Vol. 5-Issue No 41
11th December, 2020
NICC WILL TIGHTEN THE NOOSE AGAINST TERRORISTS
National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC), Pakistan, has been formed to bring the over two dozen intelligence organisations in the country closer, to share intelligence, mainly to counter terrorism. The legacy of intelligence failures in relation to Osama Bin Laden Abbottabad fiasco, APS Peshawar massacre of 145 children, resurgence of terrorist activities during the last few months etc. does appear to have been a contributing factor to its creation.
National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), which was formed in 2009 for the same purpose, would also be part of the new structure. It smacks of lack of trust and faith in the prowess and potential of NACTA. Why and how NACTA could not bloom into an effective umbrella organization, is a separate story. NACTA’s powers, framework and mandate were delineated in March 2013, under an Act of Parliament i.e. The NACTA Act 2013. Since then, despite some glimpses of good work, it struggled to take off and succumbed to turf war and leadership issues.
NICC is stepping into NACTA’s shoes with the aim to improve the coordination of intelligence agencies, optimise their capabilities and make a mechanism to share their intelligence nuggets which could help draw a full and vivid picture of an issue, problem or phenomenon. Though so far its terms of reference and modus operandi have not been decided, the Director General ISI has been appointed its chairman. This appointment from amongst one of the members of the committee, undoubtedly the most powerful one, could be an attempt to give sustainability to the new set-up.
Some security analysts are of the opinion that the setting up of NICC is a bit unnecessary because the coordination and exchange of intelligence at operational level is already being done in District Intelligence Committees (DICs), Divisional Intelligence Committees (DivICs) and Provincial Intelligence Committees (PICs). Besides, it was more practical and convenient to rejuvenate and activate NACTA under an active and able leadership. NICC will be a whole new experiment, facing multiple challenges of coordination and sharing.
While putting the intelligence agencies together for intelligence sharing, the policy makers should be mindful of the fact that the intelligence agencies jealously guard their secrets on “Need to know basis”. Moreover, they like to share their hard-earned product with their client only. This disposition is a universal phenomenon and cannot be changed. Even in the US, despite the umbrella of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the CIA and FBI vied to take lead in disseminating intelligence to the main client, i.e. US President, first.
The fact remains that besides the US many other countries developed coordination mechanism for their intelligence community after 9/11. For example, Australia established National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) in 2004 for a cogent CT assessment. It also developed Joint CT Intelligence Coordination Unit (JCTICU) with cross agency representation. Canada established Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre (ITAC). India set up National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), integrated intelligence master data base structure for countering terrorism.
In Pakistan, in the recent past, Intelligence Bureau and Counter Terrorism Departments of police developed remarkable intelligence sharing mechanism and prowess to launch joint CT operations at time. They worked amicably because their status and mandates did not clash with each other. The insiders are of the view that in most cases this cooperation was post-incident investigation which is not the real mandate of an intelligence organization. CTD being a police organization was contented with tracking down the terrorists after the incident with the help of IB. But from IB it is expected to give the foreknowledge and advance intelligence to thwart the likely incidents and smash the networks beforehand.
NICC can take off well and deliver provided, while developing its TORs and mechanism, the disposition of the intelligence agencies is taken into consideration and undue interference in their independence and working is religiously avoided. It should be ensured that actionable intelligence shared by the member agency would be used for Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) under intimation to that particular agency. The membership of NICC would in no way interfere with the internal mechanism and modus-operandi of any agency. No agency would be barred from taking action on its own intelligence.
Terrorism/sectarianism- At a glance
Professor of the Balochistan University kidnapped and released
Three faculty members of Balochistan University, including Dr. Liaqat Sani, were kidnapped by armed persons in Chuto area of Mastung while they were travelling in their car towards Khuzdar for inspection of an examination centre. Later the kidnappers released two professors in an abandoned area and took Dr. Sani with them (29th November). The tribal elders of the area negotiated with the kidnappers and secured his released two days later. The reason of kidnapping was not known.
