February 21, 2012

SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW

Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 10, No. 33, February 20, 2012

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Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal
ASSESSMENT
· INDIA: J&K: A Tentative Peace - Ajit Kumar Singh
· PAKISTAN: Kurram Agency: Self-inflicted Wounds - Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
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INDIA
J&K: A Tentative Peace
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management
The steep and continuous decline in terrorist violence in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) continued through 2011, bringing fatalities to a new and dramatic low. 2010 had been described as the “most peaceful year” in over two decades of insurgency in the State, with 375 terrorism-related fatalities. 2011 witnessed a further consolidation, with just 183 killed in the State. Crucially, despite continuous efforts by the separatist constituency in State to replicate the militant-backed summer unrest of 2010, street demonstrations and violence failed to secure significant traction through 2011.  
34 civilians, 30 Security Forces (SFs), and 119 terrorist fatalities were recorded in 2011, down from 36 civilians, 69 SF personnel and 270 terrorists in 2010. Terrorism related incidents, at 189 in 2011, dropped to just over a third of their number in 2010 (488).

Jammu and Kashmir: Key Indicators - 2006-2012*

Years Incidents** Civilian Fatalities SF Fatalities Terrorist Fatalities Total Fatalities Explosions Infiltration Attempts**
2006 1667 349 168 599 1116 215 573
2007 1092 164 121 492 777 109 535
2008 708 69 90 382 541 43 342
2009 499 55 78 242 375 13 485
2010 488 36 69 270 375 36 489
2011 189 34 30 119 183 42 NA
2012* NA 4 0 3 7 2 NA
Source: SATP, *Data till February 19, 2012
** Source: State Home Ministry
Significantly, by end of 2011, at least seven Districts in the State had been declared completely free of militancy. These included Leh and Kargil, which had never seen significant militancy, as well as Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi and Doda. 13 Districts, according to the State Home Ministry, had reported militancy related incidents ‘in single digits’: Budgam, Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Kishtwar, Ramban, Doda, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur and Jammu (Jammu recorded just one incident in the year, though it had been declared militancy free). This left just four Districts with double-digit incidence of insurgency: Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara and Pulwama. Sopore, in the Baramulla District, remained the terrorist-extremist heartland, as one intelligence officer noted in June 2011, “The day support for militancy ends here, it’s finished. Sopore is the key.” As if to underline this reality, in the first terrorist attack in 2012, on January 7, terrorists launched coordinated attacks on the Sopore Police Station, killing one civilian. Three civilians, three SF troopers and one militant were also injured in the attack. In January 2012, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs asked the State Government to take measures to free more Districts from militancy through 2012.
The sharp decline in militant fatalities was substantially a consequence of an increasing reluctance on their part to engage with the SFs, heightened sharply by the continuous loss of leadership. Among top militants killed in 2011 were: Lashkar-e-Toiba’s (LeT) ‘operational commander’ for North Kashmir Abdullah Uni; LeT ‘divisional commander’ Abdul Rehman alias Rehman Bhai, who had been nominated as ‘operational commander’ of LeT (North Kashmir) after the death of Abdullah Uni; Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) ‘divisional commander’ Qari Zubair; Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) ‘commander’ Ahsan Bhai; LeT Kishtwar ‘chief’ Habib Gujjar alias Salman; JeM ‘commander-in-chief’ Sajjad Afghani alias Qari Hamaad, LeT ‘divisional commander’ Mohammad Aiyaz Malik alias Abu Moosa.
The SFs also arrested 166 militants and made recoveries of arms, ammunitions and other materials on at least 115 occasions through 2011. State Government data indicated that 19 militants had surrendered in 2011 (till November) as compared to 20 in 2010. A total of 4,080 terrorists, including 276 ‘commanders’, had surrendered over the past 22 years. The State Government had also received some 800 applications in response to its November 23, 2010, surrender and rehabilitation policy, which was intended to facilitate the return of its estimated 3000 to 3500 youth who had crossed over into Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan, for training, but had now given up the idea of joining the militancy, and sought an opportunity to the State. However, on July 6, 2011, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had acknowledged that there were “practical issues” in implementing the rehabilitation policy for militants.
