11th June, 2021
The Prime Minister is saddened over the loss of lives in Ghotki train accident, but not enough to demand resignation of the Minister Railways. Following his master’s line, the Minister Railways, Mr.Swati stated that he would resign only if the bereaved families found solace in his resignation. How would he gauge the pain and grief of the families of the deceased passengers is not known. Probably Swati is trying to emulate his predecessor Sh.Rasheed, who had remained unmoved after more than 70 passengers were burnt alive in a fiery explosion on a moving train near Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab, during his tenure on October 31, 2019.
The political heads tender resignations on moral grounds in wake of disasters or failures of the departments under them. What more horrible than the accident of Millat Express- near Ghotki, which is being considered one of the deadliest accidents in the history of Pakistan Railways, is needed to prick the consciousness of the Minister Railways? Who should be more perplexed and ashamed over the twin accidents i.e., derailment of the bogies of Millat Express and collision of Sir Syed Express with these over-turned bogies? How could he stay remorseless in case of deaths of more than 65 passengers and injuries to about 115 others out of a total about 1380 passengers who were travelling in the Millat Express?
No doubt this incident is not just one of its kind in one decade. There is a sad streak of rail accidents in Pakistan which shows that perpetual negligence and apathy resulted in future accidents. The record shows that more than 250 people died in 12 major train accidents in Pakistan during the last six years shows. Out of these, 166 passengers died in the accidents that took place during the last two years. Isn’t this toll enough to jolt the PM and his cronies to reprimand Swati and Sh.Rasheed instead of heaping blame on the previous governments. Had the Minister decided to resign on moral high ground he would have put tremendous pressure on his political rivals by raising the bar of morality-led actions.
It is a sad state of affairs that in the World ranking of derailments, Pakistan is perched at dismal No 3, and its share of derailment is 9.4%. Last ten years data shows most derailments occurred in 10 developing countries; India, Turkey, Thailand and Pakistan leading it. The Minister could build his case on this argument that the rot in Railways was not new and the decline was constant. But he still lacked the moral stance to avoid responsibility for this particular case and pass on the buck to the previous governments. Firdous Ashiq Awan and Fawad Ch outrightly and unabashedly blamed the previous governments for this incident. It just proves that the government lacks courage to own the responsibility of bad performance of Pakistan Railways, which means it has no conviction to bring improvement in its safety and security.
At this point in time, it was more bizarre to accuse the railway employees for this incident. Besides penalizing the concerned culprits, the Minister Railways should have appreciated the hard-working Chairman Railways and his team. It was the time to lead from the front to lift the sagging morale of the Railways officers and the employees. If the employees were ineffective or inept action should have been taken before the accident. The action could have included, besides other measures. their further training and briefing.
As far the probable reasons of the accident are concerned it is easy to blame the old and delipidated trains and tracks. The chance of sabotage attempt has not been taken into consideration. It may be a remote chance but still very much valid. Saboteurs take advantage of such situation. Old data shows that during 2010-2015, at least 204 terrorist and sabotage acts against railways resulted in death of 65 people and injuries to 375. Terrorism is again on the rise across Pakistan. In Sindh, the separatist outfit Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) is again quite active. The chance of sabotage behind the Millat Express incident should not be ruled out.
If the infrastructure is old and worn out, herculean efforts should have been made to keep a vigilant eye on vulnerable points to prevent further disasters. It does not seem to have been done as only two days after Millat Express incident. Khyber Mail train going from Peshawar to Karachi faced a minor accident as its carriage derailed near Guddu Station. However due to a curve near River Sindh, its speed was low, therefore passengers remained unhurt.
TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE
|1.||The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab claimed to have conducted 64 intelligence-based operations across the Province and arrested seven terror suspects and recovered arms & ammunition and objectionable hate material, during the last seven days. Arrested persons included Muhammad Tahir, Muhammad Shahzad Ali – ISIS Imtiaz Majeed – SSP, Muhammad Imran – TTP, Haider Khan – TTP, Muhammad Wasim – SSP and Abdul Qudoos – Al Qaeda (06th June).||—||—||07|
Comments & Analysis: – There was hardly any terrorist incident in Punjab during the period under review. But it should not be a matter of satisfaction for the LEAs and intelligence agencies because terrorists have their presence in the province.
