The Security Brief

Vol. 8-Issue No 68

16th July, 2021

Editorial

Post-US Withdrawal Scenario-Pakistan’s Strategy

Pakistan doesn’t have an enviable record of post-operation care in Afghanistan related violent developments. The participation in Afghan jehad against the erstwhile USSR brought glaring ills to Pakistan. The 3 million plus Afghan refugees, Kalashnikov and heroin shattered the serenity of society. Internally, a mushroom growth of madrassahs, mostly allowed to support the Afghan jehad, became hub of sectarianism and extremism. Successive governments remained ambivalent about the policies regarding these issues whereas the corrupt elements and mafias made hay while the sun shone. The Afghan refugees were allowed to spread all over Pakistan and live in the cities, opposed to Iran where the refugees were kept in the camps away from the cities. These elements facilitated free smuggling of arms like Klashnikovs and drugs like heroine into Pakistan. The extremist groups took full advantage of the weapons and drugs business. Criminals also greatly benefited from it. Thus, Pakistan suffered enormously due to this persistent negligence.

Now Afghanistan is again facing a dangerous phase of violence after the withdrawal of the US and NATO forces. As its immediate neighbor, once again Pakistan is likely to bear the brunt of instability in Afghanistan. Taliban are battling with the Ashraf Ghani forces in many districts of several provinces of Afghanistan. It is said that about 180 out of 400 something districts have been captured by the Taliban. Pakistan has vowed to stay away from this fire lest it might burn the fingers. However, President Ashraf Ghani is blaming Pakistan for it, to scapegoat it for the failures. Prime Minister Imran Khan rightly retaliated to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s concocted claims about Pakistan’s “negative role” in the Afghan peace process, adding that it was “unfair” to blame the country for the situation in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the terrorist groups, most importantly, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates are trying to take benefit of the situation by enhancing their activities in urban centres of Pakistan, particularly in KP and Balochistan. Even Lahore faced a bomb-blast, which was attributed to Indian intelligence agency RAW, but was carried out by the persons linked to TTP. In Balochistan, a number of personnel of Frontier Constabulary (FC) and Police have been targeted. Only two days ago a bus carrying Chinese engineers was targeted at Baseen, Upper Kohistan, KPK. These activities are likely to crescendo in the days to come.

Pakistan must take multi- pronged defensive measures to counter internal violence and external influence, both intertwined. As far Afghanistan is concerned, Pakistan should not support any of the warring factions. It should remain neutral and facilitate the intra-Afghan peace process. It should restrict its role to extend help to Afghanistan, in the fields of health, education and food. People from Jalalabad come to Peshawar to get medical treatment. Pakistan can open a hospital there and run it as per the desires of the locals. Similar steps can be taken in Qandahar and Kabul. Muhammad Ali Jinnah hospital is already operating in Kabul. There is likely to be considerable shortage of food, medicines and clothes in the rural areas of Afghanistan, in the days to come. Pakistan should extend helping hand to the neighbours but without comprising on the rule of neutrality.

The   Afghan Taliban has taken control of the several land crossing routes with the neighbouring countries including Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan at Chaman-Spin Boldak Check Post. Both Chaman and Torkham border posts have already been closed by the Pakistan for all type of traffic. Pakistan should take steps to normalize the tension at the border however should not close it sine die. A dedicated border force should be deployed to guard the border along the fence all along the border.

The people of merged tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, the capital city of Peshawar in KPK and Quetta, Loralai and Zhob in Balochistan are particularly concerned about the developing situation. They expect increase in crime and terrorism. Though the law enforcement agencies seem to be fully cognizant of the situation and they have stepped up preparations to meet any challenging situation, the emphasis should be on intelligence agencies to forewarn and forearm the LEAs. The networks and sleeper cells of the terrorists should be located and smashed before they strike. Miscreants should be tracked, trailed and tackled. The laws should be amended to quicken the trials of such terrorists. Due process of law should be adhered to in letter and spirit.

 During the previous regime of Taliban, Pakistan was one of the three countries that recognized the Taliban government. But when the time came, the Taliban refused to pay heed to the government of Pakistan. It might be repeated again. Pakistan should not become so close to the Taliban to be taken for granted. But the Taliban must have learnt their relations. They should avoid being oblivious of international obligations and principles. They should honour the borders of Pakistan and convince the TTP elements to avoid any terrorist activity in Pakistan.  If TTP carries out such activities Pakistan should be ready to handle them properly.

