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Pakistan Navy base in Karachi attacked by terrorists

Pakistan Navy base in Karachi attacked by terrorists

Around 10.30 pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011, 04 explosions rocked PNS Mehran, a Pakistan Navy airbase (located just a 03 minute drive from my house). I was sitting with my family in the living room and due to the way my house is built none of us heard the explosions. Thus, we were oblivious to the message of concerns that were coming on my cell phone, charging in the other room, from family members and my parents who are on vacation abroad. It was a phone call around 11:00 pm from my uncle asking me where I was and informing me of the concern of my parents that alerted me to the attack. I quickly called my parents to reassure them that I and my family were safe at home while switching on the television set to catch news updates on the explosions.

Coverage around 11 pm on Express 24/7

 

At 10:00 am the number of explosions had increased to 13 and the terrorists were still present on the base. As people headed to work, Sami Shah (@samishah) a stand-up comedian, tweeted something serious and thought provoking:

Went to sleep to my city under siege. Woke up to it under siege. Weirdest part is the rest of us just go to office and keep working.

Indeed, what was the biggest ever attack on a military installation during the War on Terror, did not stop the city from its functioning. As Khaver Siddiqi (@thekarachikid) tweeted very aptly:

There's a 9/11, 26/11 and 7/7. Then there's everyday in Pakistan. #prayforpakistan

Indeed, we as citizens of the country that is really fighting the Global War on Terror, have become so desensitized to violence, mayhem, and carnage that not only did we sleep soundly last night, we got up and went about our business.

Copyright: AFP

The gun battle lasted nearly 17 hours and around 4:30 pm we got an update from the Interior Minister Rehman Malik (equivalent of the National Security Adviser) that the battle was over and all terrorists (whom the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed as their members) had been killed.

He (Rehman Malik – the Interior Minister) said that among the six terrorists present at the site, one suicide bomber's head had been recovered, while four bodies were also found. He added, however, that two individuals were seen running off the base.

Malik said the terrorists were wearing “western clothes, had small beards and three of them had sharp features”.

He said two of the attackers look to be around 22 years of age and one of the suicide bombers was around 25 years of age. He said they were dressed in black clothes “like they do in movies”.

“They were dressed like Star Wars characters,” said Malik. (Express Tribune)

OK that last statement didn't really make sense. However, neither did the fact that four or six 20 somethings managed to invade a highly secure Navy facility, blow up 3 aircraft (including 2 P-3C Orion planes costing around USD 36 million each), and martyr 10 people. Too many things don't add up and I am afraid we just might have to wait for another batch of Wikileaks cables to get the real story. In the meantime an inquiry commission has been constituted to determine how the terrorists managed to enter the base and cause so much damage. 20 explosions, regular gunfire throughout the night and day, and 10 returning to their Lord after laying down their lives for their country, it certainly demands an inquiry. However, the sentiments of many are echoed in the following tweet by Kashif Aziz (@kashaziz);

So 6 terrorists kept 1500+ security men engaged for 11 hours, and 2 were able to escape alive. Pak Fauj ko Salam! (Salute to the Pakistan Armed Forces)

Some More Reading

Time: Pakistan Extremists Embarrass Military by Invading a Navy Base

DAWN: Timeline of recent attacks targeting Pakistan Navy

Express Tribune: Timeline: Major attacks on the armed forces in Pakistan

Wired: “Star Wars” Terrorists Storm Pakistani Naval Base

The Lede: Before Attack, Pakistan's Navy Boasted of Role in Fight Against Taliban

About Aly Balagamwala

"Abu Ibrahym" Muhammad Aly Balagamwala (AKA DiscoMaulvi) joined the team of MM in 2011 as a blogger/writer and is currently the Team Lead for the Comments Team as well as a member of the Executive Shurah. Aly is an entrepreneur who was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan where he currently resides. He became a practicing Muslim during the 4 years he spent at North Carolina State University getting a BS in Textile Chemistry (May Allah reward the wonderful community of Raleigh, NC for that). He is involved in various dawah and social projects including LiveDeen, AlKauthar Karachi, and Ihsaas Trust. He is easily accessible via Twitter or through his Public Page on Facebook where you can learn more about him. You can also visit his (mostly defunct) personal blog From The Pulpit ... Sermons of DiscoMaulvi and comment so he still feels like a Blogger. :)

24 comments

  1. wow, that’s just sad. May Allah protect Pakistan.

