EDITORIAL: At the monthly corps commanders’ conference chaired by the new Army chief, Gen Syed Asim Munir, the top brass, according to an ISPR statement, “resolved to fight against terrorists without any distinction and eliminate this menace as per the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.”
This was expected as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has escalated attacks on security forces, the police as well as civilians, claiming credit for over one hundred acts of terrorism in recent weeks and months. Baloch insurgents have also upped their game.
In the early hours of last Sunday six soldiers, including a captain, were martyred when an improvised explosive device went off during an intelligence-based operation. (Affirming their determination to take on the terrorists Gen Munir and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza were seen carrying the martyred captain’s coffin on their shoulders.)
Later that evening in Khuzdar, a police vehicle came under a grenade attack, luckily no casualty was caused. Security forces were also attacked in Kalat and Hub though no casualty was reported in those incidents, either.
Moreover in Quetta, about a dozen people, including three policemen, were injured in different incidents, while a grenade explosion on the city’s outskirt left at least four people injured.
The Baloch insurgents are said to have forged a nexus with the TTP at the behest of certain outside forces interested in destabilising this country and also undermining the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The real cause of trouble, nonetheless, are the State’s flawed policies towards both Balochistan and the TTP. In the case of the former, leaders of all mainstream political parties in that restive province have long been urging the powers that be to talk to the ‘angry young Baloch’ and resolve the issues feeding insurgency, but to no avail.
Conversely, for some strange reason, it was decided to hold ‘peace negotiations’ with the TTP terrorists who had declared a war on Pakistan and killed more than 80,000 Pakistanis. No one knows what transpired in those negotiations before the TTP called them off.
What is known is that it made some preposterous demands, such as reversal of the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas’ merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and exit of the security forces from those areas, thus practically handing it control over these areas.
Yet several imprisoned TTP commanders were quietly released, and a large number of their fighters also allowed return from their sanctuary in Afghanistan. Those men have since been doing what they are trained to do: killing people and committing all sorts of heinous crimes against people.
If that was not worrying enough, they have also grasped the opportunity to regroup in their previous base of operations in North and South Waziristan, from where they launch attacks on the security forces as well as civilian targets in other parts of the country.
Just a few days ago, TTP took responsibility for an attempted suicide bombing in Islamabad, which was intercepted by the police at the cost of two lives, a police constable and a driver, while six others including four policemen sustained injuries.
Regarding insurgency in Balochistan, it needs to be recognised that it arises from long-standing, genuine grievances of the Baloch people, further aggravated by the use of force, in particular the despicable phenomenon of enforced disappearances. These issues can and should be resolved via reconciliation process.
As for the other problem, some former senior military officers who dealt with TTP combatants in the 2014 Zarb-e-Azb military operation knew it better when they warned that these men would never disarm and integrate into this society.
Now that they have been proven right the military leadership’s new resolve to “eliminate this menace as per the aspirations of the people of Pakistan” comes as a much-needed assurance that this terror outfit will be decimated root and branch.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022