Pakistan – More Terror Uncapped

November 19, 2018 By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army

 

Before the Pakistani military installed Imran Khan as the Prime Minister, reasons why he had earned the title of 'Taliban Khan' were well known; links with terrorist organisations, known terrorists supporting him in elections, him funding the Haqqani seminary known as 'Oxford of Global Jihad', and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) building a 15-acre complex on outskirts of Bahawalpur to train thousands of young children for Jihad. However, Imran's call for "Naya Pakistan" after he became PM raised a glimmer of hope that with Pakistan's economic mess dumped in his lap, he may just be able to turn off the terror cap at least temporarily. However, the reverses appears to be happening. According to the 'Terror Watch List' on Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority' website, updated on 5 September 2018, 66 organisations have been banned in Pakistan but Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) are no longer on the list of banned terror outfits in Pakistan as the presidential ordinance that proscribed them under a UN resolution has lapsed. Obviously, Imran's government has given them free hand, as seen by this global terrorist holding open anti-India rallies in Pakistan with other terrorist leaders sharing the dais with him. The second issue is Imran's abject surrender to massive radical rallies to protest on the issue of blasphemy allegations against Asia Bibi. On 31 October 2018, Pakistan's Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges after accepting her 2015 appeal against her sentence. The court also ruled that "she was free to go, if not wanted in connection with any other case". However, radical protests brought Pakistan to standstill. On 2 November 2018, Imran's government and the Tehrrek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), an Islamist political party, which encouraged mass protests against Asia Bibi, came to an agreement that barred Asia Bibi from leaving the country. There has been global uproar against what is happening in Pakistan and Asia Bibi's lawyer has fled Pakistan fearing for his life. TLP is determined to prevent Asia Bibi leaving Pakistan and want Supreme Court to rule on their appeal for reversal of her acquittal in the blasphemy case. A Muslim Cleric has announced a bounty of 5,00,000 for anyone to kill her. Imran's 'Naya Pakistan' call doesn't match with such blasphemy punishment but Imran has been installed by the military to move around with a begging bowl to somehow ease the country's economic woes. Should he misstep against the military, he will simply be removed and replaced with a more hardcore – perhaps even Hafiz Saeed.

That is why Bruce Riedel, former CIA Director, had opined that Pakistan is set to become even more dangerous with Army-Imran at helm. Ironically for India, China continues to back Pakistani terror as indicated by China continuing to block the UN from declaring Hafiz Saeed a "terrorist". In a manner, this is expected because aims of the China-Pakistan nexus coalesce in respect of both Afghanistan and India. India is to be kept constrained within South Asia; shrinking its strategic space and grabbing as much of its territory as possible. In Afghanistan, US-NATO forces must exit and a regime installed in Kabul totally subservient to China-Pakistan. Therefore, despite the Modi-Xi Wuhan summit, visit of China's defence minister to India, India-China inking a security memorandum and resumption of India-China hand-in-hand exercises, the China-Pakistan aims vis-à-vis India will remain unchanged. Chinese transgressions of the Line of Actual Control have increased considerably after the Wuhan Summit, the ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba are consolidating in Nepal and China is trying to wean Bhutan away from India similarly. The US State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism recently said during a Congressional hearing, "I can tell you we have communicated to the Pakistani government at the highest levels that we expect them to do more just like we expected them to act with us after 9/11. His remarks came after several lawmakers alleged that Pakistan was not doing enough against the terror groups. Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade said, "I think they're not doing the job, despite terrorism, because the terrorists come in from Pakistan into Afghanistan, do their mischief, and run back across the border. I think they've been doing that for years. "They take our money....millions of dollars we give to Pakistan every year. It befuddles me why we do that when they don't... and they allow a safe haven for terrorists in their own country that invade another country, namely Afghanistan." The US is obviously more worried about Pakistan-based terror attacks in Afghanistan than in India. As for Pakistani mischief in J&K, ceasefire violations are continuing, infiltration is continuing unabated, and some 120 terrorists are waiting in launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate into J&K, with Indian response limited to fire assaults. Pakistan is trying to revive the Khalistani movement in Punjab and radical jihad in J&K. Narcotics smuggling into Punjab and J&K is continuing. With his radical background Imran Khan appears to be mirror image of Zia-ul-Haq and his cabinet has many members of the Musharraf cabinet, giving him the traits of both. The stage is therefore set for increased violence.