Saturday, 15 June 2013

Pakistan: Baluchistan under Siege

Two of the terrorist attacks taking place in Baluchistan province on Saturday clearly show that some external elements are adamant at destroying peace of the province. Baluchistan was expected to return to normalcy after installation of an elected government. This government enjoys full support of nationalist parties and PML-N also.

The first terrorist attack was at a historical building commonly known as Ziarat Residency. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah has spent his last days there. Dawn quoting the officials has confirmed that most of the old memorials inside the monument were destroyed, with historic photographs of the founder burnt to the ground in the resulting fire.

The second but most brutal was the attack on bus carrying student of the medical university killing at least eleven women after a bomb ripped through the bus.  The intensity of blast can be ascertained from the picture taken by AFP and place at Dawn Website.

Less than an hour later, sounds of explosions and firing spread panic and chaos through the Bolan Medical Complex where most of the wounded had been taken, at least three explosions were heard from inside the hospital.

Television reports said Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mansoor Khan, who had earlier been wounded, was killed by shots to the head and chest. According to the latest reports, three soldiers were also said to have lost their lives in the still continuing gun-battle between security forces and the militants.

A correspondent reporting from the hospital confirmed the second blast occurred inside the emergency ward of the hospital. The nature of the blasts at the hospital and the extent of the resulting damage were still unclear.

Though, no group has so far claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, the attack on bus and then on hospital reminds one of attacks on the day of Chelum of Imam Hussain in Karachi. Taliban/TTP had claimed responsibility of these attacks.

These attacks pose a big challenge for PML-N government headed by Mian Nawaz Sharif, which wants to initiate negotiations with Taliban/TTP. He had, as a good will gesture also supported formation of government by nationalist parties in Baluchistan.

Some experts also say that banned outfit Janduallh, which is supported by foreign intelligence agencies may be the mastermind. Historically, members of this outfit have been involved in bomb attacks and killing of innocent people. Its chief was hanged in Iran after a full trial as he was found guilty of killing Iranians and destroying strategic installations.

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