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM-AT A GLANCE

Sindh

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.The police and security agencies in a joint operation arrested a suspected terrorist Remaish Kumar from Bhitaiabad near Karachi airport. He was associated with the defunct Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) Shafi Burfat group. He is an expert in making explosive devices, master minded 38 cracker attacks between 2010 to 2015/remained involved in anti-state activities in different parts of Sindh (13th July).  01

Comments & Analysis: – There is a need for constant vigilance and intelligence work in Sindh to identify the networks and sleeper cells of terrorists and separatists.

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Police arrested three persons (names not disclosed) and recovered five AK-47 automatic rifles, 21 pistols and 70 magazines from their car at Muslimabad checkpost on Indus Highway in Kohat District. The accused were coming from Dera Adam Khel (10th July).03
2.Three police personnel were injured when their mobile van hit a roadside IED, planted by unidentified terrorists in Ghorawal area of Babu District (11th July).03
3.Miscreants threw hand grenade in a girls school in Haider Khel area of North Waziristan. Luckily nobody was killed or injured (12th July)   
4.Three terrorists (name not disclosed) were killed while two security officials named Capt. Basit and Capt. Hazarat Bilal embraced martyrdom during an operation in Zewa area in Kurram tribal District (13th July). 05
5.Nine Chinese engineers and three Pakistanis including two Pakistani soldiers travelling in a bus were reportedly killed and several others injured when it plunged in to a ravine as result of IED blast in Upper Kohistan area. The bus was carrying number of Chinese engineers, Pakistani construction workers and security personnel on its way to Dasu Dam Hydro Electric Project in Hazara region (14th July).12

Comments & Analysis: –Last year six army soldiers, including a captain, were killed by a roadside bomb near Razmak, in North Waziristan in Oct 2020. TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack. It seems TTP or IS are the culprits of the Kohistan incident. TTP terrorists are using IEDs and landmines quite frequently for last more than one and a half year. Gun and grenade attacks and suicide attacks have been minimal.

An in-depth inquiry must be carried out to ascertain the explosive used in this attack. There are currently more than 600 different types of landmines, as well as many improvised mines, grouped into two broad categories: Anti-Personnel (AP) mines and Anti-Vehicle (AV) mines, also commonly referred to as Anti-Tank mines. An IED is a manually placed explosive device, normally homemade and adapted in some way to kill, injure, damage property or create terror. IEDs were the leading cause of US combat deaths in Iraq. It means our terrorists have learnt the techniques and strategies from those who have experience in this sort of asymmetrical war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What measures were adopted by the intelligence agencies and LEAs to counter the new strategy of the terrorists? It should not be about how the enemy is using landmines here, but rather, how should we fortify our defence. There are technologies to detect IEDs, mines and explosives but they are very expensive and not very effective. The best and economical approach is to reach the bomb-makers. They should be detected and disposed off with due process of law

Chinese Officials are unhappy over this incident and have  expressed ‘Anger” & “Exasperation ” in this regard. They feel that enough security arrangements were not made to protect.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhau Lijian reportedly has condemned the incident, asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate and ensure security of Chinese personnel working on various projects. The Dasu project is a part of CPEC being completed with the 65-billion-dollar investment under China’s Belt & Road Initiative.  

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.A tribal elder Mir Khalid Shahwani was shotdead by unidentified motorcyclists near Perangabad area of Mastung District. In second incident elder Haji Bashir Ahmed Khurd was shotdead by unidentified armed motorcyclists during an attack vehicle near Terahmal area Dasht tehsil, Mastung District. Investigations are under progress whether the said two incidents are a part of terrorism or tribal enmity (13th July).02
2.Capt. Affan Masoo Khan embraced martyrdom in an IED blast at Pasni, Balochistan (14th July)01

Comments & Analysis: – The terrorist groups learn from other groups and adopt their modus operandi. Hundreds of Maliks and tribal elders have been killed by the terrorists during the last decade. The militants in Balochistan seem to be adopting the same tactics to shatter the social fiber and inculcate fear among the people. The military and security strategists should devise methods to counter mines and IED attacks which are favourite modus operandi of the terrorists for the last more than a year.

