The terrorist attacks in Quetta bring to spotlight the issue of ever diminishing state writ in the province. The serene Quetta is drenched in blood once again. It was only months ago that the Hazara community suffered militants’ wrath. But no action was taken against the perpetrators. The militants have enough space to operate freely and spread mayhem.
For instance, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) took no time to claim the responsibility of the attack on the students of the women university. But the state has not condemned the banned outfit unequivocally, let alone taking any punitive action. It is worth noting that the terrorist outfit enjoys close nexus with the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP). But the state’s appeasement policy vis-à-vis the TTP is bewildering. Let it be clear now that there are no good or bad Taliban. Making a distinction between them is catastrophic on the part of security establishment.
|There are also separatists in Balochistan who are bent on challenging
the writ of the state. Bombing of the national heritage at Ziarat has
come as a shock to the nation. The participation of the Baloch in the
election process and the subsequent installation of a nationalist chief
minister dealt a blow to the rejectionist. They are out to destabilise
the fledgling democratic set-up.|
The security establishment and the civil leadership do not seem to be on the same page on the Balochistan question. The security establishment has resorted to high-handed tactics in the past, which have proved counter-productive. The recovery of mutilated bodies has only helped the cause of the hard-liners. The civilians have very little say in running the security affairs of the state. It is quite clear who is calling the shots in Balochistan.
There is a growing concern over the failure of the security agencies to pre-empt terrorist attacks. Frontier Corps (FC) is responsible for the security but it is not under the control of provincial government. There is urgent need to empower the civil law enforcement forces to take over from the FC. It is time for the security agencies to pool information and forestall attacks.
The government has hinted at calling an all parties conference (APC) to address the problem of terrorism . It is a welcome move. It would be helpful in finding a long-term solution to the worsening law and order situation in the country. The security establishment is also likely to attend the joint session of parliament. APC is the first step in the right direction. A comprehensive counter-terrorism policy must be devised with input from all stakeholders. Political leadership would have to take the initiative and lead from the front.
The Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar came hard on the security establishment. But his own party the Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz (PML-N) owes explanation with regard to its soft approach towards terrorists. The PML-N seems to be lacking in clarity in addressing the larger problem of terrorism. In his maiden speech in the National Assembly, the prime minister talked about every issue but terrorism. There was no mention of the government policy on how to deal with the problem of terrorism. The PML-N should not be seen to be friendly with known terrorists.
Imran Khan is all for talks with the Taliban, but despite the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s coalition government in the province of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it continues to suffer attacks from militants. Deadly attack on a Peshawar mosque is an eye-opener for the ‘champions’ of peace.
From the recent terrorist attacks it has become evident that the Taliban want the government to negotiate with them on their terms and conditions. All the talk of talk is itself the admission of the fact that the military has failed. From this weak position of negotiation the government would not be able to fix the menace of terrorism on its own terms. On the other hand, the Taliban have not budged an inch from their extreme position.
To conclude, once a clear security policy is formulated the PML-N would have to ensure that it is implemented in letter and spirit. Only taking all political and military leadership on board would yield the positive outcome. To quell the Baloch insurgency, a multi-dimensional approach is to be adopted. It needs integration of the disgruntled elements, addressing their genuine grievances and isolating those who do not want to come down from the mountains.
By Hasan Naser
The writer is a journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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