With the success of our military operations setting our own house in order, we have largely done away with the scourge of terrorism that started inflicting us: firstly as a consequence of the response of the US and the KSA to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Khomeini’s Iran revolution respectively; and secondly, in its more intense form, as a consequence of our policy U-turn after 9/11. What then explains this new wave of bomb blasts that seems to have set in recently?

Two factors can explain the shift from terrorism to sabotage: One, the pattern. Remotely controlled attacks, change of targets, dominating separatist tendencies, lesser responsibilities taken and fake responsibility claims- all single a change in pattern – different from the one followed by the TTP in Pakistan and the IS in elsewhere. Two, there is ample evidence now that the US, India and the puppet Afghan government have ganged up against Pakistan – albeit each having different reasons, overlapping only to a certain extent.

USA has two issue: one, its puppet government is failing in Afghanistan and two, China is putting it on its heal on economic front, regional connectivity and military build up. India has two issues: one, Kashmir that has been forcefully occupied by it against the partition scheme, with all efforts to calm its angry populace failing and two, its emotional and historically incorrect claim that territories forming Pakistan have been a part of it – the Mother India, which have been chopped off by the Muslims, leaving the Mother India mutilated hence the hatred and revenge against Pakistan until that mutilation is undone. Afghanistan’s puppet government, too, has two issues: It remains unsustainable despite Afghan war’s over $1 trillion bill of the US alone. And two, it lays the blame, in large part, at the door of Pakistan for its failure of governance, regardless of the fact that the Afghans have a history of rejecting puppet governments. Asharf Ghani and the USA officials should revisit what happened to the British efforts of installing Shah Shuja, despite all orchestrated pretentions to the effect that it was Shah Shuja and not the British forces that had defeated Dost Muhammad, then Emir of Afghanistan.

It is pretty clear now that the post Zarb-e-Azab spate of bomb blasts steered by India from Afghan soil cannot but have the US blessing.

Disintegration agenda on which India is working hard, emboldened by its previous success in the East Pakistan, can get dangerous only if the USA, by its own calculation of its interests, puts its weight behind it. Why the USA held back India in 1971 was solely for the reason that it wanted the West Pakistan to remain on the map – a position apparently unchanged till today. Minus disintegration, what remains on the table is sabotage, continuous bleeding that leaves Pakistan scared out of its wits so as to desist Pakistan from doing what is not desirable or, at the minimum, to keep Pakistan less capacitated in doing that.

In this evil design, they have three assets. First, the TTP largely having been neutralised and the IS failing to get a foothold as yet, some splinter groups of the TTP have come in handy for them e.g. Jamat ul Ahrar operating from Afghan soil. Secondly, the Baloch separatists. Only a handful of Baloch tribal leaders are against Pakistan’s integrity, and the most prominent of them is Brahamdagh Bugti. No matter how sympathetic one might have felt about Akbar Bugti’s callous murder by our state, Brahamdagh’s open collusion with India in challenging the territorial integrity of Pakistan has now brought him in the category of enemies of Pakistan, hence devoid of any sympathy whatsoever. And thirdly, the Sindhi nationalists. Synchronised cracker attacks and attempted derailments of trains in recent past may be taken as a sort of rehearsal. Other candidates could have been the criminal elements of the MQM, but the successful Rangers Operation against them has cast doubt on their utility for disruptive activities.

Pakistani support of Taliban, India’s influence on puppet Afghan government, missing US guarantees backed by actions to keep India’s Afghan role in check, Kashmir conundrum, religious extremism, sense of deprivation in Balochistan, containment of China: all these factors combine together to give birth to the new reality for us – the unfortunate Pakistanis –that we will have to live with a lot of sabotage for years to come … unless we somehow manage to control some of the factors to our advantage. For that we need to actively engage with all three players, needless to mention the US being the most important among them.

Proficient policy-making and skillful diplomacy can get some of what we want – a halt of sabotage operations. But unfortunately on both fronts we are facing issues, structural as well as of competency.