The Wages of Self-deception | Destroying the Future | South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR), Vol. No. 11.47
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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 11, No. 47, May 27, 2013

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
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The Wages of Self-deception
Ajai Sahni
Editor, SAIR; Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management and SATP

The Maoists are currently in a phase of tactical retreat, focusing on a reconsolidation of strengths, the enhancement of recruitment to the PLGA, the construction of alternative communication channels to prevent leakage of information, the intensification of propaganda through mass contacts, and escalating overground activities and protests... The state must not mistake the decline in intensity of violence as a destruction of capacity of the Maoists to engage in violence.

28 persons have been killed, and another 30 have been injured, some of them critically, in the latest swarming attack by cadres of the Communist Party of India – Maoist (CPI-Maoist), executed, on this occasion, in the Darbha Ghati region of the Sukma District in Chhattisgarh’s ailing Bastar Division. Those killed most prominently include Mahendra Karma, the controversial architect of the armed Salwa Judum anti-Maoist ‘people’s movement’ in the State, which long received support from both the State Government and from the Centre, and was projected as a model for ‘popular resistance’ in other theatres afflicted by Maoist violence, till the strategy was excoriated by the Supreme Court for its indiscriminate violence and the violation of human rights, both of its victims and of its own uneducated, backward, often underage cadres. The Pradesh (State) Congress Committee chief, Nandkumar Patel, and his son, former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Uday Mudaliyar, were also killed, as were eight Security Force (SF) personnel in the contingents guarding the political leaders. Several Congress party workers and three labourers were also killed in the improvised explosive device (IED) blast engineered by the Maoists, and in the subsequent crossfire. Former Union Minister Vidya Charan Shukla and Konta MLA Kawasi Lakhma were among the injured. The 84-year old Shukla is now in critical condition in a Gurgaon hospital. Most of the fatalities were inflicted after the personal guards of the various protected persons ran out of ammunition. In a telling gesture of contempt, the Maoists reportedly did not execute the Policemen after the crossfire ended, and targeted their political victims alone.

Initial reports suggest that no special arrangement had been made for the Congress Party’s high profile political rally Parivartan Yatra (Trek for Change) through one of the worst afflicted regions of the Maoist heartland in Chhattisgarh, and that virtually every element of Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) had been violated by the 20 to 25 vehicle convoy, and by those inevitably responsible for its protection, including State Police officials.

The Centre has quickly deputed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate the debacle – another smokescreen that will help silence anxious inquiries, at least for a few days, while the nation awaits the NIA’s learned prognostications.

In the interim, it is useful to turn attention to what is already known.

First, this was a disaster waiting to happen. It was the deliberate and sustained falsification of realities that led to the complacency that allowed a major political rally to be organised through an area as badly afflicted by Maoist violence as the Darbha Ghati in Sukma, with little security cover. This sustained falsification has its sources both in the State and the Central security establishment. The dishonest and politically opportunistic bid to claim ‘successes’ without having worked for them has led to a repeated projection of ‘gains’, despite the fact that the Government’s own data and at least occasional assessments give no adequate grounds for such claims. The reality, as SAIR has emphasised repeatedly in the past, is that “the core areas of Maoist activity remain intact.”

This is more than apparent to any objective observer, even without the privileged flows of intelligence rattling around in the corridors of power, both in New Delhi and in Raipur. And yet, some astonishing assessments have been offered by those who guide the destinies of the unfortunate masses of the Indian nation today, and who order about hapless SF personnel to seek out death by bullet and malaria in the dark heart of the Maoist insurgency, with little understanding or care about the objective circumstances of the ground.

The ‘handbook of Government achievements’ for the United Progressive Alliance Government (UPA) of 2004-13, for instance, claims:

The UPA Government’s approach in dealing with left-wing extremism in a holistic manner in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights of local communities and good governance is showing results in declining violence in LWE affected areas...

The integrated action plan being implemented in the LWE affected areas, has helped chart out a new growth trajectory with decreasing violence.

