Knee-jerks after Peshawar

By K.N. Pandita

Pakistani nation came together to condemn terrorist attack on school children in Peshawar. Nawaz Sharif called all party meeting and resolved to lift moratorium on capital punishment. Unconfirmed sources say about a thousand terrorists of different hues remain interned in Pakistani jails.

Prime Minster hastened to announce that his government believes there are no good or bad Taliban. He has vowed to eradicate terrorism from Pakistani soil.  

Two persons, against whom death penalty had been announced by Pakistani court, were executed on Friday. 7 more are in the row. Pakistani President Mamnnon Hussain rejected all appeals of mercy saying those who violate the law of the land must face the consequences.

Pakistan’s COAS General Raheel dashed to Kabul where he met with Afghan President. He is said to have given him a plethora of information on how the top leader of TTP Molvi Fazlullah was hiding somewhere in Kuner, the eastern district of Afghanistan. The General is reported to have told the Afghan President that in case Afghan government is not able to locate Fazlullah, Pakistan would do the job. Obviously General Raheel is thinking to go for Osama bin Laden type of mission to liquidate Fazlullah on Afghan soil.

We have been telling Islamabad to hand over Dawood Ibrahim to us because he has criminal charges against him in Indian courts and he is an Indian citizen. Pakistan authorities say they do not know his whereabouts. Will General Raheel concede that India use the same narrative in this case which the General has uses to extradite Fazlullah?’ We also presented a plethora of evidence against Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi involvement in Mumbai carnage.

Just a day after Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif announced whole hog eradication of terrorists, a Pakistani court allowed bail to Lakhvi, the main culprit of Mumbai carnage of 2008 in which 170 innocent Indians were killed. Pakistani popular daily Dawn wrote in its issue of 20th December as this: “Consider that for five years the trial has remained in limbo, hearings repeatedly adjourned on one pretext or another — so why pick this week of all possible weeks to grant bail to Lakhvi.” This kingpin of Mumbai massacre had all the comforts imaginable in the world in his Idyala Jail, where he even fathered a child. It speaks of volumes on Pakistan’s fake anti-terrorist policy.

The question which many Pakistani and foreign commentators ask is whether Islamabad will really be able to uproot terrorism in Pakistan? The reason for their scepticism is that they know the roots of terrorism lie in jihad philosophy.

It was Zia who for the first time gave a call for jihad against the kafirs (atheists) meaning communists. The US nurtured jihadi sapling to let it grow into a formidable and towering tree.

The question we would ask Nawaz Sharif is this: Do the LeT and its top echelons, who spew venom against India, who openly say they will carry jihad to India via Kashmir, in whose voice the biggest terrorist of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf is contemplating to send lakhs of jihadis into Kashmir, also fall in the category of Pakistani terrorists whose liquidation PM Sharif will contrive?

Re-arrest of Lakhvi soon after he was allowed bail, and his detention for three months, came about owing to pressure from India. The acid test of Nawaz Sharif’s anti-terrorist campaign is whether he orders arrest and legal proceeding against Hafiz Saeed and orders disbanding of his organization. We don’t think Nawaz Sharif will take the risk of a civil war in Pakistan. But how long can he avert it is also a big riddle.

PPP leader Sherry Rahman is right in saying that anybody lending direct or indirect support to terrorists should also be dealt with like a terrorist.

However, we in India need to delve deep into the causes of rise of jihadism and terrorism in Pakistan. A country created on the basis of religion, cannot help translating tenets of religion into practice for justifying the creation of Pakistan. This is the bottom-line of Pakistani jihadism. Since Muslims are enjoined to qital fi din, or kill for the sake of faith, jihadi leadership have the strongest weapon in their hands which they use. How will Nawaz Sharif revere this psyche? The problem lies somewhere else.

All terrorist organizations of Pakistan are the creation of ISI+Army. They use them against Afghanistan and India. ISI emphasized upon LeT not to become part of TTP. That is for public consumption. American intelligence had monitored the wireless message of LeT to its attackers of Indian Consulate ain Herat. The attackers were asked to kidnap Indian staff and then bargain for a very heavy price. LeT chief Hafiz Saeed is a frequent visitor to GHQ where all planning for infiltration and attacks in Kashmir are finalized.

Haqqani’s terrorist group is also the creation of ISI and in fact Haqqani lived in Pakistan for many years where from he planned his HI outfit.

Nawaz Sharif’s proclamation of crack down on terrorists gives legal justification to the army to embark on massive attack in Waziristan which they lost no time to undertake and killed dozens of Pak Taliban without hours of the proclamation.

Pakistani army will crack down on the tribal region because the tribesmen are challenging the existence of the army as an organization that carries forward the agenda of the US in Afghanistan. Within Pakistan army there are divisive forces and the radicals among the officers and jawans have a strong footing. Soon after PM made the announcement of crack down on Waziristan, there were rumours of Pak army opting for a coup. But Pentagon turned down the move, and that is the reason why an official from the State Department yesterday announced that the US will provide full support to Pakistan for combating terrorists.

India will not accept Nawaz Sharif’s anti-terrorist antics something like a positive step vis-a-vis Pakistani jihadis and terrorist plans of destabilizing India. Pakistan has one policy for Af-Pak based Taliban and another for Kashmir and India centric jihadis. The latter are considered its “strategic asset” but to world abroad they are projected as non-state actors.

If Islamabad is unable to take on the”non state actors”, they can ask for India’s help and thus clean the entire sub-continent of the scourge of jihadism. Pakistan is not going to do that because it will be a slap on the face of Pakistan army.

In final analysis, all that has come out of the sacrifices of 142 innocent children in Peshawar carnage is that Pakistan army has got mandate from Pak civil society to become more powerful and do whatever it likes to do in Pukhtoonkhaw or Afghanistan or Kashmir. However, some seeds of disintegration of the State of Pakistan are not totally absent in the ongoing scenario. The essential question before Pakistani civil society today is whether there was or is any rationale for creation of a state on the basis of religion?

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