Despite isolated pools of continuing, low grade violence, the improved security scenario led to a huge rush of tourists into the State, with 2011 recording an estimated one million visitors, significantly outstripping the pre-militancy record of 700,000. Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora observed, “In the history of Kashmir, we have not witnessed so many tourists.”
Increasing electoral participation has also provided grounds for further encouragement. The 2002 Assembly Elections had recorded a 43.7 per cent voter turnout, despite enveloping terrorist threats and calls for boycott. By 2008, participation in the Assembly Elections had risen to 63 per cent of registered voters. The 2011 Panchayat (village local self-government institutions) Elections recorded a 79 per cent voter turnout. Elections to various Corporations and Urban Committees in the State are due to be held in March 2012.
Nevertheless, areas of profound concern persist.
Sporadic terrorist violence continued, with strong indications that the terrorists were being directed by their handlers in Pakistan to kill more political, religious and dissenting separatist leaders. Four politicians were killed in eight attacks on politicians across the State through 2011. These included the April 8, 2011, killing of the Wahabi cleric Maulana Showkat Shah. The terrorists also threatened to continue such attacks against mainstream political parties. An August 27, 2011, report noted that Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik had been identified as the ‘next target’ for assassination by LeT in Kashmir. Again, on January 29, 2012, SFs neutralized a LeT module in the Pattan area of Baramulla District, which had been tasked to target South Kashmir's Sufi scholar Maulana Abdul Rashid Dawoodi.
An estimated 350 to 370 militants were still believed to be operating in the State. Union Minister of State for Home, Jitendra Singh, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament), on September 6, 2011, stated that “about 350-370 (militants) are assessed to be operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Out of which approximately 38 per cent are foreign militants, primarily Pakistani." Reports also indicate that militants continued to work towards recruiting local youth in certain areas of the State.
Camps in PoK and Pakistan were also believed to have between 2,000 and 2,500 terrorists, according to Army sources. Reports indicated that 900 to 1,000 militants were in readiness to cross over into J&K from PoK, up from an estimated 500 to 600 militants in October 2010.
Despite a ‘multi-pronged approach’ to contain border infiltration, which included, inter alia, strengthening of border management and multi-tiered and multi-modal deployment along international borders/ LoC and infiltration routes, construction of border fencing, improved technology, weapons and equipment for SFs, a total of 235 Pakistan-based terrorists attempted to infiltrate in 2011 (till November 30) in at least 85 infiltration bids. This figure was, however, significantly lower than the 495 militants who attempted to infiltrate in 2010; 480 in 2009; and 342 in 2008.
Regrettably, Pakistan continued to violate the Cease-fire Agreement (CFA) of November 26, 2003, which had held without major incident till General Pervez Musharraf’s departure in 2008. According to the Government data, 198 cease-fire violations have been reported along the Line of Control (LoC), of which 77 were in 2008; 28 in 2009; 44 in 2010; and 45 between January and November 2011. The violations are ordinarily initiated by Pakistani Forces to facilitate terrorist infiltration across the border and LoC.
Terror funding also continued to flow into J&K. Disclosures of arrestees revealed linkages between cross-LoC traders, Pakistan-based militant ‘commanders’ and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has disclosed that the HM-backed and PoK-based Jammu and Kashmir Affectees Relief Fund Trust (JKART) had been funding terror in J&K. Investigators allege that JKART had pumped more than INR 800 million into the Valley in the name of relief and rehabilitation work, but diverted this amount to finance terror. Further, security agencies had arrested 98 persons and seized INR 12.3 million since 2009, as part of their efforts to check the flow of hawala (illegally transferred) money into J&K for funding secessionism and militancy, the State Government informed the Legislative Assembly on September 27, 2011. 17 persons had been arrested in this connection in 2011, till July, and INR 3.61 million had been recovered from them. This compared to 15 arrests and nearly INR 1 million recovered in 2010. Notably, a Delhi court, on February 18, 2012, framed charges against Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, said to be a close associate of All Party Hurriyat Conference-Geelani (APHC-G) leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and others, in an alleged hawala racket. In its charge sheet filed on August 2011, the NIA alleged that Bhat collected over INR 45.7 million over three years, commencing January 2008, through hawala channels for terrorist activities. Bhat was arrested from Kashmir in January 2011 by a joint team of the Delhi and J&K Police, and INR 2.1 million was recovered from him.
