WEEKLY SECURITY BRIEF

Vol. 4-Issue No 35

16th October, 2020

INTRODUCTION

During the last week, there has been an increase in the terrorist activities and crimes, especially in the provinces of KPK and Balochsitan and in the city of Karachi. Besides, a number of episodes and incidents of extremsim, sectarianism and intolerance has added to the gravity of the situation. In Punjab, child abuse cases have added insult to the injury caused by the Motorway rape case whose alleged main culprit evaded massive manhunt by the police. Albeit the police and people have heaved a sigh of relief on his arrest, the trust deficit might take place to recover.

NATIONAL

Sectarian and Religious Violence Rises

 Maulana Dr. Adil Khan

Karachi:  Maulana Dr. Adil Khan, a notable scholar of the Sunni Deobandi sect, and his driver were shot dead by unidentified persons in Shah Faisal Colony area of Karachi. According to a police statement, pillion riders opened indiscriminate fire on Maulana Adil’s car as it stopped near a shopping centre in Shah Faisal Colony to purchase sweets. (10th October). Later Sindh Government Home Department announced a cash reward of rupees five million as a head money on the culprits responsible for his killing (14th October).

Peshawar: Dr. Naeem-ud-din Khatak, a Professor of Zoology at Superior Science College, Peshawar, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on Doura road, Peshawar. He reportedly belonged to a minority group. The case FIR was registered on the complaint of the deceased’s famaily against his relatives named Mobasshar and Saad Farooq (05th October).

Lahore: Lahore High Court (LHC) has acquitted one Sawan Massey a member of local Christian Community who was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by a trail court six years ago (06th October).

Comments and Analysis: –

Maulana Dr. Adil Khan was the head of the Karachi’s Jamia Farooqia seminary and was the son of late Saleem Ullah Khan, the Former President of Wifaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia. This incident is being considered a sectarian killing as during the last few months sectarian terrorism has increased. However, Karachi police chief told the press that the police were looking into this case from different angles and all possible aspects of the incident were being investigated and nothing could be ruled out at this stage. It is being said that involvement of banned TTP cannot be ruled out as it can ignite sectarian animosity and violence in the cosmopolitan city. Political turmoil and instability can further aggravate the sectarian situation. It is high time to make sustained and planned efforts to overcome the menace of sectarianism.

Not only shia-sunni tug of war is gaining momentum, minorities are also being targeted. As far the murder of Dr. Naeem-ud-din Khatak, a Professor of Zoology at Superior Science College, Peshawar is concerned it is learnt that he had heated arguments over religious matter with a person a day before. The suspect has been arrested and is being interrogated.  over religion, a day earlier. It was reportedly the third murder of persons belonging to this minority in Peshawar since 29th July when one Tahir Naseem was shot dead by a teenager in a court. Another person by the name of Miraj Ahmad, a local trader was shot dead in the Gul Bahar area. In another incident, police rescued the family of an alleged blasphemer when a mob besieged their house in the Phandu area, Peshawar city on 11th September.

 The accused Sawan Massey was arrested for allegedly committing blasphemy during a conversation with one of his Muslim friends in Joseph Christian Colony, Lahore in March, 2013. Hundreds of protesters – armed with sticks, clubs and stones – besieged the Joseph Colony and torched around 150 houses located in the Christian-dominated neighbourhood following allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Massey.  He was arrested and was awarded death sentence by the court. The Divisional Bench of LHC, after hearing arguments from both sides, observed that the prosecution had failed to establish involvement of the convict in blasphemous altercation. The assailants who put the houses to torch in Joseph colony were exonerated in 2017.

Twenty-point code of conduct for inter-faith harmony

A twenty point “code of conduct” to promote inter-faith harmony in the country was issued at the “Pigham-e-Pakistan conference” organized by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). It contains that all forms of coercion, armed action against the state, violence and anarchy in the name of enforcing Islam should be considered high treason. None Muslim citizens of Pakistan have the right to practice their religion and rites according to their beliefs. The said declaration was signed by significant religious scholars and clerics of Barelvi, Shia, Deobandi and Ahl al-Hadith sects, including Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, and Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology, Qibla Ayaz (06th October).

Comments and Analysis: – It is yet another effort by the religious elements to demonstrate united stand against sectarianism and religious intolerance. Such efforts have been made earlier too but with little effect. It should be followed with strict implementation of law to deter the hardened elements from resorting to violence and sectarianism.           

Terrorism

Explosives Recovered

Charsadda: Charsadda police recovered a heavy cache of explosive, containing seventeen mortar shells, twenty safety fuses and two hindered cartages of weapons of different bores from the bank of Kabul river in Camp Corona in Charsadda District (06th October).

