A prominent Pakistani politician and former lawmaker Afrasiab Khattak has said the Pakistani security establishment’s support to the Afghan Taliban is an open secret as he joined several other politicians and critics in slamming the slamming the security establishments of the country for their ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists approach.
The remarks by Khattak came after a deadly attack on a hospital in Quetta city, the provincial capital of Balochistan province of Pakistan.
Critics accusde Pakistan’s powerful security institutions of aiding and protecting the “good” militants — those who launch attacks in India and Afghanistan — while going after the “bad” terrorists whose attacks have killed more than 60,000 civilians and soldiers since 2004.
“It is also public knowledge that non-state actors find no obstacles to their agenda,” Khattak was quoted as saying in a report by Gandhara/RFERL.
He said “Proscribed organizations not only indulge in public activities but also give themselves the right to determine Pakistan’s regional policy,” he said.
Khattak, a longtime critic of Islamabad’s support for hard-line Islamist groups, said he sees no benefit to the current approach. “Our country is at daggers drawn with three out of four neighbors and faces growing international isolation,” he concluded.
Another lawmaker, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, said “Does the security establishment exist to protect Pakistan, or does Pakistan exist to [perpetuate] the security establishment?”
“We deserve to know the truth. Powers within this country are backing the terrorists. These people attacking us are from among us,” he told the National Assembly or lower house of Pakistani Parliament, where he represents Balochistan.
Sherani rejected claims by a senior Balochistan official that India’s main foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), orchestrated the attack. Barely an hour after the attack on August 8, Balochistan’s most senior elected official, Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, blamed RAW for the attack. Pakistani officials frequently blame its regional archrival for the country’s domestic security woes.
“There is no RAW in Balochistan,” Sherani told lawmakers. “They are the same people we nurtured,” he said, referring to Pakistan’s decade-old support for Afghan insurgents and Islamist factions often blamed for launching attacks in India.
“Blaming RAW for everything will not work,” politician Mahmood Khan Achakzai told the Pakistani National Assembly in an impassioned speech on August 9. “Our [intelligence] agencies can find a needle in a haystack, and now they should also do this [unmasking the perpetrators of the Quetta attack].”
Achakzai’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party is part of the provincial administration in Balochistan, yet he has consistently criticized the alleged covert support Pakistani intelligence services extend to factions of the Afghan Taliban and Salafist factions such as Lashkar-e Taiba, which New Delhi and Western government blame for attacks in India.