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Confusion and waning hopes after Quetta blast

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 13, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago
Posted: Aug 13, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago

Pakistani journalists and civil society activists place candles during a vigil to pay tribute to victims of August 8 suicide bombing at the Civil Hospital in Quetta on August 10, 2016. Pakistan's lawyers have been in the firing line before, but the August 8 massive attack -- which killed 72 and injured more than 100 -- was unprecedented in scale. Some 200 members of Quetta's close-knit legal community had come to the provincial capital's hospital to mourn the fatal shooting hours earlier of a prominent colleague. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN

By: Tatheer-ul-Islam
Complacency that we arduously weaved around us and that was fast slipping into our belief system, could hardly receive a setback, even in slightest degree, in the aftermath of massive bombing that tore through Civil Hospital in Quetta. A towering death toll in Monday’s bombing could not shake this ‘firm self-satisfactory belief’.

The most crucial casualty, if you allow it to be one, is national prestige, even though most compromised one with abundance of indifference by those at the helm of affairs. Outsiders increasingly view us as a nation of mourners, peddlers of conspiracy theories, holders of candle light vigils and last but least, reckless celebrators, but not proactive policy-makers and preemptors.

After Nine Eleven, American nation declared war on terrorism avowing the world would not remain same after the incident that shook it with frightful shudder. They were honest to their nation, true to their words and quick to act. Resultantly, no such huge terrorism could ever take place in the land.

You may take France in view as efficacious foresight issues forth from clearer hindsight. In contrast, we are simply dimwit with blurred vision, armed with shoddy strategizing and an unfocused line of action, if at all possible. After Charlie Hebdo shooting, France gathered a huge assembly of two million people standing on roads with Europe-wide representation. With sharply defined action plan and concomitant hard-hitting implementation, they raised and buttressed a fool-safe security for their nation.

With no nonsense seriousness, India concentrated on national security on the heels of Mumbai attacks
that no major terrorism could take place there till now. In comparison, we could not build trenchant distinctions between our interests and liabilities and between our foes and friends. Simply put, right or wrong does not interest us, instead, remunerative or unprofitable does.

Monday’s blast in Civil Hospital Quetta that killed over 70 people including lawyers and journalists sparked a string of narratives from voicing unshakeable resolve vis-à-vis terrorists to holding foreign hand (most people say India flat out) responsible for the act.

Among them, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani baffled me when he said, “It is high time we made hard and fundamental decisions. Else, incidents like Quetta bombing will continue to take pace in future too.”

Downhearted Rabbani said this in his media talk after offering condolences to Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) top body on Tuesday. Downcast with Quetta blast, what uneasy decisions is he indicating in presence of National Action Plan (NAP) that encapsulates all sore and critical points? Though, this consensus strategy is far from being satisfactorily implemented.

Rabbani may be using ‘basic and difficult decisions’ to denote Islamabad’s fragmented and disoriented foreign policy toward India, Afghanistan and may be Iran. Let’s ask Rabbani to himself spell out the undisclosed contents of his heart in this regard and let this haze be cleared out.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, who perchance belongs to PML-N, held Indian spy agency RAW principally responsible for the deadly blast intended to spark panic in the province where the security improved phenomenally of late.

Provincial Home Minister Bugti also toed Zehri’s line and claimed that his government has credible evidences on Indian involvement. He also said there are substantial proofs that India’s main intelligence agency was bankrolling extremists so as to spark chaos and violence in the province that is protected with heavy presence of law-enforcement agencies.

Afterwards, I switched through news channels and found different theories emanating from journalists, defence analysts and news observers.

Dwelling on ‘RAW links’, some people connected Quetta blast with Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s speech on Kashmir that sapped Indian Interior Minister Rajnath Singh of his patience. Later on, the incensed Indian minister left the SAARC conference in discourteous fashion.

During the subsequent media talks and current affairs programs, both top executives of Balochistan government were witnessed defending security and intelligence agencies and repudiated the blunt allegations of ‘failure of agencies’.

Nisar also cast off ‘failure remarks’ providing the peace in Balochistan as substantial evidence of agencies’ effective performance. I attest to this claim as hitting home, but, what about this huge bloodshed at the main hospital of the city? I do not call it a security lapse, though. I leave this query to Nisar, Zehri and Bugti.

In ensuing National Assembly session, the terror act was broached for heated discussion. Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai was pointblank in imputing the blame on agencies. He also raised a multiple other questions as well in this regard.

Later on, while coming of the Parliament House, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam- (Fazl) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman corroborated Achakzai’s stance by pointing finger of blame towards the intelligence agencies.

Fazl was of the view that it is incumbent upon the agencies to staunch the inroads being made by RAW, adding, “We get ourselves absolutely free from all burden of responsibility after imputing blame to the secret service of our neighbors.”

During succeeding proceedings at the lower house, Chaudhry Nisar made a strong pitch for the national agencies and without taking names, tore apart those who raised questions over the performance of security agencies.

Later on, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) endorsed the viewpoint expressed by Achakzai and Maulana Fazl, as MQM leader Nadeem Nusrat, while talking to SAMAA in its current affairs program, ‘Nadeem Malik Live’ used strong words, wondering, “Are our intelligence agencies in deep slumber?”

Ambling around among common men, I got a lot of suggestions for the government to straighten up its policy toward Iran, as according to them, people responsible for stoking violence in Pakistan were presently found traveling on Iranian visa.

The commoners also cited political leaders’ statements in the backdrop of terrorism by Sharif Brothers in Model Town on June 17, 2014. They bluntly indicated that Quetta blast was meant to be a lesson to the protesters, chiefly, Imran Khan and Dr. Tarhir-ul-Qadri as both have already revved up their Ehtisab and Qisas movements in motion. ‘Can anyone go to this extent?’ leaves much to cogitate about.

As far as I am concerned, I am of conviction that the military intelligence agencies are absolutely informed and on the ball in this regard. I believe the rampant economic terrorism is also their target. They are near to dismantle the network of economic terrorists. They will have the last lethal slash at it soon, not years or even months ahead from now.

The writer is a member of staff.

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