The Security Brief

Vol. 5-Issue No 44

05th January, 2021

Editorial

China-Pakistan New year Resolution

 On the new year eve, on completion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Pak-China diplomatic relations, Pakistan’s foreign mminister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, had one-hour telephonic conversation to exchange views on Covid-19, bilateral relations, regional and international security issues concerning both the countries. According to the statement issued by the Foreign Office, “Both foreign ministers agreed to maintain strategic communication and consultation, at all levels, to promote mutual goals of peace and stability in the region and beyond, and expressed commitment to further strengthening all-round cooperation and taking the bilateral relationship to a higher level for shared benefit of the two countries.” They reportedly discussed the modalities of expected visit of President Xi Jinping in the early part of 2021.  Prior to that FM Qureshi has been invited to visit Beijing. Moreover, China has assured Pakistan to provide one million vaccine doses for corona.

This year is likely to see the deepening of relations between the two all-weather friends. Ever since Pakistan recognised the People’s Republic of China in 1950, and established diplomatic ties with it at Bandung Conference, Indonesia, the relations between the two countries have gone from strength to strength.  The relationship is unique as both trust each other and fully understand their issues and problems. In 1950s, despite Pakistan’s affiliation with SEATO and CENTO, which were formed to contain China and Russia, China understood Pakistan’s rationale to join it for protection of its territorial integrity against the belligerent regional enemy.

These relations were cemented after 1963 with signing of border treaty. This was the year when US gave arms to India without our consultation or even without informing us. In 1962 China had defeated India on border dispute. This phenomenon of enemy of enemy became the basis of Pak-China friendship. Next year PIA became the first airline from a non-communist country to fly into the People’s Republic of China. PIA’s first service to China was from Karachi to Shanghai via Canton.

These tactical but significant steps of cooperation and goodwill turned into strategic relationship and cooperation in the realm of defence and security. From 1966 to 1980 China provided free arms to Pakistan. Meanwhile Pakistan played a leading role to help China get membership of the UN. Though Pakistan’s relations with the US were even older, they have remained mostly tactical in nature and fluctuated as per the situation. The US aided Pakistan but jilted as and when required. With China the relationship has been steady and strong all along.

This strength is based on the fact that Pakistan and China protect and promote each other’s core interests. Pakistan supports China on its peaceful rise as a power of the world. Pakistan is an important part of Belt and Road Initiative because our connectivity with China is powerful due to geographical proximity. China gives Pakistan a diplomatic cover in the UNSC.  Xinjiang and Tibet are the soft underbelly of China. Pakistan supports China on these issues.

A new era of friendship with China started after CPEC was launched in 2013. It’s a strategic project. Gwadar is its centerpiece project. Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Pakistan in 2015 and signed more than 50 agreements. CPEC has already provided 70 thousand jobs to Pakistanis so far and about 28 thousand students are studying in China. CPEC has become the back-bone of Pakistan-China relationship

CPEC, however, is in the eye of storm. US is openly opposing it. IMF had clearly told Pakistan that the loan given by it would not be used to repay loans to China. It also arm-twisted Pakistan to reveal the details of the CPEC projects. India is also trying to throw spanners in CPEC, especially in Balochistan, through terrorism and subversion. Pakistan has shown its clear and categorical tilt towards China as compared to the US. But of course the links and relations with the US are friendly and fruitful. China has taught this lesson to avoid squabbles, severance and skirmishes. Instead focus should be on economic progress. The ever-increasing cooperation would be instrumental in warding off any regional and international threats and conspiracies. The greatest challenge would be to face the impending cold war between China and US. The all-weather friends will have to bear these testing times and challenges together to ensure peace and prosperity in the respective countries and in the region.

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE

Punjab

Sr. NoIncident  KilledInjuredArrested
1.A young person in Chakki area of Mansehra District shot dead a prayer leader (Imam) Hafiz Hassan Raza of the local Mosque on the pretext that his sleep was disturbed due to the sound of the recitation on loudspeaker from the Mosque (27th December).01

Comments and Analysis: – Earlier on Friday, the matter was taken up in a meeting of the Mosque Committee which ignored the objection and directed the prayer leader to continue his sermon as per routine. The Pindigheb police registered the murder case and started investigation to determine whether the accused was mentally ill or  ideologically disgruntled.

