Balochistan Security: Top Priority of Pakistan
By Zaheerul Hassan
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on his return from KPK chaired a meeting ofcorps commanders at GHQ Rawalpindi on, 10th February, 2016. In this conference, the military leadership has reviewed the progress of operation Zarb-e-Azb and emphasized on the need of eliminating terrorism, requirement of giving special focus on return of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) to their homes and guarding the security of CPEC Project. COAS has categorically indicated that terrorists are being funded from abroad and executing their sabotage activities with the help of local facilitators. However, successful intelligence based operations under the supervision of country’s prime intelligence agency ISI produced the excellent results and many terrorists brought to the justice. So far, more than three thousand terrorists have been killed in various operations against the militants.
On 12th February 2016, Director General Inter-Service Public Relations, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa briefed journalists and media managers in a press conference at Rawalpindi. He said that the terrorists are being supported from abroad and banned organizations are their hideouts. Thus, it has also been proved that Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Taliban are interlinked and are carrying out coordinated and joint operations against innocent people and security forces. Some political elements do consider that currently some banned local organizations are either interested in joining Daesh or some local militant groups using Daesh’s name to spread fear in the society. Under the national lay downed national narrative on security, the forces are taking effective steps in elimination of terrorism. In this regard recently, around 97 al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants, including three commanders, were arrested in Karachi. These terrorists had also planned an attack to break US journalist Daniel Pearl’s killer out of jail.
The arrested militants were involved in major attacks on two air bases, the Karachi airport, and several regional intelligence headquarters and on police installations between 2009 and 2015.
In September 2015, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani in his statement issued to the media also confirmed that Pakistani security agencies have arrested 8363 people and killed more than 200 under National Action Plan (NAP) in Balochistan this year. He further endorsed that more than 1800 intelligence-based military operations were conducted in different areas of Balochistan killing 204, including 100 high-profile persons.
However, Intensification of militancy has been noticed just after the declaration of the construction of China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). To complete their sinister design, anti-state elements have initially used to target innocent people and important installations. Baloch nationalist militants with the support of militants have been conducting a low-intensity insurgency in the province since 2004. The insurgency geared up when on 26 August 2006, veteran Baloch nationalist leader and former Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed, along with 37 armed tribals, in a military operation in Chalgri area of Bhamboor hills of Dera Bugti district . His killing was due to the detonation of some mines or explosions present inside the cave where Bugti was hiding himself and controlling the insurgents. Nonetheless, prior to Bugti death, during the same period, the foreign sponsored terrorists killed around 21 security personnel, including some officers in fierce clashes. The security forces arrested over two dozen tribesmen who were involved in fomenting terrorism in Balochistan and across the country.
Nonetheless, since 2012, sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) have targeted the Shia Hazara community. In this regard, on 29 May 2015, militants killed 19 people when they ambushed a bus in Mastung district, specifically identifying and killing all Pashtun passengers on the bus.
Anyhow, the militants changed their strategy and in one go started hitting security forces and innocent people. Since January 2015 to date, the terrorists carried out 68 bomb blasts in which more than 100 people including security forces personnel were killed and 239 injured. In the most recent attack at least ten people were killed on 6 February 2016 when a suicidal blasted himself in Quetta’s Multan Chowk area. This attack includes four officials of the Frontier Corps (FC) and more than 40 individuals severely injured. TTP claimed the responsibility of carrying out blast.
Just one month before, in another attack on 13 January 2015, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a polio vaccination center in Quetta, killing at least 15 people, mainly police personnel. Unfortunately, the killed policemen were accompanying polio workers on the third day of a vaccination campaign, which are frequently targeted by Taliban and other militant groups in Pakistan. Earlier on 15 June 2015, the militants of banned Balochistan Liberation Party tried to hit the ideology of Pakistan while targeting the residency of Founder of Pakistan, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Furthermore, attacking Bacha Khan University Charsadda, stray firing on various roads of Quetta and Karachi were observed just after Pathankot Airport incident. Indian political and military elite as usual started threatening and alleged Pakistan for attacking Pathankot Air Base. In this context, while addressing on various forums many times Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar while addressing to army officers on 68th Army Day on 11 January 2016 warned that who have harmed us will also feel the pain. Therefore, without any doubt one can make out that ongoing terrorism wave in Pakistan is the repercussions of attack on Pathankot Air base. Nevertheless, the militancy in Pakistan is continue being plotted, launched and executed by Indian notorious agency RAW. The objectives of terrorism could be to create regional insecurity and make an attempt of creating hindrances in the way of CPEC Project. Since Due to this $45 billion project, Pakistan and China have attracted Russia, Central Asians’ States and Afghanistan to join us with the view to bring regional prosperity.
“Claiming that the attack was aimed at damaging the CPEC project, the secretary said, “Because of the Economic Corridor, the security forces are being targeted by terrorists.”
Pakistan is pursuing Russia and other regional states to join hands against terrorism and work together for shining future of the coming generations. Whereas India, USA and Iran will never like to sit back and watch Pakistan to give away Gwadar port to China and facilitate her in steadily building a naval port there. Since CPEC without handing over Gwadar port to China may be acceptable to US and its partners but CPEC project only for handing over Gwadar port to China is not being liked by all those countries who feel threatened by China. Therefore, prevailing security environment particularly in Balochistan has to be improved since rapid economic growth, development of CPEC, countrywide elimination of terrorism and bringing prosperity without peace is not possible.
Apparently USA is showing more interests in settling down the Afghan issue. In this regards on 6 February 2016, ahead of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group meeting comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and China were held where they decided that terrorists will not be allowed to use the territories of their countries but practically speaking India , Afghanistan and US troika will never keep on creating unrest in Balochistan, FATA, KPK and Karachi. Therefore, prevailing security environment particularly in Balochistan has to be improved since rapid economic growth and bringing prosperity without peace is not possible. The issue of speedy settling down of some 93,000 families has to be given priority since they were displaced inside Pakistan after Pak Army offensive in June 2014 against Taliban and other foreign militants. Government should realise that delay in their settling down may be exploited again by the militants and their supporters.
Last but not the least; the entire nation has to fight back the militancy for the future of Pakistan. Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar instead of creating rifts amongst the political forces should play an active role and help the sitting governments and security forces to exert jointly against foreign sponsored militancy. Moreover, political stability through elected democratic forces can make Pakistan stronger enough to defeat foreign sinister design. Thus, government should give top priority to improve upon the security in sensitive Balochistan.
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