Comments and Analysis: – Police registered a case FIR against the unidentified miscreants and started investigation. Earlier on finding twenty-five mortar shells in the same area, the villagers had called a scrap dealer who along with them tried to defuse the shells. During the process, few shells went-off resulted in killing five peoples. It is learnt that explosive material might had been dumped by the terrorists in the said area for their utilization when needed.

Baloch singer shot dead in Kech District of Balochistan

Haneef Chamrok

Turbat: Famous Baloch singer Haneef Chamrok was shot dead by unidentified motorcyclists when he was taking music class in his home in his village near Turbat city of Kech District. He was father of human rights activist Tatyana Baloch. The case has been registered against unknown culprits and investigations are underway (08th October).

Arrest of TTP terrorist from Karachi

Karachi: Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested TTP/Bannu terrorist Minhajuddin @ Minhaj from Krongi area of Karachi. He was wanted in number of acts of terrorism including killing of three jirga members (11th October).

Arrest of MQM-London target killer from Karachi

Karachi: Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested MQM-London target killer Lal Badshah from Korangi, Karachi and recovered weapons from his possession. He was involved in number of cases of target killings and murder of nationalist party Jeay-Sind Movement activists in 2010 (11th October).

Two soldiers killed in North Waziristan and one in Bajaur, KPK

Two Army soldiers of Pak army, namely Shakeel and Akmal were martyred and three others wounded by unidentified terrorists during an attack on the military post in Manara Manara area in North Waziristan District (10th October).

In another incident, a Pakistan Army Hawaldar, Tanveer was martyred and another injured when the Afghan-based terrorists attacked the check post near the Pak-Afghan border in Bajaur tribal District (14th October). 

Comments and Analysis: – There has been an increase in the cross-border attacks on the check posts of Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Bajaur. The pattern of attack is identical that of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan and other places. TTP reportedly claimed responsibility of attack in Bajaur.

Several cross-border attacks have taken place in Bajaur recently. a) On 27th May one person was killed and a girl was injured due to mortar attack from Afghan side. b) On 28th June three persons were injured in Charmang tehsil as a result of firing from Afghan side. c) On 14th July a girl was injured when a mortar shell fired from Afghan side landed at her house in Kaga village, Mamond tehsil.

The fence being erected on Pak-Afghan border is equally detested by the terrorists like TTP and the Afghan government as well. It is understandable that fence stops the free movement of terrorists into Pakistan therefore they are perturbed over it. Afghan government’s irritability stems from its  irrational stance over perceived border claim.

Fourteen Killed in Hub Terrorist Attack

Seven sodiers and 14 other people including 7 seven private guards were killed in a terrorist attack by militants on a convoy of oil and gas workers escorted by paramilitary troops in Ormara town in Gwadar district in Balochistan (15 October).The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), confirmed that the militants had also sustained heavy losses in the exchange of fire and seven Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers and seven private security guards were killed in the attack.

Comments & Analysis: This episode can be considered an intelligence failure. The level of security provided to the convoy shows that the threat level was very high. The attack was well-planned which must have involved many persons in its planning and execution. The penetration in the terrorist networks could have given a clue about it. In absence of any actionable intelligence, proper reconnaisance should have been carried out to ensure effective protection. LEAs and intelligence agencies should conduct an indepth enquiry into the gruesome incident and also review their modus operandi to handle the situation in this area.

Army Chief’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in Gilgit

Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa reached Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) on a one-day visit.  was welcomed by the 10 Corps Commander Lt Gen. Azhar Abbas at Skardu (06th October). After reaching there, he was given briefing by the Senior Army Officers about the security scenario and operational preparedness of the Pak Army troops deployed along LOC vis-à-vis Indian threat. Later, during his visit to Gilgit, he inaugurated state of the art Software Park an initiative of the Special Works Organization (SWO). Gen. Bajwa appreciated the role of SWO to create an environment for research in IT and defence Communication fields for the youth in the remote place like GB.

Comments and Analysis: – The provocative statements of the Indian civil and military leadership to attack Azad Kashmir and GB after decelerating Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as its two separate Union territories, last year. Due to ongoing conflict with China in Ladakh on the LAC, India has deployed a large number of troops near to LOC to face in Depsang plain and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO). The recent statement of the Indian Airforce Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria saying that India is preapered for two front war (Pakistan and Chinese), even if chances are bleak showed India’s belligerence. Such developments have necessitated for Pakistan to keep alert it’s forces not only to face any aggression but also to give befitting response to the enemy.