OBITUARY

President Mamnoon Hussain dies

Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain. Courtesy AFP PHOTO/ Arif ALI (Photo by Arif Ali / AFP)

Mamnoon Hussain, the former President of Pakistan (2013-2018) – a fatherly figure, died on 14th July, in a hospital in Karachi. He was 80. Earlier he was Governor Sindh till the military coup of Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 1999. He was loyalist of PML(N) and remained steadfast during tough days of military rule. He was known to be a gentle and kind person who avoided to take extreme positions. During five years in the President office, he remained uncontroversial. He always kept the interest of the country above all. He was well-educated as he did his MBA from the prestigious IBA Karachi.

All those who served with him, including me, feel deeply saddened about him leaving. We cherish the days spent with him and will always remember his politeness and compassion. His grace and simplicity endeared him to all those who met him. He was religious but an open-minded person. During a meeting with ulema and religious scholars from all sects, he made them offer prayers led by one imam. He abhorred sectarianism and extremism.

He was polite but firm. He did not bow before tyranny and never switched loyalties. The office of President had become infamous for fickle loyalties that led to fall of Prime Ministers in the past. He was the one who completed his tenure with aplomb and without compromising on his principles and values. He upheld the norms of parliamentary democracy

After the end of his tenure in 2018, he returned to Karachi and lived happily with his wife and sons. He was a family man who nurtured his off-springs in a virtuous manner.

LEGISLATIONS/PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS

Senate passes landmark bill criminalising torture, deaths in custody

The Senate of Pakistan unanimously passed a landmark bill, criminalizing torture and custodial deaths. The torture and custodial death prevention and punishment bill, moved by the PPP parliamentary leader in the house, was also welcomed by the treasury benches, indicating that it would sail through the National Assembly to become an act of the parliament after assent by the President (12th July).

Comments & Analysis: – The bill prescribes punishment with imprisonment for a term not less than three years, which may extend to 10 years, and with fine, which may extend to Rs/- 02 million, to those who commit, abet or conspire to commit torture. The fine, if recovered, shall be paid to the legal heirs of the victim or to the victim as the case may be and if it is not recovered, additional imprisonment of five years may be extended. Likewise, whoever commits, abets or conspires to commit the offence of custodial death or custodial sexual violence shall be punished with imprisonment for life and with fine, which may extend to Rs/- 03 million.

Under the bill no person shall be detained in order to extract information regarding the whereabouts of a person accused of an offence or to obtain evidence from such person. It also prohibits a male taking or holding in custody a female. The bill makes it clear that any statement which appears to have been obtained as a result of torture, shall be inadmissible, and shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceeding, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on 13th July, hailed the passage of the bill by the Senate.

REGIONAL/ETHNICITY/LINGUISTICS

JSQM rally demands halt to ‘anti-Sindh’ projects, release of workers

The Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) organised a big rally, joined by caravans of workers from other cities at Jinnah Bagh, Larkana under Dr. Niaz Kalani, Sarfraz Memon, Sariyo, Nayab Sarkar Sindhi and others against what they described as ‘anti-Sindh’ projects and an ‘acute shortage’ of irrigation water in Sindh. They carried banners, placards and raised slogans against the Sindh Government and Bahria Town Karachi also. The speakers during their address to the participants, criticized on usual counts and accused Punjab for stealing water whereas the Sindh Government was playing a silent spectator and rejected Zulfikarabad and Bahria Town, Karachi (BTK) projects for settling outsiders in Sindh. Added that under the pretext of housing scheme, BTK was out to dismantle old villages and dislodging indigenous people which could not be tolerated. He added that the presence of 700,000 Afghans in Sindh was a threat to the peace. They demanded immediate release of their workers and withdrawal of cases against them and announced to hold another such rally on 18th July at Nawabshah (10th July).

