India’s Involvement In Makran Coastal Highway Attack Cannot Be Ruled Out
Brig (r) Sadiq says the recent terror attack in Balochistan is foreign sponsored and initiated by India because the country wanted to ‘avenge’ the Pulwama attack for which it held Pakistan responsible.
On Thursday, terrorists wearing paramilitary uniform (probably linked to Baloch Liberation Army) stopped buses near Ormara, on the coastal highway in Southern Balochistan, demanding national identity cards from passengers. After having identified the passengers, they shot 14 passengers at point blank range including Pakistan Navy personnel. Later in the day, the news of initiation of second phase of Indian election came in, which was followed by the news of resignation of our Finance Minister Asad Umer. And the day ended with a massive reshuffle in the federal cabinet. Portfolios of 5-6 key ministers were changed by PM Imran Khan, although he was neither heard nor seen throughout the day. He reportedly chaired a cabinet meeting and also held a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa, but the PM did not issue any statements as to why the reshuffle was needed.
Unfortunately, media remained focused on politics and the cabinet reshuffle and those killed in Balochistan seemed to have been ignored amid other ‘national’ news.
Politics and economy are considered more important than humanity in this country. And it seems we are allergic to the word ‘security’. With simmering currents in the traditional and corrupt power corridors in political, media and business canvas of Pakistan ever since PTI took power, it was day of happiness and celebration for them with such major changes made by the PM. And it was a gloomy day for PTI leadership and the supporters. In Pakistan, the poor get attention only if its ‘all ok’ at the house of the rich.
This fresh wave of terrorism in Balochistan is truly foreign-sponsored and has been initiated deliberately. In collaboration with our land and sea neighbours, India had created a structural capability for terrorism in Balochistan. The Pakistani nation had witnessed and felt its brutality, damage and intensity in last one decade and this impression was authenticated by the confession of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. It undeniably remains stamped in the history of Pakistan.
Two major incidents after a relative pause of five months took place in two different parts of Balochistan. The incident in Hazarganji where Hazara community members were killed has both ethnic and religious dimensions, while killing of 14 people after identification on coastal highway has different aspects. More importantly, both events have no linkage with the recent domestic actions and activities by law enforcement agencies with post Pulwama and FATF specific scenarios – as some might suggest. Such serious terror-related incident last took place in Balochistan in November 2018. With the decline in number of terror attacks, both government and security establishment had started feeling happy about restoration of peace. The 23rd March parade in the backdrop of Indian air violation episode was a celebration of this happiness. Indian FM Sushma Swaraj might have accepted the Pakistani version of Balakot incident, but she took her sweet time. India accepted that no soldiers or civilians were killed in Balakot air strike, but this confession came only after casualties in Balochistan. And the number of those killed was almost the same as the number of Indian soldiers killed in a suicidal attack in Pulwama.
We should not expect India to accept other realities till injury and insult incurred to the country in kinetic domain is responded in kind by Prime Minister Modi.
Pakistan needs to be careful and extremely vigilant in all domains. Our Foreign Minister in first week April had predicted a probable Indian aggression leaving its intensity, duration and nature for the people to ascertain but gave a time bracket between 16 to 20th April.
We now know that the statement by the foreign minister was not an outcome of fear or precaution but based on reliable and actionable intelligence. It all boils down to one reality: More than the pain of casualties, it’s the insult in kinetic domain which is difficult to absorb for the jingoistic mindset in India.
The most important issue right now is the future course of action on part of Pakistan officials which must take into account the answers to all or some of these vital questions. Is the recent terror attack in Balochistan India’s way of avenging pain of casualties suffered in Pulwama attack? Or is it a result of India’s anger caused by shame and insult in kinetic domain? Would this be ‘the only’ manifestation of insult suffered by Modi? Will the trend continue. And if so, for how long? Do we have a threshold which others are trying to test? Modi might be trying to provoke Pakistan to respond in kind which will provide a casus belli for use of force as well as validate the orchestrated event of Pulwama.
Since Pakistan is likely to show restraints, Modi may continue this behavior after a vote count on 23 May. All these questions are very vital for Pakistan which is battling hard on domestic, regional and global fronts in diplomatic, political, economic, security and social domains.
Every sphere and related issues in this regard need immediate but special attention and must be handled on an urgent basis. More important than economy is humanity, which we always need to uphold.
The writer is a PhD scholar with diverse experience and international exposure. He possesses conscious knowledge about phenomenon of terrorism and extremism coupled with realistic understanding of geo political, social and security environment