Misplaced Optimism | Islamist Siege | South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR), Vol. No. 11.45
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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 11, No. 45, May 13, 2013

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Misplaced Optimism
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

There is an air of triumph and hope in Pakistan. A massive turnout in the elections to the 14th Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and four Provincial Assemblies, held under the shadow of the gun, a near-decisive victory for a single party and the astonishing spectacle of an ordered transition of power from one civilian Government to another – unprecedented in Pakistan’s twisted history, have produced euphoria and an expectation that all that is to come can only be better than the benighted past.

Partial provisional results and trends for the May 11, 2013, elections for 264 of 272 National Assembly seats available at the time of writing indicate that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – who had been deposed in a coup by then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf in 1999  – was poised for a record third term. His party, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) establishing an unassailable lead over its rivals – Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), led by cricketer turned politician, Imran Khan; and the Bilawal Zardari Bhutto-led Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). PML-N had established a lead in 125 seats, PTI in 34, and the incumbent PPP had virtually been wiped out, with just 32 seats to show. Other smaller parties and independent candidates had won or established leads in the remaining seats. The required majority in the NA is 137. Once it establishes a majority, Sharif's party would also be allotted a majority of 70 parliamentary seats that are reserved for women and non-Muslim minorities. The total number of seats in NA is 342.

In the 13th Parliament, PPP had secured 125 seats, followed by PML-N (92); Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid (PML-Q), 50; Muttahida Qumi Movement Pakistan (MQM), 25; Awami National Party (ANP) 13; and others, 34 (as on October 23, 2012). Three seats were vacant then.

In simultaneous elections for the four Provincial Assemblies – Balochistan (51 seats), Punjab (297 seats), Sindh (130 seats) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, 99 seats) – PML-N was set to continue to rule in Punjab, where it was leading in 196 of 270 seats for which trends/results were available. In Sindh, PPP and its ally MQM were leading in 55 and 23 seats, respectively, out of a total of 95 seats for which trends/results were available, and were comfortably placed to continue their rule. PTI was leading in 30 seats out of 93 seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for which trends/results were available. The ruling ANP was leading in just four seats. Out of 34 seats in Balochistan for which trends/results were available, both Maulana Fazlur Rehman led Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and independents were leading in seven seats each. The PPP which was in power has failed to open its account.

Many analysts have conceived of these elections as a game changer for Pakistan as a nation, since the 13th Parliament completed its tenure uninterrupted and the elections for the new Parliament were conducted under the aegis of civilian caretaker Government. They claim that it is first civilian transition of Government – though some would claim that this is technically inaccurate. The 12th Parliament also completed its full tenure, though under the shadow of the military dictator, Pervez Musharaf, though military rule had, legally, ended.

It is, however, much too early to endorse the “myth of democracy achieved”, of to assume that Pakistan’s disastrous trajectory is now due for imminent reversal. Indeed, it is sobering to recognize that the PPP-led Government under Asif Ali Zardari’s leadership, which completed its term on March 16, 2013, had been heralded with similar expectations, but failed abysmally to stop the continuous slide in Governance, or to stem the rising tide of terrorist and sectarian violence. Indeed, the reality of Pakistan has been that each incumbent Government has made its predecessor regime – however miserable it may have been – look good.

The portents do not auger well. The present elections and the preceding electoral campaign have been the most violent in Pakistan’s history. At least 51 persons were killed and several others injured on Election Day itself. Worse, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database, at least 118 persons were killed and 417 were injured in election-related violence in 52 days, between March 20, 2013, the day on which the elections were declared, and May 10, 2013, a day before the elections. By comparison, 110 persons were killed and 244 others injured in election-related violence in 102 days, between November 8, 2007, the day on which the elections were declared, and February 17, 2008, a day before the elections to the last Parliament. 19 persons were killed and 157 were injured on Election Day, February 18, 2008.

