SOUTH ASIA: PAKISTAN News Briefs
Speculation is rife that Shahzad’s killing was the handiwork of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), and a credible narrative buttressing such a position has been established. Shahzad was abducted on May 29, after he exposed links between al Qaeda, a group of Naval personnel and the ISI in the attack at the Pakistan Naval Station (PNS) Mehran within Faisal Naval Airbase in Karachi. The terrorist strike on May 22 killed 10 Security Force (SF) personnel. Shahzad had also published a report in October 2010 about the arrest and subsequent release of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Baradar. According to that report, Pakistani authorities, with the help of United States (US), had arrested Baradar in Karachi in February 2010, and then released him on October 16, 2010. Shahzad was later called and questioned by the ISI.
Hameed Haroon, President of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society has written, on June 4, 2011,
Notably, soon after Baradar’s release, Shahzad sent an e-mail to the editor of Asia Times Online, Tony Allison, and to Human Rights Watch (HRW) Researcher, Ali Dayan, expressing fears that he would be eliminated by the intelligence agency.
Shahzad’s recently published book, Inside al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, further exposed ISI-al Qaeda involvement in the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terrorist attacks (26/11). The book argued that the attack was scripted by ISI officers and approved for execution by al Qaeda ‘commanders’. Shahzad described the Mumbai plans as having been pushed through by Illyas Kashmiri, a key al Qaeda ally with wide links with the Pakistan defense establishment. [Kashmiri, one of the al Qaeda leaders tipped to succeed bin Laden, was killed in a US drone strike on June 3 at Wana Bazar in South Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)]. Shahzad clearly ‘knew too much’.
Confirming the ISI’s role in Shahzad’s abduction, torture and murder, HRW cited a “reliable interlocutor” who claimed that Shahzad had been abducted by the ISI on May 29. Reports indicate that Shahzad’s family had contacted ISI officials after his ‘disappearance’, and had been assured that he would be released ‘shortly’. Instead, his body, with marks of torture, was recovered from a canal on June 1. Shahzad’s killing, Ali Dayan of HRW notes, “bears the hallmarks of previous killings perpetrated by the Pakistan Intelligence Agencies,” adding, “It is quite clear by his own account and from his reports that they [ISI] were deeply unhappy with his reporting.”
Unsurprisingly, accusing media of acting irresponsibly an unnamed ISI official stated that “some sections of the media have taken upon themselves to use the incident for targeting and maligning the ISI.” The ISI defence was backed by a statement from Interior Minister Rehman Malik that, “Saleem Shahzad’s murder could be a case of personal enmity”, though no evidence was provided in support of this claim, nor was any attempt made to explain the circumstances of Shahzad’s disappearance and death. Further, several journalists who reacted to Shahzad’s killing, have now disclosed that they were receiving ‘warnings’ from the Army and the ISI.
Shahzad’s disclosures regarding the arrest of a group of radicalized Naval personnel at the Mehran Naval Base find some confirmation in a WikiLeaks cable, dated March 2006, which quotes the then Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Khalid Chaudhry as stating, “You can’t imagine what a hard time we have trying to get them to trim their beards,” hinting at the penetration of extremist clerics and militants into the country’s security establishment.
Shahzad’s murder is only the most recent instance of the sustained effort to throttle a surprisingly vigorous fourth estate in Pakistan. According to the International News Safety Institute (INSI), Pakistan is among the deadliest countries for journalists, with 16 deaths reported in the year 2010. The threat to journalists arises is particularly focused on investigations against the most influential groups in the country – the Army, the ISI and its extremist protégés. At least 73 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 2000, and 439 have been arrested or abducted.
Attack on Media: 2000-2011
The most prominent killings of the recent past include:
May 10, 2011: Nasrullah Khan Afridi, the President of Tribal Union of journalists, was killed when his car was blown up in Khyber Supermarket of the Cantonment area in Peshawar. Afridi had been receiving threatening calls from militants, suspected to be the cadres of Lashkar-e-Islam (LI). He had complained that local officials failed to provide security despite repeated requests.
January 13, 2011: A journalist, identified as Wali Khan Babar, was shot dead in Liaquatabad area of Karachi after reporting on violence in the city.
September 14, 2010: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants shot dead a senior journalist, Misri Khan Orakzai, in front of the Hangu Press Club building in Hangu Bazaar, Hangu District, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
May 10, 2010: A local journalist, Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, was killed in Wahipandhi village of Sindh.
Addressing media organisation over the phone on August 2, 2010, in the North Waziristan Agency of the FATA, the then TTP spokesman Azam Tariq warned journalists that the “pro-America” media was spreading false information about the Taliban and told journalists to be ‘impartial’ in their profession. “The media should avoid creating rifts in the ranks of the Mujahedeen who are fighting a holy war,” he said. His threats extended to include the Government of Pakistan, who he accused of protecting NATO interests in the region. Tariq vowed, “The TTP would continue its resistance against such forces until the Pakistan Government parted ways with the US led NATO forces." Earlier, on January 10, 2010, the National Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry of Pakistan had disclosed that TTP had decided to attack newspaper offices and renowned journalists across the country.
