Tag Archives: PNS Mehran

A wake-up call

By Ayesha Siddiqa

It was the first time on Monday morning that I breathed a sigh of relief that the PTI and the PAT dharna is there and continues to attract attention. Just imagine if the media was not focusing on them they might have taken the trouble of sniffing out the drama which was unfolding in Karachi on September 6. A Chinese manufactured F-22P frigate of the Pakistan Navy, PNS Zulfiqar, came under attack by the Taliban. It is not confirmed as yet if the ship was at sea or docked at the naval dockyard. The story was kept under wraps for two days and disclosed on September 8. It was not that people were not warning others. A friend from abroad had even inquired on Saturday about what was happening in Karachi to which I had no answer as nothing was being reported on television except the Imran/Qadri roadshow. But I am still happy no one reported the story because the last time someone tried to dig out facts about infiltration of militants and ideologues inside the navy it ended in tragedy.

Gladly, the brave sailors and officers saved the day. However, the attack on PNS Zulfiqar, for which the Taliban took the responsibility, proved yet again the vulnerability of the country’s security. What we are always scared to talk about is the support from inside as had happened in the attack on PNS Mehran, PAC, Kamra and other places. Given the fact that little is known about militant penetration, it is difficult to ascertain the threat. This is about men caught by the demon of disbelief of their state and society. Glance through the literature on state making and you can find how monopoly over violence and making sure it stays that way is one of the many characteristics of a viable and efficient state. However, here is the issue of men, who join a profession to guard the state then turning away, because they suddenly suspect the state is not legitimate. The whole concept of jihad or takfir is not a simple issue of people becoming devil-like but erosion of their faith in legitimacy of the state. They begin to desire a perfect Islamic state which can only be brought about by fighting the existing system. Penetrating an armed force becomes an attractive option since achieving such objective tantamount to a force multiplier. A well-trained and oiled war machine can take you places.

Just imagine a situation where militants would try to rebel and take control of a vessel while at sea. Notwithstanding many of the earlier claims that all three services were cleaned during the Musharraf regime, these attacks suggest otherwise. Various religious groups have always had access to men in uniform under one pretext or the other. If it is not the militants then it is Deobandi or Salafi reformation movements such as the Tableeghi Jamaat or Al Huda that are allowed to access military personnel and their families. Reportedly, the households of one of the two smaller services were opened up for Al Huda by the senior leadership. The problem here is not with increased interest in religion but the fact that after a while these families and their men begin to get totally confused about where does duty to religion end and to the state begin. Not that they want to kill innocent colleagues and other people but they are blinded by their understanding of dogma to believe that they have to bring suffering in order to improve the world as ordained by God.

The PNS Zulfiqar attack is yet another reminder that things are getting serious. We need to look at this development in the backdrop of the expansion of militancy and extremism in the form of IS and the al-Qaeda’s Qaedatul Jihad in Indian Subcontinent (QJIS). While many analysts tend to see IS and QJIS from the lens of internal competition amongst militants, especially Zawahiri’s need to build up his strength, some observers argue that the two forces may have different tactics and partners but similar strategic objective. They both want to consolidate and establish a caliphate. In this regard, other existing organisations like the Hizb-ut-Tahrir also have the same desire.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/760623/a-wake-up-call-2/

This is not our war? Still?

By Kamran Shafi

So then, our ‘assets’ have attacked the extremely high security installation, the Kamra Airbase and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex killing one soldier and damaging an aircraft or two. Whilst earlier reports said that one terrorist had been captured alive, we are now being told that all eight, some say nine, have been killed.

If I had anything to do with the investigations, I would certainly look into the matter of the death of the terrorist caught alive, because you see, just like Mehran, I suspect that this was an inside job too.

There is a report also that says all the attackers were foreigners while others say only one was. Be which as it may this only proves the point that there is a collection of terrorists from across the Muslim world congregated in Fata and comfortably embedded with said ‘assets’.

Now then, after all of the attacks this country has suffered at the Taliban’s hands: Kamra; POFs; Sakesar; GHQ; Hamza Camp; ISI buses; Parade Lane; ISI HQs in Lahore and Faisalabad; Moon Market; Marriott; Lahore Cantonment; Mehran airbase; Lt Gen Mushtaq’s brutal murder in Rawalpindi; Peshawar Meena Bazaar and many others,  this is still not our fight; not OUR war? Till when will we live in denial, friends, till when will we call these murdering brutes our  ‘assets’?

Continue reading This is not our war? Still?

Militants storm Kamra Airbase

ATTOCK: Unknown militants launched an armed attack on Kamrah airbase in the wee hours of Thursday where fierce gun-battle is underway while blasts are also being heard intermittently at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) facility, Geo News reported.

There is a report of loss of life from both sides in the incident but it still remains unconfirmed.

According to Geo News correspondent, Saleh Zafir the army has been called out while the Pak army’s 111-brigade has already made it to the site of the incident to take part in the operation.

Sources told Geo News that the militants stormed the base from Pind Salman Makhan at 2:30 AM Thursday.

The sound of loud blasts at the base suggests that the militants are making use of the hand grenades they had on them as they made their way into the facility.

Sources also said that the security forces have managed to stop further advancement of the assailants into the base and presently an armed encounter between the two sides is underway.

The possible aim of the attack could be to cause damage to the parked aircraft of Pakistan Air Force or to hold the personnel present at the base hostage.

The attack is similar to that of Karachi Naval Base, PNS Mehran which took place on May 22, 2011. The militants had killed several Naval personnel besides destroying two P-3C Orion aircraft.

Continue reading Militants storm Kamra Airbase