The Security Brief

Vol. 6-Issue No 53

27th March, 2021

Editorial

Pak-India détente-How?

Imran Khan & Narendra Modi

Overnight Pakistan and India have stopped firing at the Line of Control and given up spewing hate at each other; presenting themselves as perfectly friendly innocuous neighbours who have no issues to quarrel over. Peace is no doubt the most preferred option so every Pakistani and Indian should be pleased and relieved over it. But the citizens would like to know how did it happen. There were no talks, no exchange of delegations and no communique etc. Who discussed what and how?

In absence of any credible official information conspiracy theories and rumours are taking rounds. One such rumour is that the United Arab Emirates brokered the peace deal. Sceptics are not ready to stomach it easily. They argue that the UAE, for quite some time, does not have very cordial relations with Pakistan and its tilt towards India is quite steep. Moreover, does it have the capacity to convince the estranged nuclear neighbours to shun the hostilities like good school boys in a jiffy?

Another school of thought attributes this sudden development it to the magic wand of the Biden administration. They argue that the US is the power that can make this thing happen but of course for a reason that caters to their interests and for some consideration. What could Pakistan give to them. Axiomatically, its full support to back the Afghan peace process. But what if it has asked Pakistan to back off from its stance on Kashmir issue. This is what Modi would have wanted too. So, some understanding on Kashmir can be a plausible reason. Has Pakistan been given assurance that Modi will roll back the constitutional mischief he did over the status of IIOJ&K in August 2019? It seems doubtful. Without this assurance Pakistan has no reason to rejoice and remain silent. For whatever reason, even for the bargain over FATF’s grey-lit, if Pakistan has shuffled over its Kashmir policy, Modi has all the reason to be happy. It has neutralized one enemy so that it could concentrate on the other i.e., China.

If India has to propel the US policy of containment of China it feels rightful to ask Biden to keep Pakistan at bay so that India is not squeezed between the two close strategic partners. If at any time China engages India at LAC, Pakistan should not press it from LOC. Modi’s dilemma is understandable. The strategy is to pose a friendly posture towards Pakistan, though temporarily.

An unconfirmed report says that Moeed Yousaf, National Security Advisor of the Prime Minister is being tipped off for appointment as the Pak High Commissioner in New Delhi. It indicates strong US hand behind the process. Though Moeed Yousaf has refuted the report as baseless, and Pakistan Office sources have also not admitted it, some quarters believe at least his name was considered for this slot.

Pakistan has taken the bait, though temporarily. It cannot last long till the people of Pakistan, the parliament, the opposition and the media are taken into confidence over the process and modalities of the truce. Kashmir is too sacrosanct to be shelved surreptitiously. India is speedily changing the demographic balance and the status of Kashmir. Besides Kashmir, have we taken guarantee from India to stop its malicious activities to destabilise Pakistan by inciting violence and terrorism in Balochistan and erstwhile FATA? Has Modi guaranteed to put his hawks like Ajit Dovel on a short leash?

The only question is transparency in the whole affair. Negotiations have not started but guns have fallen silent and messages of love are being exchanged. This sounds ominously strange. What has been decided in pre-negotiation talks, by whom, on what terms? Nation should know this beforehand.

NATIONAL

TERRORISM/SECTARIANISM- AT A GLANCE

Punjab

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Punjab Highway Patrolling police recovered 12 automatic rifles, 08 pistols and over 3500 bullets from a motorcar at Taraki Toll Plaza on GT road near Sohawa, Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi. Reportedly these arms and ammunition from Peshawar were to be used in terrorist attacks on 23rd March in Lahore. A case has been registered in PS Sohawa and the matter is under investigation (21st March). 02

Comments & Analysis: – This attempt to smuggle arms and ammunition in Punjab shows the strong desire and designs of the terrorists to create violence across Pakistan. They will not keep their activities restricted to KPK, erstwhile FATA, Karachi and Balochistan. It also shows that they have finances, sleeper cells, sympathisers and active manpower to undertake such projects. The war is still on.

Sindh

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Three people including a ranger personnel were wounded in a low intensity bomb attack on a Pakistan rangers’ vehicle in Khairpur city. The outlawed Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) claimed responsibility for the attack (23rd March).  03

Comments & Analysis: – The attack on the ranger’s vehicle indicates increase in the malicious activities of SRA  that needs to be preempted by the intelligence agencies, security forces and police with more efforts.   

