Recent events in Pakistan have left the world confused. Is the confusion deliberately created or accidentally caused? Let us consider the two most recent events and attempt to unravel the truth.
The Mehran naval base in Karachi was attacked by terrorists to claim 14 deaths, including Pakistan military personnel, and destruction of two valuable naval aircraft. The precision with which the attackers operated in the locale of the base has led to the widely accepted conclusion that a section of the Pakistan military was complicit. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack perpetrated in revenge of Osama bin Laden’s assassination. Responsible sections of the Pakistan media have stated that there is a revolt against the top leadership of the Pakistan army by middle rank officers supportive of the jihadi outfits.
The question that needs to be probed is whether the Pakistani military personnel aiding the terrorist attack on the Mehran base were Pashtun.
The second event was related to the mysterious fate of Mullah Omar. Afghan media claimed that Mullah Omar was being escorted from Quetta to Waziristan en route to Afghanistan by the ISI but was killed by the Pakistani army. The Taliban have contradicted this report and have claimed that Mullah Omar is alive. Allegedly former ISI Chief Hamid Gul was escorting Mullah Omar. Gul has rubbished the report and has opined that the Americans are putting false reports about Omar’s death in order to justify a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Whether alive or dead, Mullah Omar as yet is missing.
Is Hamid Gul speaking the whole truth? Could he have accompanied Mullah Omar who may still be alive?
The Afghans allege that there was a deal between Afghanistan and the Pakistan army to hand over Mullah Omar to the authorities in Afghanistan. The Afghan government and the Pakistan government have maintained silence on the issue up till the moment of this writing. Hamid Gul according to the CIA helped save Osama bin Laden’s life in 1998. He speaks fluent Pashto but is not a Pashtun. He belongs to the martial Punjabi Rajput clan that is dominating the Pakistan army.
Whether he is dead or alive, Mullah Omar’s unexplained disappearance will be a more powerful emotive issue for the Taliban than the killing of Osama bin Laden. It may be recalled that contact with Mullah Omar’s emissaries had been established by the Americans in search of a reconciliation formula. The Haqqani outfit that owes allegiance to the Pakistan army and ISI was not on the same page as Mullah Omar and the Afghan Taliban.
What remains to be seen is whether there is a concerted covert plan behind these seemingly disparate events in Pakistan. It remains to be seen whether the Afghan government, the Pashtun section of the Pakistan army and the Taliban owing allegiance to Mullah Omar are working in concert to consolidate a Pashtun revolt. If that is the case, the terrorist attacks inside Pakistan will escalate. It could lead to a possible civil war dividing the army and the nation.