Clash at Chaman border post- one killed, nine injured
A 14 years old boy Matiullah was killed and 09 others were injured in a clash between the local traders and security personnel at Bab-e-Dosti (Gate of Friendship) at Pak-Afghan border in Chaman, Balochistan (29th November). The attackers put offices of border security force on fire. According to the Levies officials, the local traders and porters staged protest against seizing of contraband goods from the people who enter Chaman from Afghanistan on foot. The firing by the security personnel to disperse the enraged protesters resulted in the death and injuries of the protestors. Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) staged a demonstration in front of Balochistan Provincial Assembly Quetta against the alleged high-handedness of the security forces. They demanded registration of cases against the security personnel involved in firing against the protesters (30th November).
Comments & Analysis: – Pak-Afghan border at Chaman has become a trouble spot apparently due to mismanagement of the authorities and black mailing of trade mafia involving smugglers and miscreants. A couple of months ago violent protest demonstrations had taken place here which resulted in similar volatile situation. The Pak-Afghan traders apprehended closure of Chaman-Afghan border which could hamper their business and livelihood. The fifth columnists among them try to ignite the situation at the behest of anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan.
Police party attacked in Panjgur
The patrolling vehicle of Panjgur police was attacked by unidentified persons in Rukhsan-Nadi in the PS Tuso, Panjgur District (1st December). The assailants tried to flee away but police chased them. The attacker’s vehicle turned topsy-turvy as result one attacker was killed and other injured. The Police recovered arms and ammunition from the vehicles (1st December).The deceased was later identified as Sabir and injured as Hanif.
Comments & Analysis: Investigation are underway to ascertain the affiliation of the attackers with any terrorist group or otherwise.
Seven Maliks (tribal elders) shot dead in North Waziristan and Bajaur
Four elders (Maliks) – Mir Saday Khan, Malik Raza Khan, Malik Abid and Malik Umar Khan, hailing from village Alikhel Khaisur were killed by unidentified armed attackers when they were travelling in a car at Tehsil Road in Mir Ali. Another elder Malik Maula Khan was shot dead by unidentified attackers in Mariam shah, North Waziristan tribal District. Similar to these incidents, two more elders – Malik Saadat Ullah Khan and Malik Shahzullah Khan were killed near to their homes in Liati area of Bajaur tribal District. No one took responsibility for these attacks, yet (30th November and 1st December).
COMMENTS AND ANALYSIS: – Seven Maliks (designated tribal elders) were killed within 48 hours in the two tribal Districts near the Afghan border. The terrorists have been targeting the Maliks to weaken the writ of the state and to create their fear among the public. So far more than four hundred Maliks belonging to ex-FATA area have been killed by the terrorists, especially TTP. WSB had suggested in the previous issues that the government should provide fool-proof security to the Maliks and Mashran to create a sense of security among them.
Cross-border attack killed man in Bajaur
A shepherd Sherin Khan was killed and another person Kashmir Khan injured in a mortar attack from across the Afghan border in Laite Bando, Salarzai Tehsil of the Bajaur tribal district (1st December). The Bajaur Scouts reached the area soon after the incident. The cross-border attack infuriated the local people who called for action against the militants. It is learnt that the unprovoked mortar attacks from across the border from Kunar Province in Afghanistan caused casualties of the Pakistani citizens in Bajaur.
Comments & Analysis: – Though the TTP terrorists are present in Kunar province of Afghanistan who launch attacks on the Pak-Afghan border, the Afghan security authorities cannot be absolved of their responsibility to clear their area of anti-Pakistan terrorists and insurgents. At times the Afghan border force is involved in such excesses too.
Terrorist arrested in Charsadda
KPK Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested a wanted terrorist, Zakir alias Yasir in the limits of PS Saro Kallay, Charsadda and recovered two hand grenades and an SMG from his possession (02nd December).