Such statements could easily be dismissed as mere posturing by a political formation, if the deception ended here, but this is far from the case.

The Supreme Court recently described the country’s ‘premier investigative agency’, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a “caged parrot” for simply echoing the Government’s (read, political executive’s) views in its investigation into the ‘Coalgate scam’. The CBI, however, is not the only “caged parrot” in the Government’s menagerie. The Administrative, Police and Intelligence bureaucracy – in various cases, unwillingly, willingly, and, at least some times, eagerly – routinely toes the Government line, helping falsify realities, distort data and pervert objective threat assessments.

Thus, on March 28, 2013, Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh told a Parliamentary Standing Committee:

There has been an absolute turnaround in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and now we are chasing the Naxal groups. In Odisha we are chasing the Naxal groups. There is a u-turn in Gadchroli where we are chasing Naxals as well.

He has not been alone in misleading Parliament, and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) has routinely misled Parliament , for instance, on data relating to Police-population ratios in the country.

Astonishingly, the Union Minister of Home Affairs, Sushil Kumar Shinde, had conceded, on September 6, 2012, at a meeting of Directors General and Inspectors General of Police, “Naxalism continues to pose a significant challenge. There are indicators about increase in the number of trained and armed cadres, reogranisation of military potential for formation of new battalions... (and) the creation of well-developed indigenous capacity for accretions to their arsenal...” These elements and Government data supporting them, have repeatedly been examined in the past, and do not bear repetition here.

It is, nevertheless, crucial to note the increasing danger of the proliferation of a section, particularly, of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers who see themselves, not as policemen, but as “higher police management”, a Police and intelligence bureaucracy progressively alienated from the conditions within which their Forces are required to function and the challenges they face.  It is precisely this growing subset within the Police (and administrative) leadership that has lent itself to fantastical misadventures in the past, most notably, the disastrous 2009-10 “massive and coordinated” operations launched by P. Chidambaram’s Home Ministry, and the simultaneous Operation Greenhunt initiated by the Chhattisgarh Police. These and other campaigns have exposed an unfortunate and persistent inability to think strategically. It is useful to recall that, after the abrupt termination of both these operations in the wake of the tragedy at Chintalnad, where 76 SF personnel were trapped and slaughtered by the Maoists, and after the scores of SF fatalities that preceded this outrage, the then Chhattisgarh Director General of Police, Vishwaranjan, somewhat belatedly lamented that he had just one policeman for five square kilometres of area in the Bastar Division, the Maoist heartland where his Operation Greenhunt was executed in collaboration with the UMHA’s “massive and coordinated operations”.

To continue with the make-believe: at the Chhattisgarh State level, we find the State’s Minister for Home Affairs, Nanki Ram Kanwar, declaring, in an official statement on behalf of the Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh, at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security on April 15, 2013:

The Chhattisgarh Government has taken concrete measures in the Naxal affected areas. We find that, with such welfare measures and other initiatives of the State Government, the Naxal menace has been contained.

It is not clear if incidents such as the Darbha massacre fall within the Chhattisgarh Government’s notion of ‘containment’.

There is much characteristic noise in the wake of this latest Maoist attack. An overwhelming proportion of this cacophony is exhausted by politically correct platitudes expressing shock, sorrow and, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated in the wake of almost every insurgent and terrorist outrage of the past, the ‘determination’ not to let the extremists prevail. To this is added the opportunistic clamour of recriminations, the Centre blaming the State and vice versa, with partisan political defences of either position. Conspiracy theories also abound, with elements sympathetic to the Congress party insisting that the inadequate security arrangements for the Parivartan Yatra were intentional, and contrasted sharply with the ‘comprehensive cover’ provided to the Chief Minister’s Vikas Yatra (Trek for Development). Come June 5, when the State Chief Ministers will dutifully troop down to Delhi for another ritual conference on internal security, the Centre and its cheerleaders will most likely raise the issue of the National Counter-terrorism Centre (NCTC) again, this time probably arguing that it is necessary to prevent ‘future Darbhas’; it is equally likely that confused and ignorant State leaderships will fall in line, eager for a symbolic ‘achievement’ to flaunt to their respective constituencies, or too cowardly to appear to be ‘blocking’ a ‘counter-terrorism initiative’. The fact that setting up a new office in Delhi is not going to make troops more effective in Bastar, will deter no one from wasting another few thousand crores to score directionless political points, even as the most basic challenges continue to be ignored. All this is no more than opportunistic garbage by self-seeking politicians and their bureaucratic groupies, and there is little reason to believe that, a few months from now, and despite the talk of the ‘unprecedented’ nature of the Darbha attack, this episode will not have slid as far from political and public consciousness as, for instance, the Chintalnad massacre.

