Understanding Quetta Police cadet camp attack

Whenever blood gets spilled in the subcontinent we find that even more ink gets spilled. Most of it is stale propaganda for one vested interest or the other. Rarely is truth spoken with courage.

The love affair of Pakistani state with religious fanatics who are either directly involved in terror or merely one fake facade or two away from the “boys with guns” has not ended and is not going to end soon.

In this context let us try and understand the most recent attack in Quetta that killed 69 including the three “terrorists”.

  1. Numerous fake claims pop up after such attack to take “credit”. But most government reports seem to blame a faction of the Lashkar-e-Janghvi group.
  2. This LeJ is considered an off-shoot of yet another Sunni terror group known as “Sipah-e-Sahaba”. Terror groups in Pakistan float subsidiaries and associates and joint ventures with speed that will put any Hong Kong business tycoon to shame. The state too facilitates such cosmetic makeovers since it allows them to “prove” to the Americans that they have acted against a group, milking more dollars to use to create more such groups. After a while the drama repeats.
  3. Now this SSP itself has again renamed itself to “Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat” or ASWJ (don’t confuse with Asian Wall St Journal!)
  4. These groups have been banned, un-banned and re-banned as often as they grouped, re-grouped, renamed themselves.  Usually it follows a major terror attack, PM/Army chief visit to US or a visit by US Secretary of State etc so that more dollars can be milked. Once dust settles they carry on, often with state aid.
  5. Their involvement in various terror acts, going by their own admissions, is beyond doubt.
  6. Just two days prior to the Quetta attack, Pakistan’s interior minister met with the boss of ASWJ – Maulana Ludhianvi. Remember, this is a banned terror organisation even by Pakistan’s loose standards of what constitutes terror. Bit like Carter or Kerry having dinner with the ISIS Caliph.
  7. To add some “masala” to the mix, various other terrorists were also in the meeting with the minister.
  8. It is exactly this group or its off-shoot which carried out the Quetta attack. Remember, such off-shoots are created for providing plausible deniability, a trick Pakistan has mastered over the years.
  9. It is also well known that state funds are provided to the Madrasas run by extremist groups that were part of the meeting. If you wonder why Pakistan funds terrorists that kill Pakistanis, look closely again at the ethnicity, religion or sect of the victims. Most are Ahmedis, Shias, Christians, Hindus, Baloch or Pashtun, rarely the Punjabi elite. The Peshawar school attack that targeted senior officials’ kids was a rare exception.
  10. Pakistani state benefits from such attacks since they can be used to play the victim card and gather more sympathy and dollars to go after the real enemies – Afghanistan and India.
  11. So it can be safely concluded that the Quetta terror attack is basically staged by “friends” of the regime. Or some boys who absorbed their training too well and didn’t care to listen to their tutors once they graduated.
  12. The most interesting aspect of this whole affair is that these groups are not even anti-India or Afghanistan, a traditional excuse offered by Pakistani deep state to justify support. These groups have almost exclusively operated within Pakistan.
  13. Far from “not allowing terror groups to operate”, Pakistani ruling party and its Army allows such groups to openly meet, greet, discuss, get state funds and hold massive rallies.
  14. If this is the sort of ambivalence shown by the state against groups that kill within Pakistan, one can only imagine the situation re groups like LeT that only kill kuffar Hindus in India.
  15. The left liberal cabal in India controlled by hardcore Marxists deliberately ignores, obfuscates, buries such facts to suit its own narrative that stays close to Beijing’s strategic objectives.

Taliban leadership change – victory for Pakistan?

As reported, Taliban as well as Afghan Govt announced the death of Mullah Omar and the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansour as his successor. There have also been reports of dissents, walkouts by rival groups in the meeting to (s)elect him. As if all this is not confusing enough, we also hear Haqqani Sr, leader of the so-called Haqqani network has also died.

The timing and location of the deaths of these two leaders have been disputed. But it seems to be widely acknowledged that announcements were made or initiated by Pakistan. In addition to controversy and confusion, these two events have also resulted in delay to the Afghan-Pak (Taliban) talks monitored by China and US.

What’s going on?! Why would Pakistan release this news at this point in time?

