- Resetting of priorities needed
Thursday was one of the worst days in the War on Terror, not merely for the armed forces, but for the country as a whole, with 13 security personnel losing their lives in two different incidents. The incidents reflected two aspects of the dangers facing our security forces, with seven Frontier Corps personnel being cut down by gunfire on the Makran Coastal Highway while escorting an OGDC team going from Gwadar to Karachi, along with six security guards, who were all retired servicemen, and whose deaths will cause pain in their old units. Seven soldiers were also killed near Razmak, North Waziristan, by an IED. The military has blamed Indian intelligence for the attacks.
That does not show much effort being put in to solve the problem. While it is true that Baloch separatist movements have carried out attacks in the past such as the one on the Makran Coastal Highway, no one has claimed responsibility for either attack. India’s RAW has been heavily involved in instigating such attacks, when armed forces personnel are dying in such numbers; RAW is too facile an explanation to be acceptable. The Razmak attack is particularly worrisome because it occurs in an area where the Army claimed it had crushed the Islamic militancy that had taken over the area. The subsequent integration of the Tribal Areas into Pakistan does not seem to have worked, because Thursday’s attack was not an aberration, but marked a resurgence in attacks. Particularly worrisome is that neither attack represents random terror, but is targeting the armed forces.
The dispassionate observer may see an Indian hand in this targeting, but it also means that somebody is sleeping on the job. The suspicion naturally arises that not enough tabs are being kept on Indian machinations, and too much attention and resources are being devoted to less pressing matters. The focus must be on the prevention of such attacks, not vague ascriptions of blame after the event. Any person or body that might cause a diversion of effort, and a loss of focus, by demands for information about domestic bodies, is part of the problem, not of the solution.