Coping with Multi-faceted Challenges
Some analysts see terror-attacks on various religious communities, sects and ethnic groups in isolation, while these are part of a perennial wave of subversive acts in the country, arranged by the anti-Pakistan foreign countries, and followed by a deliberate propaganda to destabilize and denuclearize it.
In this respect, Indian aggressive designs could be judged by its civil and military leaders who have always displayed their self-contradictory approach in maligning Pakistan, its army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Notably, on September 29, this year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held meeting on the sidelines of the annual UN summit. Afterwards, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told reporters “Both agreed that the precondition for forward movement in the relationship, which they both desire, is really an improvement of the situation on the Line of Control,” (LoC) in Kashmir. He pointed out that Prime Minister Nawaz also raised the issues of Siachen, Sir Creek, Kashmir and Indian interference in Balochistan.
Although Nawaz-Singh dialogue ended with optimistic note, yet in his speech in the General Assembly on September 28, Prime Minister Singh allegedly said, “It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down.” Showing New Delhi’s double game, he also said that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and in this context there could “never be a compromise.”
Recently, tension arose between New Delhi and Islamabad when Indian military conducted a series of unprovoked firings at the LoC, and international border, killing a number of soldiers of Pak Army and innocent civilians in wake of war-like diplomacy.
However, while talking about the twin terrorist attacks in the Indian Occupied Kashmir which targeted a police station and a military camp, killing 14 personal of army and police, India’s Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid almost wrecked the Nawaz-Manmohan talks when he blamed Pakistan’s ISI and the army in this respect. On the other hand, quite opposite to his earlier statement, PM Manmohan Singh remarked that such attacks by the non-state actors would not be allowed to derail efforts to find solutions of all problems through peaceful dialogue.
In fact, these terrorist attacks were engineered by the Indian fundamentalist opposition party, BJP to refrain PM Singh from continue peace process with Pakistan. Earlier BJP used its Hindu fundamentalist connections—RSS and like-minded cliques of Indian armed forces to escalate border tension along LoC to sink any hope of peace process with Islamabad, while Singh is already under duress of BJP.
On the one side, Indian top officials have been accusing Pak Army and ISI of sponsoring terrorism in India and the Indian-held Kashmir, on the other, India’s media revealed in September, this year that on a defence ministry directive, asking for the creation of covert capability—the military intelligence unit, Technical Services Division (TSD) was set up by the Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh (R), which conducted covert operations in Pakistan. Besides an official of the TSD, in an Indian TV Channel, Gen. VK Singh boldly confessed that during his tenure as only one Minister of Agriculture (Ghulam Hasan Mir) was bribed, and Indian Army provided money to selected leaders in Jammu & Kashmir to crush the militancy (Kashmiri freedom fighters).
It is mentionable that in the recent years, terror-attacks by the militants on the installations of Pak Army, Air Force, offices of the ISI, Rangers, Police and assaults on Army outposts including ruthless beheadings of innocent civilians and prominent figures were conducted especially by the TTP’s insurgents and its umbrella militant outfits which also targeted the places of worships of Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs.
Well-established in Afghanistan, American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have perennially been supporting bomb blasts, suicide attacks, abductions, target-killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in various parts of the country through TTP, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have connections with each other including some Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who want to fulfill the secret strategic designs of US, India and Israel at the cost of Pakistan, China and Iran. Besides martyring several personnel of law-enforcing agencies and security forces in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Karachi, these foreign-backed entities kidnapped and massacred many Punjabis and Pushtuns including Chinese and Iranian nationals.
Besides facing political instability, financial losses and social strife, Pakistan’s more than 40,000 people were killed, and 8,000 personal of the security forces sacrificed their lives in coping with these stateless actors in order to maintain the security of the country.
The targeted operation which continues by the Rangers against terrorists, target-killers and kidnappers, launched by the present government, after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders, especially political parties whose leaders participated in the All Parties Conference (APC). The operation is rapidly achieving successes. But, regrettably, some media commentators are creating misperception that the operation will fail. While, without any discrimination, the Ranger’s personal, and those of Police have arrested several criminals, terrorists and workers of political parties besides capturing huge catches of arms and weapons. The Rangers also recovered Indian-made weapons from the office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and arrested a killer of the party.
Nevertheless, the hostile elements also propagate that the government and Army were not on the same page, as Army wanted to use force against militants, while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif favoured dialogue. Army wanted the talks to be held as per constitution and all non-state actors were required to lay down their arms before the start of dialogue, while no such pre-condition was laid by APC. Now, even PM Sharif has also pointed out same pre-conditions for any agreement with the Taliban after the latest terrorist acts. He has also approved amendments in the anti-terror laws to cope with menace of terrorism, but he still wants to act upon the dialogue-option with the Taliban.
Apart from acts of sabotage, a deliberate propaganda campaign also keeps on going against Pakistan by the foreign-enemies. And Taliban provide every opportunity to these elements in tarnishing the country’s image through their criminal acts. In this context, in an article titled, “Only in Pakistan Can the Taliban be Described as Stakeholders” published by the Daily Telegraph on September 10, 2013, Rob Crilly, indicated cynical criticism of APC resolution. The article alleged, “Haqqani Network is a proxy of ISI and one of the factions responsible for terrorism in Pakistan…Taliban who are kidnappers, assassins of school girls and suicide bombers, have become stakeholders in Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Chief of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan strongly favoured peace process with the Taliban, and even suggested to open an office for them in this regard. But the Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman who has supported dialogue with the Taliban, called Imran Khan’s suggestion as ‘childish.’ Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Munawar Hasan who also supports peace talks, stated that he was willing to act as a mediator between the government and the TTP, but there are many groups of Taliban, and with whom he or government will have peace process.
After a continued wave of terror-attacks, various segments of society have no trust, especially on the TTP which sometimes agrees for peace talks, and some times, rejects the same. So, a majority of people demands to use force against the Taliban instead of pursuing the dialogue option, while, our rulers seem to be confused in relation to initiate peace process with the militants. Taking note of TTP’s ploy, even Imran Khan said on September 3, “If talks failed, an operation should be approached.”
Moreover, the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is facing multiple crises and issues. In August, this year Federal Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar informed the members of the National Assembly that on the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was investigating the cases of 11,000 NATO/ISAF missing containers. NAB is presently conducting investigation and has not yet confirmed its findings. Therefore, the exact number of containers and revenue loss thereof has not so far been determined. Earlier, the apex court took notice of corruption in the country, saying that the present government had not taken action in this respect.
Especially, Pakistan’s economic crisis has intensified, bringing about other-related problems like load shedding, unemployment, soaring prices of products and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, and IMF and World Bank for financial aid.
Now, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted challenges, yet instead of showing lack of political will and competence to safeguard the national interests, our rulers need to display true leadership qualities and pragmatic approach in coping with all these issues.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations