Amidst the boiling patriotism, persistence for peace (#AmanKiAsha #SayNoToWar) and the unusually responsible behaviour of Pakistan it is difficult to analyse the situation on the erstwhile enemy-lines from a singular lens. ‘Erstwhile’, did that pang? Did it irk the patriotism within you? Then ask yourself why? Is it because you love your nation and believe not only that your nation is capable of fighting and winning a war but also because you consider that not fighting or looking away from a war will be a disgrace to our Martyrs? Or is it that we are not scared of Pakistan? I appeal to my better judgement and rule out that it is not a mere clash of egos and chest-thumping for the sake of the one-ness we enjoy when our team wins an I.P.L. (Indian Premier League).
It is pointed out at the very outset that this article is not aimed at hurting any national sentiments but only to present a counter-narrative to what is being furthered by the Indian Media.
Political Dynamics in Pakistan
Importance of JeM– During the Lal Masjid Kaand or popularly known Operation Sun Rise all militant groups joined together to avenge Abdul Rashid Ghazi whose ticket was cashed by Musharaf. JeM was then part of the United Militancy Front i.e. Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan.
The ISI differentiated between Good and Bad Terrorist. JeM (Good Terrorist) was used by ISI to fight against the Bad terrorist. Azhar at that point was the leader of not just JeM but also that of the United Jihad Council which is why Pakistan is believed to be hand in glove with Azhar though Pak outlawed JeM back in 2002.
How does JeM have a stronghold in Pak you wonder? Well the earthquake of 2002 shook parts of Pak and many terror-outfits helped in rehabilitation and earned the trust of the citizenry. They also invested in education which essentially meant radicalization of education.
“In 2005, when a devastating earthquake hit Pakistan, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity that is a front for the Lashkar, and the Al Rasheed Trust, linked to the Jaish, were seen participating in relief work, sometimes even in tandem with international humanitarian actors. This, according to one analysis, helped amplify the political and ideological influence of the armed groups.”
Also see Earthquake Jihad: The Role of Jihadis and Islamist Groups after the October 2005 Earthquake to understand the political ramifications.
Role of China: China’s One Belt One Road initiative starts from Kashgar in the Xinjiang province of China, enters CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), and is ready till Islamabad. It goes through Balakot (place where earthquake took place and JeM helped in 2005). Ahead of Islamabad the corridor extends to the Gwadar Port, construction is on-going.
Now strong criticism of JeM could thwart China’s economic investments in JeM affected States. Further, Pak protects China in UN during voting on motions regarding Human Rights violations in Xinjiang region. This protection to China is also offered by African States due to China’s Economic Investment in Africa. Also China’s actions against Dalai Lama (who is akin to “Hafiz Saeed” w.r.t. Kashmir), i.e., in their management of Tibet is seconded by Pak and African States. This is the reason why China has vetoed any actions against Pak for giving haven to Azhar on past two occasions.
So stern action against JeM could be a kick to the Prime Ministerial Chair. This, when analysed in light of the fact that Pakistan has a history of military coups against all the P.M.s who have endeavoured to eliminate terrorism which is seconded by the argument that General Bajwa is the one who’d be calling the shots, it is difficult to trust the words of the Pakistani Premier. Khan as previously gone back on his words regarding protection of Ahmadiya Muslims.
In stark ignorance to the above pressures the Pak leadership practiced restraint. They did not add fuel to the situation. True, Khan did not condemn the Pulawama attack and extend his condolences in the first public statement on Pulawama, but he amended and at-least corrected his stand and acknowledged the attack. He did announce the return Wing Commander Abhinandan in the Pak Parliament as an act of Peace. True they did not contain the JeM post the Pulwama attack (they are at fault here), true they criticized the Indian “Pre-emptive” Strike (but as an independent nation would not they even criticize if another country breaches their international border). I understand Khan’s predicament when he says that “Hindustan pe attack karna Majboori thi”. After-all he too has to run a government and everyone is shrieking for blood and Pak forces only attacked military installations not civilians only to show the capability and will of the Pak forces. I am not defending his acts, they are obviously against international law (even India’s pre-emptive strike was at-least in the grey area if not patently illegal) but if we think closely, Paks action was a political necessity for a Sovereign Nation. Undoubtedly, it was a puddle (JeM) of their (Pak) own making as India has outrightly declared based on “credible evidence” that the Pak government is hand-in-glove with JeM claiming,
All of this does not take away from the fact that P.M. Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan is acting differently. Be it international pressure (even from China who is fed-up of so called “Muslim Terrorism” and is running re-education camps/concentration camps in for Uyghur Muslims) or fear of losing a war or just common-sense of not fighting with a neighbour, the Naya Pakistan is willing to talk on Terrorism, is willing to conduct a probe on Pulawama, they claim to be willing to cooperate.
True they have back-stabbed in the past and not prosecuted terrorist even when actionable intelligence was provided by India but should we not try peace first. Khan said it in the Pak Parliament that he called his Indian-Counterpart and simultaneously the Pak F.M. talked with the various F.M. to negotiate peace and avoid escalation. I strongly urge you’ll to see the following video-
Pakistan is extending his hand, quite possibly they might retract but is it not worth the chance? Is war a solution? Is Khan wrong when he talks about the Nuclear capabilities of the lost brothers. Aware of India’s traditional military capabilities, Pak has a first use policy to tackle India whereas India stands by the policy of Massive Retaliation for use of Nuclear Weapons.
I am not certain how and whom a war will benefit. Is it just for Kashmir which has been reduced to a trophy, for they complain of persecution both within and outside J&K. Kashmiri students are harassed in colleges, and I am not saying the whole nation is guilty for it. It is mostly because of few promote hatred and violence, and we also have few war-mongers. Of-course, there are a few looking for political mileage. But ask why at the cost of our Jawans? Yes, our Defence Forces are capable and Inshallah we will win a war if we fight. But why fight? Will that be an end? Will not there be international involvement and escalation of the war?
The best way, that I see is a probe by the Pak forces into JeM with proof given to India and India engaging in a dialogue with Pak. Obvious is the fact that Pak can retract and we ought to be ready but aren’t we already ready for a war. We have Nuclear Capabilities we are already ready for the worst or should I say prepared to open the radioactive flood gates of hell upon us and our long lost brothers. I recall how Frank Underwood fueled war-mongering to perpetuate his regime and requested to declare war against ICO and fear not the same be imitated in India. We ought not to forget that the Non-Military Pre-emptive strike was used for political mileage in India and such chest-thumping and zest for war could, if done for perpetuating political legacy, lead to an external emergency version of the internal emergency seen during the Indira Gandhi Years.
P.S.- This article is drafted based on facts as known to be transpired by 2/3/2019.
Authored By – Pranav Bhaskar Tiwari (Penultimate Year Law Student)
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