The rulers of the world have still been playing a drama in the name of war on terrorism. They were not serious in this war from the very beginning.
According to a newspaper comment, despite the President’s claim that the state of Emergency has made for the control of militancy and one of Pentagon top official’s disclosure that the US is helping Pakistan’s security forces “perform” in the tribal areas, the menace has continued to rear its ugly head and the incidents of terrorism have not become rarer. Not only the facts on the ground do not seem to corroborate Pakistan’s claim but they also show no visible improvement in the situation as a result of Pentagon’s help.
On Saturday, a bomb blast killed five in Noshehra Cantonment and a day later nine sportsmen belonging to the army lost their lives in a suicide attack in Kohat and another serious incident occurred when local militants in Bajaur beheaded a security official. In Kurram Agency eight persons, including two of paramilitary corps, were abducted, a CD centre in Mardan became the target of a bomb attack with nine shops destroyed, a suicide bomber and two of his companions were arrested and bombs planted at three places recovered. At Parachinar, tribesmen fought among themselves causing deaths to three and a hostile cleric while six others were held.
Thus, if anything, militancy appears to be on the rise. Maj-General Richard Sherlock, according to a report in The Times of India, acknowledged Islamabad’s role in capturing certain high-profile Al-Qaeda operatives at great cost to its armed forces. However, he did not come out with any details of the USA working with the Pakistan government to meet the challenge. At the same time, he would not elaborate, when asked, what message Defence Secretary Gates was sending when he declared that the US might take unilateral action within Pakistan.
Washington has to be told in explicit terms that any armed action on Pakistan’s soil would be deemed an act of aggression.Rashid Rauf’s escape has hit world headlines. Here was a high-profile suspect charged with his involvement in the plot to blow up transatlantic flights, and he escapes from police custody with great ease. Islamabad now has to suffer the embarrassment of answering a British demand for ‘explanation’, because Rauf is a UK national and London wants his extradition. Two constables who were to take him back to the Adiala jail from the Rawalpindi District Court have been arrested, and a high-powered team has been constituted to investigate the escape. Because he was regarded as a dangerous suspect, he was normally accorded higher security. This time, however, only two constables were to take him back to Adiala. They obliged him, without taking precautions, when he said he wanted to pray at a mosque. With his handcuffs on he went into the mosque and never returned. The escape was conveyed to high officials two hours later, and no message was sent on police wireless to alert other agencies to look for him.
Rauf’s family and lawyer have called his escape a “mysterious disappearance” and claim that the agencies might have done this. While this is not beyond the agencies, one does not know why the intelligence apparatus would like to ‘disappear’ someone already in jail. There have been reports also about a swap between Pakistan and Britain involving Rauf and some Baloch suspects in British custody. But even for that the agencies need not stage this drama. At the same time it appears too simplistic to say that Rauf escaped because of negligence. One cannot rule out the possibility of some militant organisations using money and influence to arrange his escape. Whatever the case, Rauf’s escape is scandalous. The findings of the investigating team must be made public so that the people know something about the mystery surrounding the escape, so that faces are bared.