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On Second Day After Bin Laden’s Death, No Massive Demonstrations or Reprisals in Pakistan

4:28 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

White House photo by Pete Souza of President Obama making phone calls to leaders, most likely including Pakistani President Zardari, before making his public statement Sunday night.

Although there were a few small demonstrations on Monday, Tuesday appears to be quiet in Pakistan on the second day after the US killed Osama Bin Laden just outside Islamabad. Warnings to be wary of reprisals have been voiced by both the US and Pakistani governments and two US consulates in Pakistan have been closed as a precaution.

Writing in Tuesday’s Washington Post, Pakistani Presdient Asif Ali Zardari pointed out that Pakistan has suffered greatly (and he personally) at the hands of al Qaeda:

Let us be frank. Pakistan has paid an enormous price for its stand against terrorism. More of our soldiers have died than all of NATO’s casualties combined. Two thousand police officers, as many as 30,000 innocent civilians and a generation of social progress for our people have been lost. And for me, justice against bin Laden was not just political; it was also personal, as the terrorists murdered our greatest leader, the mother of my children. Twice he tried to assassinate my wife. In 1989 he poured $50 million into a no-confidence vote to topple her first government. She said that she was bin Laden’s worst nightmare — a democratically elected, progressive, moderate, pluralistic female leader. She was right, and she paid for it with her life.

Zardari did a gentle push-back on Pakistan’s embarrassment (“He was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be”) about their apparent lack of action against al Qaeda in general and admitted that Pakistan was not included in the planning or execution of Sunday night’s Bin Laden mission:

Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world. And we in Pakistan take some satisfaction that our early assistance in identifying an al-Qaeda courier ultimately led to this day.

So, while the pseudonym of the carrier was obtained at Guantanamo (but not through torture), Zardari is claiming a major role for Pakistan in helping to put a real name together with the operational one which is indeed a key step in the sequence of events leading to Bin Laden’s death.

A Reuters article attributes at least a portion of the calm in Pakistan to a sense of embarrassment over the harboring of Bin Laden:

There were no protests and no extra security in Pakistan on Tuesday, a day after the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces, just a sense of embarrassment and indifference that the al Qaeda leader had managed to lie low for years in a Pakistan garrison town.

“The failure of Pakistan to detect the presence of the world’s most-wanted man here is shocking,” The News said in an editorial, reflecting the general tone in the media, where some commentators predicted that Washington would take action to show its displeasure with Islamabad.

After noting that a demonstration is expected in Karachi, the article then states that many Pakistanis are indifferent to Bin Laden:

Still, many ordinary Pakistanis said bin Laden’s killing was of no consequence to them. “It doesn’t make any difference to my life whether he is killed or not,” said Zain Khan, a laborer in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Despite some indifference, though, warnings of potential reprisals have been made:

Intelligence agencies have warned that Pakistan may face a sharp rise in terrorism cases in the wake of the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

The National Crisis Management Cell of the interior ministry issued the warning to the police and law enforcement agencies after receiving credible intelligence that militants may plan ‘revenge’ attacks in Pakistan, targeting US diplomatic missions and Americans in the country, in addition to important civilian and military government installations.

These warnings have led to the closure of US consulates in Lahore and Peshawar:

The United States closed two of its consulates in Pakistan to the public on Tuesday until further notice, a day after Osama bin Laden was killed near the capital Islamabad.

The US embassy in Islamabad and a third consulate in Karachi had earlier also been closed to the general public for routine business, but a decision was taken Tuesday for them to re-open as normal, said an embassy spokesman.

Those closed are in the eastern city of Lahore and the northwestern city of Peshawar, which is close to the country’s tribal belt that Washington has called the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.

Note that the Karachi consulate has been re-opened for today despite the prediction of protests in Karachi. However, it is significant that the Lahore consulate is closed since this is where massive protests were held for many days during the prolonged Raymond Davis saga.