Comments & Analysis: – It is learnt through the police sources that the terrorist was involved in 21 terrorist bids, including attacks on Tangi courts, Ghalanai political compound, FC Fort, and Lathi check post. He was also wanted in incidents of targeted killing, kidnapping and other crimes.
Police official shot dead in Bannu
ASI police Akhir Zaman was shot dead by unidentified assailants when he was returning to the Cantonment Police Station after performing security duty with a polio team in Bannu city (02nd December).
Comments & Analysis: – Police personnel are being regularly targeted by the terrorists in KPK. As already pointed out in previous WSBs, it is a changed modus operandi of the terrorists to demoralise the forces and recreate space for them which they had lost in Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Three family members killed in Karak
A man, his wife and son, riding a motorcycle were shot dead by the unidentified persons in Chowkora area of Karak District (05th December).
Comments & Analysis: – Heinous crimes like murders and terrorist activities are going hand in hand as it is hard to differentiate between the two. Police ought to handle this double burden with utmost care and professionalism.
One dead seven injured in Peer Wadai blast, Rawalpindi
A citizen of Afzal Khan was killed and seven others injured due to an IED blast outside the Usman General Store, Peer Wadai (04th December).
Comments & Analysis: – According to a preliminary report of bomb disposal unit, the explosive device weighing up to one kilo was packed with ball-bearings and shrapnel. The CTD Punjab registered an FIR and started investigation.
China vows to strengthen ties with Pakistan ‘in host of areas’
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Defence General Wei Fenghe led a high level delegation to Islamabad on three-day tour and held meetings with the President, PM, Army Chief, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee, etc. He held meetings at JS HQ and GHQ Rawalpindi. A memorandum of understanding for enhancing further cooperation in the defence field was signed between the two countries. He was awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Crown of Honour), Military Medal by the President of Pakistan (2nd December)
Comments and Analysis: – The current visit of the Chinese Defence Minister is of much significance in the backdrop of rapidly changing geo-political and economic situation in the region, the Middle East and Indian Ocean. India’s belligerence on LoC and LAC, situation in IHC and Indo-Chinese troops’ face-off in Galawan has increased the risk of limited or full-scale wars in the region. The huge procurement of latest arms, ammunition and missile systems by the BJP Government in India on the pretext of facing Chinese forces on LAC and seas has necessitated for Pakistan to further develop its arsenal. China too needs an economically strong Pakistan to support its geo-strategic and economic interests in the region.
Fuel loading starts for nuclear power plant testing
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) said fuel loading for the newly built Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2) was started after obtaining fuel load permit from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (1st December).
Comments & Analysis: – The Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2) is a pressurized water reactor based on the Chinese HPR-1000 technology and a third-generation plant equipped with advanced safety features, according to the spokesperson. The construction of K-2 plant started on Aug 31st, 2015 and its commercial operation will begin in April 2021 after undergoing several operational and safety tests. It is one of the two 1,100MW nuclear power plants being constructed at Karachi. The other plant, K-3, is expected to become operational by the end of 2021. The completion of these nuclear power plants has remained largely on schedule despite the difficult times due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Indian diplomat to explain India’s stance on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case in IHC – India contradicted
Islamabad High Court was informed by Barrister Shahnawaz that Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia wanted to explain India’s stance over appointment of a lawyer for death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav as the decision into the matter was reportedly still awaited from the Indian Government (2nd November). Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson contradicted the narration by saying that Barrister Shahnawaz was hired in routine practice as a counselor for release of another prisoner Ismail who had completed his sentence term in Pakistan. His case has no link with Jadhav case. Barrister Noon was neither given any authority to represent the Jadav case nor to suggest for Indian diplomat’s appearance before the court into the matter.
On the other hand, the Pakistan Foreign Office, commenting over the statement of Indian External Ministry termed it incorrect and misleading. It stated that the generous offers of Pakistan were being doubted and misconstrued (04th December).
