By Sadiq Yousufi-KABUL: The series of terrorist attacks in Pakistan have targeted all the four provinces, including tribal-belt, administered by Pakistan. The loyalists of the so-called Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh terrorist carried out a bloody attack on the Sufi Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh province of Pakistan during as the devotees were busy performing a rituals ceremony which claimed lives of more than 80 and wounded over 200 worshipers. Prior to this, an attack on van of Samma TV on Sunday in Karachi was resulted into killing of a media man. It was followed by a suicide attack on civilians outside in the building of Punjab’s Provincial Assembly, taking lives of sixteen people and wounded several others. A bomb disposal squad commander including a policeman was killed in Quetta on the same day. Similarly a vehicle of security forces in South Waziristan was hit through a road side bomb, killing two security personnel. On Wednesday security forces and judicial officers were targeted by four suicide bombers in Peshawar, Mohmand Agency and Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Three soldiers of Pakistani security forces were killed in Baluchistan’s Awaran district on Thursday and the attack was conducted against police force in Dera Ismail Khan, southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Responsibility for some attacks in various parts of Pakistan was claimed by the Tahreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Time and places where these terrorist attacks occurred, indicates a very much up to dated and coordinated plan. A series of deadly militant attacks that killed more than 100 people across Pakistan, including civilians, the soldiers and policemen have caused to an emotional reaction by Pakistan side. The interesting point is that instead of political government, the Pakistani army had taken the charge of the proceedings. Soon after suicide attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s Shrine, Pak Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa vowed that “each drop of the nation’s blood shall be revenge, and avenged immediately.” He said there would be “no more restraint for anyone.” The objective of his remarks was clear an hour later when Pakistani military announced closure of crossings between Kabul and Islamabad. The Afghan diplomats were summoned by Pakistani military and demanded immediate action against the sanctuaries of terrorists inside Afghanistan. They also handed over a list of 76 suspected terrorists to the Afghan envoy. Soon after the attacks, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz held a telephonic call with the Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA), Haneef Atmar, claiming that the terrorist attacks were being organized from the sanctuaries of Jammat-ul-Ahrar, situated in Afghanistan. It has been reported that Pakistani military has started artillery shelling in some areas in eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. Crackdown against innocent Afghan refugees is being exercised, where the act considered as mark of shame for Pakistan. Creating obstacles ahead of public is a big crime and also against all norm of international rules. President Ashraf Ghani and other high ranking officials have strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Pakistan and expressed condolence with the bereaved families. To give tit-for-tat responses to the Pakistani allegations, the Afghan officials said “Kabul has never allowed anyone to carry out terrorist activities to other countries while using Afghan soil.” The Afghan officials have emphasized on the need to launch joint fight against terrorism without any distinction between good and bad terrorists. A statement issued by the Presidential Palace said, the deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan have proved that terrorism does not recognize any border and geography location, because it is the enemy of humanity. Kabul further asked Pakistan to take practical steps against all terrorist groups having safe havens in various parts of Pakistan. The Afghan government summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, Abrar Hussain to lodge complaint over recent shelling in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. The Deputy Foreign Minister, Hekmat Khalil Karzai sought explanation from Pakistani ambassador and asked him to take the issue with Islamabad seriously. This comes after Nangarhar provincial governor, Gulab Mangal said Pakistani military has fired 200 missiles into Lalpura district of Nangarhar province which caused to the fled of hundreds of families from their homes. In addition to that two civilians were also wounded. Pakistan’s action of closing the crossing points have condemned by politicians and civil society members on both sides. Senior member of Awami National Party (ANP) said that closing Torkham and Spin Boldak crossing points would not stop movements of the militants, rather increase tension between the two countries. He added that Islamabad is failed to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorist outfits and closure of crossing points is aimed at diverting the public attention from security failure and pro-terrorism policies of Pakistan. Similarly Bushra Gohar, central member of ANP in her twitter account said “walls, ban, trenches and gates policies are not acceptable on Durand Line.”
The former Head of the National Security Directorate (NDS), Amrullah Saleh, said that Pakistan needs to shut down terror breeding culture, not the Afghan public crossings. He said the very concept and idea of using religious proxies born and nurtured in Pakistan. On the same line another well known, but former head of Afghan spy agency, Rahmatullah Nabil, said that Pakistan blames Afghanistan after the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and Military Intelligence (MI) proxy elements such Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and etc… have conducted the recent deadly attacks in Pakistan. He added that ISI and MI are pretending—Pakistan is the victim of terror. He said that the security and defense team of US President Donald Trump know the double game of Pakistan and they consider it as an ISI’s game. The central chairman of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM), Shafi Muhammad Burfat claims that the terrorist attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s Shrine was plotted by the (ISI) and army of Pakistan to create a sense of justification for the current military operation unleashed upon Sindhi nationalist activists belongs to JSMM as it has been previously justifying military actions in Baluchistan province of Pakistan.
