18th June, 2021
IMPENDING TERRORIST THREAT
As the Afghan Taliban are gaining ground in Afghanistan, the local copycat insurgent organisation, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is trying to make its presence felt through threats and targeted attacks in various cities of Pakistan. Recently it claimed the responsibility of the incident of target killing of two cops in the capital city Islamabad. But their strength to strike effectively has been considerably weakened. For last one year they have adopted the strategy of target killing instead of suicide attacks or gun & grenade attacks
TTP, primarily belonging to tribal areas of Pakistan, not only adopted the name of the Afghan Taliban but also emulates them to pose as a force to be reckoned with in Pakistan. For good some years it incessantly carried out bomb-blasts, gun & grenade attacks and suicide attacks across Pakistan. But they were annihilated in the military operation, ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ in 2014. Many of the insurgents were killed and a large number sneaked into Afghanistan with their families. Now in a ridiculous copycat mode they have posed to be staging a comeback in settled areas of Pakistan in Afghan Taliban style.
TTP has announced a shadow governance set-up by appointing governors in North and South zones to be assisted by deputy governors. A Six-member commission has been set up on the governors of each zone. Both will be answerable to the commission whose members will be appointed by the Central Committee (Shura). The shadow governors appointed by TTP are as follows: Umar Khurasani for Peshawar. Umar hails from Mohmand Agency. He previously served as secretary to Omar Khalid Khorasani (TTP JuA head). Shahid Umar for Bajaur
A former commander of TTP Bajaur. He was considered as Maulana Faqir Mohammad’s successor. He spent 8 years in Bagram Jail just got out a couple of months ago. Mufti Barjan for Malakand. He belongs to Swat district and was self-styled Amir of TTP Swat. Aleem Khan for Bannu. Ustad Aleem Khan is from North Waziristan and was the head of a TTP Shura. Abu Yasir for D.I Khan. Abu Yasir is from South Waziristan and has been a leading member of the Mehsud Taliban.
TTP has also appointed deputy governors, economic & welfare officials, & intelligence chiefs. Practically this restructuring is meaningless as none of these persons can enter these areas openly and are mostly wanted by the local authorities for terrorism and criminal activities. They can be at best the elevated terrorists of a banned terrorist organization. It has also issued a threatening message, signed by its Amir, Abu Mansur, (Noor Wali Mehsud), addressed to the people of Pakistan, especially the Pakhtoons, not to join LEAs and army otherwise TTP would strike at them. The entire gimmick is a ploy to pose as a palpable force vying to take over the control of the country. In fact, TTP has lost manpower, strongholds inside Pakistan and support from inside. As most of them have taken shelter in the neighbouring country, it is not easy for them to sneak into Pakistan through the fence, conduct terrorist activities and go back intact.
The new posturing, howsoever deceptive or fake, is a challenge to the security of the state. Despite their visible debility, in terms of logistics and manpower, their intentions are clear. They want to harm Pakistan but lack the teeth, they once had, to bite it hard. Nevertheless, with the support of the anti-Pakistan countries and forces, TTP has the potential to reignite serious terrorist activities in Pakistan, especially through its accomplices lurking in different corners of the country. Therefore, they should be watched carefully. Besides TTP, Pakistan should be watchful of the al-Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) also called Daesh, which have their foot-prints in the country. Again, they are not strong and well-entrenched here but they can pounce on the opportunity to join hands with local groups and become a serious threat to the country.
The challenge posed by these terrorist groups, especially those operating under the banner of TTP, should be handled in a planned and proactive manner. National Action Pan (NAP) should be reintroduced with vigour. Its 20-points should be prioritized and strategized to have a uniform action across Pakistan. An officially articulated National Counter Terrorism Strategy should be unveiled and put in place. National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) needs to be rejuvenated to play an active role as per its mandate. Intelligence is the main weapon against terrorists. All intelligence agencies, especially Intelligence Bureau IB), Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and provincial agencies like Special Branches, most importantly Counter Terrorism Departments (CTD) must be ready to take the bull by he horns.
TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE
|1.||Police arrested two persons – Rehman Wali and Ashraf Khan, and recovered 50 kg explosive, 2500 detonators, 25 fuses and wire rolls from their car, during a tip-off raid, in Wah Sadar area of Taxila Tehsil, Rawalpindi District (11th June).||—||—||01|
Comments & Analysis: – Recovery of huge quantity of high explosive and detonators clearly indicate plans to carry out sabotage and terrorist activities in Rawalpindi, Islamabad or other areas of Punjab. It is essential to interrogate the arrested culprits thoroughly to unearth the network and foil their nefarious designs.
|1.||One Shafique Khan was killed and another Rashid Ullah injured during a targeted attack by unidentified gunmen in Shaheed Maza Aka Khel area of Darra Adam Khel, Kohat District (11th June).||01||01||—|
|2.||Bashir Rehman Burki a senior advocate was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near the judicial complex, Bannu. He had reportedly no personal enmity with anyone. Local lawyers’ community staged protest over the murder (14th June).||01||—||—|
Comments & Analysis: – KPK remained relatively calm during the period under review.
|1.||Two terrorists (names not disclosed) and a Sepoy Fida Hussain of Frontier Corps (FC) were killed in exchange of fire during an operation in Hulmerg area of Kharan District (11th June).||02||—||—|
|2.||Four Frontier Corps (FC) personnel including Subedar Sardar Ali Khan and Sepoys – Musadaq Hussain, Muhammad Anwar and Awais Khan were martyred in an IED blast at Margat-Quetta Road (13th June).||04||—||—|
|3.||The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) with the help of bomb disposal squad, defused an IED planted in a motorcycle, parked in the main market of Pishin town (13th June).||—||—||—|
|4.||A passerby (name not disclose) was injured as a result of a blast of IED planted in a motorcycle, parked behind a seminary Madrassah Darul- Uloom Sharia in Satellite Town, Quetta. (16th June).||—||01||—|
|5.||Three villagers including Nadir Ali, Abdul Aziz and Kecha Khan were reportedly wounded critically due to hitting an antipersonnel mine planted in village Abbas Khan Khoso Goth. near Sohbatpur (16th June).||—||03||—|
Comments & Analysis: – Terrorists are presistanly targeting FC soldiers in Balochistan. Intelligence agencies should play active role to unearth the networks of terrorists operating in this area. Closer coordination between the intelligence agencies and LEAs is required to meet this challenge. Last year 20 persons including the prayer leader and a police officer were killed and 40 others injured in a terrorist attack on Madrassah Darul- Uloom Sharia.
Curious Case of Indian spy Kulbhushan
The National Assembly of Pakistan reportedly passed a bill to provide the right of appeal to the convicted Indian terrorist cum spy, Kulbhushan Jadhav. The opposition lawmakers kicked up a din as they demanded adequate time to read all the bills, including this one (11th June).
Comments & Analysis: – The bill regarding the grant of right to convicted Kulbhushan Jadhav for right of review petition against his conviction will facilitate both the convict and the government to proceed further in to matter in accordance with the judgement passed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) earlier. A hearing in this connection is already pending in the Islamabad High Court. The opposition and the analysts accused the government of some hidden agenda behind the hurriedly passed bill.
100 Pakistanis living illegally in Iran were deported via Taftan border
Irani authorities handed over 100 Pakistanis, living illegally in various Irani cities, to Levies at Taftan border check post, Chagai District. Out of them, 74 belong to Punjab, 08 KPK, 10 Sindh, 04 Balochistan and 02 Azad Kashmir. They were detained by FIA for further investigations (13th June).
Comments & Analysis: A JIT should be formed to ascertain whether these deportees were simple economic migrants or had been part of Zainebiyoun and Fatemiyoun brigades that have been fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Six illegal schools teaching foreign curriculum sealed in Quetta
The local authorities sealed six foreign-funded and illegal schools in Karani road and Hazara town, Quetta which were established without approval from the concerned education department. The students of these schools have to go to Iran for further education. Four more such schools were detected and an inquiry was underway against them (12th June).
