The Security Brief

Vol. 7-Issue No 56

19th April, 2021

Editorial

TLP Strikes Again

Saad & Khadim Hussain rizvi

The state has always failed to tackle and tame the proxies produced or patronised by it. The sordid history stinks with a long list of propped up political, religious and jihadi organisations that created serious problems for the security, stability and unity of the country. But incessantly, myopic minds have been resorting to such tactics in a knee jerk reaction without devising an exit strategy. Hasty solutions became long-lasting problems.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is the latest example of fostering a mob that has fast found the fangs to become a religious and sectarian Godzilla. Its founder Khadim Hussain Rizvi rose to fame due to his clarion for Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Governor Punjab, Salman Taseer. He gained enough strength and backing, which became quite visible later, to be instrumental in destabilizing the government.  It contested general elections 2018 and bagged 2.2 million votes throughout Pakistan but could win only two seats in Sindh Assembly.  In terms of number of votes, four out of every five votes polled by TLP came from Punjab alone.

The tone and tenor of late Khadim Hussain Rizvi had been terse, loud, uncouth and disturbing. Just before his death, the government signed an agreement with him to oust the French Ambassador within a couple of months over the charges of French President’s support to blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The government did not fulfil its promise. His son, Saad Hussain Rizvi, has raised the cry, pressing the government to do the needful. Conversely, he was arrested which sparked countrywide violent protests. At least two police officers were killed by the TLP protestors and more than one hundred were injured. The enraged and unruly mobs damaged moveable and immoveable property.

Police bore the brunt of the wrath of infuriated TLP protestors mainly because of ambivalence on part of the government and absence of police leadership. For more than a day the IG Police Punjab did not utter a word to lift the morale of his force. Probably he wanted the storm to pass away and ducked to keep him safe from any controversy. Similarly, the Interior Minister, Sh. Rasheed Ahmed was conspicuously absent from the scene. Consequently, the rudderless police and public suffered at the hands of the groups of anarchists. The police that had liberally wielded baton against the opposition workers in the recent past, looked tamed, confused and demoralized.

Now the government has banned TLP in a knee jerk reaction. It will entail repercussions and court might overturn it due to procedural inadequacies.  The Punjab government has decided to book the anarchists for violence on basis of the intelligence reports by the Special Branch and Intelligence Bureau. It is learnt that many names have been included without much verification. Their houses were raided to arrest them. Detestable clips of police torture on the arrested activists of TLP are being circulated on the social media. More care is needed to arrest the real culprits, who are visible in the footages, to avoid arrest of innocent people. The actual test is to gather irrefutable evidence that could stand in the court of trial so that the culprits could be punished. State should not look vindictive and revengeful.

On Sunday police came out of its defensive mode and went over-board. As the mainstream media remained silent about the skirmishes between the police and protestors at Chowk Yateem Khana, Lahore, socials media was abuzz with news and clips of excesses from both sides. TLP claimed that its activists were directly fired at by the police and Rangers with AK-47 SMGs and pump action guns. It resulted in deaths of TLP activists and many were injured. On the other hand, one DSP was forcibly whisked away by the TLP activists.

The actual issue is that TLP was encouraged when it was creating trouble during the previous regime. Sh. Rashid Ahmed, who happens to be the interior minister now, was all praise for them and coaxed them to resort to violence. The anarchists were facilitated and eulogized. On Feb 6, 2019, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued the 43-page judgement on Faizabad dharna of TLP, authored by Justice Qazi faiz Essa. The court pointed out that Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Military Intelligence (MI) and the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) must not exceed the respective mandate.

The genie got out of bottle and is haunting the present regime. It has severely undermined the serenity of the society and stability of the system. Businesses have also suffered. A senior manager of a large multinational enterprise lamented that its 40% operations were halted on the day protestors had blocked the roads. Surely, this sort of violence must have scared the prospective investors too.

The lessons learnt are that violent protests are not exclusive to any one group or party therefore all should exercise restraint. It’s the responsibility of the leadership to keep its followers under control. TLP leadership has posed a valid question that when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had resorted to violence in 2017, it was neither subjected to brute force nor legal action was taken against it. Secondly, there should be an end to the game of proxies, especially in the name of religion, or for any other reasons. It is also important that the creators and patrons of proxies should be made answerable for their unconstitutional adventurism. Thirdly, religious extremism should be curbed as was envisaged in the National Action Plan (NAP). Fourth, police should be trained to handle such violent protests. More importantly, intrepid and sincere leadership should be produced to lead the force. Last but not the least, the writ of the government and sanctity of the constitution should be upheld. 

 NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE

Punjab

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.CTD killed a terrorist identified as Niaz while his two accomplices fled the scene during exchange of fire between the two sides in Attock District (11th April).01

Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that the suspect was a proclaimed offender in more than dozen murder cases including involvement in planning attack on ex-Punjab Home Minister Col (Rt) Shuja Khanzada in 2015. He was the second most wanted person in the Punjab Province and had Rs-06 million head money on him. In the said incident Khanzada and sixteen others were killed in a suicide attack at Shadi Khan village of Attock District on 16th August, 2015. The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) had claimed the responsibility of the suicide attack on Col Khanzada, following the killing of their chief Malik Ishaq and his sons in July, 2015.

Sindh

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) defused a two kg IED magnetic device attached with a bike, parked near Liberty Chowk, Tariq Road, Karachi (12th April).
2.CTD claimed to have arrested two suspected militants, Mumtaz Somro and Javed Mongario of the banned Sindh Revolutionary Army (SRA) in Karachi for their alleged involvement in terrorist activities (13th April).02

Comments & Analysis: –The magnetic IEDs are being used by the terrorist organizations including IS/ISKP against soft targets in Afghanistan. TTP has also recently adopted this modus operandi.

SRA is making its presence felt in Karachi and Sindh. It is maintaining contacts with Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) too and provided four AK-47 rifles and bullets to the militants of BLA for carrying out an attack on the Pakistan stock exchange last year. They were also involved in a grenade attack on a Rangers vehicle near Kamran Chowrangi in Gulistan-i-Jauhar in June 2020

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
Three-armed motorcyclists set on fire a coal loaded truck in Ziarat District near Quetta and managed to escape from the site (09th April).
Mian Omer Shah former Commander of TTP who had surrendered to Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), was killed by unidentified assailants in Swabi District (10th April), allegedlydue to spying for LEAs which led to the killing of its Commander Naik Muhammad last year.01
Two attackers were arrested who had opened fire on a police party in University town area of Peshawar (10th April).02
 Three persons – Gul Zarin, his sons Zaid Rehman and Ata-ur-Rehman were killed and other Faiz-ur-Rehman wounded by unidentified gunmen, and also tortured. The assailants also tortured the female family members of the slain Gul Zarin before fleeing the area in Bagyar village, Puran tehsil of Shangla District (11th April).         0201
 Unidentified gunmen set ablaze a truck and snatched   Rs.06 lac from its driver on Wana-Tank road, South Waziristan tribal District (11th April). It is reportedly second incident in which a vehicle was set on fire in South Waziristan. The possibility of the involvement of TTP group in this act of sabotage and snatching money from the driver, cannot be ruled out.     
 A TTP terrorist identified as Pir @ Asad was killed by the security forces in exchange of fire between the two sides at Ladha area of South Waziristan tribal District (13th April). He was affiliated with TTP’s Baitullah and later on joined Shehryar group.01
 The security forces during an intelligence-based operation recovered 16 rocket launchers, 15 hand grenade, 5 remote controlled IEDs and several rounds in Dandodkai area near Pashat Bazar, Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur tribal District. (14th April).   
 Unidentified assailants shot dead a police constable named Farhad Khan at his in Laghari area
in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur tribal District and fled (15th April).  
01

Comments & Analysis: –

TTP is coming up with varying tactics of terrorism and sabotage to confuse the LEAs. Putting the trucks to torch seems like emulating the practice of burning NATO trucks during the past. TTP’s palpable presence and organised activities in the province are alarming. The intelligence agencies and LEAs should devise a strategy to track, trail and tackle not only the active militants but their sympathisers, supporters and sleeper cells.

