Pakistan Role in South Asian Terror
TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Pakistan government has withdrawn terrorism charges against Mumbai terror attack master mind JuD chief Hafeez Saeed, paving the way for his release. In January Hafeez Saeed and his four aids were detained for 90 days under preventive detention under the anti-terrorism act of 1997. This action was taken by the financial action task force by freezing their assets just to hold off possible US pressure. They had been house arrest since then. With the release, it is being becoming clear that Pakistan is going back on the commitment to fight terror.
The so called house arrest was never really enforced. The present decision was bound to follow given the ISI’s change in tact where the terrorist organizations are used as a political party. This is at the army’s prompting. They want the counterweight to the main political parties. When these people are streamlined into Pakistani politics, they automatically get out of terrorist label and are accorded certain level of legitimacy by Pakistani state. This complicates Hafeez Saeed’s case against him as he can legitimately say that he is not associated with terrorism.
The Mumbai terror attack case was not going to be opened in Pakistan so there was no way Hafeez Saeed was to remain under house arrest for more time.
Pakistan combating terrorism- An eyewash?
Pakistan too has been a victim of terror. The distinction between good and bad terrorism has hurt Pakistan. They have always teamed the Lashkar or JuD as good part of terrorism. Yet, Pakistan was never serious in dealing with terrorism. They considered it their natural ally and asset by nurturing organisations like JuD and LeT againt India. Haqqani group and Taliban factions are operating in Afghanistan, including US. Thus, Pakistan is using terrorism as its ally to use against its potential enemies.
Legitimizing terror outfit
Mainstreaming JuD has certain objective of legitimizing them in a domestic political role because JuD has anti-sectarian image. Its record in Pakistan is that it has never involved itself in killing shias and also killing minorities in Pakistan. It has not been hostile to them. The Lashkar has been hostile to kafirs abroad, i.e. in India. So it is an agent of state. It has supported the military line that violence or jihad is justified if it is used by state or authorized by state. The army seems to hope to control the hardline elements within these outfits and present better face to international audience.
Role of US
There was elation in India when US said that India has to play a bigger role in Afghanistan and also went to the extent to blame Pakistan to sponsor terrorism. However, India has to keep in mind that US government policy are in their interests and not India’s. US under trump shouldn’t be taken seriously. India should act in the best interest it fits without worrying about what US means to do. US will never leave Pakistan because it is a frontline state and they need them logistically. Thus, Pakistan will make use of this advantage.
Pakistan knows that US’s South Asia policy is not going to succeed without Pakistan and hence they don’t take US warnings seriously. As long as US is not looking at clear cut exit from Afghanistan, troops from US and NATO are on ground, and improvement in relationship with Iran, there is not much scope of alternate route, which is why Pakistan has known this situation well and exploited it.
There is another concern that if US pushes Pakistan too much, it can go towards China and Russia and take weapons from there. US certainly doesn’t want that and so it is hardly expected to leave Pakistan’s side.
India has to deal with Hafeez Saeed and such people operating out of Pakistan. If he is an international terrorist and so labeled with 10 million bounty for actionable evidence against him, why should Indian agencies be stopped to take him out and take bounty. But the point is that it is a policy decision which is left to US, UN and not do it ourselves.
If Hafeez Saeed is the problem, it is necessary to deal with the problem. India has to deal on its own by having a strong policy on how to deal with Pakistan. Surgical strikes have shown India’s intent but internationally, still India has to convince people of what Pakistan is doing with state terrorism.
Internally, India has to be always vigilante on infiltration and other internal security matters. Even after surgical strikes, there were attacks during peace time. Internal security mechanism is what India has to strengthen. US and Russia will not help India in it. If US is keen to sell aircrafts and oil ships to India, India has to leverage it in its own interest on what US can do with respect to Pakistan on terrorism issue.
Connecting the dots:
- Pakistan has been harbouring terrorism through its state support. Examine role of India in dealing with this menace.
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