Comments and Analysis: – The Indian External Ministry is bent upon exploiting the issue by making negative propaganda against Pakistan for not treating the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in accordance with the decision of the International Court of Justice.
SC adjourns hearing of appeals in Daniel Pearl murder case
The Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned hearing of the case against the acquittal of accused persons by the Sindh High Court (SHC) in the murder case of the American journalist Daniel Pearl (1st December).
Comments and Analysis: – A three-member special bench of the apex court heard the appeals filed by the government and parents of the journalist challenging the acquittal of the previously convicted persons.
Three Lyari Gangsters convicted in arms case, Karachi
An Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi awarded 10-year imprisonment to convict Abdul Aziz while Sohail and Majid were handed down five-year imprisonment each for possessing illegal weapons and explosives in March 2015 (2nd December).
Comments and Analysis: – The convicts were associated with a gang led by the defunct Peoples Aman Committee led by its Chief Uzair Jan Baloch. They were arrested and recoveries were made in the Baghdadi area.
JuD leaders convicted in another case
An Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore awarded sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment to JuD leaders Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Mujahid (spokesperson of JuD) each, while JuD leader Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki was jailed for six months (1st December).
Comments and Analysis: – Several leaders of the banned JuD, including its Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, have been under detention since July 2019. They had been convicted in various cases registered by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on the charges of terror financing, while the trial proceedings in several others were still pending. The CTD has registered as many as 41 FIRs against the JuD leaders in different cities. The trial courts have so far decided 25 cases.
MWM warns against sectarianism in the country
Masjid Majlis-e-Wahdat Ul Muslimeen (MWM), Secretary Gen. Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jaffery, while speaking at a press conference at press club, Hyderabad, alleged that the USA wanted to destabilize the entire region to contain China. He said that Pakistan needed stability as any adverse situation might give birth to crises in the country and damage CPEC. He further said that Pakistan should be country for all sects and for not particular one; Sunni Muslim or non-Muslim be treated as a true Pakistani without any bias and discrimination. He hailed the Prime Minister’s resolve to not recognise Israel (02nd December).
Comments and Analysis: – The MWM leader’s press conference aimed against the ever-increasing close ties between the west, Israel and Arab countries. He stressed on the need to build a new strong block comprising Russia, Iran, Turkey, China and Pakistan to bring stability and prosperity in the region.
CRIME/LAW & ORDER
- A robber was killed during an encounter by the police in North Nazimabad Karachi, Sindh (30th November).
- A lawyer was killed by unidentified motorcyclist near the Lawyer Colony, Multan Road, Vehari, Punjab (30th November).
- One Muhammad Zubair and his son were killed by his cousin Azam due to personal enmity in Jandiala village, Narowal District, Punjab (30th November).
- A cashier of a local filling station carrying 04 million rupees to be deposited in the bank was deprived of the amount by the unidentified motorcyclist, on gun point near a Chowk in Taxila, Rawalpindi district, Punjab (30th November).
- Three armed burglars broke into the house of Muhammad Iqbal in Taxila, Rawalpindi District, Punjab and took away 20 tola gold, cash and mobile phones on gunpoint (30th November).
- One Junaid Khan was allegedly killed by Muhammad Islam and Shamsul Rehman due to personal enmity in Takht-e-Nasrati area of Karak District, KPK (30th November).
- A notorious dacoit Elahi Bakhsh @ Dadu Sabzoi who carried head money of Rs/- 1 million along with his nephew and gang members Shahdino @ Punho were killed and his two accomplices wounded during an exchange of firing with villagers and police party in Bahadur Mahar village, Katcha area of Kandhkot, Sakkhar District, Sindh. A villager was also killed in the said clash (01st December).
- One Qasim Khan was shot dead by suspected robbers on resistance in Orangi Town Karachi, Sindh (02nd December).