|1.||Unknown terrorists, probably belonging to Sindh Revolutionary Army (SRA), threw a hand grenade at the gate of a multistoried building near Bin Qasim Park in Clifton (03rd June). No loss of life or damage to property was done.||—||—||—|
|2.||CTD arrested three suspected terrorists – Aslam @Arshad Sindhi, Tanvir @ Patni and Majid @ Syed from Lyari area, Karachi. They were allegedly affiliated with Lyari war gang led by Uzair Baloch and wanted in several cases of murders and extortions (05th June).||—||—||03|
|3.||CTD arrested one Shamshad Khan, MQM-L terrorist from Soldier Bazaar, Karachi. He was allegedly trained by the Indian intelligence agency, RAW and involved in number of target killing incidents (08th June).||—||—||01|
Comments & Analysis: – According to the CTD, Sindh, the modus operandi of grenade attack matched the attacks carried out by the banned outfit SRA, in the past.
|1.||Two policemen, HC Isthiaq Ranjha and constable Bashir Shah, were gunned down by unidentified armed motorcyclists in Shams Colony area of Islamabad (03rd June). The martyred policemen were on routine patrol. TTP has claimed responsibility for the said attack (04th June).||02||—||—|
Comments & Analysis: – As indicated in the previous TSBs, TTP is visibly emboldened and has demonstrated its ingress in the cities far away from their strongholds in tribal areas of KPK.
|1.||Low intensity explosives went off at two separate places in two days, near a garbage dump in Hayatabad and Chamkani, Peshawar, but did not cause any damage to human life and property (03rd June).||—||—||—|
|2.||One Israr Khan was killed by unidentified gunmen on his way back home in Shaler area, Tirah valley, Khyber tribal District (06th June).||01||—||—|
|3.||A JUI (F) worker Luqman Hakeem was shot and injured by unidentified armed persons in Bars tehsil of Khyber tribal District (06th June).||—||01||—|
|4.||Police, during road checking, recovered three AK-47 rifles, one pistol, over 10000 cartridges of different bores and mines detonators from secret cavities of a vehicle in Akhorwal area, Dara Adam Khel, Kohat District and arrested its driver-cum-gunrunner Noorbaz Khan (08th June).||—||—||—|
|5.||Two policemen – Syed Raza Ali Shah and Shakir, on Polio duties were shot dead by unidentified attackers in Palodheary area of Mardan District (09th June).||02||—||—|
|6.||Police arrested a terrorist Dost Muhammad and recovered arms & ammunition and explosive from his possession in Kumbar/Madian area of Lower Dir District (09th June).||—||—||01|
Comments & Analysis: – Terrorism remained low key in KPK during the period under review. However, the lack of preemptive strikes by the LEAs against terrorist networks and agents indicates their lackadaisical approach to track and tackle the terrorists. There is no doubt that hundreds of TTP elements are lurking in the ex-tribal areas and might be preparing to strike after the 4th of July 2021, when the US forces are likely to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
|1.||Three teenage boys – Muhammad Ikram, Adnan and Shaista Khan died and two others suffered injuries in a hand grenade explosion that occurred near a seminary in the Kharotabad area. The children found the device in a graveyard and started playing by assuming it was a toy (03rd June).||03||02||—|
|2.||Some unidentified miscreants threw/pasted threatening pamphlets at the shops of local Hindus in the main market in Wadh Town and signboards of Quetta-Karachi National Highway in Khuzdar District. The pamphlets contained directions to not allow female customers to visit their shops, failing which they will face serious consequences (07th June).||—||—||—|
|3.||CTD, Balochistan, in a tip-off raid, arrested two suspected terrorists (names not disclosed) after they sustained injuries in the exchange of fire 45 km away from Kalat city (05th June).||—||—||02|
|4.||Unidentified motorcyclists threw a hand grenade on a security forces vehicle in Jowzak area of Turbat District but no loss of human life was reported (08th June).||—||—||—|
|5.||Two persons – Ali Gul Bahadur and Munawar Hussain were killed by unidentified gunmen in Khuzdar and Mastung Districts (08th & 9th June).||02||—||—|
Comments & Analysis: – In a similar toy bomb explosion in KPK, three children died and two others sustained injuries on 1st June 2021. It seems that in addition to target killing and mine blasts now toy bombs have also been included in the new strategy of the terrorists. It also shows that TTP is not only active in KPK but Balochistan as well.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the dreaded umbrella organization of terrorist groups claimed the responsibility of the killing of two policemen in Islamabad on 6th June 2021. Its spokesperson, Muhammad Khurasani claimed responsibility.
TTP was badly battered in military operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’. Most of its militants were either killed or fled away to Afghanistan and found a base in Kunar and Nouristan provinces. It resulted in a marked reduction in the terrorist attacks in the tribal areas and across Pakistan.
