Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Pakistan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||18 August 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Pakistan, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e52481b2d.html [accessed 2 October 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Overview: In 2010, Pakistan continued to experience high levels of terrorism and Pakistan-based terrorist organizations continued to threaten internal, regional, and global security. Violence resulted from both political and sectarian conflicts throughout the country, with terrorist incidents occurring in every province. While government authorities arrested many alleged perpetrators of terrorist violence, few convictions resulted. The Pakistani military continued to conduct operations in areas with known terrorist activity but was unable to expand its operations to all areas of concern. Increased sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shia communities and against religious minority communities also resulted in numerous attacks with high casualties. These attacks continued the trend of employing suicide bombers and remotely detonated explosives to perpetrate violence. Attacks using similar methods were also carried out against government and police facilities.
Pakistan, particularly the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, continued to be used as a base for terrorist organizations operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Pakistani security forces undertook substantial efforts to counter these threats. These organizations recruited, trained, and conducted fundraising for terrorist operations in Pakistan, and used Pakistan as a transit point for cross border movement to Afghanistan and abroad. Pakistan's Frontier Corps and military initiated large-scale counterinsurgency operations in Mohmand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Orakzai, and added one battalion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan's ability to continue robust operations was negatively impacted by the need to divert resources to provide relief from the 2010 floods, which caused severe, long-term damage in Pakistan. The ability to establish and maintain security in densely populated urban areas or areas with a historically poor security presence also remained a major challenge for Pakistan.
When Pakistan conducted operations to eliminate safe havens in the country, it often lacked the capability to ensure these areas remained under the control of Pakistan's security agencies. Given its inability to pursue the complete elimination of the terrorist presence and fully eliminate terrorist safe havens, Pakistan utilized a strategy to conduct limited operations to "contain" terrorist operatives in known areas of activity. Pakistan's civilian government and military departments cooperated and collaborated with U.S. efforts to identify and counter terrorist activity in Pakistan, and the United States continued to engage Pakistan to ensure it had the will and capacity to confront all extremist elements within its borders.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: The coordination, sophistication, and frequency of suicide and other bombings continued unabated in 2010. Pakistan experienced hundreds of bomb blasts, suicide attacks, and sectarian violence, resulting in more than 2,000 dead and scores more injured. Known terrorist organizations such as Tehrik-e-Taliban (the "Pakistani" Taliban) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for a number of attacks. The Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and al-Qa'ida also have a significant presence in Pakistan and maintained the capability to plan, influence, and assist violent extremist organizations within Pakistan and regionally. 2010 Terrorist Incidents carried out against civil society, religious groups, and government and police officials and offices during 2010 included:
On February 3, 10 persons were killed and 70 injured when a suicide bomber attacked a Pakistani Frontier Corps convoy en route to an inauguration ceremony for a new school for girls in Maidan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On April 28, four policemen were killed and 13 others, including eight policemen, were injured in a suicide car bomb blast in Peshawar at the U.S. Consulate.
On May 28, over 80 persons were killed and more than 120 injured in Lahore in two separate but simultaneous suicide attacks utilizing assault rifles and grenade attacks. The attacks targeted places of worship of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
On October 2, Dr. Mohammad Farooq Khan, a psychiatrist, religious scholar, and vice-chancellor of Swat Islamic University, was gunned down in his clinic. Farooq was strongly anti-Taliban and frequently took part in television talk shows during which he criticized militants and described suicide attacks as "un-Islamic". The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.
On December 7, the Chief Minister of Balochistan escaped a suicide attack that injured 10 people but left the Minister unharmed. Three organizations, the Pakistani Taliban, the Baloch Liberation United Front, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Alami (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi International), claimed responsibility for the attack.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: While Pakistan's law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued an acquittal rate of approximately 75 percent. The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists. The review determined that the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving U.S. victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system.
The Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010, proposed on July 28, 2010, remained before Pakistan's parliament. It proposes 25 amendments to Pakistan's original anti-terrorism legislation, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, including provisions that broaden the definition of terrorism, expand the authority of law enforcement agencies investigating terrorist incidents, authorize detention of subjects for 90 days before presenting them before a court, and allow increased electronic surveillance and wiretapping.
The U.S. Department of Justice continued to offer assistance to the Government of Pakistan to improve its existing counterterrorism laws. Under the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, Secretary of State Clinton and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi launched the Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism working group as a platform to discuss ways to increase cooperation. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has also implemented a diverse law enforcement training program for federal, provincial, and local law enforcement that included training in crime scene investigation, post blast investigations, and training specifically for counterterrorism personnel and bomb disposal units.