Comments & Analysis: –Such unauthorised schools with foreign curriculum and funding become centres for promoting sponsored approach towards religion/faith, politics and other issues gradually for the immature minds of the children. Madrassahs have long been funded in this manner which resulted in religious extremism and sectarianism in Pakistan. This propensity must be checked strictly.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while addressing the Pak-Afghan bilateral dialogues in Islamabad, clarified that Pakistan will not interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and wanted to partner with Afghanistan with no so-called strategic depth and bases to the US to counter-terrorism. He urged the Afghan Government leadership and the Taliban to show flexibility by softening their respective stance to move forward with the peace process for agreed settlement (13th & 14th June)
Comments & Analysis: – Pakistan has paid a heavy cost to learn this lesson. Precious lives of more than 80 thousand security personnel and citizens perished as a result of Afghan. Furthermore, protracted hosting of 03 million Afghan refugees is a telling strain on its limited resources. The advent of Kalashnikov and heroin culture in Pakistan is also an ugly spill-over of Afghan conflict. The Foreign Minister rightly said that Pakistan would not take responsibility if it was blamed for deteriorating Afghanistan.
A bus carrying pilgrims, coming back from a religious festival, skidded off the road into a ditch killing at least 20 passengers and leaving 10 others critically injured in the Karkh area of Khuzdar District (11th June).
Comments & Analysis: – The bus was overloaded, and passengers were even travelling on the roof of the bus. In the past 18 months, there have been more than 12,600 traffic accidents in Balochistan. According to the Medical Emergency Response Centers, Balochistan, more than 275 people were killed while 16,000 were injured in reported accidents on Balochistan’s major highways since October, 2019 with 20 traffic accidents taking place every day. The situation needs attention of the government and the concerned authorities to devise strategy to overcome this trend.
Another Train derailment
Yousuf wala cargo train derailed near Kotri (17th June). Luckily there was no loss of life but it caused damage to rolling stock and infrastructure.
Comments & Analysis: – Pakistan Railways can be salvaged with nothing less than a herculean effort on war footing to improve the condition of the rolling stock and tracks to avoid derailments and losses of precious lives.
IHC dismisses bail plea of suspected spy
The Islamabad High Court dismissed the post-arrest bail petition of Syed Qalb e Abbas, a senior official working on deputation at the Chinese Desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a case pertaining to leaking sensitive information to foreign intelligence agencies (12th June).
Comments & Analysis: – The accused, Syed Qalb E Abbas, a BS-18 official of the Ministry of Planning and Development, had been working as deputy director of the China Division on deputation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for nearly three years. According to an FIR registered against him in connection with the official secret Act and section 409 of PPC, he frequently met diplomats and officials of foreign intelligence agencies “to deliver secret information/documents prejudicial to the safety and interests of the state. It is learnt the suspect was part of an organised network working for foreign intelligence.
COAS visited Sialkot and Kotli
Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), visited Sialkot and Kotli to witness the conclusive sessions of corps level war games under defensive cycle in conventional battlefield environments and Taskheer-e-Jabal containing offensive manoeuvrings. He lauded professional capabilities and operational preparedness of the troops at the two sites. Earlier on reaching Sialkot and Kotli, he was received by Lt Gen. Asim Munir and Lt Gen. Azhar Abbas respectively (12th June).
CJCSC visited Jordan and Egypt
Gen. Nadeem Raza Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC), during his official trip to Jordan, called on Maj Gen. Yousef Ahmed Al-Hannity, Chairman Acting Chief of Staff Jordan and discussed matters of mutual interest and defence cooperation between the two countries. He also visited King Abdullah-11 Officers Command Training Center (12th June). The CJCSC during his trip to Egypt called on its president Gen. (r) Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and talked on matters of mutual interest and defence cooperation between the two brotherly countries (15th June).
