Emerging security challenges

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Dr Muhammad Khan

THE militancy was a grave threat, faced and combated by the brave armed forces of Pakistan through a series of military operations. The nation strongly stood behind its brave military and other institutions of security during this long war, which took a heavy toll of the state in term of human resource and the massive economic losses. The successful conduct of Operation Zarb e Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad provided great relief to Pakistani nation in term of security, peace and stability. The rival forces, which planned and executed the militancy in Pakistan felt uneasy, alarmed and highly dismayed over this unprecedented act of military, thus used other means to keep the state in a state of indecision and unpredictability. The rise of petty political issues between various political forces and the plots of Ahmadiyya Community, which is struggling to create a constituency for its political space further created a chaos in the domestic politics of Pakistan. The domestic situation has been further complicated by rising cases of Covid-19 which is getting uncontrolled with each passing day. Ahmadiyya Community was declared non-Muslims in 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. Since they do not accept the constitution of Pakistan, thus they cannot be given the status of minority. All those sponsoring them in the parliament must understand that they too violate the Constitution of Pakistan.
While the abovementioned issues are being tackled through abortive strategies, there is sudden resurgence of militancy in the country. Over the last two months, there have been attacks on the personnel of security forces in North Waziristan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and some parts of Balochistan province. In two recent attacks, Pakistan lost eight soldiers including an officer. In North Waziristan, two soldiers embraced Shahdaat in a clash which killed nine militants on April 26, 2020. It was fifth clash between security forces and militants in this area in a month. The weapons and ammunition captured indicate that, militants from across the border are regrouping into the far flung border areas with long-term objectives. Indeed, there is unrest in Afghanistan, since the peace agreement between US and Taliban is not being implemented in its true letter and spirit by Afghan Government. US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Dr Zalmay Khalilzad had a meeting with General Bajwa on May 8, 2020. Earlier Mr Khalilzad had a meeting with Taliban leader and Indian External Affairs Minister and National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval. India is against Afghan peace deal since it is likely to lose its heavy presence and anti-Pakistan activities. Afghan Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Afghan security forces and Afghan spying network NDS is harbouring the terrorists into Pakistani soil. There is an intensification of PTM activities in the area. Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir have accused Government of killing of Arif Wazir, a local PTM leader. Stepping-up of PTM activities at this critical time speaks volume of their external linkages.
There has been an improvised explosive device (IED) attack near Pak-Iran border on a patrol of Frontier Corps Balochistan on May 8, 2020. As a result of this attack, five soldiers and an officer embraced Shahadat. It is very alarming that after killing of five Indian Army officers and men at Hndwara in Kupwara district of Indian occupied Kashmir at the hands of Kashmiri freedom fighters, a retired Indian Army office, Major Gaurav Arya openly said in on a live media debate that, India will avenge these killings in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Within three days, Pakistan lost its six soldiers in a BLA planned IED, which clearly reflects Indian involvement in the terrorists activities within Pakistan. Indian Army killed Riyaz Naikoo, a young Kashmiri freedom fighter in Kupwara, after Indian military officers and men were killed. Indian Army also detonated and burnet many houses in the district to avenge these killings. Since Handwara attack, hundreds of Kashmiri youth have been killed and arrested and hundreds of residential houses have been burnt in the area.
Major Gaurav Arya turned media analyst is on the payroll of RAW, later said in another live TV programme that, he has all the contacts with Baloch separatists in Pakistan. He even asked a Pakistani analyst (Qamar Cheema) that, he can give him the cell numbers of all Baloch separatists. He also challenged that; India will support these separatists in getting them an independent Balochistan like it did in former East Pakistan. This is a great confession of Indian sponsoring the terrorism inside Pakistan in a live television programme. This admission and all the earlier disclosures by the military officers, Indian NSA and political leaders of India clearly indicate the future Indian planning about Pakistan. There is a requirement of relooking the security issues of Balochistan from all aspects. In yet another surprise move, Indian Ministry of External Affairs demanded Pakistan to vacate and handover the areas of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to India. Besides, Indian military has stepped up its firing across the Line of Control, killing dozens of civilians and soldiers along LoC. Pakistan rejected the Indian statement and has asked India to restore the pre-August 2019 status of IOK and resolve the dispute as per UN resolutions. The emerging security challenges, confronting Pakistan today needs a serious review and scrutiny with a rational way forward. A sudden upsurge of many security challenges simultaneously means a lot for the security and stability of Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Government of Pakistan did not initiate any meaningful and noticeable step to counter the unilateral and criminal Indian action of annexing the occupied state as its union territories through Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act-2019. The defensive posture adopted by Government over Kashmir provided an excuse to India to lay its claim over Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK. In power politics, any defensive posture would always invite aggression from the rival forces.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

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