Terror strikes Pakistan’s heritage and hope

Mansoor Jafar
Mansoor Jafar
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Pakistan was shaken up on Saturday [15 June] by three incidents of fierce terrorism targeting both the country's heritage and future. Once again saboteurs struck Quetta, the capital of the country's insurgency-hit province Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, and has been facing the brunt of the ongoing wave of terrorism and foreign-orchestrated insurgency over the past decade.

The terrorists’ first target was Ziarat Residency, the official residence of the father of nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah where he used to stay often till his death in August 1948.The Ziarat Residency was a place of national heritage and a monument where thousands of tourists visit every year.

The next target was a bus carrying female students from a women’s university which was blown up by a lady suicide bomber just outside the main gate. Then, almost simultaneously, a group of terrorists stormed into Bolan Medical College complex where they took positions on a roof top and remained engaged in cross-fire with security officials for several hours, killing and wounding over a dozen people.

These attacks left 30 people killed including 14 girl students, four nurses, four security officials including chief of Quetta's administrative apparatus, deputy commissioner Abdul Mansoor Kakar. The responsibility for Ziarat Residency attack was claimed by an insurgent group Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), working for separation of the province from the country. According to intelligence reports, BLA is funded by different enemies of the country including neighboring countries which eye Baluchistan’s vast resources of oil, gas, minerals and gold etc.

Every Pakistani was deeply grieved by those sad incidents, which not only defaced country's history associated with the father of the nation, but also struck at the very hope for bright future.

Mansoor Jafar

While another banned group Lashkar Jhangvi, which is a sect-motivated outfit, claimed the responsibility for other two attacks. As usual, both the groups rang western media within few minutes of the incidents, claiming they had carried out those attacks. The daring attacks raised many question on the efficiency of the security agencies that have been literally controlling every street of Quetta and have also set up posts in other sensitive areas of the province which has been battling with formidable subversive and insurgent activities.

Every Pakistani was deeply grieved by those sad incidents, which not only defaced country's history associated with the father of the nation, but also struck at the very hope for bright future by killing the budding surgeons and physicians. Those attacks struck at what was remained of Pakistanis’ sense of security and pride, and brought a pall of gloom for the whole nation. Those were committed at a time when newly formed governments at the center and provinces were making firm their hold after assuming power a couple of weeks ago. The governments were focusing their energies and resources to give another chance to peaceful methods instead of further using state power, to resolve the two core issues of the province, insurgency and sense of deprivation, which gave rise to the menace of insurgency.

Also, for the first time in many decades, Baluchistan has a government headed by a pro-nationalist chief minister Dr Abdul Maalik Baloch who hails from middle-class and is known for raising voice for the rights of Baluch people. In the past the province had always been ruled by feudal lords with whom the general populace and the youth that resorted to separatism, hated to talk since they considered them stooges of military establishment.

On the other hand, the state institutions and establishment always considered Baloch nationalists as traitors and separatists, hence not worthy of negotiations. Besides, the Governor of the province is Muhammad Khan Achakzai, is a Pashtun with similar credentials. Pashtoons are the second largest ethnic group after Baluchs. With the presence of these two gentlemen at the two top slots, there was a ray of hope for the first time in recent history that the gangrene of insurgency in the province could be healed, positively.

In this perspective, it is believed that the subversion of this intensity was aimed at sabotaging the peace process before it was started, which has been an elusive dream for this war-torn province. To frustrate this conspiracy, continuing with the peace process is indispensible so as to push the terrorist elements on the back foot and their agenda to further weaken the country could be foiled. Both military establishment and political leadership must chalk out a joint strategy to hold talks with all stake holders and sincerely implement what is agreed with them to bring them back into national mainstream.

Decisive action should be taken against those who continue to resort to terrorism after beginning of peace parleys, since under such situation complete public support will be with the government in rooting out subversive elements, and it would not generate hated against the government as it had in the past.

Regarding the problem of sectarian killings, leading clerics from all schools of thought should be taken on board to forge sectarian harmony. These leaders, from their individual platforms, have always been stressing that killing Muslims in the name of sects is ‘UN-Islamic and no Muslim could commit such heinous acts. Those who kill innocent human beings are actually making their way to hell instead of heaven.’

It was time government must come out of hesitation and adopt a clear and practical strategy to restore peace and eradicate the very causes that had been generating separatist tendencies and traitors in the country.

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Mansoor Jafar is Editor of Al Arabiya Urdu based at Islamabad. He can be reached through Twitter: @mansoorjafar

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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