Steel Cutting Ceremony of a ship for Pak Navy
The Steel Cutting Ceremony of 4th Milgem class Corvette (Ship) to be manufactured with the cooperation of Turkey, was held in Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS&EW) where Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi was the chief guest. Under agreement with Turkey, out of the four ships of this class, two each were to be built at Istanbul and Karachi, respectively (15th June).
Comments & Analysis: The state-of-the-art modern ship equipped with the latest weaponry and tracking system will enhance the defence capabilities and striking power of Pakistan Navy.
Four PAF Officers promoted to the Rank of Air Vice Martial
Four officers of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Shahid Mansoor Jehangir, Kashif Qamar, Asim Rashid Malik and Syed Hassan Kashif to the Rank of Air Vice Martial. These officers have vast experience of serving on different posts with professional capabilities at their credit (15th June).
78th Formation Commanders Conference Held at GHQ
The two days long 78th Formation Commander Conference was held at GHQ, Rawalpindi under Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa; attended by the corps commanders, principal staff officers and all formation commanders. The forum was briefed about the internal security situation, geo-strategic environment in the region and own strategy to deal the threats; the situation on eastern border, working boundary and IIOJK and Pakistani forces operational preparedness to meet any challenge; various steps for uplifts of merged tribal Districts in KPK and socio-economic development in Balochistan, stringent measures for safeguarding border with Afghanistan and Pakistan’s efforts for peace process in Afghanistan (15th June).
Clashes between rival groups on land disputes in ex- tribal areas
One person lost his life as two rival tribes clashed over a land dispute in Saraiki village in Mir Ali tehsil in North Waziristan tribal District by using light and heavy weapons against each other (12th June).
Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that the main reason behind the unending land disputes in merged districts is unavailability of land record. The government must introduce a transparent system and introduce land reformers to end these disputes by exercising the writ of the civil administration.
Institute Director shot dead in Karachi
Dr. Zahid Ali Syed a highly educated academician, Director of Usman Institute of technology was gunned down by unidentified armed motorcyclist near Stadium Road, Karachi.
Comments & Analysis: Police termed it a murder during the robbery attempt rather than targeted killing (11th June). The case needs deeper probe.
Registration of case against cleric to instigate people to attack Malalah
Police arrested Mufti Sardar Ali Haqqani from Darra Pezu Town of Lakki Marwat District, for delivering hate speech against the Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai over her statement on the institution of marriage and instigated people against her (11th June).
Comments & Analysis: People of Pakistan gave a mixed reaction to Malalah’s said statement which appeared in the ‘Vogue’ magazine. Some considered this statement just a point of view and there wasn’t anything sacrilegious about it. Many reacted sharply over it, considering it approval to live-in without proper marriage bond, which they termed against ‘sharia’ and the culture of the eastern society. Many people reacted without reading the interview and relied on social media news.
Police Constable Killed and three others hurt in Kacha area, Sindh
A police constable Sajjad Khaskheli was killed and his three teammates were injured during an ambush by the gang of dacoits on a police patrol van on Indus Highway, near riverian Kacha area, Kashmore District.
Comments & Analysis: This incident has created doubts about the success of recent police operations conducted against these elements in the Kacha areas of three Districts in Sindh (15th June).
