In a country where scenes from thrillers seem to be played out at regular intervals, we have a new episode in this continuing drama. Dr Nasiruddin Haqqani, the son of the aging Jalaluddin Haqqani, a veteran of the Afghan war who founded the Haqqani Network based in North Waziristan, was killed near the Bara Kahu police station in Islamabad in an unexplained shooting. According to reports, two men on motorcycles gunned down Dr Nasiruddin as he stopped at a bread shop. His body was whisked away before the police could reach the spot, apparently by his driver. Tribal elders in North Waziristan confirm the man killed was indeed Dr Nasiruddin, who has since been buried.
Mysteries surround his death. The spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has said the ISI killed Dr Nasiruddin. There is obviously no way of verifying this. Officials in Afghanistan meanwhile put the death down to an ‘internal feud’. The death of Dr Nasiruddin, believed to be in his forties, will undoubtedly weaken the Haqqani Network, a group believed to be behind multiple attacks in Afghanistan, and a key component of the so-called ‘Afghan Taliban’. Dr Nasiruddin is the fourth of Jalaluddin’s sons to be killed as a result of the ongoing war; he was thought to be responsible for logistics including fund collection and liaising with donors.
Questions arise as to quite what Dr Nasiruddin was doing in Islamabad. Pakistani state authorities have consistently refuted any links with the Haqqanis, but new doubts arise given his presence in Islamabad. The fact that Jalaluddin, as a leading ‘mujahideen’ fighter, fought alongside Pakistani forces against the former Soviets in Afghanistan adds credence to the accounts which say there has never been a complete cut-off from this group. Certainly, there is a lot that needs to be explained. The unusual killing in Islamabad has only added to the rumours, the uncertainties and the riddles involved in our war on terror. As citizens, caught up in its midst, we deserve to know some of the answers, given the highly significant implications they have for us and indeed for the future of the entire region.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2013.
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