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  2. I am confused, I thought terrorists are those who attack innocent civilians. It’s only semantics that I am pointing out to but militants/insurgents would be the right word.

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  3. You reap what you sow and what goes around comes around.

    Pakistan has for decades taken the lid off these freaks and supported, armed and used them to forment terrorism and sabotage in Afghanistan and India. Scores of Indian and Afghan civilians have died in these barbaric attacks…let alone military soldiers as is the case here.

    Well, now these ghouls are outta the box and now biting the hand that fed them. These types can NEVER be controlled and Pakistan is now learning that lesson to it’s detriment.

    If Pakistan wants to save itself, then time for the Pakistani goverment and especially the defacto independant military and ISI to cut the cord and reign in these freaks. Time to realize these types cannot be controlled and used as strategic assets only against the neighboring countries, but will inevitably burn down the house that is Pakistan itself.

    My heart goes out to the Pakistani civilians who suffer, like civilians anywhere who suffer…unfortunately for them the blame for it all lies with their own government and military.

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    • Dear ZAI

      Indeed you are right that part of the problem for Pakistan is that the chickens have come home to roost. However, there are plenty of other factors that have led us here and some of them were not of Pakistan’s choosing.

      At the end of it you are correct that the civilians end up paying a heavy price for the government and military’s actions (although here the target was military).

      -Aly

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      • Dear Aly,

        You’re right that Pakistan alone is not at fault if you’re speaking historically.
        However, Pakistans military and ISI ARE fully responsible in that they alone insist on maintaining and supporting these extremists as a strategic/military asset. No one else is doing so currently.

        Plenty of actors involved in getting us to this point: US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, UK, UAE..and we’ve all dealt with the backlash of having created this mess….but of all of them, only Pakistans military and ISI CONTINUE to support it.

        Cutting off the support to these groups, including the Afghan Taliban, and shutting down their sanctuaries in Quetta and the FATA is something only Pakistan can do.It has refused to do so, especially in the case of groups that target Afghanistan or India…that refusal leads to US drone attacks and all other manner of atrocious war crimes which further enflame not only the radicals, but also others who’re justifiably angry at civiilian deaths…so the cycle begins anew and Pakistan itself is also targetted for seeming to cooperate with the US.

        These miltants don’t care about borders, distinctions between governments, the lives of civilians or anything else. They only care about their twisted ideology. Pakistan is beyond foolish to think it can support and control some of them, but leave others be as strategic assets to use against neighboring countries. Sooner or later they all converge because they have more in common with eachother than with any government. They ultimately exact a toll on civilians and drag entire nations into a hellish blackhole. Pakistans harms itself in the longrun by continuing to nuture them…

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    • Interesting points. But lets take a closer look at them.

      Who armed and trained the mujahideen in the 80s to fight the Soviets? Yes, Pakistan land was used but it was primarily by the US for the US. I can easily point the finger and say that the majority of these people are Afghanis as evidenced by the fact they can’t even speak Urdu.

      So if we are really to play the blame game, then these are US trained militants from Afghanistan who are taking out their anger in Pakistan.

      Of course, Pakistan is guilty too. But placing the entire blame on the country is ridiculous.

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      • What language the militants are speaking is hardly a case for anything.
        28 million Pashtuns live in Pakistan and it’s from their ranks that the Pakistani Taliban recruit. So the fact that they speak Pashto doesn’t mean much.