Worse, electoral violence merely compounded the near anarchy that has come to afflict the country. Partial data compiled by SATP indicates that Pakistan recorded 38,914 fatalities, including 12,553 civilians, 3,573 SF personnel and 22,788 militants during the tenure of the 13th Parliament. The preceding five years, significantly, under a nominally ‘democratic’ dispensation dominated by the waning Musharraf dictatorship, had recorded 5,886 fatalities, including 2,645 civilians, 1,086 SF personnel and 2,135 militants.

The last decade, moreover, has seen a continuous, personalized and vicious fight for supremacy between different ‘pillars of Government’, which has weakened the institutions and framework of democracy further.

The tussle between the judiciary and the executive, which approached alarming proportions even during the Musharraf era, intensified even further during PPP’s tenure, which saw two Prime Ministers arraigned before the judiciary, one of whom was forced to resign as a result of orders of the Supreme Court. On June 19, 2012, the Supreme Court disqualified then-Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani “from being a member of the Parliament… with all consequences”, that is, he also ceased to be Prime Minister of Pakistan. Through its April 26 judgement and the subsequent detailed reasons released on May 8, 2012, the Apex Court had found Gilani guilty of contempt of court, as he had declined to follow the Supreme Court’s directive to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari. Since no appeal was filed against the judgement, the conviction attained finality. Raja Pervez Ashraf, who succeeded Gilani, took oath on June 22, 2012. Again, on January 15, 2013, the SC ordered the arrest of the incumbent Prime Minister Ashraf and 15 others over allegations of corruption. Ashraf, however, managed to complete his tenure. The adversarial relations between the judiciary and executive, however, are likely to persist under the new Government as well.

The stage has already been set for a confrontation between the judiciary and the Army. On April 30, 2013, the Peshawar High Court debarred former Pervez Musharraf from participating in the elections in perpetuity. Musharraf had returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile, on March 24, 2013, to contest the elections. In its ruling the Court observed that Musharraf had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary during his tenure as President, and, consequently, it imposed a life-time ban on him, barring him from contesting any election for the National or Provincial Assemblies, as well as the Senate. Musharraf, was arrested for detaining more than 60 judges during the 2007 emergency; for his suspected role in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto in December 2007; and for the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation. He is currently lodged at his farmhouse in Islamabad, which has been pronounced a ‘sub-jail’.

The ‘ill-treatment’ being meted out to Musharraf has evidently irked the military brass. Indeed, a delegation of 75 officers from Command and Staff College, Quetta, led by Colonel Saqib Ali Cheema, on April 26, 2013, met the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production Mushahid Hussain Sayed at Parliament House and expressed their concern over the arrest and treatment of the former President. Senator Hussain later disclosed that the officers had asked him if there was anything in the constitution which allowed anyone to humiliate any institution and that he had told them that “the Constitution had no provision to let any institution or any person humiliate any other institution”. These words, however, have failed to mollify the military leadership. On April 30, 2013, in his address on the eve of Martyrs Day, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani expressed his unhappiness with the situation, albeit obliquely: “In my opinion, it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship.”

The confrontation between the political establishment and the military has also deepened. The MemoGate scandal created an upheaval, when Wikileaks disclosed that the then Pakistani Ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, had asked Pakistani businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, to deliver an anonymous "memo" to the American military leadership in May 2011, offering to rein in the Pakistani armed forces in return for US support for the civilian Government. This resulted in a major spat between the Army command and civilian Government, with the judiciary stepping in to ‘investigate treason charges’ against Haqqani. There is growing evidence of impatience within the military leadership with both the political and judicial class though, for the moment, the Army is pulling its punches.

Amidst a continuous slide in governance, the emergence of Sharif as the main player is more worrisome, given the history of his turbulent tenures in the past. Sharif failed to complete his last two terms. His first term was cut short when then President, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, dissolved the NA on April 18, 1993. Though the National Assembly was restored by the Supreme Court on May 26, 1993, it could not complete its term as the Assembly was dissolved on July 18, 1993, on the advice of the Prime Minister Sharif as the political standoff continued. The President eventually proceeded on leave as part of the political arrangement. Sharif took the oath as Prime Minister of Pakistan again, on February 17, 1997. Pervez Musharraf, seized power and declared himself Chief Executive through a Proclamation of Emergency, on October 12, 1999.

Crucially, the orientation of the principal political players, including Sharif, to the Islamist extremists, and particularly towards the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is alarming. According to TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, “democracy is the system of infidels”. Yet, Sharif has repeatedly advocated a policy of appeasement of the Taliban. Most recently, in May 2013, he declared, “A few weeks ago, the Taliban (TTP) offered dialogue to the Government of Pakistan and said, ‘we are prepared to talk’. I think the government of Pakistan should have taken that seriously. [It] did not take it seriously.” Similarly, the PTI which has emerged as the single largest party (at the time of writing) in one of the most volatile regions in Pakistan, KP, has inclined to go soft on the extremists. PTI leader Imran Khan, has continuously advocated a negotiated settlement with the TTP and its affiliates and, on April 22, 2013, observed, “the Pakistan Tehrik-e-insaf will pull the Army out of the Pashtun-dominated tribal areas and restore peace through talks if it comes to power in the May 11 general election”. Imran’s party if forms Government in KP and if he goes on to fulfill is his electoral promise the tribal region is likely to see more instability in future, given the repeated and demonstrated failure of a strategy of appeasement towards the TTP and other Islamist extremist and sectarian armed groups. Indeed, in October 2012, Imran Khan claimed that the Taliban were fighting a 'holy war' justified by Islam in neighbouring Afghanistan: "It is very clear that whoever is fighting for their freedom is fighting a jihad… The people who are fighting in Afghanistan against the foreign occupation are fighting a jihad." The PPP’s approach towards TTP and its affiliates is comparably ‘soft’. On February 4, 2013, Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik declared, “We are ready to start talks with you (TTP). You tell us what team you would like to talk to, and let’s set an agenda.”

On the other hand, the military mullah combine continues to thrive. In a glaring recent instance, Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban, leader who suffered a heart attack on January 7, 2011, was reportedly treated for several days in a Karachi hospital with ISI help, according to a report prepared by the Eclipse Group, which operates an intelligence network run by former CIA, State Department and military officers.

The situation in Pakistan remains fraught, and the ambivalence of the past towards various terrorist proxies of the state – some of whom may have gone renegade – persists, as does the destructive dynamic that has eroded the authority and integrity of institutions of the state over decades. The ‘restoration’ of democracy has done little to impede the country’s hurtling flight into chaos in the past, and it would be delusional to believe that the present election has produced any magical solution to its enduring afflictions.

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Islamist Siege
S. Binodkumar Singh
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

On May 5, 2013, Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI, 'Protectorate of Islam') enforced their 'Dhaka Siege' programme to mount pressure on the Awami League (AL)-led Government to implement their 13-point demands , including the demand to “pass a law providing for capital punishment for maligning Allah, Islam and Prophet Muhammad… and smear campaigns against Muslims”. Four civilians were killed and several others injured as cadres of HeI fought running battles with Police across Dhaka, turning the capital into a city of panic. 70,000 Islamists marched down at least six highways and took position at the entry points of the city, stopping road transport and cutting off Dhaka's road links with rest of the country, while they raised slogans of 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great) and "One point, One demand: Atheists must be hanged."

More than 10,000 personnel drawn from the Police, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) jointly launched a drive late on May 5, 2013, to clear demonstrators from Dhaka. As violence moved beyond the capital on May 6, 2013, at least 27 persons, including three Security Force (SF) personnel and a HeI cadre, were killed and several other injured in Narayanganj, Chittagong and Bagerhat Districts. Two of the injured died on May 7 and another one on May 9.

