Dr Muhammad Khan
GENERAL Qamar Jawad Bajwa, while addressing the Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) Conference Kabul has categorically highlighted the Pakistani role and its contributions towards combating the menace of terrorism. The most significant aspect, Pakistani Army Chief highlighted was, Pakistan has eliminated all the bases of terrorists from its soil; hence there are no terrorist hideouts on Pakistani soil. This is worth mentioning that, prior to 2014 North Waziristan was considered to be a no go area and indeed was the stronghold of almost all terrorists; locals as well as foreigners. Commander USCENTCOM, Commander Resolute Support Mission (RSM) and Army Chiefs of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also attended the conference, which decided to continue cooperation for peace and stability in the region.
While highlighting the role of Pakistan against terrorism, it is worth mentioning that, military operation; Zarb-e-Azb smashed these strongholds and killed most of these hard core terrorists. Some of these terrorists fled to neighbouring areas of Afghanistan where they were provided proper refuge. Earlier, a huge number of TTP militants had moved to Afghanistan after military operations in Swat, Malakand and South Waziristan Agency. As per information, there are 4000 to 5000 TTP militants present in Afghanistan even today.
These TTP militants are being hosted by Afghan spying network NDS alongside RAW, the infamous Indian spying network. TTP terrorists are provided with all sorts of logistic facilities, training, financing and then harboured to Pakistan for undertaking terrorist activities. Mullah Fazllula, the self-made head of TTP under direct control of NDS and RAW mastermind most of these attacks inside Pakistan. The recent brutal attack on a military conveys of Pak Army in Swat which killed 13 men was planned by Fazllula and his handlers. Then, there is a major role of NDS and RAW for the destabilization of Pakistan. In fact, NDS and Afghan soil is being used by India for spreading terrorism inside Pakistan, as a part of Indian declared strategy. Indian NSA Mr Ajit Doval is on record saying that, India will bleed Pakistan through terrorism.
In his speech, Gen Bajwa also rejected the allegations which have been labelled against Pakistan on account of Haqqani network by Washington, Kabul and New Delhi. Rather, offered the regional countries and United Sates for a wider cooperation to bring peace, stability and economic prosperity of the region. In combating the terrorism, Pakistani role has been a role model for rest of the world. Whereas, the ISAF (US and NATO forces in Afghanistan) could do nothing worthwhile during its prolonged deployment in that country, Pakistani security forces eliminated the menace of terrorism from its soil.
The sporadic incidents of terrorism taking place in Pakistan are indeed being sponsored from Kabul through local linkages inside Pakistan. This aspect was amply elaborated by Pakistani Army Chief. He said, “Residual signatures of terrorists who take advantage of presence of 2.7 million Afghan refugees and absence of effective border security coordination are also being traced and targeted through on-going operation Radd ul Fasaad.” Following the Zarb e Azb, Operation Radd ul Fasaad played a decisive role in curbing the terrorism and their surrogates.
There has been emphasize from Pakistani side that, the hideouts of TTP militants inside Afghanistan must be abolished, rather accusing Pakistan of supporting any militancy there. Though Pakistan is in the process of fencing its border with Afghanistan, however, these militants and their abettors exactly know the areas which can be used for infiltration into Pakistan. The wider cooperation and joint action plan, earlier agreed between Pakistan and Afghanistan has not been well reciprocated by Kabul. Generally it is anticipated that, Kabul regime follows the narratives of Washington and New Delhi, while accusing Pakistan. Pakistan feels that “Collaborative approach and persistence is the answer to all challenges, for which Pakistan is ready to play its part.” Indeed, the mechanism through a collective approach with sharing of information and timely action against the militants, present on each other’s soil will bridge the trust deficit, currently found between both countries. Once there is restoration of trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan, there would be less space for those forces to interfere in the affairs of both countries. Till-date the element of misperception created by the forces with vested interest has not allowed the leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan to remain at odd.
There is need that, both sides to weigh their individual and collective gains while remaining in opposing camps. Since Kabul is mostly dependent on the financial and military assistance of either US or India, therefore, it had to follow their directives. Time has come where Kabul regime must re-evaluate its priorities for the peace and development of Afghanistan and particularly the huge bulk of poor masses. On the part of Pakistan, there is need to maintain a constructive engagement policy with Afghanistan. Since the conflicting approach has not served anyone’s purpose, therefore, both should work on convergences through people to people contact, through intellectuals and academic interactions and above all through a clarity at the political and military level. The sooner both countries realize this obligation, the better it would be for the future generations of both countries.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.