Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) are now collaborating in their war against the Pakistani state. The IMU is well known to have an al Qaeda connection. It follows therefore that the nexus of terrorist groups now enfolds a wide array of groups from the TTP to the Afghan Taliban to Central Asian and other groups that are aligned with al Qaeda.
Not even the din of the daredevil assault on the Peshawar airport had died down that terrorists struck fatally Jamrud town in Khyber Agency, slaughtering some 19 innocent people, including women and children, and wounding another around 50. And with this gut-wrenching car bombing of the town's main market, they signalled dreadfully that they were resurgent and in upswing, and on the offensive in the face of a state security apparatus struggling to find its feet to cope with their malevolence. Unsettling as it is, more disconcerting omens nonetheless are emerging from their Peshawar airport attack chillily that should shake out the state's top echelons from their stupor and set them about thinking out a strategy and action plan before the vaulting prowling terrorism clobbering the country so terribly becomes absolutely uncontrollable.
It is now being discovered that the airport assault had a large chunk of foreign attackers, mostly Uzbeks and one Dagestani. And that they appear to have spearheaded the attack, with the locals playing the second fiddle. No lesser alarmingly the Dagestani sported a tattoo of a skull and hand on his back. And this should tell worrisomely that a more sinister plan is under way to hurt this country. Of course, the investigators would be scratching their heads to unravel this tattoo mystery. But on the face of it, this doesn't square up with the jihadi culture. For, tattoos are no hallmark of the jihadis who for their creed surely construe it a profanity. Indeed, ultra jihadis are even abhorrent of people being photographed. Tattoos are more associated with gangsters and organised criminal gangs. And they are distinctive stamps of mafias, with mafiosi of each having a particular tattoo engraved on his body to stand distinguished from others.
The discovery of the presence of the tattooed Dagestani should thus ring the alarm bells in Islamabad. It clearly signifies that the Pakistani Taliban are not just aligned with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. They have got entangled with the international underworld as well. And this should be quite worrisome. For, the international underworld is well-connected with high places internationally, often involved intimately and actively in the intrigues and plots of intelligence agencies and spy services. If the tattooed Dagestani is a pointer to that direction, we really are in a deep trouble. It is not unknown that we already are on the hit list of many an alien agency, some ironically enough posing to be our friends, and suffering grievously on account of their vile shenanigans. And if now the international underworld too has got involved, that simply means we will suffer more, bleed more, become more unstable and heaven knows what bigger catastrophes are in store for us ultimately.
This indispensably necessitates that the top echelons of the Islamabad hierarchy must shunt aside their laidback position and move forward to tackle vigorously the horror that is in the offing. Already, their inertia has cost very dearly in confronting the monstrosity of terrorism robustly. In the popular discourse, North Waziristan has though become the nestling place of alien terrorists of all hues and brands. This may be. But near the periphery of the mainland, Tirah valley is swarming with Uzbeks, Chechens, and host of other foreigners. One knows not who they actually are and whose game are they playing in reality. They all though don the masks of jihadis. But the enormous treasures and deadly arms they show themselves to be in possession of bespeak of some rich patrons and skillful masterminds. With the day, they are becoming deadlier, bloodier and blood-thirstier against our own people and against our own state.
They should have been shown the stern face of the state and wiped out before becoming such a grave security threat to the nation and to the country. They have been not. And if a similar inertia our top echelons put forth to face up to the monstrosity represented by the tattooed Dagestani, and then we are really done for. One hopes they would not, given the gravity and magnitude of this new security threat. Indeed, the prime minister must convene at once a top-level inter-agency conference and hammer out a tightly-coordinated strategy for a punchy orchestrated campaign to combat terrorism, particularly in its new emerging shape. This must be done on top-priority.
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