On August 8, just six days before Pakistan's Independence Day, a suicide bomber killed at least 70 people and wounded more than 100 others at a hospital in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The dead included dozens of lawyers who had gathered to mourn the death of Bilal Anwar Kasi, president of the Baluchistan Bar Association, who was shot and killed earlier that day.
Within minutes, Pakistan's military and political leaders blamed India for masterminding the attack. Quetta has been the main stronghold of Afghan Taliban leaders who have been housed and shielded there by the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The ISI has traditionally birthed and nurtured jihadist organizations to fight in Afghanistan and against India, especially in Kashmir.
It should also be noted that China has been building a major port in Gwadar, on the coast of Baluchistan. Recently, China and Pakistan have also signed an infrastructure agreement that seeks to build a network of highways and rails connecting China to Baluchistan. The infrastructure project is known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC.
After the attack, Pakistani leaders accused India of trying to sabotage the CPEC. However, according to unconfirmed reports, the Islamic State (ISIS) as well as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Jamaatul Ahrar group) claimed responsibility for the attack. India was also blamed for the attack in an editorial in Roznama Ummat, a Pakistani Urdu daily that is pro-Pakistan and pro-jihadi organizations working against Afghanistan and India.
Following are excerpts from the editorial, which is titled "The Cowardly Attack On the CPEC Project":
"In Order To Escape Blame For Their Ineptitude, Every Attack Is Declared A Suicide Attack [By Security Officials In Pakistan]"
"After the attack, Army chief General Raheel Sharif reached Quetta and visited the injured at the Civil Hospital... Presiding over a high-level meeting at the [Army] Corps Headquarters, he ordered an operation [against terrorist groups across Pakistan]. He said that the terrorists have targeted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project [CPEC].
"Additionally, after the attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled all his engagements and went to Quetta to visit the wounded. Baluchistan, especially Quetta city, has been burning in the fires of terrorism for a long time. Assassinations [notably, of Shia Hazaras by Sunni jihadists], suicide attacks, and bomb blasts have made the life hell for inhabitants. However, this is a moment of thanks [to Allah], that this time the political and the military leadership, in a demonstration of robust wisdom, have pointed towards the real and eternal enemy [i.e. India] which has forced us into fire and blood.
"The Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Parvez Rashid, has said openly that there is solid evidence of India's involvement in this attack. The Chief Minister of Baluchistan Sanaullah Zehri added that India's secret agency RAW [Research & Analysis Wing] is involved in the terror attacks occurring in Baluchistan, and that there is evidence of this. Whoever may have carried out this cowardly act, the question is: why couldn't the concerned institutions [i.e. Pakistani intelligence agencies] manage to thwart it?
"In 2010, an explosion of a similar nature took place in the same Civil Hospital. The body of a Shia leader in Baluchistan was brought there and an explosion occurred in the crowd, which killed ten people, including a cameraman for a private television channel and police officer Nisar Kazmi. An attack of a similar nature had previously occurred at the Jinnah Hospital in Karachi. In other words, it is a tested terrorist method to target the nearest hospital for a big operation after a small attack. But despite these harsh experiences, why were no fool-proof security arrangements made when the body of the leading lawyer was brought here?"
"One more important question is this: How can a suicide bomber carry explosive materials that cause such extensive destruction? How could he reach his target carrying so much heavy material, while evading security officials? It is always seen that in order to escape blame for their ineptitude, every attack is declared a suicide attack [by security officials in Pakistan]. If appropriate and timely security arrangements are made, then it is not that difficult to prevent the real suicide bombers and to make their mission unsuccessful - many unarmed civilians too have executed this task [stopping suicide bombers]."
"India Has Resolved To Make This [China-Pakistan] Project A Failure, As It Could Turn Pakistan Into An Asian Tiger Of The Future"
"It was also revealed... that despite [a certain type of security devices] being declared ineffective by security experts, 15,000 new such devices are being used for security in airports and other sensitive installations. Several people, including British trader James McCormick, have been jailed for producing ADE651 and other bogus devices used to detect explosive materials... Moreover, corrupt [Pakistani] officials have installed damaged CCTV cameras in cities. The ineffectiveness of these cameras is proven when some explosion or incident takes place within their range.
"It was revealed after the explosion that most of the more than 200 cameras installed in Quetta city had become inoperable. Despite all these, our leadership makes the audacious claim that the terrorists' backbone has been broken [during security operations]. Such claims are true to the extent that they weaken the Tehreek-e-Taliban [Pakistan, or TTP], but the network of terrorists spread by India is still not only intact but has become more active than previously, and has started to striking at our roots. This explosion in Quetta is also meaningful with regard to the fact that terrorists have caused grief to the nation just days before Independence Day [August 14].
"After the arrest of many local agents of India and [Indian national] Kulbhushan Yadav and their acceptance [of guilt] before the media, it is no more a secret that it is none other than India that is burning Baluchistan in the fire of lawlessness. As per the Army chief, this attack has been carried out against the CPEC, which has caused sleepless nights to India. India has resolved to make this project a failure, as it could turn Pakistan into an Asian tiger of the future. Its secret agency RAW has reserved $35 million and established a special cell [to attack Baluchistan]...
"India is spending tens of millions of rupees monthly and has sent thousands of its agents into Pakistan. Then, the Indian media presents a dreadful image of Pakistan before the world by exaggerating such [terrorist] incidents. There is a need for us to play our role in defeating India's objectives... The government [of Pakistan] should make India look naked by presenting evidence of Indian terrorism at diplomatic and international forums. The people should also keep their eyes on Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs [both seen as traitors in Islamic history of India]. When we land in the field united... then the enemy's objectives will be crushed to dust with Allah's aid..."
Source: Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), August 9, 2016.