Mar 26, 2009

Women bombers

Female members of an entity that calls itself the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) have claimed 'credit' for a bomb planted at a café in Quetta that injured four people. This new twist to the act of terrorism is dangerous in several ways. For one it indicates that Baloch nationalists, who had till now not directed their wrath towards civilian targets, are re-thinking tactics and adopting methods used by extremists. The audacious kidnapping of a UN aid worker was one indication of this. The fact also is that for reasons rooted in our social traditions, women are likely to present a security threat that is especially difficult to deal with.It is also true that despite the initial promises made by the PPP government, there has been a failure to address the problems of Balochistan. Frustration and anger lurk everywhere in the country's largest province. The latest act of apparently random bombing is just one manifestation of it. There is also a threat that the situation in the area could grow still more complex, with talk of a takeover of Quetta by the Taliban or of drone-bombings conducted by the US. The issues of Balochistan must be tackled head-on. Otherwise we will see only more acts of violence and more unrest in the territory, where there has been far too much violence already for decades adding to the sense of instability we face as a federation.

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