By S. M. Hali
The tragic incident of the terrorist attack targeting a Police Bus carrying members of Special Security Unit at Police Training Centre Razzaqabad, Karachi, killing 13 and injuring 57 commandos last week has been condemned by all peace loving citizens of Pakistan. TTP claimed responsibility for the dastardly act of terrorism. It is not understood why on the one hand, the TTP is vying for political space and on the other hand, it is undertaking assaults on the people and law enforcing agencies. These actions against humanity are only earning it deep public contempt. It proves the point that they are a criminal group, for whom human lives have no meaning. The gruesome beheading of 23 FC personnel last Sunday by the TTP not only shocked the nation but also derailed the peace talks. In a video statement sent to media, Mohmand Agency Taliban Chief Umar Khalid Khurasani said that they killed the FC soldiers to avenge what he said was the custodial killing of Taliban fighters in Pakistan. The soldiers were kidnapped in 2010 from Shongari check post in Mohmand Agency. In another unrelated incident, Major Jahanzeb of Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom in a terrorist attack near Peshawar. Ever since the government of Pakistan undertook the process of conducting peace talks with the TTP, there has been a rise in militancy. One would have expected rational behaviour to suspend the terror attacks to give the interlocutors space and the opportunity to negotiate the terms of peace. Apparently, the TTP have underestimated the resolve of the nation to strike with all their might. If the Prime Minister had undertaken the path of negotiations, it should not have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness. Lesser nations than Pakistan have succumbed to the losses of human lives and given in to wielders of force against them. Pakistan has great resilience and has survived numerous shocks, trials and tribulations. Indeed the terrorists have waged war against the state of Pakistan since 9/11 and slaughtered nearly half a million people but the nation has not been brought to its knees. The loss of every life is precious but if the terrorists think that they can shell shock the nation into accepting their demands then they are mistaken. Some of the TTP leaders have even announced that they will form an Emirate of Pakistan, with their own laws, Sharia and have even named the first Caliph, none other than the leader of the TTP, Mullah Fazlullah. The TTP should know that assaults like the one on the police bus in Karachi, the slaughtering of the twenty three FC personnel or Major Jahanzeb, are only denting the ongoing peace efforts. The TTP should be putting its weight behind uniting the various splinter groups and working towards the cessation of hostilities. The sporadic acts of violence depict the mindset of the TTP. They are behaving like psychopaths and are on a killing spree, unable to stop themselves from causing death and destruction. As far as the incident in Karachi is concerned, where 13 policemen were butchered, it is unfortunate that a certain linguistic political group had been directly accusing the Karachi Police for extra judicial killing and targeting their party’s activists in Karachi. They had also given an ultimatum to the Police and the Government to release the party workers apprehended under various criminal charges. A few days prior to the transfer in Sindh Police forced DG Rangers to make exasperating media assertions to get the postings cancelled otherwise the operation was likely to suffer. Observers in Karachi insinuate that the terrorist attack against Police in Karachi coincided when the ultimatum expired. Some opinion builders assert that TTP claimed responsibility on behalf of the linguistic political party’s militant wing, which might have managed a secret deal with TTP to claim responsibility. There are similar conspiracy theories stretching speculations and spreading rumors. Political leaders like Imran Khan are also playing politics stating that success of military action against TTP will have 40% chance of success, misquoting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a classified briefing by the former Army Chief and DG ISI. Yet others blame a third force without accepting any responsibility. The attitude of political leaders is perturbing as they show least seriousness to end the violence and eliminate terrorism. The hypocrisy and dual face of the TTP must be denounced. On the one hand they demand the enforcement of Sharia and on the other they launch violent attacks against innocent people including those who are deputed on sacred duties of security and maintaining law and order. Perhaps the TTP is not serious in conducting negotiations and is only buying time. If that is true then TTP strongholds must be targeted on every violent attack they launch and tit-for-tat retaliatory operations should be conducted to make them feel the pain of their terrorist acts. The nation needs to be united against TTP and all other petty issues including party lines and power grabbing motives be suspended so that the menace of terrorism is tackled wholeheartedly, without distractions. Administrative issues like the postings in Sindh Police during Karachi operation must be put in abeyance as long as operations in Karachi continue. Political parties must allow Police to conduct across the board operation and let the criminals be brought to justice. Issuing ultimatums and accusations leveled against Police give wind to speculations that Police is being targeted by militant wings of a particular political party. Political leaders must not advance their political agenda on valuable assessments given by top military leadership on the possibility of success of military operation against TTP. Out of context references not only ridicule the Armed Forces but also help glorify the Taliban. 40% success of Army operation stated by ex COAS pointed at creating an impact of Army operation in overall objective of resolution of problem of peace. Hence, political leaders must exercise prudence in making statements to gain political prominence. Terror attacks of all kinds must cease if peace talks have to be given a chance.