Pakistan Security Brief
U.S. has “evidence” Pakistan ordered Haqqani Network attacks; Pakistan’s Foreign Office rebukes U.S. claims; Senate votes to make aid to Pakistan “conditional”; U.S. and Pakistan discuss trade; Pakistan appeals to NATO and Afghanistan to stop cross-border attacks; Pakistan and Turkey hold joint training exercise; Authorities’ place LeJ founder under house arrest; Roadside bomb kills five; Locals find beheaded bodies of three tribesmen; Gunmen attack NATO container; Pakistani Army warns against withdrawing Ranger powers; General Kayani orders Rangers to protect business community; Frenchmen arrested in arms corruption case; Gunmen kill four in Mastung; 65 percent of voters in Balochistan are fake.
- Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters on Wednesday that Pakistan would “never” tolerate U.S. boots on the ground in Pakistan. Malik called for the U.S. to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and insisted that U.S. intelligence agencies assist Pakistan in apprehending terrorists. After a meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller in Islamabad on U.S.-Pakistan counterterrorism cooperation, Malik reported that he had told Mueller that if the U.S. were to provide evidence of the Haqqani Network’s Pakistan ties, Pakistan would “definitely take action.” Unnamed U.S. officials claimed they had gathered mounting but uncorroborated evidence that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency not only has ties to the Haqqani Network that carried out last week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, but that the ISI “specifically directed or urged” the Haqqani Network to launch the attack.
- Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued a statement in which it reiterated that Pakistan’s ISI has not been fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan using the Haqqani Network and that Pakistan hoped to continue a relationship of “mutual trust” with the U.S. Pakistan’s Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar also made a public statement denying Pakistani ties to the Haqqani Network, and he encouraged the U.S. to be forthcoming with evidence linking the ISI to the Haqqani Network. He further stated that a “sovereign state” such as Pakistan “could not be bullied” by the U.S.
- The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted on Wednesday to make aid to Pakistan “conditional on action against militant groups, such as the Haqqani Network.” The committee reportedly approved $1 billion in aid to the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund to “support counterinsurgency operations” by the Pakistan military. The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives and Senate for a vote.
- The U.S. and Pakistan issued a joint statement at the conclusion of the fifth annual Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting. Both countries reportedly agreed to “work together” on an array of issues, ranging from climate, market access, trade promotion, intellectual property rights (IPRs), and private sector engagement. The U.S. and Pakistan will work together in coming weeks to set an agenda for the next TIFA meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C. later this year.
- Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province Ameer Haider Khan Hoti appealed to the Afghan government and NATO to put an end to cross-border attacks on Pakistani border villages, specifically those in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, warning that Pakistan would “be justified to act on its own against the militants based inside Afghan borders” if NATO and the Afghan government failed to take action.
- Chief of General Staff Waheed Arshad inaugurated a joint Pakistan-Turkey training exercise in Cherat, Turkey on Wednesday. Pakistani and Turkish Special Operations Forces will conduct joint training exercises each year, held alternatively in each country.
- On Wednesday, the Pakistani government placed Malik Ishaq, founder of Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), under 10 days of house arrest for provoking anti-Shia violence. Ishaq had been conducting anti-Shia speeches following his release from prison two months ago. Authorities believe his rhetoric may have inspired LeJ’s Tuesday attack on a bus of Shia pilgrims in Balochistan which killed 26 passengers.
FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
- A roadside improvised explosive device (IED) targeting anti-Taliban militia members killed five people and wounded eight others in Bajaur agency on Thursday. The targeted attack killed three anti-Taliban fighters and one child.
- The beheaded bodies of three tribesmen, abducted by militants three months ago, were found in Mohmand on Wednesday. In Bajaur agency, 25 militants surrendered to security forces and, in Upper Dir on Tuesday, police arrested a man for planning a June 5, 2009 suicide attack on a mosque in Hayagay Sharqi.
- Armed gunmen opened fire on a NATO container truck killing two men and injuring another in Khyber agency on Wednesday. The area has been the site of several attacks on NATO oil tankers and shipping containers in the past.
The Pakistan Army warned the government against prematurely withdrawing the Ranger’s special powers for their operation in Karachi. An army official said, “Progress in Karachi is reversible and [the] operation being conducted by [the] Rangers must continue.” According to the article, although the government has announced it will not extend the Ranger operation beyond the mandated period, army officials do not believe that the Karachi police are equipped to bring order to the city.
- Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani instructed Ejaz Chaudhry, Director General of the Rangers, to work to protect Karachi’s business community. Kayani issued the order following the conclusion of a 30-member delegation of the business community hosted at the Corps Commanders Headquarters in Karachi. At the meeting, the businessmen requested the permanent deployment of Rangers to Karachi in order to preserve the city’s industrial core.
- French authorities arrested two men for their possible involvement in a corruption case tied to illegal arm sales and a deadly bombing in Karachi in 2002. The two men, closely linked to France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, allegedly received kickbacks for the sale of submarines to Pakistan. The case seeks to determine if a 2002 Karachi bombing, which killed 11 French workers, was a response to the suspension of French commissions to Pakistan for arms deals.
- Armed gunmen opened fire on a hotel in Mastung, killing four people and injuring another on Wednesday.
- According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), 65 percent of the votes cast in Balochistan for the 2008 general election were “bogus.” The ECP and NADRA discovered the discrepancies while compiling new voter lists based on computerized national identity cards. The voter fraud was not limited to Balochistan, however, as 37 million out of Pakistan’s 81.2 million registered voters cannot be verified.