The assault on freedom is not restricted to the media alone. Indeed, persistent negligence and, in at least some cases, probable complicity, on the part of state authorities has led to a situation where no intellectual or progressive voice can speak out without risk of extreme retaliation from one or the other of Pakistan’s violent constituencies. Thus, on January 4, 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was killed by his own radicalised bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Qadri for defending a Christian woman Asia Bibi, who had been accused of blasphemy against the Prophet. On December 4, 2010, an extremist Deobandi mullah, Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, a senior member of the Jama’at-e-(Ghair) Islami (a movement with an anti-secular and anti-democracy agenda), known to have direct links with a local commander of the Pakistan Army, declared, at Peshawar, “If the Government does not hang Asia Bibi, then my mosque will offer a reward of PNR 500,000 to anyone who kills her… No President, no Parliament and no Government has any right to interfere in the commandants of Islam. Islamic punishment will be implemented at all costs.” No action was taken against Qureshi for his call to murder.
On March 2, 2011, Federal Minister for Minorities’ Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti was killed by militants of Fidayeen-e-Muhammad, a TTP faction, and al Qaeda Punjab Chapter, for his opposition to the country’s blasphemy laws Bhatti’s killing was also one among many incidents of minority persecution. It is through the infamous anti-blasphemy laws that hardline clerics persecute minorities, often by baseless accusations of having offended Islam.
The religious hardliners have also silenced another emerging voice against the blasphemy laws, in this case, through the state itself. Member of the National Assembly, Sherry Rehman, who had proposed an Amendment to the Law, was forced to withdraw her Bill by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, of which she is a member, in the wake of the Taseer killing. She now lives in self-imposed isolation at her home in Karachi, after receiving death threats from the religious extremists, who have openly named her in their rallies in Karachi. After Taseer and Bhatti, she is now the top target on the terrorist hit list. The Aram Bagh mosque in Karachi hung out a Jama’at-e-Islami (JI) banner that read “Death to those who conspire against the blasphemy laws.” Clerics constantly demand an immediate withdrawal of any anti-blasphemy law initiatives, and the Sherry Rehman case indicates that the Government is inclined to appease the extremists, emboldening them even further.
According to data collected by Pakistan’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), at least 964 persons have been charged under anti-blasphemy clauses between 1986 and August 2009. Moreover, at least 30 persons accused under these provisions have been killed extra-judicially by mobs or individuals. At least 64 people, including Aasia Bibi, were charged under the blasphemy law in 2010, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) 2010 report states. Three men, including two Christian brothers, accused of blasphemy, have been killed in Police custody. The law has extraordinarily perverse clauses that make the mere testimony of two Muslims, with no corroborative evidence, sufficient grounds for conviction – and a mandatory death sentence. In several case in the past, it has been found that complaints under the law have, in fact, been preceded by personal and property disputes, and that the law has been repeatedly and cynically abused.
The killing of two prominent liberals in Pakistan’s power structure, the suppression of others, and the enveloping context of intimidation and terror – both by state and not state agencies – has repeatedly exposed an easy partnership between Islamist extremists and their defenders within the political-military establishment. The killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, was a crucial case in point. Indeed, former President Pervez Musharraf was indicted on February 12, 2011, for his involvement in the Bhutto assassination. Bhutto had repeatedly demanded enhanced protection during her election campaign, especially after the October 18, 2007, assassination attempt by suicide bombing, in which at least 139 persons were killed. Investigators have concluded that Musharraf was directly responsible for the decision to provide insufficient protection to Bhutto, despite the constant threats and earlier attempt, as well as intelligence inputs suggesting extreme risk. Musharraf, of course, has denied responsibility, and continues to blame TTP for both the attacks. Government prosecutors, however, now allege that Musharraf was a part of the plot. The lead prosecutor, Zulfiqar Ali Chaudhry, has argued, “The probe has evidence that Musharraf was completely involved through Baitullah Mehsud, the killed TTP leader (sic).” On May 30, 2011, a Pakistan Anti-Terrorism Court declared Musharraf a ‘proclaimed offender’ or fugitive for failing to cooperate with investigators probing the case.
‘Disappearances’ and ‘target killings’ of dissidents have become routine in areas of conflict across the country – and most commentators have linked an overwhelming proportion of these to the Army and its secret agencies. Among numerous incidents, Professor Saba Dashtiyari, a senior faculty member of the University of Balochistan, was shot dead by ‘unidentified assailants’ on June 1, 2011. Initial reports on the ongoing investigations suggest that Dashtiyari was a Baloch nationalist and held views directly opposed to the Islamabad establishment and was deeply critical of the Army’s role in the Province, specifically criticizing the torture and disappearance of Baloch nationalists. Dashtiyari is only the most recent in a long chain of ‘mysterious’ deaths generally attributed to the ‘agencies’. According to the HRCP 2010 report, a total of 998 persons have gone missing in Balochistan, most of them allegedly abducted by Government agencies.
