The Security Brief

Vol. 6-Issue No 51

12th March, 2021

Editorial

NEED TO BRIDLE THE RISE OF TERRORISM

After witnessing a conspicuous reduction in terrorism in Pakistan from 2014 onwards, there seems to be a noticeable rise in the terrorist acts again in 2020-21, especially in KPK and Balochistan. Karachi is also facing some increase in the terrorist acts. But the new wave is different in appearance which has hoodwinked the intelligence agencies and law-enforcement agencies.

The debilitated Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which fled to Afghanistan after the successful operations against it and based itself there has changed its modus operandi. TTP was notorious for its kinetic actions like suicide bombings, VBIEDs and gun & grenade attacks on armed forces, police, intelligence agencies and soft targets like markets and schools etc. Now it is mostly relying on targeted killings and use of IEDs. Probably it doesn’t have much manpower left to resort to earlier tactics. Secondly, hit & run tactic is more convenient and keeps its manpower intact. Thirdly, this strategy does not draw as much attention as the earlier tactics therefore the chances of military operation like ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ are slim.

Two aspects are quite clear; one, though most of the TTP terrorists operate from across the border, they have solid tentacles in Pakistan; second, it has adopted a strategy for a prolonged action against Pakistan. Pakistan must modify its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency strategies accordingly. Main onus is on the intelligence agencies to unearth the sleeper-cells and sympathisers of TTP and also the terrorist group, Islamic State in Khurasan Province (ISKP) and annihilate them.

National Action Plan (NAP) and National Internal Security Policy (NISP) need to be revised to meet the emerging threats. More importantly strategies should be in place to implement these policies in an effective manner. It seems that the terrorism related matters have been left to the discretion of the concerned departments. They may handle the same as per their will, experience and resources. This approach cannot eliminate terrorism for a very long period. Longer struggle can wear out the security apparatus too. Furthermore, it can have negative impact on the economy, foreign investment and social fiber of the society.

The terrorist acts during the last ten days or so show that targeted killings of policemen and local elders have increased in KPK, Balochistan and Karachi. In Punjab the police personnel have faced attacks in Rawalpindi city in particular. It shows that the terrorists are operating across Pakistan with the help of their sectarian and separatist allies. The terrorists are also focusing on the economic and strategic interests of Pakistan like CPEC and Gwadar. Sino-US animosity and Indo-Afghan collaboration cannot be ignored in this context.

It is high time for the government to review its strategies and policies according to the emerging threats and make necessary changes in the anti-terrorism laws and counter terrorism modus operandi. The intelligence agencies, police and LEAs should be prepared to fight a long battle.

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE

Punjab

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Police Inspector Mian Imran Abbas, SHO Race course police station, Rawalpindi, was shot dead by unidentified armed motorcyclist during a targeted attack near Kacheri Chowk, Rawalpindi. The attackers made good their escape. TTP reportedly claimed the killing of the police officer (07th March).01

Islamabad

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.A police head constable Qasim was shot dead while sub-inspector Jameel and constable Rasheed Abas sustained injuries in an attack by unidentified armed motorcyclists in sector G-13, Islamabad. The terrorists managed flee away (07th March).0102

Comments & Analysis: – The targeted attacks on police personnel, on the same day, by the terrorists, in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, should not come as an utter surprise. These acts are in line with the new strategy adopted by the terrorists for the last one year. Rawalpindi has experienced multiple attacks on police personnel in this manner. TTP has claimed the responsibility of the attack on Inspector police Mian Imran Abbas in Rawalpindi. Knowing this pattern, the Intelligence agencies and LEAs should have taken adequate measures to foil such attacks.

TSB has been indicating for last many months that terrorism is raising its head again in Pakistan. Belatedly, the Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Muhammad Rashid has also stated on 08th March that TTP terrorists, operating from Afghanistan, have intensified the terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

Sindh

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.MQM-London terrorist Azam @ Ganja was killed in exchange of fire in a raid by CTD in Korangi, Karachi. He was an active member of targeted killing team, wanted in number of cases and a close aide of notorious killer, Junaid @ Bulldog (06th March). 01
2.A Chinese national was attacked by unidentified armed motorcyclists in Karachi. He however survived with minor injuries caused due to broken windowpanes/ a passerby Khalid Sher suffered a bullet wound in the leg in Lyari area (09th March).   01
3.    

Comments & Analysis: – Chinese nationals working in Pakistan are the prime target of foreign sponsored terrorists. The antagonists of CPEC and Gwadar Port can be behind such attacks.