- Two robbers Shahrukh and Waqar Ahmad, wanted in several cases of heinous crime were arrested during a joint raid by the Police and Rangers in Karachi, Sindh (02nd December).
- A software Engineer Muhammad Suleman was reportedly kidnapped by unidentified persons from H-Block market DHA, Lahore, Punjab (02nd December).
- A young girl Savera was kidnaped and her mother Sidra shot dead by unidentified armed persons in Dhanola village, Faisalabad district, Punjab. The dead body of the kidnaped girl was found in the fields near the said village (02nd December).
- Two cousins, Zeeshan and Mohsin were killed during exchange of firing with the arrivals in Tappi area of Kohat city (04th December).
- One Javed was shot dead by unidentified motorcyclist in Samanabad, Lahore. In another incident a citizen Usman was injured in aerial firing in Liaquatabad Lahore (05th December).
- A shopkeeper Aslam Ayyub was killed and his companion were Zohaib injured on resistance by unidentified motorcyclist robbers in Korangi, Karachi (05th December).
- A man threw his five children into Jambar Canal in Pattoki, Kasur District resulting in the death of two and missing three others (06th December). Matter is under investigation.
- The dead body of minor child of Maryam Colony Lahore was dropped alongside a road by unidentified person who later died. The medical report revealed that he was stabbed with sharp weapon after making him subject to criminal assault (06th December).
Crime Details 01/12/2020 to 09/12/2020
Source: Media & National dailies
Comments & Analysis: – The police must adopt new methods of Intelligence Led Policing and Community Policing to know the crime trends and take preemptive measures to bridle them.
LAC / Indo-China border
The Indian and Chinese troops remained confined to their positions along LAC in Ladakh. India has reportedly deployed Air force and Naval Commandos on important positions within the Indian controlled side of the Pan Gong Lake in Ladakh recently. They will support already positioned para brigade troops and the personnel of special Frontier Force (All Tibetan origin) there. Nearly 100,000 soldiers of the both sides are likely to bear the harsh winter in the existing situation.
Comments and Analysis: – The situation is likely to become bitter. The eight rounds of the senior military level talks failed to deliver any positive results. The next round of military talks has not come to the notice, so far.
The situation remained tense on the LoC in the backdrop of last week unprovoked firing by the Indian Army targeting civilian population of Azad Kashmir.
Indian security forces’ fake anti-militancy drive against the Kashmiri youth continued unabated. Reacting over this the All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader Moulvi Bashir in a statement from Srinagar said that continued state terrorism by the Indian security forces had made the life of people in Jammu and Kashmir a hell. The third phase of District Development Council polls started with claim of 51 percent turn out by the Indian authorities (04th November).
Comments & Analysis: – According to a report of Kashmir Media Service, 15 Kashmiris were killed, 97 critically injured and 31 arrested by the Indian security forces under black laws and Public Safety Act, during the last month (November 2020). The ruling BJP Government has started propaganda on Domestic and International level that the participation of a large number of political parties and over 50 percent turnout in the DDC polls is significant. It is rather a proof that the declaration of Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory in August last year has been liked by the voters and depicts approval of the Kashmiri people over the said decision and policies of the Indian Government.
It is high time Pakistan emphasises to hold plebiscite in IHK as per the UN Resolutions.
- Abdul Basir Nuristani a senior military commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade was killed and seven other soldiers wounded during a mortar attack in Bala Murgha District of Badgish Province (30th November).
- Hamza Waziristani, the alleged master mind of the last week suicide bomb attack on Afghan security forces in Ghazni Province was killed and seven others wounded during an airstrike in Giro District of the said Province (30th November).
- A Russian Embassy vehicle was slightly damaged due to a roadside mine near the Embassy in Kabul. (01st December).
- Thirty Taliban were killed and sixteen others wounded during clashes with the Afghan security forces in Nawa, Nada-e-Ali, Nahrsarag and Lashkar Gah Districts of Helmand Province (01st December).
