Sabotage bid: PSX attack reeks of Delhi’s frustrations

Experts say Afghan peace process, defeat in Galwan Valley is driving India into sponsoring militancy in Pakistan


SHEHARYAR ALI July 02, 2020
Aftermath: Bullet holes pepper the window of a security booth at the Pakistan Stock Exchange after it was attacked by terrorists on Monday, creating fear and panic in the city's financial centre. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI:

In another attempt to terrorise Pakistan and jolt its international repute, terrorists from the India-backed Baloch Liberation Army carried out a failed attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday. The cowardly attack was thwarted within six to seven minutes thanks to the sheer brilliance and bravery of the Sindh Police’s Rapid Response Force.

On the floor of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Imran Khan called the police sub-inspector and three private security guards martyred while fighting the terrorists ‘heroes of Pakistan’. "What happened in Mumbai, they wanted to do the same [in Karachi]; they wanted to spread uncertainty. We have no doubt this was done by India," the premier said.

The bitter reality

Local stakeholders in Balochistan believe Indian meddling in the province is a bitter reality that cannot be ignored. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar of the Balochistan Awami Party said covert Indian involvement emboldened militants in the province to carry out such attacks.

“The state should continue taking firm action against these militants maligning the name of our country by attacking sensitive institutions year after year,” Kakar said. He called for targeting such groups in Balochistan with firm action similar to ones carried out against religious extremist outfits.

"BLA hideouts are located near the Iran-Pakistan border and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Iran has also been asked to not allow any terrorism from its soil against Pakistan and I believe it is not going to happen in future," Kakar said.

Talking about issues pertaining to missing persons in Balochistan and other grievances, Kakar insisted that they had been blown out of proportion. “This is propaganda against the state by a malicious few. How can you call these individuals activists? Activism is peaceful struggle for a particular cause, but these individuals are simply terrorists,” he said.

Driven by desperation

Analysts believe that New Delhi supervised the attack due to sheer frustration caused mainly by China’s unflinching strategic victory in the Galwan Valley.

“We need to look at India's position at the moment. It has reservations over the Afghan peace process. It is facing global opposition due to its illegal and atrocious actions in Kashmir and it has suffered embarrassment at the hands of China in Galwan Valley,” explained security analyst Imtiaz Gul. “These continuous failures and embarrassments provoked India to carry out these attacks in Pakistan.”

“We should understand India is very much against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and Karachi is the centre of CPEC related activities. India cannot bear the success of CPEC in Pakistan,” Gul said. "Pakistan Stock Exchange has its own global symbolic value. The reason it was target was to demoralise the business community.”

Other analysts pointed out that the arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav from Balochistan and recent revelations by former London-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Muhammad Anwar that Indian agencies made contact with the party vindicates the notion that New Delhi will leave no stone unturned to destabilise Pakistan. Attacks on the Chinese embassy, the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar and now the Pakistan Stock Exchange suggest India is focused to disrupting the peace restored after countless sacrifices in Pakistan.

“India has activated her sleeper cells to distract the Pakistani armed forces with another spate of terror attacks using the nexus built over time between Chabahar, Balochistan and Karachi,” a senior intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity. A think-tank of senior military experts believed the activation of these cells needs immediate attention. They stressed the need to monitor travel between the country’s interprovincial and international borders and simultaneously enhancing readiness on the country’s eastern front.

In an exclusive talk with The Express Tribune, Karachi police chief AIG Ghulam Nabi Memon said the metropolis is the prime choice for any foreign funded terror activity. However, he immediately added that the structure of terror cells have been demolished due to the finest security operations conducted by security forces.

Responding to a question about possibility of any future attacks by BLA, Memon said the group right now lacks the capability. “At the same time, the police is not allowing any space for them to re-emerge in,” he said.

Memon said there was no massive terror activity in the city, adding that “Police apprehended 250 terrorists in 2019 and similarly 50 have been arrested so far, which explains the preparedness of police department.”

"The coalition of Baloch separatists with MQM-L and other Sindhi liberation forces is undeniable, they are supporting each other and we have evidence that they are taking funds from RAW", the police chief said. “But they should not underestimate state's capability. Law enforcement personnel will crush them. We quelled the terror attack within 10 minutes and that shows sophistication of our counter terror operations,” he pointed out.

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