Among the ‘minorities’, the Ahmadiyas, have been particularly targeted for violent discrimination by state and majority extremist formations. The Ahmadiyas constitute 0.23 percent of the population and are treated as heretics in Pakistan and denied the right to refer to themselves as Muslims, or to propagate their beliefs, since 1974. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – perhaps Pakistan’s most celebrated ‘secular’ leader – declared the Ahmadis apostates by law. According to the HRCP 2010 report, 99 Ahmadis were killed in faith-based violence during the year. Impunity for perpetrators of violence against minority communities is assured, and no significant investigations or prosecutions ever ensue after such incidents. It is significant that Pakistan has seen a continuous decline in the population of non-Muslims in the country, which now stands at under 3 per cent.
A US report on April 8, 2011, noted that Pakistan had not held anyone accountable for a 2009 incident in which men in military uniforms shot dead six young men, who were lined up and blindfolded with hands behind their backs in Swat District. “A failure to credibly investigate allegations, impose disciplinary or accountability measures and consistently prosecute those responsible for abuses contributed to a culture of impunity,” the report said.
There have also been numberless instances of the Government shutting down private television channels or blocking certain media outlets from broadcasting, arresting, beating or intimidating – directly or through extremist and criminal proxies – journalists and members of their families, leading many to practice extreme self-censorship.
While Islamist extremism has secured unprecedented penetration into the establishment in Pakistan, including the Army and its agencies, over the past years, these trends are far from new, and go back to the very hour of the creation of Pakistan. On August 11, 1947, Liaqat Ali Khan and his associates tried to black out passages of Qaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly. On this cornerstone of distortion, successive regimes – civil and military – have built an edifice of repression that is now enforced by an intimate alliance of Islamist extremists, radicalized and opportunistic political parties, and the country’s dominant power, the Army and its agencies. Over these decades, the spaces for freedom in Pakistan have progressively diminished to a point where they can now be accessed only at risk of death.
[South Asia Intelligent Review]
69 militants and three civilians among 72 persons killed during the week in FATA: Troops backed by jets and helicopter gunships killed as many as 40 militants in Baizai region under Mohmand Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan on June 30.
US reject demands to vacate Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan: The United States on June 30 rejected demands from Pakistani officials to abandon Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan, used by the CIA to conduct drone strikes in Waziristan. "That base is neither vacated nor being vacated", an unnamed US official said. Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar on June 29 said, "We have told them (the US officials) to leave the Shamsi airbase. When they (US forces) will not operate from there, no drone attacks will be carried out.". Daily Times, July 1, 2011.
Islamabad protects the insurgents, alleges Afghanistan District Governor Wali Shah: Afghan District Governor Wali Shah said on July 1 (today) that Taliban militants fighting US troops and the Kabul Government live and operate in safety from Pakistan. "The Pakistan Government protects the insurgents. When Pakistan says it will crack down on them, it is just pretending," he said, adding, "The Taliban is trained by the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] and launch attacks into Afghanistan." The News, July 1, 2011.
Another Abbottabad will provoke a war, warns JuD and JeI leaders in Lahore: Jama'at-ud-Da'awa (JuD) and Jama'at-e-Islami (JeI) leaders on June 26 urged the masses to wage war against US and India if either country violates Pakistan's territorial sovereignty like in the Abbottabad operation of May 1 that killed Osama bin Laden. Addressing separate protest rallies on June 26, JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed on Mall Road and JeI chief Syed Munawar Hasan on Multan Road said they were ready to fight the US and India for the protection of Pakistan. Tribune, June 30, 2011.
Darul Uloom Deoband asks Saudi Arabia to ban Ahmadiyyas from Mecca visit: Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on June 29 asked the Saudi Arabian Government to ban Ahmadiyyas (Qadianis) from visiting Mecca and Medina to perform Haj (pilgrimage) and Umrah (mini-Haj). Ahmadiyyas have been declared non-Muslims in countries like Pakistan and face persecution. Times of India, June 30, 2011.
Human Rights violations worsen in Balochistan, reveals HRCP report: Human rights violations in Balochistan are getting worse as militants and Security Forces target civilians, while authorities seem unwilling to rein in lawlessness, according to a report released on June 29 by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The HRCP said in its report that lawlessness in the province had proliferated at an alarming rate with a growing number of targeted killings, kidnappings, enforced disappearances and attacks on religious minorities. Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairwoman, said at least 140 mutilated bodies of people gone missing had been found in the past year. Daily Times, June 30, 2011.
