Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Pakistan: Are Taliban used by external powers?

The declaration of an open war by Threek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against three political parties, ANP, MQM and PPP that ruled Pakistan for five years is an open challenge to the Government of Pakistan (GoP) as well as the citizens. 

A point of even bigger concern is its support for PML-N, PTI and JUI-F, but recent attacks on JUI-F in Balochistan perplex many.

A point to be remembered is that Taliban was the term coined for Mujahideen that fought against USSR with the support of United States. However, after 9/11 Taliban were declared a foe by the United States for providing safe haven to OBL in Afghanistan.

Analysts often mix Taliban and TTP. These are two separate entities having different objectives but often alleged for cooperating with each other when it comes to attacking sensitive installations or killing innocent citizens in Pakistan.
TTP is often termed an indigenous phenomenon that primarily challenged the writ of GoP in the northern areas of the country. It may have got support from foreign militants fighting in Afghanistan but its primary target has been Pakistan Army. Its other targets have been Shia community and lately ANP and MQM.

Some of the cynics say that TTP phantom has been blown out of proportion and they raise fingers towards yet another banned outfit Jundullah, once headed by Abdul Reham Riki, who was arrested and hanged by Iran for killing its key people and attacking sensitive installations. One of the conspiracy theories is that Jundullah has become active once again and it is using TTP name to mislead people of Pakistan as well as intelligence agencies.

In the past, Jundullah had emerged the biggest champion of Rights of Baloch, both in Pakistan and Iran. It was often alleged that Jundullah was getting funds and arms from foreign elements that wanted to cause collateral damages to Pakistan and Iran. It must have not been easy for the perpetrators to swallow the bitter pill that many of the Baloch leaders that have been living in self exile for a long time have decided to participate in general elections being held on 11th May.

The reasons one could suspect resurgence of Jundullah are: 1) attacks on JUI-F candidates and 2) blowing up of gas transmission lines in Balochistan. This belief also gets some credence because the sole purpose of attacking ANP, MQM and PPP is to create a reason for the postponement of general elections. Pakistanis have been wondering why any militant group or political party should be keen in deferring election in the country?

One can recall that even prior to the creation of an interim set up some of the quarters were suggesting extending term of this arrangement for three years but a question was also raised, who could be the beneficiaries of the proposed set up? The cynics attributed this to withdrawal of Us-led Nato troops from Afghanistan via Pakistan. It is often said that the need of the time is ‘putting in place a team on which Nato countries, including US have complete faith.

The game plan faced some risks when anti United States sentiments flared up again in Pakistan. Now there is an overwhelming feeling in Pakistan that despite fighting proxy war for the United States, the mantra of ‘do more’ remains load. Pak-US relations got a big jolt when Pakistan despite warned of dire consequences decided to go ahead with Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

Now even a man on street is asking if India is allowed to construct Chabahar port, road and rail link up to Central Asia, buy oil and also construct urea manufacturing plant in Iran, why pressure on Pakistan not to buy oil and gas from Iran? 

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