View Full Version : Pakistani internal security (catch all)

Pages : 1 2 [3]

01-25-2017, 04:41 PM
But aren't they about two different things? Pakistan could be winning its war against terrorists who attacked Pakistani institutions (bad taliban) and still supporting terrorists who help (real or imagined) strategic aims (good taliban)?

02-15-2017, 06:25 PM
A lengthy Crisis Group report on Karachi (many pgs). From the summary:
Decades of neglect and mismanagement have turned Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and wealthiest city, into a pressure cooker. Ethno-political and sectarian interests and competition, intensified by internal migration, jihadist influx and unchecked movement of weapons, drugs and black money, have created an explosive mix. A heavy-handed, politicised crackdown by paramilitary Rangers is aggravating the problems. To address complex conflict drivers, the state must restore the Sindh police’s authority and operational autonomy while also holding it accountable. Over the longer term, it must redress political and economic exclusion, including unequal access to justice, jobs and basic goods and services, which criminal and jihadist groups tap for recruits and support. It must become again a provider to citizens, not a largely absentee regulator of a marketplace skewed toward the elite and those who can mobilise force. Sindh’s ruling party and Karachi’s largest must also agree on basic political behaviour, including respect for each other’s mandate, and reverse politicisation of provincial and municipal institutions that has eroded impartial governance.Link:https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-asia/pakistan/284-pakistan-stoking-fire-karachi

02-16-2017, 08:59 PM
A huge blast has killed up to 100 people in one of the most popular Sufi shrines in Pakistan. Naturally this has led to renewed discussion about when and if Pakistan's famed security establishment may (or may not) decisively switch sides in the "war on terror" (i.e. become anti-jihadist). I wrote a piece after one of many such past "turning points" and proposed three tests of whether such a change has occurred.
None of these has happened yet.
See my article at this site. (http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/2014/12/massacre-of-innocents-death-comes-again.html)


There has been an explosion of outrage in Pakistan. Even Imran Khan managed to condemn the TTP by name (though PTI's offical account still tweeted that "Whoever" did this, did something awful). The Pakistani state has reportedly stuck back already at Taliban targets. The PM and the army chief have promised action (and are likely sincere, as far as that goes). The media has condemned the attack. Social media has been on fire. So far so good.
But within hours, the narrative has already started to fracture. First the media groups managed to invite people like Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Abdul Aziz (of Red mosque fame) to comment on this terrorist attack. And they managed to muddle the issue with references to the Indian hand and the eternal enemies of Pakistan (Afghanistan, Jews, America, that sort of thing). And on ARY (the most pro-army of Pakistan's many pro-army channels) the anchors themselves have been leading the charge. Mubasher Lucman, for example, angrily demanded that the first step needed at this time was to ban Indian overflights to Afghanistan! Top Military propagandist Ahmed Qureshi and loonies like Zaid Hamid have been busy blustering about how India will be made to pay for this latest atrocity.
The more things change. .

I wrote a piece three and a half years ago about the Pakistani anti-terror narrative and it's confusions and it is depressing to find that little or nothing needs to be changed in that article. The entire piece, unedited, is pasted at the end of this post.

There is a lot of talk about how this particular horrendous event is SO horrendous that now things really HAVE to change. Maybe. But do keep in mind that this is not the first mass casualty attack. There have been attacks on the Marriot hotel, an Ahmedi mosque, a volleyball match, a meena bazar, a church, even a mosque near GHQ (where the son of a corps commander was among the civilian victims killed in cold blood). And of course there have been countless massacres of Hazara and other Shias. Literally thousands of people have died in these attacks. But until now, there is no evidence that the army has changed it's basic "good terrorist/bad terrorist" policy. Terrorists who kill schoolchildren and shoot up railway stations in Kabul and Mumbai are good. Terrorists who kill children in Pakistan are bad. That policy has not worked for 13 years. It is not going to start working now.

How can we tell that GHQ is really changing policy:

1. Ahmed Qureshi and Zaid Hamid are suddenly out of a job and publicly disowned by the army.
2. Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death years ago for the killing of Daniel Pearl (a terrorist act he may not have committed, though he has surely committed many others). He has not been hanged. In fact there are intermittent reports of him living it up in prison. If he is hanged, that will be a sign of change. Especially since his handler was the famous brigadier Ejaz Shah (a close associate of the father of the double game, Pervez Musharraf himself).
3. Mumbai attackers rapid trial and punishment. Outside of Pakistan, everybody and their aunt knows that a group of ten terrorists from Pakistan landed in Mumbai in 2008 and cold bloodedly killed a 168 innocent people. In a famous picture, one of the attackes is calmly walking down the platform at Mumbai Railway station, shooting random civilians sitting on the platform. ..

