Pakistan's Change of Heart — recurring utopia

By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army


When news came that Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Pakistani army chief had told his officers that they should read how the Indian democracy had succeeded, media at home went gaga as usual, with many utopians forecasting 'change of heart' in Pakistan, little realizing that Bajwa is from the same crop as Zia, Musharraf and Co. And lo and behold, some terror blowback in Pakistan and Bajwa plays the same trumpet that it is all India's doing. Do we see upping of Pakistan's 'thousand cuts' policy in India, with the Chinese playing cheerleaders? The next phase of ISI's intifada in J&K appears to be unfolding with indications that coming summer J&K stone-pelters will be using Molotov cocktails instead of stones, as reported in British media. Pakistan's strategy is multi-pronged as should be viewed with the turmoil in educational institutions including colleges of Delhi University. Then there is no dearth of ISI stooges in India, en ex chief minister of J&K being an example with his seditious remarks about azadi, which is abusing even the Constitution of J&K. That he would probably be convicted should there be an inquiry into the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits from the Kashmir Valley when he was the chief minister is another issue. But getting back to Pakistan, the 'deep state' in Pakistan is its army and unless the deep state is made to pay heavily, don't expect Bajwa and Co to change their stance.

There is little point in holding conferences after each terror attack, go for fire assaults or repeat surgical strikes when the solution to be progressed lies at strategic levels. Isn't it ironic that Agha Muhammad Umer Farooq, veteran Lt General of Pakistan army says, "Chankya advocated a six-fold policy to interact with the neighbors that included co-existence, neutrality, alliance, double policy, march and war, and that, "If the end could be achieved by non-military method, even by methods of intrigue, duplicity and fraud, he would not advocate an armed conflict". More significantly, Muhammad Umer Farooq writes, "India — Pakistan war of 1971 and resultant disintegration of our country is another classic example of sustained non kinetic applications, sub conventional war, with selected and controlled kinetic application by India while synchronizing the inner front volatility for main strategic effects". It is foolish to harp that China should understand that Pakistan is a generator of terror. China understood that decades ago and used it to her advantage, both for keeping India in check and advancing her strategic agenda in Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean region. Russia has leaned on to Pakistan to what it describes as the requirement of Pakistani support to fight the Islamic State. US President Donald Trump may have the intent to go after Islamic terrorism but the CIA continues in its old time wrap. According to Kevin Hulbert, former CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan is probably the "most dangerous country" for the world because of potential dangers emanating from its failing economy, rampant terrorism, one of fastest growing nuclear arsenal, sixth largest population, and one of the highest birthrates in the world. According to him, there seem few levers to pull in Pakistan today, but if the US pursues a strategy of containment or disengagement, things will only get worse. The US and the IMF have given billions of dollars in financial assistance because the specter of Pakistan collapsing presents US President with more nightmare scenarios than probably any other country in the world, he says adding, "So, we keep throwing money at it, trying to steer them towards good behavior, and with only limited success.

But, we must keep trying." With reference to Afghanistan, he says that the only real mission today is to stop the country from falling to the Taliban and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists who might plan attacks against the West. This is some strange CIA a strategy but what exactly has been the changeover the decades? Surely, the US need not worry about a collapse of Pakistan, now that it is well on its way to become a province of China. Besides, Saudi Arabia has the lure of Pakistani nukes. One thing is for certain that the existing arrangement suits both the US and China to the extent that they can continue selling arms to India and Pakistan respectively. So India has to review its policy to contend with Pakistani terror. With intelligence indicating that Pakistan is trying to revive militancy in Punjab, it is time to shed the utopia of Pakistan having change of heart.