The complexity of the situation in Pakistan is reflected in part in its politics.  In an analysis at the Express Tribune, we see a listing of some of the radical groups in Pakistan with ties to both al Qaeda and the political system:

Harkatul Jihadul Islami, Jaishe Muhammad, Sipahe Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangavi and Lashkar-e-Taiba are some of the many organisations that were allowed to spread their network and physical infrastructure into the ‘settled’ areas of Pakistan such as Punjab and Sindh.

These organisations have deep links with al Qaeda and have allegedly collaborated with Osama bin Laden’s terror network against targets in Pakistan and South Asia at large. The larger Asian region is concerned about the linkages as recent stories have emerged regarding individuals coming from Indonesia and many countries in Europe to train in Pakistan.


Most of the militant outfits now have developed influential ties within the mainstream political parties as well. These militant forces might not conduct a vicious attack on the Pakistani state just yet. But they are likely to use the chaos to re-group and consolidate through manipulating the public discourse on terrorism run through the private and public media.

Zardari’s piece also provides some perspective on these radicals and their status in the political system:

Radical religious parties have never received more than 11 percent of the vote. Recent polls showed that 85 percent of our people are strongly opposed to al-Qaeda. In 2009, when the Taliban briefly took over the Swat Valley, it demonstrated to the people of Pakistan what our future would look like under its rule — repressive politics, religious fanaticism, bigotry and discrimination against girls and women, closing of schools and burning of books. Those few months did more to unite the people of Pakistan around our moderate vision of the future than anything else possibly could.

These figures from Zardari demonstrate that while organized and vocal, Pakistan’s radical religious groups appear to be less numerous at the polls than the radical Christian fundamentalist voting bloc in the US.

Drone Strikes in Pakistan Resume After Key ISI-CIA Meeting

4:27 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

On Tuesday, Marcy Wheeler pointed out that the meeting in Washington between Leon Panetta and his Pakistani counterpart, ISI head Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was cut short. A key topic in the meeting was the ongoing tension over US drone strikes in Pakistan. On cue, and apparently while Pasha was still in transit back from Washington, four drone-fired missiles struck in South Waziristan on Wednesday, killing four and prompting more protests from Pakistan. This strike was the first since a strike on March 17, the day after Raymond Davis was released, killed a large number of civilians, provoking widespread outrage in Pakistan and leading to a halt in US strikes.

The headline announcing the drone strikes in Pakistan’s Express Tribune captured what is likely a response that spread through Pakistan as news of the new drone strike spread: “US mocks Pak demand with fresh drone strike“. After describing the attack, which in this article was said to kill six rather than four, the article went on to provide details:

“Four missiles were fired. The target was a vehicle. Six militants were killed,” a military official told AFP requesting anonymity.

Intelligence officials said the dead belonged to the Haqqani Network, an al Qaeda-allied group run by veteran Afghan warlord Sirajuddin Haqqani and based in North Waziristan.

An administration official in South Waziristan said those who died were “all Afghans.”

Dawn noted that the nature of Pakistan’s protest over this strike is different from past complaints:

An unusual aspect of the remonstration was that it was the first time in a couple of years that a démarche was made on a missile strike targeting militants — an indication that Islamabad may be revisiting its tacit tolerance of hits by pilotless predators on militant sites.

Military sources confirmed to Dawn that those killed and injured in the drone attack on Wednesday were Afghans.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the drone attack at Angoor Adda today. We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counter-productive and only contribute to strengthening the hands of terrorists,” Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told US Ambassador Cameron Munter while lodging the protest with him.

Noting how the attacks “strengthen the hands of terrorists” is a very interesting tactic and seems to be new.

At the same time as this attack, Dawn also was providing information from the annual report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan:

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has issued its annual report which states that over 900 people were killed due to American Drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan, DawnNews reports.

The reports which focuses on human rights violations in the country also lays an emphasis on terror attacks in 2010 as a result of which 1100 people were killed.

