Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 10, No. 33, February 20, 2012
February 13-19, 2012
'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
K. P. S. Gill
Dr. Ajai Sahni
A Project of the
Institute For Conflict Management