After the attack…

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Not our war?

The audacious attack at Minhas airbase was better handled by the security forces than the earlier ones at the GHQ and the Mehran Naval Base. All the nine attackers were eliminated within a few hours. Among the casualties was one soldier who died and the commander of the base who was injured while leading the operation against the attackers. An aircraft was also damaged. The fact that the militants succeeded in breaching the security parameters would however raise questions about the state of the alert at military bases. The incident has provided an opportunity to foreign critics to cast doubts about the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal. There is a need to review security arrangements at all military installations as militant leaders including Hakimullah Mehsud have announced their determination to target them.

Pakistan’s civilians and military personnel continue to face attacks from the extremist militants. Last month Pakistan’s ambassador to US Sherry Rehman put the total number of those killed in such attacks at 42,000. In a move aimed at appeasing the militants, a section of politicians maintains that the attacks are motivated by the US presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s support for the US policy. The fact that the attacks continued even when the Nato supplies were stopped and relations with the US had strained gives a lie to the claim. The militant leaders have maintained they would continue the attacks as a part of their strategy to demolish the democratic system which they consider as un-Islamic and set up a system of their own choice by use of force including terrorist tactics. The militants openly maintain that they consider national states as opposed to Islam and want to break them up to create an internal caliphate. Some of the apologists for the Haqqani network maintain that the group has never attacked Pakistanis. But can a law abiding country allow a militant group to use its soil for attacks inside other countries?

In its pursuit of establishing the writ of the state, the military is engaged in operations against the extremist insurgents in a number of FATA agencies. The strained relations with the US have resulted in the TTP setting up safe havens in Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan from where they continue to launch attacks. What is needed is a joining of hands with the international community to weed out the militants from their strongholds on both sides of the Pak Afghan border. This is by no means a cakewalk. The situation could deteriorate before it improves. But there is no other option to restore peace and bring stability to the country.