In other words, the number killed by US drones is within 20 percent of those killed in terrorist attacks within Pakistan.

In a blog post at Dawn, Nadir Hassan provides a very interesting analysis of the ongoing struggles between Pakistan and the US. Hassan notes that Pakistan has no leverage in its quest to end the drone strikes:

Let’s get real though. Making demands is one thing. Expecting those demands to be fulfilled is quite another. The alliance between the US and Pakistan is often called a “transactional relationship.” The US pays for what it wants and we give it to them, holding our nose and counting the cash. In such a relationship you don’t get to have your complaints heard.

Before making demands, we need leverage. Cash-strapped as we are, we cannot tell the US to keep its foreign aid and we’ll keep our sovereignty, thank you very much. The problem is we do not have any other kind of leverage either. The US has two fears about Pakistan: that the country will be taken over by terrorists or that they will get their hands on our nuclear arsenal. As much as we use the Taliban threat – and it is a very real threat, although not one that will take over the government, as panicked Westerners fear – to wring more strings-attached aid out of the US, ultimately everyone knows that it is equally in Pakistan’s interest to keep the Taliban at bay. Sure, we may use them and keep them alive to bolster our misguided policy, but the Taliban is as much a threat to the military and civilian leadership here as it is to the US. Similarly, we cannot bluff the Americans into agreeing to our demands by implying that we will hand over a nuke or two to the militants. Basically, it all boils down to having no leverage.

There is one negotiating tactic the military could use, although its chances for success are slim. Pakistan is a vital supply route for Nato forces in Afghanistan, one that the army could threaten to shut down if some of their concerns aren’t addressed. It would be inconvenient for the US to rely solely on Central Asian routes to supply the coalition forces so perhaps this threat could get us a minor concession or two. For that, too, the window of opportunity is narrow. If President Barack Obama follows through on his promise to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next years, Pakistan’s role as a hub will diminish.

It is interesting that Hassan would mention attacks on supply convoys, since that tactic already has been used, as many fuel tankers were burned while Pakistan had closed a border crossing in the dispute over the US killing three Pakistani soldiers at a border station. Since Dawn is viewed by some to be a mouthpiece of the Pakistani military, it will be interesting to see if the next step in escalation of tensions will be a return to more attacks on supply convoys.

In contrast with the “mocking” nature of the US drone attack while Pasha was still in transit back from Washington, there is word today the Pakistan also appears to be going along with US demands to control Taliban forces within its borders:

Pakistani troops and paramilitary forces, backed by helicopter gunships and warplanes, targeted Taliban positions in the tribal region of Mohmand near the Afghan border on Thursday, killing at least 18 militants, a regional government official said.

Pakistan’s military has recently mounted an offensive in villages bordering Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar in pursuit of militants linked to al Qaeda and Taliban who want to destabilize the U.S. ally and impose Taliban-style rule.

“We are going after them with full force, using every kind of force. They carry out attacks and other activities from there,” Masood Khan, the government official, said.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Raymond Davis Murder Trial Postponed, DeHaven Granted Bail, CIA-ISI Tensions Grow

5:33 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

In my last update on the Raymond Davis case, I suggested that it appeared that Davis would possibly be convicted for the killing of two Pakistanis on January 27 in Lahore before his March 14 hearing scheduled on the issue of diplomatic immunity. Tuesday, however, proceedings in the murder case were adjourned until March 16, two days after the immunity hearing. Other related developments include the granting of bail for Aaron DeHaven and discussions in multiple venues (see Scott Horton’s discussion in the video and this NPR story) of the increasing tensions between the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI that this case has exposed.

Dawn reports on the delay in the murder trial:

A sessions court adjourned on Tuesday the hearing of the Raymond Davis double-murder case till March 16 after the counsel for the accused pointed out that the prosecution didn`t provide them recovery memos pertaining to the case.