US special envoy Khalilzad meeting with the Army Chief at Rawalpindi

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Commander of US/NATO resolute mission in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller called on Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ Rawalpindi. They discussed matters related to mutual interest, peace and stability in the region, Pak-Afghan border management and current development in the peace process. Special representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq were also present there (08th October).    

Comments and Analysis: – The continued visits of US envoy Khalilzad along with Military Commanders are part of US diplomacy to include Pakistan actively in the peace process. The visiting dignitaries appraised Pakistan’s positive role for the progress of Afghan peace process.

Pakistan will provide proofs about Indian hand behind terrorism in the country 

Dr.Moeed Yusuf

Special Assistant to the PM on National Security Dr. Moeed Yusuf during the interview with Indian journalist Karan Thapar in Islamabad said that India was involved in terrorist attacks on Chinese Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan Stock Exchange building in Karachi and a five-star hotel in Gwadar. Further said that Indian Intelligence handlers based in Afghanistan are involved in several act of terror in Pakistan, BLA terrorist groups were provided medical treatment at New Delhi. There were confirmed reprots that India spent a million dollars on the merger of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and four others terrorist groups in Afghanistan under the supervision of RAW’s operatives. Added that Pakistan new the names and ranks of the Indian officers in touch with terrorist leaders and would soon reveal Indian activities to the world with proof through a detail dossier based on investigations(13th October).      

Comments and Analysis: – Dr.Moeed Yusuf exposed the Indian hand behind the terrorist activities in Pakistan in a very convincing manner. As India always refutes the dossier of evidence of its involvement in terrorism and subversion in Pakistan, this sort of cogent and appropriate response is required to be given on media in a sustained manner. Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism and lost more than seventy thousand persons due to this menace but India has been trying to accuse and malign Pakistan as the perpetrator of terrorism.

CRIME / LAW & ORDER

  1. A woman was reportedly raped by a taxi driver in a deserted place when she was returning to Rawalpindi from Attock. PS Nasirabad registered case FIR and started investigations (05th October)..
  2. Islamabad police claimed to have arrested six Afghan nationals for their alleged involvement in robberies in the city. They were identified as Rooh Ullah, Shahzad Mateen, Hikmat Ullah, Farhad, Shahid Ullah and Irshad Khan (06th October).
  3. Chiniot police registered a case on the complaint of one Bushra Bibi against Faisal Naseer, Mehboob and three unidentified persons for criminal assault on her after abduction (06th October).
  4. Farrukh Imtiaz Khokhar son of Imtiaz Ali @ Taji Khokhar, was arrested by the PS airport Rawalpindi on terrorism charges. He and his father are already on the fourth scheduled of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) (06th October).      
  5. Charsadda police arrested a person in connection with alleged rape and murder of a minor girl Zainab. Her dead body was found dumped in the fields of Daud Zai area of Peshawar closed to Charsadda after her disappearance on 06th October. According to the police sources, the accused has confessed his crime during the investigation (11th October).
  6. Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) seized large quantity of drugs (426 kg Heroin and 57 kg Hashish) during a raid on an iceland-off Karachi post in the Ibrahim Hyderi area. The smugglers managed to escaped under cross firing (08th October).
  7. Police arrested offender Abid Malhi, who is allegedly involved in the famous motorway rape case of woman, from Faisalabad, after 33 days manhunt and numerous unsuccessful raids. His other accomplice Shafqat Ali had already been arrested. He was leading a gang of four criminals including Shafqat Ali, Iqbal @ Bala Mistry and Ali Sher. He is a dihard criminal and remained involved in the acts of rape, robberies and murder in past (12th October). The case is under investigation.

Comments and Analysis: – The crime and violence are on rise in the country. There is a dire need to restore the confidence of the people on police and law enforcement agencies with provision of modern techniques, change in the behaviour of officials and introduction of transparent system of accountability within the setups without political interference. Introduction of reforms in Police and judicial reforms would be first step in this direction.

REGIONAL

LAC / Indo-China border

Indian and Chinese troops continued their deployment in Ladakh on LAC. Seventh round of the Corps Commanders level talks between the two countries were held in Chussal on the Indian side in Ladakh without yielding any productive result except to carry on such meetings in future (12th October).   

Comments and Analysis: No official statement about the output of the Corps Commanders level meeting has been issued by the Indian government, sofar. It is however learnt through the Indian Army sources close to the Indian Army that Indian side as usual unsuccessfully insisted to convince the Chinese side for restoration of status-quo ante of April and comprehensive disengagement of troops by China from all the friction points in Ladakh to resolve the border standoff on LAC.