        As for the US and CIA arming/funding the mujahideen in the 80′s…yes, they did, and that’s exactly why the US is ALSO experiencing blowback in regards to al-Qaeda. Not only did they fund the mujahideen, they encouraged and allowed the ISI to funnel the funds to the most extremist mujahideen like Hekmetyar and Haqqani.

        That being said, times have changed. At the very least the US, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and other countries are drawing a line now and attempting to shut down these extremists…but Pakistan is not. Pakistan continues to fund and support them as a way to exert influence in Afghanistan and India. So, the choice NOW is again for Pakistan to make: keep supporting these freaks and put itself at risk or join the rest of the world in combating them.

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    • You are only exaggerate and you are making it sound simplistic.Can you point any evidence that Pakistan supported terrorism in Afghanistan or Indian. If you mean Taliban, then Taliban are not terrorist by any definition. They maybe fundementalist. Even the USA now is talking with them. As for India, Pakistan was not supporting terrorist, but rather militant. Even India support militant by name of Mukti Bahani in former east Pakistan

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  4. I was on a long, overnight duty at one of the largest hospitals in the city, on duty, as an intern when we started hearing of some “explosions” in a certain area of the city. But we were busy with our own patients whose lives were critical and all I heard sometime later was that it was an attack on one of the naval bases. When I came home the following afternoon (yesterday), I finally heard all that had been going on in the city and it sounded like a wild situation out of some crazy movie.

    When you say we all go about our lives, that’s exactly how it is… for me, as a doctor, I was busy with my own issues at work. All I remember is that one of our seniors told us not to step out of the ward alone since, if any injured were brought to our hospital (two surgical wards are right above our ward), some of their relatives might unleash their rage on the doctors (as has happened in the past). Later, when I turned on the news at home, I learned the post-mortem examination of the militants was conducted at our hospital. And that was it, back to work the following day, tending to our own patients and their issues…

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  5. Pakistan is a terrorist state.

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    • That is precisely the plan of western governments. To declare pakistan or any other “stan” a terrorist state in need of immediate attention. The rampant ignorance amongst the general world population takes centre stage as brilliantly driven media bandwagon conjours up the new “Osama bin laden. Armies get the marching orders and the goodwill nod by the “innocent” citiziens of a country halfway across the world is broadcasted on news as the beginning of yet another war on isla….terrorism. Another country invaded, pillaged and flagged as possible important strategic location for future conflict(s) and/or “free oil”.

      Sadly everyone forgets the part where generations are destroyed for money and power but its alright, after all its “collateral damage”. Then you have the 10 year old orphan who has never heard of this “free country” before but now sees its people running a free recruitment service of al-qaeda near the local mosque. “We will give you the armor and the anger to carry out revenge attacks when you are old enough to understand why we are here”, reads the advertising board.

      10 years on. This “…stan” is a terrorist state. We must do something about it. Ok we need a new man to pin this one on, says the “democratic leader of a free nation”. By the way, what do we need this time? Oil or a place to launder our hard earned money in a war we started somewhere else?

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  6. Bismillah

    As salam alaikum
    I am saddened that there is not greater political awareness and insight which is compatible with Islam at this Muslim website which frequently addresses world events.

    First, this naval base assault is NOT part of the Global War on Terror, unless you adopt the American neo conservative worldview (from which this phrase is originated). Not even Obama uses this phrase anymore.

    Which worldview do YOU adopt?
    Because Islam has its own worldview, just as Islam is a complete Deen.

    Second, the naval base assault is a political event as much as it is a militant insurgent event. And by politics, I mean the Islamic meaning: the affairs of the people. The Prophet (saaw) is reported to have said whomever is not concerned about the affairs of the people is not from among us. And the ‘affairs of the people’ is translated from the arabic word “sa’ sa”, which is expanded as siyasa- politics.

    So the affairs of the people are the legitimate if not required matter for people- not something left for others to manage at their own will.