“Though we had provided complete challan papers to the counsel for the accused on the last hearing, on Tuesday they sought recovery memos, the documents relating to the items recovered from the accused,” the Punjab additional prosecutor general (APG) told this reporter.

He said accordingly, the prosecution provided the required documents to the counsel soon after the court ordered them to do so. He said the prosecution team had also requested the court to charge the accused in the case but the judge adjourned the hearing till March 16.

Via AFP, Dawn also has details on Aaron DeHaven, who was detained in Peshawar for over-staying his visa:

A Pakistani court granted bail on Monday to a US citizen said to have been working for a private security company and detained after he outstayed his Pakistani visa, court officials said.


“The US national has been ordered to submit a surety bond of two million rupees (about $23,500). His release orders will be issued soon after furnishing the surety bonds,” a court official said.

De Haven has been ordered not to leave the area without informing police until his case is concluded, the official added.

Meanwhile, the prospects of arranging payment of blood money still seem dim. The widow of one of Davis’ victims spoke out today, accusing the Punjab government of not working hard enough on the case:

Zahra Faizan, the widow of one of the victims of the Lahore shooting case, stated that the Punjab government is not working sincerely in the Raymond Davis case. However, she expressed satisfaction over judiciary’s role in the case.


Talking to media after the meeting, she said that she was not satisfied with the case as yet.

She demanded that the Punjab government should bring the culprits to justice and also thanked the PML-Q leaders for their support.

Hmm, speaking of blood money, why do you suppose David Ignatius suddenly inserted himself (h/t bmaz) last week into the public discussions of “blood money” in this case?

In addition to Scott Horton’s explanation of CIA-ISI tensions in the video above, consider these tidbits from an NPR story from Tuesday:

Mr. ROBERT GRENIER (Former CIA Station Chief in Pakistan): I think the ISI is feeling embarrassed because this sort underscores that the ISI, you know, doesn’t have control over what foreign intelligence is doing in its country, or at least it appears that way, and I think that they’re very sensitive to that.

Rachel Martin then continues with Dr. Christine Fair, of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University:

MARTIN: Fair says she could see ISI officials asking for more control over which U.S. government employees are issued visas to Pakistan and a bigger say in the size of the U.S. footprint in the country. Much of that footprint is devoted to tracking down militant groups operating inside Pakistan. There are three big ones: Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban.

Christine Fair says the CIA and the ISI have totally different views on these groups. The CIA sees them as existential threats to America.

Ms. CHRISTINE FAIR: In contrast, the ISI sees these groups as existential assets, and so this is where our two countries are at absolute loggerheads. Theres really no way of finessing this fundamental difference.

Wow. When the CIA is working to destroy groups that it sees as existential threats, while the intelligence service of the home country in which those groups operate, the ISI, sees these same groups as existential assets, it is very hard for me to see how the two intelligence services could ever be expected to work together or find areas in which they are comfortable sharing information with one another. While the Davis case has perhaps brought full attention to this fundamental difference between the CIA and ISI, those differences will persist long after the Davis case is resolved.

Express Tribune: Some US Operatives Leaving Pakistan

6:47 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

The fallout from US-Pakistan tensions over the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis for killing two Pakistanis on January 27 has continued to expand. reported on Friday on the number of US personnel in Pakistan believed to have diplomatic immunity, and on the same day, an American was arrested for overstaying his visa in Pakistan. Taken together, these bits of information suggest that Pakistan is carefully analyzing the data it has on potential US operatives within Pakistan and is carefully documenting their status. On Monday, the Express Tribune reported that it has received word that some suspected US spies in Pakistan have stopped their activities and some have even left the country.

The evidence that Pakistan is scouring its records to search for other operatives similar to Raymond Davis appeared in Dawn on Friday:

As many as 2,570 foreigners currently working in foreign missions of 78 countries in Pakistan enjoy diplomatic immunity, Minister of State (MoS) for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar Friday told the National Assembly.