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
    1.Two persons were shot dead by unidentified person in separate incidents in Bara and Tirah areas of Khyber tribal District (04th March).02
    2.Three persons, including two militants, were killed, while one security person Wasim Ashraf sustained injuries during during a search operation in Manzarkel area, Dattakhel tehsil of North Waziristan tribal District (05th March).0301
3.Eight terrorists were killed during clashes with security forces in two operations at Boya and Dosali areas of North Waziristan tribal District. The killed terrorists included their commanders Abdul Ameer @ Adil, Junaid and Khaliq Din @ Rehan who were associated with TTP (Toofan group), Tariq group, Sadiq Noor group respectively and wanted in number of terrorist incidents. The security forces also recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition from their hideouts (07th March). 08
4.An under-construction petrol pump was blown-up with explosives by unidentified terrorists in Mir Ali tehsil North Waziristan tribal District. No loss of human life has been reported (07th March).
5.Four TTP terrorists including three commanders-Abdul Adam Zaib, Maulvi Mehboob @ Maulvi and Mir Salam @ Anas associated with Bismillah group and Sajna group were killed during clash with security forces in DetaKhel area and Zoida area in North and South Waziristan tribal Districts. The slain terrorists remained involved in more than twenty terrorist acts against the security forces, LEAs and local people since 2014. The two terrorists Maulvi Mehboob and Mir Salam were close associates of the the former TTP Chief Baitullah Mehsood (07th March).    04
6.The police arrested a TTP commander Amir Jalal @ Col, carrying Rs/- 02 million head money, during a tip-off raid in Teen Talab area of Mirkheli a mountainous terrain of Kohat District. He had been running a terrorist training camp in Ghurzandi area of Lachi tehsil wanted in many terrorist incidents and had been on the run for the last two decades (08th March).    01
7.The bullet-riddled bodies of two persons identified as Fareed Ullah and Shafqat Ullah were recovered in Dande Darpa Khel area while a shepherd named Dawar Gull was seriously injured due to an IED blast in the same area of North Waziristan tribal District (08th March).   0201

Comments & Analysis: – The North and South Waziristan Tribal Districts’ administration have banned display of weapons, under section 144 CrPC and use of tinted glass on vehicles in the wake of surge in criminal, terrorist activities and inter-tribe feuds.

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Two persons-Mahmudullah and another were killed by unidentified persons in separate incidents in Sariab road and Nawaqili area of Quetta (04th March).02
2.Five labourers, belonging to Punjab, were killed and two security personnel injured when their vehicle hit a road side IED planted by unidentified terrorists in Tandoori area of Sibi District (05th March).05
3.Two Pakistan Navy sailors, Sohail and Nouman were killed while another was injured in an attack on their vehicle by unidentified armed terrorists in the Ganz area of the Gwadar coastal District (06th March).  0201
4.The CTD conducted a raid on the hide out of terrorists and during the exchange of fire five suspected terrorists were killed in Splinji of Mastung District (08th March).05
5.One Darya Khan Lehri, a former member of Balochistan Awami Party was shot dead by unidentified armed persons on cadet college link road area in Mastung District (08th March).01

Comments & Analysis: – The attacks on the security forces personnel and target killing of civilians by the terrorists continued during the period under review. The Baloch separatist organizations including Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) are suspected to be responsible for these incidents.

It is learnt that the above-mentioned five terrorists killed in the Mastung District belonged to BLA and were involved in several incidents of terrorism and killing of innocent peoples including grenade attack on labourers on Samungli road, a bomb attack on Azad Khan Marri and a grenade attack on security forces in Quetta. The heavy cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from their hideouts.

There is a need to beef up the security arrangements in Gwadar because it is the prime target of the terrorists. They are bent upon creating mischief in the area to undermine the flagship project of CPEC.

NATIONAL

Document recognition book for FIA staff

International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD provided one hundred books with magnifiers on “document recognition” to the officials of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The material contains basic knowledge to detect forged documents by the immigration staff at Border Crossing Points (BCP). These books will be used by the FIA academy for training purposes also (10th March). The FIA and ICMPD organized basic level security sessions for 80 FIA officials working at the first and second line of control at four biggest airports in Pakistan in connection with their capacity building.

Comments & Analysis: – The project was a part of joint cooperation between International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Government of Pakistan to promote legal migration and mobility support for integration of Pakistani migrants abroad and to control human trafficking.

