Chaman blast and implications
On the day when neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan showed resilience and observed a by and large peaceful election despite glaring Taliban threats, militants struck in the border town of Chaman in Balochistan and killed senior leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) Maulana Mohammad Hanif and two others. The explosion, detonated with remote control in the main bazaar of Chaman, also left 11 other people injured. The police say the blast aimed at the life of Maulana Hanif, an influential cleric of the town and deputy general secretary of the JUI-F. On the appeal of the party, a partial shutdown was observed across the province to mourn the death of their leader. So far, no group or organisation has come forward claiming responsibility for the attack. Frontier Corps and police personnel are also clueless about the culprits. The death of the maulana also attracted widespread condemnation from politicians from both the treasury and the opposition benches of Balochistan assembly.
Balochistan has been in the news for target killing in recent days. In last month, in Kuchlak, two prayer leaders were killed, and of them one turned to be the brother of Afghan Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada. The other deceased was also an Afghan citizen and had been the imam of the mosque for many years. Though no word has come from the security forces regarding the killing of those Afghan leaders in Balochistan, it is widely believed the attacks were the outcome of the internal fighting in the Taliban ranks. Those days, Afghan Taliban were negotiating a peace deal with the US in Doha, which has met a tragic end. The JUI-F has never been a known player in Taliban related affairs. Their rival, the late Maulan Samiul Haq, however, was known as the father of the Taliban. So, apparently it is hard to relate Maulana Hanif’s death with Taliban affairs. The fact already established, in the wake of the killings in Kuchlak, is that Taliban elements are present in the province. Their presence will keep creating multiple security challenges to the writ of the government and local populations, such as the Shia Hazara.
The occasional resurgence of militants points to the reality of the presence active cells of militants in Balochistan. The conduct of the JUI-F in the wake of its leader’s killing is very mature as it has not blamed any quarters unless some irrefutable proof is found. The party is in the middle of preparation for its political battles in Islamabad. Keeping crime and politics apart is the sign of political maturity. *
Justice in honour killing