Acts of violent terrorism have, sadly, ceased to shock us Pakistanis. The last few years have desensitized us to such an extent that we do not bat an eyelid when news of a new atrocity filters in, which is why, it may seem strange to the casual observer, the excessive reaction witnessed in the aftermath of an attack on an unoccupied colonial era building in a small holiday resort in Balochistan.
The attack on the summer residence of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-e-Azam), did not claim any lives, but inflicted a new kind of pain. In the years since the US invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent fallout we have faced, Pakistanis have seen their homes and bazaars attacked, their mosques and schools bombed, their armed forces and civilians brutally massacred, their children made homeless and attacked by US government drones and an assortment of other terrorist outfits alike sentence long , but seems un-dissectable. None of them shook the nation’s resolve. Pakistanis dusted themselves off and carried on. From an enemy’s point of view, a new strategy was needed.
This particular attack was different as it was designed to inflict damage to the nation’s spirit, to the ideology which serves as the foundation for Pakistan’s existence. The target itself was symbolic, as was burning the Pakistan flag and replacing it with one belonging to the terrorist outfit that carried out the attack.
Attacks on Pakistan’s ideology have a history. The refusal to accept the ‘Two Nation Theory’, which proclaims Hindus and Muslims as two separate people with contrasting cultures, traditions, and customs, has long been an active policy employed by our ‘peaceful’ neighbours. Already nursing the wounds of the partition of India some 60 odd years ago, Pakistan’s troubles bring a lot of pleasure to the opponents of this theory and help placate the nearly 150 million Indian Muslims in the face of communal tensions at home. A ‘failed Pakistan’ is a warning to India’s Muslims that they must behave and continue to be subservient to the Hindu dominated system. It is no wonder then, that official government reports place Indian Muslims at the bottom of the social ladder, lower than even the ‘Dalits’ or ‘Untouchables’ as they’re known.
‘Balochistan Liberation Army’, which attacked the Quaid’s residency in Ziarat yesterday, has always enjoyed India’s patronage, which includes overt diplomatic support and covert material and monetary support. Baloch terrorist leaders, including Brahamdagh Bugti (BRP) and Hyrbyair Marri (BLA), are frequent visitors to Delhi and Kabul. Based in Western capitals of Switzerland and England respectively, both have, on various occasions, publicly defended accepting ‘support’ from India for their struggle to ‘free Balochistan’. India’s presence in Afghanistan serves to facilitate the flow of arms and funds to these and various other terrorist groups active in Pakistan – a fact acknowledged earlier this year by the current US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, who said in a talk on Afghanistan, at the Cameron University in Oklahoma in 2011, that India has been using Afghanistan as a base against Pakistan.
“India has, over the years, financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border, and you can carry that into many dimensions.”
Pakistan’s former President, Pervez Musharraf, while speaking to a forum organized by retired servicemen last year, said that certain politicians were supporting separatists for political benefits. “The chiefs of Bugti, Marri and Mengal (tribes) are involved in the prevailing condition of Balochistan. The Balochistan Liberation Army is a terrorist organisation, which is targeting non-locals in the province. The present government has failed to tackle the province’s issues,” Musharraf said.
“Shahzain Bugti, Talal Bugti and others have contacts with foreign elements. Not a single inch of the country would disintegrate in the presence of Pakistan Army,” he continued.
He also said that an overwhelming majority of Balochistan’s population had rejected the separatists, saying: “Only four per cent of the population of the country lives in Balochistan, and the majority of that population is in favour of Pakistan. Just three to four thousand people are involved in terrorism and those are supported by foreign elements,” he added.
Pakistan is in the midst of a brutal war, imposed on it by the enemies at its borders and their agents within. It is, therefore, baffling when some of the leading journalists and anchors on Pakistan’s media defend the actions of Indian-funded terrorists on Pakistan’s soil, and instead, term it a result of the alleged ‘extra-judicial-killings’ in Balochistan – in which the security agencies are said to have abducted, tortured and dumped by the roadside bodies of political workers belonging to some of these barbaric terrorist organizations. Is Pakistan’s media part of the ‘many dimensions’ India is financing; the dimensions Chuck Hagel confirmed? Looking at some of the stuff that comes out of Hamid Mir’s mouth, for example, you’d have to be a fool to think otherwise.
Then there’s our respected judiciary, which has not executed a single terrorist in the last decade, despite holding – but then subsequently releasing – thousands. How can it, when the Chief Justice leading it, used to be a lawyer of, and most likely, still is a close friend, of the families of these terrorist leaders! A judicial system that releases those caught smuggling large cache of weapons from Afghanistan, as in the case of Shahzain Bugti. A judge so under the influence of the current ruling political party that he carried out his entire reinstatement campaign in vehicles borrowed by the now Prime Minister – who coincidentally is also very close with the Bugtis. Talal Bugti, father of Shahzain, who was caught red handed, is a frequent guest at the Sharif family home in Raiwind. More tellingly, Changez Marri – brother of Hyrbyair Marri (BLA) – is a parliamentarian on the ticket of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. A third brother – Balach Marri – is said to have been the mastermind of the current Balochistan insurgency. Balach was responsible for a number of attacks on gas pipelines and military installations in Balochistan. He was killed near BLA’s Afghanistan base in 2007 – which is used to channel funds and arms into Pakistan.
With Pakistan’s politicians, judiciary, and media abetting these terrorists, it is small wonder that just days after PMLN takes charge of the country’s politics, an attack of such audacity is carried out. Perhaps they act – safe in the knowledge that those trusted to protect the country and its people from enemies; will instead protect them, the enemies of the state, as they have done in the past.