June 15, 2013, will go down as one of the blackest days in Pakistan’s history. In the wee hours of the morning, miscreants targeted the Ziarat Residency, where the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, spent his last days. Jinnah was one of the most respected and non-controversial leaders of the subcontinent. He was held in such great reverence that Lincoln’s Inn, one of four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are called to the Bar, has exceptionally honoured Jinnah by placing his portrait along with two other legal wizards - a Knight of the Garter, Sir Henry Maule, and deferential appellate and member of peerage, Lord Arthur Hobhouse - on the stonewall over the entrance to its Great Hall and Library in London.It is worth mentioning that the distinguished members of Lincoln’s Inn include Sir Thomas More, Richard Cromwell, Allama Iqbal, Margaret Thatcher and numerous Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chief Justices across the globe, but it is only Jinnah, a non-English jurist, who has been paid such a tribute for his unparalleled contribution of establishing Pakistan.Against this backdrop, the perpetrators of the heinous crime deliberately targeted the Ziarat Residency by repudiating in an odious manner the idea of Pakistan. The act of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), claiming responsibility for the abhorrent assault, pulling down Pakistan’s national ensign and planting the BLA flag, has grievously hurt the sentiments of 180 million Pakistanis. The wound is deeper than the loss of over 39,000 lives sacrificed by Pakistan in the war against terrorism. The burning and desecration of the Ziarat Residency has, indeed, shocked the entire nation. However, it has rejuvenated the resolve of Pakistanis and patriotic Balochis to denounce and defeat the secessionist elements and reject their heinous agenda.While the nation was still reeling under the trauma of the demolition of the Quaid’s house, Quetta was targeted by two massive terror attacks. The first was an unprecedented assault on female students. According to intelligence officials, a female suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying students of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, in which 14 students embraced Shahadat. While the wounded were being transferred to Bolan Medical College Medical Complex for treatment, a group of miscreants launched an attack on it, taking the staffers and injured students hostage. After hours of gun battle, the assailants were overpowered and killed, but not before the death toll rose to 25, including the Deputy Commissioner of Quetta, four personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC), 14 students and four nurses. The banned outfit, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, claimed responsibility for the bomb blasts. Readers may recall that this is the same outfit, which has claimed responsibility for the murder of Hazaras in Quetta, earlier this year.The saddest aspect of all three assaults is that some analysts are concluding that the atrocious attacks took place owing to a rivalry between the Balochistan police and the FC. To rub salt in the wound, another pseudo-intellectual and TV anchor, gave a new twist to the depressing incident by presenting the farfetched theory that the ISI and law enforcement agencies are to be blamed by declaring that the attacks were a reaction to the alleged missing persons and mutilated bodies case. This is not only shocking that our so-called analysts jump to conclusions even before the incident is over and an inquiry is carried out, but also contrary to journalistic ethics and tantamount to inadvertently play into the hands of the enemy, who desires dissension in our ranks and a blame game to be effective. The enemies of the state plan surreptitious attacks and apportion culpability on national institutions. Let us remain united and not strengthen their heinous agendas.The new nationalist government in Balochistan is under a severe test for restoring law and order in the province, while the current political dispensation at Islamabad needs to pick up the gauntlet of trials and tribulation and take immediate steps to stem the rot. To date, the worst enemies of the state have not dared to target the monuments associated with Quaid-i-Azam, the symbol of Pakistan’s sovereignty. With doubt, they must be made to realise that their dastardly attack may demolish the Ziarat Residency, but it can never repudiate the idea of Pakistan from the hearts and minds of patriotic Pakistanis.
The writer is a former group captain of PAF, who also served as air and naval attaché at Riyadh. Currently, he is a columnist, analyst and host of programme Defence and Diplomacy on PTV.