WEEKLY SECURITY BRIEF

Vol. 5-Issue No 37

02nd November, 2020

INTRODUCTION

During the period under review terrorist acts at Quetta and Peshawar gave a clear indication of the resurgence of terrorism in various parts of Pakistan. In Quetta the blast took place while the PDM jalsa was taking place there. The next jalsa of PDM is scheduled to be held in Peshawar. Terrorism and political turmoil started gaining momentum. The vulnerability of soft targets like mosques, churches, schools and markets increased. French President’s sour statements stirred the religious sentiments and extremists got the fodder to capitalize on them. The borders with India and Afghanistan remained restive. Taliban-Afghan Government talks failed to make any headway in Doha and violence continued in Afghanistan. Indo-China stand-off at LAC and the US solidarity with India against China created instability in the region which is quite ticklish for Pakistan.  FATF decision to keep Pakistan in grey list came as a damper. Pakistan has to grapple with internal and external security situation with agility and dexterity.

NATIONAL

Terrorism/sectarianism- At a glance

  1. Eight (08) persons, mostly students, were killed and more than 100 others injured as result of bomb blast in Jamia Zubaria, a madrasah (religious seminary) in Dir Colony, Peshawar (27th October). According to the preliminary police investigation an unidentified person dropped a bag containing explosive in the madrasah hall where the known religious cleric Rahimullah Haqqani was delivering lecture on Quranic Teachings to about 1000 students. No terrorist outfit or militant organization took responsibility for the said attack

Comments and Analysis: – According to an estimate 5/6 KG high explosive  was used in the IED which was placed in the hall of the Jamia Zubari, (Deobandi school of thought), by an unknown person, where more than one thousand persons were listening to the sermon. This incident has not come as a bolt from the blue. The phenomenon of the return of terrorists is continuing for last many months. Threat alerts were also issued in this regard. It means the intelligence agencies had done their work. But there seems to be a disconnect between the intelligence agencies and the LEAs which is evident from the fact that despite prior information the latter could not foil and forestall the terrorist incidents in Quetta and Peshawar.  Terrorists have been using target killing and landmines in KPK, Balochistan and Karachi city which is evident from the data given below:

Bomb BlastsMine BlastsTarget Killings
04 Incidents Mir Ali North Waziristan Tribble District (18 May 2020) Killed 01, Injured 03Tribble District, KP (27 May, 2020) DefuseMamond Tehsil District Bajaur, KP (02 July 2020) Killed 01Bara, Tehsil District Khyber, KP (08 July 2020) Injured 01Bannu Adda area KP (16 October 2020) Injured 0406 Incidents Ashraf Road, Peshawar, KP (11 May 2020) Injured 07Bajaur Trible District, KP (04 June, 2020) Killed 02 Tirah Valley, Tribal District Khyber, KP (09 July 2020) Killed 01Maidan area of Lower Dir District, KPK (31 August 2020) Injured 03Turi Bazar, Parachinar city of KPK (23July 2020) Injured 17Miramshah, North Waziristan tribal District (12 September 2020) Killed 0115 Incidents Khaisura and Dossali area of North Waziristan district, KPK, (28 April 2020) Killed 10 Injured 05Gandi area near Naurang town, KPK (18 May) Killed 02 Kalu Khan area of Swabi District KPK (08 July) Killed 02 Injured 02Tribal District, Bajaur of KPK (28 July) Killed 01Gulzar Chowk, Peshawar (24 July) Killed 01Shah Kas area of tehsil Bara, tribal District Khyber (15th August) Killed 01 Bakar Abad area of tehsil Jamrud, tribal district Khyber (16th August) Killed 01Shabqadar area, Charsadda District (26 August, 2020) Killed 01South Waziristan District of KP (31 August) Killed 03 Injured 04 Gharion area of North Waziristan Tribal District, KP (03rd Sep, 2020) Killed 03 Injured 04  Soha Village, Haripur District (08th Sep, 2020) Killed 01Martung area, Puran tehsil, Shangla District of KPK (18th Oct,2020) Killed 01    Mohallah Sadat Utmanzai in Charsadda city, KPK (18th October) Killed 02Spalga area, Miramshah, North Waziristan tribal District (19th September) Killed 02Mir Ali Bazar, Miramshah, North Waziristan tribal District of KPK (18 October) Killed 01
Source: Centre for Peace & Security Research, Lahore

It is low intensity insurgency and urban guerilla war. But these tactics could not have desired effect on the public and the government. So now they have again added kinetic acts of terrorism in their arsenal, to spread fear.

