Pakistan Security Brief
Progress in talks with PTI and PAT; PAT and PTI shift sit-in camps; Interior minister and senior opposition leader in war of words amid political turmoil; Geo News headquarters attacked by PAT and PTI workers; Army chief visits troops in North Waziristan on Defense Day; Punjabi Taliban declares operational shift to Afghanistan; Militants kill senior intelligence officer in Sargodha, Punjab; Helicopter gunship strike kills 10 militants in North Waziristan; Iran arrests Pakistani and Afghan nationals attempting to join IS; Three TTP militants killed in Karachi; Three militants from Afghanistan killed; Anti-Taliban militias kill two and injure five in Khyber Agency; Two killed in explosions in Bajaur Agency; IED injures up to three in Darsamand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Militants blow up gas pipeline in Dera Bugti, Balochistan; India, Pakistan offer each other flood relief; Afghan governor accuses Pakistan Army of firing rockets into Kunar; ISI allegedly involved in sending explosives-laden truck to Kabul; Hackers continue to target government websites.
- On September 8, the Pakistani government concluded another round of talks with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders in an attempt to end the ongoing political impasse in Islamabad. According to PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, both sides made progress but continued to disagree on two core issues. Separately, Minster for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that talks between the government and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) were positive and that the two parties would meet again the next day. 
- On September 6, both the PAT and PTI shifted their protest camps from outside the Cabinet Division building to their former position in front of Parliament in Islamabad’s government quarter, claiming lack of space and access issues. Political analysts say decision was likely driven by the Supreme Court’s orders to the protestors to vacate the previous venue.
- In an address to PAT supporters on September 7, PAT head Dr.Tahirul Qadri declared that he would continue the ongoing protest at the cost of human lives. He reiterated that the current Parliament was illegal, fake and needed to be replaced with genuine democracy.
- On September 5, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a three-hour meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan over Khan’s allegations of corruption against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan which led to a souring of relations between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PPP amidst the prevailing standoff. In response to allegations aimed by Ahsan at Khan and his late brother, Lt. Gen (retd) Chaudhry Iftikhar, Khan declared in a press conference on September 6 that he would leave politics if Ahsan’s counter-allegations against him were proven correct.
- In an address to PML-N workers in Lahore on September 7, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif had “unflinching faith in the continuity of democracy and supremacy of the Constitution.” He also thanked the army chief for relief operations being carried out by the army in flood-hit areas. According to a Reuters report, in a meeting of top generals at the end of August, at least five out of eleven Corps Commanders pushed for an army intervention in diffusing the current political crisis. The sentiment was suppressed by Gen. Raheel Sharif, reaffirming the army’s commitment to democracy and resolution of the crisis through political means.
- On September 7, PTI and PAT workers attacked Geo News’ Islamabad headquarters, pelting it with stones and smashing its windows. Law enforcing agencies reportedly failed to provide protection to journalists and the building.
- According to a release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif visited troops in Mir Ali, North Waziristan Agency to celebrate Defense Day on September 6. He expressed his satisfaction over the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan and reiterated that elimination of terrorism was a national undertaking.
- According to press reports, the ongoing political crisis in Islamabad has reinforced investors’ fears about the precarious situation of the Pakistani economy. According to industry officials, the delay in taking decisions, paperwork and requisite approvals and political instability have hindered the materialization of important projects such as the privatization of power distribution companies which are critical to economic stability of Pakistan.
- On September 8, Pakistani army gunship helicopters conducted an airstrike on a compound killing 10 suspected militants in North Waziristan.
- Iran’s interior minister said on September 8 that the Iranian government had arrested an unidentified number of Afghan and Pakistani nationals in border areas of Iran who were intending to travel to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State (IS).
- As reported by Dawn on September 5, Punjabi Taliban chief Ismatullah Muawiya announced that his group would cease insurgent activity within Pakistan and focus on conducting militant operations in Afghanistan instead. Muawiya stated that his decision was due to the “deteriorating situation in the region and [the] internal situation of Pakistani jihadist movement[s].”
- On September 7, militants killed three people, including a senior military intelligence officer, Brigadier Fazal Zahoor, and injured nine others at the Darbar Astana Fazal shrine in Sargodha, Punjab. According to The News, people at the scene believed that Zahoor was the target of the attack. A police official stated that Zahoor had received threats from the sectarian militant organization, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.
- On September 7, police killed three Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants in a raid in Metroville, Karachi. The militants were reportedly involved in the killing of a senior police official.
- On September 6, in celebration of Defense Day, army chief Raheel Sharif visited troops stationed in Mir Ali, North Waziristan and a displaced persons camp in Bakka Khel, Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Gen. Sharif stated that all of Pakistan and particularly the people of North Waziristan support the army’s offensive in that region. Sharif also stated that displaced people from North Waziristan would be allowed to return soon.
- On September 7, security forces killed three militants and destroyed a vehicle full of explosives that was coming from Afghanistan in the Ahmedwal area of Noshki, Balochistan.
- On September 7, anti-Taliban militias killed two militants and injured five in Akkakhel, Bara sub-district of the Khyber Agency.
- On September 6, two people were injured in separate explosions in Nawagai sub district of Bajaur Agency. One person was injured by a roadside explosive device that detonated in Hilalkhel Charmang village while the other was injured by an explosion outside his house in Bar Chamarkand.
- On September 6, a remote-controlled improvised explosive device (IED )detonated, injuring two to three security forces personnel near Darsamand, Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- On September 8, militants blew up a gas pipeline in Dera Bugti, Balochistan.
- In a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on September 7, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered Indian help and resources for the rain-affected residents of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In reciprocation, the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered condolences for the loss of lives in Indian-administered Kashmir and offered assistance in relief efforts. About 300 people have died so far in floods ravaging the Kashmir region across both India and Pakistan.
- Addressing the main session of the two-day NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit held on September 4 and 5 in Wales, United Kingdom, acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in London Mohammad Imran Mirza, said that the Pakistani government was committed peace among its neighbors and that Pakistan and NATO shared common objectives in promoting global peace. He also said that peace, stability and the deepening of democracy in Afghanistan were of vital interest to Pakistan.
- On September 8, Afghanistan’s Governor of Kunar province, Shujaul-Mulk Jalala, accused the Pakistani military of firing rockets into Khara, Siyan and Shropati areas in Dangam district of eastern Kunar Province. The attack reportedly killed two civilians and injured six.
- On September 6, the Afghan National Security Directorate (NDS) discovered 15,000 kilograms of Ammonium Nitrate bomb materials in a vehicle in Kabul. The NDS claimed that a Pakistani company sent the explosives with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The vehicle reportedly belonged to Pakistan’s Balochistan region.
- Hacker group “Anonymous Op Pakistan” continued to compromise Pakistani government and security forces’ websites including the website of the Interior Ministry on September 6 and 7 rendering the websites inaccessible and defaced with derogatory messages. Websites connected to the PTI were also targeted on September 7.