Chairman, Afghan HCNR Abdullah Abdullah’s visit to New Delhi

The Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah undertook a trip to India. During his visit he met top Indian leadership particularly PM Narender Modi, Foreign Minister Jay Shankar and National Security Advisor Ajeet Dowal and discussed issues of mutual interest, security concerns and progress of the intra-Afghan dialogue (10th October). Indian Government reportedly expressed its support to the peace process which was appreciated by Abdullah Abdullah.     

Comments and Analysis: – The Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah  visited Pakistan earlier and held meetings with its top leadership. As India is close to the present Afghan government, especially Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan government felt obliged to keep it abreast of the progress of intra-Afghan dialogue and the changing scenario in the region. On a question, Abdullah Abdullah reportedly stated that he did not see any role of Indian military in Afghanistan because his country was capable to stand on its own feet. 

Afghanistan

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Taliban destroyed a bridge in Qulburs area on Takhar-Kunduz Highways during an attack on a public police force base (04th October). 
  2. Eight people including four security forces personnel were killed and seven others injured during a bomb attack by Taliban on the entourage of the Provincial Governor Ramat Ullah Yarmal in Laghman Province (05th October).
  3. Six Afghan security forces personnel were killed, another six wounded and fifteen others made captive during a clash with Taliban in Imam Sahib District of Kunduz Province (07th October).
  4. Four security forces personnel were killed during a clash with Taliban in Aliabad District of Kunduz Province (09th October).
  5. Seven citizens were killed in two different incidents of bomb blasts in Shindand and Gereshk Districts of Helmand Province (08th and 09th October).
  6. National Directorate of Security (NDS) has claimed the arrest of ten suspects of Islamic State in Khurasan Province for their involvement in a number of terror incidents including attack on First President Amurullah Saleh on 09 September in which several people were killed. They were allegedly planning to carry out another attack on the Ministry of Defence (10th October).
  7. Three Taliban including their commander Awal Khan was killed during a clash with Afghan security forces on Wardak-Maidan-Kabul route (10th October).
  8. Afghan security forces claimed to have defused eighteen land mines after their recovery from busy roads in Helmand and Nimruz Province (10th October).
  9. Two civilians were killed and ten others injured after their bus hit a roadside mine in Shindand District of Helmand Province (09th October).
  10. Five passengers were killed and nine others injured when their bus hit a roadside mine in Freshen District in Herat Province (10th October).
  11. Thirteen persons including ten Afghan security personnel and three civilians were killed after a vehicle of military convoy hit the roadside mines in Baghawi area of Baghlan in Sar-e-Pul Province (11th October).
  12. Three personnel including two army officers and one police officer were killed by unidentified persons in different incidents of targetted firing and bomb attacks in Kabul (13th October).

Fierce Fighting in Helmand Province

Helmand Province is facing a major offensive of Taliban since 12 October.  Heavy clashes took place between Afghan Security Forces with the support US airstrikes and Taliban in the different areas of the province. Taliban have reportedly taken control over some areas of Lashkargah city, capital of the Province. Several roads have been closed, bridges and power house destroyed and thousands of people (over 5000 families) fled away from the town. Fighting is going on to capture or retain Nawa, Nadali and Babaji cities by the two sides. Afghan security forces claimed to have regained five miltary posts and arrested Taliban deputy governor Maulvi Abdul Ghafoor. (14th October).

Comments and Analysis: – It was first time after US-Taliban Accord since Febraury, this year that the US under took targeted air strikes against Taliban in Helmand. Afghan based US Forces spokesman Col Scot Leggat confirmed the US airstrike against the Taliban in Helmand Province was in support of the Afghan National Army. Added that the same was extended in the past and would continue in future. The Commander of the US Forces Gen. Scott Miller urged Taliban to immediately stop their offensive in Helmand Province and reduce violence in the country as it was against the spirit of US-Taliban Accord.

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 321,877 on 16th October 2020 (Friday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 01:40pm, October 16th, is as follows:

• Sindh: 4,837

• Punjab: 2,020

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 440

• Balochistan: 185

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 1,038

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 249

• AJK: 652

Deaths: 6,621

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: Terrorist groups like TTP are continuously operating as per their twin strategy, i.e. target killing and IEDs. They 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 – Line of Control (LoC) is constantly facing Indian shelling and firing.

Health Security: Though Coronavirus pandemic is decreasing in Pakistan, the situation cannot be declared normal. A new surge is expected this month.

Crime:  The heinous crimes like rapes, gang-rapes and child abuse cases are on the rise. Majority of the people think that the Police lack the will and expertise to control these crimes. Motorway rape case culprit has been arrested but it might take time and continuous efforts to restore trust and respect of police in the public.  

Note: Weekly Security Brief is an open source analysis report of Centre for Peace and Security Research (CPSR), Lahore, Pakistan.

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