PAKISTAN DU­PLIC­ITY RE­IN­FORCED : A VIEW­POINT

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

The se­cu­rity of mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ments and gar­risons must be beefed up with the army go­ing proac­tive. We must de­velop a co­her­ent de­ter­rent against un­con­ven­tional threats, mere diplo­macy hav­ing failed mis­er­ably and threats hav­ing mag­ni­fied.

The ter­ror­ist at­tacks on Septem­ber 26 at the Hira Na­gar Po­lice Sta­tion in Samba and at an army camp si­mul­ta­ne­ous to mas­sive in­fil­tra­tion at­tacks in Karen Sec­tor yet again ex­poses the du­plic­ity of Pakistan’s peace fa­cade – set pat­tern of the Pak­istani mil­i­tary-In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence (ISI) in­flict­ing ca­su­al­ties on the In­dian state but por­tray­ing these ac­tions are by ‘out of con­trol’ non-state ac­tors want­ing to ‘de­rail peace talks’.

In the in­stant case, Pak­istani vet­er­ans par­tic­i­pat­ing in TV de­bates ar­ro­gantly termed these ter­ror­ists as “free­dom fighters” ab­solv­ing Pakistan of any in­volve­ment. The fact that In­dian Army of­fi­cials are re­peat­edly point­ing out to heavy con­cen­tra­tion of ter­ror­ists along the bor­der and in ter­ror­ist camps some­how gets lost in this mumbo-jumbo of Pakistan’s du­plic­ity. The fact re­mains that the above ter­ror­ist at­tacks could not have hap­pened with­out the ac­tive con­cur­rence and sup­port of the Pak­istani Army. There is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that reg­u­lar Pak­istani per­son­nel par­tic­i­pated in these at­tacks with de­tailed plan­ning by the Pak­istani mil­i­tary.

As per one re­port, these were not fi­day­een but SSG (Spe­cial Forces) per­son­nel of the Pak­istani Army. Their tar­get was the Army School but the cap­tive driver said he didn’t know where it was — so they got down where they saw some habi­ta­tion. Can you imag­ine the mas­sacre of chil­dren of army per­son­nel if this scum would have reached the school?

Were the 26/11 Mum­bai ter­ror­ist strikes not planned, pre­pared and ex­e­cuted with ac­tive sup­port of the Pak­istani Navy and ISI un­der the ‘Karachi Pro­ject’? Ter­ror­ist camps in Pakistan and the Pakistan oc­cu­pied Kash­mir (PoK) had been merged with the mil­i­tary posts/es­tab­lish­ments even prior to Op­er­a­tion ‘Parakram’ to ob­vi­ate pos­si­ble airstrikes by In­dia, like what Is­raelis do. Pak­istani Army is ac­tively in­volved in push­ing ter­ror­ists across the bor­der – a fact well known. But this has been sup­ple­mented by se­ri­ous cross bor­der raids in re­cent months.

The fact is that Pakistan’s for­eign pol­icy with its at­ten­u­ated strat­egy of ter­ror is evolved and con­trolled by the Pak­istani mil­i­tary over which the tooth­less democ­racy has no lien as the pow­er­ful mil­i­tary-ISI com­bine has a stran­gle­hold over the coun­try. There­fore, the ever ready re­sponse of the Pak­istani es­tab­lish­ment is that Pakistan too is a vic­tim of ter­ror­ism.

The bot­tom line ap­pears to be that this Catch-22 cy­cle can only be bro­ken if democ­racy in Pakistan can heel its mil­i­tary and bring the ISI un­der con­trol of the Min­istry of In­te­rior – as for­mer Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zardari had tried once. With­out this, there ap­pears to be no co­he­sive prospects of In­dia-Pakistan rap­proche­ment. In case of In­dia, we need to take note of the fresh guide­lines that were is­sued by Ay­man al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda leader for ji­had on the an­niver­sary of 9/11 this year, which ex­plic­itly in­cluded J&K as one of the ar­eas for spread­ing ter­ror. He also re­port­edly gave in­struc­tions to his fol­low­ers not to at­tack in­no­cents in­clud­ing Chris­tians, Hin­dus and Sikhs ‘liv­ing in Mus­lim lands’ but then In­dia doesn’t come into the am­bit of ‘Mus­lim lands’. Be­sides, we just wit­nessed some 75 Chris­tians butchered in Pakistan – Mus­lim land and that too nu­clear.

The war in Afghanistan has firmed the nexus be­tween Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) with the lat­ter opt­ing for global ji­had that does not ex­clude In­dia. Large num­ber of LeT cadres have been join­ing Al-Qaeda and even filling up voids in Al-Qaeda hi­er­ar­chy that oc­curred be­cause of US Preda­tor at­tacks – as ac­knowl­edged by US in­tel­li­gence. There is no rea­son why Jaish-e-Mo­hammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mu­jahideen will not join them with all the po­lit­i­cal links in J&K in­clud­ing Hur­riyat hard­lin­ers troop­ing to Pakistan to meet Hafiz Saeed.

Isn’t ter­ror­ism clas­si­fied as one of the top in­dus­tries, what with all the power and big money be­sides ji­had? Add to this the ex­tended ter­ror fac­to­ries of Pakistan postUS with­drawal from Afghanistan and the hoards of Tal­iban that the Pak­istani mil­i­tary will likely di­vert to In­dia. These could per­haps be more of Pun­jabi Tal­iban. It may be re­mem­bered that of the 9,000 Pak­istani Tal­iban per­son­nel fight­ing in Afghanistan along with Pak­istani mil­i­tary dis­guised as Tal­iban at the time of the US in­va­sion, 6,000 were from Pakistan’s Pun­jab and the US fa­cil­i­tated their air evac­u­a­tion from ar­eas like Kun­duz and Khost.

In­dia will need to gear up for all this. The se­cu­rity of mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ments and gar­risons must be beefed up with the army go­ing proac­tive. We must de­velop a co­her­ent de­ter­rent against un­con­ven­tional threats, mere diplo­macy hav­ing failed mis­er­ably and threats hav­ing mag­ni­fied. Our Spe­cial Forces po­ten­tial must be op­ti­mised and be made cen­tral in re­spond­ing to asym­met­ric threats. We need to de­velop pub­li­cised overt ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­ni­able covert ca­pa­bil­i­ties to pro­tect our fault lines and con­trol the fault lines of our ad­ver­saries.

LT GEN­ERAL (RETD) P.C. KA­TOCH

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