WSB WEEKLY SECURITY BRIEF

Vol. 4-Issue No 34

9th  October, 2020

NATIONAL

Terror incidents in North Waziristan & Kohat

Capt.Abdullah Zafar

Pakistan Army’s Captain Abdullah Zafar was killed during exchange of fire with terrorists during night patrolling, along with other security personnel, in Shakai of South Waziristan (28th September).

A police constable Fazal Ghani was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the Ground Station area of Hangu when he was returning to home after completion of his duty (1st October).

Two terrorists including a bomb-maker were killed by the security forces in Boya area, North Waziristan tribal district (2nd October). They were involved in the killing of innocent people and conducting more than 25 terrorist attacks on the security forces. 

Police claimed to have recovered heavy cache of arms and ammunition in Jabba Azgo Kanda area of Khyber tribal district. The recovered arms included rocket launchers, mortar shells and fuses and dynamite sticks (1st October).

Comments and Analysis: – In KPK Province, North and South Waziristan tribal districts have witnessed a number of incidents of terrorism, target killings and encounters during the last month. The out lawed TTP is active in these two tribal districts. (a) Three terrorists were killed in Kaskai on 05th September. (b) Terrorist Commander Waseem Zakaria along with his five associates were killed and two security personnel injured during an encounter in Mir Ali area on 06th September. (c) One soldier was killed due to IED blast in the ” Muhammad Khel area” on 12th September. (d) Four terrorists were killed on 13th September. (e) Two Soldiers were killed on 19th September. The security situation in Khyber tribal District is also deteriorating.

Terrorism in Karachi

Sindh Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed to have killed a terrorist identified as Saeed @ Loha @ Haji @ Tora Bora during an encounter in Musharraf Colony, Hawksbay Road, Karachi. His one associate was arrested in the wounded condition while the other made good his escape (30th September).

A police constable Arslan was shot by unidentified gunmen riding a car, near Tahir Villa Chowrangi, in the jurisdiction of PS Gulberg Karachi. The constable was rushed to hospital where his condition is stable. He was riding a motorcycle along with another constable when the incident took place. Investigations are under progress (30th September).      

Comments and Analysis: –It is learnt that the terrorist Saeed @ Loha @ Haji @ Tora Bora was affiliated with Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). He was wanted in several cases of terrorism. He was reportedly trained by AQIS in Afghanistan in 2014. Later he along with his associates Syed and Abdul Saboor, formed a separate group in 2016. He was allegedly involved in carrying out attacks on Ranger check posts, low-intensity bomb attacks on police stations in addition to the target killings of policemen and sectarian personalities.

TTP is active in Karachi too as is evident from the modus operandi of targeting police constables and LEA personnel as is being done in KPK. Intelligence agencies must carry out relentless search operations to track, trail and tackle the terrorists and their sleeper-cells in Karachi.

CRIME / LAW & ORDER

  1. A lady polio worker was mugged when she was performing vaccination duty in the Daud Shah area of Bannu District. Later, the local police, arrested one Tariq for attacking the woman and recovered the snatched material from his possession (25th September). Investigations are underway to determine whether the incident relates to anti-polio subversive elements or an individual act of personal grudge.
  2. A police sub-inspector of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), Malik Ashraf Awan was arrested for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping for ransom of a trader in the Federal-B industrial area police, Karachi (01st October).
  3. A woman named Zakia Bibi was reportedly gang raped by six unidentified persons in Baseer Pur village, Nankana sahib District. Police Investigations are under progress (1st October).
  4. A girl named ‘A’ was gang raped allegedly by two persons namely Hassan and Irfan in a hotel near Lahore Railway Station in the jurisdiction of Noulakha Police Station. Police investigations are under progress (02nd October).
  5. Three persons named Jamil, Jani and Sohail were arrested by the police on the charges of gang rape of a girl on 10th August in Yar Mohammad Khokhar Village in Larkana District, Sindh Province (05th October). Police investigation are under progress.  

Comments and Analysis: – The crime rate including murders, kidnapping and criminal assaults on women and children are increasing in the country. According to a BBC report 2043 cases of rape and sexual assaults were registered in the current year. Out of these, 375 cases were dropped due to various reasons.

The main accused of Motorway gang-rape, Abid Ali, is still at large after three weeks of the occurrence of the incident. This has led to suspicions, doubts and conspiracy theories among the public. Lahore police cannot afford to sweep it under the carpet. Meanwhile, an Anti-Harrasment Cell has been set up in the Special Security Unit Headquarters of the Sindh Police in Karachi to curb the increasing incidents of child abuse and rapes of women.

 Maulana Khadim Rizvi booked for flouting ban in Faisalabad

Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi

The Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi Chief of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) and six others have been booked on the charge of public gathering at village 124-GB, Faisalabad District (05th October).   

Comments and Analysis: – Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi is a known fire-brand speaker who tends to stir religious sentiments and issues controversial statements against the state institutions, political leaders and people of other sects. He has political ambitions as his party contested 2018 general elections and bagged substantial number of votes. He also remained under detention in various cases in the past. The district administration had banned the entry of Maulana Rizvi in the district but he violated the orders and addressed the gathering on the occasion of the Annual Urs Syed Kifayat Shah Bukhari in the said village. Such elements need to be bridled for sake of religious and sectarian harmony.            

