State of Pakistan shaken—Cabinet refrained from taking any decision for war against TTP or for dialogue with terrorists.
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Politivcal Observer for Central Asia and Eastern Europe
Islamabad: The State of Pakistan is in a shocked after second massive successful attack of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Pakistan Army within 24 hours as terrorist blew him up on the gate of General Headquarters (GHQ) of Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi early morning January 20. Nation was still in a shock due to successful attack of Taliban on Pakistan in Bannu that resulted death of 24 soldiers on the morning of January 19.
According to police report, suicide bomber was intercepted just 100 (30 Metre) feet away from first picket of Pakistan Army guarding General Headquarters (GHQ) of Pakistan Army. GHQ had been attacked many times before and once Taliban held army officials hostages inside GHQ for around 40 hours.
Police sources claim that suicide bomber had 5 hand grenades with him therefore he might had plan to first attack Army picket with grenades and then entered GHQ area and blow himself up but he was intercepted by soldiers who asked him to stop is bicycle but he did not so one of the solider ran to him and gripped him then bomber detonated himself.
GHQ is quite soft target for Taliban because the entire area is surrounded by shops, commercial offices and houses. Guwalmandi, Lal Kurti, Saddar Bazaar of Rawalpindi of one of most populace areas and majority of shops and wheel barrows belong to residents of Khybar Pakhtun Khawa (KPK).
There are plans to shift GHQ to Islamabad but the project was halted due to lack of funds. In Past one 3 star General who was head of medical corp was blown up just outside GHQ near Saddar Bazzar.
The extensive attack on GHQ was remember in the history of armed forces when nine militants targeted the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on october 10, 2009 when 12 soldiers, a Brigadier and a Lt. Colonel had also been killed but militants’ ringleader Aqeel alias Dr Osman was captured alive.
Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his entire cabinet looked shaken as no briefing was given after Cabinet meeting headed by prime minister himself to look into the security issues of the country. This was first time during his government that cabinet briefing to media was postponed and Cabinet also did not take any action on top item of agenda that was adopting internal security policy.
“Nawaz is shaken—totally shaken and his whole cabinet was mum and had nothing to discuss and Nawaz looked depressed and worried so much that he stopped secretary Interior to continue his presentation over law and order situation in the country. He also directed his Interior minister in the middle of the meeting to leave the meeting and go to Bannu to condole the death of soldiers”, informed an insider to dispatch News Desk (DND).
Sources claimed that Defence Minister Kh. Asif was of the view during cabinet meeting that negotiations with TTP leadership was out of question after these two attack on armed forces within last 24 hours while Interior Minister Ch. Nisar was of the view that government should accept TTP offer for dialogue and negotiations because civil and military forces are trying to fight with TTP but looked fail to counter terrorists.
At the political front, TTP supporter religious parties are still pushing right wing Nwaz Sharif for negotiations with TTP and Maulana Samiul Haq of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-S) in a statement maintained that government should follow the path of negotiation even after attack on GHQ—Military Headquarters of Pakistan Army. On the other hand, telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif was also very important and nothing came out of this telephonic conversation except that “Prime Minister condoled the death of soldiers in two attacks with army chief”. However, insiders claim that this conversation was instrumental for not announcing any decision from cabinet meeting because cabinet was going to announce its willingness for negotiations and dialogue with TTP but after sensing the “Gravity” of the situation, refrained from announcing any decision of the cabinet so no briefing was held to avoid questions from media about decisions of the cabinet.
Meanwhile, sources claim that there are credible reports that more attacks are expected from TTP within next couple of weeks because TTP will continue its clear policy for pushing Pakistan government to the wall so Mian Nawaz Sharif can come on negotiation table and accept major demands of TTP. Immediate demands of TTP is release its supporters and leaders from jail who are in death cells and waiting for hanging in terrorism cases. Release of Sufi Muhammad, the father-in-law of TTP Chief, announcing Shariah Law in North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Swat are also top demands of TTP. Chief of PTI which has government in Khybar Pakhtun Khawa, Imran Khan is also demanding negotiations and dialogue with TTP.
“Pakistan Army is fighting against TTP and thousands of soldiers, officers, brigadiers and even Generals have been killed by TTP. Pakistan army is the Prime target of TTP but in political system, it follows decisions of political parties that are divided over the issue of fight against terrorists due to religious inclination and fears. Remember TTP killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, many ministers, politicians, journalists and officers of all forces. TTP has a history of killing them and then accepting responsibility so no ambiguity left and message of horror and terror spread in the society and this strategy of TTP is very successful because judges are refraining from hearing cases of terrorism, journalists are afraid to write and speak again it and only Pakistan Army is defending the country and standing against TTP”, believe political observers.
General Raheel Sharif Chief of Army Staff, visited CMH Rawalpindi in the evening and inquired about the health of injured of R A Bazar suicide attack. Neither Chief Minister Punjab (where Rawalpindi falls) nor Prime Minister visited hospital to meet injured due to security reasons till the filing of this report.