In July 2020 the splinter groups joined hands under TTP umbrella. TTP Hakimullah and Wali ur Rehman groups had bitter relations since 2009 when Hakimullah Mehsud got himself elected as TTP. They ironed out their differences and joined hands to fight against the state of Pakistan.
Abdul Wali Mohmand @ Umar Khalid Khurasani also merged his group in TTP. He carries a reward of $3.5 million by the US government. Now a day he is active and calling the shots. Reportedly, they all gathered together with the help of Ehsanullah Ehsan, former spokesperson of TTP, who escaped from the custody of Pakistani forces in January 2020. He had connections with almost all groups and with RAW as well.
Albeit TTP is distinct and different from Afghan Taliban, the latter has soft corner for them. After the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, TTP can be used against Pakistan. As the Afghan Taliban are gaining strength in Afghanistan, TTP will be emboldened to strike at Pakistan. According to unconfirmed reports, Afghan Taliban had requested the Pakistani military authorities to be lenient with some TTP commanders and their families residing in Afghanistan. Resultantly, scores of them entered Pakistan from Shawal area, along with their families and are living in distant location. As per sources, they come to markets to buy essential items and return to their newfound safe places. It would be a grave folly to accommodate this request without taking the federal government into confidence. If at all clemency is to be extended to any of these militants it should be done as per law, through courts. Ehsanullah Ehsan’s case is litmus test in this context
Janikhel tribesmen again announce a long march towards Islamabad
The people of Janikhel in Bannu continued their sit-in as a protest against the target killing of a member of the negotiations committee and announced a long march towards Islamabad from June 10th. Meanwhile, police reportedly detained Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) President Manzoor Pashteen and others in order to prevent them from joining Janikhel tribe protest in Bannu. They were however released later on (03rd & 04th June).
Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that two persons – Munib and a member of the negotiations committee, Malik Naseeb Khan from the area were shot dead by unidentified miscreants in the last month. The KPK Government had reportedly agreed with Janikhel tribe after mutilated bodies of four youth of the tribe were found in March this year and the tribesmen started a long march towards Islamabad. It is learnt that the Jirga members had handed over a list of 73 missing people to the government, but only five of them have been recovered so far.
PTM leadership showed solidarity with the Janikhel tribe and highlighted this highhandedness on various forums. The deteriorating law-and-order situation in tribal Districts needs special attention of the Federal and Provincial Governments so that the anti-state elements/miscreants may not exploit it and add fuel to the fire.
Christian couple acquitted in blasphemy case
The Lahore High Court acquitted a Christian couple Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar from blasphemy charges and set aside their death sentence awarded by a District and Sessions Court in 2014 (3rd June).
Comments & Analysis: Lack of any cogent evidence of the alleged offences mentioned in the case resulted in their acquittal. The couple is a parent of four children. The facts show that most of the cases registered under the Blasphemy law are against the Muslims rather than the minorities. Therefore, it does not in any way indicate that Blasphemy law aims at targeting the minorities. However, as this law entails capital punishment, the procedures of the registration of a case under this law ought to be transparent and fool-proof so that innocent persons could not be implicated in false cases registered on fabricated allegations.
Police arrested five accused – Deepak Mahto, Pankaj Kumar, Mohit Sharma and Krishan Kant involved in the sale of 06 KG uranium in Bokaro District of Jharkhand state (Province) of India (02 June).Earlier a similar incident involving the sale of 7 kg of Uranium in the Indian state of Maharashtra was noticed in the last month (04th June).
Comments & Analysis: – Pakistan expressed serious concern over these incidents of sale of uranium in India which indicated poor regulatory and enforcement mechanism of the Indian Government about such matters. Under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and IAEA Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) it is binding on “states to ensure stringent measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into wrong hands”. Pakistan has insisted on a thorough investigation into the matter.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reportedly said in a press briefing that his country had discussions with Pakistan in the military, security and diplomatic channels to make sure that Afghanistan should never become a base again for terrorist groups to attack the USA (07th June).
Comments & Analysis: –Rumours are raging hard, based on the statements of the US officials, that Pakistan has agreed to provide military base to the US to enable it to carry out operations inside Afghanistan by the US counter terrorism forces and CIA.
A general perception is prevailing in Pakistan that provision of bases to the USA may damage CPEC project and harm Pakistan’s relations with China, Russia and Iran. Furthermore, the US is playing carrot and stick policy with Pakistan as it implicitly threatens to further squeeze it through FATF and on the other hand lollypop of aid is always dangled before it.
