initially reported as kidnapped and exchanged fire with the kidnappers; one victim escaped. Later on, the assailants kidnapped four other people from the same location. An investigation into the victims’ whereabouts has been launched; it is unclear whether the armed men were militants.[xii]

Domestic Politics

  • On September 18, the Prime Minister surprised many by agreeing to the Supreme Court’s demands and consenting to write to Swiss authorities regarding the graft cases on President Zardari. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf did not however, mention the exact content of the letter to be written. On Wednesday, Attorney General Irfan Qadir told journalists outside the Supreme Court, that in accordance with relevant clauses of the Constitution the government “will refer to the president’s immunity in the letter,” and that the Supreme Court has accepted the clause for Presidential immunity.[xiii]

Indo-Pakistani Relations

  • On Thursday, Pakistani Commerce Secretary Muneer Qureshi began a two-day conference with his Indian counterpart S. R. Rao regarding the signing of three economic agreements to help liberalize trade between the two countries. These agreements concern customs cooperation, mutual recognition of required standards, and methods of addressing trade-related grievances.[xiv]

Karachi Violence

  • According to West District police, three suspected target killers have been arrested from Saeedabad, Mominabad, and Mauripur in the last 24 hours. The men confessed to killing at least 11 people. Police seized two assault rifles, several hand grenades, and two pistols from them.[xv]


[i] “Army called to protect Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave,” AFP, September 20, 2012. Available at; “Army summoned to stop protestors from entering red zone, diplomatic enclave,” Geo News, September 20, 2012. Available at
[iii] “Foreign diplomats will be protected at all costs: Kaira,” Geo News, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[iv] Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, “Ex-spy chief says Pakistan can’t deliver Taliban to talks,” Bloomberg, September 18, 2012. Available at; Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, “Pakistan must pressure Taliban, former U.S. envoy says,” Bloomberg, September 19, 2012. Available at:   
[v] Riaz Ahmad, “Peshawar ‘revenge’ attack: Blast targeting air force van kills eight,” Express Tribune, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[vi] “Girls’ school blown up in Bannu,” The News International, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[vii] Anwarullah Khan, “18 bodies of militants found in Bajaur,” Dawn, September 19, 2012. Available at:
[viii] “US Haqqani sanctions come into affect [sic],” Dawn, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “US warning urges citizens to avoid Pakistan travel,” AFP, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[x] Huma Imtiaz, “Pakistan not part of problem vis-à-vis Afghanistan,” Express Tribune, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[xi] “Pakistan drone system in initial stage: Qamar,” Geo News, September 19, 2012. Available at:
[xii] Javed Aziz Khan, “Six people kidnapped from Matani,” The News International, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[xiii] “Swiss letter will mention president’s immunity: AG,” Express Tribune, September 20, 2012. Available at
[xiv] “India-Pakistan commerce secretary talks begin,” Dawn, September 20, 2012. Available at:
[xv] “Three alleged target killers arrested during 24 hours,” Geo News, September 20, 2012. Available at:
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