...Unless you see some of these happenings, things will go back to "normal" ....

A dissenting note about the double game from a friend on facebook:
no, not a double game any more. they are being played by the taliban now, manipulating the internecine fault-lines inside the ISI and the army. they don't mind a few casualties in the mountains, if that is the price (in fact their foot-soldiers welcome the chance for martyrdom). they have the indomitable resolution of a madman doing god's work, while the army has the emptied ideology of a failed religious state being devoured by corruption. by day the generals pay hollow homage to the motherland and at night send tithes to their new fathers in the mountains, hoping to buy personal protection from the next suicide attack for themselves and their families.

A more sober take from the redoubtable Ahsan Butt on Five Rupees.

POSTSCRIPT: it is not looking good for those who thought some great sea change is coming. The script on the media has changed on PTV and to some extent on GEO, but remains the same on other channels and especially on the army's favorite channels like ARY and Dunya..... Blame India, CIA and the Jews. Invite Hafiz Saeed, Hamid Gul and other similar jokers to fog everything up. Bomb someone in the tribal areas and generate suspiciously exact body counts.
Until the next bombing.
Unfortunately it does look like the song remains the same...

Postscript2: Got some feedback from people focused on the role of Islam in these outrages. I would like to emphasize that while various forms of Islamism are causing problems in many parts of the world, Islam is NOT the proximate cause of the choices made by the Pakistani establishment. Hard Paknationalism is the primary driver. Someone like Musharraf (father of the infamous double-game) was not too bothered about Islam. What caused him to maintain the Taliban and other Jihadist groups was Paknationalism; specifically the "hard paknationalist" belief that we have to defeat India and to do that we need certain force multipliers/strategic-assets/deniable-non-state-actors and the Jihadis are the only people who will do that job. It is this belief that drives the "good-taliban/bad-Taliban" policy and the double games it entails. Commitment to fundamentalist Islam has little or nothing to do with it. (though of course, no Islam, no partition in the first place, so there are other turtles below the first one)...

02-18-2017, 01:40 PM
This report does make one wonder is Pakistani public security "turned off and on" by someone or something:
As many as 27 hardcore terrorists, including a would-be suicide bomber, were killed during separate shootouts with the Rangers and police in a nationwide crackdown against militants following the deadly suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan.Link:https://tribune.com.pk/story/1330739/day-tragedy-rangers-police-kill-27-hardcore-terrorists/

04-16-2017, 12:04 PM
Pakistan special forces catches huge quantity of weapons from #iran backed shia militias in #parachinar

Mod adds:
Parachinar is the capital of Kurram Agency, and the largest city of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Parachinar is situated on a neck of Pakistani territory south of Peshawar, that juts into Paktia Province of Afghanistan

05-08-2017, 05:25 PM
Iran tells #Pakistan to shut down terror bases ... While operating Taliban camps and hosting al-Qaeda's lifeline:http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-pakistan-security-idUSKBN1840SY

02-19-2018, 03:32 PM
From the FT:
China has been quietly holding talks with Pakistani tribal separatists for more than five years in an effort to protect the $60bn worth of infrastructure projects it is financing as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.Link:https://www.ft.com/content/063ce350-1099-11e8-8cb6-b9ccc4c4dbbb

One wonders will the locals, let alone the militants, be tempted by work or other options and so enable the road and port to operate? It's almost how it was before.:)

02-19-2018, 03:36 PM
A curious document, from September 2017 from a previously unheard of think tank (German-Pakistani) on the Chine-Pakistan Economic Corridor and somehow I doubt any pearls will be found.
Link to 50 pgs.:http://www.cpecinfo.com/news/the-reality-of-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-(cpec)-facts-vs-fiction/NDg0Mw==

A Tweet pointed at the report as the facts on public opinion were striking.

03-04-2018, 06:10 PM
A review of the recent FT report on the Chinese talking to Baluch insurgents (See Post ) by a Washington DC author; which had this comment on Twitter from another SME:
Very useful, nuanced and interesting piece on China and Balochistan by @MalikSirajAkbar in light of reports of recent talks between Beijing and Baloch militants

The article starts with:
Both China and separatist Baloch nationalists in Balochistan have categorically denied a recent Financial Times report that revealed Beijingís five-year-long covert contacts with the Baloch separatists to end the ongoing insurgency in the countryís largest province.

