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Weekly Country Report

Pakistan
26 January-1 February 2009

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

North Waziristan Agency (NWA)


On 29 January 2009, the NWA Taliban distributed pamphlets in the entire Agency,
warning the Pakistan Army not to undertake social development work in the region. As
per the pamphlet, the ‘People in North Waziristan were informed that the Army is not
allowed to set up medical camps or carry out development work, including opening
schools or hospitals in villages.’ The pamphlet also barred charities from operating in the
area, warning the “NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to refrain from mischief and
carrying out such work otherwise they will be responsible for any losses.” 1 The security
situation in NWA is peaceful since both the Pakistani government and the NWA tribes
renewed a September 2006 peace agreement in February 2008. However, the US drone
strikes targeting foreign militants and killing of ‘spies’ by the Taliban continue unabated.
The NWA Taliban have repeatedly asked the Pakistani government to shoot down the
predator drones. However, there has been no reaction from the government so far. The
distribution of pamphlets is an attempt to pressurize the government to act against drones
if it wants to conduct development work in the region.

A day earlier, similar types of pamphlets were dropped in the adjoining South Waziristan
Agency (SWA) in which tribesmen were asked not to cooperate with the Pakistani
government. According to locals, the language used in the pamphlets has never been used
by the people residing in the region. It was also reported that both Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) chief, Baitullah Mehsud, and his rival, Mullah Nazir, from Ahmadzai
Wazir Tribe denied dropping the pamphlets. 2 This reinforces the speculation that they
had been brought from somewhere else to flame up tension in the region.

Meanwhile, a senior military official said on 28 January 2009 that Waziristan has become
a hotbed for militants after the Bajaur operation, and the situation would worsen if
suitable action was not taken. According to Frontier Corps (FC) Inspector General (IG),
Major General Tariq Khan, the border areas of Kohat and Peshawar had been evacuated,
and another 7,000 officials would be recruited in the FC. 3 The NWA Taliban also shot
dead a local tribesman on charges of “spying” for the US forces stationed in
Afghanistan. 4

Bajaur Agency
The Pakistani security forces continued its offense to eliminate Taliban presence from
Bajaur Agency. On 30 January 2009, the government dismantled hideouts of militants
with heavy artillery, besides blowing up the house of Imitaz alias Sheikh, a dreaded
1
‘Taliban Warns Army Off Aid Work’, Dawn, 30 January 2009
2
‘Taliban Forbid Tribesmen From Cooperating With Pakistan’, Daily Times, 29 January 2009
3
‘Waziristan Has Become Militants’ Hotbed: FC Chief’, Daily Times, 29 January 2009
4
‘Taliban Kill ‘US Spy’ in Miranshah’, Daily Times, 27 January 2009
militant commander in the Nawagai area of the Bajaur Agency. 5 Earlier, on 27 January
2009, the Taliban militants blew up a girls’ school in Nangolai area of Bajaur Agency.
The incident was the first of its kind in Bajaur.6

Khyber Agency
The Pakistani government continued to exert pressure on the tribes of Khyber Agency
inhabiting Landikotal area to handover nine members of Shinwari tribe who have
targeted government interests in the area. On 27 January 2009, the government arrested
nine members of the Shinwari tribal Jirga as punishment for its failure to hand over
several alleged militants to the government in the stipulated one-week time. Two of the
most wanted militants were Hazrat Nabi and Hazrat Ali. 7 Meanwhile, political
administration of Khyber distributed compensation money to the local families, who had
suffered due to the military operation named “Daraghlum,” a Pashto word meaning “here
I come” that was launched against the militants in the Jamrud area in January 2009.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban-Darra Adamkhel chapter gave a deadline of one-week to the


government that ends on 4 February 2009 to accept their demands saying that otherwise
they would kill the kidnapped Polish geologist, Peter Stanczak. 8 The Polish geologist
working for the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) is in the custody
of the Taliban reportedly at a place near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He had been
kidnapped from an OGDCL facility near the Jand town of the Attock district in Punjab
nearly four months ago. He had been reportedly shifted from Attock in a boat through the
Indus River to Kohat and then taken by the Taliban to their hideout in Darra. The
Talibans’ demands include complete withdrawal of Pakistani security forces from the
tribal areas and release of their captured companions. The same day, 12 Taliban militants
were killed in an operation in Darra Adamkhel. The operation was planned after the
military was told that the Tor Chappar Valley, “is again witnessing terrorist activity.” 9