Militants coerce children to carry out attacks, reveals report: Trafficking in Persons report published on June 27 revealed that militant outfits in Pakistan use children to act as spies, fight and carry out suicide bombings. "Non-state militant groups abduct children or coerce parents with fraudulent promises into giving away children as young as 12 to spy, fight, or die as suicide bombers in Pakistan and Afghanistan," the report revealed. It said that militants often sexually and physically abuse the children and use psychological coercion to convince them the acts they commit are justified. Indian Express, June 29, 2011.
Brigadier Ali Khan alleged to have links with the HuT is likely to be released, says official: Brigadier Ali Khan is likely to be released soon after spending more than a month and a half in detention for suspected links with an extremist outfit, Hizb-ul-Tahrir (HuT), officials said on June 28. The Brigadier and four unnamed Majors are in custody for questioning for their suspected ties with HuT, which calls for creating a pan-Islamic caliphate system by ousting, the pro-American Government in the country. Tribune, June 29, 2011.
Kashmiri may have aided 26/11, says Federal Minister of Interior Rehman Malik Pakistan: Federal Minister of Interior Rehman Malik Pakistan on June 28 said that slain al Qaeda 'commander' Ilyas Kashmiri ''may also have been part'' of the 26/11 but India's claim that he may have been supported by Pakistan is misplaced. Malik claimed he had confirmation that Kashmiri had been killed in a US drone attack on June 3. Indian Express, June 29, 2011.
TTP vows to attack the West: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on June 27 threatened to carry out a series of attacks against American, British and French targets to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden. "Soon you will see attacks against America and NATO countries, and our first priorities in Europe will be France and Britain," deputy TTP leader Wali-ur-Rehman said in a videotape aired on Al Arabiya. "We selected 10 targets to avenge the death of bin Laden," adding, the first revenge operation was the siege of a Pakistan naval base, PNS Mehran, in Karachi on May 23.
Meanwhile, a senior TTP warlord Fazal Saeed Haqqani on June 27 quit the outfit, saying he had broken with the militia and would form his own anti-American group Tehreek-e-Taliban Islami (TTI) along the Afghan border. Saeed Haqqani, who was the Taliban leader in Kurram Agemcy near the Afghan border said that he left to protest against what he said was the oufit's "brutal" attacks on civilians. Daily Times, June 28, 2011.
US holds back 'war on terror' money: The US on June 27 delayed the release of funds meant to fight militancy amid reports that it has threatened to cut off Pakistan's civil and military aid. Pakistan was expecting USD 500 million (PNR 43 billion) in the last tranche of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which was set up by the US Congress after the 9/11 attacks to reimburse allies for costs in supporting the US led war on militancy. A Finance Ministry official said that the US Congress is yet to clear the transaction. Tribune, June 28, 2011.
46 militants and eight civilians among 57 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least 15 militants were killed in a factional clash between the supporters of two Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 'commanders' near the Afghan border in Orakzai Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on June 25.
At least 10 militants were killed when the fighter jets of Pakistani Air Force bombarded suspected militant hideouts in Kurram Agency along the Pak-Afghan border on June 24..
At least five persons were killed and three others injured as fighting between volunteers of Zakhakhel Qaumi Lashkar (community militia) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) intensified in Tora Vela of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency on June 23.
Six militants were killed in a clash with Security Forces (SFs) in Dabori area of Orakzai Agency on the morning of June 22.
12 militants, nine of them from the Haqqani network, were killed when US drones hit a compound in Khardand area of Kurram Agency in FATA on June 20.
Dozens of terrorists attacked the homes of two tribal elders, killing six persons in Ziarat Masood village of Mohmand Agency in the night of June 19. Dawn; Daily Times; The News; Tribune, June 21-27, 2011.
Courier's seized cell phone gives clue to Osama bin Laden's Pakistan links, reveals New York Times: A cell phone found in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1, 2011 contained contacts to a militant outfit with ties to Inters Services Intelligence (ISI). The cell phone belonged to Osama's courier who was also killed in the May 1 raid.
Pakistan Army on June 24 condemned the June 23 report and said that the military "rejects the insinuations made in the New York Times story", adding, "It is part of a well-orchestrated smear campaign against our security organisations". The News; Daily Times, June 24-25, 2011.
US not to tolerate safe havens, says US President Barack Obama: While announcing his plan to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer, US President Barack Obama on June 23 issued a stern warning to Pakistan, saying he will never tolerate terrorist safe havens inside the country. "Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan," said Barack Obama in his June 23 evening policy speech, which outlined his policies for the Pak-Afghan region. Dawn, June 24, 2011.