Protest Rally against killing of Pakistani Hindus in India

Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

A group of Pakistani Hindus led by Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani staged a protest demonstration outside the Indian High Commission, Islamabad against the killing of eleven Pakistani Hindus in India. The protestors called for a transparent investigation into the tragic incident and demanded to share post mortem reports with Pakistan (25th September).         

Comments and Analysis: – It is learnt that eleven members of the Pakistani Hindu migrant family were found dead under mysterious circumstances at a farm in Jaipur District of Rajasthan, India on 9th August this year. The protestors chanted slogans against the BJP Government in India and said that Pakistani Hindus are not safe during their stay in India. Later addressing a press conference in Islamabad on 27th September, Dr. Ramesh Kumar revealed his intention to approach the International Court of Justice in this regard.  

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit to Pakistan

Chairman Afghanistan High Council for Reconciliation, (AHCR) Abdullah Abdullah along with a delegation, visited Islamabad and held meetings with the Foreign Minister, PM and President of Pakistan (28th to 30th September). During the same, he discussed bilateral issues and security concerns between the two countries particularly the progress of intra-Afghan dialogues, currently being held in Doha. He also attended a conference held under the aegis of the Institute of Strategic Studies. The Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while addressing the said conference said that Pakistan respects sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. He categorically mentioned that Pakistan has neither any favorites in Afghanistan nor wants to meddle in its internal affairs and will accept will of the people of Afghanistan. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah appreciated and welcomed the good gestures expressed by the Pakistani leadership about him and his country. Further stated that he wished to visit Pakistan since long and was concluding his trip to Pakistan on a positive note. He extended good wishes to Pakistan and its people on behalf of the Afghan Government.

Comments and Analysis: – The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to Pakistan will help reduce misunderstandings between the two countries and restore mutual trust between them for ongoing Afghan peace process in Afghanistan. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was once considered to be harsh critic of Pakistan but now looked much optimistic on inception of new era of cordial relations between the two countries. Seasoned analysts like former Ambassador Asif Durrani have advised Pakistan to stay clear of the intra-Afghan dialogue and let the Afghans decide their fate. As it is said good fences make good friend, Pakistan should complete its fencing process on Pak-Afghan border and just watch the peace process from over the fence.

REGIONAL

LAC / Indo-China border

The India-China stand-off has entered a crucial stage. China has made territorial claims on the 1,579 kms of LAC on the basis of 1959 cartographical claim in East Ladakh. India rejected the Chinese External Ministry’s statement and ordered its troops to be ready for tackling the new situation (29th September).

Comments and Analysis: – Despite holding of six meetings between the two countries on the LAC any visible de-escalation of the two forces from their current positions did not take place. Rather the situation is likely to aggravate due to above development. The 1959 line(defined as Green Line on military maps) was sent by Chinese PM Zhou En-Lai to the then Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru on November 7, 1959. According to some security experts, with six out of 12 areas of differences already in the contest, the PLA may launch an aggression on the remaining six points including Samar Lungpa, Demchok and Chumar to press home its claim.

India is making gestures of aggression in a bid to keep Chinese army at bay. Indian media is crying itself hoarse, through one-sided reporting, that the Indian army is well-prepared to take on People’s Liberation Army. It claims to have moved a limited number of Nirbhay subsonic cruise missiles to the Line of Actual Control. The claim has not been confirmed by independent sources. Moreover, as this missile has terrain-hugging capability it might not be successful in the hilly and treacherous terrain of Ladakh where both the armies are locked in a stiff standoff.   

Indian Court acquitted all accused in Babri Mosque case

A Special Court in India exonerated all the 32-surviving accused in the Babri Mosque demolition. The Court observed that the evidence in the criminal case against the accused persons was not strong enough and the Babri Mosque demolition incident was preplanned (30th September).  

Comments and Analysis: – The decision of the criminal case related to Babri Mosque demolition came 28 years after it was pulled down by frenzied mob in Ayodhya town of Uttar Pradesh  in 1992 by  Hindu extremists led by BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal (UP). The court decision to absolve all the accused including BJP top leaders – L.K Advani and Murali Monhar Joshi was extremely disturbing to Muslims, and liberal Hindus/Sikhs but not unexpected in the backdrop of the hardliner BJP in power. To add insult to the injury the Indian PM Narinder Moudi has laid foundation stone of the Ram Janam Bhomi at the demolished site of the Babari Mosque in Ayudhia.

LoC/IHK

Due to heavy firing and shelling by the Indian Army across LOC, Naik Dil Faraz of Pakistan Army was martyred in Kot Katora sector (27th September). In another incident 15 years old boy was martyred and four others injured in Broh and Tandar sectors (29th and 30th September). Pakistan army responded and killed three soldiers and injured four others.

