Pakistan Security Brief

Clinton slams bounty announcement; Foreign Minister says U.S.-Pakistan ties are improving; Zardari condemns church burning; Peaceful protests continue through Sunday; JUI-F Chairman says U.S. assaults Muslim faith; Volunteers clean up city streets after Friday protest damage; Four suspected militants killed in North Waziristan; Two Azakhel operations kill four TTP militants; Nowshera bomb blast injures five; Peshawar police thwart bomb plot; Afghan government bans all Pakistani newspapers; Election Commission to try Interior Minister Malik on forgery charges; blasphemy case transferred to juvenile court.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Saturday, Pakistan’s Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour announced a bounty of $100,000 to kill the filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims,” expressly inviting al-Qaeda and the Taliban to aid in “the noble deed” and saying that he would personally fund the bounty. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly condemned his announcement, calling it “inflammatory and inappropriate” on Sunday. She reiterated that the U.S. government had already labeled the video “offensive, disgusting, and reprehensible,” but that violence was not the correct way to respond and that world leaders were responsible for speaking out against violence. A spokesman from Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s office told AFP that “[the bounty] is not government policy. We completely dissociate (ourselves) from this.”[i]

  • Despite the protests going on across Pakistan, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar insisted on Friday that U.S.-Pakistan relations were improving and that the two countries were “doing better than we could have expected to do in building the trust.” Though she did not mention the protests nor call for Pakistanis to stop their demonstrations, she did thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for condemning “Innocence of Muslims” and said it would go a long way in quelling the tension in Muslim countries.  [ii]

Anti-Islam Film Protests

  • President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the burning of a Christian church in Mardan during protests on Sunday, saying that destroying public property, especially places of worship, was itself anti-Islamic and inappropriate. He urged the provincial government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to take all necessary steps to protect Christians’ and other minorities’ places of worship.[iii]

  • Continuing protests against the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims” took place across the country on Sunday. Protesters demonstrated in Rawalpindi, Okara, Pakpattan, Nankana Sahib, Toba Tek Singh, Peshawar, Haripur, Takht Bhai, Ghazi, and Bannu, calling for Pakistan to cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. and for the film’s director to be punished. They also demanded the issue be taken to the United Nations and that Pakistan boycott U.S. products.[iv]

  • Chairman of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman said on Saturday that U.S. policies were the principal cause of terrorism around the world. In a meeting in the Buttkhela area, Malakand agency, Rahman claimed that “The West has launched an assault on Muslims’ faith…I congratulate the whole nation on exhibiting solidarity over the issue of [the] blasphemous film.” He did, however, add that those who turned to rioting and destruction over the film were not part of the JUI-F’s protest as they “don’t have a clue about the sanctity and message of Islam.”[v]

  • On Monday morning, approximately 200 people took to the streets of Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi as part of the one-time “Project Cleanup for Peace” to clean up the messes left after Friday’s protests against the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims.” Volunteers picked up trash, repainted walls, and swept the streets of debris. Islamabad Police Inspector General Bani-Amin Khan said he was encouraged by this display of civil society and that volunteers had “proved that Islam doesn’t promote or provoke violence.” A student from Lahore said that “we wanted to tell the people that the manner in which the protests were held were wrong—we are equally hurt by the film but instead of violent protests we decided to clean up the streets.”[vi]

Drones and Militancy

  • Four suspected militants were killed in a U.S. drone strike on Saturday. Drones fired missiles at two vehicles in Mohammed Khel village, North Waziristan. The men’s identities have not yet been confirmed.[vii]

  • In a Sunday search operation in Azakhel, Nowshera, police killed two Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants and brothers Matiullah and Latifullah after an exchanging fire for more than an hour. The brothers were wanted for more than 40 attacks on police forces and for damaging schools and bridges. Allegedly, Matiullah and Latifullah were in Khyber-Pakthunkwha to kill the provincial Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain.[viii]