There is a need to identify the perpetrators. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. TTP has denied its involvement in it. The chances of involvement of the terrorist organization, ‘Islamic State in Khorasan Province’ (ISKP) @ DAESH,, which is mushrooming in Afghanistan, cannot be ruled out. Especially because the bomb attack on the Madrasah  in Peshawar is identical to the incidents carried out by ISKP in neighboring Afghanistan where it bombed a school in Kabul on 24 October, killing 24 students and injuring several others. In the past Army Public School, Peshawar was targeted by TTP in 2014 in which 150 students and school staff were killed.

The government must review the process of implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) and also formulate a counter terrorism strategy to handle the hydra of terrorism in a planned and effective manner. The terrorist threat to mosques, madrasahs, churches, schools and other soft targets is on the rise.

  • In a targeted firing on a vehicle, Eng Asad Ali, his two children and a FC official Sadiq Hussain were killed and two other children injured in Shalozan area of Kieran tribal District of KPK. Police however registered the case and made some arrests. It is yet to be confirmed whether the incident was an act of terrorism or a family feud (26th October).
  • The (CTD) Sindh, claimed to have killed two terrorists Mujeeb Ullah and Muhammad Anwar during an encounter at the Sindh-Balochistan border near Jacobabad. They were affiliated with TTP and one kg explosive material, 300 ball bearings, 600-gram nut and bolts, a detonator wire and two TT pistols were also recovered from their possession. Has been registered in P.S CTD, Sakkhar (24th October).
  • Three civilians were killed and seven others injured due to a blast of remote-controlled explosive device planted in a motorcycle, parked in Hazarganji Fruit Market, Quetta (25th October). Later on, the same day, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) held its public meeting in the city.
  • Two security forces personnel, Rahat and Zahid were injured due to roadside mine blast at the Speen Warm chowk, Mir Ali, North Waziristan tribal District of KPK. The mine was planted by unidentified terrorist and efforts are being made by LEAs to apprehend them (28th October).

FATF Grey list persists

FATF, the global terror financing watchdog during its recent meeting expressed satisfaction over Pakistan’s efforts in connection with hawala/hundi, currency smuggling and terrorist financing etc. In order to enable it to meet the remaining points out of 27 concerns of FATF, extended its stay on grey list till February 2021. (25th October).   

Comments and Analysis: – Pakistan’s relentless efforts to bring reforms in financial systems of money transfer vis-à-vis various enactments through parliament, detention of certain Jihadi leaders allegedly involved in terrorism and early trials of their cases in courts has satisfied FATF to a certain extent.  Its exclusion from the grey list after completing the remains points is expected in 2021.

Keel laying ceremony of PNS Milgem class warship

Pakistan has started the construction of second Milgem class Corvette (warship) for Pakistan Navy. Its keel laying ceremony was held at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works to inaugurate the construction. The ceremony was attended by Defence Production Minister Zubaida Jalal, Navel Chief Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi and National Defence Minister of Turkey Hulusi Akar as the Chief Guest (24th October). A Pakistan Naval Fleet Unit, demonstrated live weapon firing in North Arabian sea. It was witnessed by Naval Chief Amjad Khan Niazi and other senior officers (28th October).             

Comments and Analysis: – In July 2018, a contract was signed between Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) of Turkey and the Pakistani National Defense Ministry Ammunition Production and Karachi Shipyard for the construction of four Milgem class vessels. Turkish defence minister, Nurettin Canikli, described the deal as “the largest defense export of Turkey in one agreement. Pakistan Navy stated that the Milgem Class Corvettes will be one of the most technologically advanced stealth surface platforms of Pakistan Navy Fleet. The vessel is equipped with state of the art weapons & modern sensors including surface to surface, surface to air missiles, anti submarine weapons and Command & Control system. Induction of these ships in Pakistan Navy would significantly add to the lethality of Pakistan Navy’s capabilities and contribute in maintaining peace, security and balance of power in Indian Ocean Region.

