By Sajjad Shaukat
In the recent past, new wave of terrorism in Pakistan’s province of Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa killed several innocent people, while various terrorist outfits such as the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan have its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements and is promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the foreign entities to destabilize Pakistan. These terror outfits are misguiding the general masses by misusing the concept of Jihad and provoking them for suicide assaults.
Besides other similar terror attacks, at least 15 innocent men, women and children were killed in and around 80 people were injured on February 13, 2016 when a suicide bomber struck outside the Punjab Assembly on the Mall Road (Charing Cross) in the eastern city of Lahore during a peaceful protest of the chemists and pharmacists against a new law.
The affiliated faction of the TTP, the TTP-JA or JuA took responsibility for the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.
In this respect, the rebuttal of the Shuhada Foundation of Lal Masjid to the claim of TTP-JuA that Lahore Charing Cross attack was perpetrated to revenge the killing of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi is surprising; however it depicts growing abhorrence for terrorists in our society. Every religious scholar of Pakistan condemned the TTP for this attack by the Shuhada Foundation, which also manages media campaign of Maulana Abdul Aziz, is a major upset for TTP. TTP attributes its genesis of Lal Masjid Operation and it often publishes articles and statements on this issue in its magazines to provoke general public. The outrage of people associated with Lal Masjid against TTP is, therefore, a major defeat of faulty narratives of terrorists in Pakistan.
Maulana Abdul Aziz is a person of dubious character and people under his influence are also not constant in their thinking. In the past, they have been supporting TTP’s terrorism in Pakistan and they allegedly expressed allegiance of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and DAISH. We hope they will adhere to their statement that leaders of TTP-JuA are agents of Indian RAW and they are killing innocent Muslims in their anti-Islam activities in Pakistan. Reportedly, the son of late Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, Haroon Rasheed Ghazi has also condemned TTP’s terrorism and has asked for political settlement of issues in Pakistan. Such statements are positive omens and reflect that the space for violent extremist Jihadi narratives is even shrinking in religious groups.
The nexus of Al-Qaeda, DAISH and TTP has killed 55 thousand innocent Muslims in their terrorist attacks in Pakistan so far in the name of Jihad. Militant leaders like Fazullah, Mohammad Khorasani and Ahsanullah Ahsan with their unholy hearts and evil minds defend their attacks like that of Army Public School of Peshawar and that of Bacha Khan University in which only little children and students were brutally massacred. Pakistan’s military and civil high officials strongly condemned the attack and recent terror attacks by pointing out their connections in Afghanistan.
It is notable that as part of the dual strategy, CIA, RAW and Mossad are in connivance with the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other terrorist groups. With latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS backed terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These external secret agencies are particularly supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is behind the fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has also become center of the Great Game owing to the ideal location of Balochistan. These intelligence agencies, especially Indian RAW is trying to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
After the recent terror assaults in Pakistan, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that senior Afghan diplomats were summoned to the General Headquarters (Of army) over the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and asked to ensure that immediate action was taken against the Pakistani terrorists living in safe havens in their country.
The army, which took the lead in dealing with Afghanistan over the terrorist sanctuaries there, had announced closure of the border crossings with Afghanistan citing security reasons.
According to the statement of the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, on February 17, 2017, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm by saying, “our security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed…each drop of nation’s blood shall be revenged, and revenged immediately…no more restraint for anyone.”
Gen. Javed Bajwa had called Gen John Nicholson, commander of the US’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan through telephone to protest continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan perpetrated from Afghanistan, saying that they were testing Pakistan’s policy of cross-border restraint.
Gen. Bajwa told Gen. Nicholson that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan had been claimed by terrorist organizations whose leadership is hiding in Afghanistan, and asked him to play his role in “disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support”.
In a terse message, during the conversation with Nicholson, Gen. Bajwa also informed him of the list of 76 “most wanted” terrorists handed over to Afghan authorities earlier—operating from Afghan territory or hand them over to Pakistan for trying them over their involvement in terrorism.
Taking cognizance of the terror assaults, Pakistan Army targeted a training camp of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and militant hideouts located close to the Pak-Afghan border in areas adjacent to Mohmand and Khyber agencies.
In a similar message to Kabul, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to call for strong action against JuA and terrorist’s sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Office of Pakistan said that Afghanistan had been asked to address concerns about presence of terrorist groups on its soil, which are behind the latest wave of terrorism in the country.
It is notable that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a press conference on February 17, this year claimed that the suspects involved in planning and carrying out the Feb 13 suicide bombing on a protest at Lahore’s Charing Cross belonged to Afghanistan. Sharif also announced the arrest of the facilitator of the attacker, Anwar-ul-Haq who he said belonged to Fata’s Bajaur Agency which neighbours Afghanistan. The suspect’s confessional statement was aired during the briefing. The suspect stated: “I was associated with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and they trained me”, adding that he has visited Afghanistan around 15 to 20 times.
Nevertheless, TTP related terrorist groups and extremist religious leaders, having connections in Afghanistan are following the agenda of enemies against Islam and Pakistan with the aim to create fear and panic in the society to weaken the whole country. Therefore, all eminent religious scholars and Grand Muftis have already rejected the deviant ideology of terrorists and declared that unjustified killing of innocent people is entirely prohibited in Islam. All brutal acts of terrorists are aimed at discouraging general masses from challenging their existence and their radical religious views. Unity of whole Ulema (Religious scholars) of Pakistan has proved that people of Pakistan will never bow down in front of heinous crimes of terrorists and will win the war against terror.