Pakistan Determined to Siege Sponsored Terrorism

By Zaheer ul Hassan
In the past 4 months or so, Pakistan has witnessed a major spike in the number of terrorists’ incidents as compared to past year. Today, on 21 April 24, Two Customs officials died and four were injured in an unfortunate terrorists attack in DI Khan. In the same city, again on 18 April 2024, five Customs officials were gunned down, but no culprit was apprehended by any law enforcement agency.
On 19 April 24, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden motorbike with a van carrying Japanese autoworkers in southern part of the Port city of Karachi, injuring three bystanders and resulting in loss of life of one cop. This attack can be considered as a sequel to the 26th March attack by an explosive-laden vehicle that detonated with a bus carrying Chinese engineers near Besham city in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, resulting in the demise of five Chines engineers. Similarly in 2021 Pakistan witnessed a deadly attack on foreigners in the same city resulting in the death of 13 Chinese engineers. Targeting foreign nations working on various projects in Pakistan clearly reveal the nefarious design and purpose of hostile agencies working against Pakistan.
The terrorists have also started to target different ethnicities in provinces and hope to escalate ethnic tensions to further destabilize the country. A pertinent example is the incident on 13 April 2024, when 12 people were killed by some unknown terrorists near Sultan Gharhai , Noshki, Balochistan .Around 10-12 gunmen blockaded the Quetta-Taftan Highway, abducted nine passengers from a bus, subsequently shot them dead and threw their dead bodies in mountainous terrain. Before executing them, the gunmen checked the identity cards of passengers. All nine killed victims were from Wazirabad, Mandi Bahauddin, and Gujranwala. On the same highway a car carrying locals overturned once the said car driver tried to escape from the attackers however, he was fired upon by some militants, resulting in death to two individuals. One of the car’s passengers was a brother of provincial assembly member Ghulam Dastgir Badini. Although no group claimed the responsibility of attacks but killing innocents’ pilgrims and discriminatory fire on car plying on Balochistan Highway, evidently shows that foreign sponsored terrorists are behind these insurgencies and militancy.
These sponsored terrorists often also tend to attack security institutes / setups in restive areas of the country to prove their worth to their master and get a hefty payday. According to ISPR, On night 25/26 March 2024, terrorists attempted to attack Pakistan Naval Base, PNS Siddique in Turbat which was thwarted due to the swift action of deployed security forces, In this attack four soldiers martyred and all four terrorists who attacked were eliminated .
President, Prime Minister, Political and Military brass strongly condemned the attacks and expressed his condolences to the victims’ families, saying: “We stand with the bereaved families in this hour of grief.” They also reaffirmed their commitment to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the root, so that Pakistan is able to flourish economically and politically stable and strong enough to defeat our overt and covert enemies.
Pakistan is an important regional player who’s Westerns and Northern areas are considered a gateway to CARs and the Arabian Sea. Furthermore, western areas (Balochistan) are also enriched with natural resources like Reko Diq Mines that has the ability to produce an yearly output of 7800 kg Gold, world class copper and many other minerals. Furthermore, the presence of a deep seaport in the shape of Gwadar post and the possibility China using this route has many of the neighbouring countries feeling insecure for themselves thus warranting security of said areas.
Similarly, in KPK province, snow covered northern areas provide an excellent global connectivity to Central Asian States, Soviet Union, China and rest of the world through Gwadar Port and CPEC. On the other hand, Washington always discouraged Islamabad in strengthening her ties with Russia and China whereas her favourite champion of democracy India has become a state sponsoring terrorism blatantly and is directly or indirectly supporting banned organizations like TTP, BLA and other terrorist groups. Their basic objectives are to cause regional insecurity, interrupt CPEC progress, containment of China, hit nuclear assets in the longer run ruining Pakistan credibility, inflict casualties over security forces and civilians and target Pakistan’s economy through fomenting militancy. Thus, Pakistan is rigorously fighting back foreign sponsored terrorism particularly since sighing of contract on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in April 2015 and commencement of global war against terrorism.