Crucially, sustained separatist efforts to engineer an Intifada-type movement – street mobilization backed by calibrated terrorist violence – continued, though with little success, despite apprehensions of a recurrence of the summer of 2010. There is, however, a latent residual danger here. Indeed, before the escalation of 2010, years 2009 and 2008, had recorded 250 and 350 stone pelting incidents, respectively. With the escalation of 2010, this number had increased, abruptly, to 2,213 incidents, with 112 civilians and one Policemen killed in the troubles, and another 1,049 civilians and over 4,000 SF personnel injured. According to sources, some 369 incidents of stone pelting were recorded in 2011. Authorities insist that a major flare-up was averted as a result of improved responses on their part. One unnamed Police official asserted, "Use of non-lethal equipment and body protectors by Police have resulted in zero death of civilian or security personnel and injuries to only 58 persons in law and order disturbances this year [2011]. The arrest of more than 5,255 stone pelters, between January 1, 2010, and February 28, 2011, also worked as a deterrent. However, in a surprising move on August 28, 2011, Chief Minister (CM) Omar Abdullah announced an amnesty package for nearly 1,200 youth arrested during the 2010 summer agitation in the Valley. While the unrest in the past may have substantially been the result of the Government's ‘mishandling’, there is reason to believe that public exhaustion and disillusionment with the separatist agenda has also contributed to the failure of the protests to secure wider traction. Nevertheless, three major protests have already been reported from the State in 2012, with one civilian killed so far.
Amidst these concerns, the premature demands and proposals for further troop cuts and the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) raised temperatures in the Valley. Despite the withdrawal of 10 battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and nearly 30 battalions of the Indian Army from the State in 2009, demands for the further dilution of Force were raised stridently through the year, both by separatists and by the mainstream political parties. The State Government has also sought a more structured phased removal of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) from the State. On January 1, 2012, official sources stated, “In the first phase, the Government has asked for sanction for raising five Police battalions comprising 5,000 Police personnel. However, as a long term measure, the State has sought the creation of a total of 50 Police battalions to gradually replace paramilitary and security personnel with the Police Force.”
Similarly, despite the Army’s opposition to the withdrawal of AFSPA on the grounds that this could result in the "emergence of terror sanctuaries and safe havens", Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, on several occasions, reiterated the separatist and popular demand for partial removal of AFSPA. Those opposing AFSPA allege that it has been misused by the SFs. In what can only be an embarrassing response, Defence Minister A.K. Antony disclosed in Parliament, on December 20, 2011, “24 cases seeking sanction for prosecution under AFSPA have been received from Jammu and Kashmir Home Department during the last five years, from 2007 to December 15 this year. In 19 cases, the requests for prosecution sanction were rejected, as it was found on examination that no prima facie case was made out against the accused Army personnel. Five cases were still under examination.” Meanwhile, the Valley-based Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), admitted that militants were responsible for more enforced disappearances than the SFs. It claimed that, of the 132 cases it had documented, militant groups were responsible for 24 cases of enforced disappearances compared to 22 by the SFs, including the Police (the remaining cases remained indeterminate).
In the meanwhile, the Centre’s 2010 initiative to appoint three Interlocutors on Kashmir ended a damp squib, with a pro forma report submitted to the Minister of Home Affairs, on October 12, 2011. This is yet to be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in toto.
The State Cabinet, on October 28, 2011, approved amendments to the Public Safety Act (PSA). One of the major amendments reduced the detention period of one year to three months in cases where the accused was arrested for disturbing public order. The amendments also included a provision prohibiting the detention of a minor under the PSA.