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.12 people were injured in an explosion during a football match at a ground in Allahabad town located in Balochistan’s industrial town of Hub (13th April).12
2. Four suspected terrorists identified as Akram Zehri, Ahmadullah, Sikandar and Shadi Khan were killed by the CTD during an exchange of fire between the two sides in Bolan District (13th April).04
3.Three persons were injured in a grenade attack by unidentified terrorist near a security checkpoint in industrial town of Hub (15th April). 03

Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that the explosion was caused by a locally made IED that had been planted in the ground. The football match was dedicated to police martyrs. The proscribed Baloch separatist outfits including BLA are being suspected for this incident.

National/Foreign Relations

Afghan patients’ counter at Peshawar Institute of Cardiology    

Afghan Consul General to Pakistan, Najibullah Ahmadzai inaugurated a separate counter at Peshawar Institute of Cardiology which will help Afghan patients to get better and quicker treatment. He expressed gratitude to the KPK Government and hoped the institute would continue to provide maximum facilities to Afghan patients (12th April).

Comments & Analysis: – The setting up an exclusive facility by Pakistan to the visiting heart diseases patients from Afghanistan is a goodwill gesture on humanitarian grounds to neighbouring war-torn county having acute shortage of medical facilities for its citizen. The hospital has already treated 114 patients including 11 who underwent open heart surgery in the last four months. It is also ready to improve skilsl of the Afghan doctors and nurses.

Indian Sikhs pilgrims visit Pakistan for Baisakhi

815 Sikhs pilgrims arrived Lahore via Wagah border from India to attend Baisakhi festival in a main function scheduled to be held on 14th April at Gurdwara, Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal, Attock District. Visit to the other Gurdwaras at Nankana, Sahib, Farooqabad, Narowal and Lahore is also included in their program (12th April). The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee officials received them at Wagah border.

Comments & Analysis: –Baisakhi is regarded as a traditional spring harvest festival in Punjab and celebrated by Sikhs with religious zeal also. It marks the Sikh new year and commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had issued visas to over 1,100 Sikh pilgrims in connection with the 10-day Baisakhi festival.

DEFENCE/ NATIONAL SECURITY

COAS telephonic talk to US Secretary of State on Afghan peace process

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa had a telephonic conversation with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Wellington, regarding the Afghan peace process. COAS said that Pakistan would always support “Afghan Led-Afghan owned” peace process; there was need to develop mutual consensus of all stakeholders. During the conversation the matters of mutual interest, regional security situation also came under discussion (14th April).

Comments & Analysis: Foreign Office and Foreign Minister seem to have taken a back seat. COAS has to bear the burden of foreign affairs task too. Foreign ambassadors and senior diplomats directly contact the COAS. It would look more suave and normal if the Foreign Office remains at the front; army can no doubt play its role as the important stakeholder.

National/Foreign Relations

FM’s visit to the UAE

Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan is on three days visit to the UAE from 17th to 19th April, 2021.

Comments & Analysis: UAE is reportedly mediating between Pakistan and India. According to sources, the Intelligence chiefs of ISI and RAW had met in the UAE a few weeks ago to iron out the differences and reach a peace agreement. But the half-baked and hasty decisions to open trade with India earned a fair amount of flak from the public. Intelligentsia in Pakistan expressed worry over sudden silence of guns at LOC and abrupt decision to start trade with India. Who had negotiated and on what terms? Had Modi agreed to reverse its constitutional ambush in IIJOK?  FM Qureshi’s three days visit, which otherwise seems a bit too long, can be a cosmetic arrangement to give some transparency and legitimacy to the rapprochement efforts between the two countries.  

Chinese envoy urges students to work for bilateral ties

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Bong Rong while addressing the concluding session of ‘70 years of Pakistan-China Relation’ of the Sargodha Literary Festival, said “China will continue to strengthen its strategic relations with Pakistan in safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and help Pakistan in playing a more constructive role in international and regional affairs. He urged the young generation to play an active role in strengthening the bilateral relations (10th April).

Comments & Analysis: – It is high time for the students to seek admission in Chinese universities and develop closer cultural bonding with the great neighbour.

Pakistan’s dual nationality arrangements with 12 European countries

Interior Ministry spokesman in a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis Pakistan revealed that the country has dual nationality arrangements with 12 European countries including France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Finland, Switzerland, Netherland, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Norway while the similar arrangements with Portugal, Czech Republic and Luxemburg were under process (10th April).