India is bigger threat than the Taliban and the al Qaeda for most Pakistanis, says survey report: Most Pakistanis see India as a bigger threat than the Taliban and the al Qaeda and disapprove of the US military operation that killed Osama bin Laden, Pew Research Centre poll reported on June 22. When asked which is the biggest threat to their country, India, the Taliban, or al Qaeda, a majority of Pakistanis (57%) say India, the poll noted. Although Osama bin Laden has not been well-liked in recent years, a majority of Pakistanis describe his death as a bad thing. Only 14% say it is a good thing, the poll added. Times of India, June 23, 2011.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi leader of LeT military wing, reveals David Headley: Assistant US Attorney Victoria Peters said on June 22 that Headley "mapped out the hierarchy of LeT, in which Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the Mumbai 2008 attacks (also known as 26/11) was revealed to be the leader of the military wing of LeT", adding, "Headley also gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) a list of 34 targets that he believes are still on the radar for Pakistan terrorist organizations." Times of India, June 23, 2011.
Jama'at-ud-Da'awa warns India against "striking" Pakistan: Jama'at-ud-Da'awa (JuD), the frontal organisation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), on June 21 warned India against "striking" Pakistan and asked it to hand over those involved in the Samjhauta Express train bombing of February 18, 2007. The 10-point declaration was adopted at the "Defence of Islam and Pakistan's Stability" conference organised by JuD at the Jamia-al-Dirasat Islamia seminary in Karachi. Indian Express, June 22, 2011.
Religious seminaries under deeper scrutiny in Islamabad: Islamabad Police got orders June 21 to stop immediately any unauthorised construction or expansion of seminaries in the territory. The Islamabad Administration and Police jointly conducted a survey that found 305 seminaries of different schools of thought exist in the city's rural and urban areas, with 800 teachers and 29,000 students on their rolls. But only 131 of them were rated "legal" as they were registered with the Auqaf Department. Deobandi School runs 199 seminaries, Barelvis 89, Ahle Hadith 10 and Asna Ashari seven. Dawn, June 22, 2011.
Osama bin Laden involved in former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's killing, claims Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik: Osama bin Laden was involved in former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007 and the perpetrators of her murder have been identified, Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed on June 21. "The assassins and perpetrators of Benazir Bhutto's murder have been identified. If the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leadership allows, I will disclose who they were, where the plan was prepared and how they came to Rawalpindi," said Malik. Indian Express, June 22, 2011.
Clerics declare suicide bombings 'haram' in FATA: Hundreds of Islamic scholars in North Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on June 21 declared suicide bombings unlawful and asked all foreign militants hiding in the area to stop such attacks. About 300 religious scholars unanimously agreed on the move to declare suicide attacks as "haram" or forbidden by Islam and condemned all forms of terrorist activities in the Agency. Indian Express, June 22, 2011.
80 percent people suffer from mental illness in Waziristan due to terrorism, says survey report: About 80 per cent residents of South and North Waziristan Agencies have been affected mentally while 60 per cent people of Peshawar are nearing to become psychological patients if the problems related to terrorism are not addressed immediately," a survey conducted by an NGO, Horizon reported on June 20. The survey said that seven to nine per cent children became victims of phobia owing to consistent telecast of terrorism related scenes by TV channels. Dawn, June 21, 2011.
74 militants and 11 SFs among 94 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least 50 terrorists attacked a paramilitary checkpoint in Walidad area of Mohmand Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) near the Afghan border on June 19, triggering intense clash that killed four soldiers and up to 25 terrorists.
Security Forces (SFs) killed six militants after militants attacked a military checkpost in the Ladha area of South Waziristan Agency along the Afghanistan border, killing two soldiers on June 18.
SFs backed by artillery killed 12 militants during a search operation in the Mamond area of the Bajaur Agency on June 17.
Four militants were killed and five others injured when jet fighters bombed suspected hideouts near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the Baizai tehsil (revenue unit) of Mohmand Agency.
Three women were killed and two children sustained injuries when a mortar shell fired by a militant group hit their house in Tirah in Orakzai Agency.
More than 300 militants crossed the border from Kunar province of Afghanistan to Khar area of Bajaur Agency at around 4:00am on June 16, resulting in hours of clashes that left 15 persons dead.
Three US drone attacks killed 18 suspected militants in South and North Waziristan Agencies on June 15.
Three Punjab Regiment personnel were killed and four others sustained injuries when a remote-controlled bomb planted by suspected militants hit their vehicle in the Ghundai Sra area of South Waziristan Agency on June 13. Dawn; Daily Times; The News; Tribune, June 14-20, 2011.
'We will hunt and kill new al Qaeda chief', vows US Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen: The United States (US) on June 17 vowed to hunt down and kill new al Qaeda "emir" (chief) Ayman al-Zawahri like it did in the case of Osama bin Laden. "He (Zawahiri) and his organisation still threaten us. As we did both seek to capture and kill and succeed in killing bin Laden, we certainly do or will do the same thing with Zawahri," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Indian Express; Times of India, June 18, 2011.