CRIME / LAW & ORDER

  1. The Dolphin force, Punjab police arrested three dacoits during a chase after committing robberies by them in Lahore. However, during the exchange of firing a female student was unfortunately killed by a stray bullet near the University of the Punjab (22nd October).
  2. Two sisters namely Sadia and Bushra were subjected to acid attack allegedly by one Haleem in the jurisdiction of Sadat police jurisdiction in Faisalabad district. Police registered the case and arrested the accuse (26th October).
  3. A body of an eight years old boy who was sexually assaulted before murder was found in Kalat District, Balochistan (26th October). The minor boy had gone missing since he left for a Madrasah near his home. Investigation is under progress.    

Comments and Analysis: –  The crime rate has not diminished in Pakistan. Karachi is facing the streak of crimes like car snatching, theft, extortion etc. Lahore is comparatively safer. Peshawar and Quetta are more afflicted with terrorism than crime, which is not really out of control.

OP-ED

Indian Hegemony in Terrorism

by Tariq Lodhi

 Indian economy is depleting due to gross mishandling of pandemic, persistent state backed fueling of Hindu extremism by the Indian government to marginalize Muslims and other minorities in India, besides accentuating disenfranchising Muslim migrants, particularly of Bengali origin through NRC, abrogation of Article-370, Promulgation of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020 on the eve of October 27 that commemorates ‘Black Day’, when Indian forces took over the valley 73 years ago in 1947, India. These harsh and undemocratic actions are further followed by similar steps like the The J&K Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act which are severely vitiating the demographic balance of the IHK.  To quell any nationalistic resistance, Indian occupying forces have increased their brutality and use of disproportionate force. On  26-Oct-20, Noorpora in Awantipora, IHK, one Kashmiri Muslim was killed by Indian Forces, on 28-Oct-2020, Mouchowa area of Budgam district, 2 Kashmiri Muslims were killed by the Indian Forces, and, on 12-Oct-2020; Rambagh Area, Srinagar, two Muslim Kashmiris were killed by Indian Security Forces that signify some of the incidents.

Some sources have indicated that India has engaged mercenaries from Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), who are being pushed into Pakistan from Iran, Afghanistan and Indian borders for cross-border terrorist attacks.  India has already been nursing and financing sectarian groups on Indian soil, and spewing toxic sectarian propaganda through print and electronic media.  Indian RAW’s centers at Kandahar, Kabul and in Panjsher valley of Afghanistan are persistently engaged in covert cross border terrorism activity against Pakistan.  As Afghanistan’s fractured political structures are unsuccessfully trying to limp towards a ceasefire amongst warring factions, peace spoilers, led by India are scrambling to vitiate the regional situation and its inimical influence is adding to the torque of terrorism. 

With the dispersal of ISIS from Syria and Iraq, a large number of these hardened militants have found refuge in the ungoverned spaces of Afghanistan.  There are indications that these groups have latent covert support of state actors in the region.  Initially creating a counter-balancing force for Taliban, the ISIS or Daesh (IS Khorasan).  On one hand, Indian sponsored groups are being used to attack targets in Afghanistan, to further increase sectarian polarization.

It is orchestrating coordinated attacks in Balochistan, former FATA areas and KP that is being expanded to Sindh.  On 25-Oct-20, an explosion occurred at Hazarganj area of Quetta, at a time when a mammoth public meeting by the opposition was in progress in the city. Clearly the intention was to trigger chaos and senseless violence.  An earlier explosion on 14-Apr-2019, at Hazarganji market had killed more than 20 people, and was claimed by Daesh.  On 20-Oct-20, Motorcycle fitted IED exploded in Shireen Jinnah Colony, injuring six persons.  On 17-Oct-20, two NATO trucks carrying four armoured vehicles for NATO forces were ambushed and set on fire at Bara Road, near Jalandher village in Khyber district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.  On 15-Oct-20, a Security Forces convoy was targeted in Ramzak, North Waziristan, where one officer and five soldiers embraced martyrdom, same day on 15-Oct-20, six security guards of OGDC embraced martyrdom when their convoy was attacked by terrorists in Ormara, Balochistan. 

The patterns in resurgence of foreign sponsored terrorism offer substance to Indian involvement.  At a time when the opposition is engaged in protest meetings, it is essential that prior coordination is effected between the protest holders and the administration, laying out clear and doable security procedures for overall safety.  Also, it may be appropriate to revisit the National Action Plan, that was developed five years ago, and to further improve it to meet the new challenges in congruence to the regional developments.