Comments & Analysis: – Representative from the Interior Ministry briefed the committee that under section 14 (1) The Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, if a person was a citizen of Pakistan under the provision of this Act, and was at the same time a citizen or national of another country, he shall cease to be a citizen of Pakistan, unless he makes a declaration according to the laws of the country renouncing his status as citizen or national.

COURTS HEARING

Four more child protection courts inaugurated

The Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan virtually inaugurated four more child protection courts in divisional headquarters of the Province with an aim to provide justice to children in a friendly and secure environment (09th April).

Comments & Analysis: – Currently, the child courts are functioning in Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad and Mohmand. Child protection courts have been established in the Province not only to ensure protection of children from maltreatment, violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect but also to provide speedy, effective and inexpensive justice to the children according to the mandate set by the United Nation Convention on Rights of Children. The Chief Justice highlighted the need for and importance of the exclusive child courts in the justice system and said the children under 14 years of age formed almost 33 percent of the population and therefore, it would be unjust and unfortunate to ignore their welfare.

Karachi Court acquitted Uzair Baloch in another case

An Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi, acquitted the chief of the defunct Peoples Aman Committee, Uzair Jan Baloch, in a case pertaining to an attack on police, attempt to murder and terrorism in Lyari operation due to lack of evidence against him (13th April).

Comments & Analysis: – The matter came up before the Additional District and Sessions Judge (South) who pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides. Uzair Baloch has already been acquitted in number of cases of similar nature by the said court.

NATIONAL/RELIGION

Countrywide protest of TLP workers against the arrest of their leader Saad Rizvi 

A large protest in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad started by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers following the arrest of their Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi on 12th April at Lahore by the police. His detention came a day after he announced that the party will hold a march against the Government on April 20th. The TLP protestors wreaked havoc in many cities of Pakistan, especially Punjab. The protest involved violence leading to road blocking, clashes with police, damage of public property, killing of two police constables at Lahore and injuring several persons both from police and protestors all over the country. The Federal Government has also backlisted/banned TLP and sealed its offices under terrorist act (15th April).

Serious skirmishes took place between TLP activists and the police at Chowk Yateem khana, Lahore. At least two activists of TLP were killed and many others injured. Policemen were also injured. (18th April).       

Comments & Analysis: – The PTI Government had signed an agreement with the TLP, agreeing to expel the French Ambassador from Pakistan with “consensus from parliament” after the group staged a protest in Islamabad over the publication of blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine.

Last week, Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said in a statement that the Government will take the agreement it signed with the TLP to parliament. This issue will be resolved with parliament’s consultation and assistance. The TLP leadership however did not agree on negotiations with the government and decided to launch protest by blocking the roads countrywide. Meanwhile, the French embassy in Pakistan has reportedly advised its citizens and companies to leave the country, temporarily. Situation is tense.

RELIGION/SECTARIAN

Two nurses booked for blasphemy in Faisalabad

The police booked two nurses of the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), Faisalabad on blasphemy charges. Several staff members of the hospital reportedly protested against the two nurses accusing them of blasphemy after they allegedly removed stickers with religious texts written on them from a cupboard (10th April).

Comments & Analysis: – Deputy Medical Superintendent, DHQ, Faisalabad, filed a petition with the Civil Lines police claiming that a hospital committee had confirmed the blasphemy allegations against the nurses. The protesters included local clerics who demanded action against the accused. Some charged protesters even attacked the police van which had arrived to shift the accused nurses to police station. A case u/s 295-B of the PPC was registered and investigations are underway.

JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah held under MPO

The police arrested JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) from his native village in Tarangri area of Mansehra District and shifted him to an undisclosed location (13th April).

Comments & Analysis: – The Federal cabinet had reportedly decided in December last year that Mufti Kifayatullah would be held for his diatribe against the Pakistan army. He later went into hiding to escape arrest. However, the police arrested his two sons and three other family members. The JUI-F activists protested over the arrest of the former lawmaker and demanded his immediate release shouting slogans against the Government.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER- At a Glance