Pro-Khalistan really in Nankana Sahib and reopening of Kartarpur Gurdwara
A big rally of Sikh community under Sardar Gopal Singh Chawla was held in Nankana Sahib as a protest against the massacre of Sikhs by the Indian military, in Gurudwara Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar on 06th June, 1984 in which hundreds of Sikh devotees were killed and injured besides severe damage to the Gurdwara. The protesters raised anti-India slogans and demanded of UN to take action against India for this massacre and Indian atrocities on the innocent people in the Illegal Indian held Jammu & Kashmir. Meanwhile, Pakistan has also re-opened Gurdwara Kartar Sahib situation on border with India for the local pilgrims under strict SOPs for Covid-19 (06th & 07th June).
Chinese Ambassaor meets the COAS
During a meeting between the Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong, they discussed relations of mutual interest and cooperation between the two strategic partner friendly countries (09th June).
Appointment new DGPR Navy
Rear Admiral Naeem Sarwar an officer possessing vast experience has been appointed as a new Director General Public Relations of the Pakistan Navy. In his capacity, he will also act as the official spokesman of the navy (09th January).
Dr. Farooq Sattar, MQM, denies RAW links
The leaders of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Dr. Farooq Sattar and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Anis advocate, appeared before Sindh Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Karachi (05th June). They recorded their statements inconnection with the interrogation disclosures of the two MQM’s suspects – Naeem Khan and Imran Ahmed who were arrested last week. It is learnt that during interrogation, they disclosed that they had developed links with RAW with the alleged help of the said MQM leaders.
Comments & Analysis: – Dr. Farooq Sattar, however, reportedly denied any such link or extending any help to the arrested accused persons.
Crime Details 04/06/2021 to 11/06/2021
|Murders||(Taxila-1, Lahore (Ghaziabad)-1, Muzaffargarh-1, Lahore-1, Lahore-1, Sargodha-1, Sahiwal-2) = 08||(Peshawar-1, Mardan-3, Shangla-1, Mardan-2, Kohat-5, Khyber-3, Mansehra-8, Charsadda-4, Haripur-3, Mansehra-15, Mardan-2, Haripur-3) = 50||(Karachi-1, Karachi (Clifton)-1, Sukkur-1, Karachi-1, Karachi (Moosa Colony)-1, Sukkur-3, Nazimabad-1, Sukkur-5, Dadu-10, Karachi-1) = 25||(Islamabad-1, Islamabad-1, Islamabad-3, Islamabad-1) = 06||(Dera Murad Jamali-1, Quetta-3, Chagai-8) = 12||101|
|Robberies/ Dacoits||(Rawalpindi-2) = 02||—||(Karachi-1) = 01||—||—||03|
|Kidnapping||(Dera Ghazi Khan-4) = 04||—||—||—||—||04|
|Injured||(Sahiwal-10, Rawalpindi-2, Rawalpiondi-1, Lahore-3) = 16||(Shangla-8, Kohat-6, Khyber-3, Mansehra-3, Haripur-2, Haripur-7, Lakki Marwat-3) = 32||(Sukkur-10) = 10||(Islamabad-2) = 02||(Quetta-2) = 02||62|
|Police encounter||(Toba Tek Singh-3) = 03||(Lakki Marwat-2) = 02||—||—||—||05|
Source: Media & National dailies
Indian Army Chief Gen. MM Naravane during his visit to Srinagar said the longevity of the ceasefire on LoC depends on the actions of Pakistan and asserted that there would be no slackening of preparedness as terror infrastructure across the border was intact (03rd June). A day earlier Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa also visited the training area in Kotli District to witness exercise “Taskheer-e -Jabal” encompassing operational preparedness of the formations in defensive and offensive parameters. Indian security forces in their fake militancy drive committed extrajudicial killing of a Kashmiri youth name Muhammad Amin Malik in Tral police interrogation centre in Pulwama District (04th June).
Comments & Analysis: – The situation remained calm on LoC where the Pakistani and Indian forces remained deployed at the forward posts. However, inside IOJK, India has increased the deployment of forces which has resulted in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and ex-CM, IOJK, Mehbooba Mufti on 07th June urged UNO to take notice of Indian atrocities and human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiri people. According to Kashmir Media Service, 14 citizens were killed, 03 custodial deaths took place and 125 were arrested by the Indian security forces in the month of May 2021. Human Rights organisations expressed concern over additional deployment of forces in IOJK and called for strike on 11 June.
Indian and Chinese forces remained deployed at their forward posts in Ladakh with heavy support of air and land weaponry comprising battle tanks, artillery together with mechanized troops on their rear sides (08th June).
