Pakistan Security Brief

New report says drone attacks kill many more civilians than reported; Five militants killed in Miram Shah drone strike; Two relatives of Kamra Air Base attacker arrested; U.S.-Pakistan relations headed in right direction; Railways Minister stands by bounty offer; Film protests continue across Pakistan; U.K. parliamentarians seek travel ban on Railways Minister; No UN groups studying “sensitive issues” to be welcomed in Pakistan in future; Pakistani Ambassador says Zardari will focus on foreign policy issues in UN address; Swiss letter draft presented in court today; Zardari’s contempt of court hearing to be held Thursday; Transgenders to have equal rights; Supreme Court a “beacon of hope;” Hindu migration out of Pakistan; India purchases 22 combat helicopters.

Drones and Militancy

  • In a new report released Monday entitled “Living Under Drones,” human rights researchers at Stanford University and New York University conclude that many more civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) than U.S. officials have mentioned. The report also criticizes the drone program, saying it has not made U.S. citizens any safer and instead has negatively impacted public opinion of U.S. policies in the region. Researchers interviewed 130 people, 69 of whom were survivors or had had family members killed by drones in the FATA. While the report does not make estimates about the true number of civilians killed, it cites research from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that suggests 474-884 civilians have died in drone strikes since 2004.[i]

  • Two security officials in Pakistan confirmed that a drone strike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan killed at least five militants, allegedly including senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Kasha al-Iraqi and another al-Qaeda operative on Monday. Two missiles were fired from the drone at the compound, “located in Khaderkhel village, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Miram Shah, which is the headquarters of North Waziristan [agency],” said a security official in Miram Shah.[ii]

  • Today security forces arrested two men in Rawalpindi and Taxila related to slain terrorist Faisal Shehzad, killed in the August militant attack on Kamra Air Base. Police discovered that Shehzad had made a bank transaction worth Rs 90 million (approx. $952,000) through Allah Ditta and Babar Malik, the two men arrested. They had initially denied knowledge of Shehzad’s activities and refused to take his body after he was killed, though later it was revealed that they were his uncles.[iii]

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • According to a senior State Department official, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session showed that the two countries were headed in a positive direction. Clinton greeted Zardari  and told him that, “we very much appreciate the strong response of your government,” in regards to the anti-Islam film protests. The bounty for the death of the “innocence of Muslims” video was denounced by Pakistani leaders in the talks.[iv]

Anti-Islam film protests

  • Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour stood by his bounty offer on Tuesday, saying it was the “only way” to end insults against Islam. While political parties have distanced themselves from his announcement, he claims that he has popular support in addition to another $400,000 offered by a Lahore businessman to anyone who kills “Innocence of Muslims” filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. He added that “killing is not a good way, but right now it is the only way, because no action has been taken from Western countries [against Nakoula].”[v]

  • Vice-chancellor Professor Dr Rasool Jan led the faculty and students of Malakand University in a protest rally at Chakdara on “Monday against the anti-Islam film made in the U.S.” The protestors demanded a law to help avoid this situation in the future. Other protests took place in Mingora, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Nowshera, Sukkur, and Ghallanai on Monday, several of which were led by students’ associations. [vi]

U.K.-Pakistan Relations

  • On Tuesday, several conservative British parliamentarians called for a travel ban on Pakistan’s Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour after he announced a $100,000 bounty for the death of the filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims.” Bilour has several properties in London, where he and his brothers spend considerable amounts of time, according to The Daily Telegraph. The parliamentarians believe Bilour should be banned from entering the U.K. as his presence would not be “conducive to the public good.”[vii]

Pakistan and the UN

  • The Parliamentary Committee on National Security declared on Monday that no United Nations groups wanting to discuss “sensitive issues” would be allowed in the country in the future. Senator Raza Rabbani, chair of the Committee, said he was pleased that the military refused to meet with the group, saying that meetings with civilian officials should have been enough for the working group and that there were “no disparities between the political and military leaderships.”[viii]

  • Ambassador Masood Khan said President Zardari will focus on Pakistan’s foreign policy goals and will address the blasphemous video made in the United States in an address to the UN on Tuesday evening, according to a report by Dawn. Khan implied that Zardari would suggest a legislative framework to ensure that a situation like the one which arose from the anti-Islam video never happens again. Zardari will also allegedly discuss Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror, and their effort to ensure democracy.[ix]

Domestic Affairs

  • The initial draft of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s Swiss letter was presented to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday by Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek on behalf of the Prime Minister. After reviewing the draft letter, the court objected that the letter did not reference documents from the earlier Swiss cases, including former Attorney General  Malik Qayyum’s letter concerning the annulment of previous graft cases against the President . Naek told the court that, following their instructions, a “complete reference to Qayyum’s letter could be included in the draft.” The letter does mention presidential immunity from legal action, and a Swiss lawyer has said that this may prevent the re-opening of the case. [x]