Crime Details 11/06/2021 to 18/06/2021
|Murders||(Gujrat-1, Muzaffargarh-1, Lahore-1, Multan-1, Sahiwal-4, Sahiwal (Wah Saddar)-1, Muzaffargarh-1, Sahiwal-1, Chitral-3, Lahore (Shahdara)-1, Multan-1, Taxila-1, Faisalabad-2) = 19||(Dera Ismail Khan-3, Mansehra-3, Swabi-3, Tank-2, Abbottabad-1) = 12||(Karachi-1, Hyderabad-1, Karachi-1, Karachi-1, Karachi-1, Mithi-5) = 10||(Islamabad-2, Islamabad-1, Islamabad-3) = 06||(Khuzdar-33, Quetta-2, Quetta-4, Quetta-2) = 41||88|
|Robberies/ Dacoits||(Rawalpindi-2) = 02||—||(Hyderabad-1) = 01||—||—||03|
|Gang Rape||(Multan-2, Rawalpindi-1, Muzaffargarh-1) = 04||—||—||—||—||04|
|Kidnapping||(Lahore-1) = 01||—||—||—||—||01|
|Injured||(Sahiwal-2, Sahiwal (Wah Saddar)-1, Taxila-14, Sahiwal-3, Faisalabad-1, Rawalpindi-1) = 22||(Mansehra-2, Swabi-5, Tank-3) = 10||—||(Islamabad-2) = 02||(Khuzdar-45, Quetta-1) = 46||80|
|Police encounter||(Lahore-1, Multan-1, Sahiwal-1, Bahawalnagar-1) = 04||—||—||—||—||04|
Source: Media & National dailies
Pakistan and Ukraine Defence Cooperation
Reported from Kyiv
Ukraine is emerging as a notable player in global arms market. A four-day 12th international Aviation and Space Salon ‘Aviasvit – 21’ and 17th International Exhibition Arms and Security 2021 is scheduled from 15 – 18 June in Kyiv. The Expo testifies to this fact. Despite the pandemic related restrictions and difficulties related to international travel, nineteen countries and around three hundred Ukrainian and international companies are participating in the exhibition.
Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) has set up a pavilion and many delegates have travelled to Kyiv where the weather is just warming to the liking of people of Kyiv. A historic city where east meets west and the city has plenty to offer to the COVlD stricken delegates who have travelled to Ukraine.
Pakistan and Ukraine have a long history of defence cooperation marked initially by sale of T80UD tanks to Pakistan. The two countries are cooperating on producing Pakistan’s Al Khalid tank and are exploring the prospects for jointly building a modern tank for the future battlefield. The cooperation between the two countries extends to all three services and civil industries of the two countries. In the past Ukraine faced difficulties in keeping up with the contracts but now with the arrival of the new teams led by Yuriy Husyev in Ukroboronprom and Vadym Nozdria in Ukerspecexport under the overall leadership of Oleh Urusky, Ukraine has turned the corner and now stands for G2G Interface imbued by the spirit of cooperation for undertaking Joint Ventures, Joint Research and Development. Pakistan’s newly appointed ambassador to Ukraine, Maj.Gen ® Noel. I.Khokhar is playing an active role in enhancing the cooperation between both the countries.
Despite complete ceasefire on LOC, the Indian Chief of Defence Staff warned Pakistan that the Indian armed forces were ready to retaliate in a befitting manner if ceasefire was violated (11th June). On the other hand, the Indian security forces continued their fake anti-militancy drive in the valley (15th June). During exchange of fire with the freedom fighters, two police officials and two civilians were killed and three others wounded in Sopore town (11th June).
Comments & Analysis: – Indian Chief of Defence Staff keeps hurling threats at China and Pakistan despite peace on the borders. This approach can be counterproductive as sour statements would develop bitterness in the opposing forces that could lead to skirmishes at LoC and LAC.
He is doing it on purpose as the Indian Government is likely to invite the BJP, Congress, National Conference headed by Farooq Abdullah, PDP Chairperson Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari and People’s Conference’s Sajad Lone for discussion in the coming weeks for implementing phase-2 of the Jammu & Kashmir annexation agenda. IIOJK is a disputed territory under UNO Security Council declaration and not internal issue of the Indian Government and politics. The record of the local Kashmiri leaders particularly Farooq Abdullah and Sajad Lone for betrayal to Kashmiri people for freedom by compromising with the Indian Government in past is well known. Pakistan and should keep an eye on the development and keep inform the UNO and world to expose the Indian design.