- Afghan security forces seized a large consignment of Taliban’s explosive arms and ammunition in Qarghay District of Laghman Province (02nd December).
- Twelve Taliban were killed and seven others injured during a clash with the Afghan security forces in Dand District of Kandahar Province (02nd December).
- Thirty-six Taliban were killed and dozens were injured during clashes with the Afghan security forces in Dehraud and Charchino Districts of Uruzgan Province (02nd December).
- Security forces seized a Taliban weapon depot containing light and heavy weapons including hand grenades and rockets in Lalpur district of Nangarhar Province (02nd December).
- Eleven criminals involved in robberies, rape and carrying illegal weapons were arrested from different places in Kabul (03rd December).
- A local business man was killed and two other shopkeepers wounded by armed robbers in Kabul (02nd December). The shopkeepers staged protest over the same.
- Four persons, including the members of Supreme Court, were killed by unidentified assailants in Kabul (04th December).
- A Judge, Pamir Faizi, head of inquiry department of Military Attorney Office was killed by unidentified person near Marshal Faheem Military Academy Kabul (06th December).
- Taliban Shadow District Governor of Dashi District Mullah Amir was killed during clash with the Afghan security forces in Baghlan Province (06th December).
Comments & Analysis: These figures are based on the reports issued by the Afghan government media, therefore the chances of exaggeration cannot be ruled out.
USA will retain two huge military bases in Afghanistan
General Mark Millet, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff of the US forces, talking at an event hosted by Brooking Institution said that USA would continue to maintain two large bases in addition to seven satellite bases in Afghanistan. He said that US Forces went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to eliminate terrorists’ launching pads posing threat to the US security for which considerable success has been achieved. Announced that their operation against ISIS and Al-Qaida would continue in future (2nd December).
Comments & Analysis: – Severe clashes between the Afghan security forces and Taliban involving air strikes and land operations, small ambushes, suicide attacks and target killings of the security forces, rivals and civilians by the terrorist groups i.e. IS/ISKP continued during the last week. Despite ongoing violence, the announcement for withdrawal of US troops for reducing the strength to 2500 by 15 January, 2021 and closing 10 military bases in the various Province of the country without making end to violence created concern not only in Afghanistan but also abroad.
Afghan Parliament approves six Ministers, NDS Chief
The Afghan Parliament gave approval for the appointments of seven more Ministers including the new Chief of National Directorate of Security (NDS) (30th November). Ahmad Zia Saraj is the new head of NDS.
COMMENTS AND ANALYSIS: – He previously served as deputy operational chief of NDS. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had appointed him the nominee for this slot in April 2020.
US Special Envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad stated that representatives of the Afghan Government and Taliban had agreed on code of conduct and possible ceasefire in Afghanistan to pave a way for devising mutually agreed future political setup in Afghanistan. Both the Afghan Government and Taliban confirmed the breakthrough. The leaders all over the world lauded the development. Pakistan has welcomed the development towards settling the various issues and preparing political road map between the Afghan Government and Taliban through formal talks (2nd December).
COMMENTS AND ANALYSIS: – It can be considered a big breakthrough in the stalled peace process. The formal talks between the two sides remained suspended after signing of US-Taliban accord in Doha in February this year. However, the contact groups of the Afghan Government team and Taliban continued their meetings with intervals to agree on a formula or code of conduct to start formal talks for the future political setup in the country and end to fighting by declaring ceasefire.
Iran parliament demands end of nuclear inspections
The burial ceremony of the Iran’s nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was held at the shrine of Imamzadeh Saleh in Tehran (30th November). A day earlier, the Iranian Parliament demanded to stop international inspections of the Iran’s nuclear facilities as a proportionate response to the killing of Fakhrizadeh. Through a unanimous resolution the legislative body stated that the hand of the murderous Zionist regime could be clearly seen in the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Comments and Analysis: –Iran Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated that the assassination was carried out by using remote controlled electronic device, with the alleged involvement of Israel and Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalaq and no one was present at the scene of occurrence. However, he did not provide any evidence about the same.