Clearly, India, led by hawks like PM Modi and Ajit Dovel, have chosen the way of Hybrid Warfare, and are using Cyber-Tools and Terrorism tactics, to weaken Pakistan to an extent, where a conventional war thrust could fatally impair Pakistan.  It is coordinating the terrorism and other Covert-Warfare tactics in the region, to inflict damage to Pakistan, CPEC in a bid to weaken China and to force it to negotiation of its choice.  Clear evidences of Hybrid Warfare are emerging in form of proliferation of Social Media with intense hate material.   The unholy alliance between BJP, fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Facebook India was inadvertently exposed when of Ankhi Das, the Public Policy director for Facebook India, South and Central Asia, had to resign for allowing Facebook platform to be used by these organisations for targeted spread of anti-Muslim and hate material /posts, in contravention to the Facebooks stated standards.  Possibility of Cambridge Analytica type scandal used by India against Pakistan in accentuating terrorism, cannot be ruled out.  The wide-spread and recognized world’s highest fabrication of fake news by Indian media further substantiates Indian implication in perpetuating hate material in Pakistan.

CPEC, developed along the ancient Silk Route, is potentially the most strategically and commercially important project, both of China and Pakistan.  It offers alternate route to China, Afghanistan and Nepal, besides landlocked Central Asian Republics.  USA and India have already unleashed their hostility towards this project. 

The formidable Chinese position on the Ladakh / Galwan Valley, and its earlier 73-day-long Doklam standoff in 2017 is holding the Indian forces in a vice grip that has pinned down Indian Armed Forces.  China had captured 5-Indian Covert agents (02-Sep-20) who were using the cover of hunters, and had infiltrated deep into Chinese territory along Shannan prefecture of Tibet.  This is obviously tip of the iceberg, and harbinger of increased infiltration by India against China.

With such strategic putsch in view, already, in May-2020, India, upon completion of the Dharchula to Lipulekh, section, inaugurated the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Road (Uttarkhand – Kailash – Masarovar), that passes through Nepalese territory.  This double lane road is designed to use for military purposes and infiltrating secret agents into China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, disguised and mingled as pilgrims.

Such Indian efforts are not limited to China only.  On its western borders, India, using Afghanistan as its covert base, besides several in Central Asia and Middle East, is concentrating upon Pakistan, to sever the CPEC lines of communication.  A large number of former ETIM, after morphing into Turkic Islamic Movement (TIM), have also migrated to Afghanistan.  These groups, claiming to have roots in Xinjiang, have been threatening China and pledge to “liberate” Xinjiang.  This disruptive potential of the group, enjoys latent support of the Indian Intelligence Agencies, who consider them to be their strategic assets against China.  However, considering the previous threats and recent incidents by ETIM, and linking the PSX and Chinese Consulate attack in Pakistan, the risk of these battle hardened TIM members striking CPEC structures and persons, cannot be ruled out.

(The author is former Director General of Intelligence Bureau, Pakistan. He is a senior security and defence analyst.)

Myopic Macron

From the Editor’s desk

French President Emmanuel Macron’s incendiary remarks, smacking of islamophobia, have provoked outrage across the Muslim world. Ostensibly this act of Macron seems to be a result of his myopic mind rather than a well- thought out remark to create unrest among the Muslims. No doubt the incident of beheading was extremely abominable, but was committed by an extremist individual not by the Muslims across the world. Macron could not react to injure the sensibilities of the entire Muslim world. He and his countrymen ought to read the tenets of Islam and understand the level of reverence attached by the Muslims to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Had he known this he would have chosen his words with greater care and caution.

Macron and his advisors must be aware that the reaction over his remarks is not restricted to silent anger of the Muslims or boycott of French goods; many among them might think of reacting harshly.

If he truly believes in the sanctity and limits of freedom of expression either he should have steered clear of his toxic statements or in the same stride should have given respect to Erdogan’s comments on his mental health. But he demonstrated blatant duality and recalled his ambassador from Turkey. Does it mean French President can urge his countrymen to be rude and blasphemous towards the most reverent personality of 2 billion Muslims but is not ready to tolerate a trivial taunt addressed to him.