J&K is at crossroad. Though these measures, in addition to several others, have helped in improving the situation, any slackness on the part of State Government as well as New Delhi to fulfill their political goals will devoid the State of an opportunity to return to permanent peace sooner than later. 
Dramatic and continuous improvements have, no doubt, been registered in the security environment in the terror-wracked State of J&K over the past years. Nevertheless, residual dangers continue to exist, seeking an opportunity to re-open the wide wounds inflicted over 23 years of terrorism. Processes of radicalization, and well funded programmes for the expansion of Salafi Islamist ideologies and institutions, continue across the Valley, suggesting the possibility of a future conflagration. Worse, the entire political spectrum in the Valley ranges from soft, through hard, to militant separatism. Systematic distortions continue to undermine democratic legitimacy and frameworks, discount and discredit elected leaderships, privilege violence, and appease the most intractable constituencies in the State. Across the border, while the impetus of support to terrorism has waned due to strategic pulls and pressures, the intent remains unchanged, and a destabilizing shift in the enveloping geo-political environment – particularly as a result of a premature withdrawal of Western Forces from Afghanistan – could easily destroy the tentative, hard-won, and still imperfect peace in J&K.
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PAKISTAN
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Kurram Agency: Self-inflicted Wounds
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management
At least 40 Shias were reportedly killed, and another 24 injured, on February 17, 2012, after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the Imambargah (Shia place of worship) in the Kurmi bazaar of Parachinar, the main town of the Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), at around 1:45 pm. The miseries of the locals did not end there. Shortly thereafter, Security Forces (SFs) fired on crowds protesting the attack, killing three people. The Fazal Saeed Haqqani-led Tehreek-e-Taliban Islami (TTI) – a breakaway faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – has claimed responsibility for the attack. “We have targeted the Shia community of Parachinar because they were involved in activities against us,” Fazal Saeed told the media over phone, from an undisclosed location. He added, further, “We had warned the political administration previously not to side with Tooris (the local Shia tribe)... We caught a man yesterday who was planting a bomb at a petrol station owned by a Sunni. We did it in response.”
The suicide attack is a severe blow to the Kurram Agency peace deal, which was signed by rival warring sects on October 9, 2011.  The deal — signed by 25 representatives each of the two sects during a tribal jirga (council) in Parachinar with Political Agent Shahuddin Shahab as the guarantor – called for the implementation, in letter and spirit, of an agreement signed by a grand jirga of Sunni and Shia tribal elders in Murree in October 2008. The Murree agreement had, since, remained unimplemented. According to the agreement, hundreds of Sunni families displaced by fighting were to be repatriated to their homes in Parachinar. The two sides were to constitute a committee to settle other petty issues. Display of arms in Parachinar city was banned, and a fine of PKR one million was to be imposed on violators. Nobody was to try to avenge any earlier murder. The authorities would take action against the violators, who would also pay a fine of PKR two million to the community. The two communities also promised to ensure the sanctity of mosques and Imambargahs, and were not to make derogatory remarks against the respective beliefs of the other. The agreement also made it binding on both groups to deny shelter to trouble­makers, identify such elements and help the Government in taking action against them.
Sectarian violence is nothing new to the Kurram Agency, the only tribal Agency with a significant Shia population. Strategically located, the Kurram Agency projects into Afghanistan on three sides, and has always been of critical importance for Pakistan. It shares the major portion of its borders with the troubled Logar, Paktia, Khost and Nangarhar Provinces of Afghanistan. The al Qaeda and Taliban infested Tora Bora Mountain range in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan shares its boundaries with the Kurram Agency. In the north-east, it abuts the Khyber Agency; the Orakzai Agency lies to the east; the Hangu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) lies south-east; and the North Waziristan Agency lies south. The Kurram Agency connects the tribal areas of Pakistan to Afghanistan through lower, central and upper Kurram. Crucially, the Thal-Parachinar route is the shortest route to Kabul.
