Dr Shireen M Mazari enlightens the readers about the present wave of terrorist activities in Pakistan by comparing it with those happened in 80s in Pakistan. She questions as why don’t Taliban attack the NATO and why the Pakistanis only? The timing of bomb blasts is also crucial. Would our policy makers like to know these facts and revise Pakistan’s relationship with American? The Army has the responsibility to do this as this was its Chief, who should have been a Tablachi instead of being Army chief, who made Pakistan a living hell for Pakistanis. We urge our political and military leadership to think at least once that would it be better to kill the Agents or those who will recruit more and more if the present vanish. The Americans and Indians are the real problem. To only kill the agents will bring no change.
The bomb blast in Peshawar with its terrible loss of life has further destroyed any remaining semblance of normality in the provincial capital. Of course all fingers are pointing to the TTP. But what should also be seen now is the link the TTP has with India and the US. After all, the TTP has so far not targeted anyone other than Pakistanis despite their claims that they are fighting the US. It is the Afghan Taliban who are targeting the US/NATO forces occupying Afghanistan. And with the US/NATO having vacated their check posts on the Afghan side of the border with Pakistan, to allow for a freer flow of arms to the TTP in South Waziristan where the Pakistan Army is battling these militants, it requires little imagination to understand the underlying linkages – or what some would term, wheels within wheels.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the recent spate of terrorism, which has shifted from being primarily suicide blasts to the targeting of security personnel and installations by armed men, as well as car bombs in busy civilian centres is the terrible sense of dTja vu one has.
If we can recall the Pakistan of the eighties, when we were the frontline state in another US war – against the Soviets in Afghanistan and the socialist regime they had installed in Kabul – we will remember the pattern of terrorism that hit out country as the CIA funded, Pakistan supported Mujahideen made gains in Afghanistan. For example in July 1987 two car bombs went off in Karachi killing 72 people and wounding 250; just nine days earlier, three blasts had occurred in Lahore within a few minutes, killing seven people. Authorities at the time had blamed these on “agents of the Communist government in neighbouring Afghanistan”. The Karachi bombings happened in Saddar – a civilian commercial centre.
There were also acts of terror in Balochistan, where the secessionists suddenly emerged fully armed, and Quetta was also targeted. Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Islamabad also saw bomb blasts, all in civilian centres. All these acts of terror were attributed to the KGB, Khad (the Afghan secret service of the time) and RAW. India was one of the few countries across the globe that had not condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and had thereby made great inroads into that country. So RAW with Khad became active inside Pakistan from the western border. The strategy of the Soviet Union was clear: destabilise Pakistan to counter the growing success of the Mujahideen. This was attempted through two tracks: aggravating ethnic divides in the rural areas of Pakistan, such as rural Sindh; and terrorising the densely populated urban areas through blasts in civilian centres.
Now, once again, what are we seeing in the recent acts of terrorism? A similar pattern repeated, with a major act of terror happening in Pakistan whenever there is a major attack against US/NATO forces in Kabul. The most recent one was the downing of the US helicopter in Afghanistan just before the latest Peshawar blast. This is not to deny the local menace of militants in the form of the TTP but who is linked to this local group? Where are the money and weapons coming from? Why did the US and NATO deliberately vacate their check posts just when the Pakistan Army began its operations in South Waziristan – after continuous prodding from the US to begin with? Why are so many US citizens being caught at odd hours of the day and night in and around the capital carrying weapons to and from their embassy? Who are they supplying with these weapons?
For those of us who lived through what were then the darkest days of our history in the eighties, only the faces have changed, the style of terrorism remains the same. The CIA has replaced the KGB and Khad, but India’s RAW remains a constant. And the local agents for these new forces are the TTP. Why are we destined to suffer the same cycles of terror in our history every time we become a frontline state for the US?