WEEKLY SECURITY BRIEF

Vol. 3-Issue No 24

20th July, 2020

NATIONAL

Terrorism/Violence

Unidentified terrorist martyred three LEA personnel and eight others got injured during routine patrolling, near Village Kahan, Gichak Valley, District Panjgur, Balochistan Province (14 July).

Unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle martyred Maulana Irshad Ullah when he was present in his Madrasah, “Ahsan-ul-Madaris”, Chitkan, Panjgur District of Balochistan (12 July).       

Landed on the house of Latif Ullah in Kaga Village, Mamund Tehsil, Tribal District Bajaur, KPK resulted in injuring a young girl of the inmates and damaging the house (14 July). This mortar shell was reportedly fired from Kunar Province (Afghanistan).

Comments & Analysis: Any militant group has not yet taken responsibility of the said incidents. However, the pattern of attacks was identical to similar attacks carried out earlier by the outlawed Baloch separatist organizations especially BLA. These organizations have been targeting LEAs, Government functionaries, citizens and projects linked with CPEC in Balochistan, Sindh and KPK for the last couple of years, presuming them against the interest of Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtoon people. Recently, Majeed Brigade of Baloch Liberation Army targeted Karachi stock exchange building on June 29 in which all the four attackers were killed by the security guards and LEAs. The four districts of Makran division – Panjgur, Turbat, Lasbela and Gwadar Districts in Balochistan and tribal districts in KOK have become hot spots of terrorism due to their proximity with Iran and Afghanistan borders, respectively. The situation demands to send a strong message to the master-minds of such attacks, harboring in the neighbouring countries from Pakistan for a befitting response, if such acts of terrorism are not stopped.

Arrest of RAW agent in Karachi

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claimed to have arrested a suspect namely, Zafar Khan, involved in target killings and bombing at the behest of Indian intelligence Agency RAW (15 July). He was reportedly working in Karachi Fire Brigade Department and was a member of MQM London. He was reportedly given training in explosive making and weapon handling by the Delhi based, Mehmood Siddiqui Group in collaboration with RAW during his last visit to India. FIA also arrested two members of a money exchange company who were also associated with the said Indian agency and had been sending money to anti-state elements through “Hawala and Hundi”.

Comments & Analysis: A case has been registered against the accused persons and investigation is underway to arrest the other suspected members of the “net”. In May 2020, FIA also arrested a suspected member of MQM London and linked with RAW who was serving as ASI in the police special branch in Karachi.

Sindh High Court issues notice on Omar Sheikh’s Plea against detention under MPO

The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a notice to the Sindh Government on a petition challenging the attention of four persons including Omar Sheikh, set free by the High Court after setting aside the trial court order in the abduction of US journalist Danial Pearl (15 July).

Comments & Analysis: The counsel of the accused person pleaded against the Sindh Government home department’s order for further detention of the accused persons under MPO for the period of three months and inclusion of their names in the fourth schedule under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Meeting of Indian High Commission Islamabad with detained spy commander Kulbhushan Singh Jadhav

Following the offers of Government of Pakistan for impeded and undisturbed consular access, the two officials of Indian High Commission Islamabad visited the detained spy commander Kulbhushan Singh Jadhav but they returned; despite asking to talk to him by the accused on the plea the environment of the meeting was not impeded. (16 July). Government of Pakistan, bower having been displaying generous behaviour again offered for third consular access to India in this regard (17 July).

Comments & Analysis: Despite confession of the accused about his involvement of spying and sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan considerately, has been offered consular access to him for the cause of delivering justice. India apparently, does not find any solid ground to prepare the case in defence of the charges on the accused. Therefore, is making efforts to evade on the fall pretext to gain political and diplomatic mileage for defaming Pakistan.

TTP’s chief black listed as global terrorist by the UNO

UN Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Sanction Committee on its ISIL and Al-Qaeda list, declared TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud as global terrorist for his role in spreading terror in Pakistan and across the world. He will be subjected to a ban on travel, finance and acquiring arms and ammunitions, which effectively allowed him from living freely (16 July).

Comments & Analysis: Pakistan and USA have hailed UNSC decision for black listing the TTP chief. The said defunct militant group has already been designated terrorist organization by UNO. Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, who became TTP Chief after killing of Mullah Fazal Ullah in a drone attack by the US forces, in Kunar Province of Afghanistan in June 2018.  Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud belongs to Mehsud Tribe of Tehsil Sararogha of Tribal District South Waziristan. He got religious education in Midaris of Pakistan and has scholastic and literary background besides possessing militant mind. He reportedly remained Deputy to former TTP Bait Ullah Mehsud and after army operations in ex-FATA areas, he fled to Afghanistan along with number of others TTP tanks. The said banned outfit is responsible for undertaking large number of killings, incidents of terrorism and attacks on various targets in Pakistan including Army Public School, Peshawar (APS) in 2014.

LoC/IHK

The situation on LoC between Pakistan and India remained tense. The forces of the two sides are deployed on the forward posts and are alert to face any eventuality. As a result of provoked ceasefire violations by the Indian Army, two women of Azad Jammu and Kashmir were shot injured in Rackchakri sector (July 17). Indian Security Forces under their anti-militancy drive claimed to have martyred five Kashmiri youths in fake encounter in Frigufwara, Anantnag District and Kulgram District (13 & 17 July). Hurriat Conference leaders along with nine others were also arrested by the police under the fake charges of Anti-Terrorist Act.