Ensuring Coastal Security by the Indian Government
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that after the Mumbai terrorist attack, the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police have prepared a three-tier security cover in the coastal areas of the country. It ruled out the possibility of escaping any one with suspicious activities from the said security cover. Added that these three tiers work in an integrated manner with an organization named the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) which was set up in November 2014, with its main centre at Gurgaon.
Comments and Analysis: –IMAC is responsible for maritime security information collation and dissemination. It is jointly operated by the Navy and Coast Guard and is the cornerstone of the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence network for monitoring maritime traffic in India’s area of interest.
Who will be the new CIA Chief- Cohen or Morell?
US President-elect is considering to appoint intelligence veteran Michael Morell as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency. However, some Democrat Congressmen objected to his appointment because of his defense of the spy agency’s interrogation tactics after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), openly claimed that he would oppose Morell’s nomination for the post for his controversial approach. Another potential candidate for this post is David Cohen, a former top Treasury Department official who later served as deputy CIA director under President Barack Obama, is being actively considered by Mr. Biden. Unlike Mr. Morell, Mr. Cohen isn’t seen by progressives as someone who has defended the interrogation program.
Mr. Cohen, a partner at the Wilmer Hale law firm, spent much of his government career specializing in sanctions and financial intelligence, overseeing efforts at Treasury to counter money-laundering, halt terrorist financing and craft sanctions regimes on Russia, North Korea and other entities. Mr. Cohen is now a leading candidate after Tom Donilon, a former national security adviser to Mr. Obama, withdrew from consideration and Mr. Morell came under scrutiny.
The Biden team this week sought additional feedback from other Democratic senators about Mr. Morell, including from Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who told the transition that Mr. Morell was a qualified candidate and that his defense of the so-called enhanced-interrogation program shouldn’t be disqualifying, other people familiar with the matter said.(New York Times)
Comments and Analysis: – Whoever is appointed the new CIA Chief would replace Gina Haspel, CIA’s first female director. She also looked favourably at CIA’s interrogation program, and those ties imperiled her eventual Senate confirmation. Like Ms. Haspel, Mr. Morell, 62 years old, is a CIA veteran, although his career centered on intelligence analysis rather than recruiting and supervising foreign agents. He has strong support from former top CIA officials, who often reflect the views of the agency workforce, and is their favored candidate to lead the spy agency, former officials said. His supporters say that Mr. Morell played no formal role in the interrogation program. “The most successful directors in the history of the CIA have had two characteristics,” a personal relationship with the president and national security expertise, said Marc Polymeropoulos, a senior CIA officer who retired last year and was involved in counter- terrorism operations. “Michael Morell fits both.”
Coronavirus Crisis Update
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 423,179 on 08th December, 2020 (Tuesday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.
The Province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 11:00 am, December 08th is as follows:
• Sindh: 22,219
• Punjab: 9,363
• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 4,370
• Balochistan: 527
• Islamabad Capital Territory: 6,117
• Gilgit-Baltistan: 166
• AJK: 1,456
Comments & Analysis: The second wave of corona virus seems to be more lethal than the first one. The number of corona positive cases and deaths caused by it is quite high. Many high ranking civil and military officers, serving and retired, have fallen prey to it. Some known retired civil bureaucrats like Shaigan Shareef, Hassan Waseem Afzal, Maroof Afzal etc have died due to corona virus.
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. 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. There is an urgent need to bridle the situation through all means.
Border Situation: Tense – Indian shelling and firing continued at the LoC. The Western border (Pak-Afghan), remained relatively calm.
Health Security: A new surge of Coronavirus pandemic has hit Pakistan. There is a considerable increase in the number of patients who tested positive during the last six weeks.
Social Unrest: Rising; due to exorbitant price hike and political unrest.
Note: WSB is based on open source information.