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Pakistan blames India for Quetta blast, but experts see no impact on efforts to ease tensions

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Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed blamed India for the Quetta hotel blast Wednesday, which has been claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
NAYANIMA BASU 22 April, 2021 8:30 pm IST
https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php...no-impact-on-efforts-to-ease-tensions/644283/

The blast at Serena Hotel, Quetta, killed five people | @IamNaveenKapoor | Twitter
The blast at Serena Hotel, Quetta, killed five people | @IamNaveenKapoor | Twitter
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New Delhi: Soon after a blast ripped through the parking area of a five-star hotel in Pakistan’s Quetta Wednesday, the country’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed pointed the finger of blame at India. According to a report by Pakistan’s Geo TV, Rashid said India doesn’t want peace in the country, but “their attempt to damage Pakistan will fail”.

However, experts made light of the accusations lobbed at India by the minister, saying Pakistan has always blamed India for disturbances in the restive Balochistan province, which has been the ground of a violent separatist movement for several decades. Quetta is the capital of Balochistan.


Speaking to ThePrint, experts said the finger-pointing by Pakistan is unlikely to impact what appear to be efforts being made by the two sides in recent days to ease the chill in New Delhi and Islamabad’s relationship.

Five people were killed and at least nine injured in the attack at Quetta’s Serena Hotel, which is known to be popular with dignitaries. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistan Taliban.

The Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, was staying at the hotel but wasn’t on the premises when the blast happened, Rashid said Wednesday.

Pakistan has called the incident an “act of terrorism” aimed to “disrupt peace in Balochistan”.

‘Pakistan experiencing resurgence in terror’
This is not the first time that Pakistan has blamed India for orchestrating terrorist attacks in the country.

In 2018, after a terror attack at the Chinese consulate in Karachi was foiled, Pakistan alleged India’s involvement. The attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the oldest insurgent group in the region that Pakistan alleges is supported by India. The BLA is among the groups reportedly opposed to Chinese investment in Balochistan.

Sharat Sabharwal, former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, said it is not new for Pakistan to blame India. “Pakistan has always blamed India for disturbances in Balochistan when the fact is that they themselves are responsible for it because of their high-handedness in dealing with the people of Balochistan,” he added.

“It is the largest province there and rich in mineral resources, but while Pakistan exploits those, the Army continues to deal with them with a heavy hand,” he said.

The BLA and the BRA (Balochistan Republican Army), he added, have been attacking Chinese interests in Quetta. Now it seems, he said, the TTP has also joined them, as Beijing’s influence continues to increase with infrastructure projects that began with the building of the Gwadar Port, also in Balochistan.

However, Sabharwal added, Pakistan has given enough indications of late that it wants to have a dialogue with India — from the joint statement by the DGMOs of both sides reiterating the 2003 ceasefire, to comments made by Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“They (Pakistan) won’t throw away all that just for this one incident,” he said.

Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate (South Asia) at the US-based think tank The Wilson Center, said the terror attack took place two weeks after the US charge d’affaires, Angela Aggeler, visited Gwadar to discuss investment.
Aggeler  is the first US official to visit Gwadar in 15 years, and this was her second trip to Balochistan.

“Pakistan is experiencing resurgences in both separatist and Islamist terror, and at a moment when Pakistan would prefer the world view it as a magnet for investment,” he said. “It won’t be easy for Islamabad to square that circle.”

He added, “Islamabad may blame India for the attack, and if New Delhi references it, that will just give Islamabad more ammunition to allege an Indian hand. That said, the recent thaw in relations may prompt Pakistani officials to hold their tongue.”

What is TTP?
The TTP was founded in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud, a jihadi commander based out of the Pashtun tribal areas in north-western Pakistan. The group is different from the Afghan Taliban, but owes allegiance to their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
It was the TTP that was behind the 2012 assassination attempt targeting Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who angered the Taliban Islamists with her vocal advocacy for educating the girl child.

Mehsud is believed to have been responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and scores of suicide bombings, including at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, which killed more than 50 people in September 2008.
The group did not dissipate despite the death of Mehsud in an alleged CIA drone attack in 2009.

