Pakistan Security Brief
Interior Minister accuses PPP leader of being land mafia facilitator, PPP member responds angrily, Prime Minister Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Sharif apologize to PPP for remarks; PTI, government agree on broad electoral reforms; PTI, PAT continue protests despite heavy rains; U.S. supports Prime Minister Sharif as leader of Pakistan; PTI leadership committee expresses confidence in Imran khan; TTP Punjab says it will operate exclusively in Afghanistan; TTP splinter group Jamatul Ahrar welcomes new al Qaeda branch, admits to merger with Ahrarul Hind; Police arrest militant in raid in Swat; IED blast injures three in Peshawar.
- In a joint session of Parliament on September 4, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused senior opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Aitzaz Ahsan of treating politics as business and being a facilitator of a land mafia in Pakistan. In response, Ahsan vociferously criticized PML-N leaders for not having the resolve and temperament needed to hold power and urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to reshuffle his cabinet after the ongoing political crisis ends. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reportedly called Ahsan and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, to apologize for Khan’s remarks.
- On September 4, Dr. Arif Alvi, a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) negotiating team, said that the government and PTI had agreed broadly on a proposal for electoral reforms and the establishment of a judicial commission, but that there was no progress on other demands. The PTI had submitted an eight-page proposal to the government earlier that day in an attempt to resolve the political impasse.
- On September 5, Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt submitted a report to the Supreme Court which stated that the ongoing protests had cost the national exchequer Rs.547 billion ($5.35 billion). The report was submitted during the hearing of petitions against sit-ins by PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Constitution Avenue.
- In a U.S. State Department briefing on September 4, spokesperson Marie Harf reiterated that the U.S. supports Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as the elected leader of Pakistan. She also added that the U.S. was monitoring the situation carefully and that the U.S. ambassador was in contact with Pakistani officials.
- Despite heavy storms in Islamabad, PAT and PTI protestors continued their sit-in at Constitution Avenue through September 5, seeking refuge in containers, ambulances, trucks and buses parked at the venue. Dr. Hasnat, Assistant Director of Health at the Red Crescent Society, added that there is a strong likelihood of an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection among the protestors because of the rain and poor hygienic conditions.
- On September 4, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi declared that Javed Hashmi was still the PTI party’s president as the procedure required for ejecting him had not yet run its course. Javed Hashmi had earlier publicly rebuked Imran Khan over the party’s decision to march to on the Prime Minister’s House from Parliament.
- On September 4, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the Express Tribune that the parliamentary committee of PTI had accepted and expressed confidence over the decisions and leadership of Imran Khan in a recent committee meeting. All members, except four Members of National Assembly (MNAs), including Javed Hashmi, attended the meeting.
- On September 5, Asmatullah Muawiya, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Punjab faction, sometimes referred to as the Punjabi Taliban, announced that the faction would abandon its operations in Pakistan and operate exclusively in Afghanistan under Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. He also added that the group’s Pakistani activities would be confined to preaching Islam.
- On September 5, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the spokesperson for TTP Jamatul Ahrar, a recent splinter group of the TTP, welcomed head of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri’s announcement for the creation of a new branch of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.
- On September 4, Ehsanullah Eshan, spokesperson for TTP Jamatul Ahrar, admitted that the group had merged with Ahrarul Hind, a militant group that had previously splintered from the TTP and that was headed by the current head of TTP Jamatul Ahrar, Qasim Khurasani.
- On September 4, officials with the Matta Police Station arrested a militant during a raid in the Matta sub-district of Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- On September 4, unidentified militants detonated an IED injuring three people in Rahimabad Colony, Peshawar.
- According to a September 4 report by The Frontier Post, the Vice Chancellor of Islamia College University Peshawar who was recently recovered from TTP captivity stated that the TTP also had plans to kidnap former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain.
- As reported on September 5 by The News, China’s Department of Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs and the Sichuan Province Development and Reforms Commission stated that the JF-17 Thunder multi-role aircraft is being manufactured jointly by Pakistan and China. Currently, bilateral trade volume between the Chinese province of Sichuan and Pakistan is $290 million; however, Sichuan’s projects in Pakistan are currently worth $2 billion.