The Darbha massacre will, nevertheless, have crucial consequences for the state and for the trajectory of the Maoist movement. In particular, Mahendra Karma’s killing will have tremendous impact in the so-called Red Corridor areas, and particularly in Chhattisgarh. Karma’s disastrous Salwa Judum had pitted him directly against the Maoists, making him the most hated among their individually targeted enemies. Whatever the assessment of the Salwa Judum, Karma’s personal courage and sacrifice are undeniable. Before he was gunned down, reports indicate that he had lost as many as 23 members of his family, but never flinched from his unyielding and public, often violent, opposition to the rebels. He had survived repeated assassination attempts, including, most recently, one on November 8, 2012. He was in a Z-plus category of security threat, purportedly ‘heavily protected’. His killing is testimony, on the one hand, to the relentlessness with which the Maoists pursue their enemies and, on the other, of the abysmal failure of the state to protect its own most vulnerable supporters. The Maoists’ demonstration of will, ruthlessness and effectiveness will encourage and inspire many among Chhattisgarh’s youth – and others, perhaps far beyond the State’s borders – to join the rebels in the immediate future, unless the state is able to inflict dramatic retribution on the perpetrators – an unlikely eventuality.

Another foreseeable consequence is that no party or politician will be inclined to campaign in the run-up to the State Assembly elections of end-2013 in the Maoist dominated areas, particularly in the Bastar Division. This will, moreover, give politicians and political parties incentive to enter into covert arrangements with the Maoists, as they have done in the past, most recently in the case of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in 2011, but also in the case of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections of 2008; the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in the Jharkhand Assembly elections of 2009; and the Congress party in the Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh in 2004. If this happens, of course, the Maoists will naturally extract a price for their support, with inevitable costs in lives of civilians and SF personnel, to be rendered subsequently.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been repeating, incessantly and vacuously, since the early months of his first tenure commencing May 2004, that the Maoists constitute the greatest internal security challenge to the country. And yet, nearly a decade later, there is no evidence of any coherence of assessment, let alone strategy, within the national and State security establishments; no recognition of the most fundamental reality that, unless the intelligence and Policing apparatus throughout the country is enormously strengthened, professionalised, modernized, and made autonomous of the corrupt and perverse control of political parties and personalities, no crime – leave alone a significant and widespread insurgency – can be brought under control. As has been emphasised again and again, unless the crisis of capacities and capabilities is addressed, Darbha will only be a momentary link in a long and interminable chain of insurgent excesses.

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Destroying the Future
Sanchita Bhattacharya
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Intolerance and hate are crippling the education system in Pakistan as schools are increasingly targeted by terrorist violence, and corruption and political inconsistency deprive the educational infrastructure of much-needed resources, leaving a new generation with diminishing options to secure their own future. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on April 6, 2012, noted that some 20 million Pakistani children, including an estimated 7.3 million of primary school age, were not in school. At least part of the reason is fear.

In the most recent of such incidents, on May 10, 2013, a government school was blown up in Swabi town (Swabi District) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The school’s watchman was injured in the incident. A day earlier, on May 9, at least four schools were blown up in separate incidents in different parts of Balochistan. A primary school was blown up in Ghot Raisani area of Dhadar in Bolan District. Two other schools were blown up in Jaffarabad District, and one school was blown up in the Chah Sar area of Turbat District. Earlier, on May 5, 2013, a boy's high school had been blown up in the Killi Sahibzada area of the Nushki District of Balochistan.  