Comments & Analysis: – According to Dr. Kalani’s accusations, the peaceful protesters at BTK project were tortured by police besides arrests of JSQM Chairman Sanan Khan Qureshi, Zain Shah alongwith 250 workers on terrorism charges. There has been increase in protests and rallies in Karachi and other cities of Sindh to press their demands by the Sindhi nationalists’ organisations including JSQM. In these rallies, often a few extremists and miscreants raise anti- Pakistan slogans. A section of critics is of the view such Sindhi nationalist organisations and defunct Sindhu Desh Liberation Arm and other groups are two sides of the same coin supported by the Indian intelligence RAW on political and militancy fronts. There is need to keep strict eye on the activities of miscreants responsible for spreading subversion by the provincial and Federal Government on one side and on the other to resolve genuine issues raised by the nationalists amicably at political level

SECTARIAN/MINORITIES

Proposals of Dr. Shoaib Suddle Commission for minority rights

A one-man commission chaired by Dr. Shoaib Suddle, PSP (retd), held a meeting at Lahore to review the implementation of minority rights judgement of the Supreme Court. The reviewed cases of forced conversion, forced marriages and status of encroachment of minority properties, development of appropriate curricula free of any hate material, actions taken on hate speeches on social media and other violation of minority rights. It has also reportedly decided to establish a Special Police Unit for the protection of the worship places of the minorities and ensure filling of the job vacancies on minority quota (10th July).

Tribes in Khyber District agree to ceasefire

Maroof Khel and Meerkat Khel, the two embattled sub-tribes of Aka Khel in Bara tehsil of Khyber District over the ownership dispute of a large barren land, agreed to a ceasefire after three weeks of tense situation when armed men from both the sides had taken positions against each other (10th July).

Comments & Analysis: – Clashes on property disputes on individual, family and tribal level are increasing in merged tribal Districts. The conventional jirga system represented by “elders”, which was quite an effective tool, needs to be introduced as per new law to resolve ticklish matters as per disposition and centuries old tribal culture of these areas.

Text Book Board Punjab confiscates books with Malala’s photo

The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) confiscated the social studies book for grade 7 published by the Oxford University Press (OUP) for printing the picture of Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousufzai (12 June).

Pictures of some important personalities had been published on page 33 of the book that included Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, national poet Allama Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Liaqat Ali Khan, legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Nishan-i-Haider recipient Maj Aziz Bhatti Shaheed and activist Malala Yousufzai.

It is reported that police were conducting raids on shops across the city, at the behest of PCBT to confiscate copies of the book for publishing Malala’s picture besides that of Aziz Bhatti.

Comments & Analysis:   Reliable sources informed that the action was initiated on the directions of Punjab Education Minister, Murad Rass. What moved or motivated him to issue such directions is best known to him. It is being said that PCTB had not approved it for publishing it in 2019. PCTB spokesman also claimed that the book was confiscated for being published without an NOC.

Another reason for confiscation is being given that Malala’s picture was placed in juxtaposition with other established heroes, civil and military, on the same page, therefore it was considered inappropriate to be marketed.

This is a fact that a strong lobby is operating against Malala ever since she was shot in the face by the terrorists. A sustained smear campaign has followed her since then. It became more virulent after prestigious Nobel prize was conferred upon her. Instead of celebrating the honour given to a young Pakistani girl, she was incessantly stigmatised and scandalised by certain quarters.

Her interview in Vogue further earned her a fair amount of flak for openly speaking her mind on alternative arrangement of nuptial knots, just a loud thinking by her. PCTB raid is a brazen extension of her bashing streak, continuing since long.

TRIBAL DISTRICTS

Repatriation of displaced families of Tirah begins in Khyber tribal District

After a wait of nine years, the repatriation of displaced persons of Tirah-Rajgal from Kakakhel tribe in Khyber tribal District took place. The first group of 40 displaced families from Rajgal left for their native villages in Tirah. The leaders of Jamrud Political Alliance and tribal elders were present on the occasion when the displaced families left for their native villages. The tribal elders said while talking to media persons that the displaced families were now shifting to Zar Manzra, Mehrban Kili, in Tirah-Rajgal, which has been declared clear by the security forces. The leaders of Jamrud Political Alliance led the convoy of the displaced families back home (10th July).

Comments & Analysis: – The tribal elders hailed the sacrifices of the security forces for clearing the area from the menace of militancy. They said the returning families were going home despite knowing that they might have to face difficulties in this regard. The people of area appealed governmental bodies including provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to release funds for their rehabilitation without delay and welfare organizations to come to their financial and infatuate support as they need it the most at this critical time and looked very happy over returning to their homes for starting normal life. It is the time that government should hasten the return of other displaced families barring those involved in terrorism.