It ends with:
There is a need for Islamabad to step back and review the current political and security strategy. The government will have to accommodate local perspectives, promote community policing and hold consultation with all stakeholders to win the trust of the people. The insurgency erupted and then thrived for more than a decade in the absence of shrewd public policy. The Chinese might help Pakistan build roads and bridges, but they canít teach Islamabad how to understand its own people, their grievances and perspectives.

09-04-2018, 08:08 AM
A short commentary on the intense US aerial campaign against militant Islamist groups between 2009 and 2014, in Pakistan's tribal areas (FATA) and in particular North Waziristan.

It is part of an academic project into drones (UAV) at Birmingham University (UK):
we carried out more than 30 interviews and two general surveys, with more than 400 respondents, in Pakistan to assess the impact of the drones in the tribal areas. From what they told us, we learned that conflicting perceptions of the use of drones can shape not only conflict but also coexistence – and even cooperation.

It ends with a passage, which echoes much of what SWJ is about:
In a nutshell, the reason the drone campaign helped dash hopes of a settlement was the social, political, and cultural dynamics of Pakistan’s tribal region and the way the tribal system’s core elements were undermined. If you want to explain what happened to the short-lived peace process in Pakistan in 2013-14, you have to start there. And so does anyone charged with coming up with any new counter-insurgency strategy, whether it includes drone strikes or not.
Link:https://theconversation.com/interviews-with-pakistani-civilians-and-pervez-musharraf-tell-a-complicated-story-of-drone-warfare-102288? (https://theconversation.com/interviews-with-pakistani-civilians-and-pervez-musharraf-tell-a-complicated-story-of-drone-warfare-102288?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20September%204%202018%20-%20110259852&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20September%204%202018%20-%20110259852+CID_be281fdf06dbd8fd1740fc9e6e83cd63&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Interviews%20with%20Pakistani%20civilians %20and%20Pervez%20Musharraf%20tell%20a%20complicat ed%20story%20of%20drone%20warfare)

10-17-2018, 12:57 PM
A commentary by RUSI's Raffaello Pantucci on an event in August 2018, he starts with:
The attempted suicide bombing against a bus carrying Chinese engineers in Dalbandin, Balochistan highlights the complexity of the security problems China faces in Pakistan. The attack was a rare suicide bombing for the Balochistan Liberation Army and was specifically targeting China. It showed how Beijing is finding itself dragged into a clash whose answer lies in the resolution of fundamental issues within Pakistan

Then a headline from VoA: 'Pakistan Says Helping Tehran Rescue Kidnapped Iranian Forces' and a report that starts with:
Pakistan said Tuesday its military forces were working closely with those of neighboring Iran to locate more than a dozen Iranian security forces that militants kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid along the border. The announcement came hours after Tehran urged Islamabad to cooperate in securing freedom for 14 Iranian guards, including intelligence operatives.

It is suspected those involved are the anti-Iranian faction that hide in Balochistan.


11-23-2018, 08:18 PM
Via Deutsche Welle website, Germanyís international broadcaster:
China consulate attack: Why Pakistan's Baloch separatists are against Beijing; The attack on a Chinese consulate in Karachi has raised concerns about the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan. Experts say it also highlights the opposition to China's economic projects in Baluchistan province.

11-23-2018, 08:23 PM
From a "lurker" familiar with Pakistan.

The new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, is discovering that militancy on a variety of issues can no longer be "turned off" by their leaders at the behest or direction of the nation-state (or ISI). This is particularly so in the urban areas of the Punjab and can involve large numbers on the streets. Social media has a role of course.

12-10-2018, 07:24 PM
A short article from Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, which is almost a comedy. It starts with:
CALL it the Afghanisation of politics. You can guess what they donít want, but you canít really be certain about what they do want. And maybe it makes a kind of sense: you canít ever be defeated if you never say what it is that you really want.

I am not sure who 'they' are; the politicians, ISI and the Army?

12-27-2018, 08:19 AM
Via Twitter by @Roohan2Amhed:
Four commanders of the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army, including one of group's founding members Aslam Achu, have been killed in a suicide attack in Kandahar province of Afghanistan. The group has confirmed their deaths

Really a 'suicide bombing'? No, I suspect the "hidden hand" is over the border.