Giving details of the countries and diplomats she said that 851 US nationals working in Pakistan enjoy immunity. Out of these 554 are diplomats while 297 are non-diplomats.


It was also informed that 31 US nationals are working in the US Consulate in Lahore and enjoying immunity.

Similarly, 52 and 58 US nationals work in US consulates located in Karachi and Peshawar respectively and enjoy diplomatic immunity.

The Guardian reported on Friday that American Aaron Mark DeHaven was arrested for overstaying his visa in Pakistan:

Peshawar police arrested Aaron DeHaven, a contractor who recently worked for the US embassy in Islamabad, saying that his visa had expired.

Little was known about DeHaven except that his firm, which also has offices in Afghanistan and Dubai, is staffed by retired US military and defence personnel who boast of direct experience in the “global war on terror”.


His business partner is listed on company documents as Hunter Obrikat with an address in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Guardian was unable to contact either men at listed numbers in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US and Dubai.

The website for Catalyst Services, LLC can be found here. It is far more polished than the websites associated with Raymond Davis’ businesses. The US phone number listed for the company has a West Virginia area code, but gives no names for individuals within the company. Searching the West Virginia database of business entities does not find a Catalyst Services, LLC registered in the state, nor does DeHaven’s name turn up associated with any other business entities.

I have not found any documents unrelated to the Guardian article that link Dehaven and Obrikat, but North Carolina state records do show a Catalyst Services USA, LLC with Obrikat as the sole individual identified with it.

It would seem that the news that Pakistan is scouring the records of potential intelligence operatives and even arresting individuals who don’t have all of their affairs in order has some operatives shutting down their activities or leaving the country altogether. The Express Tribune reports on Monday:

At least 30 suspected covert American operatives have suspended their activities in Pakistan and 12 have already left the country, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In the aftermath of the shootings in Lahore on January 27 by suspected CIA operative Raymond Davis, intelligence agencies in Pakistan began scrutinising records of the Americans living in Pakistan and discovered several discrepancies, causing many suspected American operatives to maintain a low profile and others to leave the country altogether.


Most of the ‘special Americans’ are suspected of being operatives of US intelligence agencies who are on covert missions in Pakistan, reporting to the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), according to sources familiar with the situation.

Hmmm. It’s nice to see that the rest of the world is beginning to catch up to Jeremy Scahill’s work from December, 2009.

Since security contractors are reported to be leaving Pakistan, it comes as no surprise that DeHaven’s request for bail was denied:

A court in northwest Pakistan Monday rejected the bail application of an American said to have been working for a private security company who is accused of overstaying his visa.

“The bail application of Aaron Mark De Haven has been rejected because he had no legal documents,” public prosecutor Javed Ali told AFP in Peshawar.

The US Embassy seems quite subdued in its latest statement about DeHaven:

A U.S. citizen was remanded into judicial custody this morning at a court hearing in Peshawar. U.S. consular representatives have met with him, as they would with any private American citizen. We appreciate the cooperation of the Pakistani authorities and respect the Pakistani legal process.

So far, at least, it does not look like the US will make the same effort on behalf of DeHaven as it is making for Davis.

Raymond Davis: Intelligence Recruiter in Pakistan, Too?

10:09 am in Foreign Policy, Government, Pakistan by Jim White

Last Thursday, I presented evidence that builds a strong case that one of Raymond Davis’ functions when he is in the US is to recruit intelligence agents. On Tuesday, the Express Tribune in Pakistan presented evidence that suggests that Davis also worked as a recruiter of some sort within Pakistan, as well.

The Express Tribune quotes an official from the Punjab police on Davis’ ties to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP):

“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab police claimed.

“His close ties with the TTP were revealed during the investigations,” he added. “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency.” Call records of the cellphones recovered from Davis have established his links with 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi sectarian outfit, sources said.

