Pakistan Army GHQ under attack – II
As I type, the day-long siege of the GHQ continues. Reports emerged later in the day that two of the a number of escaped militants have kept 10-15 army personnel as hostage in the security office they fled to after the gunbattle broke out. This attack will probably go down as one of the milestones of this war Pakistan has been fighting. How the Tehrik-e-Taliban (which has claimed responsibility for the attack) managed to attack the very bastion of Pakistan’s military is a security and intelligence failure on so many levels its incomprehensible. Also, how secure are any of us if the GHQ can get attacked? I know, living in Pakistan you tend to take fear and insecurity for granted, but I’m going to run for my life the next time I see an uniformed official nearby.
The GHQ attack reads like a film script and follows a pattern that has been seen as of late. Six terrorists dressed in military uniforms attempted to cross the GHQ checkpost and at being stopped, they began firing on the army personnel in the area. Four terrorists died, six army personnel were killed, and the other two terrorists are currently holding army personnel hostage.
Security officials have apparently raided the house that the militants were residing in that was 5-6 kilometers away from the GHQ. The house had “security uniforms, shoes, badges, documents, diaries and detonators.”
Lest we forget, this is the supposed high-security, high-alert zone.
But how could we? Everyone’s been falling over themselves to claim they were the first to predict it, including the Punjab police. Alright then.
Meanwhile, for some bizarre reason, four television channels have been reprogrammed so they no longer appear on their regular slots. They haven’t been blocked as yet, though the panic has set in. Channels are back on their regular slots now.
What I find more worrying is the list of demands by the TTP group that has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Halt of operation in northern areas
- Accountability of former President Pervez Musharraf
- Return of Blackwater
- Closure of Western NGOs
Now while these are fairly common demands, characteristic of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, what I find odd is the demand about Blackwater. Is it possible that because of the blitz of articles in the press, the intense television debates, the paranoia, the rumours, the statements by politicians; the Taliban have actually begun to believe that Blackwater (if it even does have a presence in Pakistan) is part of their problem? More importantly, if the Taliban believe this, how many citizens do? Can we just not accept that the Taliban, associated militia groups, insurgents, et al are the main problem? The search for a scapegoat to blame all our problems on continues…as Pakistan burns, is bombed and pretty much self-destructs.