Islamabad

Sr. NoIncident  KilledInjuredArrested
1.A German National Noel Mathias Do Rego was shot dead by unidentified person near his residence G-10/4 (29th December). The German National Noel Mathias Do Rego was murdered on 29th December when he was returning from a bank after withdrawing Rs/- 03 million. Police arrested two persons suspected to be involved in the said murder (30th December).0102
2.Islamabad patrol duty Police gunned down a young man, named Osama, age 21, in Ramna police station area(2nd Jan). A case was registered with Ramna police station under 7ATA, PPCs 302, 148 and 149.01  

Comments & Analysis: – The father of the boy killed by the Islamabad police accused the police of planned murder as the boy had picked up a row with the police a day earlier. He termed it a terrorist act. “They fired 16-17 bullets at my son, which resulted in the death of my son”. IGP Islamabad ordered the arrest of the policemen responsible for this act and formed an inquiry committee to probe the matter. The gruesome murder of a young man has generated a wave of resentment among the public around Pakistan.

 It is learnt through police sources that the German National was an IT expert, he and his parents settled in Pakistan. He married a Pakistani woman, converted to Islam and obtained Pakistan Origin Card (POC) in 2019. Two months ago he shifted from Karachi to Islamabad. Investigations are under progress not only to arrest his killers but also to determine the motives behind this incident, whether it was robbery/personal enmity or act of terrorism.

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Police recovered explosive comprising used injectable fuses and RPG motor shells in a bag in Mekan area on the Indus River Bank in Dera Ismail Khan District (27th December).   
2.A police constable Qaiser, deputed on duty outside the NADRA office in Daraban Kalan tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan District was shot dead by unidentified gunman. The assailant managed to escape (30th December).01
3.The dead body of an army soldier was found in Buner District who was on vacation from 27th December and had been missing from his home. (31st December).   01

Comments & Analysis: – The target killings of police and security personnel by terrorist continued in the province.          

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.During a terrorist attack on a FC post in Shahrag area of Harani, seven soldiers were killed. After the attack, a large-scale search and clearance operation was in progress in the area (26th December).07
2.Fifteen people including two security personnel were injured as a result of grenade attack on the FC vehicle by unidentified motorcyclist in Surab town of Kalat Division (29th December).  17
3. Eleven mine workers, belonging to Hazara community, were kidnapped and gunned down in Muchh town, 70 KMs away from Quetta (2nd Jan). The slain workers were blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. No organisation claimed the responsibility of this dastardly act.11  

Comments & Analysis: The terrorists are having a field day in Balochistan. Various groups are operating with relative impunity. Though no group has claimed the responsibility of attack on the FC checkpost in Harnai, one can suspect BLA or TTP for such an act.  The incident occurred five days after 10 suspected terrorists were killed in a gun battle with security forces in Awaran area. Earlier in October, 14 security men, seven personnel of the Frontier Corps and several civilian guards of the OGDCL were killed in an attack on their convoy on the Coastal Highway in the Ormara area of Gwadar District. The Baloch outlawed separatist organization including BLA are being suspected behind the said terrorist attack.

The kidnapping and killing of 11 persons belonging to shia Hazara community in Muchh is being suspected to be the handiwork of the terrorist group Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). It could be an attempt to further fuel the fire of sectarianism in Pakistan. The gruesome murder also speaks volumes of the failure of the security apparatus that could not have foreknowledge of the existence of the terrorists in the region and failed to timely respond to save the kidnapped persons.

Female polio workers accuse senior officers of harassment

A group of female polio workers from Hayatabad Union Council staged a protest at Peshawar against their senior officers for their alleged harassment and immoral demands. They appealed to the Provincial Government to take notice of the situation and take action against the culprits (26th December).

Comments & Analysis: – The female polio workers are already facing threat to their lives in the line of their duty. Harassment will add to their miseries. They must be provided protection against all sort of threats so that the campaign against polio is not undermined.

