The Pakistani nation goes gaga each time a major terrorist incident happens. This is amazing that such events have been taking place since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979; and routinely since 9/11.
But the innocence of the Pakistani nation continues. The same statements and same concerns are constantly being repeated. A cartoon correctly depicted this phenomenon with a bureaucrat telling someone to replace references to the APS attack in Peshawar by the August 8, 2016 on the lawyers in Quetta, and release it to the press.
The attack has so far killed 73 persons which includes 63 lawyers, and two journalists, the photographer of Dawn and Aaj News channels and injured more than 120 persons including women and children. The attack followed the assassination of the President of the Bar Association of Balochistan, Bilal Anwar Kansi, who had called for a boycott of the Balochistan Courts, in solidarity with another lawyer who was assassinated two days before.
The massacre took place when a large crowd including many lawyers had gathered to pay respects to the assassinated President of the Bar Association.
This attack is one of the worst massacres to have taken place in Balochistan. Prior to this attack, there had been calls for the military and the government to play a more positive role in suppressing terrorism in the area and to ensure security. However, both the military and the government have failed to take any special action despite the constant reports of violence and disturbances in the area. Clearly, the government has failed in its duty to protect the people and to maintain the rule of law.
According to reports, immediately following the massacre, the military has authorised the intelligence services to make arrests as they wish throughout the country. The most obvious results of this would be the arrest of many innocent persons and given the previous record in these areas, it would not be surprising if many enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings take place in the aftermath of this massacre.
Of course everybody strongly condemns the barbarity and condoles the death. But is this all the citizens of Pakistan can do.
Through the meticulously planned attack, the terrorists have been successful in exposing the vulnerability of the so called fool-proof National Action plan (NAP), a plan made by the security establishment and the civilian government to combat terrorism, which has thus far proved to be ineffective and unable to stop the attacks.
Jammat ul Ahrar, a terrorist outfit of the Taliban, took responsibility for the attack. However the questions to be asked are “Who was supposed to protect the victims? Why do the government and the agencies responsible go on the defensive after such attacks? Who is responsible for the blood bath and who is responsible for stemming the tide of militant attacks?”
The Balochistan chief minister was quick to point fingers at RAW (the Indian Intelligence agency) blaming it for the attack even before the dust from the debris had settled. The familiar state rhetoric of blame game has been reiterated ad nauseam. Why does the state law enforcement spring into action after the damage has been done? Why aren’t any pre-emptive measures taken to ensure the safety and security of the common man?
The FC has been in Balochistan for almost two decades. It has police power and check posts all over the province. Besides the FC, all the 19 intelligence agencies are involved in operations against the terrorists. However, how is it possible that agents of other countries can operate in Pakistan? Instead of asking about the failures of the security establishment, the government finds it easier to relieve itself of the responsibility of providing for the safety and security of the people.
On June 8th, the principal of the law college of Quetta, Barrister Amanullah Achakzai was shot dead and on August 2nd, unknown assailants shot dead Jahanzeb Alvi, a prominent lawyer in Quetta. All of the attacks appear to be planned measures to silence the voices of dissent and to pave the way for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Government and Chief of Staff of the Army termed the attack as “an attempt by the enemy to sabotage CPEC”. The blood trail of the economic corridor appears to be lost on the Government. The innocent human lives lost as a result have no significance for the state which appears to be too pre-occupied.
In a barricaded and cordoned city, it belies common sense that the planned murders of lawyers have been going on unabated right under the nose of the law enforcement agencies with no one being apprehended for them. How is it possible that the terrorists managed to go scot free, in the presence of check posts and barracks every 1 kilometre? Doesn’t the inaction of the state amount to a silent assent to continue with the barbarity of such a grotesque proportion?
Given the massive number of killings it is unlikely that Pakistan investigating services would be willing and capable to carry out a credible investigation. The sheer incompetence of the investigating agencies in Pakistan is one of the major causes for intensification of violence in many parts of Pakistan including Balochistan.