Nor are these isolated incidents. Partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) suggests that since January 28, 2001, till May 26, 2013, at least 370 schools had been destroyed by militants in Pakistan. These attacks resulted in 27 killings (most of these attacks were aimed at destroying the school building and infrastructure, rather than killing people). In one of the recent attacks resulting in a fatality, one civilian was killed and eight were injured when a grenade was hurled at a school in the Ittehad Town of Karachi, the provincial capital of the Sindh Province, on March 30, 2013.

ICM data, however, grossly underestimates the magnitude of the problem. Indeed, on March 26, 2013, Pakistan’s Intelligence agencies informed the Supreme Court that, since the year 2008, 995 schools and 35 colleges had been destroyed in KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) alone. Unsurprisingly, schools in KP and the neighbouring tribal region of FATA have faced the brunt of terrorist attacks, as the extremists have a virtual free run of these areas.  

On February 21, 2013, then KP Education Minister, Sardar Hussain Babak disclosed that militants had destroyed or damaged more than 3,000 schools in KP. He also claimed that 70 per cent of such schools had been ‘reconstructed’ and ‘remaining work’ was to be completed ‘within a year’. According to a March 15, 2013, report, the Centre for Conflict Management, Islamabad, revealed that between 2010 and 2012, a total of 839 schools were destroyed in KP. The worst affected Districts were Swabi, Charsadda and Nowshera. Earlier, on September 12, 2012, a report on The State of Pakistan’s Children – 2011, published by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), Islamabad, claimed that around 600,000 children in KP had missed one or more years of education due to militancy.

On January 14, 2013, FATA’s Assistant Education Officer, Mohammad Rehman stated that Taliban attacks had damaged more than 460 schools throughout FATA’s seven agencies, including 110 in Mohmand, 103 in Bajaur, 70 in Khyber, 55 in Kurram, 65 in Orakzai, 44 in North Waziristan and 16 in South Waziristan (no period was specified). He commented, “Their Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) campaign has left 12,000 children idle, including more than 3,800 girls,” adding, further, that 62,000 children had been displaced by this campaign.

Meanwhile, the TTP argued that it targeted schools because the military was using them as operating bases. Indeed, the Pakistani Army and Frontier Corps do use schools for such purposes, which including their use as firing positions, detention centers etc. Moreover, the TTP rejects the existing system of education as ‘un-Islamic’, and seeks its destruction as an end in itself, demanding its replacement by a system based on the Shariah. Thus, in a June 2012 interview, TTP ‘spokesman’ Ehsanullah Ehsan commented:
Through the current education system, un-Islamic culture and vulgarity are spreading in an Islamic society…we will have an alternative education system that will be good for Muslims and Islam. We consider our activities beneficial because they are good for them in the afterlife.

This orientation is, however, underpinned by a hatred towards literacy, and a desire to demolish any form of government establishment or any fragment of liberal thought, in order to spread terror and ignorance so that the extremists’ twisted vision can percolate into the minds of common people and help create and sustain the social chaos in which out-of school children can easily be recruited for militancy.

Compounding this direct attack on the educational infrastructure is Pakistan’s progressively worsening socio-political and economic situation, which has undermined educational development. The Failed State Index – 2012 ranks Pakistan ranked 13th out of 177 countries, placing it in the ‘High Alert Group’, only in a better situation in comparison to violence plagued countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Further, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) Human Development Report – 2013, puts Pakistan at the 146th rank out of 186 countries in the ‘Education’ category, and, overall, in the lowest category of “Low Human Development”.

