PAK­ISTAN UP­PING ANTE : A VIEWPOINT

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - LT GEN­ERAL (RETD) P.C. KA­TOCH The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

It is a mat­ter of time be­fore China suf­fers more ter­ror at­tacks in its heart­land, some­thing that will make Bei­jing re­view her re­la­tions with Is­lam­abad. So, Pak­istan has de­cided to up the ante against both In­dia and Afghanistan – in a bid to di­vert at­ten­tion.

Video clips of sur­veil­lance cam­eras along the line of con­trol show­ing scores of Pak­istani ter­ror­ists wait­ing to in­fil­trate across is fur­ther in­di­ca­tion that Pak­istan has de­cided to up the ante. This has noth­ing to do with the gen­eral be­lief that Pak­istan is do­ing this to in­ter­na­tion­alise the Kash­mir is­sue. That has been at­tempted umpteen times in the past. The fact is that Pak­istan is en­ter­ing a very dan­ger­ous phase with with­drawal of US forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

On the one hand is the prospect of achiev­ing her cher­ished depth with Tal­iban in­flu­ence in­creas­ing in large parts of Afghanistan, aptly sum­marised by Robert D. Ka­plan in his book The Re­venge of Ge­og­ra­phy by say­ing, “An Afghanistan that falls to Tal­iban sway threat­ens to cre­ate a suc­ces­sion of rad­i­calised Is­lamic so­ci­eties from the In­dian-Pak­istani bor­der to Cen­tral Asia. This would, in ef­fect, a greater Pak­istan, giv­ing Pak­istan’s In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence (ISI) the abil­ity to cre­ate a clan­des­tine em­pire com­posed of the likes of Jalalud­din Haqqani, Gul­bud­din Hek-met­yar and the Lashkar-e-Toiba: able to con­front In­dia in the man­ner that Hezbol­lah and Ha­mas con­front Is­rael”.

But on the other hand is the ter­ri­ble blow­back that is ex­pected to hit Pak­istan. Pak­istan has been openly sup­port­ing the Afghan Tal­iban which in turn is linked to the Pak­istan Tal­iban. Mul­lah Omar, the Afghan Tal­iban leader, is housed in Pak­istan like Osama bin Laden was. Gen­eral John Allen, Com­man­der of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said last year, “Mul­lah Omar lives in Pak­istan, as do many of his com­man­ders. From that safe van­tage point, they’ve sent hun­dreds of young im­pres­sion­able and help­less youth to their death and de­ten­tion in Afghanistan. For this, they must for­feit their hon­our and any claim to Is­lamic virtues.”

Then is the tiger of in­sti­tu­tion­alised rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion of the pop­u­la­tion that is a tin­der­box, cou­pled with abun­dant youth, un­em­ploy­ment and end­less avail­abil­ity of drugs and weapons. Pervez Hoodb­hoy, Pro­fes­sor of Nu­clear & High En­ergy Physics at Quaid-i-Azam Univer­sity in Is­lam­abad, lifted the veil of the prob­lem by say­ing, “The com­mon be­lief in Pak­istan is that Is­lamic rad­i­cal­ism is a prob­lem only in the Fed­er­ally Ad­min­is­tered Tribal Ar­eas (FATA), and that madrasas are the only in­sti­tu­tions serv­ing as ji­had fac­to­ries. This is a se­ri­ous mis­con­cep­tion. Ex­trem­ism is breed­ing at a fe­ro­cious rate in pub­lic and pri­vate schools within Pak­istan’s towns and cities. Left un­chal­lenged, this ed­u­ca­tion will pro­duce a gen­er­a­tion in­ca­pable of co­ex­ist­ing with any­one ex­cept strictly their own kind. The mind­set it cre­ates may even­tu­ally lead to Pak­istan’s demise as a na­tion state.”

In 2011, the pro­fes­sor had proph­e­sied, “An ex­trem­ist takeover of Pak­istan is prob­a­bly no fur­ther than five to 10 years away”. Two years have al­ready passed since that prophecy. US in­tel­li­gence had as­sessed ear­lier this year that Pak­istan is likely be the top state to fall by year 2030. But this may get ac­cel­er­ated. For all the US blood spilled over the past decade in Afghanistan on ac­count of Pak­istan’s dou­ble game, it is un­likely that the US will re­frain from ex­tract­ing its price from Pak­istan once the land route through Pak­istan is no more rel­e­vant to sus­tain the US-NATO troops in Afghanistan.

No doubt Pak­istan has planned to take shel­ter be­hind China by open­ing the flood­gates to them de­spite its reper­cus­sions on Pak­istan’s sovereignty, suc­cinctly de­scribed by Agha H. Amin, de­fence an­a­lyst and for­mer Pak­istan Army of­fi­cer, by writ­ing, “There is no doubt that Pak­istan will be a semi-au­ton­o­mous Chi­nese prov­ince by 2030 or so… Pak­istani Baluchis­tan by 2030 would be a com­pletely Chi­nese-run show… This means that Pak­istan’s…ever grow­ing reser­voir of eco­nom­i­cally de­prived young­sters who will fill ranks of ex­trem­ists and sui­cide bombers will con­tinue”.

But proof is now emerg­ing of Pak­istan’s dou­ble game against China as well. While Pak­istan covertly shel­ters hun­dreds of East Turkestan Is­lamic Move­ment (ETIM) rad­i­cals on its own soil that are fight­ing in Xinjiang, Is­lamic rad­i­cals have al­ready fired the first car bomb in Tianan­men Square in Bei­jing on Oc­to­ber 28 this year. It is a mat­ter of time be­fore China suf­fers more ter­ror at­tacks in its heart­land, some­thing that will make Bei­jing re­view its re­la­tions with Is­lam­abad. So, Pak­istan has de­cided to up the ante against both In­dia and Afghanistan – in a bid to di­vert at­ten­tion. This will hardly make a dif­fer­ence be­cause when Pak­istan im­plodes, out­ward re­ver­ber­a­tions will hap­pen any­way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.