United Nations splits al Qaeda and Taliban on sanctions list: The United Nations (UN) Security Council on June 17 split the international sanctions regime for the Taliban and al Qaeda to encourage the Taliban to join reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. The council unanimously passed two resolutions which set up one new blacklist of individuals and organizations accused of links to al Qaeda and a second for those linked to the Taliban militia. Dawn, June 18, 2011.
US fears Pakistan nuclear weapons falling into hands of terrorists: US on June 16 expressed apprehension that the nuclear weapons and technology of Pakistan might fall into the hands of terrorists and thus stressed on having the lines of communications open with Islamabad. "It's a country with an awful lot of terrorists on that border. Things that I fear in the future, it's the proliferation of that technology, and it's the opportunity and the potential that it could fall into the hands of terrorists, many of whom are alive and well and seek that in that region.," said Admiral Mike Mullen Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Times of India, June 17, 2011.
Ayman al-Zawahri takes over as al Qaeda 'chief': Ayman al-Zawahri took over the command of al Qaeda, a website Ansar al-Mujahideen affiliated with al Qaeda said on June 16. Zawahri vowed to press ahead with al Qaeda's campaign against the US and its allies. Daily Times, June 17, 2011.
HuM leader Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil lives near Islamabad, says Government Official: Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil, the head of anti-India militant outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM), lives on the outskirts of Islamabad in the suburb of Golra Sharif. It was reported that Pakistan authorities, clearly aware of Khalil's whereabouts, leave him alone, just as they tolerate other Kashmiri militant groups. Indian Express, June 16, 2011.
Large elements of ISI is pro-Taliban, says former speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich: Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and Republican Presidential aspirant for the 2012 presidential elections, said on June 15 that a large element in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have become pro-Taliban and pro-al Qaeda. Indian Express, June 16, 2011.
Pakistan arrests CIA informants who helped in Osama bin Laden raid, reveals New York Times: The ISI on June 14 arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1. The arrestees included a Pakistan Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad. The News, June 15, 2011.
'Seminaries in Islamabad illegal', says Capital Development Authority Director General Sarwar Sindu: The Federal Capital has a total of 153 madrasas (seminaries) but all of them are 'unauthorised' and have been built without approval of the Government, said Capital Development Authority (CDA) Director General Sarwar Sindu on June 14. The official said each mosque in the city had a madrasa despite the fact that there was no provision for building a seminary in any mosque. Dawn, June 15, 2011.
US House panel limits Pakistan aid: The House Appropriations Committee on June 14 approved a defence spending bill that imposes limits on US aid to Pakistan and creates a special bipartisan group to review the US role in Afghanistan. The panel gave the go-ahead to the bill on a voice vote on June 16. The legislation would provide USD 530 billion for the Defence Department and USD 119 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Daily Times, June 15, 2011.
Judge conducting trial of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks suspects transferred: The judge of the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks has been changed for the fourth time, with the current incumbent being transferred to another court in Punjab Province. Rana Nisar Ahmed, who had been hearing the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case since he was appointed judge of Rawalpindi's Anti-Terrorist Court no III in November 2010, was transferred on June 11. Ahmed had also been conducting the trial of five suspects charged with involvement in the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto. Times of India, June 14, 2011.
69 militants and 11 SFs among 80 persons killed during the week in FATA: Five militants were killed and nine others injured when jet fighters pounded their hideouts in different areas of Baizai tehsil (revenue unit) along Afghanistan border in Mohmand Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on June 11.
At least 150 militants armed with rockets attacked a security checkpost in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) on June 9, killing eight soldiers. 12 militants were also killed in retaliatory firing by Security Forces (SFs).
US missile strikes hit a militant training facility and a suspected vehicle in NWA on June 8, killing 24 militants.
Five militants and two SF personnel were killed when militants laid an ambush on the patrol party with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades in the Shaheedan Dhand area of Kurram Agency on June 8.
Five militants and one trooper, Nahid Gul, were killed when militants from Afghanistan attacked a check post in Patala area of lower Kurram Agency near the Pakistan Afghanistan border on June 7.
43 civilians among 44 persons killed during the week in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: At least 39 persons were killed in twin bomb blasts in the Khyber Super Market in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa late on June 11. Dawn; Daily Times; The News; Tribune, June 7-13, 2011.
US intelligence to Pakistan compromised, says Washington Post report: The US intelligence officials have twice handed Islamabad tips about insurgent bomb-making factories, only to find them abandoned before Pakistani troops arrived, Washington Post reported on June 11. The vacated factories have led US officials to question whether the information had been mistakenly leaked in recent weeks or whether the insurgents had been directly warned by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), according to the report. Dawn, June 11, 2011.
US reduce number of its military personnel in Pakistan: The United States (US) reduced the number of its military personnel in Pakistan following the request of Pakistani Government, a US Defence official said on June 10. A senior Pakistani military official said on June 8 that Pakistan Army had sent home 90 US military personnel. Daily Times, June 11, 2011.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's adviser terms jails as extremist breeding ground: Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, an adviser to the Prime Minister, after his visit to a jail in Haripur District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on June 8 came up with the observation that jails have become breeding grounds for extremists because outfits like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) have taken their "ideological campaign" to prisoners. Dawn, June 9, 2011.