The Times of India picks up on this accusation, and spins it to suggest that Davis may have been double-crossing the US in an article with the suggestive headline “Did Davis double-cross US as recruitment point man for Taliban?”

American official Raymond Davis, arrested for double murder, had “close links” with Taliban and was “instrumental” in recruiting youths for it, the media here claimed on Tuesday, close on the heels of reports in the US that he was a CIA agent tracking movements of terror groups like LeT.

The “close ties” of 37-year-old Davis, arrested in Lahore on January 27 for killing two men he claimed were trying to rob him, with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan came out during investigations, ‘The Express Tribune’ reported quoting an unnamed senior official of Punjab Police. “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency (in Pakistan),” the official said.

I lean toward the explanation that the Express Tribune offers for Davis’ actions:

Davis was also said to be working on a plan to give credence to the American notion that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not safe. For this purpose, he was setting up a group of the Taliban which would do his bidding.

Isn’t it interesting that Davis’ “bull in the china shop” act has bungled so much in what may well be covert US activities in the general area of weapons of mass destruction? Could the inept way Davis has operated be more fallout from the grave damage done to the CIA’s WMD program when Dick Cheney “outed” Valerie Plame?

Although there have been some suggestions that Davis was in fact very high up in the CIA organization in Pakistan, and perhaps even acting Head of Station since the recent “outing” of the person in that post, I’d like to believe that Davis is a lower level functionary since he was so sloppy in how much incriminating material he had with him when the shooting incident went down. One argument in favor of this interpretation lies in the sheer number of “agents” the US has in Pakistan. From the Washington Post:

It is unclear how many of the U.S. mission’s personnel are private security contractors or intelligence agents, many of whom work alongside Pakistani agents on counterterrorism operations, including the CIA drone program. A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman declined to provide figures; according to data provided by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, 3,555 U.S. diplomats, military officials and employees of “allied agencies” were issued visas in 2010, most of which were valid for three months.

Pakistani commentators and opposition parties have filled that vacuum of information in recent days with numbers of their own. In a recent newspaper column, Raoof Hasan, a media adviser to the chief minister of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, wrote of “scores of other Raymonds roaming the roads.” Last week, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, a religious party, told a gathering of tribal elders that there are “thousands of Raymond Davises.”

Whatever Davis’ true assignment in Pakistan might have been, it is clear that this incident has had and continues to have a profound influence on Pakistanis’ opinion of the US and on US-Pakistan diplomatic relations. How the case will be resolved remains to be seen, but former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi offered a very interesting take on the next steps during an appearance before the Rawalpindi District Bar:

“The whole nation is unified on the independence of the judiciary…free judiciary will help bring foreign investment,” said Qureshi. “Lawyers’ role in ending dictatorships and restoring democracy cannot be ignored,” he added.

Qureshi appreciated the role of Bar and Bench for the fight of restoring democracy in the country.

“Accountability is possible only by good governance and transparency…lawyers would have to continue their struggle for strengthening democratic institutions as they have done in the past,” said the former minister.

If Davis is to be released, it is certain that the release will be contingent upon the US promising to carry out its own criminal investigation of Davis killing the two Pakistani citizens. Does anyone believe that the US judicial system under Barack Obama and Eric Holder is independent enough for such an investigation to be credible?

Was Raymond Davis Spying on Pakistan’s Babur Missile?

6:16 am in Foreign Policy, Government, Military, Pakistan by Jim White

As the diplomatic tussle between the United States and Pakistan over US demands for the release of Raymond Davis continues, it is interesting to note that their are varying reports of what Davis had in his possession (photos here) at the time he was arrested after shooting dead two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore on January 27. Varying reports mention a GPS tracker, a GPS navigation system or a phone tracker, along with a telescope and digital cameras said to have photos of “sensitive” locations. In a very interesting development, we learn from multiple sources that on Thursday Pakistan successfully test-fired its Hatf VII cruise missile, which it also calls “Babur”. When the Express Tribune first reported that Davis’ victims were from the intelligence community (which ISI has since denied and threatened the paper with legal action), the Washington Post followed up by mentioning that Davis was trailed and confronted because he had “crossed a red line“. Was gathering information on the impending test firing of the Babur missile that red line?