KPK

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Three persons including an alleged terrorist Mukarram and two passers-by Bihar Ali and Abdul Ghaffar were killed and another militant sustained injury during exchange of fire with the security forces in Kanju area in Kabal tehsil of Swat District. The terrorists were wanted in a number of cases, including killing of a police constable last year (18th March).0301
2.The CTD reportedly recovered 30,000 detonators and 560 bags of safety fuses to be used for explosions from a group comprising, Yousuf, Suleman, Sahibdad, Nasir and Shakrullah at Ghantaghar, Peshawar. Reportedly, three out of them are Afghans, one from Bajaur and other from Peshawar (18th March).
3.A police investigation officer Nihar Ali, who was deputed at Khazana police station, Peshawar, was killed and Constable Sardar Ali sustained injuries when unidentified attackers opened fire on their vehicle in the limits of Jabba area of Akbarpura village in Nowshera District. Both the cops were reportedly off-duty and had gone to visit a shrine outside Peshawar in a taxi (19th March).0101
4.The security forces on a tip-off raid recovered IEDs and weapons from a terrorist hideout in Charmang village in Nawagai tehsil of Bajaur tribal District. The material was brought out from across the border from Afghanistan for carrying out attacks on the security forces and to conduct sabotage activities in Pakistan (19th March).
5.The police recovered four bullet-riddled bodies identified as Iffat Ullah, Razeem Ullah, Muhammad Rahim and Ahmed dumped at a graveyard in Wazir Warigani village, Jani Khel area of Bannu District (21st March).   04
6.The police raided and recovered more than 33000 bullets from a pickup loaded with straw near Mazya-Jandiala road, Tank. The driver and another suspected person were arrested (22nd March).

Comments & Analysis: – The terrorist attacks, exchange of firing with security forces and recovery of arms and ammunition remained prevalent in KP during the period under review.   

Balochistan

Sr. NoIncidentKilledInjuredArrested
1.Unidentified terrorists hurled a grenade at a vehicle of a security forces patrolling the Absar road area, Turbat town of Kech District. However, the device exploded near a medical store causing injuries to five passersby (20th March).   05
2.Three people were killed and 13 others injured including a police man and some Levies personnel due to a IED blast, attached with a motorcycle, in front of Levies lines in Chaman. TTP has reportedly taken responsibility of the said attack (23rd March).      0313
3.Three perons, named Javed, Haseeb Noor and Irshad were reportedly injured in a firing attack by unidentified persons from across the Pakistani border with Iran, in Panjgur District (24th March). 03

Comments & Analysis: – TTP’s some agents manage to sneak into Pakistan from Afghanistan to carry out such attacks. Its strength to strike in a big way has definitely decreased but it has the ability to indulge in cat and mouse tactics. It wants to fight a prolonged insurgency. The strategies should be set accordingly.

NATIONAL

ECO train to resume operations in mid-April

Pakistan Railways Chairman Habib-ur-Rehman, talking to media at Lahore, said that the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) freight rail transport service, called ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation) train is expected to resume its operations by the middle of next month (20th March).

Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt that the train was set to resume operations on March 04th after a period of nine years. However, mishandling, negligence, and other administrative issues, allegedly on the part of various railway officers, caused the delay. Turkey and Iran, in two recent ECO’s coordination meetings–held virtually had also called upon Pakistan to review the tariff for train on the basis of actual weight and per kilometer instead of the fixed charges for the 1,990km journey from Iran’s city of Zahedan to Islamabad.

RELIGION/SECTARIAN

Negative propaganda against ulema and religious seminaries: JI Amir Siraj-ul-Haq

Maulana Sirajul Haq JI Amir

Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Siraj-ul-Haq addressing a function at Jamia Masjid Tafhim-ul-Quran, Lalqila in Maidan, Lower Dir District, said that establishing boards for Madaris on the basis of sects by the government was tantamount to fanning sectarianism in the country and people were being hoodwinked sometime in the name of “Roti Kapra Makan” and sometimes in the name of’ ‘Change’. He alleged that a propaganda had been unleashed against the ulema and religious seminaries under a conspiracy. He appealed the ulema to get united and start the struggle for implementation of Shariah laws in the country (23rd March).

