Why sudden increase in terrorism in Pakistan? Part 2
By Asif Haroon Raja
Upsurge in terrorism and its reasons
There has been a sudden increase in incidents of terrorism in Karachi, North Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan. In Karachi, Chinese Consulate and Stock Exchange were attacked. In Baluchistan 24 soldiers lost their lives in last Oct? After an attack in Quetta on Oct 15, another cowardly attack occurred in a Madrassa in Peshawar on Oct 27, in which ten children died and 100 were injured. The terrorists succeed in striking the chosen soft targets with ease and seldom are nabbed beforehand.
The question is, why it is so when Pakistan security forces have broken the back of terrorism, improved their expertise in counter terrorism and intelligence skills, improved border management, and fenced almost two-third of the border. There is no lack of will to fight terrorism and soldiers are laying down their lives valiantly. No other country involved in war on terror has rendered so many sacrifices as Pakistan has done. 83000 fatalities including 9000 belonging to security forces is a colossal loss which has traumatized 83000 families. From 2001 till now, 19,130 terror attacks took place in Pakistan. India has spent Rs 22 billion in the last 3 years to destabilize Baluchistan.
Terrorism was easier when the safe havens were in FATA; but has become cumbersome from the bases and training camps in Nuristan, Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktika and Khost in Afghanistan because of long distance, crossing of the border and fence, and presence of highly trained and motivated Pak security forces as well as patriotic tribesmen and village guards who refuse to cooperate with them.
The terrorists devoid of any religion are from the poor class and majority of the victims are also from the deprived class. One thing is clear that no terrorist howsoever motivated would risk his life unless he is badly in need of money for himself or his family, or is brainwashed. Young boys fed with the promise of heavenly rewards are used for suicide attacks. While the poor are used as cannon fodder, the heartless masterminds have their own selfish materialistic agenda.
Cross border terrorism cannot take place without terror infrastructure installed by RAW-NDS, where physical and motivational training is imparted, funds given, weapons/ explosives/IED/suicide jacket provided, facilitation and handling at the site of occurrence arranged. Cross border terrorism by militant groups is almost impossible without the patronage of the Afghan regime, NDS and RAW. They cannot undertake covert operations secretly right under the nose of US-NATO troops, ANSF and CIA. If this is the ground reality, it implies that the US which is the initiator of war on terror, it is strategically aligned with NATO, Israel, India and Afghanistan, has defined objectives against Pakistan, as such its involvement is beyond doubt.
After the clearance of FATA from the presence of TTP in 2015 through Operation Zarb Azb, RAW has been arming, funding and launching TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA), Lashkar Islam, Hizbul Ahrar and Lashkar Jhangvi into northwestern Pakistan from the safe havens in Afghanistan, and Baloch proxies BLA, BRA, BLF in Baluchistan. In order to rejuvenate the splintered and demoralized TTP as well as Baloch dissident groups, RAW in league with NDS and assisted by CIA managed to unite BLA, BRA and BLF under the banner of Baloch Raaji Asjoi Sangar (BRAS) in Nov 2018, and also reunited JuA and Hizbul Ahrar with TTP this year. Heavy funds were given to the two setups and the rates of terrorism were substantially enhanced. In Sindh, MQM London has married itself with rural based Sindhi nationalist parties including SLA and its target killers as well as RAW agents are still active in Karachi. Current rates for suicide attacks and vehicle borne explosions are Rs. 10 million each, for IED, target killing Rs. one million each. The terrorists are paid monthly salaries and provided shelter, food and medical cover.
Joint Press Briefing – Nov 14, 2020
The DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a joint conference on Nov 14 in the wake of devastating firing and shelling by Indian forces across the LoC in Kashmir on Nov 14-15 in various sectors, causing extensive destruction and damage to civilian property. Scores of civilians and soldiers were also martyred and injured. One reason behind this madness was the sudden rise in clashes between Kashmiri Mujahideen and Indian forces in IOK and the latter suffering casualties. Ceasefire violations has become a routine for India ever since Modi took over power in June 2014. In 2020 alone, xx violations occurred across the LoC and Working Boundary under a calculated design to exert pressure on Pakistan on multiple fronts.
Gen Babar and Qureshi brought out the state terrorism of India in comprehensive details and stated that a dossier is being handed over to the UN, OIC, P-5 and other international bodies to highlight Indian state terrorism against Pakistan and human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. While a neighboring collaborating country was mentioned, Kabul was not named; and Tehran was omitted. So were Washington, London and Tel Aviv, the silent backers of India. The massive bloodshed in Pakistan in the last 19 years couldn’t be inflicted by India alone. It was and still is a joint effort. Silence must be broken and the whole truth spoken.
Devastations caused by the war
To avenge the deaths of less than 3000 Americans, millions of Muslims who had no hand in 9/11 were killed in the 19-year war on terror, millions were injured and millions displaced. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia were destroyed and Pakistan profusely bled but terrorism instead of getting eliminated has spread all over the globe. Islam instead of getting discredited has expanded and flourished. The world instead of becoming safe has become more unsafe and the war continue to smolder and fester.
The US dual role
Despite being the most allied ally of USA, Pakistan has been crudely insulted, ridiculed, bashed and humiliated time and again by USA. It has been subjected to cruel drone war. On the other hand, the US went out of the way to bolster the economic, technological, military and nuclear capabilities of India and made rigorous efforts to make India the leading player in Afghanistan and policeman of Indo-Pacific region. Its biased policy has heavily tilted the military balance in favor of India, which has repeatedly threatened to break Pakistan into four parts.
