Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What is more perilous, drone attacks on terrorists’ hideouts or acts of terrorism?


Media spin is in full play again. While international media is questioning Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its strategic assets and these questions remain unanswered by the local media, Pakistan’s media is pursuing different objectives. The major objective is to mislead the public and put pressure on the otherwise incompetent members of spineless Parliament to shift focus from the menace of terrorism to drone attacks on hideouts of terrorists. The spin has so far been very successful. The talk-show hosts, some of them known for their links with and sympathies for the terrorists, are successfully playing with the sensitivities of the common people to direct the hatred from blood-thirsty terrorists to the USA. A situation is being created to bring the people on to the roads to demand war with the US in order to test the nerve of the morally weak government and push the already cornered security apparatus towards a disastrous situation.

Is this all being done for a purpose? Let us take stock of the situation.

It is common knowledge that religious extremism started rearing its ugly head in Pakistan when the Americans closed the shop after break-up of the Soviet Union and the foot soldiers and managers of holy Afghan war against USSR lost their jobs. The first major act of terrorism was plane crash of Bahawalpur in 1988 in which the President of the country and senior generals of Army were killed along with plane’s crew, American ambassador and a senior US defense official of brigadier-general’s level. The perpetrators of this crime were never exposed or known by the country. The decade of 1990s is still known for sectarian terrorism killing scores of innocent people including foreigners in their places of worship. 

The first suicide blast of 1995 carried out in Egyptians embassy of Islamabad was proudly claimed by al Qaeda. All those sectarian criminals were trained in training camps inside Afghanistan and were never handed over to Pakistan despite demands made through official channels. It was then clear that Taliban were aiding and using these terrorists to kill and coerce those professing Islamic faith not approved by violent brand of the faith promoted by some of the friendly countries in the Islamic world. These so called friendly countries had funded Afghan war through promotion of their brand of faith.

It was in those days that OBL had to leave Sudan under American pressure and take refuge in Afghanistan, lock stock and barrel. It was in that particular decade that Americans fired cruise missiles from Arabian Sea on OBL’s hideout in Afghanistan in 1998. These missiles crossed Pakistani airspace and some of these missiles also landed in Pakistan’s territory. This was apparently a unilateral action but the question of violation of sovereignty was never raised. Ramzi Yusaf, accused of masterminding bomb attacks in the US was apprehended in Islamabad and handed over to the US. Aimal Kansi, an ex-CIA operative who had killed his handler outside CIA HQ in Langley was apprehended by Americans themselves from DG Khan in a unilateral action and subsequently executed in the US. 

It is clear from the above that thousands of innocent Pakistanis were killed in acts of terrorism in 1990s when there were no drone attacks. And these acts were carried out by the very same organizations who are now carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan. After 9/11, the terrorist incidents in Pakistan targeted innocent civilians and foreigners. Major acts of terrorism, till the commencement of drone strikes in June, 2004 are listed as under:

2001

  • 28 October:- Attack on a Protestant church in southern Punjab city of Bahawalpur resulted in 16 deaths and 6 injuries. The casualties were all Christian worshippers except one police officer.[
  • 21 December:- Pakistani interior minister Lt. Gen. (retd) Moinuddin Haider's elder brother Ehteshamuddin Haider was shot dead by assailants near Soldier Bazaar in Karachi.
 2002
  • 26 February:- At least 11 Shi'a worshipers were killed by indiscriminate firing by a group of masked gunmen at the Shah-i-Najaf Mosque in Rawalpindi.
  • 17 March:- A grenade attack on a Protestant church in the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave in Islamabad killed five persons, including a US diplomat's wife and daughter, and left more than 40 others injured.
  • 7 May:- Noted religious scholar Prof Dr Ghulam Murtaza Malik, his driver and a policeman were shot dead by two gunmen in Iqbal Town, Lahore.
  • 14 June:- A powerful car bomb exploded near the heavily-guarded US Consulate in Karachi, killing 12 people and wounding over 50 others. A portion of the outer wall of the consulate was blown apart.
  • 13 July:- Nine foreign tourists and three Pakistani nationals were injured in an attack near an archaeological site in the district of Mansehra.
  • 5 August:- At least six people were killed and four injured in a gun attack on a missionary school for foreign students in mountain resort of Murree. The attack was carried by four gunmen, when they started firing indiscriminately, however no pupils were among those killed, all of whom were Pakistani guards and employees at the school.
  • 9 August:- Three nurses—and an attacker—were killed while 25 others injured in a terrorist attack on a church in the Taxila Christian Hospital, in Taxila, northern Punjab.
  • 16 October:- More than eight people were injured in a series of parcel bomb explosions in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi.
  • 25 September:- Gunmen stormed the offices of a Christian welfare organisation in Karachi, tied seven office workers to their chairs before shooting each in the head at close range.
  • 15 November:- An explosion on a bus in Hyderabad, Sindh killed two people and injured at least nine others.
  • 5 December:- Three people were killed in an attack at the Macedonian Honorary consulate in the city of Karachi. The dead – all Pakistani – were tied up, gagged and killed before the explosion at the office.
  • 25 December:- Unidentified assailants threw a grenade at a Presbyterian church in Pakistan's central Punjab province, killing three young girls. At least 12 others were injured in the attack at Daska, near Sialkot.