SECURITY

KP govt takes back security from 29 politicians, VIPs

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ((KPK) government has taken back police security from 29 political personalities and VIPs, including former chief ministers like chief minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti, former interior minister and QWP Chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan, ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar, PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam, PTI MNA Anwar Taj, Senator Ayub Afridi, PTI MPA Somi Falak Naz, former DG NAB KP Nasir Farooq Awan, Nawab of Dir Nawabzada Ameer Khan, eminent doctor Naeem and Dr Iftikhar (12th July).

Comments & Analysis: – This step earned sharp reaction from the concerned quarters who termed this step a callous approach to jeopardise the lives of the opponents. Ameer Haider Hoti said the KP government was trying to pressurize the ANP leadership by taking back security. He said the government will be responsible if anything happens to him. Some critics are also of the view that the situation in KP may deteriorate due to uncertain law and order in neighbouring Afghanistan. He said the recent attack on police post in Dir and pro-Afghan Taliban rally in Peshawar must be an eye opener. He said calling back security of important political leaders despite knowing that they might be on the hit list of terrorists tantamount to exposing them to danger.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Palestinian Ambassador visits Islamabad Chamber of Commerce

Palestinian Ambassador Ahmed Ameen Rabaie along with his team visited the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and met it’s president Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan and other office bearers to discuss ways to boost bilateral trade. Ambassador Rabaie said Pakistan and Palestine should focus on further improving bilateral trade to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and create new opportunities of progress and prosperity for their people. He said Pakistan and Palestine should promote business linkages between their private sectors to explore all untapped areas of mutual cooperation. He thanked people and Government of Pakistan for extending their support in the recent Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians in Gaza. The President ICCI said that it is already in touch with the Palestine Business Association (PBA) to encourage direct contacts between the two countries for promotion of business (11th July).

Comments & Analysis: – Pakistani people has special affiliation with Palestine due to “Qibla-e -Awal” and other sacred places out of the Islamic brotherhood. There are opportunities for both countries to expand existing political cooperation to the economy, agriculture, banking, health, education, social and cultural sectors.

Pakistan, Tajikistan to strengthen economic ties

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Tajik counterpart Sirojiddin Muhriddin on the sideline of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council (SCO) at Dushanbe, expressed commitment to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries in the areas of economy, trade and people-to-people relations in line with the vision of their leaderships. He also discussed global and regional scenario including security situation and peace process in Afghanistan (11th July).

Comments & Analysis: – Tajik President Emomali Rahmon recently visited Pakistan which opened door to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. Both Russia and India are maintaing their air bases in Tajikistan and have recently deployed 20,000 troops on the Afghanistan border after Taliban captured Sherkhan port in Badakhshan Province and 1000 Afghan security troops fled to Tajikistan in a bid to escape Taliban onslaught.

PM visits Uzbekistan

PM Imran Khan reached Uzbekistan on a two day visit. He and the Uzbek President discussed the political situation in Afghanistan in detail.It is expected the visit would open up new avenues of trade and business. Uzbekistan, Pakistan joint declaration calls for strategic partnership.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER- At a Glance

Sloganeering in favour of Taliban in Peshawar

A video showing some people carrying flags of “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and chanting slogans in favour of Afghan Taliban after reportedly attending a funeral on the main University Road, near Hayatabad Peshawar, went viral on the social media. The police formed teams for inquiry and to identify the persons who were chanting slogans in favour of the Taliban (10th July).

 Comments & Analysis: –The government of KPK and other provinces must remain very vigilant to keep an eye on the extremists and miscreants who could take advantage of the changing scenario in the neighbourhood. The local terrorists, TTP and its affiliated groups, can stage such activities, in the garb of general public. The IG said that police was investigating the incident to know the factual position.

It is learnt that the “funeral” of Maulana Abdul Rasheed a member of Afghan Taliban, who died in Afghanistan was held in Peshawar. According to Faridullah Khan a senior journalist and expert of Afghan affairs, there is no harm in peaceful rally in support of Afghan Taliban if it did not harm security and security institutions. The KP police chief Moazzam Jah said that the police was prepared for any kind of fall-out of bitter developments brewing across the border in Afghanistan, on KPK and Pakistan.       

Islamabad sexual harassment case: several arrested

Islamabad police picked up several persons in connection with the investigations of “couple harassment case” in which the main suspect Mirza Usman Abrar, owner of Autoland Car Showroom, and four other persons were already in custody. These suspects were spotted in videos or photos recovered from the cell phones and laptops of the five arrested men (11th July) A case had been registered in the Golra police station, Islamabad, under section 354-A, 506, 377-B and 509 PPC.