Jirga system to get legal cover in tribal Districts of KPK

The Special Assistant to KPK Chief Minister on Information, Kamran Bangash, while addressing a press conference said that rules of Alternate Dispute Resolution System (ADRS) have been framed and presented to the Provincial cabinet for approval. He added that it would help resolve issues of people of the merged tribal Districts keeping in view their culture and traditions (10th March).

Comments & Analysis: – The jirga system exists in various farms in the merged tribal Districts but did not have legal cover and a need was felt that the jirga decisions will be effective only after it was given a legal power. Many people in merged Districts still prefer to resolve their disputes through jirga system as a quick mean for provision of justice. However, the system of remained under criticism over its legality issue in the past. According to the Special Assistant, the ADRS would also the helpful to reduce burden of the courts. The members of such jirgas will include the local elder, retired civil servants, lawyers, ulema and experts in related fields.                

DEFENCE/NATIONAL SECURITY

Army Chief witnessed exercise “Zarb-e-Hadeed” in Cholistan Desert

General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited field training area in Cholistan Desert where he was received by Corps Commander Bahawalpur, Lt. Gen. Khalid Zia. Later he, was given briefing about modalities of 02-weeks long corps level desert exercise “Zarb-e-Hadeed” (05th March).

Comments & Analysis: – The exercise aimed at enhancing operational preparedness of formations by creating synergy among infantry, mechanized forces, combat aviation, surveillance platforms, army air defence and artillery while operating within defensive operation cycle of a Corps. The army chief expressed complete satisfaction over combat readiness of the troops. Both Tharparkar in Sindh and Cholistan area in Punjab are adjacent with Indian state (Province) Rajasthan. These desert areas are sensitive from defence angle against any possible aggression by the Indian army.

Zalmay Khalilzad and US Gen Austin Miller call on Army Chief at GHQ

United States (US) special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad alongwith Gen. Austin Miller, Commended Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ, Rawalpindi. They discussed matters pertaining to the regional security situation and the Afghan peace process during the meeting (08th March).

British Chief of Defence Staff visited GHQ

UK Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter called on Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ, Rawalpindi. They discussed matter of mutual interest, Pakistan’s regional peace and stability and peace in Afghanistan (09th March).    

Comments & Analysis: –  Zalmay Khalilzad, who had remained active in finalizing a deal between the US and Afghan Taliban and has been visiting Pakistan several time in the past, has been retained for the purpose by the new US administration. The current meetings seem much significant in the backdrop of revised plan for Afghan peace process.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER- At a Glance

  1. Four members of a family of minority community including Ram Chand his wife Lakshmi Mai, boy Prem Kumar, daughters Anjali and Aneeqa were found dead in their house in Abu Dhabi Colony, Chak number 135-P, Rahim Yar Khan District. It is being considered a result of family dispute. Police investigations are under progress (05th March).
  2. Police arrested a person for killing his wife and her alleged paramour named Sultan in Goth Khamisa Khan in Nasirabad District, Balochistan (05th March).
  3. One Gulzar Ali Khan was killed by his rivals in the fruit and vegetable market, Lakki Marwat. A passerby was also killed in this incident (08th March).
  4. Customs intelligence staff claimed to have seized a huge quantity of narcotic substance worth Rs/- 04 billion, during a raid from the possession of four persons in Karachi (08th March).
  5. Three persons including Rana Amjad, Imran and Tanzil were killed while Ali Shan, Naeem, Adeel, Tahir and Rana Nasir were seriously injured by the alleged firing of the owners of Royal Palm Housing Society, Gujranwala over a payment dispute. The police registered the case and is conducting the raid to arrest the culprits (09th March).
  6. A bank manager Asghar Awan was killed and cashier Hassham Khan sustained injuries on resistance by four armed persons during a robbery in Chamkani area in Peshawar. The robbers made good their escape with the looted cash (09th March).
  7. The elders and members of Ahmadzai Wazir tribes, Wazir Qaumi Ittehad etc blocked the Indus Highway in Bannu District as protest against the alleged killing of a student Mubashir Ahmad by police in Peshawar recently (10th March).

Arms factory raided in Lahore

The police raided an illegal arms factory in the Shafiqabad area of Lahore, arrested three persons including Rafique, Amir Sohail and Shahbaz, recovered pistol parts worth Rs/- 1.5 crore. The accused reportedly disclosed during interrogation that after three/four days, they used to make six hundred pistol parts to be supplied to Peshawar (06th March).          

