Confronting the Terror Up front
Bassam Javed


Notwithstanding the valor shown by the defense personnel deployed at the tarmac of PAF Base Minhas in confronting the rampaging terrorists, the mere fact that actions taken by all and sundry within the periphery of the Base speak of the resolve of the armed forces to tackle terrorism and extremism up front. Moreover, the alacrity displayed by the Base personnel despite the fact that it was the devotees’ most worshipped night of Ramazan indicates increased sense of preparedness to eradicate the menace of terrorism and extremism in the country.

However, alarming is the knowledge that these terrorists had with them on the geography and parking of the air craft in the Base. This naturally did not happen on somebody’s whims. The plan was well prepared and thought out. The timing chosen for the onslaught was strategic. This all could not have happened without well trained sponsors. And who could be those? Our friends India and the United States. The terrorists attacked PNS Mehran in May last year and focused on destroying the long range maritime reconnaissance air craft with the Navy. It does not matter that they were given to Pakistan Navy for use by the US. Here at PAF Base Minhas also, the target was the strategic Early Warning Capable long range air craft with the air force. These air craft with the Navy and the Air Force are strategic assets of armed forces of Pakistan. Attacking the respective Bases at Karachi and Kamra meant annihilation of strategic capabilities of the armed forces. Who would like to do that? Our friends India and the United States. And to what effect? Degrade the armed forces capabilities to a point where foreign armed incursion into Pakistan is made possible to deprive the country of it nuclear capability. The efforts put in to train the terrorists on both the occasions wherein they only focused on destroying the strategic air craft reflect terrorists’ in depth prior knowledge on these air craft. Carrying the mines physically for probable blasting out wheels of the concrete doors of the air craft hangers reflect the type of extensive training they were imparted with for this particular mission. Now can anyone doubt that the terrorists were not thoroughly trained by Indians or the Americans in Afghanistan for carrying out these precision attacks on naval and air bases?
Equally dangerous was a insidious attempt by B Raman, an ex-additional secretary to the government of India, who writing for ‘SAAG’ an Indian think tank and the Indian magazine ‘Outlook’ tried to give a twist to the presence of Chinese and other foreign workers at the base. He wrote that these foreigners at the base could be North Koreans. Similarly, reports published in US media linked the base with nuclear ties. ‘New York Times’ the renowned CIA voice was the first one to publish such obnoxious report. Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson of State Department expressed condolences but no condemnation of the attack. Whatever these two foreign forces are up to in connivance with each other one thing is certain that these two want to see Pakistan and its security establishment suffer to the limit that the entire state infrastructure caves in to their advantage. It will not happen. Pakistan over the decade has shown its resilience as a strong entity. It has proved during every crisis that it can prove equal to the task whenever called upon.
Now that the PAF constituted inquiry has completed its initial inquiry identifying at least four terrorists from a group of nine, one of them belonging to nearby town of Taxila we should rest assured that the lessons learnt from the incident would be used to make the defense of sensitive installations impregnable. At the same time it is national duty of every citizen to remain aware of subversive elements within their societies and remain vigilant on non-routine developments and happenings. I remember the good old days when even the village elders kept a close eye on every stranger that entered their villages. We must return to basics and share our collective responsibility in eradicating the violence from our society through confronting terrorism and extremism in the country. The terrorists that attacked Kamra reportedly utilized the village located nearby the Base wherein their movements went unnoticed by villagers or the related personnel that must have been deployed around and therein the village. We are in for an extended war on terror and having been involved in the same struggle for over a decade we as a nation cannot afford to be complacent anymore on various aspects of our homeland security including that of our near and dear ones.
The Commanders and all ranks of Kamra Air Force Base deserve accolades for their bravery. We should be proud of Asif Ramzan who laid his life in line of duty. He set an example of what everyone should do in response to call of their national duties especially in confronting terrorism and extremism. By living up to the national expectations we would also be doing service to our children to ensure that they get well deserved opportunities for growth and prosperity during their lives.