Comments & Analysis: – According to Jamaat-e-Islami, 305 million students are getting religious education in seminaries all over the country but Government has yet to allocate a single penny for their welfare in its budget. Jamaat-e-Islami has been mobilizing the people and endeavoring Shariah law in the country and a strongly advocated freedom of Jammu and Kashmir from the illegal occupation of India.

COURT HEARING

Karak temple attack accused granted bail

After reaching an agreement with the Hindu community under the supervision of KP Government, the District and Sessions Judge, Kohat released on bail all the arrested persons including former District Nazim Rehmat Salam Khattak, JUI District President Maulana Mirza Waseem allegedly involved in the attack on the temple in Teri area of Karak District (20th March).

Comments & Analysis: – The police after lodging case against 350 persons, arrested 120 people on the charges of vandalizing the Hindu temple in Teri area in Karak on December 30th last year. The Supreme Court had taken suo moto notice of the incident.

Motorway rape case: accused Abid, Shafqat sentenced to death

Convicts Abid and Shafqat

An anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), Lahore awarded death sentenced with Rs/- 50 thousands fine to each accused Abid Malhi and Shafqat Bagga to death in Motorway rape case (20th March).

Comments & Analysis: – On September 9th, 2020, mother of two children was looted and raped at gunpoint on Lahore-Sialkot motorway in Gujarpura area on the outskirts of the provincial capital. The incident created a great discontent and protest by people in general, women right activists and civil societies in particular, all over the country. The then CCPO Lahore’s unkind and unnecessary words had poured fuel on the fire.

DEFENCE/ NATIONAL SECURITY

COAS, US Defence Secretary holds telephonic talks

US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin

US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin reportedly held a telephonic conversation with the COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa in which he reiterated the US commitment to enhance relations with Pakistan and appreciated for Pakistan’s continued support for establishing peace in Afghanistan (22nd March).

UK Strategic Command Chief’s Visit to GHQ

Gen Sir Patrick Nicholas, Commander UK Strategic Command called on Army Chief (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ, Rawalpindi and discussed matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and efforts for peace in Afghanistan. He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region (24th March).

Comments & Analysis: – According to the Pentagon press secretary, the dignitaries discussed matters of mutual interests. Lloyd J Austin also expressed US willingness to enhance bilateral relations with Pakistan in defence and other fields of mutual interest, COAS Bajwa conveyed Pakistan’s policy and efforts in building peace in Afghanistan and in entire South Asia. He also appreciated Pakistan’s measures to ensure ceasefire on the LoC and resuming Pak-India DG military operations communication. The US Defence Secretary has recently undertaken his visit to India for strengthening strategic ties and Afghanistan for moving forward peace process under the prospective of Biden’s administration. But he refrained from visiting Pakistan.

The meeting of the British Strategic Command Chief with COAS was probably to fill the gap that the US Secretary of Defence left during his recent visit to India and Afghanistan. Pakistan has close friendly relations with UK especially in the military and security training field.

CRIME/LAW & ORDER- At a Glance

  1. A private TV channel journalist Ajay Lalwani was gunned down by assailants in Salehpat area of Sukkur District (18th March).   
  2. The police registered a case FIR against a seminary teacher of Adda Sheikhan Lalian, Chiniot District, for raping a student of the local seminary and uploading the video of the incident online (19th March).
  3. Two persons named Ismail and were gunned down inside a graveyard of Chakra Goth, Zaman town area, Korangi Karachi (19th March).
  4. The police claimed to have arrested a person who resorted to firing at one of the gates of diplomatic enclave, Islamabad. According to FIR a police man was present in a bunker and the suspected person snatched his weapon (SMG) after physical confrontation and fired at him with the intention to kill (19th March).
  5. The Secretariat police, Islamabad arrested a prayer leader of Jamia Masjid Phulwari for criticizing the Government and Prime Minister in Friday sermon for not taking action against the organizers of “Aurat March” (20th March).
  6. Robbers, burglars, and thieves looted cash and valuables worth millions of rupees from 11 different places of Capital City Islamabad (20st March).
  7. The police arrested a woman for allegedly slaughtering her minor nephew in a flat of Chamkani plaza, Dilazak road Peshawar (20th March).
  8. Three persons killed their sister Dar Bibi and the cousin Mukhtiyar Ali in so called ‘honor killing’ in the Manghopir police station of Karachi (20th March).
  9. A minor girl was raped by a person in Mohalla Nazir Abad, PS Sadar, Bahawalpur. Police registered the case against the accused (21st March).
  10. Two tribe men Khalil Ahmed Bugti and Naveed Jan Bugti were killed while two others injured in a clash between the two rival groups over a land dispute in the Habib Rai area on the outskirt of Dera Bugti town (21st March).
  11.    

Crime Details 19/03/2021 to 26/03/2021

CrimesPunjabKPKSindhBalochistanIslamabadAJ&KGBTotal
Murders(Taxila-1, Multan-4, Narowal-1, Okara-1, Sahiwal-1, Kasur-1, Rawalpindi-1, Taxila-1, Dera Ghazi Khan-2, Chakwal-1, Gujar Khan-1, Dera Ghazi Khan-1, Sialkot-4) = 20(Nowshera-1, Peshawar-2, Peshawar-1, Mansehra-1, Mardan-1, Bannu-4, Mansehra-1, Peshawar-2, Khyber-2, Lakki Marwat-4, Peshawar-1, Dera Ismail Khan-1, Abbottabad-2, Kohat-1, Lakki Marwat-2) = 27(Sukkur-1, Karachi-1, Madeji-3, Karachi-2, Karachi-1, Karachi-1, Dadu-1, Vehari-4, Karachi-1, Karachi-3, Korangi-2, Dadu-2) = 22(Dera Murad Jamali-2, Quetta-3, Chagai-6) = 11(Muzaffarabad-3, Muzaffarabad-3, Neelum valley-5, Muzaffarabad-5) = 16(Gilgit-6) = 06102
Gang rape(Taxila-1, Chiniot-1, Gujar Khan-1, Bahawalpur-1, Faisalabad-1) = 0505
Robberies/ Dacoits(Narowal-1, Sahiwal-1, Bahawalnagar-1) = 03 (Islamabad-1, Islamabad-1, Islamabad-1) = 03 06
Kidnapping 
Police encounter(Rawalpindi-1, Lahore (Cantt)-2) = 03(Karachi-1, Hyderabad-1) = 0205
Injured(Narowal-2, Taxila-21, Gujrat-2, Okara-5, Dera Ghazi Khan-3, Lahore-1, Rawalpindi-1) = 35(Nowshera-1, Mansehra-2, Peshawar-1, Bajaur-1, Dera Ismail Khan-2) = 07(Karachi-2, Karachi-2, Vehari-13, Karachi-1, Korangi-1) = 19(Gwadar-5, Dera Murad Jamali-2, Quetta-13) = 22(Muzaffarabad-2, Muzaffarabad-1) = 03(Gilgit-7) =0793
Total Crime6634  4333031913211

Source: Media & National dailies  

REGIONAL

LoC/IIOJK

The Indian security forces during their so-called anti-militancy operations in the valley, killed 04 Kashmiri youth in a fake encounter at Manual area of Sephora District for their alleged links with LeT and terrorist activities (21st March).

Comments & Analysis: – No incident of violation on LoC has been reported during the period under review. The PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan and was optimist of normalisation of rations between the two countries. The state terrorism in IIOJ&K,  however, continued and still any sign of progress to start negotiations for settlement of Kashmir dispute has not been seen except reduction in anti-Pakistan statements of by the BJP leadership.

LAC/INDO-CHINA BORDER

The situation remained calm in Ladakh alongside LAC where the Indian and Chinese troops remained deployed in forward posts (25th March).

Comments & Analysis: – No incident of violence on LAC, during the period under review has been reported. India is making efforts for dis-engagement of the troops from other sectors in Ladakh after completion of one at Pangong Lake.

 AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism/Violence

  1. The militants of the private militia of the Commander Abdul Ghani Ali Pur shot down an Afghan army helicopter in Behshud District of Maidan Wardak Province. It caused casualties of all the nine security personnel on board in the said helicopter. In retaliation, the security forces attacked the private militia killed its twelve-armed men and injured six others (19th March). The Afghan Government took the action at the highest level, by capturing the central base of the militia leader in Behshud District while raids are being made two arrest the Commander Ali Pur (22nd March).  
  2. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) claimed to have arrested 18 suspected persons, affiliated with IS/ISKP during a special operation in Faryab Province (19th March).
  3. Afghan security forces claimed to have killed thirty anti-government militants and injured seventeen others, including Taliban, in targeted attacks supported by the Airforce in Qaisar District of Faryab Province (20th March).
  4. District Governor Tyora, Ghor, named Muhammad Rafique Alam was killed in a blast of magnetic IED fixed with his vehicle in the said District.  One civilian was killed in two separates roadside IED blasts in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar Province (21st March).
  5. Seven people were killed and three more wounded in various incidents of target killings and IED blasts in Kabul Province in the last two days (21st March).

Comments & Analysis: – There was hardly any reduction in violence in Afghanistan in the period under review.

The fighting between the Afghan security forces and Taliban, and the targets killings of civilians several other groups continued in Afghanistan. Meanwhile a commander of the special operation corps, Haibatullah Ali Zai, reportedly stated on 26th March, that Afghan security forces were fighting the Taliban currently in 20 Provinces including Kunduz, Kandahar, Helmand, Faryab and Maidan Wardak to establish their control over there. He however stated that Taliban were currently controlling 10 Districts of Helmand, Zabul, Jawzjan, Badghis and Badakhshan Provinces.     

AFGHAN PEACE PROCESS

Moscow Summit – “Troika” statement on Afghan peace process

Russia hosted a meeting of the extended “Troika” comprising representatives of Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan at Moscow which focused on making progress in the intra-Afghan process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire: a) They called all sides and parties involved in the conflict for reduction of violence. b) Taliban to not pursue spring violence for producing conducive environment. c) Citing UN resolution no. 2513 (20), does not support the revival of Islamic Emirate in the country. d) Asked Afghan Government for openly deal with Taliban for achieving negotiated peace settlement in Afghanistan (18th March).

Comments & Analysis: – The event was attended by representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, prominent Afghan political figures, and representatives of the Taliban movement, as well as Qatar and Turkey as guests of honor. It was a part of sincere efforts by the “Troika” for moving forward toward peace settlement in the country.

Taliban shared three months RIV with USA

The Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem reportedly indicated to the media that they have shared 90-day reduction in violence (RIV) plan with USA but any agreement to this effect has not been reached, so far (21 March).

Comments & Analysis: – The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his letter to President Ashraf Ghani referred to this plan and has reiterated that it will stop the Taliban from announcing its so-called spring offensive. This comes as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid an unannounced visit to Kabul on his first trip to Afghanistan as Pentagon Chief during which he met with President Ashraf Ghani and voiced for reduction of violence by all the sides.

US Defense Secretary visits Kabul

The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Kabul and had meetings with the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other high-level officials of the Afghan Government, expressed concerns over the increase of violence in the country and stressed that peace is the main solution for the current situation in the country (21th March).

Comments & Analysis: – His trip comes after he visited India where he and his Indian counterpart pledged to expand their military engagement, underscoring the strengthening defense ties between two countries concerned over China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. His trip comes as the US is reviewing the Doha agreement with the Taliban while also keeping all options on the table when it comes to the May 1st deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan and to learn and listen from the Afghan Government in this regard. President Joe Biden is already considering to keep US troops in Afghanistan until November, rather than withdrawing them by a May 1st deadline outlined in the Doha agreement.

INDIA

US Defence Secretary visits India

US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin met with the Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar (20th March) during his three-day visit to India. Afghanistan and the situation in the Indo-Pacific region were the key topics of discussions during the talks. The one-hour long talks included discussions around the current strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific region and the EAM’s briefing about India’s “current security challenges and long-term strategic outlook”. Austin also briefed Jaishankar about his visit to Japan and South Korea. Austin is on his maiden visit as Defence Secretary to Asia, with India being the final stop during it. His visit comes in light of the quad-India, Australia, Japan and US leadership virtual meet and increased New Delhi-Washington engagement (20th March).

Comments & Analysis: – During his three days visit to India, he also met PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other senior officials. The defence engagements between the two countries have increased in the changing geo-strategic situation in Asia has increased and USA has authorized over 20 billion dollars in defence sales to India. The issue of human rights in India also came up during the meeting in the backdrop of President Biden’s administration policy into the matter but in a lighter tone. USA has an objection over India’s purchase of SU-4 missile defence system from Russia but is expected to ignore the violation of its policy contrary to Turkey on similar issue due to its strategic relations with India.

