Ramifications of Terrorist Attack in Russia on Pakistan

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The ML-1 Railway: A fulcrum for global trade 

By: Qamar Bashir

The devastating attack on a music concert in Moscow, Russia, resulting in the tragic loss of over 133 lives, sent shockwaves reverberating across the globe. This heinous act has deeply wounded the collective spirit of the Russian nation and stirred anguish among people worldwide. The brazen assault on innocent concertgoers, unprecedented in Moscow, strikes at the heart of a city known for its robust security measures, fortified by Russia’s formidable security apparatus and renowned intelligence agency, the KGB.

This time, it appears that the attackers managed to breach the legendary security of Moscow, the capital city of one of the world’s most powerful nations. This breach may have occurred due to various factors, including intelligence failures, potential inside collusion, or complacency within the security apparatus. Alternatively, the perpetrators might have been exceptionally well-prepared, possessing high levels of skill, resources, and connections both inside and outside the country. These factors likely facilitated their undetected entry into Russia, circumventing border security measures. Once inside, they could have arranged transportation, acquired funds, weapons, and even concert tickets with ease. This enabled them to carry out their heinous act, indiscriminately firing upon concertgoers, resulting in the tragic loss of over 133 lives, and later setting fire to the venue.

The four terrorists were apprehended along with eleven accomplices; their confessional videos are available on social media platforms. It’s possible that they were not as ready to leave as they were to enter Russia. The US quickly announced that ISIS, specifically the ISIS Khurasani Group, or ISIS-K, was behind the attack. They claimed that Russian intelligence had been tipped off by the US about an impending terrorist strike in Moscow, but they dismissed the information as a false flag.

Vladimir Putin disputed the US’s claim that ISIS was to blame, placing the responsibility instead on Ukraine, the West, and the US and all those countries which have been supporting Ukraine against Russia.

He also warned that anyone who planned, encouraged, assisted, supported, or funded this heinous act would face consequences, but the way he intended to carry out that punishment would send shockwaves around the globe.

The vows made by Putin have put Ukraine, the entire West, and the US on edge. Unlike weaker and less resourceful countries like Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, or Pakistan, the US and the West now facing Russia possess a formidable war machine. It boasts a highly trained and battle-hardened army, a feared intelligence agency in the form of the KGB, and nuclear capabilities that could devastate the world multiple times over. As a member of OPEC, Russia stands as one of the top exporters of oil, petroleum products, wheat, and other essential crops, as well as industrial products, weapons, and weapons systems. Its self-sufficiency in food, industrial goods, military hardware, and energy makes Russia one of the most secure countries in the world.

To counter any potential Russian attempts to retaliate against those it accuses of masterminding the attack, the US, Ukraine, and Western countries have started mulling on ways and means to defuse Russian anger and putting all safety and defense mechanism in place to minimize the impact of imminent Russian attempt to take revenge of the attack from perceived masterminds, abettors and facilitators.

They are fiercely engaged in diplomatic dialogue with Russia to de-escalate tensions and prevent further escalation of the situation involving direct negotiations, diplomatic channels through international organizations such as the United Nations, and diplomatic initiatives led by neutral parties.

They are thinking of building a coalition of international allies to demonstrate solidarity and support for Ukraine and rallying support from NATO allies, European Union member states, and other countries sharing similar concerns about Russian impending actions.

They are mulling over ways and means to maintaining a strong military presence in the region to deter potential Russian aggression and respond effectively to any hostile actions involving deploying additional troops, conducting military exercises, and enhancing defense capabilities to ensure readiness to defend against any threats, besides, Intensifying intelligence-sharing mechanisms among allied countries to gather information on Russian intentions and activities involving sharing intelligence on potential threats, monitoring Russian military movements, and coordinating efforts to counter any hostile actions.

Moveover, to deter Russia from taking retaliatory actions, they are lining up targeted economic sanctions against Russia if it escalates tensions or takes aggressive actions against Ukraine or other countries. This could involve imposing sanctions on key Russian individuals, entities, and sectors, as well as restricting trade and financial transactions to exert economic pressure on Russia.

Strengthen cyber defense capabilities to protect against potential Russian cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure, government institutions, and private sector entities may also be on the cards. This could involve enhancing cybersecurity measures, investing in advanced technologies, and conducting cybersecurity exercises to prepare for potential threats.

If the security situation escalates, and Russia decides to retaliate on a large scale deploying kinetic means, and to use oil, wheat, and gas as weapons and disrupt maritime trade, it would pose a significant global repercussions, extending to countries like Pakistan, which has a historical legacy in the Afghan conflict against the USSR.

In the event of maritime trade route disruptions, Pakistan would confront economic challenges, including higher prices for essential commodities, decreased exports, and overall economic instability. Additionally, as a nation heavily reliant on imports for its energy needs, Pakistan could face shortages and increased prices of oil and gas, precipitating energy crises and economic strain.

An escalation in commodity and oil prices would profoundly impact Pakistan’s economy, primarily through inflationary pressures and widening trade deficits. As a nation heavily reliant on imported commodities and oil, Pakistan would face increased production costs, leading to higher prices for goods and services, ultimately affecting consumers’ purchasing power. Moreover, the country’s trade deficit could further expand as the prices of imported commodities rise, straining its balance of payments and potentially depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Additionally, Pakistan’s energy sector, which heavily depends on imported oil and gas, would bear the brunt of escalating oil prices. Higher energy production costs would translate into increased electricity prices and transportation expenses, posing challenges to industrial productivity and economic growth. The government, meanwhile, may face heightened fiscal pressures to maintain subsidies on essential commodities, potentially straining public finances and diverting resources from other development priorities.

Furthermore, the escalation in commodity and oil prices could exert pressure on Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, affecting the country’s ability to meet external debt obligations and finance imports.

To counteract these potential ramifications, Pakistan would need to engage in diplomatic efforts, collaborating with regional and international partners to mitigate the impact of maritime trade disruptions and ensure the security and stability of trade routes. Pakistan would also need to implement effective economic management strategies, policy interventions, and efforts to diversify its energy sources and reduce reliance on imported commodities. Such measures are crucial to navigating the economic impacts of rising global commodity prices and ensuring the stability and resilience of Pakistan’s economy in the face of external shocks.

By: Qamar Bashir
Press Secretary to the President(Rtd)
Former Press Minister at Embassy of Pakistan to France
Former MD, SRBC