Kurram comprises three sub-divisions: Upper, Central and Lower Kurram. Some 58 per cent of its population is Sunni, and 42 per cent Shia (according to the 1998 Census). The majority of Shias live in Upper Kurram, while Sunnis dominate Lower and Central Kurram. The present cycle of escalation started when three people were killed and 13 were injured in an attack on a Shia Imambargah in the morning of April 6, 2007. The Thal-Parachinar Road, the only artery linking Kurram with other parts of the country, has remained closed to normal traffic since November 2007, when clashes broke out in the area. Nearly five years of sectarian fighting have left over 2,000 dead and at least 3,500 injured.

Annual Fatalities in Kurram Agency, 2008-2012

Years Civilians SF Personnel Militants Total
2008 158 0 49 207
2009 37 3 199 239
2010 10 0 108 118
2011 85 36 457 578
2012* 45 27 104 176
Total 335 66 917 1318
Source: SATP, *Data till February 19, 2012
A truce was declared between Sunni and Shia tribes on February 3, 2011, to end bloodshed between the two sects. A grand jirga (tribal council) composed of tribal elders and parliamentarians from the FATA announced a peace accord. Headed by Malik Waris Khan Afridi, a former Federal Minister from the Khyber Agency, the 225-member tribal jirga had taken two years to arrange a negotiated settlement. Member of National Assembly (MNA) Sajid Turi from NA-37 (Tribal Area III) and MNA Munir Khan Orakzai from NA-38 (Tribal Area III) constituencies in Kurram Agency played leading roles to bring the two sides to the negotiation table. Federal Minister of the Interior Rehman Malik attended the News Conference announcing the accord, to demonstrate the Government’s support for this ‘historic’ event.
The truce did not last long. On March 25, 2011, at least 13 passengers were killed and eight injured, while another 33 were abducted by suspected Sunni militants in an attack on a convoy of Shia passenger vehicles in the Kurram Agency. 22 persons were subsequently released, on June 21, after receiving PKR 30 million as ransom, while 11 remain in the custody of the terrorists. The Thal-Parachinar route was shut down after the incident. The issue of the forced closure of the Thal-Parachinar road in the Kurram Agency was raised in the National Assembly on April 13, 2011. Sajid Turi, the Shia legislator from Kurram Agency, demanded that the Government take action against the militant groups responsible for the attacks on this route.  
The route was re-opened with the October 9, 2011, peace agreement. However, the February 17, 2012, suicide attack by TTI indicates a collapse of the agreement in the Agency.
According to media reports, TTI’s Saeed Haqqani had reportedly issued a statement soon after the October 2011 accord, declaring that no peace could be established in Kurram Agency against his will. Reports also indicate that he had refused to give any guarantee for the implementation of the accord or to follow the decisions of the jirga.
Saeed Haqqani started his militant activities with the support of a 300 to 400 strong armed militia in 2005. In 2007, he joined the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Reinforced by Hakeemullah Mehsud’s cadres, his group took active part in the sectarian violence of 2007 and in the closure of the Thal-Parachinar road. He has been involved in abduction of more than 40 Turi (Toori) Bangash tribesmen. At least a dozen of those kidnapped were killed. Saeed Haqqani is also closely linked with the Jalaluddin Haqqani faction of the Afghan Taliban, strongly supported by Pakistan’s Army and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Media reports suggest that Saeed Haqqani remains in the ‘good books’ of the Pakistani authorities, and has not attracted the state’s ire during military operations in the region.
Significantly, when Operation Koh-e-Sufaid (White Mountain) was initiated in June 2011, against TTP, Saeed Haqqani, at that time a TTP ‘commander and chief of its Kurram chapter, disassociated himself from the group and raised the banner of TTI. Hours after reports of the split emerged, unidentified assailants in a car opened fire at Shakirullah Shakir, a senior ‘commander’ and ‘spokesman’ for the Fidayeen-e-Islam faction of the TTP. It is believed that Fazal Haqqani’s defection was a calculated move by the Government and SFs to engineer a split in the TTP before the start of Operation Koh-e-Sufaid. Saeed Haqqani’s group remained safe through the military operations, virtually conferring on it the status of the sole power player in the area.
