Pakistan has been embarrassed by Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, getting bail just a day after the brutal massacre of children and teachers in Peshawar. Moreover, the statement of the former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, exposed the reality of Pakistan. And alongside, when declared terrorist Hafiz Saeed openly gave a statement on television that India had a hand in the Peshawar attack, it became obvious that even after the massacre of so many innocent children, Pakistan’s fight against terrorism has no validity. How can a country in which the ring leader of terrorists has got VIP status fight terrorism? A country which gives refuge to terrorists from all over the world — how can that country fight terrorism? A country in which its army gives training to terrorists, how can that country fight terrorism? Actually, Pakistan has fallen prey to its own contradictions. Here’s why Pakistan cannot fight terrorism…
Let’s talk first about the chief conspirator of the Mumbai attacks, Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi. He is in a prison in Rawalpindi. Ostensibly, he was in jail but he had all kinds of facilities. Even though he was in jail he had many phones, he watched the news on TV. He was free to meet his friends and terrorists. To top it all, while staying in jail, he fathered a son too! Lakhvi’s story is an example of the love the Pakistan Government system has for terrorists. Lakhvi is the ringleader of terrorists. While inside jail, he had arranged for the murder of the public prosecutor who was fighting the case in court against him. The ISI, gauging and anticipating the questions bound to come up in the future had made plans to send him out of jail. The ISI figured out that in the talks that would take place between India and Pakistan on the subject of ending terrorism, the demand to hand over the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and Dawood Ibrahim to India would also be raised. This is the reason that Lakhvi was given bail. The ISI didn’t even allow the public prosecutor to be present. India lodged a strong protest against this. Due to the public of Pakistan and international pressure, the Government of Pakistan was forced to take action. The big question is whether, inspite of opposition from the army and the ISI, the Government will be able to take action against terrorist organisations?
The Peshawar attack can be both a curse and a boon for Pakistan. This incident can prove to be a boon for Pakistan if it takes this opportunity, and together with the public, wipes out terrorism entirely. But it will be a curse if even after thousands of people have so tragically lost their dear ones, Pakistan cannot be made safe for the coming generation. The truth is that the people of Pakistan have now got tired of terrorism. They want even traces of terrorism to be removed that from the land of Pakistan. But those who have to fight terrorism are in a dilemma. This dilemma stems from the fact that the Peshawar attack has exposed Pakistan’s character and face. On one side, there is the Pakistan Government, under public and international pressure to take action against terrorist organisations, but helpless to do so.
On the other side, there is Pakistan’s army, which is also in a dilemma because it can certainly take action against the Pakistan Taliban but cannot take any action against terrorists spreading terror in Kashmir and Afghanistan. The Pakistan army is busy finding a difference between good Taliban and bad Taliban. On the third side is an intelligence agency — the ISI of Pakistan, which is clearly trying to protect terrorist organisations. When even after the heart rending deaths of more than 140 children, there is still confusion in the concerned country over fighting against terror and violence, then it should be believed that the country cannot fight with terrorists.
What are the compulsions of the Pakistan Government? Why is the army in a dilemma and what is the game plan of the ISI? In Pakistan, there are three poles of power. Out of the three, the Pakistan army is the most powerful. Terrorism, foreign policy, economic policy and any important decision in Pakistan cannot be taken without the concurrence of the Pakistan army. After the Pakistan army, the intelligence agency of Pakistan – the ISI – is the most powerful. This is the world’s most dangerous agency in hatching conspiracies and spreading terror. It is the ISI which makes the policies of Pakistan successful or unsuccessful. This intelligence agency takes care of terrorist organisations. All the blasts that take place in India or the number of terrorists who are active are all linked with the ISI. The ISI is so powerful that it even has the power to decide or otherwise on the existence of Pakistan’s Government. Pakistan’s media is a puppet of the ISI. Whichever media house gathers courage to go against the ISI, that media house is destroyed by the ISI and no voice is even raised against it in Pakistan. The ISI acts as a thread between the Pakistan army, Pakistan’s media and Pakistan’s terrorist organisations. This is the reason why anti-India propaganda began just one day after the Peshawar attack.
In terms of power, Pakistan’s Government – to whom nobody listens — trails at number three. This is a Government dependant on the army and the ISI.
In Pakistan, a decisive fight against terror can be fought only when Pakistan’s Government, Pakistan’s army and the ISI together decide that they have to end terror. Otherwise no matter how much Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tries, terrorists will remain safe in Pakistan. The ISI is all powerful. Before it, even a democratic Government doesn’t work. It was formed in 1948 by the Pakistan army. At that time, it was an intelligence agency of the army. Its power increased when General Zia gained control over Pakistan’s polity. This intelligence agency then became the most dangerous agency of the
world and its work centred on preparing terrorists and exporting terror to other countries of the world. For the past many decades, all the training camps set up for terrorists in Pakistan were done under the supervision of the ISI. The agency works together with Pakistan’s army. This is probably the only such agency in the world whose top officials are appointed directly from the army. A Lieutenant General of the army itself is the ISI chief. The ISI gets money from the Government’s budget. It gets an unaccounted sum of money from the army as well.
