The war is not yet over!


Sikandar Noorani

IT is heartening to know that the State of dimensional Pakistan, despite having many complex handicaps, stood tall in fighting out the multi-faceted menace of terrorism. Statistics provided by a prominent think tank based in the federal capital, Pak Institute for Peace Studies, clearly reflect an encouraging balance sheet for year 2019. As compared to year 2018, there was a significant decline of 11 per cent in terrorist attacks and human causalities were also decreased by 40 per cent. This decline in number and lethality of terrorist attacks, though, started gradually from 2009 but recurrence of heinous incidents across the country constantly kept the nation under psychological pressure. Impact of prevailing regional environment is another prominent factor which kept multiplying the security concerns for Pakistan. Surviving under present extra-volatile South Asian environment is not an easy task for any regional player but for Pakistan it remains more than usually complex and challenging.
Though, optimistic statistics about gradual successes in war against terror provide a reason to feel satisfied, but at the same time, current situation demands extra ordinary vigilance on external and internal fronts. Despite encouraging statistics, it would be unwise to conceive that menace of terrorism has been completely defeated. Menace is likely to strike back ferociously with more strength at our soft belly. Pakistan, being encircled with highly disturbed neighbourhood, needs to be extra cautious and vigilant. Let’s have a look upon those burning factors which accumulatively compel Pakistan to be more careful in critical phase of survival battle. Undoubtedly, Indian factor dominates the threat list! Rise of ultra-Hindu nationalist elements in power corridors of New Delhi, in the form of BJP, has put the anti-Pakistan mindset in top gear. Anti-Muslim mindset of RSS’ stalwarts has created an ideological synonym in the form of Anti-Pakistan political philosophy. As per BJP’s standards, a patriotic Hindu, in India, has to be Anti-Pakistan and Anti-Muslim. This hateful but populist political drumbeating proved extremely helpful for BJP in winning the second term in power corridors.
Prior to elections, Modi Sarkar did not hesitate, for a single moment, in initiating an act of war by sending fighter jets in Pak territory in the garb of Pulwama attack. Much has been said by sane quarters about the exploitation of Anti-Pakistan rhetoric which eventually fetched a second term victory for BJP. After revoking special status of State of Kashmir, now, controversial legislation on citizenship is nothing but well thought out furtherance of Anti- Muslim policy in India. RSS and BJP ideologues are not in a mood to pay any heed to the countrywide protests and worldwide criticism against their ultra-fascist decisions. It is obvious that BJP now aims at fetching maximum political benefits by igniting the hateful sentiments. In this drive, a war or anything short of war against Pakistan would certainly prove helpful for BJP in suppressing the internal disorder through crafty projection of self-style patriotism.
Maligning Pakistan with false allegations of cross border terrorism, while vigorously sponsoring terrorist networks against Pakistan, is a permanent pillar of Indian strategy. Frequent terrorist attacks in Balochistan and the KP is another convincing factor that successful acceleration on CPEC is not acceptable to New Dehli which enjoys, an invisible but easily predictable, US’ blessing as well as Indian factor is deeply relevant to Afghan unrest as hardcore groups responsible for conducting terrorist attacks on armed forces, LEAs civilians and Chinese nationals enjoy solid support from Indian agencies. Next important factor, directly affecting Pak stability, is prolonged unrest in Afghanistan. Despite multiple US-Taliban dialogue sessions, no agreed upon peace formula has surfaced yet. Afghan presidential elections are, as usual, wrapped with rigging allegations. Extremely low polling ratio coupled with rigging allegations have further added to the chaos prevailing in Afghanistan. Under highly volatile circumstances, Pakistan is undertaking an uphill task of fencing the western border, primarily to curb the frequent intrusion of terrorists from Afghanistan. Situation in the Middle East is rapidly turning precarious, and our important neighbour Iran is deeply pitched with America amid recent Baghdad unrest.
It is not hard to comprehend that disturbance in the neighbourhood has definite pull and push effects on Pakistan which , at the moment, is trying to maintain its balance while walking on a tight rope . Defrayment from KL summit at a very belated stage is enough an evidence that at times, for a country like Pakistan, simultaneously maintaining pleasant relations with the OIC members , becomes a dilemma. Unrest in Iran, Afghanistan, IOK and Muslims dominated protests in most of the parts of India are not good signs! A positive policy of maintaining pleasant relations with regional players without pitching into any conflict should be the prime focus of Pakistan. Arrogant USA and hostile India are likely to hinder this process through overt and covert means. Frequent threats, from Indian Ministers and Army Chief , of attacking Pakistan should not be ignored as a usual rhetoric. Obviously, the war is not yet over for Pakistan!
– The writer is a free lancer who often contributes in national news papers.