Let us assume for the moment that Pakistan has finally given up on using its terror proxies in Afghanistan and is now pushing peace aggressively. This could be because they found that strategy harming them more, or due to pressure from USA and China or whatever. This also doesn’t mean that strategy has been given up vis-a-vis India where the pressure from USA is rather mild and that from China or Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s other main sponsors, is non existent. It is also entirely possible the ‘strategic depth’ policy has been merely mothballed for better days in the future.

The question now is, why would Pakistan release (or plant) this news now, knowing it will throw monkey wrench into their ‘peace’ plans, at least temporarily? That too barely days after planting another fake statement from Mullah Omar blessing these talks?

Pakistan had no choice

We can only conclude that Pakistan did not have much choice. The charade has been going on for too long, too many people knew or were getting to know the truth. And ISIS had already openly challenged Taliban cadre to prove Mullah Omar’s existence or join their group. “Caliph” Baghdadi even attacked Omar as demented, “ignorant prince of war” (1) His boast that ISIS achieved in two years what Taliban couldn’t in 10 has lot of truth, whether we like the results or not.

Indeed, Mohd. Taqi, writing for Huffington Post seems to think Pakistan’s hand was forced by Afghanistan to either deliver him or his support for the talks. (3)

Ideally, Pakistan would have preferred to keep the news in cold storage for a few more months, until talks produce some desirable results, get “Omar” to bless the package and then conveniently die. This also tells us, the talks are going nowhere. Or highly unlikely to produce the results Taliban and/or Pakistan wants in the near term.  Despite advances in the battle field, Afghan army is not looking at closing shop and surrendering anytime soon and Uncle Sam is waiting in the wings, ready to restore balance with drone or air strikes, should that scenario become more likely.

Just as it did with Karzai, Pakistan may have misread President Ashraf Ghani. While he may seek peace with Pakistan and see it as the main facilitator, he has and is also strengthening direct links with Pakistan’s handlers in China and USA. His strategy to rope in US and China is more likely part of plan to keep Pakistan’s ambitions in check. This gives the generals a little bit less room to play their games. Again, here Pakistan’s ideal scenario would be a weakened Afghanistan, militarily staring at defeat or retreat, led by a regime disliked by Americans and Chinese, loved only by India, crawling on all fours to Rawalpindi. Clearly President Ghani is not going to get there anytime soon though Karzai ticked many of those boxes.

Where do we go from here?

Clearly, the recent admission of Mullah Omar’s demise would stun the cadre even though they may have suspected it or even known it. It only reinforces Pakistan’s “reputation” for double speak and treachery among the battle hardened foot soldiers many of whom have no love lost for their main backer. After all, a steady stream of fake press releases from ISI HQ purportedly by Omar kept them fooled all this while.

While several analysts in the West and in India see this as yet another triumph for Pakistan, the fact is Taliban don’t trust them any more than the average Afghan does. They’ll have one less reason to do so with this news. Furthermore, the pull of ISIS, seen as more pure green, and more successful, will be irresistible to some. To the few that get tired of all this and want to go back to peaceful life, Afghan government, funded by the West will be a more attractive proposition.  Pakistan will still be in their memory as an exploiter not to be trusted. Even Mullah Omar was quoted as having said its better to go to USA than trust Pakistan! (2)

All this means Pakistan is less likely to be in a  position to achieve its strategic goals after years of poisoning itself trying to control Afghanistan, and using that, control events in Kashmir and seek leverage against India.

Whichever way events turn out, Pakistan is likely to find itself at loser’s end. A strong Taliban would give it headache in the west, make it global pariah and drag it to 8th century Arabia, a weak, faction ridden Taliban running in all directions will rob it of the sole value it can provide to Afghanistan and the West. If you are not running the show, why talk to you?! A Taliban defeated or incapacitated will not be good news for Pakistan either. In that scenario, Afghanistan can go ahead with internal reconstruction leaving Pakistan to deal with the toxic side effects of its 40 year old great game.

As we mentioned earlier in another article, India has to merely get a large bowl of popcorn and watch the show, not fret about being unable to do much about the unfolding game. They’re doing quite fine without our muddling anyway!

 

1. http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/isis-leader-al-baghdadi-describes-taliban-leader-demented-ignorant-prince-war/

2. http://www.newsweek.com/mullah-omar-dead-taliban-afghanistan-pakistan-358247

3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mohammad-taqi/mullah-omar-death-break-taliban_b_7912678.html?ir=India&adsSiteOverride=in