The existence of large numbers of “Ghost Schools” is another anomaly within the already dwindling educational set-up of the country. According to a report of British Council, Pakistan, titled “Pakistan: The Next Generation”, released in November 2009:
At present, the educational system is failing at all levels. Tellingly, there are now over twelve thousand 'ghost schools' which provide no education at all….There are schools in the rural areas where teachers don't show up for months at a time or they outsource their job to people who know nothing, which drives away the children.

At present, the educational system is failing at all levels. Tellingly, there are now over twelve thousand 'ghost schools' which provide no education at all….There are schools in the rural areas where teachers don't show up for months at a time or they outsource their job to people who know nothing, which drives away the children.

On February 11, 2013, Pakistan’s Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered a nationwide investigation of hundreds of “ghost schools” where teachers do nothing but draw salaries. Chaudhry observed, “There are animals kept in schools and the buildings have been turned into stables. This is what we are doing to our children when education is a constitutional right… The government has failed to provide any answer or details about the state of ghost and non-functional schools, while apparently funds and salaries were being disbursed as buildings remain abandoned or occupied by animals”.

The Government, it appears, is trying to remedy the situation by passing new laws in a situation where it has little capacity even to implement the most urgent among those that already exist. Thus, on December 19, 2012, President Asif Ali Zardari signed into law “The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2012” guaranteeing free education to children aged between 5 and 16 years. Earlier, through the 18th Amendment of Pakistan’s Constitution, in April 2010, Article 25A had been added, declaring, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” Pakistan is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which commits the Government to provide for education as a right to all.

The enveloping atmosphere of fear, however, jeopardizes even the possibility of parents sending their children to school for fear of attack. In a worrying development, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which is set to join the new collation Government in KP under the proposed leadership of Pervaiz Khattak of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has demanded control of the provincial Education Ministry. It is significant that, before the elections, it was JI Ameer (chief) Munawar Hasan who had observed, on May 5, 2013, that those claiming to be liberals in a country made for the supremacy of the Qura'n and Sunnah should register themselves as ‘minorities’. The JI, which has secured seven seats in the KP Assembly elections held on May 11, 2013, announced on May 15, 2013, that it would be joining forces with PTI, the single largest party, with 35 seats, to form a Coalition Government in the Province.

In Punjab, on March 24, 2013, the then Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, who is now set to lead the Provincial Government, had decided to cancel recent reforms in school curricula by re-inserting Islamist chapters in school text-books in a policy u-turn under pressure from the extremist Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). Earlier, several Islamist chapters including, including those propagating Sunni ideological positions, had been removed from the Class 10 Urdu text book edition published in February 2013. This move once again demonstrated that Provincial parties and Governments in Pakistan have little will or capacity to resist extremist forces – with whom they are often allied – or to rid the education system of radical elements.

As the very foundation of Pakistan’s educational system is paralysed or corrupted by extremist ideologies and intent, there can be little hope that the country will be able to extract itself from the destructive cycles of radicalization and terrorist violence. The absence of political will and state capacity to address this enduring pathology is a compounding problem that threatens the very edifice of the state and the future of Pakistan’s children, in perpetuity


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
May 20-26, 2013



Security Force Personnel





Islamist Extremism




Jammu and Kashmir








Left-wing Extremism










Total (INDIA)








Khyber Pakhtunkhwa





Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Top Congress leaders among 28 persons killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh: Top Congress leaders, including State Congress Chief Nand Kumar Patel, senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma (founder of Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist vigilante group) and former Congress Member of Legislative Assembly, Uday Mudliyar, were among 28 persons killed when heavily-armed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres ambushed a convoy of the leaders inside a dense forest in Sukma District on May 25. Former Union Minister V C Shukla was among 30 others injured in the incident. "Bodies of 28 people, including of Congress leaders, workers and security forces, were recovered," said Chief Minister Raman Singh. Times of India; The Hindu, May 26-27, 2013.

Five coal labourers shot dead in South Garo Hills District in Meghalaya: Five coal labourers were reportedly shot dead by armed militants, suspected to be from United Achik Liberation Army (UALA), in Nangalbibra region of South Garo Hills District in the afternoon of May 20 in retaliation for the quarry owner's failure to pay up extortion money on time. The armed group is said to have served demand notes on coal mine owners throughout Nangalbibra region in the month of April and amounts ranging from INR 500000 to INR 10 million had been demanded by the outfit. Shilong Times, May 21, 2013.