ISI provides weapons to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, 26/11 key accuse Tahawwur Rana tells FBI: Pointing at the Inter Services Intelligence's (ISI's) direct involvement in providing arms to militants in Jammu and Kashmir, Tahawwur Rana, the Pakistani-Canadian accused in the 26/11, has told FBI that ISI gives weapons to terrorists when they are about to enter the Indian territory. He told FBI investigators that Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley had told him ISI provided weapons to "freedom fighters" in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian Express , June 8, 2011.
Islamabad rejects US call for action against Intelligence officers and LeT leaders: Pakistan on June 7 rejected calls by the United States (US) to prosecute Intelligence officers and top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commanders indicted by a Federal Court for their role in the November 2008 Mumbai attack (also known as 26/11). Earlier, in meetings conducted in May 2011 with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Pakistani officials said that action against the LeT could spark off a war within Pakistan. The Hindu, June 8, 2011.
Al Qaeda remains biggest global threat, says Interpol: Al Qaeda and outfits linked to it remain the world's biggest Security threat despite the killing of Osama bin Laden, the head of Interpol said on June 7. The Interpol claimed that airlines and other forms of public transport are most at risk, with terrorists using fraudulent passports to travel undetected. The News, June 8, 2011.
Pakistan risks losing control of nuclear arsenal to terrorists, claim reports: According to a new report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on June 7, Pakistan is in danger of "losing control of part of its nuclear arsenal" to terrorists. Times of India, June 8, 2011.
"No confirmation" of Ilyas Kashmiri's death, says US State Department spokesman Mark Toner: US State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington on June 7 that he had "no confirmation" of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami's (HuJI) death.
Pakistani intelligence agencies uncover plot to assassinate President Asif Ali Zardari: Pakistani intelligence agencies have uncovered a plot to assassinate President Asif Ali Zardari and arrested several persons. The agencies conducted raids over the past few weeks in Islamabad and Punjab and arrested up to 42 persons, the report said. Times of India, June 6, 2011.
HuJI chief Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri killed in US drone strike in FATA: Top al Qaeda leader and 'head' of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed in a US drone strike in Wana Bazaar area of South Waziristan Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) at 11:15 pm on June 3. A hand-written brief statement in Urdu-language from a 'spokesman' of the HuJI, Abu Hamzullah Kasher, distributed in Wana Bazaar on June 4 afternoon, confirmed that Kashmiri was killed. "Harkatul Jihad al-Islami's 313 Brigade confirms that in Friday's drone attack at 11:15pm our 'commander-in-chief', Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, was martyred," the spokesman, Abu Hamzullah Kasher said in the statement. On June 5, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik Malik was quoted by Reuters as saying, "What I can say is there is a 98 per cent chance he is dead. Since we do not have the body, we do not have DNA we need to confirm. This is the substantive evidence we are looking for." Daily Times; The Hindu, June 5-6, 2011.
LeT continues to plan attacks from Pakistan, says US Government Accountability Office report: Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), an "extremely capable" terror group with a sophisticated regional network continues to plan its operations from within Pakistan, a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said on June 4, warning that militant safe havens inside that country pose greatest threat to American national security. The GAO said al Qaeda and other groups such as the Haqqani network used the FATA to launch attacks in Afghanistan, plan operations worldwide, train, recruit and disseminate propaganda.
Earlier on June 3, US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said, "LeT is a potent terrorist organisation. It could be construed as a threat to the United States. It certainly is to India." Indian Express; Daily Times, June 4-6, 2011.
72 militants and 35 SFs among 136 persons killed during the week in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: At least 19 people were killed and 45 others injured when a suicide bomber attacked an Army-run bakery on the Mall Road in Nowshera Cantonment area of Nowshera District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the night of June 5. In addition, six persons were killed and another 11 injured when a bomb ripped through a passenger vehicle parked at a bus terminal near a market in Matani, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Peshawar.
The Security Forces (SFs) killed 26 Afghan Taliban militants on June 4 in the fourth day of fighting in the Upper Dir District, close to the Afghan border.
At least 27 SFs personnel were killed as Afghan Taliban attack Shaltalo security post in the Upper Dir District, close to the Afghan border, on June 2. 45 militants were also killed in the clash that followed. Three civilians were also killed during the clash.
Seven SF personnel were killed when Taliban militants from Afghanistan's Kunar province attacked and overran Shaltalo security checkpost jointly manned by Frontier Corps and Dir Levies in Berawal area of Upper Dir District, close to the Afghan border, on June 1. Dawn; Daily Times; The News; Tribune, May 31-June 6, 2011.
