Sultan M Hali
CHINESE Consulate in Karachi came under terrorist attack on the morning of Nov 23, 2018. The attackers’ evil designs failed to materialise and the operation culminated in half an hour or so. Two security forces personnel embraced shahadat. About 21 staff members in the Consulate were safe and secure. Like in the past, the courageous security forces of Pakistan managed to prevent a terrorist act once again. There is a Latin term in judicial parlance Qui Bono or Cui Bono, which literally means ‘as a benefit to whom’. The immediate question that arises is who could be the prime beneficiary of such a dastardly action against the Chinese in Pakistan especially in the backdrop of PM Imran Khan’s successful visit to China? The Chinese are a beneficiary of Pakistan and Sino-Pak ties are not only time tested but based on rock solid foundations. Only an enemy of the State, who does not want Pakistan to prosper and aims at sabotaging the strategic partnership would have planned such a heinous attack.
Among other aspects, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was launched in 2015 and the mega project is destined to bring prosperity to Pakistan. Some of its early harvest projects have already seen fruition, while numerous will be completed soon, ushering in an era of economic revival of Pakistan. Additionally, China is involved in several projects in Pakistan, which range in diverse fields, energy, defence production, education, health commercial and even counter terrorism. Pakistan’s detractors grudge any benefit accruing to Pakistan, so they will take any steps to plant a wedge between Pakistan and China so that mistrust is created between the “iron brothers” implying that Pakistan fails to provide security to its Chinese brothers.
CPEC is like a thorn in the sides of India and several countries which oppose China while some are inimical to Pakistan as well. Narendra Modi, had openly criticized CPEC and had formally asked China to scrub it with the flimsy plea that it was passing through disputed territory of Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. President Xi Jinping had not only snubbed Modi stating that CPEC was a development project and not a strategic one. He went on to invite Mr. Modi to participate in CPEC as well as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of which CPEC is a flagship project. Mr Modi is no statesman and lacks vision, moreover, he has blinkered views overwhelmed by his hostility towards both China and Pakistan thus he failed to perceive the long-term benefits of joining the project and declined.
That were not all, in his 2015 address to the nation on India’s National Day, astride the ramparts of the Red Fort, he announced his support to alleged separatists in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir. Resultantly, we observe increased frequency of terror attacks in Balochistan and sporadic attacks in Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The arrest of senior RAW operative and terror monger Commander Kulbhoshan Jadhav from Balochistan confirmed the Indian hand behind fomenting unrest in the above named areas of Pakistan. At Kulbhoshan’s pointing, several terror leaders were arrested and espionage, sedition and terrorist cells in Pakistan were smashed. Kulbhoshan, in a written confession recorded in the presence of a First-class Magistrate, revealed the existence of several sleeping cells being operated by RAW, NDS and even CIA in Karachi, which is the commercial capital of Pakistan.
Unfortunately, all the sleeper cells were not identified by him as he knew of their existence but not their exact location. Secondly, in the last two years, the enemy has managed to infiltrate fresh agents of terror and mayhem in Pakistan. Despite winning numerous battles against terror in Pakistan, the State and its law enforcing agencies have not won the war on terror yet. A lot must be done still. The enemy is hell bent on destabilizing Pakistan and will use every weapon in its arsenal to achieve its odious aim. Baloch Liberation Army has claimed credit for the attack. The alleged Master Mind of the attack Aslam Acchu was injured in an operation conducted by security forces near Sibi, Balochistan.
According to the officials, he is currently under treatment in Max hospital in Indian capital Delhi. The intelligence officials also revealed that the plan of this attack was made in India. It is a redeeming feature that China not only understands Pakistan’s constraints but is appreciative of its efforts to combat terrorism. When Osama bin Laden was allegedly terminated in a compound in Abbottabad by US Navy SEALs in May 2011, the CIA Chief Leon Panetta, US State Department and India were raising fingers at Pakistan, blaming it for providing haven to the Al-Qaeda chief, it was only China that not only stood by us but highlighted Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the war on terror.
The need of the hour is for Pakistan and China to remain focused on their economic goals and remain steadfast to meet similar future challenges. Pakistani law enforcing agencies must be ever more vigilant to foil the enemy’s machinations against Pakistan, guard all sensitive installations, including diplomatic locations and especially protect the Chinese nationals. Two members of Pakistan Police force laid down their lives in defending the Chinese Consulate. Their sacrifice must not be forgotten but it is also a matter of great pride that the clearance operation was initially led by a female Police Officer ASP Suhai Talpur. This is a depiction of the contribution and participation of Pakistan’s girls and women folks being in the forefront to defeat evil designs of RAW-NDS nexus.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.