Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
The breach of security at a major Pakistani navy base in the southern city of Karachi has, inevitably, raised questions of complicity, which must be the greatest worry once the night-long siege by the militants ends and the military has finished counting its losses.
That a group of 15 or more attackers armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades could gain access to the inner perimeter of the Mehran base and succeed in blowing up one U.S.-supplied P -3 Orion maritime aircraft and damaging another aircraft, while holding off security forces for more than 12 hours speaks of a large, complex attack that needs some level of help from within. One former Pakistani navy official told a TV channel that the attack appeared to have been planned from a map of facility.
Time magazine’s Omar Wahraich wrote that most analysts believe the success of an apparently well-organized attack on this scale would have required at least some complicity from within the military. In terms of the sheer audacity of the attack, this one is similar to the Oct. 10, 2009 attack on the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, in which militants penetrated the heavily guarded installation and held several senior and junior officers hostage. The attackers were found to have links to low-ranking military personnel with fundamentalist sympathies, Wahraich notes.
Is the ground starting to shift under the Pakistan military ? First the militants that it nurtured turned against it. such as the Pakistani Taliban which has vowed a war against the state and has claimed responsibility for the Mehran attack. Now, are elements within the military turning against the state as it comes under unprecedented international pressure to roll up the militant networks ?