Actually, the truth is that even Pakistan’s Prime Minister doesn’t have knowledge of how much money the ISI spends annually, spends it where, how it is spent. Even more serious, the Prime Minister of Pakistan doesn’t have the courage to rein in this intelligence agency. Be it Kashmir or Afghanistan, the terrorist organisations or supporters of terrorist organisations there are all linked to the ISI. The ISI hand was there in the last two decades in all the bomb blasts that have taken place In India. It was from the time of General Zia that the Talibanisation of Pakistan’s society, state and even army started happening. General Zia, through the ISI, silenced opponents and through it spread religious extremism in Pakistan, which later took the form of terrorism. In Afghanistan, General Zia with the aid of American foreign policy prepared a cocktail of religious extremism from which Pakistan, till now, is reeling deliriously. The ISI was made so powerful that it started preparing to destroy Afghanistan and India.
In Afghanistan, the ISI, after forming an army of Mujahedeens, made them fight a war with Russia. And to destroy India, the ISI prepared terrorist organisations in Punjab and Kashmir and spilled the blood of thousands of Indians. It is a gift of the ISI that Pakistan has become the world’s capital of terrorism. Wikileaks has proved many times how the world over the strings of terrorism are connected to the ISI. It runs training camps of terror. It gives training to terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and exports them the world over. The ISI is a terrorist production machine. The people of Pakistan and its Government need to introspect on this. If it wants to fight terrorism, then Pakistan will either have to close the ISI chapter or it will have to limit the powers of the ISI. And the truth is that Pakistan’s Government is incapable of doing either. Till the time the ISI is powerful in Pakistan, till then no fight with terrorism can be fought from Pakistan because no matter how terrible the attack, whether innocent children die or women are burnt alive, the ISI will not let even a hair of terrorist organisations be harmed.
In Pakistan, its democratic Government is a weak Government. The army and the ISI are beyond its reach. It fears that if any step is taken against terrorists and people spreading poison in the name of Islam, then a civil war like atmosphere can be created in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif hails from Punjab and his party is considered ‘a party of Punjabis’. The politics of Pakistan revolves around the two poles of ‘Punjabiyat’ and Islam. In Pakistan be it the army, be it business or the bureaucracy, on all of them the Punjabis have control. The many protests going on in Pakistan are actually people’s anger against the Punjabis. For example, the people of Baluchistan are demanding a separate state because they feel that Pakistan’s Government only thinks of the interests of Punjabis. In Pakistan, if there is a monopoly of Punjabis on the Government system and the organised sectors, then on Pakistan’s society it is the Maulanas and Maulvis who have a strong hold. In Pakistan, leaders practicing the politics of religion have their own strength. During the days of General Zia, such leaders were given every kind of help. They became powerful, with the name of Hafiz Saeed on top.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is the Amir or Chief of the Jamaat-ul-Dawa. Hafiz Saeed has an old connection with terrorism. In 1990, Saeed formed the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Lashkar was an organisation running on Saudi money and under the protection of the ISI. When the Lashkar was banned, it started running by the name of Jamaat-Ul-Dawa. Surprisingly, though this organisation is linked with terrorists, Pakistan’s Government, ‘considered’ the Jamaat-Ul-Dawa an NGO and gave it crores of rupees in the name of providing relief to earthquake victims. In Pakistan, the media kept publishing reports, officials of the United Nations kept giving warnings, but the Government of Pakistan didn’t take any action against the Jamaat-Ul-Dawa. Hafiz Saeed not only has hold on the Government system of Pakistan, but he also knows how to use it. Hafiz Saeed’s being a Punjabi and Jihadi at the same time creates a dilemma for Pakistan’s Government. This is the reason no strong action will be taken against Hafiz Saeed. He has got the support of the ISI as well, and with Pakistan’s army he has ‘collaborative’ links. Actually, it was together with the ISI and the army that Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi had executed the Mumbai attacks.
If someone nurtures poisonous snakes in his home and thinks that this snake will only bite neighbours, then this person is extremely foolish. Since many decades Pakistan has been ‘supplying’ and sending terrorists to countries like India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iraq, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Russia and Africa. Pakistan is the world capital of terrorism because Pakistan’s army and its intelligence agency have been giving training to terrorist organisations. Many analysts in Pakistan and around the world wrote many books on this, many reports came and in many international fora questions were also raised but none of these had any effect on Pakistan.
Actually, Pakistan is the only country in the world which has made terrorism a part of its foreign policy. If any action is taken against terrorist organisations inside Pakistan, then fundamentalist organisations present in Pakistan will oppose it. No political party will take the risk of angering them. As far as the army is concerned, then it can certainly take action against the Pakistan Taliban but it will not take any action against other terrorist and fundamentalist organisations. All these are groups formed by the Pakistan army which it uses in Kashmir and Afghanistan. It is Pakistan’s intelligence agency the ISI which is the mother of these terrorist organisations. In such a case it will oppose every step that will be harmful for terrorist organisations. In Pakistan, there is a helpless Government. The ISI and the army are supporters of terrorists. So expecting any decisive battle against terrorism is meaningless. As far as the Peshawar incident is concerned, just as Pakistan forgot the previous 100 attacks, similarly after some days, people will forget the brutality and horror of Peshawar too.