Mohmand Agency
The security forces continued to proceed against Taliban militants in Mohmand Agency.
On 31 January 2009, fifty more abandoned houses of suspected militants were destroyed
in the ongoing search operation in Lakaro tehsil of Mohmand Agency. The destruction of
houses came in the wake of a warning by Mohmand Taliban spokesperson, Ikramullah
Mohmand. He said that Mohmand Taliban would target government installations in
retaliation if the government did not stop destroying their homes. 10 Earlier, on 28 January
2009, the security forces completely demolished the main bazaar of Lakaro Tehsil that
comprised of more than 100 shops. Later in the day, one security personnel was injured
when a vehicle of the Pakistani security forces was hit by a roadside remote-controlled
device at Dojangi in Qandaro area. Pakistan Air Force also bombarded Had Kor, Sor
Dagay, Charguli and Kamangara areas of Ambar Tehsil in the Agency. 11
5
‘House of Militant Commander Blown Up’, The News, 31 January 2009
6
‘Girls’ School Blown Up in Bajaur’, Daily Times, 28 January 2009
7
‘Nine Jirga Members Held for Not Handing Over Militants’, The News, 28 January 2009
8
‘Militants Threaten to Kill Polish Geologist’, Dawn, 30 January 2009
9
‘12 Taliban Killed in Darra Operation’, Daily Times, 28 January 2009
10
‘GHALANAI: Houses of 50 Militants Torched in Mohmand’, Dawn, 1 February 2009
11
‘Forces Raze Bazaar in Mohmand’, The News, 29 January 2009
Orakzai Agency
On 29 January 2009, Taliban militants belonging to the banned TTP kidnapped a tribal
elder, Pir Askar Ali Shah Naqvi, and his three companions at Tor Ghar area near Thall,
killing another companion on the spot. 12 In the second incident, unknown persons picked
up Imtiaz Khan, a computer operator in National Data Registration Authority (NADRA)
office in Ghaljo, at gunpoint and shifted him to an unidentified place. 13 Separately,
Taliban militants kidnapped a local contractor, Fazal Akbar, from Shahokhel area while
two other civilians were kidnapped from Tora Waray Road in Naryab area. 14

In recent months, the TTP has established itself firmly in the Orakzai Agency and
targeted those tribes and tribal elders who have resisted their Talibanisation efforts.
Subsequently, a large number of residents of Naryab, Tora Waray and Dasamand have
left the area due to deteriorating law and order. It was learnt that the incidents of
kidnapping and killing have increased in the area. More than 46 persons have been
kidnapped from Darsamand, Thall, Tora Waray and Naryab areas, and there is no clue to
their whereabouts.

Kurram Agency
The sectarian tensions seem to be erupting once more in to full-fledged violence in the
volatile Kurram Agency. On 29 January 2009, some unknown persons kidnapped Shias
and two tribal elders of Upper Kurram in two separate incidents at Lower Kurram. 15
Immediately after the kidnappings, the elder’s council of Kurram Agency, Turi-Bangash
Supreme Council, held an emergency meeting, which was attended by dozens of elders
belonging to both tribes of Kurram Agency. The tribal elders gave 72-hour ultimatum to
the government and Joint Jirga members to punish the responsible who had violated the
peace treaty and ceasefire in Kurram, and demanded recovery of Rs 40 million as
punishment from the culprits. 16

North West Frontier Province (NWFP)

Swat
On 1 February 2009, Pakistani security forces killed 16 Taliban militants in various
operations in Aligrama and Dherai areas of Kabal tehsil and Manglor area of Chaharbagh
tehsil in Swat. 17 The Taliban militants from the TTP-Swat Chapter attacked the office of
the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police in Swat on 29 January 2009. However, the
police officials remained unhurt in the rocket attack.18 The terrorist attacks came on the
same day when Rehman Malik, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs, warned
the Swat militants to lay down their arms otherwise they would be dealt with sternly
12
‘One Killed, Several Kidnapped in Orakzai Agency’, The News, 30 January 2009
13
Ibid.
14
Ibid.
15
‘Sectarian Tension Erupts in Kurram Agency Once Again’, The Frontier Post, 30 January 2009
16
Ibid.
17
‘16 Taliban Killed in Swat Operation’, Daily Times, 2 February 2009
18
‘Taliban Attack DIG Office in Swat’, The News, 30 January 2009
under the renewed military operation that is under way in the restive Swat valley. 19 The
renewed thrust in the military operation came after the Pakistan Chief of Army Staff
(COAS), General Ashfaq Kayani, visited Swat on 28 January 2009, and assured the
troops, people and political leadership of Swat that government writ would be restored at
all cost. 20 The visit came a day after the third phase of Operation “Rah-e-Haq” was
started on 27 January 2008. 21

Peshawar
On 31 January 2009, the Peshawar police launched an operation against Taliban and
criminals in areas of Peshawar district that adjoins the Mohmand Agency. 15 militants
were arrested from the area which was converted into a “no-go zone” by the Taliban
militants. 22 The same day, Taliban militants fired 10 rockets at Adezai village near Darra
Adamkhel. However, no casualty was reported in the attack.23

The renewed operation came after police arrested 10 Taliban militants, including a
Taliban commander, Irshad Ali, from Ormar Khatako Pul on 29 January 2009. 24 Four
vehicles and weapons were also seized from the house, which were allegedly used by the
militants for patrolling in parts of Peshawar. According to government officials, the
militants were recruiting people for the Swat Taliban group.

