Last week, Pakistan’s military had to face one of the biggest shocks in its history. Unknown terrorists launched an attack on the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Mianwali, Punjab. The news of the attack spread to the entire world within hours. What is surprising is that Pakistan’s military has remained silent about this terrorist attack. According to experts, it is time for Pakistan’s military to shift its focus away from politics and pay attention to its own issues. According to the information coming in, this terrorist attack has caused significant damage to Pakistan’s military.
Pakistan’s military suffered a major blow in the incident. It is reported that on November 3rd, in the attack on Mianwali Air Base, 14 aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force were destroyed, and 35 soldiers lost their lives. According to Ayesha Siddiqa, a Senior Fellow with the War Studies Department at King’s College, London, Pakistan’s security agencies were under the misconception that they had been freed from terrorism. However, the attack in Mianwali was an eye-opener. The attack on MM Alam Air Base has shaken the country to its core. In her article published in The Print, she stated that the terrorists attempted to demonstrate their capability by capturing the most challenging target, which was a training center of Pakistan’s Air Force.
The responsibility for this attack lies with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)-affiliated organization Tehrik-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP). TTP and its various factions have targeted both easy and challenging objectives in Pakistan. They have been involved in attacks on the General Headquarters (GHQ) in 2009, Mehran Naval Airbase in 2011, Minhas Airbase in 2012, and Badaber Non-Flying Airbase in 2015. The recent attack serves as a reminder that the issue of terrorism is far from completely eradicated. The terrorist elements have reverted to their previous state following the attack.
Security experts in the country are concerned that the Mianwali attack could mark the beginning of a second phase of terrorism in Punjab. They believe that this attack should serve as a wake-up call for the military to confront violence and extremism head-on. Specialists argue that this attack could become another reason for division within Pakistan.
Pakistan’s military had launched several major counterterrorism campaigns against extremists in the past. In 2017, they initiated a campaign known as Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. Following this, the Pakistani military claimed to have eliminated terrorism from the country. However, some people were not in agreement with this claim. It was never imagined that terrorists would carry out an attack and successfully target a PAF base. Mianwali, located in Punjab, is typically considered one of the most secure areas in the region.