The US Department of State put the TTP on its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations on 1 September 2010. On 18 January 2011, the UK moved to ban the TTP, making it illegal to belong to or raise funds for the organisation in the country. On 5 July 2011, Canada designated the TTP a terrorist organisation as well.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

https://theprint.in/diplomacy/pakis...no-impact-on-efforts-to-ease-tensions/644283/
 

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Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed blamed India for the Quetta hotel blast Wednesday, which has been claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
NAYANIMA BASU 22 April, 2021 8:30 pm IST
https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://theprint.in/diplomacy/pakistan-blames-india-for-quetta-blast-but-experts-see-no-impact-on-efforts-to-ease-tensions/644283/

The blast at Serena Hotel, Quetta, killed five people | @IamNaveenKapoor | Twitter
The blast at Serena Hotel, Quetta, killed five people | @IamNaveenKapoor | Twitter
Text Size: A- A+

New Delhi: Soon after a blast ripped through the parking area of a five-star hotel in Pakistan’s Quetta Wednesday, the country’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed pointed the finger of blame at India. According to a report by Pakistan’s Geo TV, Rashid said India doesn’t want peace in the country, but “their attempt to damage Pakistan will fail”.

However, experts made light of the accusations lobbed at India by the minister, saying Pakistan has always blamed India for disturbances in the restive Balochistan province, which has been the ground of a violent separatist movement for several decades. Quetta is the capital of Balochistan.


Speaking to ThePrint, experts said the finger-pointing by Pakistan is unlikely to impact what appear to be efforts being made by the two sides in recent days to ease the chill in New Delhi and Islamabad’s relationship.

Five people were killed and at least nine injured in the attack at Quetta’s Serena Hotel, which is known to be popular with dignitaries. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistan Taliban.

The Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, was staying at the hotel but wasn’t on the premises when the blast happened, Rashid said Wednesday.

Pakistan has called the incident an “act of terrorism” aimed to “disrupt peace in Balochistan”.

‘Pakistan experiencing resurgence in terror’
This is not the first time that Pakistan has blamed India for orchestrating terrorist attacks in the country.

In 2018, after a terror attack at the Chinese consulate in Karachi was foiled, Pakistan alleged India’s involvement. The attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the oldest insurgent group in the region that Pakistan alleges is supported by India. The BLA is among the groups reportedly opposed to Chinese investment in Balochistan.

Sharat Sabharwal, former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, said it is not new for Pakistan to blame India. “Pakistan has always blamed India for disturbances in Balochistan when the fact is that they themselves are responsible for it because of their high-handedness in dealing with the people of Balochistan,” he added.

“It is the largest province there and rich in mineral resources, but while Pakistan exploits those, the Army continues to deal with them with a heavy hand,” he said.

The BLA and the BRA (Balochistan Republican Army), he added, have been attacking Chinese interests in Quetta. Now it seems, he said, the TTP has also joined them, as Beijing’s influence continues to increase with infrastructure projects that began with the building of the Gwadar Port, also in Balochistan.

However, Sabharwal added, Pakistan has given enough indications of late that it wants to have a dialogue with India — from the joint statement by the DGMOs of both sides reiterating the 2003 ceasefire, to comments made by Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“They (Pakistan) won’t throw away all that just for this one incident,” he said.

Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate (South Asia) at the US-based think tank The Wilson Center, said the terror attack took place two weeks after the US charge d’affaires, Angela Aggeler, visited Gwadar to discuss investment.
Aggeler  is the first US official to visit Gwadar in 15 years, and this was her second trip to Balochistan.

“Pakistan is experiencing resurgences in both separatist and Islamist terror, and at a moment when Pakistan would prefer the world view it as a magnet for investment,” he said. “It won’t be easy for Islamabad to square that circle.”

He added, “Islamabad may blame India for the attack, and if New Delhi references it, that will just give Islamabad more ammunition to allege an Indian hand. That said, the recent thaw in relations may prompt Pakistani officials to hold their tongue.”

What is TTP?
The TTP was founded in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud, a jihadi commander based out of the Pashtun tribal areas in north-western Pakistan. The group is different from the Afghan Taliban, but owes allegiance to their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
It was the TTP that was behind the 2012 assassination attempt targeting Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who angered the Taliban Islamists with her vocal advocacy for educating the girl child.

Mehsud is believed to have been responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and scores of suicide bombings, including at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, which killed more than 50 people in September 2008.
The group did not dissipate despite the death of Mehsud in an alleged CIA drone attack in 2009.

The US Department of State put the TTP on its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations on 1 September 2010. On 18 January 2011, the UK moved to ban the TTP, making it illegal to belong to or raise funds for the organisation in the country. On 5 July 2011, Canada designated the TTP a terrorist organisation as well.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

https://theprint.in/diplomacy/pakis...no-impact-on-efforts-to-ease-tensions/644283/
Usual indian propaganda
 

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