Fazal Saeed’s rise appears to have been consecrated by the Pakistan Army as part of its enduring strategy to use Islamist terrorist factions as instruments of domestic political management. This is a strategy that has drawn Pakistan into increasing chaos, and its people into great suffering. With its latest atrocity in Parachinar, the TTI has demonstrated that the Kurram Agency has little hope for peace as long as this perverse dynamic continues to be sustained by the powers in Islamabad.
NEWS BRIEFS
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
February 13-19, 2012

Civilians Security Force Personnel Terrorists/Insurgents Total
INDIA
Assam 1 0 0 1
Jammu and Kashmir 1 0 0 1
Meghalaya 1 0 0 1
Nagaland 1 0 1 2
Left-wing Extremism
Jharkhand 0 0 1 1
Total (INDIA) 4 0 2 6
PAKISTAN
Balochistan 18 4 0 22
FATA 59 4 49 112
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 3 1 1 5
Sindh 9 0 4 13
Total (PAKISTAN) 89 9 54 152
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.
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BANGLADESH
'Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2012' keep death sentence as maximum punishment: The 'Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2012' was passed in the Jatiya Sansad (Parliament) on February 16, keeping a provision for capital punishment (death sentence) as the maximum punishment. The Home Minister said the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill was brought to resist various criminal activities and to safeguard the sovereignty of Bangladesh.
Jatiya Sansad unanimously adopted a resolution seeking formulation of necessary legal provisions for punishing the people, who are creating obstruction to the ongoing trials of the War Criminals. Daily Star; Gulf Times, February 17, 2012.
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INDIA
SIMI-backed political party, PFI, becoming a major internal security threat, alarms NIA: Students Islamic Movement of India (ISIM) backed Popular Front of India (PFI) is fast becoming a major internal security headache for the Government. According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sources, "This could make it the biggest internal security threat by 2014 parliamentary polls if its growth is unchecked". The radical outfit recently shifted its headquarters from Kerala to Delhi. Pioneer, February 19, 2012.
Mumbai 26/11 terror attack planning details revealed in Ajmal Kasab's diary: A diary, which sailed with Ajmal Kasab and nine other terrorists from Karachi (Pakistan) and proided them with crucial sea coordinates to reach Mumbai on November 26, 2008 along with locations to attack, landed on the table of two Supreme Court judges on February 16, who will take the final call on award of death sentence of Kasab. The diary listed a 24-hour roster for guard duty during the three day sea journey and stocks of ration and ammunition. Times of India, February 17, 2012.
Union Government approves INR 499 crore for Jammu and Kashmir Police modernisation: For the first time the Union Government approved a grant of INR 499 crore for up-gradation of weaponry to track down militants and criminals, modernization of Police training centres and Police stations etc and lit up all Police buildings round the clock including the border Police posts in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved INR 461 crore while the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has sanctioned a grant of INR 37.93 crore for Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP), Additional DG (Police Headquarters) Dr Shesh Pal Vaid stated on February 17. Daily Excelsior, February 17, 2012.
Chauhan confesses planting the Samjhauta bomb: Kamal Chauhan, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on February 12 confessed that he had planted bombs on board the Samjhauta Express in 2007. "Yes, I have done it on my will," Chauhan told journalists as he was being taken out after in-camera proceedings in the Panchkula court. The Hindu, February 15, 2012.
Union Government unlikely to accede to GNLA demand, says GK Pillai: Former Home Secretary GK Pillai, on February 14, said that the Union Government may not accede to Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) demand for separate state for tribal Garo in western part of Meghalaya. "The Centre has not acceded to creation of Telangana, Gorkhaland and Bodoland. Therefore, I don't think the government will give in to their (GNLA) demand for separate Garoland," Pillai said. Nagaland Post, February 15, 2012.
