NewsX Big Debate: ISIS Tentacles Grip Pakistan As Powerful Explosion Claims Lives Of 44 People
1 August, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
The tragic incident at the political rally in Pakistan serves as a stark reminder of the need for stronger security measures to curb terrorism in the region.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide blast at an election rally in Bajaur, Pakistan, which resulted in the deaths of 44 people, including 23 children, and left nearly 200 wounded. The attack targeted members of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party, a government coalition partner, as they gathered for the rally.
Authorities have filed a First Information Report (FIR) suspecting ISIS’s involvement. Extremist attacks have been increasing in Pakistan since the collapse of a truce with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) last year. The international community, including the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, has condemned the attack. NewsX Associate Editor Devika Chopra discusses the issue of domestic terrorism raised and nurtured in Pakistan as the country battles economic and political turmoil.
Former Ambassador Suresh Kumar Goyal expressed surprise at the rally organizer’s claim of being caught off guard, citing the region’s proximity to the Afghanistan border, which is known for terrorist activities. He suggested that the area’s history of terrorist training activities should have alerted them to the possibility of trouble. As the elections draw nearer, concerns over more incidents at larger rallies are mounting, leading to potential implications for regional stability.
The timing of the blast, occurring a day before Pakistan and China’s 10th-anniversary celebration of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), raises further concerns. With Saudi Arabia investing in an oil refinery in Gwadar and other countries showing interest in lucrative projects within Pakistan, the resurgence of terrorism poses a troubling scenario for the nation’s economic growth. Despite the belief that terrorism is currently confined to the Pak-Afgan border areas, there are worries that it could spread to other regions.
Senior Journalist Gautam Mukharjee shed light on Pakistan’s challenging economic situation, with a debt of nearly a hundred billion dollars and limited rescue options from international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. Amidst these economic investments, doubts arise about their sustainability given Pakistan’s financial constraints.
The announcement of Saudi Arabia’s 10-billion-dollar investment in a refinery in Guadaraj raises questions about the project’s feasibility and potential dealings with the government of Balochistan. Furthermore, there are concerns that Pak internal instability may escalate further, affecting cities like Lahore and Karatee.
Major General R Kochhar (Retired) highlighted the double threat Pakistan is facing with Tehrik-E-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic State gaining momentum. With a significant influx of ISIS fighters in the Nangarhar district of Afghanistan, there is a porous border through which they can easily enter Pakistan’s Khayber Pakhtunkhwa area. The strategy of targeting political gatherings affiliated with the ruling party by ISIS points to their intent to escalate violence in areas dominated by the Taliban and pro-Taliban elements.
As the potential for more terror attacks looms in Pakistan, Major General AK Siwach (Retired) stressed that India must remain vigilant. He referenced the presence of terrorist organizations like Lashkar-E-Taiba and Jaish-E-Mohammed operating from launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate India.
Despite Pakistan being a victim of terrorism, they continue to employ terrorism as a state instrument, posing a significant threat to India’s security. The rise of Islamic State Khorasan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, along with attempts to smuggle drugs and weapons into India through ISI’s K2 desk, further complicates the situation.
As Pak faces the resurgence of terrorism, it must address internal security challenges and work with its neighboring countries to combat terrorism effectively. The tragic incident at the political rally serves as a stark reminder of the need for stronger security measures to curb terrorism in the region. Additionally, Pakistan’s economic investments must be closely monitored to ensure their sustainability amidst the growing threat of terrorism.
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