According to South Asian Terrorism Portal, Pakistan has faced exponential increase in terrorism and suffered with heavy losses of lives since year 2000. Around 16,695 incidents of terrorism have occurred, in which 21,353 civilian, 8564 security elements martyred and 34547 terrorists were killed. NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority), revealed in its official websites that in last 20 years, Pakistan lost 83 thousand lives and faced a financial loss of more than 35 trillion rupees. Both sources also indicate that incidents decreased in 2017-2018 whereas the substantial increases (43%) in incidents were noticed just from year 2021 to 2022 as revealed in NACTA Administration Reports-22. During said tenure, the figures of occurrences raised from 718 to 1025, casualties’ graphs moved upward from 1373 to 2097 that include 985 deaths and remaining injured. Major escalation in militancy and terrorism is going along country western border of KPK. Resultantly, violence, extremism and intolerance have manifold in society.
It is a well known fact that majority of the terrorists’ groups and organizations have their bases and hideouts in border areas of Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan has time and again reiterated to both its neighbors to take actions against the terrorists operating from their territory but in vain. The fomenting of terrorism is confirmed many times, for example in one of the case , on 3 Mar 2016, 54 year-old Kulbhushan Yadav was found involved in organized terror operations in Pakistan for the Indian agency “RAW” since 2003. He was arrested from Mashkheil area near Chaman Balochistan, and despite him being sentenced ro death April 10 2016, he is still waiting for execution of sentence. In this connection, Pakistan has already handed over dossier of proofs and evidence of Indian involvement in militancy to UN and world community too.
Most prominent evidence of Foreign state sponsored terrorism involved was revealed, few days back when renowned newspaper “The Guardian” disclosed that India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh confirmed its notorious intelligence agency, Research Analysis Wing (RAW ) was involved in extrajudicial killings of 20 individuals in Pakistan. Similar natures of killing of a Sikh leader Nijjar Singh, has also been carried out in June 23 in Canada .
Moreover, US authorities uncovered Indian plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil and issued a warning to India’s government over concerns in Nov 23. Pannun is general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, a US-based group that is part of a movement pushing for an independent Sikh state called “Khalistan”. Reportedly, US President Joe Biden raised the matter in a discussion with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting at the G20 summit in New Delhi.
On 18 March 24 FO spokesperson, Mrs. Mumtaz Zahra Baloch confirmed that Pakistan launched “intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations” inside Afghan border area and killed eight TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) terrorists belonging to Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group. She further added that the killed terrorists, apart from attacking civilians in Pakistan had also hit a security post in Mir Ali in North Waziristan in which two officers one Lt Col, Captain and five soldiers embraced martyrdom on 16 Mar 24.
The strikes come a day after claiming the responsibility of deadly attack on said security post by Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group that is operating from Khost area of Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistani Civil and Military brass very rightly decided to hit back terrorists camp located inside Afghanistan. In this regard President Asif Ali Zardari very clearly vowed retaliation after attending funeral prayers of Lieutenant Colonel Syed Kashif Ali Shaheed, Captain Muhammad Ahmed Badar Shaheed and soldiers.
It is added here that Islamabad number of times sounded with proofs to Taliban rulers about cross border terrorism and foreign office handed over dossier of compiled evidences. Pakistan demanded, elimination of terrorists’ hideouts, stopping TTP from using Afghan territory, and handing over TTP terrorists who remained involve in fomenting terrorism in Pakistan. But unfortunately, Afghan government did not pay any heed to Islamabad demands ultimately, which ultimately led to current episode of striking camp located inside Afghanistan in retaliation to terrorist’s attack.
It can be ascertained that prevailing Indian sponsored proxy war has become a real threat to regional peace and it may convert into real war. Protectively, UN should intervene and pressurize New Delhi to stop backing terrorist organization and pushing back legal or illegal immigrants to their countries immediately. Iranian, Afghani and Pakistani rulers should stop providing shelters and hideouts to anti state elements of each other countries. They may organize or establish some united force to eliminate terrorists or organizations fomenting terrorism in each other countries.
Pakistan has raised this issue with US as well to find out that how American weapons are being used by TTP based terrorists who were killed by security forces in the Zhob Garrison attack in July 2023 and Chitral in September 23. In short, to establish peach there is a need to take solid steps in making and implantation of anti-terrorism policies, elevation lives of poor, curbing drug trafficking, preventing money laundering and examination of financers and sponsors of militants.
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