Pakistan Security Brief
Opposition ‘jirga’ hopeful of favorable resolution of political deadlock; Parliamentarians express support for Prime Minister Sharif; MQM chief Altaf Hussain asks MQM legislators to resign; Chief Justice rejects allegations of support to PTI; U.S. encourages peaceful dialogue; PAT and PTI workers occupy police checkpoints; Over 910 suspected militants killed and five towns cleared in North Waziristan; ISIS distributes pamphlets in Peshawar and Afghanistan; Blast injures three policemen in Karachi; Indian soldiers kill three suspected militants in Kashmir; U.K. issues travel advisory for Pakistan; IMF officials nervous about financial trouble for Pakistan; Hackers deface army, police, government, and media sites.
- On September 3, a political jirga composed of opposition party leaders from the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Balochistan National Party (BNP)-Awami met with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders in an attempt to resolve the current political deadlock. JI’s Sirajul Haq, who headed the negotiations, said in a joint media briefing that the meeting was productive and that a concrete solution was expected soon. The PTI was scheduled to meet the government delegation later that day to continue talks.
- In an emergency joint session of the Parliament on September 2 in Islamabad, leaders from across the political spectrum expressed their support for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and promised to defend the democratic system in the face of ongoing political protests. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also accused the demonstrators of committing “treason against the state.”
- On September 3, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain directed all MQM party legislators to submit their resignations to the party’s deputy convener Dr. Nusrat Shaukat in protest of the ongoing “drama” in Parliament. He also gave the government a one-week deadline to resolve the political crisis.
- On September 3, the Supreme Court ordered all parliamentary parties to submit their suggestions to the court for how to end the ongoing political impasse by September 4.
- On September 2, Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk rejected allegations made by former PTI President Javed Hashmi, who claimed that Mulk was a PTI supporter and would help overthrow the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government from power.
- On September 2, former PTI President Javed Hashmi revealed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri had met in London in the first week of June, 2014 to discuss and agree on the details of the protest march against the government. Imran Khan had told The News on May 30 that he would not join hands with Dr. Qadri.
- On September 2, U.S. State Department Press Secretary Jan Psaki encouraged the all sides in the ongoing political crisis to resolve their differences through “peaceful dialogue in ways that would strengthen democracy in Pakistan.”
- According to an Express Tribune newspaper report on September 3, PTI and PAT workers now occupy about 56 police checkpoints that have been vacant as a result of reduced police patrolling in the Red Zone in Islamabad. The workers are reportedly stopping and frisking all passing vehicles’ passengers and pedestrians. No action has been taken against them by the police.
- In a press release on September 3, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated that the Pakistani military has killed at least 910 suspected militants for the loss of 82 soldiers killed and 269 soldiers wounded since the offensive in North Waziristan began in June. It also reported that the military has cleared the towns of Miram Shah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel, Boya, and Degan. It also claims to have cleared an 88 kilometer-long stretch of road connecting Khajori, Mir Ali, Miram Shah, and Datta Khel and a road between Ghariam and Jhallar in North Waziristan. Twenty-seven Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factories and a rocket and an ammunition factory belonging to militants were destroyed as well. According to press reports about 800,000 people have been displaced from North Waziristan since June.
- According to a report in the Express Tribune on September 3, pamphlets were distributed and graffiti messages scrawled on walls in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)in Peshawar and border provinces in Afghanistan. According to press reports, ISIS distributed pamphlets titled “Fatah” in Pashto and Dari languages making an appeal to the local population to support its struggle for an Islamic Caliphate.
- On September 3, IED attack by unknown assailants along the Shahrah-e-Faisal in Karachi injured 3 policemen.
- On September 3, Indian soldiers killed 3 suspected militants in Hanjan, Kashmir.
- On September 2, the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released a travel advisory advising British citizens to avoid traveling to Pakistan and, particularly Islamabad, until further notice. The FCO has already issued travel advisories for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs), Peshawar, districts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, northern and western Balochistan, and Karakoram Highway.
- According to a report in the Express Tribune on September 2, a key Pakistani economic advisor suggested that International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials are nervous about Pakistan facing financial trouble if protests continue unabated for another week or more. However, the advisor does not think the IMF will suspend the current fund bailout program of $6.6 billion.
- On September 3, hackers called “Anonymous Op Pakistan hacked and defaced webpages of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Television. They also leaked personal information regarding employees from the Faisalabad Police Department’s website including personnel usernames, passwords, and email addresses from the army’s and other government websites. The cyber-attacks are allegedly in retaliation to the Pakistani Army’s ongoing offensive in North Waziristan.