Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Terrorist Attack in Pakistan


Terrorist Attack in Pakistan

Pakistan is embroiled in mounting insurgency and people from various racial and religious spectrum fall victim to terrorist attacks. Their blood is spilt in public places and engenders fear and anxiety in social life. Pakistani nation suffers on the grounds of their race and creed, the same as Afghan nation, and left at the mercy of unmitigated militancy since the bulk of terrorist networks and Taliban’s prominent leaders enjoy safe haven immunity.
According to reports, at least 90 people were killed and over 110 others wounded in a suicide bombing on August 8, at the emergency ward of Quetta’s Civil Hospital, where scores of people had gathered to mourn the death of Baluchistan Bar Association (BBA) president Bilal Anwar Kasi in a gun attack earlier in the day.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that has pledged loyalty to the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group, has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. JuA has been involved in several attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan’s tribal belts in the past.
Terrorist networks carried out deadly attacks against people, mainly against religious minority groups, in Quetta within the past decade. I distinctly remember when the Shia minority group was being targeted by religious extremists in Quetta City while performing their religious rituals in holy month of Muharram. “What makes Balochistan’s terror maze more complex is the presence of all kinds of militant groups, ranging from sectarian to separatist. The footprints of al Qaeda and IS have also emerged here,” says a Pakistani writer. The militants stoke sectarian violence and target civilians to create mayhem.
Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership called it an attempt by the “enemies of the country” to sabotage the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and said that the menace was emanating from Afghan soil, which was being managed by Indian intelligence agencies. However, at the same time there was an acknowledgment that a network of “facilitators” within the country provided an enabling environment for the external enemy. It is an indisputable fact that a large number of terrorist networks such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), Jaish-ul-Islam and Ahlesunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), formerly known as Sipa-e-Sahaba, Quetta Shura, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) and Haqqani network are the prominent and perhaps most dangerous groups that create chaos in Pakistan and violate the rights of Pakistani nation.
On the contrary, Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani said earlier that he could provide the addresses of the Taliban leaders in Quetta city of Pakistan. In the interview with Geo News, he reiterated that Pakistan provided sanctuaries to terrorists and trained them. Moreover, at the NATO summit in Warsaw, Ghani said, “Our regional initiatives with neighbors are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. The exception is with Pakistan – despite clear commitments to a quadrilateral peace process; their dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice.”
The mutual assailing regarding terrorist activities and the Taliban’s intensified attacks against Afghan nation led to tension between Kabul and Islamabad. Afghan officials believe that the Taliban group and Haqqani network leadership councils are based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan from where they stage attacks against Afghan forces and civilians – however Pakistan denies the claim and condemns the Taliban’s terrorist activities.
Since the IS has gained foothold in Pakistan soil, Pakistani officials accepted the facts that a network of “facilitators” pave the way for the militants. A number of the Taliban fighters pledged allegiance to IS group following the death of Mullah Omar – which led to splinter group – and played as catalyst for the emergence of IS both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Indeed, both Pakistani and Afghan nations suffer from mounting insurgency and religious minority groups have sustained heavy casualties both inside and outside the border. In a nutshell, both countries are embroiled in violence and bloodshed. The question is that will the blame game alleviate the militancy?
Afghanistan has changed its strategy towards the Taliban militants and Afghan soldiers, along with US forces, have maximized their attacks as backlash to insurgency. Since the soft policy, peace-offering, was proved abortive and peace talks failed to bear the desired result, the hard policy namely military deal will be the only option to counter insurgency – it is what Afghan government has ushered in. Although, insurgency has not been mitigated in Afghanistan, Taliban also suffer large casualties and reel from the death of their high-ranking officials such as Mullah Akhtar Mansour and Khalifa Mansour.
Pakistan also needs a change in policy and has to intensify its attacks against the Taliban, without considering them bad or good Taliban. Following the suicide attack on Monday, several Pakistani parliamentarians and analysts declared the attack a result of “non-effective” implementation of the National Acton Plan (NAP). So, Pakistan will have to adopt an effective strategy to combat terrorism and extend the Zarb-i-Azb Operation so as to gain the upper hand over the militants.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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