  • On Monday, the Lahore High Court announced that the contempt of court petition against President Zardari would be held on September 27th. The petitioners believe that Zardari, by continuing his political activities as President, was committing a crime, and that doing so despite court orders not to was “in contempt of the court orders dated May 12, 2011 as defined in Article 204 of the Constitution.”[xi]

  • The Supreme Court declared on Tuesday that transgenders in Pakistan had equal rights under the Constitution as any other citizens. These rights included equal inheritance and job opportunities. The Court ordered that their decision be transmitted to chief secretaries in Pakistan who would attend to the transgender community’s needs.[xii]

  • As Pakistan’s government falters in effectively responding to grievances throughout the country, people are turning to the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as a “beacon of hope” in the dysfunctional system. Chaudhry has been praised for delivering justice to wrongdoers, but rather than halt the flow of pleas for action, the Court receives more and more every day as people lose faith in lower courts’ willingness and ability to punish guilty parties. Only five to ten percent of cases in lower courts result in a conviction. In this year alone, the Supreme Court received over 140,000 petitions when seven years ago, it received only 450 in a year. It currently has 20,000 cases pending and there is a national backlog of 1.4 million cases, and while the Court is helping to close the gap, there is only so much it can do amidst constantly growing expectations and registered petitions.[xiii]

  • Prominent Hindu leaders including Hare Rama Foundation director Ramesh Jaipal on Monday informed Express Tribune of an anticipated exodus of Hindus out of Pakistan. Due to concerns over their personal security, almost 1,000 Hindus plan to cross the India-Pakistan border to escape persecution. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ahok Gehlot is allegedly supportive of welcoming any Pakistani Hindu asylum-seekers in India.  Pakistan’s National Assembly’s standing committee on human rights chairman Riaz Fatiana declared, however, that “we will ensure the safety of all minorities. We will not let them migrate. Hindus are [a part] of our homeland.” He has called an October 8 meeting to discuss the issue.[xiv]

Indian Defense Acquisitions

  • On Monday, India’s air force agreed to a $1.4 billion deal with Boeing to purchase 22 Apache AH-64D multirole combat helicopters through direct commercial sales (DCS) and foreign military sales (FMS). The DCS components include aircraft parts other than engines and sensors, logistical support, spares, and service. The FMS consist of engines, electro-optical sensors, and an optional fire control radar. Parties involved in the deal anticipate finalization no later than March 31, 2013.[xv]


[i] David Zucchino, “Drone strikes in Pakistan have killed many civilians, study says,” The Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2012. Available at:,0,5793737.story.
[ii] “US drone kills five militants in North Waziristan: officials,” AFP, September 25, 2012. Available at; Farrukh Azeem, “US drone strike kills senior al-Qaida figure, 5 others in Pakistan,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[iii] “Kamra attack: Two relatives of slain terrorist arrested,” Express Tribune, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[iv] “Pakistan-US gingerly seek to repair ties,” AFP, September 25, 2012. Available at
[v] “Pakistani minister stands by anti-Islam film-maker bounty,” AFP, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[vi] “Protest against sacrilegious film,” Dawn, September 25, 2012. Available at; “No lull in protests against satanic movie,” The News International, September 25, 2012. Available at:; “JUI-F protests against sacrilegious movie in Sukkur,” The News International, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[vii] “British Lawmakers seek travel ban on Bilour,” Geo News, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[viii] Sumera Khan, “Pakistan not to welcome any UN group in future,” Express Tribune, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[ix] “Zardari to focus on regional, global peace efforts at UN address,” APP, September 25, 2012. Available at
[x] “Naek presents Swiss letter draft in SC,” Dawn, September 25, 2012. Available at
[xi] Rana Tanveer, “Dual offices: LHC to hear contempt petition against Zardari on September 27,” Express Tribune, September 24, 2012. Available at
[xii] “Transgenders have equal rights in Pakistan: Supreme Court,” Express Tribune, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[xiii] Katharine Houreld, “Pakistan’s top court struggles to deliver justice,” Reuters, September 24, 2012. Available at:
[xiv] Zahid Gishkori, “Minority rights: In shadow of insecurity, Hindus plan exodus,” Express Tribune, September 25, 2012. Available at:
[xv] Jen DiMascio, “Indian Air Force to Buy 22 Apache Helos,” Aviation Week, September 24, 2012. Available at:
View Citations


Arrow down red
Oct '12
Sep '12
Aug '12