30 militants among 31 persons killed during the week in FATA: A US drone missile strike targeting a compound on June 3 killed nine militants, including top al Qaeda leader and chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), Ilyas Kashmiri, in Ghwakhwa area, 10 kilometres west of Wana, the main town of South Waziristan Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on June 3.
Pakistani warplanes attacked Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants in Mirkalam Khel and Akhon Kot areas of the north western Orakzai Agency in FATA on May 31 killing 18 terrorists. Dawn; Daily Times; The News; Tribune, May 31-June 6, 2011.
New al Qaeda video urges individual Jihad: Al Qaeda has released a two-part 100-minute video apparently produced after the death of Osama bin Laden that calls for individual acts of jihad (Holy war) on "enemy soil," a US-based monitoring service SITE said on June 3. Among the several speakers are Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's long-time number two to bin Laden, and American-born Adam Gadahn, who says that Muslims living in the West are "perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders." Dawn, June 4, 2011.
Government raises Defence budget by 11.4%: The Federal Government has raised the defence budget by 11.36 percent by allocating PKR 495 billion for the country's three Armed Forces in the upcoming financial year 2011-12 against the upward revised budget of PKR 444.495 billion in the outgoing fiscal year ending June 30. The Government had been requested by the armed forces to make an allocation of PKR 582 billion. Daily Times , June 4, 2011.
Bomb Disposal Squad averts one fourth of terror attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says Squad's Additional Inspector General Shafqat Malik: Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shafqat Malik, said on June 2 that provincial BDS officials had diffused 317 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the current year and foiled 25 per cent of terror acts in the province. AIG Malik said that 25 per cent of terror attempts were foiled in the provincial capital by diffusing bombs, suicide jackets, fuses and other explosive material. Dawn, June 3, 2011.
Government is not fond of military action in North Waziristan, says Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani: The Government is not fond of military action and wants to have an exit strategy, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on June 1. The Government, he said, was not taking dictation from anybody, "but it will take action when its writ is challenged [in North Waziristan]". "We will decide if there is any need for [an operation in North Waziristan.] We will not meddle unnecessarily," the premier said.
On the same day, Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik , commander of the 11th Corps based in Peshawar, ruled out an imminent offensive in North Waziristan, contradicting a newspaper report that Pakistan had agreed to assault North Waziristan following pressure from the United States. Maliksaid there was no change in his forces' posture in the last weeks. Tribune; Daily Times, June 2, 2011.
US should delay Pakistan's aid, says Centre for Global Development report: The United States should delay much of its multibillion-dollar package to Pakistan pending economic reforms as the aid has led to official inaction and public resentment, said Centre for Global Development study. The report comes as more US lawmakers question aid to Pakistan after US forces discovered and killed Osama bin Laden. Daily Times, June 2, 2011.
ISI scripted Mumbai attack and al Qaeda cleared it, reveals slain Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad's book: According to a book written by slain Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad the Novemnber 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks (also known as 26/11) was scripted by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers and approved before it was cleared by al Qaeda 'commanders'. The book titled 'Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban beyond bin Laden and 9/11' describes the Mumbai plan as one pushed through by Ilyas Kashmiri, a key al Qaeda ally with wide links with the Pakistan defence establishment. Shahzad says in the book that the plan was authored by the ISI officers and embraced and executed by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Times of India, June 2, 2011.
ISI linked with militants, reveals US State Department cable: A diplomatic cable sent under the name of United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton states that despite public disavowals, "some officials of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organizations," in particular the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The cable, dated December 30, 2009 was sent to five US Embassies, including that of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Hindu, June 1, 2011.
One of the five Pakistan-based militant groups specifically targets India, reveal US report: Pakistan is home to a large number of militant outfits and can be broadly divided into five groups, one of which specifically targets India and Kashmir that gets the maximum support from the establishment, a United States (US) Congressional report on May31 said. India and Kashmir-oriented militants, especially the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HuM), are based in both the Punjab province and in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The report said that the Islamist militant groups operating in and from Pakistan territory are of five broad types, namely, globally oriented militants, Afghanistan-oriented militants, India- and Kashmir-oriented militants, sectarian militants, and domestically oriented militants. Indian Express, June 1, 2011.
Plan for operation in North Waziristan finalised, says US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen: The United Sates (US) Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen on May 30 said that the Pakistani Government would launch a major offensive on militants in North Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). "It's a very important fight and a very important operation," the US Joint Chiefs of Staff told a television network. Daily Times, May 31, 2011.
ATC declares former President Pervez Musharraf a "proclaimed offender" in former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's murder case: Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on May 30 declared former President General Pervez Musharraf a "proclaimed offender" in the December 2007 assassination case of Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The court had issued an arrest warrant of Musharraf in February 2011 after Federal Investigation Agency investigators declared him an "absconder". Daily Times, May 31, 2011.
[South Asia Intelligent Review]