The situation remained calm on LAC during the period under review. India has reportedly shifted its two striking corps out of three (assault troops) from Western border with Pakistan to Northern and Eastern border with China along LAC.Indian Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat stated that China was a bigger security threat to India than Pakistan (11th June).
Comments & Analysis: – Palpable mistrust exists between India and China which is evident from the harsh statement given by Indian Chief of Defence. India is beefing up its strength in Ladakh. It is learnt that 17 new fast boats have also been inducted in Indian army’s forward line troops for the security patrolling in Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh.
During the period under review 248 security forces/pro-govt-militias, 220 Taliban and other militants and 61 civilians were killed while 55 others were injured Violence, targeted killings, bomb/IED attacks and armed clashes between security forces and Taliban continued in 80 Districts across the country, particularly in Kabul, Baghlan, Takhar, Badakhshan, Paghman, Ghor, Lashkargah, Herat, Laghman, Badghis, Faryab, Nangarhar, Kunduz Provinces.
During the period under review 248 security forces/pro-govt-militias, 220 Taliban and other militants and 61 civilians were killed while 55 others were injured. Taliban reportedly captured more Districts, bringing the total to 33 districts including Balkh, Ishkamish, Tolak, Sar-e-Pul Sozma Qala, Ali Abad, Arghandab, Saghar and J. Lash Jawin. Afghan security forces claimed to have recaptured the Daulatabad and Khanabad Districts of Kunduz Province (16th June).
The European Community envoy in Afghanistan urged Afghan Government and Taliban to expedite the peace talks as time was running out. He also requested Pakistan for putting more leverage on Taliban for a flexible approach towards starting peace talks. Reportedly a meeting between Taliban and Afghan Government team also took place at Doha after several days if interval (16th June).
Turkey announced to keep its troops in Afghanistan to protect the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, the main entry and exit route for western diplomats and humanitarian workers subject to provision of financial, political and logistical support by NATO after withdrawal of US and NATO troops. In sharp reaction, tThe Taliban have warned Turkey to abstain from using its forces for the protection of Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, which is against the spirit of US-Taliban Accord (13th June).
Ghotki Train Accident-Part 2
Pakistan Railways have clarified that ample material was provided to the Divisional Superintendent Sukkur Division for the upkeep of the railway track. DISCLOSURE had run a sequel on Ghotki Rail accident on 16th June mentioning apprehension of the Divisional Superintendent Sukkur over the health of the track in his jurisdiction. In his letter dated 28th May 2021 it was stated that 55-Kms of track required destressing, replacement of old RN/type fittings & fastenings, deep screening of 2.07 Kms, supply of ballast, supply of wooden sleepers etc. The Chief Engineer Pakistan Railways HQ responded on 4th June (three days prior to the Ghotki accident) that all demands were met much before the accident and ‘maximum resources were made available for Sukkur Division for its judicious and optimum utilization for safe train operation.’
Coronavirus Crisis Update
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 9,490 from 11th June to 18th June, 2021 (Friday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.
The Province-wise breakup of the total 7,863 active cases and total deaths 337 during this period is as follows:
|Provinces||Total Active Cases||Total Deaths|
|Islamabad Capital Territory||1,074||04|
Comments & Analysis: – Last week total number of confirmed cases was 8729 and total number of deaths was 482. This week it is 7863 and 337 respectively. There is conspicuous declining trend in the coronavirus cases and deaths.
Pakistan’s Security Barometer
Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities in tribal areas, some parts of KPK and major cities of Pakistan.
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 unchecked activities of the extremist sectarian and religious elements. TLP is being tackled with iron hand.
Border Situation: Ceasefire at LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), also largely remained calm.
Health Security: The third wave of Coronavirus is gradually petering out. Vaccination, though quite slow, and rising Celsius seem to have made the difference.
Social Unrest: Rising; primarily due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest coupled with the situation caused by COVID-19. 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.
Editor: Dr.Naveed Elahi
Published by Centre for Peace & Security Research, Lahore
Note: The Security Brief is based on open-source media reports