Crime Details 05/03/2021 to 12/03/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhBalochistanIslamabad
Murders(Lahore (Hanjarwal)-1, Toba Tek Singh District-1, Rahim Yar Khan-5, Ichara-1, Taxila-3, Chakwal-1, Narowal-1, Gujrat-1, Kasur-2, Taxila-1, Sukkur-14, Gujrat-2, Okara-1, Kasur-1, Taxila-2, Mughalpura-1, Gujranwala-3) = 41 Peshawar-1, Haripur-2, Dera Ismail Khan-1, Shangla-1, North Waziristan-4, Kohat-1, North Waziristan-8, Haripur-1, North Waziristan-2, Landi Kotal-2, Lakki Marwat-2, Haripur-4, Peshawar-1, Lakki Marwat-1) = 28   (Karachi-1, Orangi Town-1, Karcahi-4, Larkana-1, Hyderabad-1, Vehari-2, Karachi-1, Larkana-3, Karachi-1) = 15(Sibi Town-5, Quetta-2, Gwadar-2, Mastung-5, Dera Murad Jamali-4, Nasirabad-2) = 20(Islamabad-1, Islamabad-2, Islamabad-1, Islamabad-1) = 05
Gang rape(Bahawalpur-1) = 01(Dadu-1) = 01
Robberies/ Dacoits(Kasur-1) = 01(Peshawar-1) = 01(Karachi-1) = 01
Kidnapping(Sukkur-1) = 01
Police encounter(Okara-1) = 01(Vehari-2, Korangi-1) = 03
Injured(Lahore (Kot Lakhpat)-1, Bahawalnagar-4, Toba Tek Singh District-2, Taxila-3, Gujranwala-3, Faisalabad-7, Sukkur-6, Kasur-10, Taxila-1, Mughalpura-2, Gujranwala-5, Rawalpindi-2) = 46(Dera Ismail Khan-1, Shangla-2, Haripur-1, North Waziristan-1, Peshawar-1) = 06(Karcahi-2, Larkana-3, Larkana-1) = 06(Sibi Town-5, Quetta-2, Dera Murad Jamali-10) =17(Islamabad-5, Islamabad-2) = 07
Total Crime9135  263712

Source: Media & National dailies  

REGIONAL

LoC/IIOJK

The situation remained calm during the period under review on LoC where the forces of Pakistan and India are deployed on the forward posts.

The Indian security forces continued their anti-militancy drive in the valley and killed an innocent Kashmiri youth named Ghani Khawaja in a fake encounter in Sopore town of Baramulla District (08th March). In another fake encounter, the Indian security forces killed two Kashmiri youth on the charges of militancy in Islamabad District (11th March).  

Comments & Analysis: – No incident of ceasefire violation on LoC has been reported during the period under review.

The state oppression of the BJP Government of India however continued in Kashmir valley.

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi while reiterating Beijing’s stand said that the border issue was not the “whole story” of the bilateral relationship and the two countries needed to create enabling condition to resolve the dispute and move on to better relations (08th March). He was replying to a question of media that India sought early troop engagements in remaining area in Ladakh after Pangong lake sector.       

Comments & Analysis: – The overall situation in Ladakh along LAC after disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops at Pangong lake sector during the period under review remained calm. With calmness on LOC, India is focusing on LAC and trying to pressurise China for disengagement of troops from all the sub-sectors in Ladakh to give an impression to its people that it has lost nothing. Some war strategists are of the opinion that India should have been kept engaged on LOC and LAC simultaneously to keep its belligerence under control. India and Afghanistan adopt the same strategy to pester Pakistan from both the borders. Others suggest to lower the tensions to ensure peace in the region.

AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Two people including NDS prosecutor Saadat Mehmood alongwith another person was killed in an IED blast near police headquarter, Lashkargah city in Helmand Province (04th March). In another incident a female police officer named Malala was injured while her husband was killed during an attack in the said Province (06th March).
  2. Eleven anti-Government militia men were killed in an airstrike by Afghan air force in Taluka region of Kunduz city (05th March).                
  3. Eight security forces personnel were killed and six others wounded during clash with Taliban in Nahr-e Shahi of Balakh Province (06th March).
  4. Three Taliban, namely, Ali Muhammad @ Usama, Mullah Ajmal and Abdul Ghafoor were arrested by the Afghan security forces in Faryab Province (06th March).
  5. Three police personnel were injured in an IED blast on Kabul Parwan road in Jabl-e-Saraj District of Kabul Province (07th March).
  6. Afghan Ministry of Defence claimed to have killed thirty-four Taliban during clashes with Afghan security forces supported by the air force in Arghandab, Panjwai and Zherai Districts of Kandahar Province (07th March).
  7. Eleven Taliban were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in Herat Province (07th March).
  8. Reportedly, thirty-five Taliban were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces with air support in the Mizan and Shahr-e-Safa Districts of Zabul Province (09th March).

