Quetta bled for the second time in a week when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Satellite Town, leaving 15 people dead, including a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), and 19 others wounded. Three days ago, a Frontier Corps (FC) vehicle came under a targeted attack in a busy market of the city. These back-to-back attacks have been claimed by Hizbul Ahrar and its coalition in terror Islamic State. While the market attack was purportedly carried out to martyr FC personnel, the mosque attack leaves several questions in terms of the target. The causalities include, beside the DSP, the prayer leader of the mosque. DSP Ishaqzai’s son, Najeebullah, was also killed in the Sariab Road area in December. Several injured people are being treated for life-threatening injuries. Initial investigations indicated that the bomber used an improvised explosive device in the attack. The mosque is the part of the adjacent seminary in Ghousabad which is patronised by prominent cleric Sheikh Hakimullah. The law enforcement agencies have yet to ascertain the motives behind the attack. If the pattern is analysed, the Satellite Town mosque bombing can be linked to the Kuchlaq mosque explosion in September. Kuchlak gained notoriety when clerics associated with the Afghan Taliban came under attack within days. Of them, one deceased was later identified as Afghan Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada’s brother, an Afghan citizen. The Kuchlak area has also seen attacks on FC personnel. In November, two FC personnel were martyred and five others injured when an IED struck their vehicle. On October 15, an IED blast claimed the life of a Rapid Response Force sniper on Quetta’s Doubel Edge Road. After one week, another IED blast struck nearby Spinny Road and this time the targets were two police officials.
The attacks seem to be the outcome of internal fighting of militants’ ranks in Afghanistan. The clerics falling prey to bombings have been associated with militants in one way or another. It is time for law enforcement agencies to do whatever is needed flush out these terrorists once and for all. Otherwise, such occasional bombings will keep breaching Pakistan’s peace and threatening people’s lives. Balochistan is under the spotlight because of the landmark China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Gwadar seaport. These game changing projects will bring about a visible change in the province’s economic outlook. With such attacks, the enemies of Pakistan only want to delay the realisation of the economic projects. *