Raza Muhammad Khan
The psychology of outrage provides insight into why people get violent when something occurs that they perceive as unjust or inappropriate. Consider for example those states, that can’t curb crimes and whose citizens take the law in their own hands, to protect themselves or protest against the authorities. Ditto for the answer, when a state fails to respond to aggression, coercion or terrorism, sponsored by other states. Recent Indo-Afghan terrorist activities inside Pakistan have infuriated Pakistanis, who are demanding from the government that these be responded in kind. They know that India is now using both covert and overt means to destabilize and terrorize Pakistan, albeit at a visibly bigger scale and with greater impunity.
They rightly believe that backing terrorists in Balochistan by India has no locus standi, equationor parallel with the issue of Kashmir. The former is a gross violation of UN Charter and its many resolutions, calling upon countries to shun terrorists, lest international peace is endangered. The latter has been legitimised by many UNSC resolutions on the need for a plebiscite in Kashmir. Pakistanis are also frustrated at their politician’s silence, the foreign media’s neglect and their government’s purely defensive response to India’s undeclared war against them, with the tacit support of the Afghan and possibly, the US governments.
Though much inferior in resources, Pakistani security apparatus could manage defence against such threats, as they were posed by a single enemy, in the past. However after 9/11, its resources and attention were divided, diluted and diverted due to numerous threats from multiple directions. This immensely compounded its problems and India quickly took full advantage of the opportunity. It unleashed waves of terror in Pakistan, mainly using Afghan refugees, RAW operatives and some Pakistani Taliban. As confessed by Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian government has established terror networks for such activities in Nepal, Dubai, Iran and Afghanistan. Sabotaging the CPEC, retarding economic growth in Pakistan, disrupting the Chinese OBOR flagship initiative, diverting attention from Kashmir and embroiling Pakistani armed forces i n internal security are the strategic Indian objectives. Previously, the people learnt that RAW network in UK was sponsoring terrorism in Sindh, through MQM London, for at least a decade. This is a unique and explicit example of blatant misuse of the land of five countries for international terrorism, yet India and Afghanistan raise this bogey at worldwide forums and ironically benefit from it. Ignoring these facts, Indian atrocities in Kashmirand the abhorrent treatment of its minorities, that includes death punishment for eating beef, Modi was embraced by Trump at Washington in June and by Netanyahu in July, as a victim of terrorism and offered lethal weapons and nuclear trade, to create further turmoil in the region. These are indeed raw deals for Pakistan which have provoked antagonism against the US, ill will against Afghan refugees and anger against Israel.
This could in turn lead to violence by non-state entities, unless the Pakistani state revises its policies to defend its people. Three options are available to deal with these threats. First; declare and warn the UN and US that any terrorist activity in Balochistan or the Mekran Coast will be taken as acts of aggression by India that could be responded by Pakistan, at a time and place of its own choosing. This should be done in close coordination with China to protect the CPEC and reduce its security cost. A range of joint Sino-Pak, counter measures should also be put in place for the purpose. Concomitantly take advantage of the Indian bid to save Jadhav at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where a case for sponsoring terrorism against Modi, Ajit Doval and the RAW chief should be registered. Our lawyers could also highlight the unresolved Kashmir issue and prove at the ICJ, how Indian actions are grossly violating scores of UN resolutions on terrorism and Kashmir, due to which peace in South Asia is gravely endangered. Second, as a quid pro quo to Indian interference in Balochistan, announce support to the seven genuine efforts for liberation that are sweeping across India.
In addition to Kashmir, the people of Khalistan, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, whose wishes for independence have been brutally suppressed for too long, must be helped, while Junagarh and Hyderabad, that were fraudulently and forcibly annexed by India are reclaimed. The previous two options must be combined, if they don’t work separately. Finally; as a last resort, change posture and respond offensively (which is the best form of defence), with conventional weapons, at the borders with India, accepting the consequences of escalation to a limited war. Citing reasons of public pressure, (self-created by its own media), India has often threatened Pakistan, in a similar manner in the past. Pakistan must make its support to the rulers in Kabul, conditional with their recognition of the border between the two countries, expelling RAW agents from Afghanistan and handing over TPP leaders to Pakistan. Pakistani policy makers must know that status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable by its populace and that it provides justification to some to react violently. Being unpredictable, the outcome of such development may be no less perilous and poignant, than inaction. Indian endeavours to undermine Pakistan or the Pak-China friendship, as desired by its newfound friends in Washington or Jerusalem, may or may not work for India; however, they are emboldening it to start a war with Pakistan and possibly China, with apocalyptic effects. While Pakistan may be India’s bête noir, the US, Afghanistan and Israel need a catharsis of their attitude and approach, to ascertain the real cost of partnering with Modi against Pakistan, China and the Kashmiris. While reviewing its policy for Asia, the US needs to learn from the chaos caused by the reset of its policy in the ME, exhibit prudence and abandon reinforcing failure in Afghanistan, via India.
— The writer, a retired Lt Gen, is former president of National Defence University, Islamabad.
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Raza Muhammad Khan