Earlier, on March 9, 2013, HeI Ameer (Chief) Shah Ahmad Shafi had put forward a 13-point demand at the Olama-Mashayekh (Islamic Scholars) Convention organized at the Darul Uloom Hathazari Madrassah Convention Hall in Chittagong District. On the same day, HeI’s ‘central joint secretary general’ Maulana Moinuddin Ruhi, gave the call for the April 6 rally at the end of a ‘Long March’ (from Chittagong to Dhaka). During the April 6 rally, the HeI gave the Government an April 30 deadline to meet its demands or face a ‘Dhaka Siege’ programme, commencing May 5, 2013.

Indeed, in an attempt to clamp down on the HeI cadres on the eve of ‘Long March’, the SFs arrested 30 HeI cadres from a bus in Palashbari area of Gaibandha District on April 5, 2013, while they were travelling to Dhaka. Subsequently, a clash between HeI and AL cadres at Dhaka city left one person dead and at least another 30 injured. As tension grew, four people were killed between April 6 and May 4, 2013.

Meanwhile, on May 3, 2013, two days prior to the ‘Dhaka Siege’ deadline, Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina Wajed addressing a Press Conference in Dhaka, offered a conciliatory response on the 13 demands, observing, “We have already gone through HeI demands. Many of these have already been implemented while some are in the process.” Speaking explicitly about the second and ‘most important’ demand, to “pass a law providing for capital punishment for maligning Allah, Islam and Prophet Muhammad… and smear campaigns against Muslims”, the PM stated that the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2009, and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) already contained provisions for punishment for the offence.

The Government’s reply to each of the 13 demands asserts that these demands are nothing more than an attempt by the Islamist forces, backed by the main opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), to hold the country to ransom, as these formations feel the heat of the War Crimes (WC) Trial. Significantly, on May 9, 2013, JeI Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was awarded the death penalty by the International Crimes Tribunal-2 (ICT-2). He was found guilty on five out of seven counts of torture and mass murder committed during the 1971 War of Independence. He is the third JeI leader to face the death penalty, while another one has received a life sentence. ICT-2, constituted on March 22, 2012, delivered the first WC verdict against former JeI leader Maulana Abul Kalam Azad alias Bachchu Razakar, on January 21, 2013, awarding a death sentence for killing 14 Hindus, raping two women, torturing two other persons and setting homes ablaze in Faridpur District, his birthplace. A total of nine persons, seven from JeI and two from BNP, have been indicted so far, for War Crimes.

Indeed, Bangladesh has seen a surge in violence since the January 21, 2013, verdict. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database, the country has recorded 186 fatalities, including 109 civilians, 64 Islamist cadres and 13 SF personnel, in street violence since then (data till May 12, 2013).

Describing the activities of HeI as 'mysterious', Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, had noted, on May 2, 2013, “The movement of HeI is not to protect the faith of Muslims. They are working as the shadow of JeI and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), to foil the trials of war criminals.”  Similarly, Environment and Forest Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud, on May 7, 2013, asserted that BNP central leaders M.K. Anwar and Sadeque Hossain were behind the May 5 violence in Dhaka. He also blamed central leaders of the BNP-backed students’ organizations, the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and ICS, for leading the trouble in Paltan, Baitul Mukarram and Motijheel areas of Dhaka during the HeI demonstrations and rally. On May 8, 2013, State Minister for Law, Advocate Quamrul Islam claimed, further, “The BNP-JeI men carried out vandalism, arson and looting during Sunday’s violence”. He went on to claim that the mayhem in Dhaka city was funded by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Two left-leaning parties, the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and the Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD), at a joint rally in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka city, demanded an immediate ban on HeI, JeI and ICS, for ‘creating anarchy’ across the country. The leaders of these two parties also blamed the main opposition BNP for extending support to HeI.

