Pakistan is located in southern Asia is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the south, Iran and Afghanistan to the west, India to the east and China to the north. It is in a sandwich between historical areas of ongoing conflict with the west. It has a population of almost 200 million and its location makes it difficult for it to remain immune to today’s effects of poverty and terrorism. As much as Pakistan is one of the richest places in Asia, poverty is also an issue due to its poor distribution of wealth. As with many countries in Africa and the middle east much of the wealth stays with the few wealthy families that control states. This could be one of the issues that need to be overcome before the situation changes. The more immediate threat to Pakistan is the sheer amount of terrorist activity.
In the first month of January 2019, an attack took place in Loralai, Pakistan. nine people, of which eight were policemen, were killed. Twenty two others were injured when a Deputy Inspector General’s office (DIG) was attacked by gunmen and suicide bombers. Later on, the attack was claimed by The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan group.
Protests against the attack were expressed in sit-ins by The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement in Quetta and Loralai. Arman Loni, one of the leaders of PTM, was killed in Loralai when the police launched a crackdown against the nonviolent protesters.
An attack in Loralai, Pakistan. Image: Khudai Noor Nasar
The following month of February brought more attacks in Loralai. Armed men killed two frontier corps on the 16th of February. The following day two security personnel of the frontier corps were killed in the Gardab area of Panjgur district. The attack was carried out by the Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of three Balochi separatist organizations: the Baloch Liberation Army, Balochistan Liberation Front, and Baloch Republican Guard. Some sources claimed that around nine military personnel were killed and 11 personnel were injured in the suicide attack, while others said four individuals were killed in Panjgur while the other two were killed in Loralai.
These attacks were preceded by the 2019 Loralai attack in Balochistan in which eight policemen and a civilian were killed by gunmen and suicide bombers affiliated with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan on 29 January 2019.
On 12 April 2019, a bomb exploded at an open market in Quetta, Pakistan. The attack reportedly left 21 dead. The bombing took place near an area where many minority Shiite Muslims live. At least ten Hazara including nine Shiites. were among the dead, two paramilitary soldiers and other people were also killed in the bombing. Prime Minister Imran Khan condoled the lives lost, directed the authorities to ensure the best medical treatment for the injured and ordered an increase in the security provided for Shiites and Hazara People. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and ISIL accepted the responsibility for the attack, stating that their targets were Hazara people.
On April 18, gunmen shot several passengers travelling from Karachi to Gwadar. About 20 armed men stopped around five or six buses between 12:30 am on a Makran Coastal Road. After the buses halted the gunmen inspected the passengers’ identity papers. About 16 of them were taken off and at least 14 were shot dead. Two passengers escaped making it to a Balochistan Levies checkpost. They were then taken to Hospital for treatment. When Law enforcement arrived on the scene they immediately started an investigation into the attack. The victim’s bodies were taken from the Noor Baksh Hotel.
The Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), An alliance of ethnic Baloch separatist armed groups took responsibility for the massacre in an email statement. Raaji Aajoi Sangar, the spokesperson for the Baloch, said in the statement, “… those who were targeted carried [identification] cards of the Pakistan Navy and Coast Guards, and they were only killed after they were identified.”
The violence continues and in the many issues that are expressed through terrorist activity, what they have in common is they see their point best made through killing to hopefully make governments bend to their bid for control of the country.
Islam is the religion of 95 – 98% of Pakistan, yet within the practice of Islam, the Baloch people claim that the Baloch are a distinct nation. They support the view that ethnic loyalty must surpass religious loyalty. A 37% minority of Baloch were in favour of independence according to a 2012 Department for International Development (DFID) survey; although a majority favoured greater self-governance in their province.
If indeed there was at the core of any belief ‘peace’ it would certainly be achievable but the growing sales of weapons is evidence of intention. Even if tomorrow all weapons were gone would only be a matter of time that the owner of the sharpest object would hold control. In all cases, it seems that religion has to embrace God.
For more information, please contact Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism at firstname.lastname@example.org