Saner elements around him should tell him that his insensitive words would lead to extremism and create a wedge between the Muslims and his countrymen. Why is he and his likes bent upon stirring the sensibilities of Muslim that can generate extreme reactions? Pretending to guard one’s own values at cost of assailing others’ values (divine in case of Islam, as believed by its followers) can lead to extremism. Extremism gives birth to radicalisation, violence and terrorism.

The terrorist group Islamic State @ Daesh is already active in Afghanistan, breathing on the neck of Pakistan. Afghan Taliban are fighting sporadic battles with IS fighters in different parts of Afghanistan. US airforce gives air support to Taliban in their fight against IS. Macron’s loose statement will give fodder to IS propaganda machinery to instigate and recruit volunteers. The founder of Tehreek- e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baitullah Mehsud, had once said that every drone attack brings more volunteer fighters and suicide bombers to him. Macron’s sordid statements can be a catalyst to generate radicalisation and bring volunteers to IS and TTP.

It has leveraged Al-Qaida’s extremist doctrines, while diabolically added to the extremist narratives.  On 29-Oct-20, another three persons were knifed in Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice, wherein one victim women was almost beheaded.  The French official stance has led to straining diplomatic relations and condemnations from Muslim countries, while the Islamophobic sentiments have further exacerbated worldwide.  With reports of presence of large number of ISIS recruits in Syria from France, during 2014-15, the situation is likely to get more complicated, not only in France, but world over.  Sympathetic violence by IS groups, with existing support of RAW and NDS in Afghanistan are likely to be perpetuated in Pakistan at a higher scale. Increased security is essential at all sensitive locations and diplomatic areas is essential, while efforts ought to be made by all segments of society to calm down the sectarian sentiments.

REGIONAL

LAC / Indo-China border

The army troops of China and India remained deployed in Ladakh on LAC.

  1. Comments and Analysis: – The situation remained tense on LAC. It can go from bad to worse as the US has openly declared its support to India against China on Ladakh issue.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pumped up India that it should not feel alone in this conflict. China remained unmoved by this development.

LoC/IHK

Indian security forces continued their state terrorism on the pretext of counter insurgency operations and killed three Kashmiri boys during fake encounters in Pulwama and Budgam Districts respectively (25th & 27th October). National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at multiple locations in Srinagar including the offices of newspapers, residence of human rights activist Khurram Pervaiz and the offices of NGOs (28th October). Meanwhile, the Indian Government introduced a new Amendment in the country’s law which would enable any Indian citizen to buy property in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).     

Comments and Analysis: – Black day was observed both in Indian Held Kashmir and Azad Kashmir on 27th October to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of India’s invasion of Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand, Indian Government observed 27th October as the “infantry day” to encourage the Indian Army’s control of IHK.

The Hurriyat Conference issued a statement condemning Indian state terrorism and killing of innocent Kashmiri youngsters. According to a report released by Kashmir Media Service the number of Indian troops in the valley is more than 1,500,000. According to break up: Indian Army is 7,50,000, Para Military Forces is 5,35,000, Police personnel is 1,30,000 Special Police Officer 35,000 and Village Defence Committee is 51,000.

India

US-India Military Pact

India and USA signed a pact to share geospatial Intelligence, paving the way for deeper military cooperation. The agreement will give Indian armed forces access to the data of USA military satellites to aid in targeting and navigation. The agreement was signed in the presence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark T. Esper, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi (27th October).

Comments & Analysis: The Indo-American pact “Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation” or BECA, (27-Oct-20) will give India access to a range of topographical, nautical and aeronautical data that is considered vital for targeting of missiles and armed drones. It would also allow the United States to provide advanced navigational aids and avionics on U.S.-supplied aircraft to India. The United States has planned to sell more fighter planes and drones to India, Esper added. This pact for sharing Satellite and map data and intelligence is a step further in sharpening the polarization and to increase Indian drone and missiles proliferation capability. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association of Aug-2016, The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement of 2018, capped by the “Industrial Security Annex” in Dec-2019. Clearly charts out the ascendency of future belligerent Indian designs.(By Tariq Lodhi)