Islamabad Police DIG Afzal Kausar informed that the following sections of the Pakistan Penal Code have been added to the FIR registered against Usman Mirza: 375 (rape), 384 (extortion), 342 (wrongful confinement), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 395 (dacoity), 496-A (enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a woman),377-B (sexual abuse). The victim man and the woman recorded their statements separately under Section 161 of the Criminal Code.

Comments & Analysis: – People were aghast over the brutal highhandedness of the rogues like Usman Mirza and accomplices who cared a fig about the law, morals and respect of human beings, especially the girl. The video of brutal treatment being meted out to the couple enraged the public who demanded strict punishment to the culprits. The police took quick action and arrested them.  Some people are demanding speedy trial of the culprits with punishment of chemical castration of the perpetrators to make an example to deter all such offenders. A debate has ensued whether such punishment can be awarded under the law of the land. In any case the due process of law should take place.

180 illegal immigrants handed over to Pakistan

Iranian authority handed over 180 Pakistani nationals to levies officials at Taftan border, Chagai. These persons were arrested from various cities of Iran and were transferred to FIA by Levies for further investigation (11th July).

Crime Details 10/07/2021 to 16/07/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhIslamabadBalochistanTotal
Murders(Gujrat-2, Lahore-1, Taxila-5, Okara-1, Muzaffargarh-1, Lahore-1, Lahore (Liaqatabad)-1, Taxila-4, Lahore-1, Kasur-1, Bahawalnagar-1, Rahim Yar Khan-1, Taxila-2) = 22(North Wazlristan-1, Lakki Marwat-2, Lower Dir-1, Lakki Marwat-1, Swat-5, Lakki Marwat-2, Peshawar-1, Kurram-2, Mardan-2, North Wazlristan-1, Mansehra-13, Mansehra-4, Lakki Marwat-1, Bajaur-1) = 37(Karachi-1, Mithi-1, Larkana-1) = 03(Islamabad-2) = 02(Quetta-3, Chagai-2) = 0569
Robberies/ Dacoits(Muzaffargarh-1) = 01  
Gang Rape(Rawalpindi-1, Muzaffargarh-1, Okara-2, Kasur-1) = 05(Islamabad-2) = 0207
Injured(Muzaffargarh-1, Taxila-7, Kasur-33, Multan-1, Sialkot-4) = 46(Mansehra-1, Swat-12, Kurram-3, Mardan-6, Mansehra-23, Mansehra-7, Lakki Marwat-6) = 58(Islamabad-3) = 03(Quetta-8, Nushki-2, Chagai-8) = 18125
Police encounter(Okara-2) = 02(Karachi (Surjani town)-1, Larkana-1, Larkana-2) = 0406
Total Crime7695070723 

Source: Media & National dailies

REGIONAL

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

Indian and Chinese troops remained deployed in their forward posts on their respective sides at various sectors of Ladakh region. No more development has come to notice (15th July). 

Comments & Analysis: – The situation remained peaceful alongside LAC and no untoward incident took place during the period under review. It is learnt that the Indian Government is looking forward to start twelve rounds of senior military commander level talk for disengagement of troops deployed on all the friction points in Ladakh sector.

LoC/IOJK (Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir

The Indian security forces continued their anti-militancy operations in IOJK. During the same they killed five Kashmiri youth in fake encounters in Anantnag and Pulwama Districts and arrested dozens of persons from different areas in-connection with the alleged links with militants (11th & 13th July). Meanwhile the government arrested Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Salahuddin and two others, Syed Ahmed Shakeel and Syed Shahid Yousaf alongwith 19 others. Two police personnel were from their jobs for maintaining alleged links with militants in Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama and Kulgam Districts (12th July). Police claimed to have defused an IED after its recovery in Qazigund area of Kulgam District. A rusted anti-tank mine was found in Gaillard village of Sambha District near LoC (13th & 14th July).