Four SF personnel and a militant killed in Jammu and Kashmir: Four Security Force (SF) personnel and a militant were killed in an encounter at Buchoo village located in Tral area of Pulwama District on May 24. An Army spokesman said the troops had launched an anti-insurgency operation following a tip off about presence of militants in the area. The spokesperson said, "As the troops were laying the cordon around the village, the militants hiding in the nearby forest opened firing, resulting in death of the three jawans (troopers)." One of the injured troopers died later in the day, while the SFs shot dead a militant identified as Saifullah Ahangar. The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) claimed responsibility for the attack. Times of India; The Hindu, May 24-25, 2013.

Cyber command for country soon, says Defence Minister A K Antony Antony: Defence Minister A K Antony on May 25 said that India will soon form a cyber command to handle the online threats being faced by the country. "We have already got a mechanism for cyber security but we are augmenting it further and the forces are finalizing a proposal for a cyber command," said, adding, "We have enough strength in securing our borders across the land, seas and air. We will now strengthen our cyber defence, though we were a bit delayed on that front." Times of India, May 26, 2013.

UPPK signs tripartite MoU with Central and State Government in Manipur: United People's Party of Kangleipak (UPPK), on May 24, signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central and Manipur Governments joining the peace process during a home coming ceremony in Imphal. The arms laid down by the UPPK were a total of 37 weapons including one SLR, 21 HK-33 Rifles, 4 Pistols, 2 lathod guns, one each of M-22 Rifle, AK-56 Rifle, Type 81 Rifle, A-4 Rifle, A-1 Rifle, MG A-2, MG M-23, MG MK-3 and RPG. In addition to many hand grenades, the UPPK has also brought 5742 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition and 507 rounds of 7.762mm ammunition. Bonbihari, 'president' of UPPK said that UPPK group had decided on the path of peace as the general public does not like bloodshed. Kangla Online, May 25, 2013.


We will write the constitution from the streets itself, says CPN-Maoist-Baidya: Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist-Baidya (CPN-Maoist-Baidya) Mohan Baidya said on May 21 that if the demands put forth by his party goes unaddressed then it will through the strength of a nationwide movement create the basis to write the new constitution "from the streets itself". He said the country won't get a way out of the present mess it is in until the current Khil Raj Regmi Government is pulled down and political parties appoint a new prime minister by holding a round table meeting. Nepal News, May 22, 2013.


29 civilians, three militants and one SF among 33 persons killed during the week in Sindh: At least seven persons, including an activist each of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jama'at (ASWJ), were killed in separate incidents in Karachi (Karachi District), the provincial capital of Sindh Province, on May 26.

At least four persons, including a Policeman, were killed in separate acts of targeted attacks in Karachi, on May 25.

At least four persons, including two militants, were killed in separate incidents in Karachi on May 24.

Eight persons were killed in separate incidents of violence in Karachi on May 23.

At least six persons, including activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party (STPP), were killed in separate incidents in Karachi (Karachi District), the provincial capital of Sindh, on May 20. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 21-27, 2013.

22 civilians and two militants among 23 persons killed during the week in Balochistan: 13 persons, including 12 Balochistan Constabulary (BC) personnel, were killed and 17 others sustained injuries in an explosion caused by a bomb rigged to a rickshaw near Link Badini Road in the proximity of Bhossa Mandi on Eastern Bypass in Quetta (Quetta District), the capital of Balochistan, on May 23.

At least six persons, including five women, were killed and two others sustained injuries in a firing incident on Noorpur Road in Bakra Mandi area of Sibi District on May 23. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 21-27, 2013.

