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جمعہ، 26 اپریل، 2013

Pakistan election & TTP String of attacks

Whilst no responsibility has been claimed for these ghastly attacks, one des not need to dig too deep to point an accusatory finger at the militants who have been promising the nation a bloody election — in every way. If this is the state of things before the landmark elections one shudders to think what will happen on the big day when scores of people will venture out of their homes to partake in the history making transition towards democracy. 

We are still some 13 days away from our first ever milestone elections and it seems as if only a miracle will help us see that day. On Tuesday, a string of extremely well coordinated attacks in both Quetta and Karachi left citizens traumatised, the interim government shaking its head, and the nation bloodied. Four people were left dead and more than 46 injured in the provincial capital of Balochistan. The blasts occurred in quick succession in different areas of the city. Three of the bombs were remote controlled but the fourth, which was also the most deadly near Alamdar Road, was a suicide attack, resulting in the most casualties of the day. Karachi was also attacked later on Tuesday night when a blast shook an election office of the MQM, killing three people. The MQM in response closed its election offices and Farooq Sattar wondered out loud whether a free and fair election was possible in these circumstances. Couple all this with the fact that an explosives-laden truck was discovered outside Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, which was successfully defused, and we have a recipe for disaster. The carnage and terror does not end there; on Wednesday, another bomb ripped through Quetta’s Satellite Town near a hospital, resulting in 13 people being seriously injured. Needless to say, these strikes have left the citizens of both cities, and the country, numb to any promises the caretaker government might have to offer.

The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has distributed pamphlets in Buner, Peshawar as well as in different parts of Karachi warning citizens not to participate in upcoming elections. They have done it before and are doing it again yet are not visible to any of the official security agencies put in place all over the country. Notwithstanding the panic such rebellious and threatening material creates, the worrisome aspect is that Taliban come to the public places to distribute leaflets without any fear of being noticed or challenged. Yes! The TTP men are daring volunteers, having no fears of any security force but the failure, negligence or inefficiency of the security agencies to give a matching response to the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is a major source of anxiety and concern for the masses that are exposed to these threats. It is a rude shock that the local administration and the security officials have been caught unaware of any such incidents. 

Taliban's earlier threats have scared the Pakistan people's Party, Awami National Party and the MQM. All three political parties have curtailed their political activities in public in their respective areas to save lives of its leadsers. Having achieved the desired impact-the TTP leaflets, distributed in various areas of Karachi, Peshawar and Buner--are throwing warnings to the people against attending political rallies and casting their votes at polling stations else wise they would themselves be responsible for their own lives. Calling democracy Un-Islamic, the TTP has vowed to continue its fight against secular forces. Hardly there is anything new in the pamphlets to surprise the people. But the TTP penetration in Peshawar's Badaber, Mattni and Adizai areas and in Shalbandi area of Buner to distribute the leaflets confirms the fact the TTP network is operative in the cities unchecked and can strike ahead of the general elections, foxing the government's high security alters. 

The TTP's ploy will shake the people's confidence in the Government's security agencies and in their anti-terrorism measures. The TTP, so far, has succeeded to out-maneuver the security mechanism raised by the Election Commission. Yet the people of Pakistan have to wither the violence whether it comes from the TTP or from any other quarter for the sake of the country. Salvation of the Country and the nation lies in bringing in the next elected government through polls not in accepting the rhetoric of the terrorists using the name of religion. 

The entire nation has to stand by the armed forces to counter the terrorists' threats, out-rightly rejecting self-proclaimed righteousness by any group or individual. Yet the TTP threats should not be taken lightly. The TTP leaflets are nothing to be afraid of but certainly are another wake-up call for the entire Pakistan. The security agencies must earnestly stand up to the challenge thrown at them for saving the lives of the people and the sovereignty of Pakistan. The Election Commission must hold solemn discussions to put up foolproof arrangements to see through the process of the electing new government.

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