Pakistan Security Brief
PTI chief Imran Khan asks PTI parliamentarians to return to Parliament; PAT chief Tahirul Qadri asks supporters to vacate Parliament lawns; PTI claims government accepts all its demands except that regarding Prime Minister Sharif’s resignation; PTI submits eight-page proposal to government; PAT opposes Supreme Court intervention in political crisis; PTI leader slams PILDAT survey; Government minister refutes rigging allegations in parliament; PAT chief Qadri denies storming PTV headquarters, Parliament; Punjab Chief Minister Sharif meets army chief; Chinese Premier’s visit to Pakistan postponed; 10,000 police personnel protecting “VIPs;” TTP expels TTP Mohmand commander Omar Khalid Khorasani; A TTP Jamatul Ahrar administratively separate from TTP, says Jamatul Ahrar spokesman; al Qaeda announces creation of new branch, ‘Qaidat al Jihad in the Indian subcontinent,’ Indian states on high alert; Jamatul Ahrar aware of ISIS pamphlets; Pakistani Foreign Office denies it; Former TTP spokesman alleges only 25-30 militants killed in Operation Zarb-e-Azb ; Two militants killed in Bezot, Kohat; Militancy in Khyber Agency kills 30 in August; UN to discuss Pakistani shelling into Afghanistan; IDPs from Khyber Agency protest in Peshawar.
- On September 4, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted an eight-page proposal to the government’s negotiating team in an attempt to end the political impasse. The proposal suggests a two-step process to address rigging allegations in the 2013 general elections. Phase I of the process suggests the investigation of complaints by a fully empowered and independent judicial commission. Phase II entails taking action in the event of affirmation of rigging claims by the judicial commission.
- On September 3, PTI Members of the National Assembly came to the Parliament and announced that they would be returning to talks with the government over their demands for electoral reforms and Prime Minister Sharif’s resignation. Imran Khan had earlier refused to recognize the legitimacy of the parliament and asked his MPs to resign.
- On September 3, adhering to the Supreme Court’s orders, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr. Tahirul Qadri asked his supporters to vacate Parliament’s lawns by the next day and pitch their tents outside Parliament’s premises instead
- In a late-night speech on September 3, PTI chairman Imran Khan claimed that the government had agreed to accept all of PTI’s demands except that regarding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and that the government’s willingness to form a judicial commission for 2013 poll probe was a big success for PTI.
- On September 3, the political jirga of opposition parties, headed by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq, held another round of negotiations between the government and the protesting PTI and PAT parties. The details of the negotiations were not disclosed. According to PTI negotiators, positive developments toward ending the political impasse are expected in the round of talks to be held on September 4. While the opposition jirga was hopeful regarding the talks, PAT chief Qadri was resolute in his demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
- On September 4, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that PTI and PAT protestors were ready to evacuate the Constitution Avenue within an hour.
- On September 4, PAT party counsel Ali Zafar submitted a written reply to the Supreme Court opposing judicial intervention in the ongoing political crisis because, he claims that the political issue does not fall within the jurisdiction of the court. The Supreme Court had earlier asked for suggestions from political parties for how to end the political deadlock.
- On September 3, PTI’s Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, criticized a survey released by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development Transparency (PILDAT) on September 2 which ranked Punjab highest among the country’s four provinces in terms of good governance. He claimed that the survey was “a futile attempt to save Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s skin.”
- On September 3, speaking to the media after a joint session of the Parliament, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal refuted PTI Chief Imran Khan’s allegations that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had printed extra ballot papers ahead of the May, 2013 elections. He also said that the distribution of ballot papers was the responsibility of the army.
- On September 4, in a speech to his workers, PAT chief Dr. Qadri declared that PAT workers had not stormed Pakistan Television’s headquarters on September 1, claiming instead that the government had staged the attack. He also denied that his workers had attacked the Parliament House, maintaining that they only sought refuge on Parliament’s lawns after being teargased by riot police.
- On September 4, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held a meeting with army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif in order to discuss the ongoing political crisis and national security matters.
- On September 4, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit to Pakistan from September 14-16 was reportedly postponed after his security team denied him clearance to visit Islamabad in the face of ongoing political unrest in the city. A number of economic and defense deals are expected to be signed between the two countries during his visit. The Chinese Minister had reportedly asked Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to convey the Chinese government’s concerns over the ongoing political crisis to the Pakistani government.
- On September 3, Karachi police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo confirmed reports that nearly 10,000 police officials have been deployed to protect senior officers, legislators, politicians and other important individuals instead of doing regular policing.
- On September 4, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid declared that the TTP leadership had removed Commander Abdulwaki, alias Omar Khalid Khorasani, as the chief of the TTP faction in Mohmand Agency and cancelled his basic membership of the TTP because of his alleged interference in affairs of the Afghan Taliban and his contact with groups Ahrar-ul-Hind and Junud-e-Khorasan. In reaction to Khorasani’s expulsion, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the TTP Jamatul Ahrar spokesperson announced the expulsion of TTP chief Mullah Fazalullah from Jamatul Ahrar.
- According to a Dawn report on September 4, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the spokesperson for TTP splinter group “Jamatul Ahrar,” clarified that Jamatul Ahrar was an administratively separate group and not under the command of the TTP. He also claimed that the group has the support of 70 to 80 per cent of TTP commanders including those from Swat.
- In a video released on September 3, al Qaeda commander Ayman al Zawahari announced the creation of a new branch of al Qaeda called the “Qaedat al Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent.” Asim Umar, a Pakistan-based top al Qaeda operative is expected to lead the group’s operations. Zawahari also said that the new group would rescue the Muslims in Myanmar, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir from injustice and oppression. On September 4, Indian security officials declared a state of high alert in several states following the video release.
- According to press reports on September 3, a local commander of TTP Jamatul Ahrar claimed that the group was aware of the recent distribution of pamphlets by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Peshawar and some surrounding areas. In a press briefing on September 4, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam denied any evidence of ISIS’s presence on Pakistani territory.
- On September 3, Ehsanullah Ehsan, a former spokesman for the TTP, claimed that the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan had killed no more than 25-30 militants but more than five dozen civilians. He also claimed that all explosives-making factories had been shifted elsewhere before the launch of the operation. The army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said earlier that day that the security forces had killed about 910 militants during Operation Zarb-e- Azb.
- On September 3, two militants were killed in a clash with an anti-militant militia in Bezot, Kohat district.
- According to press reports on September 4, residents and political activists asked the government to take concrete steps to curb militancy in Khyber Agency which has killed over 30 people in the month of August.
- On September 4, Afghan lawmaker Baktash Siawash claimed that a top United Nations (UN) diplomat had assured him of raising the issue of Pakistani rocket shelling into eastern Afghan provinces at the upcoming UN Security Council meeting to be held in September. Siawash had earlier submitted a petition with signatures from all over Afghanistan to the UN.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
- On September 3, displaced people from Khyber Agency, settled in Jalozai camp in Nowshera, continued protesting for an eighth day in front of the Peshwar Press Club, demanding equal compensation and relief items to those disbursed to IDPs from North Waziristan. The protesters threatened to protest in front of the Governor’s house if their demands are not met.