The murderous assault on security forces on Saturday by merchants of terror marks a fresh spurt in violence in the country’s southwest and northwest frontiers. The details of the two attacks are grimly familiar.
At least 10 security forces personnel were martyred in North Waziristan tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan after they came under separate attacks by unknown militants. In the first incident, six Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in an attack near Pakistan-Afghanistan border after a patrolling party came under fire by unknown assailants from across the border in Gurbaz, North Waziristan. As if on a cue, a contingent of the Frontier Corps was attacked farther afield – in Balochistan – by unidentified militants during a combing operation between Hushab and Turbat, according to a press handout issued by ISPR, the military’s media wing. Long plagued by a mini-insurgency and target killings, the province of Balochistan is no stranger to violence orchestrated by enemies of the state. One can calibrate the quantum of the problem by looking at the stats. In May alone, for instance, the province faced at least five terror attacks, including the one on non-native labourers working in the district of Dera Murad Jamali.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the attacks in strongest terms. In a statement bound to lift morale of the troops, he said the armed forces shall ensure the defence and security of the motherland ‘at the cost of our sweat and blood’. Describing the assaults as ‘dying efforts of frustrated inimical forces’, he called on the world to facilitate regional peace. His call deserves to be heeded since it is in the global community’s interest to have a peaceful neighbourhood if it is to advance its strategic interests. Curiously, the attacks come days after the Pakistani civilian and military leaders discussed the regional security situation and Afghan peace with their American counterparts.
This latest instance of dare-devilry is certain to spark debate on how to tame violent extremism in a country much bloodied by years of sustained terror-mongering and economic sabotage.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2019.