The deprived and the bleeding


It’s Balochistan again


While we all cherish the landmark successes achieved in our war against terror, first through operation Zarb-e-Azb targeting the tribal areas, now followed by Radd-ul-Fassaad being carried out across the country, the considered-to-be weakened terrorist’s strike again, this time targeting the already deprived land of Balochistan. For the past year or so, according to stats, the operational ground of terror strikes seems to have shifted from the tribal areas, and the KP, to Balochistan, a sign certainly not very encouraging. The provincial capital, Quetta, alone has remained a host to multiple (up to 26) terror related incidents in 2017 alone, resulting in approximately 32 deaths, and leaving several hundreds injured.  Not to leave out mentioning here that the attacks in Balochistan have primarily targeted the security forces, police, and ethnic minorities.

Continuing their killing streak, on August 12, just two days prior to the Independence Day celebrations, the terrorists struck an army convoy in Quetta, leaving 15 people dead, including 8 soldiers and 7 civilians. Remaining injuries were recorded to be 40.  The responsibility for the attack was claimed by The Islamic State of Iraq, and the Levant – Khorasan Province. A 3 member high level investigation team has been formed to further investigate the incident. The Army chief, while attending funeral prayers of the Shaheed soldiers, termed the attack as a failed attempt by the terrorists to sabotage the Independence Day celebrations by striking fear into the hearts of the common people, and pledged that the armed forces will not rest until the last standing terrorist is eliminated from our lands.

President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the attack, saying: “Our resolve will not succumb to any challenge”.

Back in June, a suicide attack near the police headquarters in Quetta had left atleast 12 people killed and 14 others wounded.

The attacks in Balochistan have been claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, ISIL, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Al-Alami faction, and the block separatists and have targeted the security forces, government buildings and installations, and civilians as well.

With the security forces gaining control in the tribal areas, containing the terrorists from striking, it is imperative that the governments, both federal and provincial, pay special attention to the prevailing security situation in Balochistan, and take measures to control this decline from deepening any further in future.

The Strategic Terror shift is real

It must be foreseen here that the terrorists apparently have shifted their base amid the large scale operations conducted by Pakistan army in the tribal areas. These operations, on one side, where have been effective in eliminating the terrorists, paralyzing the terror infrastructure, and establishing the government’s writ in their strongholds, have on the other hand forced the terrorists to flee the tribal areas in search of new safe havens for themselves.

Seeing the inclined graph of terror related incidents in Balochistan, it appears that the terrorists are focused on acquiring a strong footing in the mineral-rich province hosting major strategic projects such as CPEC, and Gawadar Port that have the potential to uplift Pakistan’s future economy, and regional influence.The involvement of foreign hands in destabilising Pakistan through its most vulnerable province cannot be ruled out either.

It is a need of the time that the relevant authorities at both, federal and provincial levels, pay attention to the matter, and nip this evil of strategic terror shift in the bud before it emerges as a new monster for Pakistan. The deprived feeling must be eradicated from among the general Baloch population in order to give them a sense of equality, something that has been missing for decades. Provision of education, employment, and opportunities to contribute to the national picture can play a significant role in eliminating the feeling of deprivation and alienation from Balochistan.

Is this really an army of the dead?

Although we have achieved major landmarks in the war against terror, yet the tall claims of our leadership fall on their face with such terror strikes. Let us remind ourselves of the bitter fact that we have killed the terrorists but not all. They still exist in our midst, and are very much capable of carrying out their evil designs aimed at destabilising the country, and spreading chaos.

The militant armies are not dead, and are still intact, as they are attempting to regroup in their new supposed safe havens, and shift their infrastructure dismantled by our security forces in the tribal areas, succeeding in which they will regather their capacity to carry out further attacks not just in Balochistan, but elsewhere in the country as well.

The war is far from over…..

The road leading to a complete elimination of terrorism and extremism from our society is long, tough, and requires undiminished consistency in our efforts to curb this menace. We have given many sacrifices in coming this far, both in terms of the lives lost, be them of civilians or security personnel, and the economic hit we have had to bear, however, a lot more is required to achieve the desired end.

The situation certainly calls for a reminder of Quaid’s quote stating: “We have given many sacrifices to achieve independence, but we need to give many more to keep it”.

What is encouraging here, none the less, is that the terrorists are on the run for sure, as our security forces have driven them out of their so called strongholds. What is important here is to acknowledge that these disciples of evil still very much exist, and must be abstained from gaining their lost strong feet on our land. This calls for strict security measures across the board, particularly in Balochistan along with social and economic developmental measures providing theBaloch youth with the opportunity to contribute positively with their potential to the greater and prosperous picture of Pakistan and Balochistan, as both go hand in hand.