  1. Two labourers, Wasim and Khizar Hayat died and one Rizwan injured in a gas cylinder explosion during welding at a warehouse in Kohat Cement Company in Kohat District (10th April).
  2. Police arrested a suspect, Adam Khan alias Lala, for allegedly killing a minority community member-Deepak and wounding other- Vikas on a personal grudge over a girl on 29th March. The deceased were returning after attending Holi ceremony in Hindu Para, Clifton, Karachi (10th April).
  3. Qazi Shahid Kareem, a resident of Peerdad village, was shot dead by his father-in-law over a family dispute in Hazro tehsil. In another incident, five members of a family, including three women, Shazia and Sadia, were injured when allegedly eight people led by Muhammad Sadeeq attacked them with axes and sticks in village Pagah in limits of Fateh Jang tehsil, Attock District (10th April).
  4. Armed robbers shot and injured a shopkeeper named Muhammad Arif and looted Rs/ 4,00,000 at gunpoint in Muneeb Market, near Bab-e-Darra on Bannu road, Dera Ismail Khan (14th April).

Crime Details 11/04/2021 to 16/04/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhIslamabadBalochistanAJ&KTotal
Murders(Taxila-1, Lahore (Shahdara)-3, Sahiwal-2, Sabzazar-2, Sheikhupura-1, Choong-1, Pir Mahal-2, Kot Addu-1, Ghaziabad-1, Lahore-1, Lahore (Badami Bagh)-1, Lahore-2, Taxila-2, Muzaffargarh-1, Lahore-4, Gujar Khan-1, Muzaffargarh-2) = 28(Kohat-2, Lower Dir-14, Lakki Marwat-2, Swabi-2, Shangla-4, Shangla-3, Lakki Marwat-2, Mansehra-2, South Waziristan-1, Kohat-2, Swat-2, Dera Ismail Khan-1, Lakki Marwat-2, Bajaur-1) = 40(Karachi-1, Sukkur-6, Hyderabad-3, Karachi-1) = 11(Islamabad-1) = 01  (Quetta-4) = 04  (Muzaffarabad-5) = 0589
Gang rape(Mamu Kanjan-1, Chakwal-1) = 02(Peshawar-1) = 0103
Robberies/ Dacoits(Gulberg-1, Defence-1, Faisal Town-1) = 03(Dera Ismail Khan-1) = 01(Sukkur-1) = 0105
Kidnapping(Lahore (Ghaziabad)-1) = 0101
Injured(Lahore-2, Lahore (Shahdara)-4, Rawalpindi-1, Okara-1, Lahore-3, Defence-1, Lahore-1, Taxila-6, Muzaffargarh-26) = 45(Kohat-1, Bajaur-3) = 04(Islamabad-1) = 01(Khuzdar-14, Khuzdar-3) = 17(Muzaffarabad-1) = 0168
Total Crime794612012106 

Source: Media & National dailies  

REGIONAL

LoC/IIOJK

The Indian Security forces continued killing Kashmiri youth in fake encounters during the so-called anti militancy drive search operations in various areas of the valley. They claimed to have killed 12 militants included Tauseef Ahmad Butt, Ameer Hussain Ghani, Faisal Gulzar and Asif Ghani in four encounters in Indian Illegal Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK). The IIOJK police chief Dilbagh Singh said that with the killing of 07 AGUH militants, the outfit has been completely wiped out (12th April).

Comments & Analysis: – No ceasefire violation on LoC has been reported during the period under review. The Indian security forces taking advantage of the same enhanced their oppressive activities against the Kashmiri people and killed above mentioned youth within four days only.     

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

The Corps Commander-level talks between Indian and Chinese forces took place at the Chushul border point on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. The Indian delegation, led by Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps Lt Gen. PGK Menon, insisted on resolving outstanding issues related to Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang friction points. The Indian army later through a statement said that completion of disengagements in the other areas would pave the way for de-escalation of troops and restoration of peace (10th April).

Comments & Analysis: – No visible outcome has been seen after the latest round of senior military level talks.

AFGHAN PEACE PROCESS

USA announces withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

The US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan starting process from 01st May and completion on 11th September, 2021, the anniversary of 9/11. He said if the Taliban attacks, the US has capabilities to defend it and allies with all the tools available and would continue to assist peace process, aid to Afghan security forces and support on humanitarian ground to Afghan people including women (14th April).

Meanwhile, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that its forces will also start withdrawal process with US troops from 1st May. On the other hand, the CIA Director William J. Burns, addressing the Senate Intelligence Committee expressed that there was a significant risk that the terrorist organisations including al-Qaida and ISIS may re-establish their strong footings taking advantage of the absence of US troops in Afghanistan (14th April).

Comments & Analysis: – This plan coincides with the High Council for the National Reconciliation’s (HCNR) unified peace plan for the proposed Istanbul Summit. The plan has four parts including a principle for the future of Afghanistan, a Peace roadmap/President Ashraf Ghani’s plan, a future political system, and an end to the ongoing conflict in the country. Taliban have refused to attend the Istanbul Summit as a protest over Biden’s unilateral decision to alter the date of withdrawal of US troops from 1st May to 11th September 2021.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reportedly on a telephonic talk to US President Joe Biden said that he respected the US decision of withdrawal its forces and was ready to work for transition in connection with peace efforts. He added that Afghan security forces are capable to defend the country and its people. However, on the other hand several lawmakers, political leaders and people from various walk of life expressed their apprehensions about possible spread of anarchy which may lead to civil war in the country after withdrawal of Foreign troops and failure of peace talk between the Afghan government and Taliban. It is essential to speed up the peace process and form an interim government to avoid violence after the withdrawal of the US and NATO troops.

AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Nine members of the Afghan security forces were killed in clashes with the Taliban in Khosan and Goria Districts of Herat Province (09th April).
  2. Taliban militants blew up a bridge on the Kabul-Jalalabad second-lane road in the Surkh Rd District following an attack on a security forces check post in Nangarhar Province (09th April).
  3. A massive fire broke out at a liquid gas facility involving 10 oil tankers north of Herat city (10th April).
  4.    

Comments & Analysis: – Chief of Afghan Intelligence Agency, NDS Ahmad Zia Saraj addressing the Internal Security and defence committees of the parliament said that Taliban attacks have increased by 24% following the signing of the Doha agreement last year, adding that the group has launched 20,600 attack since last March. Added that over 4,500 Taliban and IS/ISKP members were arrested last solar year (March 2020 to March 2021) of which 221 were involved in targeted attacks and bombings (10th & 11th April). According to other sources, the number of attacks and violence had decreased ever since Taliban-US Agreement was reached last year.

Afghan Parliament criticises diversion of Pakistani delegation’s plane

The Afghan lower house of the Afghan Parliament (Wolesi Jirga) called the top Afghan Government security official to answer question about the diversion of aircraft carrying Pakistani Parliamentary delegation for diversion back to Islamabad before landing on Hamid Karzai, International Airport, Kabul. The Acting Interior Minister Hayatullah Hayat told the MPs that unexploded explosives were discovered at the airport and the airport was closed for more than two hours which caused postponement of nine flights including the aircraft carrying the Pakistani Parliamentary delegation.

Comments & Analysis: –The members, however, were not fully satisfied with the clarifications and constituted a committee to investigate and report about the factual position behind diversion of the Pakistan aircraft.

INTERNATIONAL

Iran blames Israel for terrorist attack on its nuclear facility

Irani Foreign Ministry blamed Israel for its terrorist attack by hitting one of its nuclear facility at Natanz near Tehran caused power (electricity) failure there (12th April).

Comments & Analysis: – Iran should not be surprised over this attack as Israel has never concealed its intentions to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. In November last year, Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by firing attack while travelling on a highway outside Tehran and Israel was accused by Iran behind the act.

Special Analysis

Ukraine-Russia Conflict

A local conflict within Ukraine is fast turning into a war-like situation fueled by the US-Russia animosity. The flare up between the separatists and the government forces is escalating. The separatists at  Donbas are fighting with the Ukrainian government since 2014 when separatists captured some part of eastern Ukraine. The separatists are believed to be backed and funded by Russia; an allegation denied by the latter.

The immediate threat of war increased as Russia reportedly reinforced its troops along the border and warned Ukraine against trying to retake control of the separatist-controlled territory. According to an estimate, Russia now has some 40,000 troops on the border with eastern Ukraine and a further 42,000 in Crimea, which was seized and then annexed by Russia in 2014.Biden talked with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and assured his support if Russian forces entered to support the separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied any such build-up of Russian troops near the eastern Ukrainian border. However, it has warned NATO not to send military support to Ukraine.

