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A Violet Game of Tug of War In Pakistan 

Srijan Sharma Writes about Pakistan’s recent Karachi Blast and brewing up insurgency in Pakistan and its spillovers which will adversely impact Pakistan’s security calculus. On the face of it, Pakistan can give thousands of arguments to give a conducive outlook of the state’s security environment but from the inside, it is becoming lethal and deadly which will eat up the state. 

A few days back the Karachi blast which was executed in a suicide bombing fashion where a female BLA member blew herself up near Karachi University that has resulted in the killing of three Chinese nationals has once again sent shockwaves in Pakistan security establishments. It is imperative to observe that in the recent past Pakistan security establishments have become proactive in pinning down the various militant outfits, especially Tehreek- e Taliban( TTP) groups which has resultantly upset the Afghan Taliban leaders and further forced them to issue serious warnings to Pakistan for their actions. But now with Balochis becoming more aggressive in Pakistan and growing Chinese pressure to address the insurgent problems from root cause might push Pakistan to take some hasty steps thereby making some strategic calculations errors which will fuel animosity in Pakistan’s security environment.

Change in BLA Striking Pattern 

The recent attack on Karachi University suggests that there is a slight drift in the BLA striking pattern. Earlier BLA fighters mainly used assault techniques like attacking in groups and firing from automatic assault weapons on Pakistan Military installations. However, now with a case of sole suicide bombing is forcing many in the strategic community to raise eyebrows. This is the first kind of attack where a female has been used plus, BLA rarely uses sole suicide bombings. The last time was in 2011 when one of the members of BLA carried out a suicide attack to assassinate a Baloch politician. However, this suicide bombing was executed in a specific environment rather than in a public place which is clearly evident in the recent Karachi blast. As said above using female suicide bombers and choosing a public place for bombing to target the Chinese are some signs of change in the striking patterns. It can be said that more bombings following a similar fashion can take place in the coming time because with the use of female suicide bombers more sensitive and public places are likely to come under the target. A collusive partnership between TTP and BLA cannot be ignored as the change in strike pattern is very much similar to what TTP practices. Moreover, the rise of BLA in the coming time cannot be ignored as there is the existence of BLA ties with Junudullah- Iran Sunni insurgent group in Sistan Baluchistan province(bordering Iran and Pakistan) which might be increasing the military capacity of BLA.  Therefore, given the possibilities of BLA rise, change in a striking pattern, Pakistan’s growing aggressive postures, and Chinese pressure. Possible observation of a new game of violent tug of war and chances of grave strategic miscalculations in Pakistan’s security environment deserves merit to be discussed.

The Road of Violent Tug of War

At first, it is imperative to understand that Pakistan is now getting cursed by its own constructs which are famously called the Frankenstein monster. The brewing of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism and multiple ISI backed terror groups and subsequent fractions of such groups are now fighting for their own vested Interests which is jeopardizing the state’s security life. The TTP and Baloch insurgency are some of the groups which are on the bandwagon of the disturbing security environment and time to time take center stage for the fulfillment of their ideological and personal objectives. Pakistan lacks absolute commitments toward eradicating terrorism because Pakistan’s sole weapon against India is terrorism and if Pakistan absolutely cleans its security environment then perhaps Pakistan’s security establishments may lose their relevance. In short, putting it into a two factored dimension- one end Pakistan is being made constrained by the Chinese and domestic security environment to eradicate terror elements and on the other side Pakistan does not wish to completely achieve the cleaning thresholds because of obvious reasons. This dilemmatic posture has led to the continued brewing and multiplication of terror and radical elements on Pakistan soil which is making the situation slip from the hands of Pakistan. As a result, the violent tug of war between various groups of insurgents, TTP, and the Pakistan Military keeps happening which severely affects the domestic and security environment of Pakistan. Now to defuse this tug of war Pakistan has to resort to some hardcore measures but those measures come with a scope of miscalculations that can burn Pakistan’s own hands.

The Scope of Miscalculations: Setting Stage For Civil War 

The first miscalculation is the dilemmatic posture of Pakistan towards terrorism and due to which terrorism still brewing inside the state’s soil and multiplication of terror groups, fractions, etc are taking place which is eventually going to make Pakistan’s maneuver tough while exercising hardcode measures. For instance, the recent Airstrikes on TTP positions have led to sparks between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan. Where some sects of the Taliban and its politics are crucial for Pakistan’s strategic depth policy against India vis-a-vis Afghanistan. In short, striking TTP will strain Afghan Taliban and Pakistan relations. Rising of BLA and under Chinese pressure, Pakistan has to exercise hardcode measures that will collectively target all insurgents and terror-like elements including TTP which will again put Pakistan in a tight situation. The second miscalculation is due to these strikes many terror outfits and radical groups inside Pakistan will get infuriated and will retaliate strongly through bombings, kidnapping, targeted killings, etc thereby setting a stage for a civil war-like situation in Pakistan. One such case that can substantiate the above argument is operation Zarb e Azab In mid-2014 aimed at cleaning all the militant outfits in Pakistan. Though the operation is still underway, the spillovers of this operation proved costly to Pakistan, in retaliation to these kinds of offensive operations. TTP carried out one of the deadly attacks on Pakistan soil in 2014- The Peshawar school attack. As said above the cross retaliation games will set the stage for civil war in Pakistan in the near future if not controlled.


We can conclude that such occurrences and hasty calculations are emanated out of circumstances constructed by  Pakistan’s dilemmatic posture towards terrorism. If Pakistan would have dropped this posture and mustered the courage and intellect for the sake of the country’s future then the scope of miscalculations or violent tug of war never would have arisen. However, Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir and hindering India’s growth through terrorism is gradually pushing Pakistan into a deep gorge of Civil War.  The macro picture of this scenario is that now due to animosity of militant outfits against Pakistan’s aggression and Pakistan’s necessity to embrace them is not letting any cleaning operation meet its strategic objectives. On the face of it, Pakistan can give thousands of arguments to give a conducive outlook of the state’s security environment but from the inside, it is becoming lethal and deadly which will eat up the state.


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