Blast in Parachinar: Curb Terrorism through Military Courts  

– By Zaheerul Hassan

According to officials of Parachinar authorities and   media reposts at  least 25 people killed and more than 87 injured in  a remote controlled blast at the Sabzi Mandi (vegetable market) in Kurram Agency’s Parachinar area  at 8:50 am morning of Saturday (January of 21, 2017).  In this connection, Assistant Political Agent (APA) Shahid while talking to media also confirmed that more than 69 individuals killed and wounded in the blast. The explosion took place when the market was crowded with retailers buying fruits and vegetables.

Another senior government official Ikramullah Khan, opined that improvised explosive device (IED) which was hidden in a vegetable box.  According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), local troops and Frontier Corps’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) reached the blast site and cordoned off the area. Army helicopters were also flown to the site to evacuate the injured and dead bodies to the agency hospital.

President, Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and complete political elite condemned the terrorists’ blast.   General Qamar Javed Bajwa COAS and Lt General Nazir Ahmed Butt, Commander 11 Corps have  paid a visit to Parachinar of Kurram Agency on 22 January 2017 (Sunday ) to inquire on health of the injured of bomb blast .  General Bajwa The army chief inquired on health of the injured who are under treatment at a hospital.

On the occasion, General Bajwa announced to construct an Army Public School (APS) in Parachinar to support education of the local children. While addressing the locals, the COAS said that Pakistan is indiscriminately ours and responsibility of her security lies with all of us.

Notably, Kurram is one of the sensitive tribal areas due to close proximity of Afghan border where more than 50000 people comprise of different races, faith, sects and tribes are residing.  British Army developed this small garrison town in the foothill of Spin Ghar (White Mountain) in mid-1895.

Although, in December 2015, the similar natures of blast in a makeshift market 25 people were killed and two militant groups, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al Alami and Ansarul Mujahideen based in South Waziristan Agency, had claimed responsibility for that blast.

According to STAP and local media reports 21515 civilians and 665 security personals have embraced Shahdat (martyred) since 2013. However, security personals successfully launched various operations and eliminated more than 33355 terrorists..  Many arrested terrorists have also been convicted in the special military courts which were established under the amended constitution in 2015.

Anyhow, the planning, selection of soft target, timings and method of explosion of recent blast indicate that it was the act of highly trained terrorists probably sponsored by the supreme intelligence agency of neighbouring Afghanistan in collaboration with Indian RAW.  Militants have chosen the timings when usually in the morning market was crowded with retailers buying fruits and vegetables.

Pakistani authorities many time pointed out that Afghan’s territory being used as terrorism launching pad against her. Even to curb and stop border crossing, Pakistan offered to fence the complete border with Afghanistan. But instead of resolving border issues, Afghanistan always made deceiving efforts to damage regional interests while leveling baseless allegations and approaching US for pressurizing Pakistan. Even,  in the name of peace  Afghan President, has requested  Taliban favourite leader Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq at the Darul Uloom Haqqania to play his positive role .  In this regard, Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal,  Maulana Samiul Haq at the Darul Uloom Haqqania for the second time in a month  has  facilitated the Ghani-Sami phone contact.

Apparently, President Ghani has shown his desire to improve upon the relationship between Islamabad and Kabul but covertly Afghanistan always extended her hands towards India in fomenting militancy in Pakistan. Therefore, his so called efforts for peace become dubious in the eyes of Pakistan.

In fact, the objectives of recent terrorism wave are to interrupt development of CPEC, create   insecurity, instability, posing Pakistan as safe haven of terrorists, making efforts to fuel sectarianism, influence newly elected US President and try to isolate Islamabad globally. Just a day prior to the oath ceremony of President Donald Trump, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani contacted him and influential Pakistani cleric and political leader and sought his cooperation in bringing peace to his war-ravaged country and also asked the US government to pressurize Pakistan to stop terrorists emerging in Pakistan. Before making telephone call to Trump, Afghan president even forgotten the assurance Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa  in that on 15 January 2017, he suggested a robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation to put a stop to and fro movement of terrorists across the border.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan has launched operation Zarb-i-Azb against the Tehreek-i-Taliban and other insurgent groups. Another offensive against militants were also launched in 2011. Moreover, national action plan was also executed to eliminate terrorists, their sponsors, handlers and facilitators in the country.  

To punish the terrorists and facilitators ruthless actions have been taken by the law enforcement agencies.  Parliamentarians amended the constitution in January 2015, responding to an attack by Pakistani Taliban fighters on a military-run school that killed 134 children.  The national assembly passed a resolution of establishing of special military courts to curb terrorism with iron hands.  The amendment with regards to military courts was passed in 2015.

According to the interior ministry a total of 275 cases have been referred to the military courts and 12 convicts executed. Moreover, the courts have sentenced 161 people to death and handed jail terms, mostly life sentences, to 116.  Unfortunately, government failed to bring a suitable law and judicial reforms to deal with the terrorists. The existing judicial system is very slow in decision making against the terrorists. Most of the judges are fearful of revenge and afraid of giving verdict in the cases of militancy.

However, after expiry of tenure, government is halfheartedly trying for further   renewal of military courts.  The sensible lot of people seriously thinking that if the civilian judicial system fails to perform and things go back as they were before 2015, then what will be happened?  

Reportedly, another proposal is under consideration of the government that is to replace the military courts with “speedy-trial courts”.   Actually, terrorists or militants need to be taught with the language they understand since civilian courts or speedy trial courts are not substitute to military courts. While talking to the locals during his visit to Parchinar Genral Bajwa, COAS very rightly said that Armed Forces supported by the nation at all cost eliminate the all kind of terrorism.

Thus, government should arrange All Pakistan Parties Conference on the issue of extension of military courts. The political parties particularly ruling elite should take the decision in the best interest of the nation.

The writer can be approach through zameer36@gmail.com

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