Union Home Minister to convince Bru refuges to return to Mizoram: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on February 18 will visit Tripura's refugee camps, where over 36,000 Bru tribal refuges from Mizoram have been staying for the past 15 years, and seek to persuade them to return home. A State Government official said, "Before Chidambaram's visit, a high-level home ministry team would visit Tripura and meet leaders of the refugees and officials of Tripura and Mizoram governments to finalise the strategies for repatriation of the migrants". Sentinel, February 14, 2012.
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NEPAL
Army integration in final stage, states UCPN-Maoist Chairman 'Prachanda': The United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' claimed on February 19, that the process of integration of Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) combatants has reached its final stage. According to the 'non-paper' proposal which, he said, is being prepared, as per the direction of Special Committee (for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants), the ranks of PLA inductees will be determined as per the standard norms of National Army. Himalyan Times, February 19, 2012.
Government develops guidelines for special package for injured, disabled and female combatants of UCPN-M: Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction developed guidelines for a special package for the injured and disabled Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) combatants including female combatants with new born babies. According to information provided by Finance Minister Barshaman Pun, the Government has directed the Peace Ministry to make all necessary arrangements for providing the special package to the combatants. Nepal News, February 18, 2012.
CPN-UML proposes eight-province and 12-province models for State restructuring: Federal Affairs Department of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has proposed an eight-province model and another 12-province model for State restructuring. Chief of the department, Parshu Meghi Gurung, who also heads the study team, handed over the report and maps to the party chairman Jhalanath Khanal on February 14. Republica, February 15, 2012.
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PAKISTAN
59 civilians and 49 militants among 112 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least nine members of Zakakhel lashkar (tribal militia) were killed and four others injured when a bomb planted by militants exploded at Stana checkpoint of Nari Baba area in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on February 19.
At least 43 Shias were reportedly killed while 36 others injured on February 17, after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives just near the targeted mosque in the Kurmi bazaar of Parachinar, the main town of Kurram Agency.
Security Forces (SFs) took possession of a strategic bunker on Sallo Sar (hill) in the Bara area of Khyber Agency after a fierce clash in which 17 militants, two security personnel and three militiamen died.
Two US drone strikes killed at least 21 militants near the Afghan border in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency on February 16.
Eight militants and a security man were killed and four personnel, among them a captain, suffered injuries during a raid on a hotel at Rustam Bazaar in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan Agency. Dawn; Daily Times; The News; Tribune, February 13-19, 2012.
50,000 licenses for 'prohibited' arms issued in Pakistan: Official documents stated that the Government over the past four years has issued about 50,000 prohibited-bore arms licenses. The Interior Ministry issued 27,551 permits in 2009, 11,776 in 2008, 5,789 in 2010 and 4,682 IN 2011. The licenses were issued on the approval of the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister and the Minister of State for Interior. Dawn, February 18, 2012.
Arms license issuance increased target killings and crime rate, says Peshawar High Court: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) ruled on February 17 that target killings and street crimes were on the rise due to the Government's issuance of arms licenses on political grounds. PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan observed that there were no strict laws on arms and this was the reason that people have all kinds of arms and criminals use them easily for crimes. "The Government is not interested in maintaining law and order. It is only interested in issuing arms' licenses to their own political workers," he observed. The News, February 18, 2012.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran vow to stand 'united' to strengthen cooperation to eradicate extremism, terrorism and militancy from the region: Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan on February 17 pledged to strengthen cooperation to eradicate extremism, terrorism and militancy from the region. President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put their heads together at the third trilateral summit to forge regional cooperation in multifaceted areas. Daily Times, February 18, 2012.
Pakistan can influence outcome in Afghanistan, says Chairman of US Senate Committee on Armed Services: The chairman of US Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senator Carl Levin, said on February 16 that Pakistan's links to various terrorist groups and its role in the reconciliation process gives it the power to influence outcomes in Afghanistan. The committee's chairman Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, set the tone of the discussion on Pakistan by telling the panel that security in Afghanistan would "remain in jeopardy" so long as there were sanctuaries in Pakistan for insurgents conducting cross-border attacks. Dawn, February 18, 2012.