MINORITIES

Pakistani Hindu community stage protest against killing of Hindu family in India

A protest rally under the aegis of all Hindu Panchayat Balmike Saba Pakistan in a protest demonstration in front of Ministry of Foreign Affairs against the killing of eleven members of Pakistani Hindus in India. The speakers including its President Pandit Chana Lal, Secretary Gen. Om Prakash Narain, District Rawalpindi Convener Dilip Kumar appealed the UNO Secretary Gen. to take notice about the failure of Indian Government to probe the case. Anti-India and PM Narendra Modi slogans were also chanted (31st December).

Comments & Analysis: – The dead bodies of eleven members Pakistani Hindu family who had migrated to India from Pakistan were found in a field in Jodhpur District. The protesters said that the Indian Government neither handed over the bodies slain Hindus nor conducted an in partial investigation into the matter. Hindu community resolved to continue protest until the victim’s family for justice from India.         

Hindu temple  vandalised in Karak, KPK

A violent mob set on fire and raised to ground a Hindu temple in Teri area of Karak District, KPK. An FIR was reportedly registered against to local clerics and the police arrested fourteen persons in to the case (30th December). Chief Ministe KPK, Mehmood Khan, announced that the Provincial Government would rebuild this temple (01st Jan).    

Comments & Analysis: – In 1919, Guru Shri Paramhans Dayal was laid to rest at the above site and a temple was built there. Muslims residents of the area closde the temple after independence (1947). The temple was, however, restored in 2015 on the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Hindus and Muslims signed an agreement on 22th December, that the renovation of the temple would not exceed the specified area. Muslim residents of the area were of the view that the Hindu community was illegally expanding the temple building. Despite complaint, the local police did not take any action but the people would never allow expansion of the temple. Police arrived at the scene late with heavy contingents. The incident was wildly condemned all over the country.

Canadian govt urged to probe Karima’s death

Advisor to the Chief Minister, while addressing a joint press conference along with Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) female leaders including Shaina Khan, expressed grief over the death of Ms. Karima Baloch leader of Baloch Students Organization (BSO) in Canada on 21st December. She said that it was the responsibility of the Canadian Government for protection of the female activist got political asylum there. She said that the Canadian police had arrested two suspects in connection with the case. She requested the concerned authorities of Toronto, Canada to share the inquiry report with Pakistani Government. She added that the Balochistan Government through Islamabad had contacted the Canadian Government to bring her body back (29th December).

Comments & Analysis: – Karima Baloch was the Former Chairperson of BSO-Azad and the Baloch National Front (BNF). She was a vocal campaigner for Baloch rights and had been living in Canada since 2016. It is learnt that Toronto police authorities are investigating the death. The anti-Pakistan lobby, some human rights organizations and Baloch/Pashtun nationalist groups are accusing Pakistan for the incident.

DEFENCE/NATIONAL SECURITY

Pakistan Navy display air defence fire power

Pakistan Navy’s air defence units demonstrated their combat readiness in Arabian sea through live weapon firing of Surface to Air Missile (SAMs). It was witnessed by Navel Chief Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi and other senior officers (30th December).    

Comments & Analysis: – The successful firing by the Naval unit on air targets has reinforced its fighting capability and combat potential by utilizing modern air defence system. The Navel Chief expressed complete satisfaction on the operational readiness of the Pakistan Navy to attend the National maritime interests and lauded the professional commitment of the officers/sailors.

Pakistan air force induct fourteen JF-17 air craft

The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra (PAC) formally handed over fourteen state of the art indigenously built fourth generation JF-17 Thunder Block-iii-dual carrier fighter jets equipped with radar and weapon system to the Pakistan Air Force during a ceremony in Kamra. It was attended by Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and other senior officers (30th December).      

