Memory of the Naval Base Attack
By Sajjad Shaukat
The May 22 reminds the day when in 2011, 15 terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al Qaeda attacked on the headquarters of the Pakistan Navy (Airbase), PNS Mehran in Karachi. Two American-built P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft were also destroyed.
An intense gunfight broke out between the terrorists and the security forces, including army personnel and naval commandos, and it continued for 16 hours. There was a series of loud explosions. This fact proved that the perpetrators were armed with automatic weapons, grenades and rockets. Despite the continued firing of the gunman on the troops, the valiant security forces successfully coped with the militants and were able to take back the related naval airbase. It was due to their boldness that the attackers failed in damaging the whole airbase or taking hostages. During the operation, 18 military personnel were martyred and 16 wounded. Spokesman Navy said that the terrorists were killed.
Regarding the terror-attack on the Mehran base Karachi, online reliable sources indicated the involvement of Indian intelligence agency, RAW which conducted that assault with the help of some anti-Pakistan secret agencies. In this respect, these agencies got the services of a group of Al Qaeda and TTP, based in Afghanistan. An investigation pointed out that at the time of the attack, there were six Americans at the base, but terrorists did not take them hostages.
Like previous and present subversive acts, the TTP took responsibility for assault of the naval airbase, Karachi.
In this regard, various terror-attacks indicate that Indian RAW has been waging guerilla warfare in Pakistan through its well-trained insurgents, especially of the TTP which conducted attacks in various cities of the country.
After sponsoring bomb blasts and suicide attacks, a perennial wave of the same in the past clearly proves that RAW has modified its tactics of subversion in Pakistan. Previous terror assaults show that apart from direct suicide events, militants, armed with hand grenades, machine guns and other weapons also come to help the explosive-laden vehicles so as to penetrate the security at the target points. Sometimes, exchange of fire takes place between the saboteurs and the security guards, and sometimes, purpose is to directly kill the security personnel of our country. A number of terror-events in Pakistan endorse that RAW’s agents have been acting upon the guerilla techniques. In most of the terror-tragedies, huge quantity of explosives has also been used, as noted in case of navy’s airbase, Karachi
In Lahore, similar tactics of exchange of fire were occurred in connection with many terrorist incidents, as the militants reached their directed targets with latest weapons. In this context, on March 3, 2009, terrorist attack which targeted the bus of Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore had killed 8 persons after a continuous gunfire by the militants. Pakistani officials confirmed that “grenades and rocket launchers had been recovered” which were of foreign origin. Afterwards, official inquiry disclosed that RAW was behind that attack. On May 27, 2009, more than 30 people were killed in Lahore when an explosive-laden Suzuki van exploded near Rescue 15 building of the police which was completely destroyed. It also damaged the building of the Lahore Capital City Police Office (CCPO) and that of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) which was the main target, but could not be hit due to heavy firing by the security guards on the terrorists who were firing at them. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on the same day that Indian involvement in “suicide attack in Lahore cannot be ruled out.”
Similar types of terror-tactics were applied by the culprits in relation to the Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar and the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad.
Another guerilla technique of the RAW-trained terrorists is that they camouflage themselves by wearing the uniform of Pakistani security forces so as to deceive the security guards. The militants who attacked the GHQ, Rawalpindi on October 10, 2009 were wearing army uniforms.
It is mentionable that regarding the 2009 simultaneous terror attacks in Lahore and that of the GHQ, the then Spokesman of the ISPR, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other TV commentators had indicated Indian involvement behind the attack, remarking: “Hakimullah Mehsud and other terrorists are “the enemies of the state” and “are mercenaries who receive arms from Afghanistan to destabilize the country.”
Similarly, on March 30, 2009, the Manawan Police Academy in Lahore was attacked and captured by an estimated 12 gunmen who also seized hostages. Despite the continued firing of the gunman on the military troops and police, the valiant security forces successfully coped with the militants and were able to take back the building. On November 2, 2013, suicide bomber targeted a checkpoint at Wagah in Lahore and like other terror-assaults, Indian-supported TTP claimed responsibility. Afterwards, investigations proved Indian involvement in this attack. As regards the most brutal incident, TTP took responsibility for the massacre of 132 school children at Army Public School and College in Peshawar on December 16, 2013. In the recent past, TTP again accepted responsibility in relation to two suicide attacks on the churches in Lahore and some other places of Pakistan, including the Balochistan province.
Particularly, in August 16, 2012, when nine militants disguised in security forces’ uniform, equipped with latest weapons attacked Pakistan Air Force Base at Kamra, the valiant personnel of Pakistan Air Force and Special Service Group (SSG) of Commandoes of Pak Army foiled the assault by killing all the terrorists. Only one soldier was martyred.
On May 13, 2015, at least 45 people were killed after the gunmen brutally opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowrangi area of Karachi. Without any doubt, Karachi bus incident is a handy work of RAW to sabotage the China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how it can protect CPEC. Ismailis belong to Hunza (Gilgit/Baltistan) or have a spiritual linkage with this area, are Pakistanis. The CPEC would also originate from the same region.
As a matter of fact, based in Afghanistan, RAW with technological support of Israel and other anti-Pakistan countries have been sending the culprits to Pakistan so as to weaken the latter, as it is also the only nuclear country in the Islamic world.
Undoubtedly, Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this connection, our Armed Forces have almost obtained their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. In Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country including tribal areas, our security forces are successfully coping with the militants.
It is mentionable that in his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of ‘moral force’, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. ‘Moral force’, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent. However, it is owing to this ‘moral force’ that Armed Forces of Pakistan have broken the network of terrorists who have been demoralized and are escaping.
Taking cognizance of the recent terror-attacks, some media anchors and commentators misperceived that TTP militants have still capacity to continue subversive activities. In fact, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone and organized capability of terrorists to launch well thought-out attacks against the government assets. They have met serious setbacks in operation Zarb-e-Azb, and shall finally be totally eliminated from Pakistan. It appears, as if the militants of TTP have lost major grounds, and in severe frustration, they are trying to create some kind of so-called pressure on the government and the Armed Forces which have castigated them to put up strong resistance.
Although Pakistan has become special arena of the different war, being waged by the security forces against the ruthless terrorists, yet country’s Armed Forces have capabilities to foil the terrorists’ attacks.
No doubt, it is due to the elements of “high moral force” that like other similar terror-assaults, Pakistan’s courageous soldiers of the Armed Forces foiled the Karachi naval base attack. Hence, May 22 remains in the memory of patriot Pakistanis, as on this very day shows capabilities of these forces.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations