Not just terrorism!
July 16, 2010 2 Comments
When the DG ISI recently briefed the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, about foreign powers trying to destabilise Pakistan by sponsoring terrorist acts, the alarm bells should be ringing louder in the government corridors. Most significant was his remark that security forces were vigilantly monitoring the situation to forestall any ‘major eventuality’ that could threaten national security.
In the wake of the deteriorating internal security situation and the recent well coordinated anti-Pak army and ISI onslaught by the international media and London School of Economics, the ISI chief’s remarks reinforced the commonly held view that happenings all over Pakistan were more than just acts of terrorism.
The recent spate of target killings in Karachi is aimed to create political, ethnic and sectarian strife to weaken the country. Anti-state elements have destabilised Karachi, the country’s economic hub to an extent that both the federal and provincial governments appear helpless to control this mad killing spree.
How would one explain the reported blatant display of the provocative billboard of the Sindh Liberation Army (SLA) in Karachi? The billboard carries the picture of a SLA leader with a Kalas-hnikov, sporting a jacket and a Sindhi cap, urging people to join the movement for the liberation of so-called Sindhudesh. Is RAW up to its old mischief again in Sindh?
Quetta and interior Balochistan continue to witness attacks on Punjabi settlers and security personnel on a dangerous scale by the RAW,. CIA and RAAM funded and armed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). Articles by foreign writers circulating on the internet, debate the ‘final solution’ for Pakistan, including the envisaged carving out of an international corridor from Gwadar up north into Balochistan.
It seems the nation has forgotten the infamous Blackwater phenomenon that emerged mysteriously in our major towns and cities in the last two years or so? Operating under the new banners of Xe/Dyn Corp, these hundreds of private foreign security contractors and their secret network must now be well entrenched in Pakistan’s major cities. It cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence that wherever these foreigners moved, that city soon got engulfed in terrorist acts that appear to instigate sectarian and ethnic violence and civil strife.
Is the Baghdad model, that involves attacks on religious shrines to provoke confrontation between different Muslim sects, being replicated in Lahore? Here the question is, does this ‘Xe network’ have links with our banned extremist organisations and ethnic groups? It is true that those who execute these violent acts appear to be well trained and brainwashed religious fanatic Pakistanis with a mix of Afghan nationals. But are the foreign contractors, with support from their friends across our eastern borders, the real masterminds of these bloody events? Even the Honourable Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court has sought a report from the Punjab government regarding any covert involvement of these shady security personnel in the ongoing terror wave in Lahore.
But the Punjab government must accept responsibility for poor intelligence coordination or sensitive information sharing between its intelligence outfits and their federal counterparts (the IB, ISI etc) setups in Punjab? Lahore has been the prime target with over a dozen terrorist strikes since the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March last year. It was abundantly clear that terrorists were operating from their cells or hideouts in Lahore. How did they manage to smuggle weapons and explosives into Lahore? Why were crackdowns by rangers, police and intelligence agencies not initiated earlier to wipe out terrorist cells and their local supporters in Lahore?
The foreign ingress into our affairs has reached such an alarming level where the Americans have reportedly shown interest to bid for the Punjab Governor’s House, should this pride of Lahore be shamelessly privatised by the Punjab government. Well, a CIA headquarters on Lahore’s elegant Mall Road is all that Lahorites really needed!
We may soon hear about a portion of the Islamabad Presidency being leased out to our oldest ally. With five-star hotels in Islamabad and Peshawar reportedly under the American control and a new US intelligence coordination centre coming up in Quetta, the Pakistanis have much to rejoice about.
The CIA-ISI unique love-hate relationship is once again in the news. Strongly allied in the jihad against then Soviet Union, these super-intelligence setups with a global reach, appear to be involved in a blame game. It remains the ISI’s national responsibility to zealously safeguard Pakistan’s security interests, which should not upset the CIA.
Thanks to our embassy in Washington DC, Pakistan’s security may have been compromised through the indiscriminate issue of visas to a large number of US citizens and foreign nationals in the last two years without security clearance by our security agencies in Islamabad.
The extent to which agents of hostile foreign intelligence organisations and undercover NGO’s may have already penetrated into our major towns and cities, is evident from the increased destabilisation effects visible in every province of Pakistan. With the Pakistani side now imposing strict visa discipline and control, the visa issue continues to strain Pak-US relations.
As the US and NATO forces suffer setbacks with the highest number of casualties (over a hundred in June) in Afghanistan, similar is the rise in the intensity and frequency of the violence in Pakistan. Is Pakistan being punished and being made a scapegoat for the US failure in Afghanistan? Are we paying the price for Pak army’s successes in FATA and the resistance to launch the North Waziristan offensive on US’s terms?
Seeing from another angle, are anarchie conditions being created in Karachi, Lahore and even Quetta so as to lure the army into an anti-terrorist operation in these mega cities? This would certainly suit the foreign powers’ game plan that wish the Pak army getting bogged down in aid of civil power in major cities.
If the provincial governments and their allies earnestly display the required political will, maturity and resolve and rise above their vested interests, the security situation in the provincial capitals could be brought under control with the correct employment of elite police forces, Rangers and civil-military intelligence support. Provincial capitals must be ruthlessly deweaponised in the first phase, showing no mercy to any militant outfit of any political party or banned extremist religious group.
The DG ISI seems to have warned the political elite about the grave threats to our security and integrity. But Pakistan’s national security challenges are further compounded when the country faces the rule of jungle; when rulers lose the trust of the ruled and when leaders fail to lead. Hopefully, the chief spymaster’s warnings will not fall on deaf ears. Pakistan’s national leadership must prove equal to the task.