Comments & Analysis: – The Chief of air staff extended gratitude two PAC, Ministry of Defence Production and Chinese aviation industry for their continuous support in production of JF-17-B block-3 aircraft. The inclusion of the latest fourth generation aircraft in PAF will increase its airpowe.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

COURT HEARINGS/DECISION

Hyrbyair Marri declared proclaimed offender in Chinese Consulate attack case

ATC-VII Court during a hearing in the judicial complex in the Central Jail, Karachi issued perpetual warrants for the arrest of Proclaimed Offenders (PO) – Hyrbyair Marri, Aslam Baloch @ Bashir Zeb, Noor Bakhsh Mengal, Karim, Capt. Rehman Gul, Commander Nisar, Sheikhu, Giandi, Sharif, Hamal, Munshi, Agha Sherdil. According to the prosecution, they were the master minds and facilitators in the attack on the Chinese Consulate, Karachi in 2018 and their case was bifurcated from the already held suspects (26th December).

Comments & Analysis: –The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Sindh had attested six accused Muhammad Aslam, Ahmed Husnain, Ali Ahmed @ Hashim, Nadir Khan @ Arif Buladi and Abdul Latif, affiliated with the out lawed Baloch Liberation Army’s “Majeed Brigade” (BLA). They were allegedly involved in facilitating the terrorist attack on Chinese Consulate General, Karachi on 23rd November in which seven persons including two visitors, two police personnel and three terrorists were killed. The case is under trial. CTD is making efforts to arrest the POs. BLA has reportedly close links with Indian Agency RAW and Afghan NDS. It is learnt that they are currently absconding in Afghanistan or some other countries.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER

  1. Unidentified armed robbers shot dead two brothers namely Malik Subhani and Malik Ramzan in Gura Mohabbat area inside their house of Dera Ismail Khan District (26th December).     
  2. One Maqsood stabbed his father to death and injured his mother for delaying his marriage (due to financial constraints), at Khara Chungi Mor, Kasur District (27th December).
  3. One Abdullah was robbed at gunpoint by two motorcyclists who ran away after snatching cash and a mobile phone in the jurisdiction of PS Taxila, Rawalpindi District (27th December).
  4.  Two incidents of burglary also took place in Taxila the same day separately in which valuables/ornaments worth Rs/- 350,000, price ponds worth Rs/- 400,000 and a motorcycle were stolen.
  5. Four members of a family named Safi-ul-lah, Sami-ul-Haq, Hilal Ahmed and Taslim were allegedly killed by their cousins due to land dispute in Mir Ali tehsil od North Waziristan Tribal District (28th December).                    
  6. The Sakkhar District Police foiled a plan of Teghani and Jagrani criminal gangs to kidnap eleven people belonging to different areas. The gang was trying to lure people into trap by using woman voice on mobile phones, but police came to know technical sources and informed the concerned persons to beware of the criminal’s hideous plans (29th December).
  7. One Ijaz Manganhar killed his mother Sahib Khatoon, terming it  honour killing, in Sakrand, District Nawabshah (29th December).
  8. The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) registered a case against eighteen officers including four directors and three ETOs of Excise and Taxation Department, Punjab Lahore. It has also arrested ETO Adeel Amjad, one of the accused nominated in the FIR registered following unearthing of billion rupees scam on vehicle registration on fake auction vouchers (29th December).
  9. The Police arrested six persons for kidnapping and torturing a rikshaw driver Tariq Shahzad and unleashing a dog on him from village Chak-66-JB, Dhandra Faisalabad District (29th December).
  10. A ten-member gang committed a robbery into a house village Chak 192-JB, PS Muridwala, Samundri tehsil of Faisalabad District (29th December). One gang member raped a woman of the family at gunpoint in the presence of others. 
  11. A woman who married three days ago was gang raped by three persons in a field near and underpass on the motorway under the jurisdiction of Farooqabad, Sheikhupura District (29th December).
  12. The police arrested landlord Muhammad Zubair for allegedly torturing one Rehmat Machi and uploading the video of torture online due to a financial dispute in village Bhamba Kalan, Kot Radha Kishan, Kasur District (31st December).
  13. Kohat police arrested three persons for their involvement in the murder of CTD constable Aqlim Haider near Ustarzai police station (31st December).
  14. Four persons Malik Khalid Khan, Yasir Khan, Naveed Khan and their guard Khalid were killed by their rivals Dilaram and Shabir Hayat in Dehri Kati Khel village of Nowshera District (31st December).
  15. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested a religious teacher (Qari) for blackmailing his minor female student and her family with her personal pictures, in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi (01st January).  
  16. A man, wife and daughter were shot dead allegedly by Dhani Baksh and Ahmad Ali due to a property dispute in Muhammad Aqil Gondal village of Naushahro Feroze District (01st January).  