2003

  • 28 February:- Two policemen were shot dead outside the United States consulate in Karachi, the same place where 12 people were killed by a car bomb nine months ago.[18]
  • 10 March:- Two people were injured when a masked terrorist opened indiscriminate fire on a mosque in Gulistan Colony, Faisalabad.
  • 8 June:- 11 Pakistani police trainees were shot dead in what is believed to have been a sectarian attack on Sariab Road, Quetta, as they all belonged to Hazara Shi'a branch of Islam. Another nine were reported wounded.
  • 4 July:- At least 47 people were killed and 150 injured in an attack on a Shia mosque in the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta.
  • 6 October:- Maulana Azam Tariq, chief of the Millat-i-Islamia (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan) and MNA, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen along with four others as his car drove into the capital, Islamabad.
  • 14 December:- President Pervez Musharraf survived an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb went off minutes after his highly-guarded convoy crossed a bridge in Rawalpindi. Musharraf was apparently saved by a jamming device in his limousine that prevented the remote controlled explosives from blowing up the bridge as his convoy passed over it.
  • 25 December:- Another attempt was carried on the president 11 days later when two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf, but their car bombs failed to kill the president; 16 others nearby died instead. Musharraf escaped with only a cracked windscreen on his car. Militant Amjad Farooqi was apparently suspected as being the mastermind behind these attempts, and was killed by Pakistani forces in 2004 after an extensive manhunt.

2004

  • 28 February:- An apparent suicide bomber was killed and three worshipers were injured in an attack on Imambargah in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.
  • 2 March:- At least 42 persons were killed and more than 100 wounded when a procession of the Shia Muslims was attacked by Deobandi extremists at Liaquat Bazaar in Quetta.
  • 3 May:- A car bomb in south-western city of Gwadar killed three Chinese engineers and injured 10 other people.
  • 7 May:- A suicide bomber attacked a crowded Shia mosque in Sindh Madrassatul Islam in Karachi, killing at least 15 worshipers. More than 100 people were also injured, 25 of them critically in the attack. One person was killed in the riots that followed the attack.
  • 14 May:- Six members of Shia family was shot dead in Mughalpura locality of Lahore.
  • 26 May:- Two car bombs explode within 20 minutes of each other outside the Pakistan-American Cultural Center and near the US consul general's residence in Karachi, killing two men and injuring more than 27 people, mainly policemen and journalists.
  • 30 May:- A senior Deobandi religious scholar and head of Islamic religious school Jamia Binoria, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, was gunned down in his car while leaving his home in Karachi.
  • 31 May:- A suicide bomber blew up the Imambarghah Ali Raza mosque in Karachi in the middle of evening prayers, killing 16 worshipers and injuring 35. Two people were killed in riots over the mosque attack and Shamzai's assassination.
  • 10 June:- Gunmen opened fire on a convoy carrying the then corps commander Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hyat leaving 11 people dead in Karachi. The corps commander who escaped unhurt later became the vice chief of army staff under General Pervez Musharraf. This was the first such attack on the Pakistan Army, not counting the earlier assassination attempts on General Pervez Musharraf who was also the President of the country, since the military began operations in Waziristan in 2004.
In order to get the targets without any loss of life, the drone attacks were started. First drone attack was carried out on 18 June 2004, and casualties so far are in the range of about 1483-2364 as of May 16, 2011. Major targets of these drone strikes were Taliban, TTP, al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Lashkar-e-Islam and other foreign militants. The number of strikes and casualties in the beginning was very low but these strikes intensified from 2008. Major targets taken by these strikes were known al Qaeda, Taliban and TTP leaders like Nek Muhammad Wazir, Haitham al-Yemeni, Abu Hamza Rabia, Abu Laith al-Libi, Abu Sulayman Al-Jazairi, Midhat Mursi, Khalid Habib, Abu Akash,  Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim (alias Abu Jihad al-Masri),  Abdullah Azam al-Saudi, Rashid Rauf , Abu Zubair al-Masri, Usama al-Kini, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, Tohir Yo‘ldosh, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim, Bahadar Mansoor, head of Badar Mansoor group, and Rana Afzal, the man behind the FIA HQ bombing in Lahore.

It is clear from the above that terrorist strikes in Pakistan killing 35,000 innocent Pakistanis were not at all a reaction of the drone strikes. These terrorist attacks were meant to destabilize Pakistan and weaken and demoralize Pakistan’s security apparatus in order to gain a foothold in some part of the country to establish a Salafi Wahabi state. Those who are shifting focus of public attention from terrorism to drone strikes are simply misguiding the people. As a matter of fact, terrorist attacks are more perilous for the social order in Pakistan than the drone attacks and if Wikileaks says that Pakistani government tacitly approved these drone attacks, it become understandable.
The only reason terrorists have so far been able to successfully target Pakistan's security apparatus is because of the sympathies the pro-Taliban media and right-wing politicians have created for the terrorists. If this country destabilizes as a result of terrorism, this will be because of complicity of power-hungry politicians of all hues and immature media so crazy for the rating.

Related story:

Immature media anchors and opportunist politicians should wake up to the harsh realities....

Fifth Generation warrior of the Fourth Generation warfare....

2 comments:

  1. worth reading,now its time to take clear path and defense our national interest not play for us interest cos every country act only for their best interest.www.pakconnects.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. The death of Ilyas Kashmiri has proved that drones are most effective way of eliminating terrorism.

    ReplyDelete

Share it