Monster turns on Frankenstein

October 20th, 2009

In an audacious attack, heavily-armed Taliban terrorists dressed in fatigues stormed the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on October 10. What followed was a 22-hour siege that ended with a dramatic commando rescue operation. At the end of the day the death toll stood at 20.

The spokesperson for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan movement said, “We claim responsibility for the attack on Army GHQ (in Rawalpindi). It was carried out by our Punjab branch… We have the capability to strike any place in Pakistan… We can target many more important places”. He was right. Suicide terrorists have struck at the Federal Investigation Agency headquarters and five other locations, including important police centres, in Lahore on Thursday, killing 39 and injuring hundreds.

Over the past two years, more than 2,500 people have been killed in suicide bombings across Pakistan. It was hoped that after Pakistan was carved out of India in 1947, it would become a model Muslim state. But today, it is a failed state facing a severe existential crisis.

The problem is Pakistan’s military rulers have tried to present themselves as the country’s last hope. Civilian leaders have been little better. Instead of thinking in the best interest of the country, every Pakistani leader has deliberately encouraged the US to develop a stake in that country’s political and military affairs. Today Pakistan’s policies are more attuned to American interests than its own. In turn, the US supports Pakistan for every single anti-India step it takes. India is the whipping boy for everything that goes wrong in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s rationale for fuelling militancy and separatism in Jammu & Kashmir and terrorism in other parts of India is based on the premise that it is the sole custodian of Muslim interests everywhere, even more so in India. Having fought four wars with us and having been defeated in all of them, it is now fathering terrorist groups to wage jihad against India.

It is impossible to predict the precise, unintended consequences of any US or Pakistani action. But the way things are shaping up it is fast becoming clear that neither the US nor the Pakistani Government has any control on the Taliban’s activities. A weak civilian Government and a recalcitrant Army and ISI pose a serious threat to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, a part of which might be seized by terrorist groups.

While Pakistan has never made a secret of its hostility towards India, it is a matter of record that the US has been fighting battles away from its own borders. The theatres of war today are Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. India, on the other hand, has scrupulously kept itself away from international controversies in the interest of its own people.

It is time Pakistan realises that terrorism cannot coexist with prosperity. Caught in its own web of imprudence, indiscretion and misdemeanour, Pakistan, over the past year, has witnessed daily terror strikes. Some are high profile attacks – like the one on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March – while others are now categorised as routine.

Over the years, different regimes in Islamabad have proclaimed that they would not support terrorist groups operating from Pakistan’s soil. But this was no more than subterfuge to lull India into a false sense of security. Even while promising to act against terrorists, Pakistan has been aiding terrorist groups and using them to mount terror strikes on India.

But now the chickens have begun to come home to roost. By obliterating the difference between its professional Army and the terrorists, Pakistan is turning some of its soldiers into rogue jihadis.

Meanwhile, angered by the US drone attacks in Pakistan’s north-western tribal areas, the terrorists have promised retribution against America and its proxies. The policy of encouraging its Army officers to join or train terrorists like the ones responsible for the fidayeen strikes on Mumbai last year is coming back to haunt Pakistan.

Indeed, in all major terrorist attacks all over the world, including those in the West, the signature of Pakistani terrorists is clear. Of course, this has not been acknowledged either by Pakistan or the US. Insofar as India is concerned, it is obvious that there has been no change in Pakistan’s policy of using terrorism as a weapon against India to achieve its objective of forcing a change in the status quo, which it hopes will lead to its acquisition of the Muslim majority areas of Jammu & Kashmir, if not the entire State.

Pakistan’s policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds is beginning to backfire. If Pakistanis want domestic harmony and peace, they must shun the policy of spreading terrorism abroad and running training centres for jihadis on their soil. The terrorists have already issued their diktat that Islamabad should stop obeying Washington, DC, if it wants the terror attacks to stop.

Pakistan claims that it is not only fighting its own war but also that of the international community against terrorism. But the truth is that Pakistan still remains a fertile ground for terrorists to breed. Hopefully, New Delhi will not buy Islamabad’s bogus claim. Pakistan is the victim of a problem of its own creation. It has to look within for the solution.

Joginder Singh – IPS (Retd.) Former Director, CBI

20th October 09

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