Crime Details 27/12/2020 to 02/01/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhBalochistanIslamabadAJ&K
Murders(Rawalpindi-1, Gujranwala-2, Sheikhupura-6, Sahiwal-1, Kasur-1, Dera Ghazi Khan-7, Sheikhupura-1, Bahawalpur-1, Taxila-1, Garhi Shahu-1, Rahim Yar khan-2, Taxila-1, Lahore-1, Sheikhupura-2, Sargodha-1, Kahna-1, Taxila-2, Toba Tek Singh-2, Lahore-1) =35  (Dera Ismail Khan-2, Chitral-1, Kohat-2, Chitral-2, North Waziristan-4, Dera Ismail Khan-1, Nowshera-4, Haripur-1, Peshawar-6, Buner-1, Kohat-1) =25(Karachi-1, Karachi-3, Shikarpur-3, Nawabshah-1, Naushahro Feroze-3, Karachi-1, Larkana-2, Mithi-2, Karachi-2, Naushahro Feroze-2) =20  (Gwadar-2, Quetta-3, Khuzdar-3) =08(Islamabad-4, Islamabad-1, Islamabad-2, Islamabad-2) =09  (Muzaffrabad-3, Azad Jammu and Kashmir-3) =06
Gang rape(Shalamar-1, Multan-1, Faisalabad-1, Sheikhupura-1) =04     
Robberies/ Dacoits(Rawalpindi-1, Faisalabad-1, Sabzazar-1, Samnabad-1, Shumali Chaoni-1, Gujjar Pura-1, Chung-1, Gulshan Iqbal-1, Ravi Road-1, Dera Ghazi Khan-1, Islampura-1, Millat road-1, Nawab town-1, Faisalabad-1, Faisal town-1, Batapur-1, Gulshan Iqbal-1, Shalimar-1, Satu Katla-1, Defence-1, Ichara-1, Johar town-1) =22 (Karachi-15) =20     
Kidnapping(Faisalabad-1) =01   (Islamabad-1) =01 
Injured(Sheikhupura-2, Lahore-1, Kasur-1, Sheikhupura-3, Shadara-1, Lahore-1) =09(Kohat-1, Chitral-3, Kohat-2, Shangla-3, Chitral-3, North Waziristan-1, Haripur-1, Peshawar-4) =18(Gwadar-8, Karachi-2) =10  (Khuzdar-15) =15(Islamabad-25, Islamabad-1) =26 
Total Crimes714350233606

Source: Media & National dailies

OPINION

Let’s give peace a chance
by  M.A.Rizvi

The world is at the cross roads with growing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. With every passing day, it seems that we are at the edge of a war that may culminate into a major catastrophe by involving major powers of the world.
On one side, the US and Iran tension is on the rise in the Middle East while on the other India is willing to wage wars against China and Pakistan to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The country has already activated its forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) against China and at the Line of Control (LOC) against Pakistan only to serve its evil designs.
Peace process in Afghanistan is already in doldrums. In case the US President-elect Joe Biden decides to put on hold President Trump’s plan to withdraw the US forces from the country, the situation might go from bad to worse.
Moreover, Turkey and Greece are also at loggerheads and may engage into a conflict that has potential to suck other countries of the region into it.
The region’s influential leaders such as Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, among others, have taken bold steps to ensure peace in the region. The UAE leader announced a major peace initiative in August to mend ties with Israel by signing a landmark Abraham Accord, with the intention to set the pace for peace and development in the region. Three other Muslim countries have followed the suit.
Similarly, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan made every possible effort to bring India on table to discuss thorny issues but his counterpart is more willing to destabilize the region. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi recently visited the UAE to take its leadership into confidence about possible action plans to be taken in case India wages a war against Pakistan.
In a bid to give peace a chance in the region, Turkey has also sent its ambassador to Tel Aviv after a long period. It also shows restraint against Greek hostilities to defuse tension in the region.
Above back-to-back developments on multiple fronts indicate that reasonable and sincere leaders are serious to give peace a chance. However some others, having vested interests, are trying to spoil the efforts which should be discouraged for the betterment of mankind and humanity.