Afghanistan

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Twelve civilians (mostly children) were killed and fourteen other wounded during an attack by Afghan air force on a Madrasah in Takhar Province. UNO condemned the incident and called for inquiry into the matter (21st October). 
  2. Twenty Afghan army personnel were killed during an attack by the Taliban in Deh Mazang area, Dilah Ram District of the Nimruz Province (22nd October).
  3. Two Romanian soldiers of coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan were injured when their patrolling vehicle hit an IED in Kandahar Province (22nd October).
  4. Twenty-four students were killed and large number of others injured after a bomb blast at the entrance of tutoring center/school (Kawsar-e-Danish) Dasht-e-Barchi in Western Kabul. Dasht-e-Barchi area is largely populated by Shia Muslims and has been targeted earlier too. It seems to be the handiwork of ISKP.  Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh while commenting on the incident said that ISKP and Taliban share the same “Ideological gene” and “rotten ideology” needs to be rooted out. The Taliban, however denied their involvement in the said attack.
  5. Afghan Interior Minister Masood Andrabi claimed to have killed a key Al-Qaida militant Abu Muhsin al-Misri @ Husam Abd al-Rauf an Egypt National by NDS in Ghazni Province. He was on the FBIs most wanted terrorist list-2018 (25th October).
  6. Five Taliban were killed as a result of US air strike supporting Afghan security forces in Wardak Province (25th October).  
  7. As a result of bomb blast two police personnel were killed and 25 others wounded including 10 civilians near Special Police Unit  headquarter in Host Province (27th October).

Comments and Analysis: –  Afghanistan is still in the quagmire of violence. Taliban, ISKP and Afghan forces are attacking each other. Ministry of Defence spokesperson Roohullah Ahmadzai accused on 27th October that Taliban launched attacks and other violent activities in 22 Provinces all over the country. The acting Interior Minister Masood Andrabi said that Taliban were losing the opportunity for peace and their continued fighting could affect the on-going intra-Afghan dialogue. On the other hand, Taliban spokesman Zabillah Mujahid said that their agreement was with the USA only and they have never made commitment to halt the fight with the Afghan security forces.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed vide its quarterly report(27th October) that 5,939 civilians fell prey to violence (2,117 killed and 3,822 injured) in Afghanistan, from 1st January to 30th September, 2020. Added that, overall civilian casualties’ figure for the first nine months of this year had dropped by about 30% against the same period (last year) and Afghanistan stands among the deadliest place in the world for civilians. It urged all fighting groups involved in the conflict to end violence.

Intra – Afghan dialogue

Zalmay Khalilzad

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Doha to convince Taliban and Afghan Government representatives to speed up their process of dialogue and reduce violence in Afghanistan (29th October). The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at a ceremony to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that Quran and Islamic sharia should be the basis for the peace negotiations instead of Taliban’s insistence to make US-Taliban deal as “basis for the talks” in Doha.      

Comments and Analysis: – The two sides have held over ten meetings at the contact group level over the last 40 days without producing any visible results. The negotiation in Doha have faced delays over two disputed points as the ground rules of the talks: a) “Fiqh Hanafi” as religious basis for the talks b) Authority of the US-Taliban accord as the “mother deal” underlying the current negotiations. It is learnt that the two sides have agreed to allow Qatar to play a role as mediator to break the impasse over the disputed points.     

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 333,970 on 01st November, 2020 (Sunday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The Province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 09:40pm, November 01st, is as follows:

• Sindh: 14,581

• Punjab: 104,271

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 39,564

• Balochistan: 15,920

• Islamabad Capital Territory:19,970

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 4,261

• AJK: 4,133

Deaths: 6,823

Comments & Analysis: The second wave of coronavirus is underway in Pakistan. The number of positive patients is increasing day by day. Luckily the death rate is quite low so far. However, hospitals are again feeling the pressure of influx of corona patients. It has been observed that SoPs of social distancing and wearing masks are not being observed by majority of people.

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

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

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

Level of Sectarianism & Religious Extremism: On the rise. A footage of mock beheading practice by the girls, reportedly at a seminary in Islamabad, became viral and earned sharp reaction from the public. There is an urgent need to bridle the situation through all means.

Border Situation: Tense – There was a brief pause in the Indian shelling and firing at LoC. On the Western border, Afghan forces and terrorists carry out small attacks on the check-posts which are effectively repulsed by the Pakistani forces.

Health Security: A new surge of Coronavirus pandemic has hit Pakistan. There is a considerable increase in the number of patients tested positive during the last four weeks.

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

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

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