The real reason behind escalation is the Biden-Putin bitterness which reached the next level as Biden called Putin a killer and warned he would “pay a price” for alleged election meddling. He also described Putin as having no soul. In March this year Russia reacted to this statement and recalled its ambassador Anatoly Antonov, from the US, ostensibly for consultations, a development that never happened during the cold war. Moscow believes that the US has unleashed a hybrid war against Putin to overthrow him. In response Putin is trying to test the resolve of Joe Biden and has decided to escalate.

People of Ukraine are worried over the aggravation of the situation. Conversely, some analysts are of the view that the ploy of war scare is a distraction to reenergize Putin’s support at home which is diminishing. The other aim of muscle flexing can be to respond to the Biden Administration that has imposed more sanctions on Moscow.  Thirdly, Moscow is not comfortable with Ukraine’s European choice and considers it a major security threat aimed at isolating Russia. It wants Ukraine to return to its sphere of influence. 

“Russia is trying to raise the stakes: to show that it can inflict cost on those trying to inflict costs on Russia, even if that is reckless and may result in harsher sanctions,” argues foreign policy analyst Mikhail Troitskiy. “I think this is the logic behind this escalation – which is dangerous because at some point it could spiral out of control,” he adds.

In a reconciliatory move, Biden called Putin on 13th April and suggested to have a summit meeting to resolve the dispute. Russia seems to have agreed to it. This move has diminished the chances of war at the Ukrainian border. But tit for tat sanctions by the US and Russia are keeping the relations bitter. US has expelled ten Russian diplomats from the US. Russia retaliated with the equal measure of response. It has banned FBI Director  Christopher Wray, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas, Director National Intelligence Avril Haines, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, former CIA Director James Woolsey and AG Garland from entering Russia.  

Pakistan has good relations with Ukraine and is developing strong relations with Russia as well. While maintaining positive neutrality, it should closely monitor the developments in regard with this conflict. Pakistan’s ambassador to Ukraine, Maj.Gen. Noel Khokhar ®, is hopeful that sanity would prevail and war will not take place.

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 33,080 from 11th April to 17th April, 2021 (Saturday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total 14,578 active cases during this period is as follows:

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 34,190 from 11th April to 17th April, 2021 (Saturday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total 7,262 active cases during this period is as follows:

• Sindh: 1,020

• Punjab: 4,001

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 1,156

• Balochistan: 284

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 616

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 16

• AJK: 169

Deaths: 765

Comments & Analysis: – The wave is still going strong. The number of the people suffering due to COVID-19 is quite high. SOPs are not being followed properly. Vaccination process is slow.  

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities in tribal areas and some parts of KPK.

Threat Level: High – The threat level is high due to national, international and regional security environment. The intelligence agencies must keep the guards up and take pro-active pre-emptive measures.

Level of Sectarianism & Religious Extremism: Quite flared up. Brelvi sect’s protests raged hard during this week.

Border Situation:  Ceasefire at LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), also largely remained calm.

Health Security: The third wave of Coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll in Pakistan. Prevention or containment is necessary through vaccination, strict observation of masks and social distancing.

Social Unrest: Rising; primarily due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest. The constant rise in electricity, petrol tariffs, medicines and inflation has impacted all segments of the society. Especially the salaried class and poor people are the worst sufferers.

Freedom of Press: Pakistan has dropped three places in the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI), since last year- 144th out of 180 countries in the world.

Note: The Security Brief is based on open-source media reports

BOOK REVIEW

Direct and indirect impacts of terrorism pose serious operational and management challenges to Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) especially in Emerging Markets (EM). Emerging markets are popular destinations for MNEs because the developed markets are saturated. 

 Using real scenarios from seasoned managers and security managers of large MNEs, this volume explores the impacts of terrorism on them and offers strategies and solutions that can provide greater security to MNEs operating in areas afflicted with terrorism. 
This volume would be beneficial for managers, security managers, scholars and students.

About the Authors

Naveed Elahi is a PHD from King’s Business School, King’s College London. He has taught terrorism at the University of Punjab, Lahore and is the founder and President of Centre for Peace and Security Research, Lahore, Pakistan.
Pervez Ghauri is PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden where he also worked as Assistant and Associate professor. After moving to UK, he has been Professor at Manchester Business School and King’s College London. At present, he is Professor of International Business at the University of Birmingham. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Business Review (IBR) and has published more than 30 books and 100 journal articles.

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