The writer is a political and business analyst.

REGIONAL

LOC/India

During ceasefire violation by the Indian troops Sepoy Fazal Elahi of Pakistan Army was killed in Khuiratta sector and a civilian was seriously injured in Kot Katora sector along LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan Army shot down (quadcopter) in hot spring sector (30th December).

One Kashmiri youth Muhammad Ashraf was arrested in Reasi District and three Kashmiri youths were killed during fake anti-militancy operations by the Indian security forces in Praimpurah area, Srinagar (28th and 30th December). On the appeal of all parties Hurriyat Conference, a complete shutter down strike was observed in Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian, Islamabad and other areas of occupied Jammu and Kashmir to condemn the killings of innocent youth by the Indian troops in fake encounters (01st December).  

COMMENTS & Analysis: – The Indian aggression and ceasefire violations continued on LoC. Pakistan Army responded effectively and targeted those Indian posts which initiated fire. In 2020, sixteen Indian quad-copters were shot down by the Pakistan Army. According to the statistic quoted by an Indian media 227, so-called militants (youth) were reported to be killed in 102 gunfights in Jammu and Kashmir while 633 persons were arrested on the charge of militancy. Apart from these 53 security forces personnel were also killed in gunfights and cross border firing.

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

  1. A security forces vehicle was targeted by a magnetic IED in Kabul city (28th December).
  2. One security forces person was killed and two others wounded after a motor car bomb attack near police headquarter in Anar Dara District, Farah Province (28th December).
  3. One civilian was reportedly killed and five others wounded after their  vehicle hit by a magnetic IED in Kabul city (28th December).
  4. Two doctors of a local Hospital were abducted by unidentified armed gunman in Bagram District of Parwan Province (29th December).
  5. Four militants were killed during an airstrike by the Afghan security forces in Dand District of Kandahar Province (30th December).
  6. A military pilot Masood Atal was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Kandahar city (30th December).
  7. The Afghan Counter Narcotics Justice Center (CNJC) dismantled a drug network and arrested its gang leader Ms. Karima, an educated woman (30th December).
  8. The Afghan security forces personnel have reportedly abandoned nearly two hundred checkpoints even leaving behind their weapons to be ceased by the Taliban in Kandahar Province during the recent weeks (30th December).
  9. Bismillah Adil a journalist in civil society activist was assassinated by unidentified persons in Dara-e-Taimur village, Firozkoh city of Ghor Province (01st January).
  10. Six Taliban including their reportedly designated Governor were killed in a bomb blast in Dawlat Abad District of Faryab Province. The Taliban spokesperson Zabi Ullah Mujahid however, rejected the said claim of Afghan authorities (02nd January).          
  11. Eighteen Taliban were killed during an airstrike by the Afghan security forces in Pachira District of Nangahar Province. In another incident four police personnel were killed during a clash with Taliban in Jalalabad District (01st and 02nd January).   

Comments & Analysis: – A worst turmoil and mayhem is continuing in Afghanistan. According to an estimate, fifty journalists were killed in 2020. According to the report of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 30th December, Afghanistan is one of the deadliest places in the world for civilians.

INTRA AFGHAN DIALOGUE

The Chief Peace negotiator of Afghan Government, Masoom Stanekzai speaking at a gathering in the Institute for Peace Studies in Kabul said that Afghan people want an immediate result of the peace dialogues but the same is however, little difficult and the focus on ceasefire when talk will be resumed (30th December). The Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem talking to the media said that their organization was fully prepared to join the next round of peace talk Afghan Government team on 05th January, 2021 (31st December).   

