The Ziaist Taliban versus Professional ISI

We, the people of Pakistan, notwithstanding our political, religious or ethnic affiliations, wholeheartedly support the professional commitment expressed by Pakistan Army and its intelligence wing (ISI) in rooting out the remnants of General Zia, i.e. jihadi and sectarian terrorists who are currently operating under various banners, e.g. Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Al Qaeda.

We salute the officers and jawansof Pakistan Army who are sacrificing their lives in the defence of Pakistan in this true jihad against terrorists.

We also warn the agents of Taliban in Pakistani media and politics (e.g. Dr Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir, Ansar Abbasi, Munawar Hasan, Hamid Gul and Imran Khan) to refrain from misleading the Pakistani nation. Our armed forces, police and other security agencies need our full support. To the Friends of Taliban: Please do not add to our woes and miseries by brainwashing the ignorant youth and producing more suicide bombers against the Pakistani nation. Please do not exploit Islam for your evil political agenda. Please stop being the Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs of Pakistan.

ISI attack death toll rises to 17

PESHAWAR: The death toll from a suicide car bomb that targeted the Peshawar headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence rose to 17 on Saturday. Sources told Daily Times that four more bodies were recovered from the rubble, taking the death toll to 17, including 14 security personnel. Senior NWEP Minister Bashir Bilour said the provincial government had proposed a six-month ban on supply of explosives for mineral-extraction. akhtar amin

TTP claims responsibility

PESHAWAR: The TTP on Saturday accepted responsibility for Friday’s attacks on the ISI’s Peshawar office and a police station in Bannu. “We will launch so many attacks that the president, prime minister and governor would not be able to sit in their palaces,” TTP spokesman Azam Tariq told AFP. Qari Hussain, a TTP leader, said the attacks were in reaction to the “military operation in South Waziristan and government policies”. staff report/afp

EDITORIAL: Safety no more

More than a dozen people — military personnel and civilians — were killed on Friday and several others injured when a suicide bomber targeted the regional headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Peshawar. It is indeed quite alarming that a suicide bomber with an explosives-laden vehicle could hit such a sensitive target; that too when there is a high security alert all over the country. Such an attack could not be ruled out in the light of the security situation. Only a few months ago, militants had targeted the ISI headquarters in Lahore. It is now clear that the terrorists have the security agencies of Pakistan in their sights.

ISI’s role in the past as a supporter of militancy is no secret, but now the tables have turned. The ISI is therefore pitted against the militants and vice versa. The security and law enforcement agencies are being targeted left, right and centre by the terrorists in the wake of the military offensive against the militants in Swat/Malakand and South Waziristan. The attack on GHQ last month was the most significant terrorist attack in the history of Pakistan, highlighting the fact that the militants have now declared open war against the state of Pakistan and its military and intelligence agencies. Needless to say, the intelligence agencies are playing a crucial role in the military operations against the terrorists. Without good real time intelligence, no military operation can be successful, especially when the enemy is engaged in guerrilla and asymmetrical warfare. In the past, both the military and the intelligence agencies have tried to pacify the militants by playing the ‘good Taliban, bad Taliban’ card. It has not worked. The penny has finally dropped and the military has realised that there is no such thing as a ‘good’ militant. This does not mean of course that the door should not be left open for those militants who for one reason or another choose to come in out of the cold, abandon militancy, and are desirous of reintegration into society.

Irrespective of this ‘open door’ policy though, it is by now crystal clear that the militants are out for blood, which is why it is doubly unfathomable that no proper security arrangements were made for the regional ISI headquarters in Peshawar. If GHQ and ISI buildings can be targeted so easily, it does not inspire confidence that civilian targets can be kept secure. The modus operandi is almost the same in all major terrorist attacks. Explosive-laden vehicles were used to carry out suicide bombings at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and the FIA building in Lahore. Under such circumstances, suspect vehicles should not be allowed anywhere near high-risk targets.

The police, too, are being targeted by the jihadis. On Saturday, there was a suicide attack at a police checkpost on the outskirts of Peshawar, while on Friday a police station in Bannu was attacked by terrorists. Such attacks do not end here. Trucks carrying NATO supplies for Afghanistan were targeted at Mach in the Bolan Pass on Friday morning.

Those who have been saying that this is the US’s war should now take a good look at all these events. If it ever was the US’s war exclusively, by now there can be little doubt that this is our war now. The zealots are not only targeting military and security personnel but also ordinary citizens. They have killed scores of women, children and men all over the country. By attacking the Sri Lankan cricket team earlier this year, they made it clear that they would not spare anyone. It is high time that all political parties unite against these barbarians and speak up. It is time that sanity prevails instead of the mad voices that we often hear in the media. No one in Pakistan is safe anymore; not till extremism is rooted out of the veins of the country. (Source)