12-28-2018, 05:06 PM
First some context from an interview of Raffaello Pantucci, of RUSI, a SME on China:
In this scenario, how do you look at the insurgent attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi (in November 2018) for which Pakistan blamed India?That incident did not surprise me in the least. If you track recent incidents in Pakistan, there have been more and more direct attacks on Chinese interests in Pakistan by militant groups. We recently had an incident where a bomber of the BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) targeted a busload of Chinese engineers. The BLA has been very clear that they are targeting Chinese interests in the country. The accusations against India have a long history. The thing that worries me is that while it is impossible to say whether there is any merit to these accusations, what is certainly true is that there is a lot of anger in Balochistan, which has been there for a long time. What they have now realised is that attacking the Pakistani state hasn’t really delivered any results. They have realised that if we attack the foreigners we will get more attention internationally, and we are attacking the Pakistani state’s biggest ally; and that in itself might deliver some results for us. It is erroneous to blame this on India or Afghanistan, and it is impossible to know for sure if there are any elements from these countries lurking in the background, but what we can say for certain is that there is real anger in Balochistan, and it has now decided that targeting the Chinese gets some sort of a reaction.

From a 'Dawn' report:
Aslam Baloch alias Achhu, a key leader of the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and the mastermind of the recent attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, has been killed along with five other leaders of the organisation in a suicide attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In a MENA online new site their report cites Malik Siraj Akbar, a Baloch journalist in Washington:
In the 1970s and ’80s, Pakistan used the Afghan mujahideen to harass and chase the Balochs, but this time it seems Pakistan hunted him down with the help of its Taliban proxies.

Just how all the reports refer to a suicide bomber being responsible eludes me. How do they know? Who issued that story? I am no bomb expert, but the damage to the building is extensive - from the photo in the 'Dawn' report. Plus it looks like the building had concrete blocks around it to hinder VBIED. Why would the Taliban do this, presumably to assist their close friends ISI?

01-27-2019, 10:57 AM
An interesting article on the violent insurgency in Balochistan and from a critical Indian news website:
The important lesson drawn from the BLAís recent botched moves is that armed action can achieve very little if it is not part of a coherent, well-crafted political strategy. Key to the Baloch strategy is inflicting pain on Beijingís dramatic push into Balochistan......The only winner has been the Pakistan army.....In Balochistan, there have been too many players in the game: the State, the tribal leaders, the Ďenforcersí employed by intelligence services, the armed forces and the Chinese.

02-26-2019, 07:05 PM
A short, revealing article on policing Karachi by Zoha Waseem, ex-Kings War Studies. There have been improvements generally:
..since 2013, the homicide rate has been dropping in Karachi (from 2,507 deaths in 2013 to 301 in 2018).....vengeance through police encounters is personal – between 2011 and 2018, at least 637 police officials have been killed in Karachi.

(She concludes) For now, the public mood remains fickle, and it is too soon to tell whether this method of policing Karachi will return in the event that the city witnesses an increase in crime rates. Likewise, it is also too early to suggest that public opinion against police encounters will remain unchanged should violence spike again.

03-24-2019, 05:55 PM
Hamid Hussain, our occasional contributor, has recirculated a 2009 commentary, which offers two viewpoints as he explains:
Following is a piece by a former mid-level intelligence official of Pakistan army with first-hand information about handling the issues discussed in the piece. My comments are in red and italics. The problem is complex and there are no easy answers or quick solutions. I do not claim to be privy to any special information or have any solution. My perspective is based on my interaction with ordinary Pakistanis & Afghans especially Pushtuns and many Pakistan army officers and limited only to military aspect. Military aspect is only 20 percent but an important one and the rest 80 percent is social. This is just part of an ongoing dialogue because these events pose a serious threat to Pakistan’s interests and specifically the future of Pushtuns.

See the attachment, it is six pages.

04-29-2019, 01:18 PM
An article from RFERL which starts with:
A yearlong string of targeted assassinations in western Pakistan’s North Waziristan region has prompted mass protests and accusations that the country’s powerful military is failing to prevent the return of the Taliban militants. Tribal leaders, activists, and politicians from the region are asking why the security forces are failing to protect people after claiming to have cleansed the region of Taliban and their Al-Qaeda and Central Asian militant allies.

06-02-2019, 06:21 PM
A long BBC News report that opens with:
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Pakistan's long battle with militants as part of the post-9/11 "war on terror". Evidence of murder and torture by soldiers and insurgents is emerging only now. The BBC has gained rare access to some of the victims.

Hardly a Pakistani state "hearts & minds" approach to countering militancy. So in this case the promises made by Imran Khan were just that promises:
There was no response to BBC requests for comment from the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, even though Mr Khan raised the issue of rights abuses in the tribal areas when he was an opposition politician.