Comments & Analysis: – Both the Afghan Government team and Taliban have conducted necessary consultations within their organizational setups and seem to be prepared for the peace talks at the scheduled time. Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan led by Hikmat Yar and some other religio- political parties and groups are of the view that any durable solution does not seem to come until the representative of the political parties are not included in the peace talks. The main issue however, to be attended on top priority is to make complete ceasefire in Afghanistan.                            

INDIA

Indian army Chief Gen. Manoj MM Naravane during his three days visit to South Korea held meetings with senior military and civilian leadership of the country (28th to 30th December). He also visited South Korean agency for defence development at Daegeon.

Comments & Analysis: – Gen Naravane’s visit to South Korea, particularly to the defence development agency, which is responsible for research and development in defence technology, shows Indian plans to give impetus to its weaponisation endeavours. His visit was aimed at strengthening indo-Korea ties in the defence field and to get benefit from the advance technology of Korea both in purchasing of equipments, systems and joint ventures. Another aim was to increase influence with its allies in the indo-Pacific Ocean to challenge Chinese Naval maneuvers. Earlier, Gen. Naravane had also visited UAE and Saudi Arabia to discuss issues of mutual interest and defence cooperation.          

INTERNATIONAL 

IRAN/MIDDLE EAST

US_Saudi Arms Deal

US approved potential sale of 3000 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) munition, containers, support equipment’s and spare parts with technical support to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). It will increase its capabilities to meet the current and future threats by increasing its long-range air to ground munition (29th December).

Comments & Analysis: – The sale has been appeared shortly before the end of the term of the US President Donald Trump. President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly indicated to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia to pressure it to end a war in Yemen that has caused big humanitarian crisis.

Iran accuses a UK firm and US base in Germany for Gen. Soleimani killing

A Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr, talking to media person in Tehran alleged that London-based security services company G4S played a role in the killing of Soleimani, who was accompanied by Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several others. The company handed over the information of general Soleimani and his fellow fighters to the terrorists as soon as they entered the airport. He further alleged that the Ramstein US airbase in Germany and its forces handled the said information to guide the drone for the said mission for attack. The Irani Foreign Minister Jawad Zarief has also accused ongoing US President Trump to find a fabricated pretext to attack Iran (30th and 31st December).

Comments & Analysis: –Soleimani and his convoy were targeted shortly after leaving the airport by a US drone strike ordered by President Trump. The British company confirmed it was in charge of a number of security requirements outsourced by the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority at the time of the assassination, but denied the charges. On the other hand, the British company, termed such speculations as baseless and denied its involvement in the attack on Qassem Soleimani and Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis which took place on 3rd January 2020.

US dispatches B-52s to Persian Gulf

Pentagon dispatched two American B-52 bombers to the Middle East to dissuade Iranian attacks on US troops in Iraq. This another show of force mission comes after a week President Trump warned Tehran following a rocket strike on the US Embassy in Iraq (30 December).

Comment & Analysis: This American show-of-force mission followed by two earlier similar B52 missions on Nov. 21 and Dec. 10. Yet, Iran has not responded immediately to all such missions.

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 490,476 on 05th January, 2021 (Tuesday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 11:00 am, January 05th is as follows:

• Sindh: 17,959

• Punjab: 11,008

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 3,378

• Balochistan: 240

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 2,714

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 52

• AJK: 356

Deaths: 10,409

Comments & Analysis: The second wave is still going strong. One million doses of Chinese vaccine are likely to arrive in Pakistan soon.  

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: Terrorist groups like TTP and its affiliates are continuously operating as per their twin strategy, i.e. target killing and IEDs. These groups are trying to carry out target killings in big cities. Low-intensity insurgency is continuing in ex-tribal areas.

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

Level of Sectarianism & Religious Extremism: On the rise. There is an urgent need to bridle the situation through all means.

Border Situation: Tense – Indian shelling and firing continued at the LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), remained relatively calm.

Health Security: A new surge of Coronavirus pandemic is still persisting in Pakistan. There is a considerable increase in the number of patients who tested positive during the last eight weeks.

Social Unrest: Rising; due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest.

Note: TSB is based on open-source information.

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