Comments & Analysis: – Violence continued unabated in Afghanistan during the period under review.

AFGHAN PEACE PROCESS

US to pursue the Afghan peace process with revised plan

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken,

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, apprised him of the US peace plan for a transitional Government in Afghanistan and advised to hold ceasefire with Taliban.  He also urged Ghani to positively consider the proposals of US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, which  included the following points: a) to works with the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, former President Hamid Karzai and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan politician to form a “group of four” as a united front.  b) Formation of a transitional or interim Government set-up in Afghanistan represented by all stake holders including Taliban. c) Reaching an agreement with Taliban for reduction of violence in the country initially holding a ceasefire for 90 days. d) UNO to convene a meeting of the representatives from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the US to discuss a unified approach and work together for achieving the positive results.  e) Turkey is to host a senior level conference to be attended by the representatives of all stake holders expected to be on 27 March. He said the roadmap outlines for the peace process will enable the Afghan government and the Taliban to develop the foundational principles that will guide Afghanistan’s future constitutional and governing arrangements; a roadmap to a new and inclusive government; and the terms of a permanent and comprehensive solution (07th March).

Comments & Analysis: – US President Biden’s administration has started speedy efforts to move forward for Afghan peace process by approaching Afghan Government, Taliban, and regional countries and has also sought support of UNO, Russia and China. Conversely, Afghan ruling elite and security administration do not seem happy over the new US plan. The hawkish Vice President Amrullah Saleh criticised it. A peace conference as part of peace efforts is also expected to be held at Moscow under the initiative of Russia and China. India which was earlier ignored in the former President Trump’s period into the Afghan peace process has now been included by the President Biden’s administration.

 The US Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has handed over the plan to the Taliban at Doha and also to the Afghan Government. The Taliban spokesman Naeem having been confirmed receiving the plan, said that the it was being considered by the Taliban’s leadership and a final decision has yet to be made in this regard. The Afghan government has also received the proposed plan for the formation of a transitional government which would include the Taliban reportedly consists of three key points; a principled guideline for the future of Afghanistan, a transitional Government, and a permanent ceasefire. According to the plan Islam considered to be the official religion of Afghanistan and all citizens will be granted immunity as Afghanistan is common to all ethnicities and religions.

In the first phase at the end of the Transitional Period, the President of Afghanistan will be chosen through an election. The key points in the plan consist of three main features:

  1. Executive administration including a president, ministers, and independent directorates.
  2. The legislature that includes Senate and Parliament and Taliban will also be part of it.
  3. The judiciary in which includes the Independent High Council of Islamic Jurisprudence and the Commission for Drafting a New Constitution. The council will be responsible to prepare Islamic guidance for social and cultural affairs. It will have 15 members 7 from the Taliban side and 7 others from the Government and one another individual will be chosen by the government’s President.
    INTERNATIONAL

Israeli DM threatens to strike at Iran

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz, talking to fox news, said that his country has drawn up plans to strike Iranian targets if Tehran showed signs of nuclear escalation. He showed a map containing alleged launching sites missiles and land forces setup by Irani proxies along the border in Lebanon (05th March).

Comments & Analysis: – Israel is upping the ante against Iran after developing diplomatic relations with some Gulf countries. It intends to develop a “special security arrangement” with new Gulf Arab allies who share common concerns about Iran. One of the aims of the establishing close ties with the Arab countries is to gang up against the alleged threat of Iran. This move can boomerang and create troubles and turmoil in the region. Despite perpetual pro-Israel stance of the US, Joe Biden might take notice of the ugly situation that is brewing up in the region.  

Corona virus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 13,184 from 06th March to 12th March, 2021 (Friday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total 6,848 active cases during this period is as follows:

• Sindh: 2,604

• Punjab: 2,903

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 456

• Balochistan: 46

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 782

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 5

• AJK: 52

Deaths: 302

Comments & Analysis: – The third wave of corona virus is making its presence felt. The number of corona patients has increased at a high rate. Schools and educational institutions have been closed for spring holidays. There is a need for utmost care to avoid its spread. Vaccine for over 65 has started but the progress is slow.

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities in tribal areas and some parts of KPK. Low-intensity insurgency is continuing in ex-tribal areas and Balochistan.

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 – However there was lull in the exchange of fire at LOC during the last three weeks. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), remained calm.

Health Security: A new surge of Coronavirus pandemic seems to be rising in Pakistan.

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

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

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