 A BJP youth wing leader Miraj-ud-din Mallah of Sopore, who had reportedly been kidnapped on 15 July’s morning was claimed to have been rescued by the police.  Earlier a Kashmiri BJP leader Waseem Bari was murdered along with his father and brother, despite having ten police guards provided to him by the Government, last week. No further detail was disclosed by the police about the kidnapping episode.  

Comments & Analysis: Majority of the Muslim citizens of IHK, facing state terrorism are looking happy over the humiliation of Indian army at the hand of Chinese troops in Ladakh-Galwan Sector on LAC. They feel that the same may weaken India in the days to come to keep control occupying the valley.

Some analytical circles are terming the recent dramatic kidnapping/recovery and assassination of the local BJP leaders is a handiwork of the Indian Security Agencies. It has fabricated the kidnapping and murder of the local BJP leaders as pre-designed to create hatred against Kashmiri militants to damage the freedom struggle. It was done as a part of their new strategy before revival of a low-level political activity in IHK in the near future to facilitate pro-Indian politicians into the same.

Situation at LAC/ Indo-China border

Deployment of Indian and Chinese troops is continued in Ladakh-Galwan decor with the support of heavy weapons and armaments on their rear positions. Fourth senior military commander level talks between Lt Gen. Harinder Singh (Indian fourteen-corps commander) and Major Gen Liu Lin (Chinese Western Command Theater) was held at place on LAC (14 July). Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat and army chief Gen MM Naravane visited IH. During the same, they witnessed the military exercise of the mechanized-infantry troops including para-dropping of its special forces in forward post at Stanak near Lea in Ladakh, which is 228 km away from Galwan Sector (17 July).

Comments & Analysis:  Both India and China expressed satisfaction about the progress of military commander’s level latest discussions for de-escalation of troops in Ladakh-Galwan Sector. The Indian Government as usual did not disclose the outcomes of the said meeting however, sources close to the Indian military said that the said meeting did not yield any significant progress, except agreeing by the two sides for continuation of similar meetings in future. The main focus of the Indian side remained focused on its strategy to fulfill/materialize the framework for a time bound and variable dis-engagement process from all the friction points including Pangong Tso and Deposing. Further learnt that a minor de-escalation on few points for creating buffer zones of 03 km (1.5 + 1.5) of the either sides has taken place. India, which is facing perplexed situation in Ladakh-Galwan Sector seems to embarking upon four angles strategy- (a) Keep containing the Chinese troops at current positions (b) Situation be relaxed on LAC borders (c) To be ready for a long stand-off Indian troops on the border (d) Continued pursuing China for withdrawal of his forces on pre-April status-quo at LAC.             

REGIONAL

Afghanistan

Terrorism/Violence

Unidentified gunmen killed five personnel and injured two others of the Afghan security forces in Balkh Province (15 July).

As a result of rocket attack, four civilians were wounded in Ghazni Province, during the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (16 July).

General Abdul Rashid Dostum promotes to the rank of Marshal

General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Auzbak leader), the former vice President of Afghanistan and founder of the National Islamic movement party was officially promoted to the rank of Marshal, after approval of the president Ashraf Ghani at a ceremony in Jawzjan Province. It was witnessed by large number of people including Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (15 July). Addressing the gathering on this occasion Abdul Rashid Dostum called on the Afghan political leadership to unite as the country is passing through crucial phase. He passed a remark that he could eliminate Taliban within six months, if Afghan Government permits him for the same.

President Ashraf Ghani’s bitter statement

Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani has recently stated that peace talks between the government and Taliban appears imminent but the same may not move further until their policy about the Afghan security forces is not clarified by them. Further said that people of Afghanistan would never allow Taliban for establishing supremacy of their “emirate” over “Republic”.

Comments & Analysis:

The bitter statements of the Afghan President and other functionaries of the Government about Taliban are creating bad taste before starting the peace talks. Releasing of remaining 600 Taliban prisoners by the Afghan Government is still awaited, despite Taliban’s unchanged condition for releasing them before starting of the peace talks. On the other hand, other countries including USA, China, Russia and Pakistan are continually urging both sides for early start of already delayed talks for bringing peace into the worn torn county Afghanistan. Meanwhile Taliban has reportedly replaced its one member of the peace talk committee by Moula yaqoob s/o Mullah Umar, a senior leader of their military command

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 265,082 on 20th July 2020 (Monday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 11:00am, July 20, is as follows:

• Sindh: 113,007

• Punjab: 90,191

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 32,086

• Balochistan: 11,436

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 14,599

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 1,849

• AJK: 1,915

Deaths: 5,599

Comments & Analysis:

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: On the rise. Terrorists are targeting the urban centres of Pakistan. The risk of isolated incidents of terrorism in large cities is palpable. 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 preemptive measures. Karachi has been targeted twice within two weeks.

Level of Extremism: Fairly widespread. Likely to increase.

Border Situation: Tense – Line of Control (LoC) is constantly facing Indian shelling and firing. Retaliation by Pakistani forces is also continuous.

Health Security: Though there seems some let up in Coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan, the situation is still quite grave. So far 251,624 coronavirus suspects have been declared positive.

Price Hike: On the rise. Causing deep social unrest. Street crimes are increasing, especially in Karachi.

Note: Weekly Security Brief is an open source analysis report of Center for Peace and Security Research (CPSR), Lahore, Pakistan. Affiliated with School of Strategic Studies, Lahore, Pakistan.

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