Special Comments:

Although, the main aim of the visit of the US Defence Secretary to India and Afghanistan was to talk about Afghan peace and reset the deadline for the US troops to leave Afghanistan, he did not visit Pakistan which is the main stake holder and immediate neighbour of Afghanistan. He just gave a telephone call to the COAS on 22nd March.  According to some analysts, the Afghan Government was not much comfortable at the Moscow summit in which its close strategic ally India was not invited. Hence, India has now been given space into the Afghan affairs by the President Biden administration for attending the forth-coming peace conference, being organised under the UNO in Turkey, early April. The Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Utmar’s recent visit to New Delhi was also a part to discuss the development of peace process and India is happy over the same.

 Apparently, it is also a failure of our foreign policy runners who could not woo him before his tour started. The Prime Minister, the Foreign Office and those who claim to call the shots in this realm must chide themselves for this apathy on their part.

Both India and Afghanistan governments have their own axe to grind and keep deep grudges against Pakistan. The US Secretary would have easily taken their point of view as the whole truth. Pakistan should back the Russian and Turkish efforts to resolve the issue. The unilateral violation of US-Taliban deal by the Biden administration can have rueful ramifications in form of increase in violence in Afghanistan. Pakistan should complete the construction of fence at Pak-Afghan border as soon as possible to avoid spill over into Pakistan again. The US Secretary of Defence seemed to be more interested in assessing the Chinese position against India and must have given some message to the Indian leadership in this regard. Obviously, with this aim, his visit to Pakistan did not make any sense.

INTERNATIONAL

Khamenei says US promises have no credibility for Iran

Iran does not trust US promises on lifting sanctions and will only return to its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal once Washington fully removes the measures, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (21st March).

Comments & Analysis: – The administration of US President Joe Biden is exploring ways to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with major world powers, but which was abandoned in 2018 by President Donald Trump, who reimposed sanctions. Iran retaliated by breaching the terms of the accord in a step-by-step response.

14 militants sentenced to death by a Bangladesh Court

A Bangladeshi Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 Dhaka under Judge Abu Zafar Md Khuram Zaman awarded death sentence to 14 accused persons for attempting to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her southwestern constituency in 2000. He ordered that the verdict will be executed by a firing squad to set an example, unless the law barred it. Otherwise, the convicts could be hanged in line with prevailing practice, subject to the approval of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court following mandatory review of death sentences under Bangladesh law (22nd March).

Comments & Analysis: – All the convicts were allegedly associated with outlawed Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B).  Nine were arrested while the five convicts are on the run and were tried in absentia. The judge ordered the verdict to be executed after their arrest or surrender. The accused had planted a 76-kilogramme bomb near a ground at Kotalipara area of southwestern Gopalganj on July 21,2000 to kill Hasina where she was supposed to address an election rally.

Corona virus Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan was registered to be 19,061 from 20th March to 27th March, 2021 (Friday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total 8,485 active cases during this period is as follows:

• Sindh: 1,043

• Punjab: 3,877

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 1,589

• Balochistan: 58

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 1,799

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 08

• AJK: 111

Deaths: 327

Comments & Analysis: – The third wave of corona virus is raging hard. The number of corona patients has increased at a high rate.Smart and selected lock downs were clamped in various cities. Vaccine for over 60 years of age has started but the progress is slow.

The Russian vaccine Sputnik V is being made available commercially at an exorbitant price of Rs.8000/ per shot. People from all walks of life have resented over this callous money-making activity. Social media is abuzz with this stupendous price scheme comparing its price in India which is said to be Rs.750 per shot. Some people say it should not be more than PKR 1500 in Pakistan. Amnesty International has written a letter to the government of Pakistan, urging it to give free shots to the people instead of selling it commercially.

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: TTP and its affiliates have increased their terrorist activities in tribal areas and some parts of KPK.

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: Actively simmering through the society. Religious intolerance has increased There is an urgent need to bridle the situation through all means.

Border Situation: Tense – Ceasefire. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), remained calm.

Health Security: The third wave of Coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll in Pakistan.

Social Unrest: Rising; due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest. The constant rise in electricity, petrol tariffs, medicines 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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