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah is reportedly set to reassign key divisions to his Ministers of state Nityanand Rai and Misra to be made in-charge for Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and counter radicalization (10th July). The PDP Chief and former CM IOJK Mehbooba Mufti during three-day visit to Jammu said that Jammu faced the worst brunt due to abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, that finished the special status of Kashmir. Earlier, on her arrival at Jammu airport, the activists of Hindu fundamentalist organization, Rashtriya Bajrang, under its president Rakesh Bajrangi, staged demonstration against her party stand to oppose the union government decision to finish special status of IOJK and boycotting the delimitation commission for making constituencies before holding future state assembly election (10th July).

Comments & Analysis: – The situation remained peaceful at LoC and no incident of violence was reported during the period under review. Pakistan continued to extend its support for the rights of Kashmiri people for their freedom from the India both on moral and diplomatic levels. Pakistan’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Moeed Yousaf while briefing the Senate Committee on Defence and Security at Islamabad on 14th July said that it was India’s responsibility to start dialogues with Pakistan for normalisation of relations by reversing its universal action on 5th August, 2019 to revoke Article 370 of the India’s Constitution for finishing the special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two separate Union territories.

AFGHANISTAN

The Conflict Tracker

During the period under review 291 Afghan National Defence Security Forces personnel (ANDSF)/pro-govt-militias, 255 Taliban/militants of other groups and 71 civilians were killed across the country. According to an unconfirmed report, the Taliban has controlled over 150 Districts out of 400 in 34 Provinces by establishing their hold over around one third of the country. The Afghan National Defence Security Forces (ANDSF), Police and government sponsored Public Uprising Forces are demoralised and waiting to get extensive military support from USA/NATO, India and other western allies to defeat Taliban on ground who are presently jubilant over their victories.

The Taliban after a quick storming attack took the control of Spin Boldak check post, the other side of Chaman border crossing “Bab e Dosti Gate” in Kandahar Province by hoisting their flag (14th July). Pakistan has closed the Chaman border crossing for all type of traffic till further orders. Earlier, they had occupied the other border crossings – Islam Qala, Towrgondi, Sher Khan Bandar in Herat, Kunduz and Badakhshan Province with their border with Iran, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan and controlled over the major revenue, industrial and daily comedies routes to Afghanistan. According to a report, Taliban recovered millions of Pakistani currency (counterfeit) from the residence cum safe-house of a Afghan National Army (ANA) and NDS Colonel in Spin Boldak area which was kept for payments to the terrorists who under take attacks, sabotages and targeted killings in Pakistan for advance and completion of their missions (15th July).

Withdrawal of Foreign troops/Reconstruction

The Head of British Defence Staff Nick Carter warned of the possibility that Afghanistan could be on a path to civil war as the American and other foreign troops leave. A Taliban delegation in Moscow said that the group controlled over 85% of territory in Afghanistan and reassured Russia it would not allow anyone to use the Afghan territory for launching terrorism in other countries (10th July).

Reacting over the recent announcement of the President Tayyip Erdogan to keep its troops for maintaining the control of Hamid Karzai International Airport at Kabul, the Taliban spokesperson said that the Turkey’s presence as a NATO member would be in violation of USA-Taliban Accord. Therefore, they were against the presence of any foreign troops after the given deadline for their withdrawal from Afghanistan, further said that Turkey’s decision was ill advised and it would be seen as an invader and urged to review its decision (12th July). On the other hand, Turkey’s officials said that their presence in Kabul were not aimed at occupation but to provide relief and comfort to the people. Added that Taliban were not against Turkey and their warning to them was mere “symbolic” (14th July).

The Taliban said it saw China as a “friend” of Afghanistan and assured Beijing that it would not host Uyghur Islamic militants from the volatile Xinjiang Province, which was a major worry for the Chinese Government. Beijing was concerned that under Taliban rule, Afghanistan might become a hub for the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a separatist outfit aligned with Al-Qaeda which was waging an insurgency in Xinjiang. The resource-rich Xinjiang Province shares border with Afghanistan. The Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said they were hoping to talk to Beijing about investing in reconstruction work “as soon as possible (12th July).

Comments & Analysis: – According to several analysts, Turkey’s continued presence in Afghanistan without understanding with the Taliban will be unproductive. Taliban have an inclination that Turkey would back Abdul Rasheed Dostum, a warlord, who is at daggers drawn with Taliban since long.

