PAKISTAN UPPING ANTE : A VIEWPOINT
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.