Pakistan Security Brief
AQIS releases “press release” commenting on Karachi Naval dockyard attack; U.S. sanctions Pakistan-based individuals, entities as global terrorists; Hezb-e-Islami says no political or organizational links to groups outside Afghanistan; Two foreigners arrested in Karachi for involvement in bomb attack; U.S. sanctions Pakistan-based individuals and entities; Pakistan army chief speaks at inauguration of new counterterrorism training center; Pakistan hopes hope for improved ties with new Afghan government; Afghanistan signs BSA; Government asks IMF to drop demand for power tariff increase.
Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) spokesman Usama Mahmood, released a nine-page “press release” on his official Twitter feed on September 29 explaining the group’s September attack that aimed to target the U.S. and Indian navies. The statement claims that the Pakistani government has suppressed news regarding the extent to which the plot was successful. It also claims that the attack took place at sea on September 3 and not in the Karachi naval dockyard on September 6, as Pakistani military sources claim, and that all the militants involved were current or former naval officers.
On September 30, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned three individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists and two affiliated Pakistan-based entities. The Treasury Department specifically targeted Fazl-ur-Rehman, the leader of Harakat ul- Mujahideen (HuM). The designations also include Sheikh Muhammad Naeem and Sheikh Umiar Naeem for providing support and acting for or on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as their Pakistan-based businesses, titled Abdul Hameed Shahab-Ud-Din (AHSD) and Nia International.
According to a The News report on September 30, The Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led Hezb-e-Islami militant group declared in a statement that it had no political or organizational links to any political party outside Afghanistan including the Muslim brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami, Islamic State, al Qaeda, or the Pakistani or Afghan Taliban. It stated that the group’s resistance was confined to Afghanistan but that it morally supported jihadist activities in every nook and corner of the world.
On September 30, police arrested two foreigners in the Manghopir area of Karachi in connection with the September 25 attack on a senior police official which killed two people and injured seven more. The foreigners are reportedly affiliated with a “banned organization.”
On a visit to Kharian for the inauguration ceremony of the upcoming National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) on September 30, army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif reiterated that the Pakistan Army was fully prepared to deter and defeat all forms of aggression across the entire spectrum of threats. The NCTC will have the capacity to impart large-scale training to troops to combat terrorism in all kinds of terrain.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on September 29, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan had deteriorated for inexplicable reasons in the final months of the outgoing Karzai administration. He expressed hope that Afghanistan’s new President, Ashraf Ghani, would work with Pakistan to reverse the sharp deterioration in bilateral relations and work toward better management of their common border.
On September 30, Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) at the Presidential palace in Kabul. New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that the agreement was signed for the stability, goodwill, and prosperity of the Afghan people as well as the stability of the region and the world. Under the BSA, 12,000 foreign military personnel are set to stay after 2014 to train and assist Afghan security forces to combat security threats.
According to a report in The News on September 30, the Finance Ministry of Pakistan has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to abandon its demand that the government raise power tariffs by seven percent because of the political difficulties currently being faced by the government. Official sources claim the ministry would make alternative adjustments to ensure the budget deficit does not surpass agreed upon levels.