Bill in US House calls upon Islamabad to recognise the "right to self-determination" for Balochistan: A bill has been tabled in the United States (US) House of Representatives on February 17 calling upon Pakistan to "recognise the right to self-determination for Balochistan". Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a House Concurrent Resolution that the Balochi nation has a historic right to self-determination. The bill states that the Baloch "have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status". Daily Times, February 18, 2012.
US urge Islamabad to restrain JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed activities in the country: The United States (US) State Department strongly urged Pakistan on February 16 to prevent Jama'at-ud-Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Saeed from moving freely in the country, freeze the assets of the groups associated with him and stop allowing Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) from acquiring weapons. "The US Government is concerned about the recent public appearances of JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, including at a recent rally in Karachi," said the Department's spokesperson Victoria Nuland. Dawn, February 17, 2012.
Primary enemy is al Qaeda not Taliban, says US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: The United States (US) Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on February 16 said that al Qaeda is the primary enemy of US in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and that part of the Taliban who support al Qaeda is also American target. "The Taliban is a very broad group. Our primary enemy in that part of the world is al Qaeda. The Taliban elements, the terrorist elements that support al Qaeda are also our enemy," Panetta said, adding, "And there are some elements, obviously, of the Taliban that support al Qaeda. And those are the ones that we've been targeting". Indian Express, February 17, 2012.
Brigadier Ali Khan was conspiring against the Government says court martial proceedings: As court martial proceedings against Pakistan Army's Brigadier Ali Khan are underway, for suspected ties with banned group Hizbut Tahrir (HuT), the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) Urdu service reported that it had acquired a copy of the official charge sheet against the Senior Army Officer, on February 15. The charge sheet cites three allegations against Brigadier Ali Khan. Tribune, February 16, 2012.
Former President General Pervez Musharraf knew Osama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad says Former ISI chief General (retd) Ziauddin Khwaja: Former President General Pervez Musharraf was aware of Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad location and the safe house where the was sheltered was built by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said a former ISI chief General (retd) Ziauddin Khwaja. Khwaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, allegedly said that Bin Laden's safe house in Abbottabad "was made to order" by Brigadier Ijaz Shah, a former head of the Intelligence Bureau. Tribune; The News, February 16, 2012.
Illicit arms, the main cause of target killings in the country, says Home Department Report: Home Department Report on February 14 reports that, "Target killings still continue in most parts of the country and major reasons behind these are sectarian, demographic changes, easy access to illicit weapons, mistrust among ethnic groups, family enmities and business rivalries". The report said that in Sindh 1,659 people were killed in 2010 and as many as 475 in 2011. Sixty-four accused were arrested and 115 cases registered during 2010 in Sindh. Dawn, February 15, 2012.
US State Department seeks USD 2.4 billion for Pakistan in 2013 budget: The United Sates (US) State Department on February 13 requested the Congress to approve USD 2.4 billion in allocation for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2013. The Pakistan support and expenditure request is part of the overall budget request, the Barrack Obama administration forwarded to Congress for the new fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2012. Daily Times, February 14, 2012.
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SRI LANKA
Army appointed Court of Inquiry for civilian casualties noted in LLRC report: Sri Lanka Army has appointed the Court of Inquiry (COI) to inquire into the observations, made by the LLRC in its report on alleged civilian casualties during the final phase of the humanitarian operations and probe as regards Channel-4 video footage irrespective of its authenticity. Colombo Page, February 16, 2012.
US to support resolution against Sri Lanka: US delegates in Sri Lanka confirmed their support to a very straight forward resolution against Sri Lanka to be tabled at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions later this month to pressure the Sri Lankan government to take prompt measures to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt And Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and address the accountability issues. Colombo Page, February 14, 2012.
The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.
SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]
Publisher
K. P. S. Gill
Editor
Dr. Ajai Sahni
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A Project of the
Institute For Conflict Management
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