Russia is opposed to US intention to establish its military bases in the bordering countries of Afghanistan particularly the central Asian countries to keep its presence in the region and to strike there, if needed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deplored that USA had failed to achieve its results in Afghanistan and withdrew in an irresponsible manner that prompted hundreds of Afghan security personnel and refugees to flee across the border into neighbouring Tajikistan and raised fears in Moscow and other capitals that Islamist extremists could infiltrate Central Asia, a region Russia views as its backyard. The Taliban are rapidly getting victories by extending their control over more and more areas every day in the country.

AFGHAN PEACE TALKS

Taliban during their recent meeting with Afghan Government team hosted by the Irani Government at Tehran said that they were ready to continue talks on table. The chief negotiator and a number of members of the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan met US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special in Doha to discuss the current situation and for moving forward for peace talk with Taliban (12th July). Former President Hamid Karzai said that meaningful peace talks were expected to resume soon, but he reiterated that the Afghan Government and the Taliban should not lose the current opportunity for reconciliation (13th July).

Comments & Analysis: – Both the Afghan Government and Taliban are set to talk with each other in Doha and preparing their written draft to put on table shortly to move forward. The Taliban are gaining ground in the country while the Afghan Government is on the back-foot. Taliban have already established their control over majority of the land crossings routes to the bordering counties but have declared that they would not attack the provincial centers obviously that includes the capital Kabul also. They might be of the view that in this way they would be in better bargaining position during the talk on table with the Afghan Government to chalk out political road map for future set-up in Afghanistan. Several countries of the world particularly, the west and USA have already conveyed that the military solution or forcible occupation of Afghanistan would not be acceptable to them.

INTERNATIONAL

Uzbekistan approves new law on religion

The Government of Uzbekistan has recently approved a new law on “freedom of conscience and religious institutions” which expands religious freedom in the country.The law came into force after it was signed by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The Law contains the process of official registration of religious institutions and organizations providing religious education, simplified. A ban on wearing religious clothing in public such as headscarves was also revoked. In addition, the new law regulates relations between state- related affairs and religion as the state guarantees the peaceful coexistence of all representatives of religion in the country (10th July).

Comments & Analysis: – Uzbekistan located in Central Asia has Muslim majority population. It remained a part of former USSR for long and is by constitution a secular country. The new law is expected to provide relief and comfort to the people particularly Muslims in accordance with their heritage, tradition and Islamic culture.

49 killed in Niger armed attack

Five civilians, four soldiers and 40 armed attackers were killed in a clash in Niger’s restive southwest region near the border with Mali. Around 100 heavily armed “terrorists” riding motorcycles attacked the Tchoma Bangou village. Niger’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement read on public television but it did not identify who it suspected was behind the latest deadly incident (11th July).

Comments & Analysis: – Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, which has for years battled jihadist insurgencies on its southwestern flank with Mali, as well as Boko Haram on its southeastern border with Nigeria. The repeated attacks have claimed hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee their homes. According to United Nations estimates, there are more than 300,000 internally displaced people in Niger, many of whom fled terrorist violence that has escalated since 2015.

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 14,243 from 10th July to 16th July, 2021 (Friday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total 8,097 active cases and total deaths 200 during this period is as follows:

ProvincesTotal Active CasesTotal Deaths
Sindh4979106
Punjab96451
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa28929
Balochistan50401
Islamabad Capital Territory50105
Gilgit-Baltistan31402
AJK5466
Total8,097200

Comments & Analysis: – It has been observed that there is a threefold increase in number of people being tested positive for the coronavirus disease every day in less than three weeks. Experts are of the opinion that the reopening of businesses and tou­rism sector are responsible for the resurge in cases which is being termed the 4th wave.  It would be wiser for the government to ann­ounce a lockdown before Eid ul Azha to ward off unmanageable increase in the number of corona patients.

The doctors are perplexed over the likely invasion of Indian (Delta) variant which can attack the lungs and cause severe damage in a short span of time. Dr. Saeed Elahi, former Chairman Pakistan Red Crescent and Chief Advisor to Edhi Foundation expressed apprehension that the virus was becoming more lethal due to mutation therefore public should take it seriously and observe all restrictions.

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities in tribal areas, and major cities of Pakistan; trying to take advantage of uncertain times after the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.

Threat Level: High – due to national, international and regional security environment. The intelligence agencies must take proactive pre-emptive measures to unearth the networks and foil the evil designs of the terrorists.

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 is gradually petering out. 

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 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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