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October 17, 2020

Fighting death

Editorial

 
October 17, 2020

The ISPR has now confirmed that at least 20 people, including soldiers, were martyred in two separate terrorist attacks in Balochistan and North Waziristan. In what can only be described as tragic, in the Ormara incident, a convoy of the FC accompanying a vehicle of OGDC personnel travelling to the region came under attack, reportedly by heavy mortar shells and rockets; the area has also seen previous attacks. In North Waziristan, a military vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device and was blown up killing at least six military personnel, including a young captain.

The incidents are obviously heartbreaking. They bring further loss of life in a country which has seen too much loss due to internal conflict and the inability to thwart it. It is difficult obviously, to combat guerrilla fighters. These are essentially sporadic attacks on targeted persons. The same kind of attacks have taken place on the Chinese Consulate, on the PC Hotel in Gwadar and in other incidents. There are obviously suspicions that the coalition of Baloch nationalist fighters that is generally thought to be behind attacks such as these in Balochistan has support from outside the country. It is unwise to speculate, but the area has been a source of interest for many powers and there have been allegations and talk about Indian involvement.

It is obvious that the militancy that has held back our country for so many years is continuing. We need to win this war. We need to overcome the militants and prevent the kind of attacks we see every day in one form or the other. Before this there have been previous attacks in Balochistan and also in the former tribal areas. The question is how we act. One way is to ensure the development of these regions so that people are not tempted to support the militants. The new scenario emerging in Afghanistan could also influence the temperature there and the kind of alliances being formed. A careful watch has to be kept. And most importantly of all, lives have to be saved. The one lesson we should have learnt from our years of battling militancy is that the public generally is opposed to extremism of all kinds but the only way to get all of the people on the government’s side is if legitimate grievances are addressed.