Indian Security Forces during their fake anti militancy drive killed two Kashmiri youth named Ijaz Reshi and Sajad Ahmed Safi in Sambwara Village of Pulwama District (28th September). Four Kashmiri youth including Mushtaq Ahmed, Altaf Majeed Coka and Iqbal Safi were claimed to have been arrested by the Delhi Police on the allegations of planning to carry out terrorism in the capital (02nd September).

Comments and Analysis: – According to the  Foreign Office spokesman, this year India has committed 2340 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in the killing of 18 people and injuring of 187 civilians. Earlier DG ISPR Major General Baber Iftikhar, during a briefing to the diplomats, visiting the LoC, stated that a real threat of full-scale war between India and Pakistan existed owing to India’s perpetual provocation, belligerence and ceasefire violations.

Afghanistan

Terrorism/Violence

  1. Money changers in various Provinces of Afghanistan, closed their shops and business offices as a mark of protest against ever-increasing incidents of robberies and kidnapping of foreign currency dealers. Recently one Haji Abdul Qayyum Rahmi President of Balakh Money Exchanger Union and Mujtaba Money Exchanger were kidnapped for ransom by armed robbers in Mizar-e-Sharif (27th September).
  2. Fourteen persons were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside mine in Karez Village, Kajran District (29th September). 
  3. Kohistan District Police Chief Abdul Zaher was killed during a clash with Taliban in Badakhshan Province. During the said encounter four Taliban were also killed and five injured (30th September).
  4. Nine people including five security forces personnel were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside mine near a security check point in Nare Siraj District in the Helmand Province (30th September).
  5. Fifteen persons were killed and over thirty others wounded in a car bomb blast near District Governor’s Compound in Ghani Khel District of Nangarhar Province. The incident took place during the attack of some unidentified gunmen who attempted to enter the Governor’s Compound but was foiled by the Afghan security forces (03rd October).
  6. Twenty-three Taliban’s were killed and seventeen injured during clashes with the Afghan security forces in Nad Ali, Nawa and Naharsraj Districts of Helmand Province (03rd Sep).
  7. Two government officials were killed as result of planted bomb blast in their vehicle in Kabul (03rd Sep).

Comments and Analysis: – Violence in Afghanistan and talks in Doha are going hand in hand. The US and NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller during his recent visit to Faryab Province reiterated his support to the Afghan Security Forces in the Northern Provinces and urged Taliban to lower their violence.

Afghan Government established the “Local Police Force” in 2010 and provided arms and ammunition to them for fighting Taliban in their respective areas of different Provinces. Afghan Interior Ministry has reportedly chalked out a plan for merging 10000 members of the local police force each with the Army and the regular police subject to their fitness out of the total strength of 24,000. The remaining 5000 officials will be sent on retirement (02nd September). It is learnt that Government has taken this decision due to financial constraints.

Intra – Afghan dialogues

File Photo

US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ramazy Khalilzad held meetings with Taliban leaders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Chief negotiator Moulvi Abdul Hakeem in Doha, Qatar. He stressed on the need for making progress in the intra-Afghan dialogue between the Taliban and Afghan Government (02nd October). The Chairman of the High Reconciliation Council of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah stated in Kabul that he wanted to speak to Taliban to find out the solution for removing differences and starting dialogue to bring peace in the country.

Comments and Analysis: – Despite seven meetings of the contacts groups in Doha, any tangible headway has not been noticed. The sore points are lingering like the Taliban demand recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the “mother deal” underlying the Afghan peace negotiations and “Hanafi Fiqh” as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks. Therefore, the Shia Jurisprudence “Fiqa Jafria” under the current circumstances is not logical but can be discussed during the talks about the constitution of the country. The Afghan Government team is of the view that if a religious issue arises, it can be solved based on the Hanafi Fiqh by default, however, the Shia personal status law must be respected and the choice of the religious jurisprudence should be given to other minorities groups as well. The Afghan Government team has reportedly put forward the following four options to be discussed in the contact group meeting: –

  1. First option: – The terms of the US-Taliban agreement could be accepted as the basis of the talks, however the terms of the joint declaration between Afghanistan, NATO and the US should also be accepted as applicable.
  2. Second option: – If the first option is not acceptable, then the negotiations may move forward based on the decisions of the consultative Loya Jirga and its declarations.
  3. Third option: – May be started based on the national interest of Afghanistan.
  4. Fourth option: – The talks may be started in the light of Quran and Hadis (Traditions) being a main authority, replacing all others.

Despite all hurdles and hiccups the two sides are interested to continue talks in Doha. Taliban spokesman said that there was no need for a mediator in connection with peace talks as resolving a forty years conflict requires patience to reach a conclusion. Similarly, members of the Afghan Government team are of the view that due to huge difference of approach between the two sides, the gaps, intervals and delays are understandable before starting the formal talks.        

Coronavirus Crisis Update

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 317,595 on 09th October 2020 (Friday) after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise breakup of the total number of cases as of 11:30 am, October 09th, is as follows:

• Sindh: 4,653

• Punjab: 1,555

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 509

• Balochistan: 217

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 685

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 273

• AJK: 445

Deaths: 6,552

Pakistan’s Security Barometer

Terrorism: Terrorist groups like TTP are continuosly 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 is a test case to be resolved as soon as possible 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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