U.S. officials continued to monitor court proceedings involving high-profile terrorist attacks, such as the cases involving seven Pakistanis currently on trial for the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans; and the three Pakistanis on trial for assisting Faisal Shahzad with the attempted May 1, 2010 bombing of Times Square. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has assisted with the respective prosecutions.
Pakistan continued to process travelers on entry and departure at 13 international airports, five land border sites, four seaports, and two train stations with the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES).
Countering Terrorist Finance: Pakistan strengthened its counterterrorist finance regime and committed to making additional improvements. Pakistan's terrorist financing law is ambiguous on key points, however, and the country's implementation of UNSCR 1267 was incomplete.
The informal financial sector continued to play a significant role in Pakistan's legal and illicit economies, but the government has taken substantial steps to curb the role of informal financial service providers in servicing remittances. Through the Pakistan Remittance Initiative, the government has steadily increased the volume of remittances coming through authorized channels during the past three years, improved Pakistan's balance of payments, and enhanced financial transparency. The government has also prosecuted unregistered, illegal money remitters. During the past year, Pakistan took a substantial step toward strengthening its anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) regime. In March, the parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which replaced a temporary ordinance and solidified the Financial Monitoring Unit's standing as a national center for the collection and dissemination of suspicious transaction reports related to money laundering and terrorist financing. Pakistan also strengthened financial regulations, in particular the requirements to conduct due diligence and maintain internal controls.
As an active participant in the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, Pakistan has been under review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) because of deficiencies in its AML/CTF regime. In June, the Finance Minister committed Pakistan to an FATF action plan, which outlined a series of steps the government will take to remedy these deficiencies.
Despite progress, deficiencies in Pakistan's AML/CTF regime remained. Notably, the criminalization of the financing of terrorist acts committed against foreign governments and international organizations was ambiguous, as was the criminalization of financing groups that have not been explicitly banned by the government or designated by the UN. Although Pakistan did not make substantial progress toward removing the ambiguity in the law this year, the Government of Pakistan committed to doing so in its FATF action plan.
Another significant concern was Pakistan's weak implementation of UNSCR 1267. UN-designated terrorist organizations were able to skirt sanctions simply by reconstituting themselves under different names. They made little effort to hide their connections to the old groups and gained access to the financial system using new names.
Regional and International Cooperation: Pakistan continued to cooperate in regional and international counterterrorism forums. However, India-Pakistan counterterrorism cooperation was lacking in 2010.
Significant cooperation was documented during the latter part of 2010 in support for Project Global Shield, a World Customs Organization (WCO) Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Project seeking to identify the global movement of precursor chemicals (some dual use) that are used in the manufacture of IEDs. A multi-country conference held at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels in October, launched this project, which commenced on November 1.
As a follow up to the launch of Project Global Shield, the Pakistan Federal Board of Revenue (Customs) and UN Office of Drugs and Crime organized a training conference in Karachi, Pakistan in December, which provided training to customs officers and anti-narcotics officers in the identification and safe handling of precursor chemicals as well as training in the targeting of container shipments that might have inappropriately declared their contents.
In January, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran agreed on a roadmap to confront jointly the challenges of violent extremism and terrorism facing the region by signing the Islamabad Declaration, which was described as a guide to stability, security, and development in the region through mutual cooperation. Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi said the three sides agreed to confront the common challenges of illicit weapons and drug money through a comprehensive approach. The three nations also agreed to look into the possibilities of developing regional approaches to these challenges.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Pakistan has realized that counter-radicalization through non-military means is a critical component to long-term success against violent extremism, and has initiated certain counter-radicalization efforts in 2010. As part of these efforts, the Ministry of Culture announced plans to set up a TV channel focusing on culture and traditions of the country with the objective of countering violent extremism. The channel reportedly will cover various aspects of Pakistani culture and traditions including folk music, the theatre industry, regional dialects and traditions, archaeological sites, and the history of the region and other areas, according to the Federal Ministry of Culture.
A school in Malakand, run by the Pakistani army, continued to rehabilitate Taliban-influenced youth. The UN Children's Fund-funded school, originally opened in September 2009, provided free religious education and psychiatric counseling to 85 students from Swat, a district heavily influenced by terrorist groups. The students were 13 to 18 years old and few had finished secondary school. The project is the first of its kind in Pakistan.
On July 28, President Asif Ali Zardari called approximately 30 Islamic scholars and representatives of minority communities to his official residence to discuss minority rights and interfaith harmony in the country. The Ministry of Minorities Affairs established interfaith committees at the district level to meet monthly to address issues of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue.