Pakistan Security Brief

Taliban threatens DG Khan nuclear site; safe passage for Taliban negotiators under way; two TTP kidnappers apprehended; militants blow up two schools in FATA; house explosion kills suspected terrorists; Federal cabinet approves Anti-Terrorism bill; militants protect polio vaccination teams in Khyber agency; President of FATA Qaibali Ittehad asks gov't to cease Fata military ops; FATA students protest drones, deteriorating security; Pakistan strikes barter trade deal with Iran; UN group to examine Pakistan’s enforced disappearance problems.

Nuclear Threat

  • After learning of “serious” security threats from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan Army and Punjab police have intensified security at one of the country’s biggest nuclear power facilities in Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan). Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operatives intercepted a TTP phone call finalizing plans for an attack on the facility. According to the intercept, suicide bombers are to arrive in three to four vehicles at any time and detonate themselves at the nuclear site. According to military officials, threats learned of via intercepted phone calls often materialize in the following 72 hours. DG Khan District Police Officer Chaudhry Saleem confirmed that police have added six new posts around the site and deployed heavy forces to protect it.[1]

Taliban Negotiations

  • In April of this year, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and America created a group called the Safe Passage Working Group. On Wednesday, officials from each government met in Islamabad for their first set of discussions according to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in a written statement. These discussions are primarily focused on choosing which Taliban leaders should be offered safe passage and visa aid to Qatar in order to enter into negotiations with the Afghan government for a peace deal. [2]


  • An accidental explosion in a house in Ali Khel sub-district of Bhakkar, Punjab province on Thursday killed three suspected terrorists. The casualties have not yet been identified, but police believe the explosive materials were meant for use in a suicide attack on the nearby DG Khan nuclear facility.[3]

  • Security agencies arrested two men associated with the TTP’s kidnapping-for-ransom wing in Islamabad on Wednesday. Preliminary investigations revealed that Muhammad Asif and Mohsin Khan had been active in Islamabad for over two years. According to police, kidnapping for ransom has been a significant source of revenue for the TTP, who often target wealthy businessmen from Rawalpindi and Islamabad.[4]

  • Militants recently blew up two schools, one in the Ghudai area of Jamrud, Khyber agency and the other in Safi sub-district, Mohmand agency. The school in Jamrud was still under construction; three rooms were destroyed and part of the boundary wall as well in the Tuesday night blast. The attack on the school in Safi occurred early Wednesday morning.[5]

Pakistani Counter-terror Efforts

  • On Wednesday, Pakistan’s federal cabinet approved the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2012, which addresses the shortcomings of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The bill primarily strengthens the government’s power to freeze and seize the assets of individuals involved in terrorism financing. The bill also provides more effective measures to prosecute those suspected of terrorism financing.[6]

NGO Expulsion

  • A spokesman for Save the Children announced on Thursday that the Pakistani Ministry of Interior had ordered its foreign staff to leave the country. Save the Children has come under severe scrutiny from the Pakistani government after media reports surfaced that the organization was involved in arranging meetings between U.S. intelligence officials and Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who allegedly helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden. Afridi was convicted for treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison this year. Save the Children’s director for program planning and communications, Ghulam Qadri, denies the charges stating that “there is no truth to [the] allegations” that Afridi “worked with Save the Children and that Afridi was introduced to CIA by our staff.” The Ministry of Interior has not given a reason for the dismissal of the aid group’s foreign staff. [7]

Activism in FATA

  • President of the FATA Qabaili Ittahad (Federally Administered Tribal Areas Tribal Union) Iqbal Afridi has requested the Pakistani government to cease military operations in the area and allow displaced tribesmen and their families to return home. He criticized the “atrocities” the people of FATA are subjected to by drones and other military action, saying that bodies are lying in streets, people have fled from their homes, and the government is doing nothing to help them. He said police in the FATA have made residents’ lives miserable while the region also suffers from the national government’s excesses.[8]

  • The FATA Students Federation marched from Peshawar’s Saddar Bazaar to the Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday to protest drone strikes and military actions in the tribal region. They criticized the deteriorating security situation in the region in addition to criticizing the government for not honoring a resolution to end drone attacks and provide other support to the FATA.[9]

Iran-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan and Iran have signed an agreement formalizing a barter trade agreement exchanging Pakistani wheat for Iranian fertilizer struck last month during Pakistan’s visit in Iran for the NAM summit. "We have signed an accord with Iran for export of one million tons of wheat" at $300 per ton according to a senior official of the Ministry of Food Security and Research in Pakistan. The agreement is still pending a thorough examination of the wheat by an Iranian group soon headed for Pakistan. [10]

Forced Disappearances

  • On Wednesday, the UN working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances decided that it would visit Pakistan in September. According to a press release by the Working Group, “UN experts will gather information on cases of enforced disappearances [in Pakistan] pending before the Working Group. They will also study the measures adopted by the [Pakistani [s]tate to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances, including issues related to truth, justice and reparation for the victims of enforced disappearances.” [11]

Sectarian Struggles

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) pressed Pakistan to “urgently protect” its minority Shiite population on Thursday. Approximately 320 Shiites have been killed across Pakistan this year, including over 100 in Balochistan. Brad Adams, the Asia Rights Watch director at HRW, said that “The government’s persistent failure to apprehend attackers or prosecute the extremist groups organizing the attacks suggests that it is indifferent to this carnage…Pakistan’s government cannot play the role of unconcerned bystander as the Shias across Pakistan are slaughtered.”[12]

Polio Vaccination Campaign

  • Although the Pakistani Taliban has forbidden polio immunization campaigns after it was revealed that the CIA used a hepatitis vaccine campaign to gather details on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts, militant group Ansarul Islam has safeguarded health teams working to vaccinate children against polio in Khyber agency. Pakistan is one of only three countries worldwide where polio remains endemic. Health officials are working with senior clerics in hopes that they can persuade reluctant families that there is nothing un-Islamic about the vaccines. Shoaib remarked on the campaign's success, saying that 95% of the area's children had been vaccinated in a three-day campaign, and that Ansar ul-Islam is trying to "woo" the four families that refused vaccinations.[13]


[1] Abdul Maran, “Taliban Threat: Nuclear site n DG Khan cordoned off,” Express Tribune, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[2] Sebastion Abbot, “Safe passage for Taliban discussed in Pakistan,” AP, September 5, 2012. Available at:
[3] “3 killed as explosives go off in Bhakkar,” Express Tribune, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[4] “Two men linked with Taliban’s kidnapping-for-ransom wing arrested,” Express Tribune, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[5] “Targeting education: Two schools destroyed by suspected militants,” Express Tribune, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[6] Shoaib, Raja. “Accounts of terror financiers to be frozen, property forfeited,” The News, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[7] “Pakistan orders foreign staff of international aid group Save the Children out of country,” AP, September 6, 2012. Available at:; “Pakistan expels Save the Children’s foreign staff,” Reuters, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[8] “Govt asked to halt operations in Fata,” The News International, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[9] “Fata students stage rally against drone attacks, military operation,” The News International, September 6, 2012. Available at:,-military-operation.
[10] “US pressure ignored, Pakistan and Iran strike barter trade deal,” Express Tribune, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[11] “Enforced Disappearances: UN experts on official mission to Pakistan,” United Nations Human Rights, September 5, 2012. Available at:
[12] “Human Rights Watch pushes Pakistan to ‘urgently’ protect Shias,” Express Tribune, September 6, 2012. Available at:
[13] "Islamist militants help polio vaccination drive in Pakistan," The Telegraph, September 6, 2012. Available at:
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