Pakistan has a history of developing missiles intended to be used with their nuclear weapons. This report (caution, it is old and dates from 1999 and quotes material from the Rumsfeld Commision) is interesting for where it states that M-11 missiles from China were seen:

The Rumsfeld Commission confirmed that complete M-11 missiles were sent to Pakistan from China. Pakistan has reportedly received more than 30 M-11s, which have been observed in boxes at Pakistan’s Sargodha Air Force Base west of Lahore. Intelligence officials believe Chinese M11s have probably been in Pakistan since November 1992, when China was “reconsidering” its stance on missile exports after the sale of U.S. F-16 aircraft to Taiwan. Since then, Pakistan has been constructing maintenance facilities, launchers and storage sheds for the missiles, all with Chinese help. China and Pakistan deny these reports.

Pakistan calls the M-11 the Hatf-III. The missile has a range of more than 300 km and a payload of 500 kg. It is a two-stage, solid-propelled missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The missile was reportedly test-fired in July 1997.

Of importance is the fact that the missiles were said to be at an air base west of Lahore. Now for the description of the sensitive photos Davis took:

“During the course of investigation, police retrieved photographs of some sensitive areas and defence installations from Davis’ camera,” a source told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity. “Photos of the strategic Balahisar Fort, the headquarters of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Peshawar and of Pakistan Army’s bunkers on the Eastern border with India were found in the camera,” the source added.

So, just a few weeks after Davis may have provoked Pakistan intelligence into a confrontation with him, perhaps over sensitive photos he may have been observed taking in the Lahore area, Pakistan test-fires a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead:

Pakistan Thursday successfully tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of up to 600 km, a military official said.

The Hatf-VII missile, also called Babur after the 16th-century Muslim ruler who founded the Mughal Empire, was fired from an undisclosed location, said Major General Athar Abbas, a military spokesman.

This story goes on to mention that the nuclear-capable Hatf V, with a range of 1300 km was tested in December. And the story points out that most of Pakistan’s missiles “are deployed toward India”, which means that the Lahore area, on the Indian border, is a likely site.

It will be very interesting to see if the US comments on the test-firing.

Raymond Davis Crisis Escalates: US-Pak Diplomatic Freeze, Three Americans Can’t Leave

6:22 am in Foreign Policy, Pakistan by Jim White

The crisis sparked by US “consular employee” Raymond Davis shooting and killing two Pakistani citizens in Lahore on January 27 heightened on Monday, when it was revealed that his victims were part of Pakistan’s “security establishment”, that a second Congressional delegation had intervened with the Prime Minister on Davis’ behalf and that the widow of one of the victims had committed suicide. Developments in the case continue at breakneck pace, with the story once again breaking into the Washington Post for Tuesday, where we learn that the US “has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan” over the incident. Dawn fills in more detail on that suspension, noting that Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari had been scheduled to visit Washington next month, but that trip now appears endangered. Further, we learn that Pakistan has added three more consular employees to the exit control list, preventing their departure from Pakistan. The unidentified employees are believed to have been in the car that rushed to Davis’ defense after the shooting, hitting and killing a third Pakistani who was on a motorcycle.

Here is how the Post describes the heightened tensions:

The Obama administration has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan, a key U.S. partner in the Afghanistan war, over the case of an American diplomat the Pakistanis have detained on possible murder charges, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

The case of Raymond Allen Davis, who has admitted he fatally shot two Pakistanis he said threatened him from a motorcycle while he was driving in Lahore on Jan. 27, has severely strained relations between the two governments and threatens to scuttle a planned summit among U.S., Afghan and Pakistani leaders scheduled for the end of this month in Washington.

The article goes on to describe some of the sources of tension:

In Pakistan, the issue has become embroiled in widespread anti-Americanism and suspicions, fanned by the Pakistani media and used for political advantage, that U.S. spies and intelligence contractors are secretly operating in the country. It has also posed a challenge to Pakistan’s weak civilian government as it struggles to wrest control of national security policy from the powerful military and fends off opposition political parties.

Further description of the various tensions within in Pakistan comes from the Times of India (it hardly needs noting that India is seen as benefiting from internal discord in Pakistan, but the newspaper had a hilarious editing failure, with the headline for this article staring off with “Tinkered, Tailored, Soldered, Spied”):

For instance, it turns out that even as Islamabad is publicly resisting American pressure, a section of the Pakistani establishment has revealed that the two men who were shot were in fact agents of the ISI, its spy agency. Adding to the confusion, the wife of one of the alleged robbers/spies died under mysterious circumstances in a Pakistani hospital after consuming poison, but not before she met journalists and issued a revenge call, demanding “blood for blood.”

Meanwhile, unnamed Pakistani officials also told the Express Tribune newspaper in Lahore that the Pakistani government’s “tough stance” on the whole issue was also a “reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washington to implicate…the ISI in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks,” including the decision by an American court to summon top ISI officials in connections with the attacks.

This description goes beyond what was in the Express Tribune, which merely said the victims were part of the “security establishment” by stating outright that the victims were ISI. The article continues:

All this now makes it even more difficult for Pakistan’s civilian government to release Davis even if it now transpires, as was reported by the Express Tribune, that the two motorcycle borne men who were killed were ISI agents. An unnamed security official told the newspaper, which is brought out in collaboration with the International Herald Tribune, that the duo belonged to the security establishment and “found the activities of the American official detrimental to our national security.”

The Washington Post article also follows up on Pakistani accusations against Davis:

Further complicating the situation, a Pakistani intelligence official said that the two men Davis killed were not, as he has said, armed robbers intent on stealing money, his telephone and perhaps his car, but intelligence agents assigned to tail him. This official said the two intended to frighten Davis because he crossed a “red line” that the official did not further define.

It would be very interesting to know just how one crosses the “red line” to prompt an armed confrontation with security agents who most likely are ISI. The attempts to tie ISI to the Mumbai attack appears to me to be a more general accusation against US interests, so it doesn’t seem on first glance to fit as a triggering event caused by Davis himself, although it should be noted that Lahore is on the border where Pakistan and India meet, directly across the country from Afghanistan, so it is possible that Davis was investigating the attack.

More perspective on the widening diplomatic rift comes from Dawn:

The United States has put all bilateral contacts with Pakistan on hold until Islamabad releases an employee of the its consulate in Lahore, arrested for shooting down two men, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

The sources said that the dispute could affect three major events planned this year: President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Washington, the next round of US-Pakistan strategic dialogue and trilateral talks involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.


They also want [sic] that the US Congress is currently considering budget proposals for the next fiscal year and the diplomatic row could affect $1.5 billion of annual assistance for Pakistan as well.

Escalation of the crisis is also seen on another front, with three more Americans being placed on the exit control list, banning them from leaving Pakistan:

Three more Americans, besides US official Raymond Davis who fatally shot two Pakistanis in Lahore, have been prohibited from going abroad, said an official.

The government barred the three more US nationals from going out of the country on allegations that they were in the vehicle that crushed a man to death in Lahore after Davis was involved in the shooting, the Express Tribune reported Monday.

Davis was arrested after he shot dead two people riding on a motorbike at a busy intersection in Lahore Jan 27. He called up the US consulate after the shooting and a team rushed to help him. The team’s vehicle collided with a motorcyclist, killing him.

The article does not identify the consular employees.

Stay tuned for further developments.