Plotting such incidents is aimed at deceiving the international community and gives a logical reason to carry out brutal military operations against nationalist Baloch youth. Burfat added that religious extremism and terrorism has been Pakistan’s state doctrine. He added that Sehwan blast might be intended to sabotage the JSMM’s Sindh-wide protest against China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to be observed on 20th of the February. Recently, Afrasiab Khattak said, “Most of the fighters of Daesh (Khurasan) under its black flag are Pakistani citizens. Similarly the head of Muattahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain have been repeatedly identified that the black flags of Islamic State (IS) are waving from Sadiq Abad of Punjab province to Islamabad, capital city of Pakistan. On the other hand, Afghan Army Chief, Qadam Shah Saheem said that Afghan army has killed 1,955 Daesh terrorists in past one year.
The safe havens and sanctuaries of terrorists in Pakistan is no more a secret issue. Sartaj Aziz has formally confirmed the existence of Afghan Taliban in Pakistan while the Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry has recently said that Taliban entered Pakistan as immigrants to get out of the militancy. Recently the long War Journal has reported that the Haqqani Network, Mullah Nazir and Gul Bahadar groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Muhammad are directly using Pakistan’s army toilet, aimed at utilizing them as an instrument of its foreign policy.
The US Gen. John Nicholson recently told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that terrorists are freely roaming and enjoying safe sanctuaries in Pakistan. Many analysts in Afghanistan and Pakistan believe that such type of terrorist attacks against its own people is a common trend and strategy of Pakistan whenever it wants to achieve some objectives inside the country and abroad.
They said Pakistan is being nervous after Afghan officials turned blame finger toward Pakistan for terrorist bomb blast in Kandahar, killing five United Arab Emirate diplomats, and also high-profile Afghan officials. In step to retaliate Pakistan’s attack, President Ashraf Ghani visited UAE and also participated in Munich Security Conference, to raise its voice against terrorist groups who are enjoying impunity in Pakistan. Indirectly, President Ghani is willing to further push Pakistan toward isolation, as the country is not sincere in war on terror. It is not a mere statement, as recently we all know what South Asian Association for Reginald Cooperation (SAARC) did with Pakistan through boycotting their summit.
The SAARC member countries denounced to take part in summit to be held in Pakistan, arguing the country as a big supporter of the militant outfits. India was the first country, who came to boycott the summit, where later Afghanistan and other SAARC members followed the suite.
There are some facts behind Pakistan’s atrocity and continued support for militancy. First, Pakistan wants the recognition of the Durand Line as an international boundary—an issue where Afghans will never let it to be done, even at cost of their lives. The recognition of the line is like beating to the dead horse. The Afghan masses have rendered huge sacrifices, and we would not hesitate to render more in defending motherland and its sovereignty. The country also looking to bring Kabul under its control, especially to have influence on its foreign policy, and the reason behind it is to close down Kabul-New Delhi relations to a largest extend.
Third, Islamabad is chasing and suppressing the voices against China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and the freedom movements of Sindh and Baluchistan. Some people believe that it is not CPEC, rather it is a “China-Punjab Alliance” and a “China-Lahore-Route”, where Pashtoon, Sindhis, and Baloches are benefiting nothing from this 54billion project. Again the double face of Pakistan against these suppressed people unmasked.
Fourth, Pakistan is struggling to overcome the ongoing regional and international isolation and to minimize the anger of United Arab Emirates (UAE) after Kandahar bomb blast, plotted by ISI and Pak-backed Haqqani network, which claimed lives of five UAE diplomats including the ambassador to Kabul.
All these facts lead to the recent state sponsored insurgency in Pakistan, aimed at pretending as a victim of terrorism and also to mislead the international community.
Following consequences of the deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan, the Afghan security forces must take more security measures on hand in order to ensure safety of government compounds and public masses. There is fear looming among Afghan people that Pakistan would not stay silent and come up to the fore with wave of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan as usual. It is not wall-type proclamation because Afghanistan bearing the brunt of casualties at hands of Pakistani-backed terrorists for longtime. Moreover, the recent remark of the Chief of Pakistani Army was an indirect threat to Afghan people, indicating as he called on the insurgent groups to stand ready for carrying terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. It has been for years that Pakistan considers militants as their strategic assets.
To come up with more clear example, none can forget what Pakistani top security officials said. Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khwaja Asif have earlier said, “We have to neutralize terrorists through terrorists only. Why can’t we do it? We should do it.”
Such statements speak louder in itself, and showing that Pakistani military establishment are providing every resources to the militant groups to achieve their interests, while ignoring that militants are militants. Wrong attitude would never give birth to a tangible result, and it would not be too far to see Pakistan burning at the flam of insurgency.