The abrupt emergence of HeI as a formidable disruptive force has largely been seen by the BNP-JeI-ICS front as an opportunity to exploit the current situation to harvest some political gains. With the survival of some of their leaders at stake, they appear willing to drive the country to the brink of chaos in their effort to derail the ongoing WC Trials. At the same time, however, a clear groundswell of opinion – albeit without the attendant violence that characterizes the Islamist protests – in favour of the WC Trials has also been dramatic. A direct and escalating confrontation appears inevitable at this juncture, and it remains to be seen whether the Government has the will and sagacity to manage this evolving crisis, even as it pushes the WC Trials process to a logical culmination. And all this will be necessary before the General Elections, which fall due in December 2013 – January 2014.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
May 6-12, 2013



Security Force Personnel





Islamist Extremism






Jammu and Kashmir




West Bengal


Left-wing Extremism






Total (INDIA)








Khyber Pakhtunkhwa







Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


31 persons killed in Bangladesh during the week: At least 27 persons, including three Security Forces (SFs), were killed in clashes between SFs and Hefajat-e-Islam (HeI) cadres on May 6 in Narayanganj, Chittagong and Bagerhat Districts. In Narayanganj District, 20 persons, including two Policemen and a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) soldier, were killed. In Chittagong District, six people were killed and 50 others, including five Policemen, injured. In Bagerhat District, one HeI cadre was killed and at least 20 other persons, including SFs and journalists, were injured during the running battles.

BGB trooper, Lavlu Miah (38), and Muhamad Sumon (22), a student of Dhaka City College, injured in the fierce clash between cadres of HeI and Police during May 6's clash in Narayanganj District succumbed to their injuries on May 7.

A HeI cadre, who received a bullet wound in clashes between law enforcers and HeI cadres in Paltan area during Dhaka Siege programme of HeI on May 5, died on May 9. The deceased is identified as Farhan Raza (30).

An IslamiChhatra Shibir (ICS) cadre, identified as Shahadat Hossain, was killed in a gunfight between ISC cadres and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) at Binodpur Amjad intersection in Rajshahi city of Rajshahi District on May 11. Daily Star, May 6-13, 2013.

JeI leader AKM Yusuf arrested: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Nayeb-e-Ameer (Deputy Chief) AKM Yusuf, founder of the infamous Razakar force that collaborated with the occupation Pakistani army in killing three million Bengalis in 1971, was arrested from Dhaka on May 12. He was later sent to jail. Daily Star, May 13, 2013.


Government has found proof of terror camps being run on Indian soil, says Union Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N. Singh: The Government has found evidence that terrorist camps were being run on Indian soil by Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and right wing majoritarian groups. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, R.P.N. Singh on May 8 informed Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) that in two cases investigated by National Investigation Agency (NIA), evidence has come that training camps were organised by SIMI and right wing majoritarian groups or their cadres. Singh said NIA has arrested 33 accused belonging to SIMI and 26 accused belonging to majoritarian groups and charge sheet in these cases have been laid in the concerned courts. Zee News, May 8, 2013.

Maoists manufacturing grenades and rocket propelled grenades in their units, says Government: The Central Government on May 7 informed the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres were manufacturing improvised hand grenades and rocket propelled grenades in their arms manufacturing units in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs (MHA) RPN Singh said steps taken to bust these manufacturing units included deployment of Security Forces (SFs) at strategic locations, firm Police action against such unlawful activities and intensified intelligence-based anti-Naxal [Left Wing Extremism (LWE)] operations. Times of India, May 8, 2013.

Government websites hacked over 1,000 times in past three years, says Union Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N. Singh: Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, R.P.N. Singh on May 7 informed the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) that Government websites were hacked 1,030 times since 2010. 303, 308, 371 and 48 Government websites belonging to various ministries and departments were hacked during 2010, 2011, 2012 and up to March 2013, respectively. Times of India, May 8, 2013.

Maoists plan to hold 10th Congress this monsoon, says report: The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) is quietly gearing up to hold its 10th Congress during the monsoon in 2013. The meeting, to be chaired by the Maoist 'general secretary' Muppalla Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathy, is expected to draw the entire top leaders, including Maoist party's all India 'military chief' Namballa Kesava Rao alias Basava Raju, 'guerrilla warfare strategist' Malla Rajireddy alias Sattenna among others. The 9th Congress was held in 2007 somewhere on the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border. Times of India, May 7, 2013.