Pakistan’s myopic stance towards trouble makers
Magic spell of USA
A lot has been written on this subject and nothing is secret. The US has all along pursued highly discriminatory policy which disfavors Pakistan and favors India and Afghanistan. Pakistan is an ally in name only and in reality a target. The US will rest only when it has disabled Pakistan’s nuclear Pakistan, disrupted CPEC, and made Pakistan a satellite of India. If every Tom, Dick and Harry in Pakistan know about the motives of USA, how come the ones entrusted with the security of Pakistan are unaware of it?
Well-knowing its track record and open ended hostility, how come our successive leaders starting from Gen Musharraf have been bending over backwards to remain in the good books of the US. To earn its goodwill, Pakistan has been putting up with the hostility of India and the Afghan regime and have left no stone unturned to befriend them. Our rulers never shirked from doing more in response to the dictates of Washington even if their demands were against the national interest. The infatuation is so strong that human loss of 83,000 and financial loss of $ 126 billion doesn’t bring even a frown on their foreheads. The US has made use of its pawns Afghan regime and India and is wholly responsible for these huge losses.
One fails to understand as to what is the compulsion of our rulers to remain glued with USA. One may have reconciled with this strange behavior if the people also had similar inclinations. But the fact is that great majority of people detest USA and holds it responsible for their woes. Extraordinary tilt could be digested had the US provided security umbrella and helped Pakistan when it was splitting apart in 1971, or extended help when its assistance was needed the most; or made Pakistan economically self-reliant. These expectations by Pakistan which has been the most allied ally for 66 years and had put its security at risk twice to safeguard the US interests were not unrealistic. On the contrary, India never put its national interests in jeopardy to protect the US interests and had remained in the Soviet camp for 43 years.
With this mindset of blindly trusting USA, terrorism can never be eliminated. As such, the problem is not terrorism, the real problem is the weak willed leaders who irrationally feel comfortable and safe by remaining under the magic spell of USA.
Today the US needs Pakistan’s assistance and not vice versa since it can neither win the war in Afghanistan, nor stay there, or exit safely. Time has come to convey to Washington that if it needs its support in Afghan peace efforts, it will have to reciprocate by way of dismantling the terror infrastructure installed by RAW in Afghanistan and to help Pakistan in completing the border fencing.
What is hurtful is Islamabad’s stance of generosity towards Kabul when the latter has never reciprocated Pakistan’s goodwill gestures and cooperation and has missed no opportunity to harm Pakistan. The regime is a puppet of the US and India and it follows their dictates obsequiously. By now after having collected all the evidence, we should have named it without any hesitation and tailored our future responses accordingly. The 1973-78 insurgency in Baluchistan was backed by RAW, KGB, KHAD. The Al-Zulfiqar terror organization was assisted by Kabul. In the ongoing war on terror, main base of operation for the covert war launched by multiple anti-Pakistan agencies is Afghanistan. The Baloch rebel leaders Balach Marri followed by Brahamdagh Bugti had taken refuge in Kabul and had fomented terrorism in Baluchistan. Maulana Fazlullah after escaping from Swat in 2009 had taken refuge in Kunar and later became the head of TTP. After the clearance of FATA in 2015/16, all the leaders of TTP and the militants as well as IMU, ITM (Uighurs), Asian Tigers and other affiliates took refuge in Afghanistan and all are being patronized by NDS and RAW. While the Pak military has conclusive evidence of RAW’s involvement it also has concrete proofs of NDS involvement. It is high time that the ruling regime in Kabul is clearly told to dismantle the terror infrastructure of RAW-NDS, to close the Pakistan specific Indian Consulates involved in terrorism, and to hand over Pakistani terrorists residing in safe havens of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s assistance for Afghan peace should be made conditional to fulfilment of these demands.
It is no secret that RAW has been using Iranian soil as an auxiliary base and used proxies to strike targets in Baluchistan, Makran Coast, Gwadar and Karachi. Serving Wing Comd Kalbushan Yadhav who had been arrested in March 2016 was deployed at Chahbahar in 2003 by Indian NSA Ajit Doval. RAW has been making use of Indian Consulates in Seistan, Zahidan and Mashad for conducting covert operations. Given the changed alignments wherein Iran has gravitated away from India and has got closer to China, and the changed attitude of the Arab Gulf States towards Pakistan, Islamabad and Beijing should jointly impress upon Tehran to stop RAW’s meddlesome activities in Baluchistan from its soil.
Will USA withdraw troops?
Outgoing President Donald Trump had signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2019 and had pledged to end the 19-year war and bring home all the troops by this Christmas. He will be in command till mid-day January 2021 after which he will hand over the baton to Joe Biden. It is to be seen whether Trump fulfils his promise or agrees to the proposal of partial withdrawal given by Pentagon. It is to be seen whether the new team of Biden-Kamal Harris pursues the same old Zionist-Pentagon driven militarist and materialist policies or bring a change to make the turbulent world peaceful. Indications are that Zionists will have their say.
Since terrorism has a direct bearing on the security and integrity of the country, it is the military and not the civil leadership that should be more concerned. Instead of chasing the faceless enemy which amounts to chasing shadows, the military being the real power should exert decisive influence to break the magic charm and stop trusting and depending upon USA. Given the weak state of economy and host of issues, Pakistan can no more afford to indulge in this expensive war on terror and should urgently chalk out a strategy to pullout 180,000 troops from the combat zone and take steps to extinguish the fire of terrorism.
The writer is a retired Brig Gen, participant of epic Battle of Hilli in 1971 war, defence & security analyst, international columnist, writes exclusively for Veterans Today, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS, & Veterans Think Tank.