Dawn News

Extremists within

WITH the rise of militancy in the country over the last decade, no branch of the armed forces has been spared from militant attacks. The navy’s Mehran base in Karachi was stormed last year, while militants attacked GHQ in Rawalpindi in 2009. Most recently, Pakistan Air Force’s complex at Kamra was targeted last month. In the latest incident on Wednesday, at least 10 people were killed when a car bomb went off on Peshawar’s Kohat Road; police believe the target was a PAF vehicle en route to a nearby base. According to some reports, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan have claimed responsibility. Apart from Kamra, which has come under attack four times since 2007, the PAF has also been targeted on other occasions. Some of the more prominent incidents include a suicide attack on an air force bus in Sargodha in 2007 while another attack was on a bus in Peshawar in 2008. Many of these attacks were claimed by militant groups, and in several cases ex-servicemen were implicated.

These repeated incidents point to the apparent vulnerability of the forces, particularly the air force. They indicate that inside information is being passed on to militants, especially regarding the movement of personnel and base security details. The assertion that the forces in general and PAF specifically have extremists within the ranks must not be disregarded. Several PAF personnel were involved in an assassination attempt on former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2003. A number of these individuals were dismissed or arrested due to links with militant groups. It is also true that in several incidents the assailants have been dressed in military uniforms. Thus in the wake of the Kamra affair a thorough internal investigation is in order. Meanwhile, the PAF must ascertain how much influence militants wield within the ranks. Clearly, preventive security in its current form has not deterred the militants. What is needed — in all the armed services — is not only greater scrutiny but a purge of all those sympathising with the militants and who are likely to pass on inside information to militants. Otherwise, such attacks will continue.

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Comments (11) Closed

Dr. D. Prithipaul
Sep 21, 2012 06:19pm
The difference between the Army in Pakistan and the armies in the western democracies consists of, in the latter, the military remaining under the authority of the civil establishment. In Pakistan the military was islamized since the very beginning of the state. Consider, for example, the pattern of commandment on the Indian side in the 1971 war: the C-in-C was a Parsi, the Chief of the Air Force was a Christian,. the Chief Admiral of the Navy was a Hindu, the 2 commanders against the Pakistani army in East Pakistan were: one a Jew and the other a Sikh. Such a social functioning ethnic and religious diversity will never occur in Pakistan where, in the intervening years since the birth of the nation, the military has wormed its way into a myriad civil institutions: universities, businesses, industrial complexes, travel agencies, commercial houses, agricultural enterprises, etc. The military is all pervasive. It reproduces itself. This islamization has made violence an all-pervasive reality. It has so to say made collective anger as a form of beneficent, desirable Muslimness. The question is: why has violent self-righteous anger become such a defining characteristic of the Pakistani, more so than in the citizen of any other Muslim country?
Sep 22, 2012 03:23am
Peace,security and normalcy will elude the country unless Pakistani leaders seriously engage themselves in soul-searching and objectively review its counterproductive security paradigm . Pakistan will be further pushed to stand isolated and more of its people will trigger in abject penury with devastating ramifications.
Sep 21, 2012 03:30pm
The Frankenstein monster that has been created by the security establishment has posed grave existential threat to the state of Pakistan.
Malik Shahan Aslam
Sep 21, 2012 03:30pm
na light hai naa right hai , har taraf fight hee fight hai kyu k government not right hai . Pakistan main har roz bloody sight hai, kyu k super power sirf white hai . plz do share ur views about this . Thanks
Sep 21, 2012 07:53pm
The biggest threat to Pakistan is the Pakistani population. Period.
Sep 21, 2012 02:12pm
There is only one solution to this problem. Mass killing of all these people just like Iran did during its revolution. There is no alternative. Time to talk to these nonsense people is over.
Keti Zilgish
Sep 21, 2012 06:23pm
Further elaboration of the word 'extremism' is called for in this article. Management, whether of the security industry or any other non-security industry can be either top-to-down or down-to-top. The former is an ivy league contribution towards neo-colonialist intervention whereas the later is an anarchist assault in the war against capital and has been partially adopted by militants in Pakistan and is passed off under the umbrella of 'extremism'.
Sep 21, 2012 01:49pm
What extremists within are you talking about.Look at the behavior of your people during your so called Prophet's day of peace.Burning,destroying and killing your own people for something done overseas makes you people like a nation of fools.Your whole internal conglomeration is a mess.So why blame a certain group for their ideology.When the keepers of the nation themselves are hopeless,what can one accept from the masses?
jalaluddin S. Hussain
Sep 22, 2012 12:56am
I agree. We need to withdraw from the proxy wars being fought on behalf of the imperialists and instead focus on economic, social and educational developments of Pakistan. "Simple living and high thinking" should be the motto of every Pakistani.
Mohammad Ali Khan
Sep 22, 2012 02:40am
The display of chaos in the Muslim world is uglier then the movie.
Tahir Alam
Sep 21, 2012 03:19pm
We need to get out of the war in Afghanistan and get the drone attacks to a halt. Then we need to do economic and educational reforms to set the country on the right path to prosperity. This way, we might be able to control extremism.