Comments & Analysis: – The situation remained calm in Ladakh alongside LAC and no untoward incident was reported during the period under review.
Violence, targeted killings, bomb/IED attacks and armed clashes between security force and Taliban continued across the country, particularly in Kabul, Herat, Helmand, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Badghis, Badakhshan, Ghazni, Samangan, Kandahar, Faryab, Uruzgan, Paktia and Khost Provinces. During the period under review 158 security forces/pro-govt-militias, 140 Taliban and other militants and 61 civilians were killed while 55 injured. Taliban reportedly captured several Districts including Shinkai, Doab, Dehyak, Jaghato, Bandab and Daulatabad in Zabul, Nuristan, Ghazni and Faryab Provinces. They shot down an Afghan army helicopter in Midian, Wardak Province.
WITHDRAWAL OF FOREIGN TROOPS/AFGHAN PEACE PROCESS
50% US withdrawal complete
The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) announced completing nearly 50 percent withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan in connection with the retrograde process to meet the deadline of September 2021 (07th June). With regard to the Afghan peace process, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan in a trilateral meeting agreed to speed up efforts for the peace process (04th June).
Comments and Analysis: – US and its allied countries are hectically making efforts to keep its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and continue exerting influence in the country by keeping an eye over the security and political situation and providing support to Afghan National Defence Army besides carrying out independent counter terrorism operations through some military bases on availability from the neighbouring countries. US special envoy Khalilzad during his meeting with President Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah Chairman HCNR and others at Kabul reiterated that US continue to support Afghan Concernment and its security forces. It is leant that Khalilzad during his meeting with the Afghan leadership urged them to start serious negotiation with Pakistan which contributed a lot the peace process.
Seven people were arrested and 6.4 kilogrammes of uranium were seized from their possession by the police, in the eastern state of Jharkhand in Bokaro District of India (4th June).
Comments & Analysis: – This is the second case of sale and transportation of uranium in India within a month. Last month, Indian police had seized seven KGs (15.4 pounds) of natural uranium and arrested two men in the western Maharashtra state for “illegally possessing” the highly radioactive substance. A few years ago, in 2016, police had seized almost 9kg (19.8 pounds) of depleted uranium in the Thane area of Maharashtra, India. These incidents of persistent illegal sale and transportation of this dangerous substance speak volumes of criminal negligence of the Indian authorities. Pakistan has expressed grave concern over this spree of proliferation. In a statement, FO Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said the similar incident in Maharashtra last month and other such reports in the past “are a matter of deep concern as they point to lax controls, poor regulatory and enforcement mechanisms, as well as the possible existence of a black market for nuclear materials inside India”.
Pakistanis killed in a hate attack in Canada
Four Pakistani origin Canadians namely Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, and the children’s 74-year-old grandmother were killed after a twenty years old man drove a truck over them in what the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, described as a “terrorist attack, motivated by hatred” (6th June). Their nine-year-old son Fayez, the lone survivor of the attack, is still hospitalized but out of danger. The assailant was a 20-year-old suspect who was arrested at mall seven kilometres from the intersection in London, Ontario where it happened.
Comments & Analysis: – Detective Superintendent Paul Waight told a news conference, “There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,”. It is a dangerous trend that entails grave threats to the Muslims abroad and can have bitter repercussions. Police and LEAs in Pakistan should take stringent measures for the protection of minorities, especially Christians and the churches, to ward off any reaction by the extremists.
Coronavirus Crisis Update
The Province-wise breakup of the total 9,658 active cases and total deaths 554 during this period is as follows:
|Provinces||Total Active Cases||Total Deaths|
|Islamabad Capital Territory||855||06|
Comments & Analysis: – According to the government, ten million people have been vaccinated in Pakistan so far. There is a marked improvement in the situation related to the spread of coronavirus. The walk-in vaccination of over 18 years of age group will start from June 12. To keep the momentum of improvement, the Punjab government has decided to block SIMs of mobie phones of the people not getting vaccinated, so that maximum people could be compelled to get vaccinated. According to Economic Survey 2020-21, Pakistan has suffered economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pakistan’s Security Barometer
Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities. They might resort to more attacks after the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.
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 proactive pre-emptive measures.
Level of Sectarianism & Religious Extremism: Simmering through the society due to unbridled activities of the extremist sectarian and religious elements.
Border Situation: Ceasefire at LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), also largely remained calm.
Health Security: The third wave of Coronavirus seems to be subsiding. Vaccination process is gearing up gradually.
Social Unrest: Rising; The constant rise in electricity, petrol tariffs, medicines and inflation has impacted all segments of 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
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