    And militancy is an extension of politics- material action is an expression of and viewpoint on the affairs of some people. In this case, its regarding the Pakistani military and government.

    Third, if one examines Pakistan’s affairs internally, one will see that not only are their many affairs which are not governed according to what Allah has revealed, but the very authority and political sovereignty of the Muslim people of Pakistan have been undermined and betrayed by the existing Pakistan government. At what point does a government loose its legitimacy, its authority to rule?

    Fourth, does a government loose its authority to rule when it defies Allah? Does a government loose its authority and legitimacy when it allows foreign militaries to enter its territory, set up a dangerous, volatile military base, like the USJSOC forward operating base at a naval base in Karachi, and engage in military attacks on Pakistani and Muslim people within Pakistan?

    Let it be known, there is a US special forces forward operating base stationed within a naval base in Karachi since 2006 as permitted by the Pakistani government. And this base is the origin of assaults and operations for the US JSOC throughout central Asia, excluding NATO run Afghanistan. This was reported in Asia Times and the Nation (US edition). Also reported in the Nation by Jeremy Scahill, Pakistani government granted the US military and its contractors, namely Blackwater/Xe, authorization to engage in searches for OBL and al Qaida in Pakistan with the warning that the Pakistani govt would DENY knowledge of such searches and activities were they to be successful. and Scahill reported this in 2009 in his article: Secret War on Pakistan.

    So at what point does Zardari’s administration loose legitimacy? At what point was allowing the US special forces to intercede in Pakistan an act of sedition or treason?

    Fifth, Muslim people have a greater right to autonomy and political sovereignty/authority over their affairs than America has to interlope, usurp, intervene, and interrupt Muslim affairs for whatever their expressed justification, including the Global War on Terror. And that’s where my original question comes in:

    Sixth, does Muslim Matters recognize the right of Pakistani Muslims to maintain, secure, defend, and uphold their autonomy and political sovereignty against any who betray it, jeopardize it, willfully undermine it?

    Insha Allah I will stop here in hopes that there will be a constructive discussion on these issues.
    I welcome all responses.

    Abu Kamel

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    • Brother Abu Kamel

      You make some great points that are really important. However, your comment also suggests that I, as a citizen of Pakistan, should also take up arms as the government is not legitimate and that I should start bombing military assets.

      There is no doubt that Islam is the complete deen. There is no doubt that the government of Pakistan is not Islamic. However, there is really no state out there which is Islamic. Does that mean citizens all over the world should take up arms and start attacking military and civil establishments? Or go on a suicide bombing spree?

      At what point was allowing the US special forces to intercede in Pakistan an act of sedition or treason?

      If you are a Pakistani then you should definitely stand up and ask this question of the elected government.

      Fifth, Muslim people have a greater right to autonomy and political sovereignty/authority over their affairs than America has to interlope, usurp, intervene, and interrupt Muslim affairs for whatever their expressed justification, including the Global War on Terror. And that’s where my original question comes in:
      Having a right to autonomy and political sovereignty over ones affairs means attacking a military establishment and causing more than 70 million dollars damage to assets that are vital for defense of the country?

      Sixth, does Muslim Matters recognize the right of Pakistani Muslims to maintain, secure, defend, and uphold their autonomy and political sovereignty against any who betray it, jeopardize it, willfully undermine it?

      I as a Pakistani Muslim (but why Muslims only? What about the other citizens? Don’t they have rights?) recognize my right to “maintain, secure, defend, and uphold their autonomy and political sovereignty against any who betray it, jeopardize it, willfully undermine it”. Again I would not do it by taking up arms and causing harm to my country’s assets and defense.