Dera Ismail Khan (DIKhan)


On 27 January 2009, terrorists killed a Shia Muslim in DIKhan while he was on his way
to home. The victim was the son of a caretaker at a local Shia mosque. 25 The killing came
two days after a Sunni cleric, Khalifa Abdul Qayum, who belongs to a banned militant
outfit, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), escaped a bomb blast in DIKhan. 26 Six people
were killed while 26 were injured in the said bomb blast. 27

Nowshera
On 31 January 2009, the Nowshera chapter of the outlawed TTP reportedly dropped
letters in Badrashi area, warning those involved in obscenity and other ‘un-Islamic’
activities to quit or else prepare for severe punishment. According to the letter, “We have
time and again warned the women and men involved in immoral acts, writing ‘taweez’
(amulets) and other un-Islamic activities, but they have turned a deaf ear to the calls.”
The letter further says that “this is the final warning to them to give up such activities. If
they (the sinners) do not mend their way they would be killed and a letter would be left
with the bodies to explain their wrongdoings.” 28

19
‘Get Out of Swat, Malik Warns Militants’, The News, 30 January 2009
20
‘Army Will Restore Writ in Swat: COAS’, Daily Times, 29 July 2009
21
‘Troops Launch Fresh Operation in Swat’, Daily Times, 28 January 2009
22
‘Peshawar Police Launch Operation Against Militants’, The News, 1 February 2009
23
Ibid.
24
‘PESHAWAR: ‘Taliban Leader’ Among 10 Held in Raid’, Dawn, 30 January 2009
25
‘Gunmen Kill Shia Muslim in DI Khan’, Daily Times, 28 January 2009
26
‘6 Killed as Sunni MPA Targeted in DI Khan Blast’, Daily Times, 27 January 2009
27
Ibid.
28
‘Threatening TTP Letters Found in Badrashi Area’, The News, 1 February 2009
Punjab Province

On 29 January 2009, a senior police official of Rawalpindi said in a press conference that
the police has made a breakthrough by busting a terrorist outfit operating in Sindh and
Punjab provinces and recovered a large cache of explosive material besides detonators,
and hand grenades from their hideout. According to the official, the terrorists belonged to
Usama al-Kini aka Azmaray’s group who were planning to target sensitive installations
as well as important political personalities on 23 March 2009. The official further said
that the terrorists were involved in the killing of Lt Gen (Surgeon) Mushtaq Baig in a
suicide attack on 25 February 2008 near the Nadra Kiosk at the Mall, Rawalpindi. They
were also involved in the suicide attack on a bus of the Army Medical Corps on 4
February 2008 near the NLG Building in the jurisdiction of R A Bazaar Police Station
claiming lives of seven Army officers and injuring 45 Army officials. The terrorists were
also directly involved in the Melody Market and the Denmark Embassy suicide attacks
and the blast in an Italian Restaurant in Islamabad Supermarket in 2008. 29

The arrested terrorists include Muhammad Alyas alias Qazi Jamil, Muhammad Rizwan,
alias Shamsul Haq, Dr Abdur Razzaq, Faisal Ahmad Khan, Zeeshan Jalil, alias Khizar
Adnan, Muhammad Sarfraz alias Gul Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Naeem Shakar alias
Saeed Ullah, Muhammad Nadeem alias Salah-ud-Din Ayubi and Usma Bin Waheed alias
Hidayatullah. According to police officials, the terrorists came from Wana after they
were assigned their targets in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and are linked to Al Qaeda and
the Taliban. 30

Balochistan Province

Balochistan witnessed violent incidents during the past week. A man was killed and six
others injured when unidentified attackers lobbed a hand grenade at a police patrol in
Balochistan’s Khuzdar district on 1 February 2009. On the same day, 14 people were
injured when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in the town of Dera Murad
Jamali. The bomb apparently was targeted at paramilitary vehicles, which were passing
through the area when the incident occurred. 31 Earlier, on 26 January 2009, a Shia Hazara
leader, Hussain Ali Yousafi, was shot dead in an act of sectarian violence, which was
claimed by the banned Sunni outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. 32 The terrorist killing led to
massive street demonstrations by Shia in Quetta in which public and private property was
set on fire. Around 12 Hazaragi-speaking Shias have been killed in Quetta during January
2009 despite the provincial government’s repeated assurances of security. No arrests
were made regarding the terrorist incident. Earlier, on 26 January 2009, three people were
injured in a bomb blast at Golimar Chowk, Brewery Road. The explosive material was
planted near a vegetable shop. 33

29
‘Gang of High Profile Terrorists Busted in Pindi’, The News, 30 January 2009
30
Ibid.
31
‘One Killed in Khuzdar Grenade Attack’, Daily Times, 2 February 2009
32
‘Violence Erupts After Shia Leader Killed in Quetta’, Daily Times, 27 January 2009
33
‘Three Injured in Quetta Explosion’, Daily Times, 27 January 2009
Sindh Province

On 1 February 2009, a bomb explosion in the Saddar Town locality killed one person and
wounded two others. The bomb was planted in a garbage dump, and was reported to be a
locally-made improvised device that weighed one kilogram. 34

34
‘Karachi Blast Kills One’, Daily Times, 2 February 2009