13 SFs, five civilians and four militants among 22 persons killed during the week in KP: At least six Policemen were killed and a District Police Officer (DPO) and his guard were injured when militants attacked their vehicles with rockets on the Indus Highway in Mattani area of Darra Adamkhel District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on May 24.

At least three persons were killed in a suicide attack, targeting Hazi Hayatullah, leader of Afghan religious outfits Jamatul Dawa Alquran and Sunnah, on Pajagi Road in Saeedabad area of Peshawar (Peshawar District), the provincial capital of KP, on May 24. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, May 21-27, 2013.

TTP issues fresh threat to assassinate former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issued a fresh threat to assassinate former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf, currently detained in his palatial farmhouse in Islamabad, over a string of high-profile cases. In a video posted on the jihadi website Umar Media, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ihsan said, "Soon we will punish this Satan (Musharraf) to death for his wicked deeds. From Balochistan to Waziristan, Musharraf engulfed this country in blood and fire. He is the killer of hundreds of innocent students of Lal Masjid." This is the second video issued by the TTP with a threat against Musharraf. Before Musharraf returned to Pakistan from self-exile in March, the TTP had issued a video that said the militants had formed a special squad of suicide bombers and snipers to kill him. The Hindu, May 26, 2013.

Committed Pakistani jihadists with ties to Afghan militants have replaced the slain top al Qaida leaders in the Pakistan's tribal region, says report: The New York Times reported on May 26 that committed Pakistani jihadists with ties to Afghan militants have replaced the slain top al Qaida leaders killed by US drones in the country's tribal region. The paper said, "Although many senior leaders of al-Qaida sheltering there have been felled by CIA missiles, they have been largely replaced by committed Pakistani jihadists with ties that span the border with Afghanistan." Times of India, May 27, 2013.

US drone strikes have 'minimal' impact on militants recruitment, says ICG report: The United States (US) drone strikes in Pakistan have a "minimal" impact on militants' recruitment, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in report titled "Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan". "The actual benefit to extremist groups, including in terms of recruitment, appears, however, minimal," the report said. Tribune, May 21, 2013.

Dialogue with Taliban best option to restore peace, says PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif: Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif on May 20 said that dialogue with Taliban is the best option to restore peace. "Forty thousand precious lives have so far been lost and the national economy is suffering a loss of billions of dollars (in the war against terrorism). Why should not (we) sit for a dialogue to restore peace," Sharif told his party's legislators-elect on May 20. "Is it a bad option?" he asked and then answered himself: "It is the best available option." He said gun was not a solution to any problem, adding, that the Taliban's offer for dialogue should be taken seriously. Every option should be explored to bring an end to the ongoing carnage in Karachi and tribal areas, he suggested. Dawn, May 21, 2013.


Government has not taken any decision to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, says Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa: Petroleum Industries Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa on May 22 stated that the Government has not taken any decision to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. "We are aware that the Tamil National Alliance [TNA] is not in favour of the proposed amendment to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. We assure that whatever change is decided by the [Parliamentary] Select Committee will be adhered to by the government," the Minister asserted. Minister Yapa also said the elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) would be held in September 2013 as decided by the government earlier, and this would not change.

Meanwhile, United Nation Party (UNP) parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said on May 22 that the party believes that the devolution of power would address the ethnic issue and it was the best method to solve the ethnic issue in the country. The UNP parliamentarian said the war could have been ended before 2009 if the members in the present government in 2001-2003 had agreed with the devolution of power and helped the then UNP government to implement the 13th Amendment. Daily News; Colombo Page, May 23, 2013.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa opposes vesting Police powers with the provincial councils: Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that Police powers cannot be vested with the provincial councils. Rajapaksa has been quoted in the local media saying that he would never agree to the granting of Police powers to provincial councils according to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. According to Rajapaksa, at present no provincial council exercises police powers, and if they were to be granted such powers in future, such a measure could pose a serious threat to national security and he foresees a dangerous situation. He has added that if the councils were vested with police powers, a serious situation would arise with regard to the maintenance of law and order, and even the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) would become ineffective. Colombo Page, May 24, 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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