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  7. Religiously speaking, the group of Muslims who enjoy the highest quality of life and experience the most educational opportunities and bright futures for their children, not to mention a unparalleled level of religious expression, are those living in N. America or Europe, these governments are having no hint of Islamic law to them. Meanwhile, the group of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities who experience the most persecution and suffering, and who often have to pay higher taxes and have to take low paying positions because of lack of education, live in countries where there’s heavy Islamic law. It also appears that many, if not the majority of Muslims living in their Islamic counties would risk their life to see change or leave their homelands. But one must realize that “ideas have consequences”. You do the math
    Thanks for not deleting my coment.

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    • Should we just take your word and analysis as the truth? Without facts and figures to back up your conclusions, should not make such outrageous statements.

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    • Chaz,

      Your attempts to disrail the inclinations for Islam in public life, as a guidance of and template for government and society, and the complete implementation of Shariah are duly noted. But they are misleading. And on a purely intellectual level, they are unsubstantiated.

      1) There is NO state or government which meets the minimal Shariah standards of being representative of Islam in the world today. Not Sudan, not Saudia, not Iran, not Pakistan, none. And this has been so for nearly 100 years.
      Every state in the Muslim world has been constructed on Western ideological concepts, such as nationalism, has complied with Western based international and treaties, such as the UN charter. They have applied Western based political structures which have served as facades of authenticity while perpetrating oppression, such as legislative assemblies dominated by a ruler’s political party for decades, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Algeria. These four countries have all been dominated by Western ideological concepts of liberalism and/or socialism or their hybridization, and have tinkered with Shariah for political pandering of the masses. Pakistan can be included with them.

      2) Prior to the invasion, occupation, colonization, and transformation of the Muslim world by Western imperial powers, nonMuslim minorities, especially Ahlil Kitab, experienced quite a lot of material enrichment, commercial success, had political representation and respected avenues of political recourse, and many other benefits of living in a Shariah dominated societies.

      But All historical arguments have political realties.
      It should be noted that prior to the colonization of the Muslim world by the Western empires, Western empires had a strategy of economic war. They intentionally sought to destroy the trade and commerce of the Ottoman caliphate and Muslim world and replace it by Western dominated sea trade and Western controlled commerce. Thus, they targetted the land trade from China and India across Asia by replacing it with sea trade. On a global scale, as well as regionally and locally. As Western sea trade gained superiority across the globe, Muslim dominated land trade caused economies throughout the Muslim world to falter, stagnate, and eventually fall into a depression.

      The effects of this depression were felt and eventually calcified and stagnated throughout the Ottoman state, which included India and other outlying but supported Islamic entities.

      The Ottoman government did not successfully respond to this sustained crisis. It actually incorporated the economic ideas of the same empires who caused this by including individual taxation on top of Shariah based revenue. Moreover, nonMuslims who enjoyed centuries of economic enrichment while living in Muslim lands and following Shariah were sometimes wrongly targetted for unIslamic taxation by the Ottoman state due to their disparity in wealth. As well, some of them had financial ties to Western interests, including supporting the end of Shariah in Muslim lands.

      3) The plight of nonMuslims in the Muslim countries today are a result of these two circumstances: the absence of Shariah and Islam in life, and the effects of the past 300 years of conflict with the West.

      4) In comparison, a “citizenship” based on BELIEF is superior to a “citizenship” based on NATIONALITY. After centuries of conflict, the Western model has transformed the planet into a world order which follows only the NATION STATE model and citizenship based on nationalities. But no person can choose in which nation they are born. A change of nationality occurs only through the powers of men, usually elite men who control a nation.

      For example, a person can be born in Japan, but if he is not over 75% Japanese ethnicity, meaning one parent 100% Japanese and the other 50%, then citizenship is denied him. And this regulation was inacted by a Japanese parliement. it served to resist any effort by any formerly colonized people who were born of Japanese men but foreign women, such as from Indonesia, Phillipines, Korea, China.

      In contrast, according to Shariah implemented in an Islamic state, any person can change his belief to Islam and become a citizen of the state based on his own individual will. Allah grants this for mankind. Whereas Man choose to empower himself over others.

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    • Can’t argue with that. Truth hurts.

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