  • A different Sunday police operation in Azakhel area on the outskirts of Nowshera resulted in the death of retired TTP commander Faruque and his associate Matiur Rahman.[ix]

  • A bomb blast in Nowshera, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa injured three policemen and two prisoners on Monday. The five men were on their way to court when a remote-controlled bomb was detonated near Shakai Interchange.[x]

  • Police in Peshawar foiled a bomb plot on Monday. Unknown persons had placed 35kg of explosives on a push cart by a road in Badhaber Sheikhan and had planned to detonate it remotely. An anonymous tip alerted the police to the planned attack and they were able to defuse the explosives.[xi]

Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations

  • On Friday, the Afghan government banned all Pakistani newspapers from the country, arguing that they were “a conduit for Taliban propaganda” and ran stories harmful to Afghanistan’s national interest. President of the National Union of Journalists of Afghanistan Abdul Hameed Mubariz said that the recent cross-border shelling may be behind the ban, though he added that he did not support the Afghan government’s decision. Other journalists have said the ban will be ineffective and that instead, journalists from both countries should talk together about how to report the truth without being influenced by propaganda. The Pakistani’s Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman has confirmed that a committee will be established to address concerns over the ban.[xii]

Domestic Affairs

  • The Election Commission of Pakistan decided on Monday that it would take action against Interior Minister Rehman Malik for forgery in the continuing dual nationality case. Last week, 11 parliamentarians were dismissed for having dual nationality though Malik was the notable exception. The Supreme Court had ordered the Chairman of the Senate and the Election Commission to review his case, though it appears the Election Commission will take action without waiting for a reference from the Senate Chairman. Malik denied any knowledge of dual nationals in Parliament. Should Malik be found guilty of forgery, he may face three years in prison, a fine of Rs 5000 (approx. $53), and prohibition from running in elections for the next five years.[xiii]

  • After receiving a report this weekend that Rimsha Masih, a young girl accused of blasphemy, is 14 years old, Judge Raja Jawad Abbas on Monday transferred her case to a juvenile court. Police told the court that Masih was not guilty but had been framed by a local cleric, Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti. The case has been adjourned until October 1.[xiv]


[i] “Clinton slams Pakistani minister’s filmmaker bounty,” Geo News, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[ii] “Pakistan says US ties improving, as protests grow,” AFP, September 21, 2012. Available at:
[iii] “President condemns attack on church,” The News International, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[iv] “Protests against blasphemous movie continue in KP,” The News International, September 24, 2012. Available at:; “Blasphemous film: Muslims, Christians hold demos across country,” The News International, September 24, 2012. Available at:,-Christians.
[v] “US policies source of global terror: Fazl,” Geo News, September 22, 2012. Available at:
[vi] Waqas Naeem et. al., “‘Project Cleanup for Peace:’ Youth take charge of streets as agents of change,” Express Tribune, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[vii] Munir Ahmed, “U.S. Drone Strike Kills 4 Suspected Militants in Pakistan,” The Huffington Post, September 22, 2012. Available at:
[viii] Mushtaq Paracha, “Two ‘TTP commanders’ killed in Nowshera clash,” The News International, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “Nowshera: Taliban commander killed in police action,” Geo News, September 23, 2012. Available at:
[x] “Five injured in Nowshera blast,” Geo News, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[xi] “Peshawar: Terror bid foiled, 35kg explosives recovered,” Geo News, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[xii] Tahir Khan, “‘Taliban propaganda:’ Afghan newsmen oppose ban on Pakistani dailies,” Express Tribune, September 24, 2012. Available at:; “Body to look into ban on Pak newspapers in Afghanistan: official,” The News International, September 24, 2012. Available at:  
[xiii] Yousuf Saifuddin, “Dual nationality: EC decides to take action against Rehman Malik, register forgery case,” Express Tribune, September 24, 2012. Available at:; “No knowledge about dual nationals: Rehman Malik,” Express Tribune, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[xiv] “Pakistan ‘blasphemy’ girl case sent to juvenile court,” AFP, September 24, 2012. Available at:
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