45 civilians and 18 militants among 67 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least 16 persons were killed in a blast that ripped through a passenger bus in Miranshah town of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on May 12.

Nine militants and three soldiers were killed in a gunfight in Parachamkani area of Kurram Agency on May 10. In addition, four persons were killed and 21 others injured in a bomb blast occurred at the Khwaja Jan Chowk in Miranshah bazaar of NWA near the election offices of candidates for the NA-40 seat.

At least nine militants were killed and their three hideouts destroyed in an operation by SFs in Mamozai and surrounding areas of Orakzai Agency FATA on May 8.

Twenty-three persons were killed and more than 70 others injured in a blast at the election rally of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) candidates at a Madrassa in Sewak village in Kurram Agency on May 6. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 6-13, 2013.

28 civilians and eight SFs among 38 persons killed during the week in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:: At least six persons including three Policemen were killed and more than 10 others injured in a remote controlled blast near a Police van in Sarmal Nusratkhail area in Torghar town of same District on May 9.

Two Policemen, a woman and a suicide bomber were killed and another militant arrested with a suicide vest during an encounter in Rasheed Garhi area of Peshawar in the evening of May 8. Also, a Policeman and two women were killed and 27 others injured as a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into Domail Police Station in Bannu city of same District.

At least 12 persons were killed and 35 others were injured in a remote-controlled blast when a candidate of the Fazlur Rehman led Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) was conducting his election campaign in Doaba Town of Hangu District on May 7. Five persons, including Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Muhammad Zahir Shah Khan, were killed in a remote-controlled bomb blast near the Babagam village in Maidan area of Lower Dir District. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 7-13, 2013.

29 civilians and four militants among 36 persons killed during the week in Sindh: Seven persons, including political activists and an ASWJ cadre, were killed in separate incidents of violence across Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh, on May 12.

At least 14 persons were killed and 61 others injured in three separate bomb blasts in Karachi on May 11.

Three activists of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), identified as Qasim Saeed, Anis Ilyas and Bilal Ahmed, were shot dead and one other, identified as Muhammad Hussain was injured by unidentified assailants in Jumma Goth area within the premises of Ibrahim Hydri Police Station of Karachi on May 8. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 6-13, 2013.

20 civilians and five SFs among 26 persons killed during the week in Balochistan: Balochistan Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Sukhera narrowly escaped a suicide attack in the high security zone on Zarghoon Road in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, on May 12 that killed at least six persons and injured 46 others.

At least 15 persons were killed and 20 others were injured when unidentified assailants attacked the convoy of the candidate of PB-28 Syed Khadim Hussain's nephew in Naseerabad District, on May 11. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 7-13, 2013.

Peshawar High Court orders shooting down of drones: The Peshawar High Court on May 9 ordered that drones entering Pakistani airspace be shot down. In its detailed verdict about drone attacks, the court has said they constitute a violation of international law and the basic human rights and also violate the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan. The court directed the Government to stop drone strikes and contact the International War Crimes Tribunal (IWCT) over the issue. Daily Times, May 10, 2013.

Religious parties in Gilgit Baltistan call for a new and 'acceptable' governing system for the region: Religious parties in Gilgit and Diamer Districts, including the Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jama'at (ASWJ) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), on May 7 called for a new and 'acceptable' governing system for the region, terming the existing Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 'biased'. "The existing governance system is unacceptable to us as it has deprived us of our rights," ASWJ GB chief Qazi Nisar Ahmed told journalists in Gilgit. He accused Chief Minister Mehdi Shah for being biased in favour of a particular sec. Tribune, May 9, 2013.


Cabinet approves to enact a new law for enabling people displaced from North to vote: : In the wake of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections likely to be held in September, the Cabinet approval was granted on May 11 to enact legislation enabling those who were displaced from the North between May 1, 1983, and May 18, 2009, to vote at the election. The bill, if enacted, will enable 15,000 people who are known to have been displaced between May 1, 1983 and May 18, 2009 to be registered as voters in the North. Daily Mirror, May 11, 2013.

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.

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